Tag Archives: "Lost"

“Chronicle”: No Thanks

Oh, oh!

Before I review a movie here, I always check Rotten Tomatoes to see what the critics and regular Joes and Janes think about it. I’m always curious to see whether we’re on the same page.

When it comes to “Chronicle,” which the Mister, our younger son, and I saw yesterday, we’re not even in the same book!

According to Rotten Tomatoes, 85 percent of the critics and 78 percent of its audience liked the movie, a supposed sci fi thriller. In our family? None of us thought it was worth the $6 early-morning price.

It’s easy for Andrew, Steve, and Matt to get on the roofs of buildings—they can fly!

Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is an outcast, shy high school student with an alcoholic father who beats him and a terminally ill mother. He uses a video camera to record all that happens to him. His cousin Matt (Alex Russell) tries to help Andrew become more socially adept by taking him (and the camcorder, of course) to a party.

Matt and popular guy Steve discover a hole in the woods near where the party is held and explore it with Andrew (I did have flashbacks to “Lost” when the hatch was discovered). Of course, there’s something alien and creepy there (not that it’s ever explained) that somehow transfers telekinetic powers to the teens.

Will the guys use these extraordinary abilities for fun . . . or helping people (becoming superheroes) . . . or evil? Hmmm . . . .

Quite honestly, “Chronicle” left me flat. It’s too vague for my tastes. I really think it was just an excuse to break things (there’s lots of destruction), and then have a sequel that explains the unexplained (of which there was too much).

“Chronicle” is strictly a rental.

Jack’s Eye Has Closed

Christian Shepherd’s casket is finally back in the United States.

“Lost,” one of my family’s favorite TV shows, ended last night. Well, we think it ended . . . there may still be a commercial or two left for us to watch!

Kate fulfills her promise to get Claire back to Aaron.

The four of us thoroughly enjoyed the finale, but the commercials (except for the “Lost”-themed Target ones) drove us crazy. Why didn’t ABC find one or two sponsors to underwrite the episode so it could be virtually ad free? It almost ruined the experience for us. The networks shouldn’t treat hour-long-plus shows like they’re the Super Bowl.

Hugo/Hurley finally becomes a hero when he decides to stay on the island.

I’m not going to critique, recap, or review the finale. Others (ha ha!) do a better job, particularly Nikki Stafford and her equally brilliant commenters. But I do have some thoughts about the end of a television show that took our emotions and intellect on a ride for six seasons.

Sawyer leaves the island a changed man.

I loved the story-telling device for the main Oceanic 815 survivors in what’s considered the “sideways” (off-island) world remembering their island lives by touching someone or something meaningful. The connections were so powerful! The best one was between Sawyer and Juliet at the vending machine (darn those stuck Apollo bars!), as it brought full circle their final on-island conversation before Juliet died.

The fake Locke barges into Rose and Bernard’s idyllic island world.

I especially liked how “Lost” brought almost all the survivors back. It was great being reminded that Rose and Bernard still lived blissfully on the island with Vincent. We see Shannon and Boone in the sideways (off-island) world. I do wish that Nadia had been Sayid’s connection instead of shallow Shannon; Nadia was his true love. Charlie, Charlotte, Daniel, Eloise Hawking, Pierre Chang, Sun, Jin, Juliet . . . hail, hail, the gang’s all here!

Eloise Hawking was right: The island wasn’t done with Desmond.

Mr. Electromagnetism, aka Desmond, was the key to most of the connections. Was it because he was special? Or was it just one of the many questions that didn’t get answered.

Richard has a gray hair! He finally can age and move on.

The finale can’t be all things to all viewers. “Lost” was an intellectual show from the get-go. Thinking was required. I’m sure everyone has taken something different from every episode over the last six years. But here’s what I believe is the core of “Lost”:

Lapidus survives the sub explosion and flies the Ajira plane off the island.

Oceanic 815 crashed on an island, and there were survivors. Jack said, “What happened happened.” The island is the survivors’ real world. It represented redemption, because all of them were flawed and needed to be fixed before they could come to terms with their lives.

Juliet and Jack “had” son David in the sideways world.

The “sideways” world that was introduced this season that showed Jack with a son, Sawyer and Miles as detectives, and Kate still running from the law? It’s each character’s own purgatory where they reconcile what’s happened in their lives. It wasn’t a real world. Once all the survivors finally died (either on the island, which was protected by Hurley and Ben during their lifetimes, or back in the U.S.), they gathered in the church, connected once again, and all moved on together.

What’s the message after six years? That no one dies alone. That it’s best to love and be loved, to have friends and be a friend, to resolve your father issues and not let them fester. Connections are important in life, so make them positive ones.

