Category:SPiN
Posted on: May 29, 2009 12:31 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2009 12:33 pm
 

Lost reveals identity of four-toed statue

It's Egyptian, like we suspected, but not the one we thought. After the season finale, I wrote about how the statue seemed to be Sobek , the Nile River god tied to the creation myth. I was even more confident with this since part of Sobek's lore involved this Jacob-ish like explanation:

"Sobek's ambiguous nature led some Egyptians to believe that he was a repairer of evil that had been done, rather than a  force for good in itself, for example, going to Duat to restore damage done to the dead as a result of their form of death.  He was also said to call on suitable gods and goddesses required for protecting people in situation, effectively having a  more distant role, nudging things along, rather than taking an active part." Turns out its Taweret , the goddess of motherhood. That's uber-simple because in fact Taweret's nature changed mutiple times. She was also viewed as the mate to another deity that when paired, she became the demon wife of the original god of evil. Makes my head spin too, but the point seems to be -- the more the Egyptians got to know Tawaret, the less frightening and more revered the part hippo, lion and crocodile became.

What does this all mean? No real strong idea yet. But we've obviously been hit hard with lots of fertility issues throughout the show, and Tawaret (who's often depicted pregnant) would seem to be a lightpost indicating The Island was once a very fertile place. And maybe her destruction further symbolizes the 2003-'07 reproductive issues that have plagued The Island.

Also, the fact there are two interpretations of Tawaret (early = evil; late = good) seems to symbolize a duality we flirted with in the finale between Nameless Man and Jacob.

Sources: ABC | Doc Jensen

Category: SPiN
Tags: Lost, season five
 
Posted on: May 19, 2009 3:27 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2009 5:36 pm
 

Tech Korner: Some sports tweets worth following

In the Twitter universe it's often not what you tweet, but who it is doing the tweeting. For example, Danny Glover is on Twitter. Since he joined around April 17th he's posted six updates. They're all about following something called "politicalrap."

Yet he has 236,159 followers.

Take Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams as another example. He has 847 followers despite recent tweets like:

"NBA draft lottery tonight. Not since 2004, when the Orlando Magic ended up with Howard, has the team with the worst record won the lottery."

That's what's on your mind, coach? How about something on Greivis Vasquez's status. Or who you're replacing him with? Not some cornball stat about the general NBA lottery.

As with most things in life, having a brand name also makes a huge difference in Twitterville. So the question today is, which sports-related brand names are worth following?

Please add on any suggestions you have (as well as any sports-related feeds you follow), but here's my primer for those looking to beef up their following index.

Drew Rosenhaus , agent (Terrell Owens, Santana Moss, Chad Ochocinco), 7,622 followers

Sample tweet:

"Going to the NFL Owners Meetings in Fort Lauderdale to make some money for my clients. I have several deals that I'm working on right now."

Or if you want something a wee bit more newsworthy, there was this gem earlier in the week that made noise due to it's sensitive playbook nature:

"The Dolphins are using wide receiver Ernest Wilford some at H-Back/Tight end. Wilford has the size & strength
to play both positions."

Lamar Odom , Lakers forward, 27,907 followers

Sample tweet:

"Lamar Odom: Anyone feel the earthquake? Whoa! I hope everyone is alright. Must have been the Rockets and their red glare shooting outta LA. Lol"

Ba-zing, Rockets fans.

Ron Zook , Illinois football coach, 1,745 followers

Sample tweet

"Can't believe my daughter gradulated from Illinois already.Go Illini"

Thrilling? Not at all. But there have been some odd updates at even odder hours coming from Zook so it's worth at least keeping an eye on.

Mark Cuban , Dallas Mavericks owner, 47, 424 followers

Sample tweet:

"Mark Cuban: An Apology to Kenyon Martin’s Mom: It started as a smart ass comment that I know that no one heard. How do.. »
link to An Apology to Kenyon Martin’s Mom « blog maverick"

Cuban's interest in Twitter is higher than an adolescent on goofballs. He may end up cracking the monetization code to this social medium. Plus, he sometimes has to make nice to "thug's" moms.

Coco Crisp , Kansas City Royals outfielder, 3,585 followers

Sample tweet:

"OK i officially have a new (baseball) disease called PPA (Piss Poor Aim). Everytime i hit a ball hard PPA kicks in. There has to be a cure."

Have to love his self-deprecating style.

Jay Feely , New York Jets kicker, 1,031 followers

Sample tweet:

"Today was one of the most entertaining days of the year. First practice for the rookies, vets smell blood in the  water and go for the kill"

Former Cold Pizza host can put together coherent thoughts, which is a big win in Twitterville.



Category: SPiN
Posted on: May 14, 2009 11:23 am
Edited on: May 29, 2009 12:34 pm
 

Lost: Jacob's Swan song closes season five

Let's get this out of the way: Nobody does season finales quite like "Lost." They always go out with a bang.

Let's also get this out of the way: "The Incident, Part 1&2" is the sister episode to "Live Together, Die Alone," the season two finale.

