Monday, December 29, 2008

News Bulletin: Russian Kids Not Visited By Santa

Turns out... Santa and his reindeer passed through Alaska first.

Darlton are Back...

Hey guys, sorry I missed last week's Dharma special access. I have a floor of Elmos and Little Einsteins that looks like a tornado just hit it. But in the meantime, here's Darlton answering this week's questions! Password is "emal". (Anagram... lame? male? mael, as in maelstrom? Miles Straume? Hmm...)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I wish you the happiest of holidays this season, and what better way to celebrate the holiday than with a classic. Go here to watch Steve Martin list off his five Christmas wishes.

And, of course, Charlie Brown.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Today's Tidbit from Darlton

The new special access video from Darlton was released today, where Darlton donned their Christmas hats, attempted to put a wreath on the wall, and then read out the questions that had been sent to them and their answers. There are a couple of revelations in there, but it's mostly just fun to watch them rambling. After Damon and Carlton are done, stay tuned for an intriguing scene of Ben and a newly shaved Jack (thank god) in a hotel room discussing the return to the island and Locke. It's AWESOME. Go here, and the password is kapalaran. (This will probably work today and tomorrow only, and after that it'll be at the ABC site in regular rotation.) I'm not sure what the significance of the word is (and if you run an anagram search on it, I'm sure they didn't intend for it to anagram to "Anal Parka." Or... maybe they did).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Golden Globe Nominations Announced

And nary a Lost vote among them. Sigh. They've missed the mark on this one. But I'm glad to see Mad Men getting good play again. But my fingers are crossed, hoping that THIS year will finally be Michael C. Hall's year to win for Dexter. He is brilliant.



"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Reader"
"Revolutionary Road"
"Slumdog Millionaire"


"Burn After Reading"
"In Bruges"
"Mamma Mia!"
"Vicky Cristina Barcelona"


"The Baader Meinhof Complex"
"Everlasting Moments"
"I've Loved You So Long"
"Waltz With Bashir"


Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire"
Stephen Daldry, "The Reader"
David Fincher, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Ron Howard, "Frost/Nixon"
Sam Mendes, "Revolutionary Road"


Leonardo DiCaprio, "Revolutionary Road"
Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn, "Milk"
Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"


Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"
Meryl Streep, "Doubt"
Kristin Scott Thomas, "I've Loved You So Long"
Kate Winslet, "Revolutionary Road"


Javier Bardem, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Colin Farrell, "In Bruges"
James Franco, "Pineapple Express"
Brendan Gleeson, "In Bruges"
Dustin Hoffman, "Last Chance Harvey"


Rebecca Hall, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Sally Hawkins, "Happy-Go-Lucky"
Frances McDormand, "Burn After Reading"
Meryl Streep, "Mamma Mia!"
Emma Thompson, "Last Chance Harvey"


Tom Cruise, "Tropic Thunder"
Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"
Ralph Fiennes, "The Duchess"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"
Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"


Amy Adams, "Doubt"
Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Viola Davis, "Doubt"
Marisa Tomei, "The Wrestler"
Kate Winslet, "The Reader"


"Kung Fu Panda"


Simon Beaufoy, "Slumdog Millionaire"
David Hare, "The Reader"
Peter Morgan, "Frost/Nixon"
Eric Roth, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
John Patrick Shanley, "Doubt"


Alexandre Desplat, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Clint Eastwood, "Changeling"
James Newton Howard, "Defiance"
Hans Zimmer, "Frost/Nixon"
A.R. Rahman, "Slumdog Millionaire"


"Down to Earth" (performed by Peter Gabriel, written by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman), "Wall-E"
"Gran Torino" (performed by Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum, Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens, lyrics by: Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens), "Gran Torino"
"I Thought I Lost You" (performed by Miley Cyrus and John Travolta, written by Miley Cyrus and Jeffrey Steele), "Bolt"
"Once in a Lifetime" (performed by Beyoncé, written by Beyoncé Knowles, Amanda Ghost, Scott McFarnon, Ian Dench, James Dring, Jody Street), "Cadillac Records"
"The Wrestler" (performed by Bruce Springsteen, written by Bruce Springsteen), "The Wrestler"



