Friday, February 26, 2010

A full week

It's been a busy but successful week so far.

The pace at work is continuing to be slightly below breakneck, but always with the potential to shift into that mode with little or no notice. The work and the concepting and everything is fun, new, challenging, stressful, complicated . . . and (I hope, hope, hope) rewarding in the end. I'll continue to keep you posted in the most oblique, vague way possible.

In other news, I attended two (count 'em . . . two) separate "bible" studies this week. I put Bible in parentheses because in neither case are we focused solely on the Bible proper. In fact, no small group that I have been a part of in my adult life only read/discussed the Bible. Rather we read other books, usually religious in nature--but not always--and discuss. Currently I am attending a new Lenten group at church that is reading The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming. While this is one of the most common subjects of small group study, since we all stray down ill-chosen paths, this particular book is distinctive in that it uses the Rembrandt painting as a focal point for the author's review of the parable text. We've only had one session so far but I think it's going to be a good time for pausing for some necessary reflection with good people and lots of good opinions.

My other small group is the one that the family has been going to for years and years. These are many of the people that we have known here in town since we first moved to Ohio over twelve years ago. Though we don't all go to the same church anymore, we are trying to stay in touch with these weekly (or semi-monthly as schedules allow) gatherings. Good times for sure.

What else has gone on? Well, LOST treated me with another excellent episode this past Tuesday. While very little could have lived up to the excellent episode of the previous week, "The Lighthouse" was really well done. Anything that gives me lots of Hurley can't be very disappointing. And while Jack was his typical impulsive self (Stop smashing up the magical items before we get time to examine them more Jack!), we got to revisit old haunts (the caves!) and enjoy a well-developed Sideways story on a better version of Jack. Well, the SidewaysJack eventually ended up being better once he allowed himself to acknowledge the fact of his teenage son. I'll work on some links to provide before next Tuesday's new episode.

Tomorrow we will be trying to fit lots of stuff in: taking Grace to a dress rehearsal of her upcoming play "Charlie and the Hot Chocolate Factory," going to a birthday party (and finding a present tomorrow morning!), hoping to pick up the station wagon that I dropped off at the service station tonight (wonder what's making that knocking sound?), and fitting in some other stuff besides. Maybe we'll even find some time to relax . . . but perhaps the laundry might have something to say about that.

And I guess that is good enough for tonight. Nothing thematically coherent . . . but at least its something new.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 22, 2010

LOST Links . . . at Last

The last several weeks I haven't lived up to my original promise of giving out links on previous episodes of LOST. But that doesn't mean that I haven't watched and enjoyed the episodes immensely. (Well, I didn't enjoy "What Kate Does" immensely . . . but I did enjoy it. Now . . . last week's Locke-centric "The Substitute" was the best episode of the season so far.

But here you go. Many links regarding LOST from lots of different angles. I apologize for the fact that these are (by necessity and the unalterable fact of chronology) a bit dated now. But LOST demands you understand what came before to appreciate what is happening now. Or at least that is the excuse that I am going to use to justify my tardiness.

LOST has referenced a lot of books over the years. Here is a handy site that gathers them all together. It won't read them for you, but I guess you could review this site and then switch over to Wikipedia or something else. (Or you could just read the books.)

We are heading into the fifth hour of this final season. And not all of them have been received with equal delight. You can check out this site to see how the episodes have been graded.

If you enjoy the EXTREMELY long recaps of LOST episodes done each week by blogger "fishbiscuit" then read on here to dig through the observations, themes, and ideas from last week's "The Substitute." And if you liked that one, then click on this link to read a similar recap on "What Kate Does."

If you liked the image that I used to illustrate this post at the top, click here to see other TV shows represented in simplistic/iconic fashion. (I am always drawn to this sort of thing.)

In a world of YouTube videos, someone took the time to create a new (well, new as of a few weeks ago) video that compares the original sequence of the Oceanic Flight 815 crash and how that experience has been changed in the FlashSideways world.