So let's start there. Whether it was Juliet's declaration to "live together, die alone," or the blinding light from the explosion at the Swan (again), TIP12 started off with cryptic dialogue before taking us on a two-hour journey to make the dynamite go boom.

About that dialogue between two strangers on a beach. It took place between Jacob, and a man (played by another "Deadwood" alum (Titus Welliver).

Jacob: "I take it you're here because of the ship?"
Man: "I am. How did they find the island?
Jacob: "You'll have to ask when they get here."
Man: "I don't have to ask. You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong, aren't you?"
Jacob: "You are wrong."
Man: "When they come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same."
Jacob: "It only ends once, anything before that is just progress."
Man: "Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?
Jacob: "Yes"
Man: "One of these days sooner or later, we're gonna find a loophole my friend"
Jacob: "When you do I'll be right here."
Man: "Always nice talking to you, Jacob."
Jacob: "Nice talking to you, too."

If there's one thing "Lost" is good at, it's making us think a conversation is about one thing when it's really about another.  But let's assume this conversation is between the Devil and God, with Jacob serving the role of the latter. I take this as the argument for human existence. The devil points out all that's bad with humans -- fighting, destroying, corrupting, death  -- while God returns the volley with, "those are the means to a universal end I call progress." And then the man says he wants  to kill god, which also happens to be the M.O. of John Locke.

Quickly backtracking, Jacob starts off the episode weaving a tapestry with the motto, "Ille qui nos omnes servabit" on it. That 
translates to, "He who will protect us all."

We then pan out to see the background, which includes our favorite statue of the crocodile god, Sobek. According to Wikipedia , Sobek was a crocodile, or man with a crocodile head who was a powerful and frightening deity. In some creation myths, it was Sobek who first came out of the waters of chaos to create the world.

That's fine and all, but consider this passage, also from Wikipedia:

"Sobek's ambiguous nature led some Egyptians to believe that he was a repairer of evil that had been done, rather than a  force for good in itself, for example, going to Duat to restore damage done to the dead as a result of their form of death.  He was also said to call on suitable gods and goddesses required for protecting people in situation, effectively having a  more distant role, nudging things along, rather than taking an active part."

Nudging things along is exactly how we come to know Jacob. The episode is a Jacob episode. We flash back with him as he  nudges along our favorite Lostees and Llana.

Here's the Jacob tally:

  • Covered for a young, thieving Kate (1)
  • Handed young James Ford (2) a pen in order to finish his letter to Sawyer
  • Asked Sayid (3) for directions moments before Nadia's death via car (did he save Sayid or cause Nadia's death?)
  • Asked for Llana (4), in serious recovery mode, for help
  • Apologized to Locke (5), who was just thrown out the window by his dad, and tells him "everything will be alright. Sorry this happened to you."
  • Advised Sun (6) and Jin (7) not to take their love for granted (in Korean)
  • Hand Jack (8) a candy bar, and tells him "I guess it just needed a little push."
  • Shares a cab with Hurley (9), and tells him "I'm definitely not dead ... what if you weren't cursed? What if you were blessed? You get to talk to the people you lost. You are not crazy" before instructing him how to return to the Island.
Jacob is definitely nudging along our Lostees at some of their more crucial junctures in their respective backstory lives. He's also seen reading our episodes' guiding piece of literature, Flannery O'Connor's "Everything That Rises Must Converge." The book is a collection of nine short stories published after her death. According to Amazon, the flawed characters of each story are fully revealed in apocalyptic moments of conflict and violence that are presented with comic detachment. I count nine Lostees above. 

There's one more chunk of dialogue I think is crucial before we get into the 1977 storyline. It's between Locke and Ben, who  are palling around on the way to go kill Jacob.

Locke: "It's the door (it reads "quarantine") to the hatch where you and I first met."
Locke: "Mind if I ask you a question?"
Ben: "I'm a Pisces"
Locke: "What happened that day in the cabin when you took me to Jacob?"
Ben: "You know I was talking to an empty chair. I was pretending."
Locke: "Why would you go through all the trouble to make things up?"
Ben: "I was embarrassed. I didn't want you to know I hadn't seen Jacob. So I lied. That's what I do.
Locke: "Alright then."
Ben: "Why do you want me to kill Jacob, John?"
Locke: "Because despite your loyal service to this Island you got cancer, you watched your own daughter gunned down in front  of you. You reward for those sacrifices? You were banished. And you did all this for a man you hadn't met. So the question is, Ben, why the hell wouldn't you want to kill Jacob?"

If Jacob is our proxy for God, or at least a god , this is the ultimate question of religion. How does the god-believing world  serve a being they've never seen? How, after millennia of doing so, and the suffering that's existed, aren't they ready to  kill it? This is heavy stuff, my friend. This is what makes the show so special, IMO. It's ability to usher us through two hours  of season-finale excitement in 1977, but have us ponder the meaning of faith in God in present day-time.

Moving on.

