Friday, May 30, 2008

LOST has ruined me!

I had never seen an episode until ABC put them all online last January. I'd been curious to see it, but wasn't sure if I'd like it. As it turned out, I finished all 3 seasons in time for the S4 premiere.:D

But since then I've experienced, er, side effects, if you will. Namely, I don't get nearly as much enjoyment out of the other shows I watch. The mystery in this season's "Desperate Housewives" greatly intrigued me at the start of this season; since I started watching LOST, I've hardly cared. Even "Law & Order," still one of my favorite shows, doesn't interest me nearly as much as it used to. I could go on, but the point is, this insane show has so totally raised my standards that I just can't get into most shows very much anymore.

Anyone else have this "problem"?

PS. I'm not really complaining...;-)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I think I've mentioned my grandmother (mom's mother) and her struggle with Alzheimer's, so it probably won't surprise you to hear that the inevitable has happened. She is no longer able to live alone and had to be moved into an assisted living facility. She was found on the floor in her condo, unable to get up. They think she had been there for many hours. She was conscious, but too weak to get up by herself. She was taken to the hospital, but the doctors couldn't figure out exactly what had happened. In any case, she stayed in the hospital for a few days and was then moved to a residential facility. My mom and her siblings seem pretty pleased with the place, although none of them are happy about her being so far away from all of her living children. But it sounds like the place she's in is taking good care of her. Apparently the morning after they moved her in she had all her bags packed, ready to go back home. Because of her memory problems, it's so hard for her to understand why she can't live in her old home anymore. She'd been there for almost two decades and really liked it. At some times she'll make really lucid statements, wondering if she'll ever feel at home in her new place...And other times she'll sound totally lost, saying things like she'll need a bigger bed if Neil's going to live there too. (Neil was my grandfather, who died in '93.)

On a happier note, this past weekend I went down to Gettysburg for my cousin Adam's wedding. I don't know if I can explain this clearly, but I'll try my best. Adam married Katie. Adam and I have a mutual cousin named Tim. (Adam is my dad's brother's son; Tim's mother is my dad's sister.) Four years ago, Tim married Sarah, Katie's older sister! So now Adam and Tim are each other's brothers-in-law as well as cousins. But it gets even more complicated than that, because Adam's dad, my Uncle Phil, who'd been divorced for several years, remarried two years ago—to Jen, Katie and Sarah's cousin! So Adam's wife is also his cousin's sister-in-law and his stepmother's cousin! You try keeping that all straight, because I can't ;-)

A big reason for this, though, is that they belong to a very small church called Sovereign Grace that acts almost like a cult. I won't go quite that far, because they don't encourage their members to cut off ties with the rest of their families or try to force members to stay if they decide to leave. But they do see themselves as a separate religion (actually, they think they're the only “true” Christians, and basically believe that everyone who doesn't believe exactly as they do are going to hell), and so to marry someone not a member of their church would, in their eyes, be marrying outside of their religion. (Of course, they'll be forced to rethink this in a few generations when they're all related to each other!) This all got started by their former pastor, who held very extreme views and formed the church completely around himself. Its members, including my relatives (especially my relatives, quite frankly) viewed him as a prophet who somehow uncovered the “truth” and “loved us enough to share it with us” (my uncle's words!). Absolutely everything at that church revolved around him, and nobody was allowed to disagree with him on anything. (Can you say egomaniac?) In my opinion, no valid religion would ever compel its members to give up their right to think for themselves, and it bothers me that these people were so willing to just go along with whatever their pastor said, even when it made no sense! Ten years ago my family and I came east for Christmas—a trip that I mainly remember now as being the last time I was in NYC before 9/11—and part of the reason for doing so was to attend their church and see it for ourselves, and I have to say, it was probably the dullest service I've ever sat through! In any case, that pastor is no longer a member of the church because he was caught having a long-time affair with one of the female members. (Can't say I was surprised). You would think that seeing that the guy wasn't perfect might encourage the remaining members to rethink some of what he taught, but no, not yet. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm trying to disparage my relatives, because they're really great people, except for the fact that they believe I'm going to burn in hell for all eternity because I'm Anglican :-P

In any case, the wedding itself was nice, except for the fact that one of the things this church believes is that the man is the head of the household, and that his wife should be “subject to him in every way.” (Sounds like the definition of slavery to me.) I always have to fight the urge to walk out of the church when they get to that part—it's just so offensive!—but I don't because, what would that solve? I don't understand why some people think a marriage can only work if one person is in authority over another; I mean, shouldn't mature adults be able to find ways to be equal partners with each other? I can't believe that any decent man would truly expect his wife to obey him, nor would any self-respecting woman agree to such an arrangement...And yet, if you don't plan to incorporate that into your marriage, why have it in your vows at all? I joked after the service that if I ever get married I'm going to make a point of vowing not to obey my husband!