    I'm a fan of LOST podcasts. Over the years, I've listened to a few and abandoned some. But who would have thought that in the final year, I'd start listening to a new one? Well, you should do if you are a Hurley fan. That's right . . . Jorge Garcia has put together his own podcast where he goes through his reactions to the scripts and gives some fun insight into his opinions.

    If you want to start planning how to throw a party for the final LOST finale (coming in May!) you could do a lot worse than emulating some of these party ideas. And, given the complexity of the parties described, you might NEED to start planning now.

    If you are thinking that all the promises of answers in this final season are not being lived up to . . . well, there are people out there running a calculation of it for you. See for yourself.

      And I think I'll leave it there for tonight. Tune in Tuesday night for the next episode!


      I forgot to add a few more links:

      1. To get some insight into Terry O'Quinn's thoughts on Locke and his new alter ego, click here for an interesting Entertainment Weekly item.

      2. If you have time to watch a few episodes from previous seasons before tonight's new one, then "Doc" Jensen suggests that you focus on these. (Or you could read plot summaries somewhere.)

      3. If you think LOST is confusing . . . and you've been there since the beginning, then you'll probably be sympathetic to and amused by this blog. (Damon Lindelof tweeted his approval, if that matters to you . . . which it should not.)

      4. If you really don't care what LOST creator's have to say, then what about this recommendation from your friend and mine Chris Stewart? He likes The Onion's A.V. club coverage of LOST, which you can read here.

      And now I'm truly done.

      Thursday, February 18, 2010

      Self . . . Correcting

      What happens to you when a crutial part of your self-image is turned upside down? What if pieces of the puzzle that you create about your personality suddently stop fitting? Or what if they still fit but the picture created isn't the same as it was last time?

      (I know that this sounds like the first sentence of a Young Adult novel . . . and maybe it should be . . . but right now I'm asking it about myself and things I discovered that was not what I thought I knew.)

      Let's step back a bit. I've written before about my orthopedic problems and challenges when I was a young boy. To provide a bit of additional recap, I was born prematurely and was very underweight. As a result of all of this I had/have (?) a mild case of cerebral palsy that manifested itself in some malformation of the hamstrings and tendons in the back of my legs. As a child I wore various leg braces to help my posture but eventually it was decided that I needed surgery to detach and reposition the hamstrings and tendons into something closer to what nature intended. This would prevent increasingly bad posture and growing back problems as I grew taller and the tension on the affected areas grew worse.

      So, when I was eleven or so I had surgery in Albany to deal with the problem. I wore casts for much of that summer while the legs healed. And, to my recollection, things were successful and the doctor told me that things had worked out as he had hoped. But I had been going to that doctor's orthopedic clinic for several years and I would continue to go there for more years after that first surgery. I always looked up to him because he was cheerful, kind, and treated me with respect. (And during these years, there were times when I did not feel equal and felt singled out and I am sure his attitude toward me endeared him to me.)

      A few years later, it was determined that I needed a second surgery, this time on my left foot. It was developing a bad habit of rolling over on the outside of the foot when I walked and the doctor wanted to reposition some tendons in the ankle area to pull the foot into a more proper, forward alignment. And so, this surgery was performed. I remember the doctor telling me that they had detatched a tendon from the back area of the ankle and somehow passing it through to the top of the foot, in front of the ankle bones to "pull" it into alignment. He also cut some grooves into the bones that form the dorsal area of the foot, to encourage them to grow in a straighter fashion. As I recovered from that surgery, I wore a smaller cast on my left foot.

      After this surgery was complete, I was given therapeutic exercises to flex the foot and ankle, to strengthen the muscles and work on overcoming the atrophy that naturally occurs after the muscles had been encased in plaster immobile for a month or so.

      And life went on. I continued to visit the doctor for a few more years and we talked about how things were going and how my orthopedic state was. But eventually it stopped. I grew up, became a teenager, and my life began slowly settling into how I would become. My physical situation was what it was, for better and for worse.