"House M.D."
"In Treatment"
"Mad Men"
"True Blood"


Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment"
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie, "House M.D."
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "The Tudors"


Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters"
Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU"
January Jones, "Mad Men"
Anna Paquin, "True Blood"
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"


"The Office"
"30 Rock"


Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
Steve Carell, "The Office"
Kevin Connolly, "Entourage"
David Duchovny, "Californication"
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"


Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?"
America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty"
Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Debra Messing, "The Starter Wife"
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds"


"Bernard & Doris"
"John Adams"
"A Raisin in the Sun"


Judi Dench, "Cranford"
Laura Linney, "John Adams"
Catherine Keener, "An American Crime"
Shirley MacLaine, "Coco Chanel"
Susan Sarandon, "Bernard & Doris"


Ralph Fiennes, "Bernard and Doris"
Paul Giammatti, "John Adams"
Kevin Spacey, "Recount"
Kiefer Sutherland, "24: Redemption"
Tom Wilkinson, "Recount"


Eileen Atkins, "Cranford"
Laura Dern, "Recount"
Melissa George, "In Treatment"
Rachel Griffiths, "Brothers & Sisters"
Dianne Wiest, "In Treatment"


Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother"
Denis Leary, "Recount"
Jeremy Piven, "Entourage"
Blair Underwood, "In Treatment"
Tom Wilkinson, "John Adams"

Steven Spielberg

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Oh Darlton... Why Dost Thou Torture Me?

There's this game I used to play with other English lit nerds when I was in university. I think we called it Shame (it's been a long time. Sigh). It works in a pop culture setting very well, too. If you're a huge fan of movies, like I am, you name the one movie you've never seen... the one you should be ASHAMED of yourself for not seeing. (For me, it's Gone With the Wind. Never seen it.) Or maybe there's a TV series you've never watched that you really should have, especially if you're writing books on Lost. *cough* I'm not even going to say what that is, for fear people will run screaming away from my blog like I'm some charlatan know-nothing. Wild horses can't drag that one out of me.

But it's when it came to literature that it got fun. I remember being out for drinks with a guy who was an assistant professor and we were playing the game, and he admitted to never having read Hamlet. I think half of us either choked on our drinks or spit them out completely. "How is that possible?!" we asked in complete bafflement. "Special skills?" he replied.

For me, that book that has been missing from my own personal canon is James Joyce's Ulysses. I know I should read it. Every day on June 16 I swear I'm going to take the day off, disappear into a basement and read the entire thing (that is Bloomsday, after all). I actually went and bought my copy in Paris at Shakespeare & Co., one of the world's most famous bookstores (my friend CK just posted pics of the store here) because that's where the book was written. I got them to stamp the front inside cover with their special stamp to prove that's where I bought it. That was in December 2000. It's been sitting on a bookshelf ever since, and every once in a while I glance over at it, send "good intention vibes" its way, and then it continues to sit for another 6 months before I glance at it again.

But now, Damon and Carlton have announced that in season 5, Ben Linus will be seen reading a copy of Ulysses in the season's seventh episode (this is in the special Dharma Access video that went out to subscribers last night; it will be on the ABC site some time tomorrow). Now I have to take the behemoth off the shelf. I have to open it and turn PAST the page with the fancy stamp. I have to read it.

I'm kind of scared.

I mean, this is something I've been building up to since my undergrad. It's like one of those things I've always looked forward to, but like Desmond and his tattered copy of Our Mutual Friend, figured it might be one of the last things I do. How do I read it? Do I check the footnotes as I go? Do I just read it straight and hope I get the feel of the lilting language, much like you do with a Shakespeare play? I feel like the thing needs to come with instructions. I talked to a friend of mine several years ago who is a well known Canadian poet and he told me the best way to read Ulysses is to avoid the footnotes altogether. So I think that's what I'll do.