In 1977 Jack and Sayid remove the it-goes-boom element from Jughead and use the cover of camp to make their move. However,  Roger Linus, avenges his son by shooting Sayid in the gut. The two manage to escape with the help of C3PO, R2D2 and Chewbacca  Miles, Jin and Hurley. En route to the Swan they're stopped by Sawyer, Juliet and Kate. Sawyer, meanwhile, was convinced to  stop this event from happening by a flip-flopping Juliet (Guess what? She has parental issues. Get out!) and a money, Money, MONEY encounter with Rose and Bernard.

I went three moneys on you because so many people who don't watch the show always say stuff like "what's the big deal with some  people stuck on an island?" Or "guess I'll never know how to survive on and island, oh well." Well, Rose and Bernard showed  just what the Island is capable of if everybody wasn't so worried about blowing up bombs and killing each ther.

"We're retired," Rose says. Bernard follows here with a schpeal on the importance of each other and having isolated, beach-front property.

Rose, care to help us stop looney tunes Jack?

"Who cares!? It's always something with you people. Traveled back 30 years in time and you're still trying to shoot each other"

So I guess that mean you, Bernard and Vincent are out on stopping Doc?

The beauty of the scene was finally some people are using this Island for what we in the real world associate islands with: freedom, relaxation, detachment. Amen that the producers finally winked our way saying, "ya know, we've been lucky enough to shoot  in Hawaii for five seasons now. Life ain't too bad here."

After their goodbyes with R 'n' B, Sawyer, Juliet and Kate confront the Bomb Boys. Jack gives Sawyer five minutes to make his case. Sawyer tells him about his parents' tragic demise and how Sawyer could have hopped on a sub and stopped it. But he didn't. Because "what's done is done." Clearly that's the new, "whatever happened, happened."

He also dropped one of my all-time "Lost" favorite lines in this exchange:

"I don't speak destiny. What I do understand is a man does what he does because he wants something for himself. What do you  want, Jack?"

Jack does another whine job, dropping, "I had her and I lost her. It's too late. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be."

This leads to a slugfest between the two before Juliet steps in to stop the carnage. Speaking of Juliet, her intro backstory episode was "The Other Woman." If that label ever applied, it was this episode, her final one. Once ag ain she felt to be the other woman to Sawyer, whether that was the case or not. This leads her to do some wild things.

While Juliet breaks up with Sawyer post-fight, Jack convinces Kate that blowing things up will allow Claire to make a decision regarding Aaron. That's enough reason for Kate, but not me. You? But Jack says, "nothing in my life has ever felt so good." I'd imagine that's also the feeling suicide bombers get before their moments of "triumph." There must be something freeing about a kamikaze mission you believe has a purpose.

Sawyer meanwhile asks Juliet, "what do you think, Blondie?"

"Live together, die alone my former (weep) love muffin."

I wasn't a big fan of the Juliet logic of pushing away Sawyer, but it will free our favorite model-turned-TV star to mourn a bit quicker come season six, I imagine. But I get ahead of myself with talk of mourning.

There's a gunfight at the Swan Corral as the drill bores dangerously close to the no-no zone of magnetism. It eventually reaches its point of kablooey and unleashes the metal-sucking force that lives below the ground. This sucks in all things metal, which includes crippling the drill tower onto Doc Chang's hand and impaling good ol' Phil (should have taken that lunch break). It also coils a chain around Juliet, who's sucked into the hole. But not before professing her love to Sawyer. While I dug the last-seconds exchange between the two, I spoiled the scene for myself since I knew Juliet had her own show coming out and would need to be written off the Island.

Back in 2007, Llana and the Ajira Illuminati continue their march through the jungle, eventually torching Jacob's trespassed cabin before heading to the foot of the four-toed Sobek statue. There they rendezvous with Ricardos? Alpert, who solves the Latin riddle of "what lies in the shadow of the statue?"

Inside the shadow of the statue Locke and Ben confront Jacob. Ben goes Fredo on Jacob, "He (Locke) gets to march straight up here as if he was Moses. So, why him? What was it that was so wrong with me? What about me?"

Well, Jacob, care to answer?

"What about you?

Ba-zing!

Knife, meet Jacob's chest. But not before Evil Locke reveals that he, indeed, found his "loophole." At the same time we learn Llana and her Ajira Illuminati were lugging around The Real John Locke's corpse. Ruh-roh. Who is this masked Locke? Why it's old man must kill Jacob!

Jacob rolls to his fiery death. I imagine we'll learn more about Jacob come season six. But back to Juliet. She manages to survive her plummet down the Swan shaft (rrrrright), which allows her to bludgeon ol' Jughead (ala Desmond turning the key in "Live together, die alone") to explosion. Off goes white light, up comes inverted! "Lost" closing text and that's a season finale, my friends. The other woman made the ultimate sacrifice.

Let's talk TIP12 and what to expect come season six!


Category: SPiN
Tags: Lost, season five
 
Posted on: May 7, 2009 11:34 am
Edited on: May 7, 2009 11:39 am
 

Lost: Tweaking the timeline

Like Sawyer, Juliet and Kate, i'm leaving town shortly so I'll keep this short so I don't miss my sub. And by sub, I mean American Airlines flight.