      Now . . . I knew things weren't perfect and never would be. I had started from a negative position and no matter the surgeries and the work, I would not be "normal." But I also knew (and know to this day) that I had very little to complain about. Given my birth weight, I should have died back in 1971. But I did not. Given my factual diagnosis of cerebral palsy, I could have had far less motor control and mental ability. But I was (for all meaningful intents and purposes) entirely healthy and blessingly gifted. My early childhood years of feeling singled out due to visible braces and awkward question about my limp had changed into an acceptance of myself and . . . honestly . . . something of a happiness that I was different. We all need to define ourselves, to find a way to make ourselves stand out as significant. This was part of my way.

      And yet . . . there were things I knew. I knew that my left leg had a numbness along the outer calf. I knew that my left foot was not as strong as my right. I knew that I could not wiggle the toes of that foot like I could with my right. I knew these things. And I thought that these deficiencies were because of insufficient therapy when I was thirteen. What thirteen-year-old wanted to lean against the wall stretching out his hamstrings? What thirteen-year-old wanted to lay on the floor and lift his leg up, then down, then flex his ankle up, moving the foot up off the ground? I didn't want to do these things consistently and so . . . well, I did them haphazardly. And I thought that was why things were as they were and would always be.


      Fastforward to four days ago. I get an email from my mom and dad which is itself a forward of an email conversation between mom and an old parish priest of ours. They are discussing an old prayer request from many years ago about my foot. And mom explains that this must have been submitted to the church during the time of my surgery. And then she mentions that during the surgery the doctor mistakenly damaged a nerve in my leg and it resulted in a weakness in my left leg, etc, etc.

      . . .

      I was perplexed. And when Lynda read the email, she said, "You never told me this?!" And, well, it was because (I believe) I didn't know it was the case. I couldn't remember knowing that nerve damage had ever occurred. I said as much to mom in my email reply and she responded with dismay and shock. She was sure that she had told me about this within the last ten years or so. She and dad had NOT told me at the time because I was young and because I had a close relationship with the doctor.

      (And I absolutely agree with that decision and do not want to make it seem that I question that choice.)

      But they swear (and I really don't dispute their memory here) that they did tell me the full truth of it at a later date. And that I listened, accepted it, and--I guess--just moved on with things.

      And I guess they are right, but I surely don't remember hearing this news until just a few days ago. And I'm trying to process it now like it is news to me. Maybe I had a very good reason for not appreciating the information before, but I'll be cussed if I can figure out what that reason was then. So, for better or for ill, I'm dealing with this news now like its the first time.

      And so, I guess I'm wondering what do I do with this?

      The short answer is nothing. As Daniel Faraday *[see comment] said in last season's time-travelling episodes of LOST, "Whatever happened, happened." And I know that to be true. Nothing will change what is now. My leg and my foot are whatever they are. I know that and I've come to accept it. But to realize that it wasn't due to my negligence . . . but was actually someone else's negligence? That is the shocking part. And to think about what mom and dad must have gone through as a result of it all?

      We spoke about it at length on the phone Tuesday night and they told me everything they could remember and some of it was (again?) news to me and somewhat surprising. But I told them that I completely understood the decisions they made then. So I hope my writing about it here won't be a problem. I just felt like I needed to spend some time with it myself . . . and I think I'm going to continue spending time with it going forward, trying to figure out what it means to me, trying to understand what all of this tells me about how I think of myself?

      Will it take away some sense of guilt? Am I even aware of some feeling of guilt? Maybe . . . I guess I used to feel that way about it. But whatever that was, it was always leavened by an even stronger awareness of luck, blessedness, and appreciation for the many, many, many good things that define who I have been.

      So, what does it all mean? And where do I leave all of this?

      I guess the only real answer right now is . . . I don't know. I guess I'll just say "To be continued?"

      Tuesday, February 16, 2010


      I know that I said in my previous post that I was going to make a video describing the snow day sledding escapades.

      And I did try. But the kids walked in during the taping of it and threw me off and I just didn't feel like keeping the attempt going. (Honestly, I've been pretty grumpy and I suppose it might be because the kids are out of school on Tuesday and we've got to figure out what to do with them while going back to work and actually getting our jobs done and the fact that I shoveled the driveway twice on Monday and was perhaps just feeling a bit worn out.)