I might disappear for a while. I'm not sure whether to curse the houses of Cuse and Lindelof for doing this to me, or to send blessings their way for giving me the heads up before the season actually started. (Here I am in December, and quite literally, when Damon held up the book and announced it, I dropped my head to the desk with a thud and moaned, "Why... why... WHY?!" Could you IMAGINE what my reaction would have been in March if that had been the first time I saw Ben reading it?)

But, I vow to you, gentle readers, there will be a chapter on Ulysses in my season 5 book. But you have to promise me that YOU will be reading this book, too. (And to my friends who are university English majors and professors who are reading this now... prepare for the onslaught of emails from me.)

Wow. How will I play the shame game now? I've been using Ulysses as my answer for so long I wouldn't know what to say next.

Now I don't think I can ever watch Gone with the Wind.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Faraday's Missing Foot

I posted yesterday on the strange new season 5 promo shot, saying it looked overly airbrushed to me. Then someone pointed out that Faraday was missing a foot. Sure enough, he is. But others are debating the issue and arguing his foot is there, it's just hiding behind some plants. Luckily, my readers are always there to help me out, and redeem isolated the foot and lightened the background, and it is most definitely not there.

Someone else pointed out that Juliet's toe is gone, and they're right; her toes, which should be sticking out of her shoe, are missing. What is all this about? Matthew Fox looks 10 years younger, Yunjin Kim looks like she's completely detached from that coffee table, Ken Leung and Naveen Andrews have very different lighting on them. This photo was clearly photoshopped and not taken all at once.

I don't know if you ever go and check out Jorge Garcia's very entertaining blog (it's here if you haven't) but he recently had a post where he was talking about going to get their photos taken. What I found curious is in one picture, you can clearly see him standing before a green screen, and he's wearing the same outfit as in this photo. I think each person was shot individually and then shopped into this photo. The question is, why? Is this another game? Are there other clues in the photo (other than those damn crackers)?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Lost: The Season 5 Promo Shot

And here they are: the cast of season 5. But wow, holy airbrushed... click on the photo to see a larger version of it, or here to see even larger. They look a little alien-like. But I like it anyway.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hawksley Workman: Anger as Beauty

As many of you know, I adore Hawksley Workman. (Even if I did once bitch on this blog about a bad cellphone shill he did at one concert, my love of his music did not waver.) I've seen him in concert countless times. I've seen him on stage alone with an acoustic guitar. I've seen entire concerts accompanied by no one but Mr. Lonely, his ever-present pianist. I've seen him on every tour, and through every persona. While promoting his first album, he played the blue-collar worker, saying he'd just gotten off his shift at the pipe-fitting plant and barely made it to the gig (the next night he was a plumber). I saw him on the incredible Delicious Wolves and Lover/Fighter tours, where his persona was as a sexual god who stormed about the stage and made everyone in the room want to leap onto the stage to be with him. At the screamingly loud Phoenix show, he wore torn jeans, and took off clothing throughout the set, and when he was joined onstage by hip-hop artist Graph Nobel so she could perform "Smoke Baby," it was insanely fabulous. The version the band did of "Striptease" that night -- raw, deviant, sexual -- has never been matched in a show I've seen since.

I saw him a few months ago about 30 minutes outside Huntsville in the town of Burk's Falls (pop. 1000) playing a small movie theatre that held about 220 people. I chatted with the town reeve and the deputy clerk of the town, who were running the door and made it probably the most charming show I'd ever been to. They tried to talk me into going to see the Screaming Heads, but we didn't have time. I'll definitely go the next time I'm up there, especially when I checked online to see what they were. I saw him at Massey Hall a couple of years ago and it was like a religious experience -- he had the entire place in the palm of his hand, and he knew it.

