I have to go back

Lost’s series finale aired the night of May 23rd, 2010. I took my time with the recap, opting to sleep on it versus immediately execute one of my then-weekly “stay up until 3am spewing a torrent of randomly-pinballing thoughts into WordPress, capturing screenshots from a hastily-downloaded copy of the latest episode, and trying to avoid catching my bedspread on fire from the steadily increasing temperature of my laptop” ritualistic blog posts. The fourteen-plus pages of messily scrawled notes taken during the episode could sit and wait for sunrise.

Writing those recaps served two loves: that of “prestige” genre television and, much more so, my passion for writing. The latter, I’m sorry to say, is something I’ve not been able to find much time for over the past decade or so. The obligations of family and work, deservedly so, come first, along with whatever other random bullshit comes up each day. On top of that, I’m not sure there’s been another piece of media content that’s really seeped its way into my soul and took it over quite like Lost did, what with its combination of strong acting, incredible production values, and the never-ending fuel it supplied my obsession with conspiracy, mystery, and technical details feeding a heavily serialized plot intended to make the viewer ask, “What’s it all mean?”

Nearly twelve years later, with nary a whisper in between, there’s a familiar feeling creeping back in…

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Back to the Island

Aloha, friends. It’s been a while. Despite the fact I’m revisiting Lost, don’t expect another gargantuan blog post recapping the television action. Instead, I’m sharing a few pics I captured during a tour of O’ahu this past week highlighted by several sites you’ll recognize. Enjoy the tour.

The canal where Sun and Jin first meet.
The canal is in the middle of downtown Honolulu. Sun and Jin were walking along the canal’s edge on the right (picture taken as we were driving over the bridge).
Locke didn’t have much luck with dear old Dad.
Here’s John’s “crash site” (note the triangular grass and sidewalk) where he has his first fateful meeting with Jacob.
Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute where Hurley spent a good chunk of his time brooding over his seemingly cursed luck.
Despite how it appears from a distance, the location is actually pretty dilapidated at this point. Paint is peeling off the place and multiple windows are boarded up.
The show’s crew dragged the stone table and stools from across the street (directly behind me as I took the previous picture).
Sawyer shoots the Dharma polar bear in Season 1.
This was shot right off a paved road. Much of the ground foliage has been cleared out.
Sun’s oft-featured garden.
As with the polar bear site, much of the ground foliage has been cleared. The location is just off a well-worn path used to get to a public beach. There’s a public parking lot about 50 feet off to the right.
Among my favorite scenes…”PEE ON IT!”
Here’s the “Pee Beach.” This is a public beach about 50 feet from Sun’s Garden (behind me as I took this picture). You can match up the trees in the distance with the video.
You’ll recall Yemi’s (Eko’s brother) church during his flashbacks.
All of the Nigeria flashbacks were filmed on the grounds of a defunct sugar cane plantation and factory. It is now private property so this is as close as we could get.
And here’s the interior of the church as seen on the show.
The interior was actually shot in a church albeit about a half-mile away from the sugar cane plant. Above is the (functioning) church where the interior was shot.
The ill-fated plane laden with heroin-filled Virgin Marys and Yemi’s body taking off from the airstrip in Nigeria.
The real site is actually a functioning airfield: Dillingham Airfield not far from the sugar cane plant.
Pala Ferry, formerly a dock used by the Dharma Initiative and repurposed for The Others’ nefarious aims.
And here’s the location as it stands today. It’s hard to make out but all that’s left of the pier are the pilings that rise just above water level. Our guide tells us the pier was a constant victim of dry rot and would be reconstructed anytime a film or TV project needed the location. Good way for the owner to “maintain” it without footing the bill himself.
Our first meeting with the (apparent) “Others.”
Here’s the site in reality. You can see the rocks Jin runs from (chased by Eko and other tail section survivors) to the left of the trees.
Home to the Dharma Initiative, this village in the middle of the Island featured all the conveniences of modern living.
The filming location is YMCA Camp Erdman. We got lucky on the day as they do not allow visitors to walk around if kids are on-site and outside. Our driver bemoaned (as did we) that they recently painted all of the houses blue instead of keeping the yellow color featured on the show.
Ben during a scene of quiet reflection at his house alongside “Locke.”
Ben’s house as it currently appears flanked by our tour guide. The guide is leaning against a bathroom. So, in the scene above, the actor is looking directly at the door to the mens’ room about 10 feet in front of him.
Smokey having a pow-wow with one of the villagers.
And here’s the newly-painted gazebo in real life. We may or may not have re-enacted the scene above and captured pictures you’ll never see…
And we come to the grand finale…the original crash site of Oceanic 815.
The location did not disappoint. Aside from the distraction of a few scattered beachgoers, you could feel yourself transported into the show.
Looking down the beach in the other direction. This is where everyone who returned from a mission came around the corner and was greeted by the adulations of their fellow castaways.
Hard to forget the terrifying noises emanating from the jungle on the castaways’ first night on the Island.
The palm trees seen being trampled by Ole’ Smokey were actually all CG painted into the area above. The crash site beach is directly off of the paved road above (the beach is behind me as I took this).