      But . . . it's not their fault and I should remember that.

      I do think they had some fun on Monday and I was glad to be out there breathing some outside air. And it was nice to experience sledding for the first time. And to know that Alum Creek has a pretty decent hill and its not that far away. Well, I think we'll be doing it again when the opportunity arises. (And next time, I'll remember to bring the actual camera with recording capabilities to capture it better. I did get a few phone photos--which are now up on my Facebook page.)

      Until I am better prepared, enjoy this video that Lynda shot of Sarah and her friend enjoying the afternoon snow in the driveway. And don't worry . . . they were never close to sliding into the street!

      Monday, February 15, 2010

      Search On Harry

      The Nerdfighters in my readership may have already seen this, but I still think this is a great video worth seeing (at least the first two minutes of it are).

      If you watched the Super Bowl you probably saw the original Google ad that this video was based upon. But this is for the Harry Potter fans out there.

      I know that I've been focusing on movies a lot the last few posts. But I've got some info to share on the kid's first experience sledding in the winter today. (I know . . . we've been here for over ten years and we're just now getting around to sledding.)

      You'll see and read more about that later tonight.

      Thursday, February 11, 2010


      I am not in a good mood right now.

      • I'm putting a useless amount of pressure on myself for stuff going on at work that I should give too much influence to.
      • I haven't given myself enough time to sleep lately.
      • The large amount of snow might be giving me cabin fever . . . if I was well known for going outside on a regular basis to exercise.
      • Lynda and I hurried through the final episodes of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and now I'm mired in the post-story absence.
      But, speaking of The Last Airbender, I finally found the movie clip that was shown on Super Bowl Sunday that I mentioned in my WWYG?! post of a few days ago. I do hope the movie turn out to be good. You never can tell with these things and I really want it to be well done. The story deserves a competant, respectful story and the characters in the story deserve to be presented well.

      And that is all I think I'll say tonight.

      I do realize that I didn't post my "LOST Links" post after Tuesday night's episode. (One week and I'm already not living up to my promises!) But I can only plead that I've been thinking about work a lot and not spending time searching for the summaries and recaps that form the content. I may try to put something together before next Tuesday's episode, but in the meantime, search around the Internet for expert opinions. I did tweet several different things while the episode was airing live on Tuesday, so slid your cursor up to the top of the WWYG?! page, click on the newly created WWY Twitter PAGE and review my thoughts from a few days ago.

      And now . . . that is really all I'm saying tonight.


      (A few minutes later . . . )

      Well, it turns out there were more trailers out there than I was aware of.

      I went to the official movie site and located a different trailer with a few additional scenes that I hadn't seen before.

      Sunday, February 07, 2010

      The REAL Avatar arrives

      Lynda and I have been immersing ourselves in Avatar: The Last Airbender recently. We've plowed through the Netflix discs over the last few months (we only get one at a time, please remember) and are nearing the final twelve or so half-hour episodes.

      And tonight during the Super Bowl, there will be a movie teaser trailer for the movie, which comes out this summer. It looks pretty good. (I thought I was posting the new Super Bowl ad above, but instead it showed the original teaser trailer from a few months ago. But there is a link on the embedded video that will take you to the movie Web site where you can see the new spot . . . just in case you are heating up your nachos when it comes on the TV later tonight.)

      The big caveat, however, is that the director is M. Night Shamalayan. If you've spoken to me or read this blog over the years, you know that I've only truly enjoyed his first film The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. I tolerated Signs, but don't hate it. I didn't go see Lady in the Water or The Happening.

      So, I'm a bit concerned that M. is going to ruin a very good story. But time will tell.

      Saturday, February 06, 2010


      Anyone outside of my Ohio circle might not know that we were hunkering down for a winter storm this weekend. As usual, the hyperbole leading up to the event was typically insane.

      Somehow we survived.

