Thoughts on Things

Hey there. How’s it going?

– Finally, a new They Might Be Giants album for grown-ups. I was a really big fan of The Else, but I am apparently in the minority on that one. In fact, I think I might be in the minority on most of the 2000-2010 output from the boys from Brooklyn. I’ve liked the vast majority of it, although 2004’s The Spine was kind of so-so. So I’m a little surprised that Join Us is resolutely old-school. It’s a little like if Lincoln was made utilizing a whole band, instead of just two guys and a drum machine. In general, it feels a little leaner, and a little more stripped down. As a rule, the songs aren’t overwrought at all (as was the case on The Spine), and they don’t seem to be making as many concessions towards a more mainstream sound (as was arguably the case on Mink Car). Don’t get me wrong, it’s very classical TMBG. It’s just a little less polished, a little more sparse, and moves back to that idea of cramming 18 songs into 45 minutes. So even if I’ve liked the recent stuff, I have a hunch that Join Us might have a little more staying power, and might end up being something of a comeback for them amongst the old guard. It feels like a band eager to recapture what makes them special. Really enjoying it so far.

– I was able to recently pick up the most recent DVD set from Futurama (I’m not sure if I should call it season 5 or what). There is just a shade more permissiveness than there was in their network days, but for the most part the newer episodes feel like a return to form after some of the iffy parts from the movies. At least a couple of the episodes in last summer’s 13-episode cycle are all-timers, and some of the others have tackled some really weighty subjects with the typical Futurama irreverence. Nice to see a show that can still stay sharp and relevant, even after a long time off the air. I haven’t seen as much from this summer, aside from the first two episodes. I liked both of those too, so I like to think the consistency has stayed strong.

– We went to the Borders out-o’-business sale last night, and we bought Forest a little picture book, a lullaby CD, and a dinosaur coloring book that came with stickers and little plastic toys. Just over the last couple of days, he’s shown more interest in just scribbling on paper, so we thought it best that he do so with crayons and coloring books instead of pen and bills.

– My iPod, previously presumed dead, is apparently still fine. One must never give up too soon.

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Re-Lost Update

I originally said that Re-Lost would be back next Tuesday. That probably won’t happen for a variety of reasons…

– With a little time away, it’s become something of a hassle to continue writing up every episode. I have other things I want to watch and write. A good rule of thumb with any blog is to never force yourself to write something, or else you stop writing altogether. Well, that’s where I am now. My own personal reasoning for writing Re-Lost was to give myself something to stick to so that the ball would get rolling. Well, that’s the case now, and I’d like to stop before I get well and truly tired.

– I am enjoying rewatching  the episodes, but I’d rather do so at my own pace.

– I’m finding that I have a difficult time finding things to say about the episodes. Part of that is because it’s still pretty fresh in the public consciousness. There are a lot of Lost Re-watches going on out there, and I haven’t yet found anything really new to add to the dialog.

Will Re-Lost return? Maybe, but probably in a long-shot kind of thing. Maybe a retrospective at the end of seasons. That’s a lot less work on my part. And that’s the main rub here. Don’t want it to become a hassle unless someone is paying me for it.

Weekend Update

Welp, here we are again. What’s been shaking out in Lenexa?

– A lot of family was in town this week, since Hope’s sister and brother-in-law were here. Spencer (the brother-in-law) is taking his post in Hawaii (!), and in fact they just took off yesterday to head that way. As far as I know, they arrived safely. But that means that there wasn’t much chance to update this week. Hence, my silence.

– I got my invitation to Google+ this week, and so far I am definitely a fan. Problem is, you really need an Android phone to make the most of it. A smartphone just isn’t an option right now, but I definitely want one, and I would lean towards Android in that case. Having said all that, I am quite taken with it. I think it could definitely give Facebook a run for its money, which would be nice, since Facebook is sometimes an obnoxious site to deal with. Definitely keep your ear to the ground on this one: it could be big.

– Been getting into Game of Thrones, except I don’t have HBO, so I am reading the book instead. What to say about it? Well, it juggles a very complex plot expertly, and the characters are generally really well-written. I’m not much of a fan of the harlequin-romance aspects, especially when it gets a little more explicit. I’m interested enough to finish the book (only about 100 pages left), but I’m definitely considering passing on the rest of the series.

– I recently juggled some stuff around to score a copy of the new Lord of the Rings Card Game, from FFG. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s what is called a “living card game.” An LCG is essentially the same as a CCG, except the packs of cards are non-random. There’s no hunting for rares or secondary market. LotR is also unique in that it’s a cooperative game, so the players win and lose as a team. I have very little experience with CCGs (I’ve never even played Magic), but I have some pretty extensive experience with cooperative game designs, and in that respect, Lord of the Rings is a great game. It’s very tense, with a lot of tough decisions, and the theme is actually quite strong. There’s not much room for deck-building out of the box, but I’d like to hang around for a few adventure packs, and see where it goes. We’ll see if I get around to that.

– On a personal note, things are doing alright for me. I’ve been looking for a job pretty steadily for the past 6 months, with zero success. However, I’m still in the game, since I don’t really have any other options right now. The job I have now just isn’t going to cut it anymore, not if I want to ever advance in life. If you think of it, I would really covet your prayers right now. It’s very easy to get discouraged, and to just quit trying. But that’s just not a luxury I have.

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on in my life. Some things are frustrating, some are good, but overall I’m in a good place. Aside with my frustration with a job hunt, my life is really quite good these days. I have a wonderful family, a lot of friends, and in general I feel pretty optimistic right now. Optimism comes and goes though, so it’s good to focus on the things that are good.

Re-Lost: Exodus Part 2

Locke and Smokie

Locke looks into the heart of the Island once again.

The second part of “Exodus” opens with one of the most brilliant moments in the entire show. As Jack and the rest of what Lostpedia dubs the “A-team” goes into the Black Rock to get some very iffy dynamite, Arzt and Hurley sit outside waiting for them. While they wait, Arzt proceeds to list off a ton of complaints he has about their situation on the Island. He complains about the “in-crowd” amongst the survivors, refers to the other survivors, and asks Hurley why he hasn’t shed many pounds. It’s like several of the biggest gripes that naysayers have about the show. Doubtless many of these criticisms were present back in 2005 when this aired. How do the writers answer these questions? The blow Arzt up when he tries to handle the dynamite.  Continue reading