As the years have gone by, Hawksley has put together a band of extraordinary talent, and despite the fact he could probably play each one of them into the ground (he plays all the instruments on his albums) you can see the respect and adoration he has for each one of them. On earlier tours, as I said, he'd strike fanciful poses with the mike, standing atop monitors and stomping around the stage. Now he sings, walks over to the bass player to look at him, then walks over to the violinist to watch him, and heads back to the mike. He plays guitar himself, though he defers to the other band members to take the solos. The few times he does handle the solos, he kills them, making me wish he'd tackle more of them. But I think that new persona -- which isn't so much a persona as more of the real man, who admires other musicians and wants to give them the spotlight occasionally -- is taking over. I really wish Hawksley would occasionally put the guitar down like he used to and just sing, though. Even just a couple of songs.

Hawksley played Massey Hall this past Friday, and I was there filled with glee. I knew what to expect -- he's toned down the over-the-topness (which is a little sad, because I loved it), he'll tell stories, he'll perform amazing songs. There was no undressing as the show went on. In fact, he didn't even unbutton his jacket, which must have been rather stifling. I kept thinking that if he'd just remove the dull brown jacket, I could see a crimson shirt underneath with a pinstriped vest and a yellow tie, and he would have struck a pretty cool-looking figure. Similarly, the violinist, Jesse Zubot, who gave one of the most electrifying live performances I'd ever seen, looked like a local at a pub, complete with trucker hat, jeans, and an old shirt. Pop a suit on the guy and you'd have had one fine-looking band. (Hey, I'm not trying to be materialistic here, but when it comes to live shows, there's something to be said for the look.) I forgive him, though... this guy performed a solo where he completely shredded it -- literally. By the end of the solo his bow was almost ripped to shreds, with strings hanging off both ends. Zubot spent the remainder of the song pulling the threads off it. It was jaw-droppingly good. Even Hawksley stared at him at one point like he couldn't believe what the guy was doing. It had to be seen to be believed.

But onto the show. Hawksley has one of the great voices in rock music, and it was a little scratchy at points, which became clearer when he pulled a box of lozenges out and began popping them in his mouth (how crappy to get a Massey Hall show and then get hit with a cold days before it). The show was good, but like I said, it just sort of lacked something for the first bit. The audience didn't seem to be into the songs, which were mostly from his latest CD, Los Manlicious.

A little background: Hawksley recorded two albums: Los Manlicious and Between the Beautifuls. Manlicious is the rockier record, and Beautifuls the singer/songwriter one. Universal, in their infinite non-wisdom, decided North American audiences hate rock music or something, so they released that one in Europe, and Between the Beautifuls here. BtB did OK, and Hawksley pushed them to put out Manlicious. Finally, they acquiesced, and put absolutely no promotional push behind it. The critics raved about it, called it his best album since Delicious Wolves, but no one bought it because, well, they didn't know it existed. (If you are a Hawksley fan, I urge you to get this one... hell, if you don't know who he is, I urge you to get this one. It ROCKS.)

So I think the audience non-reaction had more to do with not knowing the album than anything the band was or wasn't doing.

And then... it happened. During "Striptease," which these days comes off more like Radiohead's performance of "Creep" ("sigh... we hate this song, but we bloody well have to do it because it's the freakin' hit"), the band launched into a bit of a lacklustre performance. And halfway through, during the big orchestral bit in the middle, the speakers completely blew. Like... GONE. Problem was, the monitors and speakers on stage were working perfectly, so the band had no idea that the rest of us had just lost the sound. They kept right on playing, and sounded like a band rehearsing in a garage. And here's the thing: it was GREAT. The loudness was stripped away, and instead you heard a stellar band pulling off a stellar song. They kept going, unaware of what was going on on our end. At one point Hawksley glanced out and you could tell by the look on his face he knew something was up. People weren't staring at the band, they were talking to each other, looking around. The soundboard guys were running frantically down the aisles toward the speakers to try to figure out if something had slipped. The band went up a key and kept going. I loved it. Hawksley stepped up to the mike to sing the final verse, got nothing through his earpiece, and stopped the song for a second, and said, "John, I don't have anything in my ear." Everyone in the audience began shouting at once. He pulled both of the earpieces out and leaned out, cocking his hand behind his ear while everyone continued screaming at him. Finally he said, "Look, I can't hear what you're saying, stop for a second..." everyone stopped. "Can you hear me?" "NO!" He pursed his lips, nodded, turned around and you could just hear the "FUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKK" in his head at that point. If this were many other singers I've seen over the years, he would have tossed the guitar and stormed off until the problem had been fixed.