Speaking of the sub, anybody conjure images of Sawyer's last boat trip off The Island? That one didn't end too well, and I'm guessing this one won't either. However, I loved his Back to the Future Part II quibs.

It turns out Daniel is, in fact, dead. D.E.D, dead. Eloise, his killer/mom, feels a touch of remorse (agree or disagree?) and listens to destiny-driven Jack's take on Faraday's legacy.

This leads to ...

With the help of Alpert (the episode's star, IMO), Eloise, Jack, and Sayid head to Jughead. Sayid, it appears, has been lurking around the forest since his attempted assisination of young Ben.

"I already took care of that (the timeline). I killed Benjamin Linus."

"Oh, no you did-ent!," Kate told him. "Oh, and when did it become OK to kill kids and set off atomic bombs?!"

It became OK when the show realized it needed to start wrapping things up. And what better way to head into season six with a bang, and the subsequent fallout.

(Who thinks the bomb goes off? Who thinks we're in store for a Cold War-like season six in which the threat of Jughead stars? Who thinks the bomb is a red herring?)

And what about where the bomb is located? That would appear to be the guts of the same temple young Ben was taken to and old Ben met the Smoke Monster.

As for John Locke, he's "looking different" according to Richard. Can Richard see something we can't? Is Locke still human?

Locke, meanwhile, orders Alpert to go help a mysterious man in the woods. That man turns out to be none other than Locke circa late 2003 and sporting a gunshot wound courtesy of Ethan. We've seen this scence before, but from this angle it takes on a whole new meaning. Or as Ben puts it, "this must be quite the out-of-body experience for you, John."

How did Locke know this was going to happen? Is The Island still skipping? Can he summon on-demand Island events? Is he able to revisit his own Island timeline? By this last point I mean: So far we've seen Locke staring off into the ocean, just like he did after the plane crash. We've seen him hunt down a boar, just like he did when he helped initially feed the camp. Now he's back pulling the strings at arguably the most important moment of his existence. The one that guided him to take the leap of faith by bringing the Oceanic Six back and ultimately dying. That one that transformed him into Jeremy Bentham. The one that led him to this exact moment where he could pull these strings. Did Locke essentially reboot on The Island, knock out a few simple tasks, say like killing a boar, in order to get his bearings, and is now mastering a game (like Mouse Trap) he's already played?

I want to think Locke is this transcendent being as much as the next, but there's nothing in his life that screams he's going to have a happy Island ending. His life is marred with tragic events. Maybe this is his shot at redemption, but I think it's he who is leading sheep to slaughter, not the actual Shepard. Why else would Ben support Locke? He knows this run-in with Jacob will leave Locke, I'm guessing, dead. Why else would Richard, the loyal, never aging, Banana Republic-draped consigliore he seems to be, express his concern? Locke may have a connection with The Island, but I still can't get Charlotte's "this place is death" out of my mind.

This episode was another great one. We're set up for a wow-ish finale. I didn't catch too many Easter Eggs (Back to the Future Part II aside) in this episode, but I was still a little distraught after the Caps loss. Share 'em if you got 'em.

Last couple of observations:

-- Radzinsky has basically usurped Horace as the war-time Dharma commander-in-chief. He seems to be under a different set of orders than Horace, and probably Dr. Chang. I expect a Chang-Radzinsky clash in the finale. Say, with Chang losing an arm. Most likely in defense of his son.

-- Does anybody else just want to see Juliet and Sawyer live happily ever after. Enough with the love triangles!

-- Nice line readings from Kevin Chapman (Brotherhood), playing a security guard taking Sawyer and Juliet on the sub

-- What will happen if the nuke goes off? Can the timeline really be reset to the point where Oceanic 815 never crashes onto The Island?

-- And why does Locke want to kill Jacob? Sayid tried to kill Ben in the hopes of tweaking the timeline. Faraday warned Doc Chang to tweak the timeline. Widmore and Hawking have both played roles. But does it all come down to Jacob? And what the hell are we going to get with Jacob?

Sorry for lots of questions and little else, but let's take it to the board.

Category: SPiN
Tags: Lost
 
Posted on: May 5, 2009 5:00 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2009 5:30 pm
 

Tech Korner: NBA Game Time app ain't primetime

Sometimes an iPhone app from a reputable organization comes along and you ask yourself: Why?

Why take the time to make this?

That's the question I ask myself after using NBA.com's (via Turner) Game Time app for the first round of the playoffs. The Game Time app promises: "No frills. Just scores, schedules and stats."

It does all those things (sort of). End of story, right?

Not really, because it doesn't make sense to make an app to do just that. Not when sites like ESPN, CBSSports.com, FoxSports all offer pretty robust NBA playoff coverage.

Now I like the way NBA Game Time does what it says it will. It's clean, easy and didn't crash after an update was installed (it crashed a lot prior to that). And that's why I'm disappointed. I want more from the NBA's (or even TBS') official vault. Give me highlights, analysis, heck, how about at least a preview story?