Farewell, Jack!

Thanks for the ride, “Lost.” It’s been a blast!

Random Snippets and Few Apertures

Richard is an old soul on “Lost.”

Tuesday night we were subjected to a rerun on “Lost.” All the momentum that had built up as the mysterious show with way more questions than answers rolls to its May 23rd finale? Gone!

And we continue to be lost!

Sirius Black, Harry Potter’s godfather

From the mouths of “babes”

First, my #1 son: “What is Sirius Black’s middle name?”


Funny! Next up? My “third son,” Chase: “That’s an old person’s song.”

The tune he was referencing? Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time.” Written in 1984! Hey!! Not so funny.

Mitchell and Cam enjoy a moment with the camera on “Modern Family.”

A TV snippet

The Mister and I love “Modern Family!” A funny show that’s not over the top, it’s mostly appropriate for its 8 p.m. time slot. I love the family dynamics. My favorite character is Cam (Eric Stonestreet), followed closely by Phil (Ty Burrell). It’s Wednesday must-see comedy!

A recent episode connected “Modern Family” with “Lost,” our Tuesday must-see drama: A mean youth basketball coach was played by Eric Lange, who did a turn as mean Radzinsky, the head of research in the Dharma Initiative.

Things that make me go “hmmmm”

• The Zurich Classic, a golf tournament, was played in Louisiana. Is the New Orleans Open held in Switzerland?

• Here’s why hyphens are important (from a ZDNet e-mail): “iPad owning Windows users targeted by hackers.” Without that helpful, little punctuation mark making “iPad” and “owning” an adjectival phrase, it seems like the iPad owns the Windows users! Is Apple really that powerful?

• A recent “Houston Chronicle” sports headline: “Texans eyeing Pro Bowler Faneca.”

Sirius Lee, my first thought was, “A bowler plays pro football?!?”

Random Springy Snippets and Apertures

White blossoms with buds: Photo taken of David on March 9th

Remember this blog post from March 9? In a sidebar, I said that we named our backyard Bradford pear tree “David” and wondered if anyone would know why.

That day on Facebook, my friend Laura, who now lives in California, got it right!

Grant Goodeve as David Bradford

The tree is named after David Bradford, played by über-cute Grant Goodeve, from one of my favorite late-1970s TV shows, “Eight is Enough.” Yes, eight is enough to fill our hearts with love (actually, David was enough)!

How David looks today (March 18)

By the way, David has really filled out in the last week. It’s definitely spring here in the Houston area.

Speaking of Old TV Shows

Merlin Olsen as Jonathan Garvey

I was saddened at the news that Merlin Olsen died a week ago. I used to love watching him play Jonathan Garvey on “Little House on the Prairie” from 1979 to 1982. Some “Little House” fans probably didn’t know he had been a star football player!

On the day Merlin died, I just happened to be watching “Little House” (no eye-rolling, please!), and it just happened to be an episode that he was in. Merlin was a natural actor! RIP, Mr. Olsen.

Sidebar: In Tuesday’s “Lost” episode when the Sideways Sawyer was watching “Little House” on his TV, I couldn’t help but smile. Such a tough guy being a fan of such a tenderhearted show!

Almost Too Good to Be True

Cinnamon Chex cereal

Want to know what’s been in my cereal bowl lately? Cinnamon Chex cereal. Is it good? OMG, it’s the absolute crack of breakfast foods! With a cut-up banana and topped with vanilla soymilk, Cinnamon Chex truly is the food of the gods. Thank you, General Mills!

Yep, I Did It!

Guess who’s getting an iPad on April 3??  I pre-ordered it the day it was available, as did my little brother, the hotshot Chicago lawyer. I opted for the basic 16GB wifi version. We’ll test it out and see if it meets our needs. I’m sure that this first one will go off to college with the #1 son. I’ll be interested to see if I’ll want the 3G version for me the rest of us.

Will I be saying those three little words—I love it!—in a matter of a couple weeks? I’m sure I’ll have a full report the following Monday!

There Oughta Be a Law!

Faux Locke might be amused, but I am NOT!

Tuesday was election day. Now I’m all for voting and democracy. It’s all fine and dandy.

Sayid seems skeptical . . . about the election?

Except when it ruins one of my favorite TV shows! All that red, white, and blue among the jungle scenery of “Lost” is so wrong. Almost takes the scariness out of not-really-John Locke! It’s just as bad as those endless robot phone calls that we get from candidates.

“My fantastic acting performance is ruined by those results, Flocke,”

What difference does it make for us to know local election results with only five percent of the vote tallied? Or even 100 percent? Can’t everyone just wait for the 10 p.m. news to find out who wins? Why distract us with this nonsense?