      It is pretty outside though.

      Friday, February 05, 2010

      What is Newsweek trying to tell me?

      This week's cover of Newsweek is clever. The story is about antidepressant medicines and judges their efficacy.

      Now, when I first saw the magazine, I was coming in the door with kids and books and thinking about dinner and things like that, the everyday chores and tasks that force us to keep moving forward and help those lucky ones not to consider being depressed.

      A few days later I paused and actually looked at the cover and then I realized the clever design trick that had been staring me in the face the whole time. Of course you already know what it is--a dual cover that uses an optical illusion to illustrate the articles two opposing views.

      On one side--what I'm calling the main side, antidepressants don't work. The pill shows a frowny face that is disapproving of pills and it telling you that depression is going to be your companion for the foreseeable future.

      But the reverse side has a sunnier view. Flip the magazine around and watch that frown turn upside down!

      Here all is good. The pill has a much sunnier disposition and positively beams down at you from the cover. It's almost like it enjoys being pinched between the drug-users nicely manicured fingers.

      All of this is quite self-evident, I'm sure you would agree. But what I want to know is this:

      Why did the magazine designers/printers/whomevers fix it so that only on the happy side can my name and address be read? What is being said to me by orienting things in this way? Because the way I first described it above is the proper orientation on a regular magazine cover. The space for the address label is always found in the bottom right corner and the name and address is always printed so that it can be read when you are looking at the magazine art in the proper reading orientation.

      So, by flipping the address label space so that I must read it this way (---->), is Newsweek suggesting that I am depressed? Is Newsweek trying to tell me that I need medication?

      (Or maybe I'm just paranoid?)

      Wednesday, February 03, 2010

      You Had to Be There?

      (This may make little sense represented in textual form, but I didn't have a camera capturing everything that happened during dinner in video form. Maybe next time?)

      Tonight during dinner, Grace was explaining what she'd learned about George Washington at school: 1.) he didn't have wooden teeth, 2.) he didn't chop down the cherry tree.

      She was very aware of the fact that the cherry tree story was more of an illustration of Washington as an honorable person, suitable to bear the burdens of presidency, and an uncorrupted model of what the fledgling government stood for. Well . . . she didn't put in exactly those terms, but that was the subtext of what she said.

      ANYWAY . . .

      The old wooden teeth/cherry tree story got my mind running so I said something like this in a bit of a rapid fire:

      "You know . . . the bit about Washington not having wooden teeth is true. But did you know that while he (George Washington) didn't chop down the tree, it was, in fact, chopped down by that American traitor Aaron Burr? Yep. And the wood from that tree was later used to build the log cabin that Abraham Lincoln was born in."

      "And did you further know that a bit of the wood from a branch of that same tree was carved into a door knob that--even to this day--is the door knob that the president uses to open the door to the Oval Office where all president's work in the White House?"

      "I'll be detailing all of this in my newest book, The Root of Evil, which outlines the secret conspiracy of a group of 18th century botanists who plotted to control the United States and eventually take over the world."

      The kids laughed; Lynda laughed; and I felt good about it.

      You probably had to be there.

      Last Night's LOST Links

      A few years ago I started a tradition of putting together some helpful internet links for my LOST-watching friends at the end of each new episode. I am continuing that tradition, but I thought I might as well take advantage of some of the work and repurpose it here in the blog as well.

      This task isn't me really trying to dissect anything, because I don't have time for that and other people are doing a much better job at it than I can right now. So it is a presentation of other people's thoughts, fun, theories, etc.


      OK, so here are some helpful links to get you back into the LOST swing of things.

      If you haven’t seen last night’s two episodes, SPOILER ALERT!!!

      LOST show runners, exec. prod., masterminds Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse discuss some of the basic ideas going on in the start of Season 6.

      Nikki Stafford (of Nik at Nite) always does a good job of breaking down each episode into discreet parts.
      For all things LOST, EW’s Totally LOST team returns with detailed recaps, fun videos, and who know what else.