But again, that's asking things of which it didn't promise. I will nitpick about it's "real-time scoring during live games."

The app offers a line score and player stats. That's all. And that's simply not enough.

It doesn't offer Recent Plays, or a way to look at any of the game's plays. That's a big deal when you're wondering why the app's gamecenter line score hasn't updated in a few minutes. Is it because the game is at commercial? Is it because both teams have gone cold? Is there a hawk flying through the arena?

There's a playoff bracket, which is attractive, but not really user friendly. Instead of say, starting on the current round, it starts with a close-up of the final matchup. Of course, there is no final yet, so it's just a big, "The Finals on ABC Beginning in June" promo.

There are also Schedule and Standings tabs, which make as much sense in a playoff-only app as the Chewbacca Defense . Use that real estate for news stories, user comments, photo galleries. Anything that I could play with while I wonder what's happening in a game I'm interested in.

Vitals

Who makes it: Turner Broadcasting System in partnership with NBA.com
Selection process: Scroll wheels for changing dates (which is useless since there are never any available upcoming dates on the Schedule wheel)
How to locate it: It's the top free app under sports
Cost: Free
Website: NBA.com

Kay's Kritiques

Usefulness: 2/10
Functionality: 2/10
Has potential: 4/10
Recommendable: 1/10


Category: SPiN
Posted on: April 30, 2009 11:59 am
Edited on: April 30, 2009 12:33 pm
 

Lost: Stop, or Jedi Faraday's mom will shoot

She that is Queen of Tunis; she that dwells
Ten leagues beyond man's life; she that from Naples
Can have no note, unless the sun were post—
The Man i' th' Moon's too slow—till new-born chins
Be rough and razorable; she that from whom
We all were sea-swallow'd, though some cast again
(And by that destiny) to perform an act
Whereof what's past is prologue; what to come,
In yours and my discharge.

The Tempest Act 2, scene 1, 245–254
For nearly six seasons, Lost has been a show so drenched in irony and juxtaposition that it was tough for John Locke to stand up at times. So it's no surprise that an episode about destiny would be called "The Variable." That a man of science would be reared by a woman of faith. That all young Faraday wanted was "to make time."

"If only you could," said his mother, Eloise Hawking.

For if he could, he would answer the plea of "God help us all." It's a plea Eloise made to Ben if he couldn't round up the Oceanic Six and a declaration Dr. Pierre Chang made last night if his construction workers drilled one centimeter further and released the energy under The Orchid Station. For only God can make time ... or Dr. Manhattan.

But Faraday wasn't allowed to make time for his piano playing, rather, he was helicopter parented by Eloise to become the youngest doctoral recipient in Oxford history. He was so good there that he earned a grant for a rich industrialist named Charles Widmore.

He used that grant to work on time traveling with a mouse named Eloise and a research assistant named Theresa. Both would suffer unfortunate fates. Eloise, we remember died. Theresa, we remember, was living her remaining life in a coma. Widmore took care of her medical expenses. Why?

Because her coma was a result of Faraday's time traveling. The same time traveling experiments that left him sans memory and an emotional wreck. Why wasn't he in a coma as well? Faraday, in large part, was set on this path by his mother because of his "Rainman"-like gift of memory. It's that strong memory that kept him alive in his early time-traveling experiments. But why did he get so emotional over the sunken fake Oceanic flight 816? At the time, 2003, he didn't know the survivors. He had yet to board the freighter and land on the Island and run into Jack and Kate on a rainy Island night. Could he have been conditioned to respond so? After all, brain washing was the M.O. of Room 23 on the Island. Could Faraday have been Ludovico'd at some point of his life? (Quick, what movie?)

Whatever the reason, it opened the door for Widmore to come marching into Faraday's life. Widmore explained to Daniel that it was him, the rich industrialist, who sunk the airplane in order to keep the Island's location hush-hush. And it's him now asking Daniel to go to the Island to recover his memory. Because on the Island, like on the August 2003 issue of "Wired" sitting on the chair at Faraday's home, "The Impossible Gets Real." And that, my friends, is our guiding piece of literature for this episode. It used to be that whatever happened, happened.

It used to be the famous line from Chinatown : "What did you do in Chinatown? As little as possible."  It was "as little as possible," because the police never knew if their actions were helping or hurting the diverse collection of ethnic groups inhabiting L.A's Chinatown. That's how Lost comes off. We don't know if Dharma, the Hostiles, Widmore, Eloise, Daniel, Dr. Chang are helping or hurting things.
 
And that's the ironic fate of the variables, or as Faraday says, "people." The Lostees' trajectory, the ones we always associated with being affected by the Island, have in fact been affecting the Island's dynamic. A dynamic involving Widmore, Eloise and Alpert. Involving Horace, Dr. Chang and Dharma. Involving smoke monsters, Ben Linus, and an energy-dense Island. These variables, which we've come to know and probably care about, are the elements changing the flow of time.

So it's no surprise that by the end of the episode the once-splintered gang was now back together and heading back to where it all started -- the beach. They have to, as "A User's Guide to Time Travel," one of the main articles from that issue of "Wired" explains.