But that's not Hawksley. Instead he called out to the lead singer of the opening band, Hey Rosetta (who were wonderful; their album is produced by Hawksley and the lead singer of the band has so much charisma I thought he was going to blow the roof of the place off), asking him for his acoustic guitar. The guy ran backstage, grabbed it and handed it off. The sound guys continued running up and down the aisles and checking everything. Hawksley came to the front of the stage, and Zubot joined him. Mr. Lonely stayed behind his piano, the drummer sat back, and the bassist stood by Hawksley's other shoulder, not playing. Hawksley began strumming the minor chords that we all knew so well, and then, bravely (considering he was starting to lose his voice and to shout this song out to Massey Hall was NOT going to be easy) he sang:

Gather at the church
Say a quiet prayer
Hold each other's hands
Praying that we might be there.

And with that, we suddenly were at church. You could have heard a pin drop. Zubot began playing quietly on his violin beside Hawksley, Mr. Lonely played some quiet arpeggios behind him, and the bassist (it's killing me that I can't remember this guy's name, because he's always incredible when we see him) sang harmonies behind him. Hawksley performed "Anger As Beauty" slowly, quietly... and it was amazing. As the chaos continued below him, he glanced upwards and carried us all out of it, like nothing was wrong, like he had planned the PA explosion all along, as if this was the way this song was meant to be played. Halfway through the song Lonely's piano suddenly rang through the speakers, and everything was back to normal. Hawksley smirked, they resumed their places, and he continued to sing it quietly until the song hit a natural break point, he switched to an electric guitar, and then the band slammed into the end of the song, playing it fast, loud, and amazingly. It was one of the best moments of any Hawksley show I'd ever seen.

From that point on he had the audience right where he wanted us. We hung on every word, we were carried along by the solos, we cheered and sang along. It was a beautiful thing.

And for that, this show officially ranks right up there with the Hawksley shows. I can't stress it enough: if you have not seen this man live, you are missing out. He is a consummate performer. He carried Massey Hall with no speakers or mikes (yeah, I know, hundreds of performers have done the whole, 'let's walk to the edge of the stage at Massey Hall and do an acoustic thing' including Hawksley himself at his last show, but their voices were being picked up by the mikes. He did it as if he were in our living room, and he had to make that voice carry to the upper upper balconies... and he did). He is extraordinary.

"Watch Your Cartoons, Goober..."

Hey all. Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but my entire family was hit with the stomach flu on the weekend. At the same time. It's one thing to lie in bed wanting to die for two days, it's quite another to be looking after a 4-year-old, a 1-year-old, and a husband while also wanting to die for 2 days. Ugh. Yesterday I watched the new season 5 sneak peek (involving Kate and Aaron), and it's pretty exciting. I will warn you, however, this is a scene from the new season, and therefore is a bit of a spoiler. I hope they don't release too many of these, but as a standalone, it's exciting and has me anticipating the new season with even more glee. (I believe this is going to be from the premiere episode, "Because You Left.")

And honestly, the more I see the kid who plays Aaron, the more I think they found someone who really looks like Claire. (A little odd, though, that Kate puts a suitcase together with some clothes for herself, but nothing for Aaron.)

You can watch the sneak peek here. Check it out quickly, because ABC will soon replace it with something else.

Also, for an interview with Darlton, check out Television without Pity. Mildly spoilery. Thanks to fb for the link!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had our Thanksgiving about 5 weeks ago up here in Ca-Nah-Dah, but I wanted to wish my American brethren a happy one. What am I thankful for? That Pushing Daisies existed at all, even if it was short-lived (and that the executives who cancelled it will be replaced some day). That Dexter is SO awesome this season. That Jim and Pam are together. That Friday Night Lights is back to its first season form and is so freakin' brilliant it makes me want to move to Texas and raise my son to play football there. That a certain team on the Amazing Race will have to do an extra task next week. That Alec Baldwin is on 30 Rock. That Lost is the most glorious series on television right now and I have the pleasure of writing about it on a regular basis. That Gossip Girl is the best guilty pleasure a gal could imagine. That True Blood is funny and sexy and way smarter than people have been telling me it is. That Entourage is funny, despite what people have been griping about this season. And that Buffy shall live on for eternity in DVD form.