I stayed in PA for three days. Besides the wedding, there was also time for a visit to Tim and Sarah's new house, which they just bought last winter. They live down a dirt road through the forest on a property that borders a creek where they can go fishing. (My brother Jeff was practically drooling at that piece of information.) Their house is small and made of wood, with no central heating (they have an old wood-burning stove) and a porch looking out over the woods and the creek. It's really a pretty neat place. It wouldn't be my first choice of places to live, but it's definitely nice to visit, and both Tim and Sarah love it. They have a daughter, Dulcinea Rose (Dulci for short), and Sarah is due to give birth to their second child in July. They've also started taking classes to become foster parents, so their family could become quite large very quickly! They've been trying to explain to Dulci, who's 2½, what exactly a foster child is, and Dulci sometimes will claim that she's a foster child too, which is pretty cute since their last name happens to be Foster. They also have a little cat (who's also pregnant) and several chickens they raise for eggs. I may be going down to Pennsylvania again later this summer, and if I do I'll see if I can borrow someone's camera so I can take some pictures.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cubs win again

Still number 2 in MLB...but that's not such a bad place to be :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Men in Trees" Canceled

It's too bad. That was a nice little show. I lived in Alaska for a little while, and it was fun seeing a show that took place there (even though it was filmed in British Columbia). This one doesn't hurt as much as the "Journeyman" cancellation, but still, it's a shame...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Have you been following this?

I have only to the extent that I don't get really upset over it, because there's not a damn thing I can do and being really really pissed off isn't going to accomplish anything other than making myself miserable. That being said, there's not a word in the English language strong enough for these "people" running the show over there--each one a "complete waste of space" as a friend of mine might put it. Unbelievable.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Every fan of the 29 other MLB teams has got to love the sound of this...

Last-place Yankees ;-D

Oh yeah, and the Cubs have the second-best record in baseball :-D

And the DEVIL RAYS are in first place! WTF???

Monday, May 12, 2008

Random things that make me smile

  • Cubs win
  • Cardinals lose
  • Finally getting my tax refund
  • Those rare occasions when something I write actually gets published
  • A letter from one of my pen-pals in my mailbox
  • Shoo-fly pie
  • Shoo-fly cake
  • Shoo-fly muffins
  • Shoo-fly cheesecake
  • Molasses cookies
  • Thinking about how the 2007 baseball season ended, with the Yankees settling for the Wild Card, the Mets not even making the playoffs, and the Cubs taking home the NL Central championship
  • Any U2 or Bon Jovi song
  • Sushi--yes, sushi!
  • "This Week in Unnecessary Censorship"
  • Walking past a cab with its windows down while printing a receipt (sounds know...)
  • Ketchup sandwiches!! (let me know if you actually get that reference!)
  • Giants win
  • Patriots lose
  • Isaiah's gone
  • Team Toxicity!
  • Being able to say that I went swimming in the Amazon River
  • Remembering the view I had flying over the Andes on a crystal-clear day
  • Belting out "Root root root for the CUBBIES" at a Cubs-Mets game at Shea...especially that Sunday night in 2004 when we outnumbered the Mutt fans
  • "You want your damn thirty dollars back? I want my kidney back!"
  • A cat climbing into my lap (sure wish I had one of my own!!
  • The March 24 cover of New York magazine
And finally---
  • "Mole-thruster!!!"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Random Thoughts

So what really made me think I should start a blog now?? My life is utterly boring at the moment, and it speaks volumes that when I called my mom tonight, the only new piece of information I had about my life was my reaction to the latest episode of my favorite TV show. So below are just some of the thoughts that have been bouncing around my head lately, in case somebody out there actually reads this blog.

First of all, I am so sick of my job! Yes, I know you're not supposed to post negative stuff about work online, but nobody in upper management is reading this, and anyway it's not like I'm mentioning the name of the company I work for. And it's not even the company itself that's driving me crazy--it's the customers. I'm convinced there's not a service worker in America who gets paid enough to compensate for the obnoxiousness we have to put up with every freakin' day, and lately I've really been feeling like I'm at the end of my rope.

The Cubs won today. They were all but unbeatable starting off the season, but lately they've been struggling. They just lost a series in Cincinnati--against the lowly, way-below-.500 Reds--and then they come back to Chicago and beat the first place Diamondbacks. It's great that they're winning so many games at home, but their last loss dropped them to below .500 on the road, and you're not likely to win your division playing like that.