"Having examined Einstein's equations more closely, physicists now realize that the river of time may be diverted into a whirlpool - called a closed timelike curve - or even a fork leading to a parallel universe. In particular, the more mass you can concentrate at a single point, the more you can bend the flow."

After all, variables die alone or live together. Season five is taking us back to the show's original premise -- survival. Having a mass of Sawyer, Juliet, Miles, Hurley, Jack, Kate, Jin, Faraday ... well, that could change time.

Back to 2003. Widmore tells Faraday, just like he once told Locke, that he's special and has a gift. Do Faraday and Locke really have gifts? Is this smoke up the ol' keester? Locke, we remember, was drawing pictures of smoke monsters at an early age. Faraday, we find out, had quite the metronomic memory at an early age. But it's Faraday driving this episode, in full Jedi style. He returns to 1977 aboard the sub, in black Dharma gear and immediately infiltrates the Deathstar, er, Dharma. He's there to prevent Dr. Chang's group from drilling into the earth below the Swan Station. For if they do, it will unleash a monster energy packet that will require Dharmans to push a button, which will eventually lead to Desmond pushing a button, which will eventually lead to Desmond not pushing the button when he accidentally killed Kelvin, which released the packet of energy that knocked Oceanic flight 815 out of the sky, which lead to the season-one storyline, which lead to just about everything we've come to know ... including why Faraday is on The Island in 1977. Simple, right?

While past in Lost is prologue, Faraday now believes he can debunk that idea. The past doesn't always precede the same story -- whatever happened, happened, but by him being there he can alter the next happening. Make sense? Probably not. That's because Eloise has really worked over Faraday. She sold him on his gift early on and coupled it with the notion of destiny. That's a combustible recipe. It makes someone believe they have a higher purpose. However, we cap the episode with that same mom putting a bullet in her child's abdomen. Was that always the endgame?

Back to Chinatown let's go. The movie focuses on resource management (water in this instance) and the ensuing corruption of it. Say, like a monster power source under the Swan Station. It also focuses on a powerful family, the Crosses, with a dirty secret. The rich industrialist, er, patriarch of this family controls the city, but lives on an orange grove in seeming banishment. He has a fractured relationship with his daughter, one that eventually leads to her pointing a gun at him before she's eventually shot by a corrupt policeman. The dirty little secret is incest, which I'm going out on a limb and speculating Faraday is the result of. I think the dirty little secret of the Hawking-Faraday-Widmore triangle isn't that Hawking and Widmore had a lover's quarrel of epic proportions, it's that they're brother and sister. Could that be why she done slapped him across the face outside the hospital when he said "he's my son too"? Could that be why Faraday never knew his father? Could that be, and here's what I'm hanging my hat on, why Widmore was banished from the Island? There has to be some reason, so wild, that gave Benjamin reason to banish Widmore. Could that be why Eloise doesn't endorse Faraday having a normal relationship with Theresa? Could it be why, in fact, she did want to send him back in time: to write this epic wrong?

I'll leave that tangent alone, for now.

Let's talk about Sawyer and Juliet for a minute for a nice rom-com diversion. So, who thinks they'll make it?! Juliet's clearly seen the writing on the wall, while Sawyer asks, "still got my back?" She replies, "still got mine?" Sawyer, turns out, is going to lead the Lostees back to the beach. Remember, it was Juliet who backed Sawyer when he was ridiculously trying to return there once the Island stopped skipping.

And what about Faraday's reveal to Dr. Chang about the Doc's relationship with Miles? The whole episode was Faraday debunking his own whatever happened, happened theory and this was one of the fun little balls of time-traveling yarn we got to watch unravel. However, in the end, Faraday re-subscribed to his notion that he's just a pawn in time's game, as evident by him saying his mother had "known the whole time" it would come to this.

This was a great episode, maybe even my favorite of the season. Maybe it's because Faraday has become such a great addition to the cast and his back story offered so many reveals. But how about the juxtaposition of the constant, Desmond, being in grave danger? How about Faraday wrestling with free will vs. destiny? How about the refinement of the whatever happened, happened mentality? Turns out that yes, whatever happened, did in fact happen, but that was all prologue to this moment. And in this moment you're stuck obeying the laws of life, which means you can, in fact get a gunshot scar on the neck. I think this episode officially marks the beginning of the end. The Lostees are back together on a mission of survival, just like they were in season one. However, they now know the Island and I think that's going to make this hit of the reset button all the more fun.




Category: SPiN
Tags: Lost, Season Five
 
Posted on: April 24, 2009 1:03 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2009 1:10 pm
 

Tech Korner: Tell ya 'bout the birds & the tweets

Maybe your stance of Twitter mirrors the plot of a teen sex comedy. Like a high school senior you feel like you've waited long enough and now, no NOW!, is the time you must join the legion of Twitterers. It's a right of Internet passage, gosh darn it!

So you sign up at Twitter.com and try and solicit some friends. But your first tweets are awkward, too short and clumsy. You think, "what if I initiate?" So you start following some friends. Except, they don't follow you back. Ruh-roh.