So what will you be thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Moments ago, the CBC announced the nominees for this year's Canada Reads contest, and one of those books is Fruit, by Brian Francis! (I'm time traveling right now, by the way... I'm writing this in the past to you readers in the future, and setting the post to reveal itself after the CBC has unveiled the books.)

I was the acquisitions and developing editor on this book, and it's still one of my favourite books of all time. Brian was a dream to work with, and despite having to read the book 7 or 8 times, I laughed out loud every time I did. I adore this book, and I'm thrilled that this has happened for Brian.

How Canada Reads works is this: five people are chosen, and they nominate one book each. The books are unveiled to the general public on November 25 (today) and then Canadians have a little over three months to read the books. Then, the week of March 6, the five people who are championing the books will defend their books in daily debates, with one book being eliminated every day until a winner is chosen.

You can go to the Canada Reads blog daily and see podcasts, blogs, and hear audio of the authors reading from their books, and there's a chance to vote for your favourite. But the main thing is getting Canada to read these books. These are five fantastic books that have been chosen, but if you want to read a book that will not let you down, Fruit is it.

The book is about Peter Paddington, a 13-year-old overweight boy who is being let down by his body, and one day he swears his nipples, which have popped out like overripe cherries, are talking to him. They become his sense of doubt, whispering that the other kids will find out his secret, that he's hiding this "fruit" beneath his clothes that they're going to discover. Meanwhile, he tries to be a good kid, hanging out with his hilarious friend Daniela, who swears like a trucker, and doing his paper route while having naughty fantasies about one of his customers coming to the door wearing nothing but a red Speedo.

The inner life of Peter Paddington is at once hilarious, sad, and sweet, and I cannot recommend it enough. If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, the nostalgia will take you back to those times (Peter sits behind a girl who carves Adrian Zmed's name all over her binder). If you ever thought your body was less-than-perfect or other kids were making fun of you, you will be right there with Peter as he worries about what the others are thinking of him. If you've ever thought your family was destined for the loony bin, you'll sympathize with Peter dealing with his two older sisters, his worrying, nervous mother, his mostly absent father and his friendly Uncle Bernard.

So come on, Canada, it's time to read!! And what better way to start than with the best book of the bunch. (No bias here.) You can get the book here. Enjoy!!

UPDATE: Here is an article about Canada Reads, highlighting Fruit!!
Canada Reads Goes Queer

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lost Season 5 promo!

So earlier today (see below) I outlined Bad ABC, and now it's time for Good ABC!

We have to go back... like, NOW. (Oh why do I have to wait until January?!) This promo is amazing. (Thanks to The ODI for sending me the link.)

Things I noticed on a first pass:
-Locke is holding the compass that Alpert put in front of him when he was 5 years old and told him it "already belonged" to him.
-Charlotte's nose is bleeding... is it from a fight or is it the same reason that Desmond's nose was bleeding in The Constant?
-Desmond is shirtless.

I really didn't notice much beyond that, since my brain went all foggy after that last image. Mmmmm... ;)

There's a flash in the video to what could either be a short ARG or just a new promo for the new season: Ajira Airways. I've already gone and signed up for updates.

So what else did y'all catch in this?