“I don’t want to share my screen time with you results! Be gone!!”

Part of our Texas election process was voting for several propositions that eventually could cause changes to the state constitution. Here’s one proposition that should be on the next ballot: There should be no disruptions of “Lost” or “Survivor” or any TV shows I want to watch. Ever! Election-result scrawls would be deemed illegal.

Fortunately, “Lost” wasn’t interrupted by the election. If that had happened?

Don’t mess with this former Iraqi torturer!

The penalty would be unleashing the deadly smoke monster on our local ABC affiliate!

Whew, I’m glad that the election is over!

Percy Jackson vs. Harry Potter: Demigod vs. Wizard

Instead of seeing “Valentine’s Day” on that holiday, we instead went to “Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief.” That’s what happens when you let the kids vote.

The #1 son had read the Rick Riordan fantasy and was keen to see how it played out on the big screen. I had been intrigued by the trailer (“It’s just a pen!”), hoping that all the good parts hadn’t been revealed in it.

Good news: They weren’t!

For those of you who haven’t heard of the book or the movie, Percy Jackson is surprised to find out that he’s a demigod, the son of Poseidon. Yes, even though he can sit on the bottom of a swimming pool for seven minutes! Apparently, Olympus gods (not to be confused with Olympics gods) mate with mortals but aren’t allowed to help raise their kids. Sounds like the kind of daddy issues we see all the time on “Lost!”

Percy goes on an adventure (helping to save the world, natch) with two other demigods. The movie is action-packed; I was on the edge of my seat for most of the computer-generated scenes (which were terrific). It’s well-acted and leads nicely into what surely will be yet another movie, because there are five books in the series. What’s great about the novels is that they teach kids Greek mythology (Riordan was an English and history teacher) in an entertaining, unforgettable way.

Uma Thurman made a spell-binding Medusa (note the iPod).

After seeing the movie and recommending it to others, I thought I’d check out Rotten Tomatoes and see what the people who get paid to watch films thought. Apparently, half agreed with me.

The half that didn’t see things my way (so, of course, they’re wrong) seemed fixated on something that never occurred to me while I was sitting next to the Mister rooting on Percy: The book/movie is similar to those featuring one Harry Potter, a literary favorite of the #1 son and myself. Here’s what some of those cranky reviewers had to say:

“So trite and ludicrous it is no threat to the Harry Potter franchise.”—Jackie K. Cooper

“. . . an attempt to replicate the phenomenon that is Harry Potter.”—Robin Clifford

“Very American, very crass and very underwhelming.”—Allan Hunter


“Maybe if you’re aged between eight and 12, or exceptionally dim-witted, you may not notice that this is a tenth-rate rip-off of Harry Potter, with Greek mythology taking the place of magic.”—Christopher Tookey

Double ouch! That one stung. Because if I’m not between the ages of 8 and 12 (which, of course, I am not), then I guess I’m exceptionally dim-witted. But then I noticed that Tookey writes for Britain’s “Daily Mail” (who can name the Beatles song that references that publication?). He might opine that being a Texan would make me even dimmer-witted than most Americans. Good thing I still consider myself to be a Midwesterner!

By the way, it can’t rip off Harry, because Riordan wrote his tale in 1994 (though it wasn’t published until 2005); J.K. Rowling’s first book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” was published in 1997.

“A slab of market research in search of an actual movie.”—Tim Robey

What? I guess I’m too dim-witted to understand this sentence.

“While the Hogwarts saga may be getting long in the tooth, at least it has decent characters and a sense of humour. This has neither.”—David Edwards (yet another British reviewer)

Pierce “Giddyap!” Brosnan

No decent characters? Two words: Pierce Brosnan. Who played a centaur, for goodness sakes!

Here’s my take on Percy vs. Harry: Of course, both main characters are going to have two good friends. And one key similarity that most people might miss is that in order to stay safe, both Percy and Harry have had to live with disgusting people (for Percy, it’s his stepfather; for Harry, it’s the Dursleys).

But Percy was a mama’s boy, which I loved, of course. Poor Harry didn’t really know his parents. And the “Lightning Thief” movie had such a clever use of a shiny iPod—no magical iPods in Harry’s world.

The universal themes of friendship, loyalty, and love that both films espouse aren’t copyrighted by HP and Rowling. Any writer can explore and present them in their own way. I think Percy and Harry can stand both on their own and side by side as wonderful characters.

If you want to be transported to a different, mythological world, go see Percy Jackson (especially with kids). It’s a great ride! Oh, and be sure to stay for the credits.