You kick it up a notch. You try tinkering with your background appearance and avatar image. You re-tweet other people's posts. You add more friends. Still nothing.

But just when you hit the bottomless pit of despair and think, "will I die not knowing what's it like to be a good Twitterer?!" a person starts following your Twitter feed. Oh, the excitement! This inspires you to start tweeting even more, which leads to a few more people following your feed. Your ratio of 70 following to 5 followers is still atrocious, but hey, your Facebook profile wasn't built in a day.

As you build to your collection of followers you come across some interesting names. People like THE_REAL_SHAQESPN and Dodgers superfan Alyssa_Milano . Do you start following them? You think, maybe if I start following their feeds, they'll follow mine. 

You click the follow button and next thing you know, you're getting updates from ESPN's Twitter feed every hour. And it's newsy type stuff. You add CNN, The Onion and even YourCBSSports and before you even know it your Twitter feed is chock full of corporate-entity goodness, yet sprinkled with a dash of friendly personality from the likes of local bloggers, actual friends and players like Steve Nash.
 
So what exactly is Twitter? If you know Facebook, it's status updates, plain and simple. Like Facebook, these status updates can include links. They can also involve re-publishing another's update (re-tweeting) as a way to share something interesting with your followers. You can reply to somebody's update and you can also direct message another Twitterer. It's like an RSS feed that's come to life. It's like an RSS feed that's, well, fun.

To some Twitter is simply a large cocktail party with all conversation said in 140 characters or less that features oddball technical difficulties messages featuring whales and birds. That may be attractive enough for you, now a promiscuous social butterfly of the Internet. And Twitter seems to attract cocktail-party types. While anything can be conversed through Twitter the hot topics and trends on a daily basis are big-time news stories like Somali pirates, pop culture phenoms like Susan Boyle, technology news like anything Apple does and sports.

So what exactly does Twitter mean to the plugged-in sports fan?

During the Frozen Four I updated YourCBSSports live from the Verizon Center in Washington with real-time info. I become part of a larger stream of consciousness going on with Twitterers who were watching the game on TV, unable to watch the game and even some other people who were inside the arena. Twitter, in essence, became an unusual game chat between media, observers watching the ESPN telecast, people relying on second-hand info and even other people posting tweets on their mobile devices from inside the arena. Where else will you find such an eclectic gametime experience?

Twitter is also a way for fans to stay on top of their favorite players. This is often what draws the ire of mainstream media. Bucks forward Charlie Villeneuva was written up by reporters and lampooned by bloggers for Twittering during halftime of a regular-season game. Shaq recently posted this insightful tidbit to his feed, "I cheated, I had a texas size honeybun, it wnt happen again, no more cheatin, shaqlyte is in effect." That is, when he's not responding to people who replied to him. It's mundane for my tastes to follow an athlete mainly because their posts are sporadic, poorly written and lacking any serious insight. Now if Shaq broke news of his retirement on Twitter, now we're talking. Or if Shaq shared locker room gossip on his Twitter feed, that also may pique my interest. But for the most part, using Twitter to solely follow athletes gets, well, a bit boring. It's like pursuing the head cheerleader and actually landing her. Turns out she's not as much fun as your fantasies made her out to be.

Twitter is also chock full of entities like YourCBSSports. Almost every sports website, blog, team, league, fan site has a Twitter feed populated with news. Our feed, for example, is powered by our top headlines list and some community elements like baseball threads. It's also updated manually when breaking news happens. It's also active, so if you ask YourCBSSports something, odds are you'll get a response. I'm guessing most major publications that have Twitter feeds operate in a style somewhat similar.

Twitter is also a place where your friends may hang out. Maybe their posts are mundane. Maybe they're insightful. Maybe informative. Maybe, like the Twitter account OfficeChair , reflections of the existence of an office chairunderneath a gassy San Francisco worker.

The problem Twitter faces comes from the same media that can't help but write about it. Every publication is looking for the new big thing in social media and Twitter is lucky (or unlucky if you're the engineers at Twitter) to be saddled with that label. It's unfair because Twitter doesn't aim to be that. It's not a place to post photos, and other rich media about one's self. It's not a place to join causes, wall post and pass around chain letters. It's just a place to converse, or follow other people conversing. Unless you're Ashton Kutcher . Then Twitter becomes an usual battleground to wage a nonsensical war vs. CNN for the sake of publicity.

So how do I use Twitter? As mentioned, I blend all of the above to create a unique RSS feed. I log on to Twitter in the morning, keep it open all day and see what my favorite sports and news sites are saying, what some of my favorite bloggers are saying and what some of my favorite celebrities are saying. Sometimes it's mundane, but most of the Internet is mundane. But the longer I stay plugged into Twitter the more I see its value. Sure, it caters to a certain younger demographic prone to following real-time conversations and who aren't expecting the world from every new social site or tool launched. But for better or worse it was through Twitter how I found out about Susan Boyle, and that was 36 or so hours before the mainstream picked her up. While that may not be something to boast about in your circle, the point is, Twitter is laced with those in the Internet know. And if that's a world you want to be a part of, it's worth diving in, no matter if you're thinking is "not another social networking medium."