UPDATE: I've watched it a few more times, and here's some more:
-shirtless Desmond appears to be in bed on boat, so maybe he and Penny stay on her boat as some sort of home where they can escape at a moment's notice
-possible continuity error? Jack says why did all this happen, and Ben says, "Because you left" and he's wearing a black scarf under his coat, but in the next scene, which is from the finale of season 4, he's not wearing that scarf. Did they add a piece of clothing when redoing the scene that shouldn't have been there? I'm wondering if the conversation with Ben continues elsewhere, because I doubt they would have done that by mistake
-Locke finds what looks like a child's shoe. Zack or Emma? Another child? Someone from the DI?
-I'm really creeped out by the look Hurley gives Sayid as S is lying on that table. We see Hurley with a gun, then glancing at Sayid with no emotion at Sayid is unconscious, and then we see Hurley bombing down the street driving what appears to be Jack's SUV. Then we see Hurley praying at a table. Has his paranoia reached new depths, and he no longer trusts Sayid? Could it be because he's discovered that Sayid is working for Ben?

Words cannot express how excited I am for this new season!

Black Friday

The Pie Hole has been boarded up, Darling Enterprises has collapsed, and George Michael needs to find another law firm to sing in.

Yes, folks, it's happened: ABC has cancelled Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, and Eli Stone in one fell swoop.

Goodbye, my dear Pieman. May you and Chuck find a way to touch and love again. Goodbye, Jeremy Darling. You're a complete disaster, but really hot to watch anyway. Goodbye, Eli Stone -- I only watched one episode, but I know a lot of other fans adore this show. Goodbye, Aunt Vivian and Aunt Lily. I will miss you most of all.

:::sniffle::: I need to go and be depressed now. :(

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dharma Wants Me!

The official dossiers went out to everyone who participated in the online ARG (it wasn't nearly as intense of thought-provoking as previous ARGs, but it was still fun). When the 7th and final test went up -- the one that would determine if you were a White Swan or Black Swan -- I didn't do the test right away, and went back a few days later to discover the test had been taken down. I was SO upset, thinking I wouldn't rank now, but sure enough, they must have determined from my answers that I was a White Swan (i.e. I didn't cheat by using the answers that were floating around) and I got a pretty cool job with the Dharma Initiative.

You're looking at (drum roll please) a Dharma cinematographer!!

(Thanks to Crissy for grabbing that image for me!) WOOHOO! All those scratchy, spliced orientation films with the weird 60s music that makes you feel like you're in primary school again and the teacher has spooled the film in the wrong way so all the pictures are backwards and you're desperately trying not to fall asleep? GONE. I will revolutionize the Dharma videos! I will fill them with Easter eggs and grandiose stories and...

What's that? Something's happened to the recruiters? Sigh. Always the way. This note came with my dossier:


I am pleased to announce that registered recruits can now log in and download your personalized Volunteer Assessment Dossier outlining your full test results as well as your position within the Dharma Initiative.

I want to personally congratulate you on behalf of everyone at the Dharma Initiative for your hard work and diligence during our testing process.

We hope that you are happy with your results. We certainly are. The tests were extremely challenging and the aptitude and excellence displayed far exceeded our expectations.

Now that you are in possession of your results I am sure you are asking the obvious question: what's next?

Our plan was that together we would commence a glorious adventure: the revival of the Dharma Initiative using the myriad talents of all our amazing new recruits. We imagined not just fulfilling long abandoned goals but taking the Dharma Initiative to a new level of greatness as an organization promoting the peaceful social and technological advancement of all humankind.

Then the financial crisis struck.

Sadly, our benefactors were not immune to this crisis. In fact, unconfirmed reports suggest that much of the money designated for the work of the new Dharma Initiative was tied up in highly leveraged mortgage derivatives. This, however, cannot be confirmed because, I am sorry to report, the principals representing the benefactors - my employers - have gone missing. Based on bills still coming into our office we believe they are somewhere in South America.

This stunning reversal of fortune has forced us to abandon our ambitious plans. In fact, absent this funding, the Dharma Initiative was forced to make the only sensible decision we had available: we sold the Dharma Initiative to the television show LOST.

While this might strike some of you as a shock, the reason for this was not simply that they were the only bidder. As the only remaining Dharma Initiative employee who had not fled the country, I felt that at the very least the show would be able to keep the spirit of the Dharma Initiative alive and in the public consciousness until such time as a reversal of the reversal of our economic fortunes occurs.