      I saw this this morning . . . and I now have to watch the entire two hour premiere AGAIN to see if they are right. I thought I was only seeing two timelines, but this proposal is that there were about four timelines in play last night? (Huh?) Brain hurting.

      And I’ll leave it there for the links. (The Totally LOST link is a venue towards multiple videos that break things down really well.)


      I really liked last night. I found it completely unexpected and very intriguing. I don’t know what I expected them to really do, but I didn’t see this coming. I was glad to see the Temple finally, but I wondered why we needed to introduce two new characters (the Asian guy and the translator). Are they another level of authority alongside the Jacob/Richard hierarchy)?

      And I’ll leave this to you guys with the following tweet from Damon Lindelof:


      And don't forget that I tweet during the episodes, so if you want to follow me during a broadcast, subscribe to me somewhere past this link.

      Monday, February 01, 2010

      My LOST drinking game

      Tomorrow is the premiere of the final season of LOST, as I believe I've mentioned more than once in this space. Now, to catch you up on all that you need to know, I'm going to provide some helpful links for you.

      If you simply can't wait until Tuesday night at 9, there is a YouTube video that shows the opening minutes of the first Season 6 episode, "LA X." I'm providing a link to it here, but you've got to understand that this is a severe spoiler warning. I restrained my urge to watch, as I am holding out to be pure for tomorrow night.

      Here is a list of crucial questions that fan sites have compiled in the hopes that these mysteries are answered by the show creators before this season is over.

      I have really enjoyed these graphic art posters representing LOST. If you are looking for some last minute decorations for your LOST party, these posters would be a great start. If you don't like those, there are always more pieces of art to enjoy here.

      Here's another video that shows the original LOST plane crash that started it all in a split screen montage that mimics the FOX show "24."

      One of the promo pictures for LOST coming up to this week was an image based on DaVinci's "Last Supper." You can see one version of the cast picture from this link. I'm sure that Dan Brown could find all sorts of symbolism in this image--and I'm sure there are clues there left by ABC. But I'll let you find them. There was an original version of the Last Supper image and you can see that one here. See the differences? What does it all mean? Well, I'm sure EW's Jeff "Doc" Jensen can explain it all.

      And that's enough of that.

      Now . . . on to the other thing I wanted to provide to you in this post: my completely made up version of a great LOST drinking game . . . guaranteed to enhance your enjoyment of any episode of LOST.

      Directions:  For each item listed, please take one drink. UNLESS the number in parentheses indicates a more significant amount of drinking to be made, due to the cosmic importance of the statement/concept in question.

      All contestants must drink:
      1. every time some one talks about their destiny.
      2. whenever someone says "Live together, die alone."
      3. whenever Hurley says "Dude." (I'd make this equal more than 1 drink, but I want you to be sober enough to remember the episode.)
      4. anytime Jack or Sawyer fight about who loves Kate more. (2)
      5. anytime Kate changes her mind about who she loves more--Jack or Sawyer. (2)
      6. whenever Jack confidently predicts that his plan will save everyone.
      7. anytime large groups of people march en masse from one location--usually the beach--to another--usually somewhere inland. (This is almost exclusively confined to season premieres and season-ending episodes.)
      8. whenever Ben intentionally lies about something. (2)
      9. whenever Richard talks about their "leader."
      10. whenever Sun/Jin talk about reuniting with Jin/Sun.
      11. anytime the Smoke Monster appears, does something completely insane, and no one knows what the hell just happened. (2)
      12. whenever Miles sarcastically questions the validity of a decision that has just been made.
      13. if someone mentions The Numbers. (3)
      14. if Desmond tells Penny that "he'll never leave her again." (2)
      15. if Ben and Charles Widmore make sinister allusions to The Rules and who violated The Rules last time. (2)
      16. if Rose & Bernard appear onscreen. (4!)
      17. if Rose, Bernard, & Vincent the dog appear on screen. (6!)
      18. if a DHARMA video is used to provide crucial information. (3)

      And, that's all that I'm going to spend time thinking about tonight. Have fun everyone and remember, no wagering!