I hope you enjoyed that quick look back. It was nice to immerse myself in this world again after being away for so long. Until next time!

Thanks, Dave.

As much as I’d love to write a 5,000-word essay on what Letterman means to me, I’ll say only that he profoundly influenced not only what I find funny but also the ways one should carry themselves in life (both because of and in spite of his actions over the years). I will miss him and his show terribly.

In lieu of that aforementioned essay, I’ll point you to a recap of a trip my buddy Ross and I took to NYC back in 2002 to see the Late Show. It was a big deal for me at the time and now, with the benefit of time and the power of nostalgia, is one the the most important memories in my life.

2002 New York City Trip Recap

I came. I saw. I ate XLVIII pounds of nachos.

The year? 2014. The place? The Bischer Estate in picturesque Kenmore, NY. The event? I just finished the Lego Star Wars video game on XBox 360. The consequence? My fiancée is shooting daggers at me with her eyes and may or may not be brandishing a knife. Time for a change in plan? Yes. Welcome to the XLVIII edition of my annual Super Bowl running diary.

I am legally obligated to credit the format to Bill Simmons, Esq. of Grantland.com, a site you should all frequent daily.

We start, as always, with this year’s official Super Bowl logo. The generification (I’m maintaining that’s a word) of the logo several years back has my nostalgic side yearning for the colorful, in-your-face logos of Super Bowls past. Woe.

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"Lightning Bolt" First Impressions

This is the first full Pearl Jam of the digital age not to leak online in advance of its release, so let’s all thank iTunes for streaming it legally in advance!  I heard several of these tracks in a partial leak a few weeks back but I always savor the first, complete listen of a new Pearl Jam album. Let’s dig in.


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Not Super so much as "Lacking Wattage" (LOLZ)

I am an old man and can’t stay up past midnight anymore writing; whether that be Lost recaps, diatribes on the lack of monkeys in government, or the annual Super Bowl diary. Rest assured, I will have it up here at some point tomorrow. In the meantime, gather ’round your water coolers and talk about the lack of any standout commercials and the refreshing vanishing act Ray Lewis pulled in the 2nd half. Until tomorrow…

Welcome back, one and all, to the annual tradition that’s going to be heavy on Tweets, bullet points and my patented shorthand and light on insightful commentary, witty repartee and actual football analysis. Expect lots of links to YouTube videos as well. Let’s get started!

Again, who made the decision to go with these “every year a generic p.o.s.” logos? Like many of football’s current ills, let’s blame commissioner Roger Goodell.

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The Dark Knight Rises: IMAX | A-

director: Christopher “Don’t Ever Question Me Again” Nolan
starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Modine

tdkr imaxI’m a sucker and Christopher Nolan is smarter than me. First impressions of anything can be important and can often be right on the money, but they’re also dangerous, susceptible to myriad external factors like one’s state of mind, their environment and their preconceptions going into a given situation. Such is the case for me with Rises, a movie I was angrily disappointed with after an initial viewing in a small theater with merely adequate sound fidelity on a Thursday evening after a long workday. This revisionist review is not meant to excuse the flaws that still exist, but a second viewing did much to minimize them, to the point I’m now pleased enough to give it an A-.

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The Dark Knight Rises | TBD (but leaning toward a C+)

director: Christopher Nolan
starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

tdkrI’ve never been more disappointed about being disappointed about a movie. The Dark Knight Rises is a disappointment on nearly all levels of filmmaking. A lazy, self-indulgent, sloppy mess of a plot punctuated by action sequences that are more spectacular in intent than execution. I’m reserving final judgment until I see the flick again on IMAX, but I’m sad to say Rises is likely not the crowning achievement and fulfillment of the promise the first two Nolan Bat-movies set the table for.

Where to begin? Let’s start with the titular character. Batman Begins was remarkable in its ability to drive the plot forward despite the fact Batman doesn’t even show up until halfway through the movie. Bruce Wayne’s sojourn abroad was just as interesting as the moments he finally dons the cowl and lays waste to Gotham’s enemies. Nolan found the right balance between character-driven plot and comic book action beats, and carried this through to what might be his finest hour in The Dark Knight, counterbalancing and exceeding any lack of Batman with Heath Ledger’s incredible portrayal of the Joker. That balance is nowhere to be found in Rises, as the film grounds to a halt anytime the caped crusader is absent.

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