Random Winter Olympics Snippets

German Magdalena Neuner wins the 10K individual biathlon pursuit (as shown on my little TV).

Sometimes it seems like I can’t get enough of the Winter Olympics. I really enjoy watching the Games on our family room’s big HDTV. But when I need to get things done in my office (mostly Photoshopping), I turn to the next best thing: My little Haier portable TV. I got a great deal on the 7-inch digital wonder via Amazon.com at the end of last year and knew it would be a mainstay in my office (it does sport a rechargeable battery).

At first I tried the TV as is with its regular antenna, but I couldn’t get Fox or ABC. So I sprung for an external one, and that’s pulled in lots of other noncable channels as well as those two. I’m glad I have my little TV right by my side!

Oh, and I actually use its remote, even though the TV is an arm’s distance away. How very “guy” of me!

Love these Olympic mittens!

Here are some random Olympics thoughts so far:

• I love the official Olympic mittens, especially the maple leaf!

• I loved that Wayne Gretzky, aka the Great One, was the final torch bearer. Very appropriate. It was a shame that part of the indoor cauldron was on the fritz, though.

• I love that former Olympic athletes and coaches commentate on their sports. Not only do I appreciate their expertise, but I love their enthusiasm. They truly can empathize with what the athletes are going through. We’re partial to Scott Hamilton, who reports on figure skating. He also was a favorite when he won the Olympic gold medal in 1984.

• I love the P&G commercials, especially the one where the little kids are Olympians. That tagline, “P&G—proud sponsor of moms,” gets me every time!

Alexander Bilodeau won the first gold medal for Canada.

• I loved that when Alexander Bilodeau was awarded Canada’s first gold medal (and the first they’ve won as a host country), the Canadians at the venue sang “O Canada!” with such fervor and pride.

• What I especially love about the Olympics is that these athletes compete for the love of the sport. Any of them can be a star, gaining fame that will last them at least until the next Olympics.

But as much as I love the Olympics, when I had to choose between watching the Winter Games and “Lost” last night . . . .

Ben Linus (played by Michael Emerson)

There was no competition! What a great Locke/Faux Locke-centric episode!

“Lost” No-Spoiler Zone

Jacob, the spiritual center of the mysterious island—he has beautiful, blue, mesmerizing eyes

This has been an amazing week for our family so far: The #1 son’s birthday was yesterday, and the final season of “Lost” started Tuesday.

The #2 son watches intently.

Watching “Lost” is a wonderful family tradition for us. We really enjoy discussing what’s going on during the commercials (thank goodness there are so many of them, she says sarcastically) and anticipating what to expect next week.


Last year in this very blog I analyzed every “Lost” episode. It helped me to get my head around what was going on, since all Losties know how complicated the series is. By the way, all that confusion that fills our days contemplating the “Lost” conundrum? We have none other than the show’s creators and writers, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, to thank for that.


“We’ve always felt that one of the compelling elements of ‘Lost’ is the intentional ambiguity,” Cuse says. “The fact is it’s open for interpretation and discussion, and we feel like we would be doing a disservice to the fans and viewers to say, ‘No, you must only look at this in one way.'”


Or it could be that they don’t have a clue about what’s going on either!


Now the new season has begun, and I’ve decided not to do any “Lost” analyses until the season finally ends. Why? Mainly because of my friend Karen K. She’s a London transplant right now, and she told me that “Lost” is a week behind in the UK. She would appreciate it if I didn’t spoil “Lost” for her in my blog; otherwise, she won’t be able to read it.

Bogus Locke

Fair enough! I’ve decided to be content with taking photos of my TV with my trusty Nikon D700 and 50mm lens and posting pics that won’t give away any of the plot. Happy, Karen?

I will say that based on parts one and two that aired Tuesday, this season is going to be another edge-of-your-seat roller coaster ride every single week. I loved the new storytelling device and can’t wait to see what happens next.

If you’d like to read great, insightful “Lost” analysis, check out Nikki Stafford’s Nik at Nite (even the comments are eye-openers), Doc Jensen (“Entertainment Weekly”), and Doc Arzt’s “Lost” blog. All three will help you connect the dots and discover nuances and hidden meanings that will enhance your viewing enjoyment.

Oh, and Karen, spoiler alert! Please close the page. I have to note that whiny, obnoxious Neil (aka Frogurt) had a small role in the season opener. I knew it was him the minute I saw him despite the sleep mask that he was wearing. It was fun watching him be whiny and obnoxious yet again.

“Lost” seems to be coming full circle. Let’s hope that really will be true after the season finale on May 23.

