Blurring the Lines

My love of video games stopped in about 1992. Most of the recent video games I’ve loved have fallen squarely in the footsteps of franchises established in the 16-bit generation. I still really love Mario and Zelda, and so forth, but a lot of the stronger story-based video gaming has eluded me. Not that such games aren’t good, I just never really got into them. Because of that, I never really identified with the video gaming culture. Instead I hitched my wagon to hobby board gaming, which is decidedly less cool. It’s interesting, because the two fields were kind of parallel 30 years ago. But since then, video gaming has become really big business, and board gaming has remained stuck in its niche. I don’t really have a lot of reasons for that, but it’s definitely the truth. Continue reading

Blockbuster Fatigue

Hope and I went to see Super 8 this weekend. Since Forest has been born, it’s harder and harder to see movies in the theater. Between the money, the time, and finding a sitter, it just doesn’t happen much. But this was one that interested us both, and we were not disappointed. I was a sucker for the Spielbergian atmosphere of the whole thing (I’m a big fan of E.T.), and even though it got a little more action-y towards the end, it never felt like it went totally off the rails. Continue reading

Re-Lost: Exodus Part 1

The hatch

What could go wrong?

Aha! Back once again after a week-long hiatus. This week we’ll hit the two-part finale of season one, and what a finale it is. Lost often saves some of its most exciting stuff for the finales. They tend to be fact-paced affairs filled with twists and revelations. The first part of “Exodus” is  no exception, but it’s also one of the strongest episodes of what is a very strong season. Continue reading

Radio Silence

Well, I went a whole week without updating this bad boy. I haven’t had a single view to my blog in 10 days! Not that people should watch it when I’m not updating, but it does make me think that I ought to jump back in.

So where have I been? I went to a family reunion in Pigeon Forge, TN. For those keeping track at home, that’s about a 12 hour drive from Kansas City. With 9 days to travel, we only spent four of them without driving across state lines. As you can imagine, that took a fair bit of patience. I like driving well enough, but it was much easier before Forest was born. For his part, he did very well. On the way there, he was fighting a fever, which came from an ear infection. He usually responds quickly to antibiotics, but this time the fever was rather tenacious. He’s fine now, but it made the drive there a little more stressful.

As for our actual time in TN, it was a lot of fun. I have a wonderful extended family, and even though there were almost 35 of us in a single lodge, it was big enough that you could still find some privacy for a couple of hours. It was a great time to see family that I haven’t seen in years, and to meet some that I’d never met before. The locale was beautiful as well. If you’ve never been in the Smokey Mountains, I highly recommend a trip there. Pigeon Forge itself had that pleasantly tacky Branson feel (albeit a little more toned-down), but once you got off the beaten path, things got rustic in a hurry. The lodge was located on the side of a mountain, and the drive into the heavily wooden area was filled with switchbacks, steep grades, and gravel roads. Suffice to say our Kansas car was unused to it.

It wasn’t entirely amazing all the time. Forest was kind of grumpy and clingy the first day or so, and we (especially Hope) weren’t able to relax as much as we had originally hoped. The low point was last wednesday, when I pulled something in my back. I was in a lot of pain for about 36 hours, before it finally started to loosen up. That definitely put a damper on the lunch date that Hope that I took that same day.

But overall, we had a really good time. I’m glad to be back, and we were even able to get in a day earlier than we expected. That was nice, because I hate coming back from a long trip and immediately rushing to work the next day. We were even able to go out for Hope’s birthday!

But it’s good to be back on the ol’ blog. Stay tuned this week. I’m going to try and update every day!

Re-Lost: Born To Run

Kate Plane

"Wait, why was that plane important again?"

In every season of Lost, the last episode before the finale is usually a big breath before diving in. It sets up a lot of the action that will take place at the end, and it’s mostly concerned with moving pieces into place. Those episodes have an uphill climb, since they are generally a lot of setup and not a lot of payoff. That’s true of “Born to Run,” but like most season one episodes, it’s more concerned about character relationships than about the actual events in the episode. There is a fair bit of setup regarding the launch of the raft (including the first appearance of Arszt), and Locke finally comes clean to Jack about the hatch. But in the end, it focuses most of all on Kate, and I think it suffers as a result. Continue reading

Re-Lost: The Greater Good

Boone's Funeral

The first of many funerals for the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815.

No one knows as much about the weight of choice as the repentant sinner. Sayid’s defining characteristic is the very dark past that he never seems to be able to escape. His pursuit of Nadia is a pursuit of an unattainable peace from the horrible things he has done. Sayid’s life is a long list of moments of compromise, where “the greater good” justifies a momentary deception or an act of violence. That’s the really interesting discussion that this episode seeks to start. Continue reading

Re-Lost: Do No Harm

Boone and Jack

The first survivor to not survive is Boone

I don’t think I’d call “Do No Harm” the best episode of Lost, but it’s one of the most important. In the context of the story, it’s a game-changer. Boone was the first of the Oceanic 815 survivors to succumb to the deadly game between Jacob and his rival. Characters in Lost frequently talk about the “rules,” particularly in later seasons. This feels like a situation where the rules change, not just for the characters and the “game” of the show, but for the program itself. It reminds me most of Edward Mars, the US Marshall who escorted Kate from Sydney. Like that situation, Boone is unlikely to survive from the get-go. But Jack can’t give up. He can’t let someone go. He has to fix them. Continue reading

Okay, I Guess

Well I know that a lot of you don’t care about Lost, and that there hasn’t been much content for those who actually care about my life. My main excuse was that we were in Branson at the end of last week, to visit with Hope’s family. Hope’s parents have a time-share down there, so we took a couple day to head south and see them. Branson is a fun city, in a tacky plastic way, but it was really nice to not feel pressure to see a show or go do something else. We just did nice summery things, like swim and cookout and have fun. Continue reading

Re-Lost: Deus Ex Machina

Yemi's plane

Looks perfectly safe to me...

When I first started Re-Lost, one of my purposes was to see how well Lost holds together in hindsight. A lot of people have complained that the writers “made it up as they go along.” I’ve never really understood that accusation. It shows a serious lack of knowledge about how network TV works, particularly how Lost worked in its first three seasons. Threads are added to fill time, and they can’t be tied up. Actors leave, ratings sag, and they precise plot almost HAS to be made up on the fly, to adjust to the needs of the show. It’s not a mini-series, after all. But besides that, I’ve never really seemed to me that they WERE making it up. “Deus Ex Machina,” to me, seems to lend credence to that idea. Continue reading

Re-Lost: Numbers

Hurley in da house.
Special guest columnist! While I’m in exotic Branson, MO, my sister Jamie Wright will take you through today’s Re-Lost. Enjoy!
I was pretty excited when I realized that this was the episode Nate wanted me to review, because the numbers are one of my favorite Lost mysteries. In addition, it’s the first Hurley episode. The first time around, I remember feeling like a Hurley episode was long overdue at this point. I still feel that way. I’m not sure what took so long, whether the show creators didn’t expect Hurley to be as popular as he was or what. Either way, I’m glad Hurley finally got his own flashbacks, and I’m doubly glad they ended up being so awesome. Continue reading