The pope was in town a couple weeks ago, and on his last day here he said a prayer at the World Trade Center. It was broadcast on TV here, and it was particularly nice to see him include in his prayers all the people who are sick because of their exposure to toxins at the site. It made me think maybe these victims aren't completely forgotten after all. The other day, the NYPD added several names to a 9/11 memorial. They were officers who have died in the past six years from illnesses they likely contracted from their work at the site.

I recently read an article in The New Yorker about driving in China. I would have been laughing till my sides hurt if I hadn't been surrounded by strangers on the subway. Some of his descriptions brought back memories of the time I spent in Lima eight years ago, a city about the size of New York that only has a handful of stoplights, where stop and one-way signs are mere suggestions.

And finally, somebody on the Lostpedia boards had the following quote in their signature, which they attribute to "an unknown LP poster": "It wasn't Ben you mole thruster, Richard was wearing eye shadow and Locke should have taken his kidney back before he toted his dead father around in that potato sack." Now, I don't know if you know who Ben is, or who Richard is, or who Locke is, or why he'd want his kidney back, or why he'd be carrying his father in a potato sack. That can all be explained. But can somebody please tell me, what the fug is a mole-thruster???

And if anybody is still reading this post, you have my sympathies.

Monday, May 5, 2008

What kind of imaginative, brilliant, INSANE minds come up with this stuff???

I recently started watching "Jimmy Kimmel Live," partly for the hilarious "This Week in Unnecessary Censorship" segment they do every Friday, and partly because I've learned Kimmel and I share a mutual obsession. Both were on display this past Friday, when Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were guests on the show.

It's always kind of exciting to meet an actor from a show you watch because they're instantly recognizable; for me, though, getting the chance to speak with anyone--a camera man, set designer, even just an extra--who's had even a tiny part in the production of "LOST" is a thrill. But if I had the chance to really sit down with anyone, it's the writers whose brains I'd love to pick. Lindelof, Cuse, Drew Goddard, Brian K. Vaughn--where do they come up with this stuff? What's the thought process behind it all? I don't think it's the fact that I'm a writer myself, since creating a work of fiction is so different from the narrative and opinion pieces I do; it's the difference between painting a wall and painting a mural, in my opinion. I don't consider myself an artist, not like writers who manage to create vibrant fictional characters and storylines. I'm fascinated by how they do it, especially when it comes to a show about which I fully agree with Kimmel when he called it "the best show in the history of television."

So of course, I had been looking forward to his interview with the head writers all week. And it was great--at least when they were able to get a word in edgewise. I'm sure Terrance Howard is a fine actor, but the man really needed to shut up. He was the first guest, he had his turn, and he had nothing relevant to contribute to the discussion. Kimmel was trying to have a fun nerdy conversation with the head writers of his favorite show; perhaps Howard couldn't understand what he was talking about, not being a regular viewer himself, but there are plenty of us who could--those of us who have not only seen every episode at least once but also listen to the podcasts, read the magazine and discuss the fine points of each episode on message boards, and who were looking forward to hearing what "Darlton" had to say. When the interview did manage to get going it was entertaining, and the clip from the next episode made me even more eager for Thursday to arrive. I just wish they'd been able to talk about the show during their entire ten-minute spot.

And speaking of the writers: Damon Lindelof was quoted in a British article calling the discussions many of us love to have about "LOST" "toxic." This caused a bit of a stir on the Lostpedia forums and generated a lot of comments, which can be seen at I couldn't help but think that some of these posts are a bit too kind. I'm willing to give Lindelof the benefit of the doubt and assume he was speaking of the impact some message boards can have on the creative process and wasn't referring to the fan community itself; that being said, his comment was, at best, a poor choice of words. The responses on the message board put it as thoroughly as anything I would write here, and I'm not going to go into a rant about the ingratitude of people in showbusiness who owe their careers to their fans. I've been able to personally interact with a couple of the cast members; they could not have been more gracious, and it meant a lot to me for them to take the time to answer my questions. Moreover, the cast and crew have often made a point of finding ways to interact with the fans, so this isn't meant to be a complaint. I just wish that Lindelof, and anyone else who may feel as he apparently does, would understand the fact that our habit of discussing, debating, and yes, criticizing, every single detail of our favorite show is the product of our interest in and appreciation for the story they've created. I have yet to visit a "LOST" forum that wasn't full of enthusiastic, passionate fans, and if we sometimes seem overly critical, it's only because the bar's been set tremendously high. Even if Lindelof turned out to be an incorrigible jerk--and I'm not asserting that to be true by any means--I'd still be a fan, because I'm hopelessly, pathetically addicted to his show.