Click here to follow YourCBSSports for headlines, breaking news and community offerings. For the latest from our columnists follow this feed and for the latest from our Fantasy department check in with this feed .

Category: SPiN
Posted on: April 17, 2009 3:48 pm
 

Tech Korner: Attempting to find fans w/iPhone

My favorite professional teams are in the Washington D.C. metro area. My favorite college teams are from Ohio. I live in South Florida .

Finding a group of live humans who share my rooting interests to watch a game isn't the easiest task.

So with the NFL Draft coming around the corner I checked a new iPhone app called FanFinder Mobile to see if there were any alternatives to the one bar I know fellow Redskins fans congregate to on Sundays.

FanFinder Mobile is a free application that uses GPS technology to locate bars in your area that cater to your favorite team, according to David Katz, the CEO of SportsFanLive.com, the website that built the application.

"The whole genesis behind this feature and the idea behind SportsFanLive is here I am I went to Maryland. And through all these different jobs I find myself on the West Coast and out there it's guaranteed no station will ever show a Ravens game in Los Angeles. If you don't have the (DirecTV) Ticket you end up having to go to sports bars, and it didn't matter which one, because you're surrounded by Steelers fans. They're rodents, I swear. Well, I'd occasionally bump into Ravens fans so I asked myself where Ravens fans in L.A. go to watch games and that was the genesis behind FanFinder."

Can an app built by a Ravens fan work for a Redskins fan in South Florida? Sort of. Knowing my exact location, the app found four "Redskins bars" within 114 miles of me. The closest being a place called Bootleggers Seafood Steak in a town 5 miles north of me and the farthest being Cape Crab & Steak House located on the west coast of the state. It did not locate my usual pro-Redskins watering hole despite the sports bar being in its database. It did however locate Hollywood Ale House, 11.2 miles from me, which confirmed it is in fact a place where lots of Redskins fans congregate on Sundays.

How it works is you add teams from the six big sports (and women's college basketball) to a "My Teams" list. From the "My Locations" screen there's a map (provided by Google) and a scroll wheel (think UrbanSpoon) to select a team from your list. Once you've selected Redskins, simply shake t he device and it pulls up to 10 bars that mesh fandom and geography. You then select a pinpoint on the map and if the bar looks intriguing you have the options to call it, get directions or invite friends to meet you there.

How does the bar list generate? Katz, a former executive for CBSSports.com parent company CBS Interactive, guards that secret like its Cleo McDowell's special sauce.

  "This may sound a little circular, but a bar is considered a Redskins bar if a decent number of Redskins fans regularly go to the establishment," said Katz in an e-mail. "We can't go into all of the details of how it makes the cut, but those are the key elements."

I tried using the app one more time to find what I knew were popular Buckeyes and Red Sox bars in South Florida. The app didn't find a single Red Sox bar and found only one Buckeyes bar on the East Coast of the state. The bar it did find for Ohio State fans was a known Buckeyes hangout, though.

So as for living up to its main goal, to unite fans with similar rooting interests at local sports bars, FanFinder still has a lot of work to do. I found its best use was simply to locate new sports bars in my area. I unearthed a few unfamiliar names to me that I plan on checking out. I appreciated its three main bar-related features (calling, directions, invite friends via e-mail) but found the app could really use a user rating system, which could be as simple as a thumbs up/down on whether you think this bar is in fact a Redskins bar. Yes, there would be opportunities for Cowboys fans to negatively rate Redskins bars but an app with such an ambitious task needs to employ the fan hive to its advantage. Katz says a ratings system is in the works.

As for app functionality there are some rough patches. While the interface is clean, the scroll wheels you use to select teams are small, which gets tricky when navigating the large college lists. In order to search via a team you have to add them to your "My Teams" registry, which can be annoying if say a visiting buddy asks you to find him a local Royals bar. Also, the map isn't that easy to navigate and when entering my college town, Oxford, I was taken to England (I think) instead of asked to be mor e specific when looking for my town in Ohio. 

Some reviews on the iTunes site complain of latency issues, which I didn't find that problematic and Katz says were addressed in earlier bug patches. Some reviewers suggested adding MMA and soc cer to the app as well.

For non-iPhone users Katz says the company is exploring builds for other smart phones.

Overall the app falls short of its noble intention to unite like-minded fans across the country. However, like most apps requiring a large data pool, I expect FanFinder Mobile to get better the longer it lives. With more information this app can be a tremendous resource for sports fans. And it should continue to live because it's free thanks to add supported.

Vitals

Sports leagues: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB/W
Selection process: Scroll wheel
How to locate it: Under the Top Free of the Sports category or search for "FanFinder"
Cost: Free
Website: SportsFanLive.com

Kay's Kritiques

Usefulness: 4/10
Functionality: 6/10
Has potential: 8/10
Recommendable: 5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com