My First Month of Photos Every Day

My final photo of the month: The #1 son and Chase at Pei Wei. (January 31)

Whew! Here we are at the second day of the second month of 2010. I finally caught up with posting all my January photos of the day (POTD) last night, and that made me stop to think about this project.

When I decided to try to post a photo every day to be found under the (duh!) Photo of the Day tab, I figured it might be a little taxing. But, really, how hard could it be for someone who snaps hundreds of pix every month?

Black and white trees? (January 18)

Sometimes very hard! At times it was the process of just getting the photo from the camera into the iMac, then into Photoshop and finally the blog. Organization and timeliness aren’t my key strengths, unfortunately. Other times it was deciding which photo to choose. Some POTD aficionados believe that every photo should be a reflection of what’s going on in your life that day. But let’s face it . . . my life is pretty boring. Even though I love it, that doesn’t always make for compelling photography.

Makes you wonder! (January 27; iPhone 3GS)

Not every photo was amazing, but at least I didn’t miss a day. That’s an accomplishment for me!

Mile 11 is a good time for prayer! (January 17; iPhone 3GS)

Even when I ran the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon, I was able to take a POTD. Now that’s dedication (with a touch of insanity)!

As for which one of the 31 photos was my favorite  (drum roll, please!) . . . .

A melting icicle on the side of our pool’s waterfall is frozen in time and space.

It was this one. Capturing a drop in mid-air from a melting icicle on January 9 after the Houston area endured freezing conditions. I hated the cold, but I loved the lucky photo.

For most of the 31 pictures, I used my Nikon D700 and Nikon 50mm lens. The Nifty 50 is the glass most often used on my D700. It has great versatility and wonderful bokeh (background blurring). I do love my prime lenses (50, 85, and 105mm)! Yet I’m always glad when I can use my iPhone 3GS. It doesn’t offer the best resolution, but it’s great for those spur-of-the-moment pix.

Now I’m looking ahead to this month and am already wondering what today’s photo will be (I have a sneaking suspicion that it will have something to do with “Lost,” one of our favorite TV shows that starts its final season tonight). One thing that makes me very glad as I ponder February’s photos of the day: There only will be 28 of them!

Random Thoughts About Flowers, Target, and Lying

Roses from our new front landscaping

Roses from our new front landscaping

True confessions time: When Frank of  Frank’s Nursery was recommending plants and flowers for our new front yard landscaping, I must admit I had two main requirements for what we would choose: First, killability (the Mister and I need the hardiest flora possible to withstand our lame gardening abilities). And, second, photographability (I think I’m making up the -ability words today). With my beloved Nikon f/2.8 105mm macro lens, I wanted flowers that I could be up close and personal with. Pretty stuff that would look great in a blog.

More roses from our new landscaping

More roses from our new landscaping

Which is why when Frank suggested pink and red roses, I told him, “Bring ’em on in!” There’s just nothing like beautiful flowers, such as roses, and an f/2.8 lens to bring out great bokeh (that wonderful blurred background) in photos. I’m hoping to enjoy photographing the new flowers (which also include a couple esperanza bushes that haven’t bloomed yet, as well as ixoras) for as long as they survive their stay with us!


Cold thoughts while shopping

Was the temperature set on freezing at my local Target (when it was 80 degrees outside) the other day to try to entice those of us in south Texas to buy warm winter clothing? Most of us were wearing shorts, short-sleeve t-shirts, and sandals as we meandered through aisles filled with long pants, long sleeves, and coats. We probably won’t need warmer clothes for another month or so . . . and then we might only wear them for a month or so.

The strategy didn’t work for me—I still bought shorts for the boys, who refuse to wear pants. And then I hustled out of the store to warm up!


Random movie review

The family went to the “cheap” $5 movie yesterday morning to see “The Invention of Lying.” I really liked Ricky Gervais in “Ghost Town,” so I had high hopes that this flick, which also starred Jennifer Garner, would be equally as good.

Total disappointment! Two thumbs down!! But the boys, who appear to have no actual taste in movies, loved it.

Here’s the premise: The movie is set in an alternate reality where no one can lie. But Gervais’ down-on-his-luck character discovers that he can bend the truth. And, as it usually does, lying gets him into trouble.

Yes, there were some funny parts. And it was great seeing Fionnula Flanagan, who is Daniel Faraday’s mum in “Lost,” cast as Gervais’ character’s mother. But some parts (especially the beginning when Gervais’ character meets Garner’s at her apartment for a blind date) are so distasteful and so unnecessary (like the one F-word), plus the movie was just plain boring. It was a waste of an interesting premise.

And that’s the truth!