It is with a heavy heart that I must bid you farewell. Despite my fervent commitment to the mission of the Dharma Initiative, the realities of a broken marriage, heavy casino debt and some unfounded police charges have required that I change my present circumstances. It is with great excitement that I can inform you of my pending senior sales management job at a large multi-brand auto dealership in Dubai. I have enjoyed our brief association more than I can ever express, and if you are ever in the Middle East and need a car, please e-mail me for a special "Dharma rate".

In the meantime, you will hear shortly from LOST showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. They will explain to you their future plans for the Dharma Initiative and how these plans might affect you.

Thank you again, personally, for your unflagging commitment and support. I hope our paths will one day cross again. In the meantime may the spirit of the island guide you.


Hans Van Eeghen
Head of Recruiting
The Dharma Initiative

Ah well... at least it's in good hands! Wait, does this mean I'll be the cinematographer on episodes of Lost?! AAAAAHHHHHH!!!

And now for the fun part. I always see people afterwards saying they looked at the source code and found little things and I'm NEVER one of those people, so this time I clicked to read it on the site, checked the source code, et voila!! I found a hidden email address right at the top! IT was I rushed into my email, sent off a quick note to that address, and got this automated response:

Dharma Special Access with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.

Got a question for the creators of LOST? Submit your question along with your name and hometown, and if selected, Damon and Carlton will answer it in a DSA announcement… that is, if you haven't been a bad Black Swan.

Whee! So get your questions in, folks! I'm assuming you just send it back to the same address. (And please stay away from the obvious question asking about the ending. You know they won't answer that one and will just roll their eyes. Besides, that was MY question.) ;)

Post below and tell me what your job will be! We can start planning the office parties.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday Night Funnies

Last night's episodes of The Office and 30 Rock weren't laugh-out-loud hilarious for me, but both of them had their moments, and the more I think about both of them, the more I like them.

In The Office, Michael goes on a trip to Winnipeg. I'd read an article a few months back that Carell, Helms, and Nunez were going to be travelling to Winnipeg to film the episode in Canada, but after seeing the episode, I doubt that happened. All scenes were shot inside buildings, and we didn't get to see the wide snowy city streets. I've only been to Winnipeg once, and the people were absolutely lovely, but flying in, the city looks like Las Vegas without the lights -- a town stuck in the middle of nowhere. The Simpsons parodied Winnipeg (and Canada) to great hilarity a few years back, so I was looking forward to lots of in-jokes about Canada. They didn't happen.

That said, Andy travelling as Michael's translator was priceless (I particularly loved him ordering the drinks at the bar: "Beer me dos Long Island Iced Teas, s'il vous plait") and Michael referring to "Ca-Nah-dah" as a foreign country was awesome, but the jokes sort of ended there (not to mention -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- I think Scranton would actually be slightly further than 2 hours from Winnipeg: it's a 2-hour flight from Toronto, and Scranton is further away than that). But I nitpick.

Oscar and Andy made a very funny team, especially Andy declaring himself Oscar's WMFL. AWESOME.

The best part of the episode for me was Michael trying to come to terms with his break-up with Amy. He sadly fumbles with Concierge Marie and discovers she can't make up for what he's lost. The end of the episode, where he's on the phone telling the guy how mean he is and hanging up on him, was sad and amazingly handled by Steve Carell.

Of course, there were other great things in the episode. Ryan and Kelly making out and Ryan forcing her to break up with Darryl. When he realized Darryl didn't give a crap about Kelly, Kelly suddenly didn't look quite so hot in his eyes. His line, "I've realized that I can't do better than Kelly," is HILARIOUS, especially with the "aw" look she gives him in return. Ha! I read something a couple of days ago that said B.J. Novak will be taking leave from the show because he's been cast in Quentin Tarantino's new flick, "Inglourious Basterds," (and yes, I know that spelling is wonky but apparently that's how it's spelled). The article wasn't sure if Novak was leaving permanently, but he did sound like he was putting the character of Ryan to bed permanently, and would only return as a writer. I guess we'll see what happens.

And, of course, that ending: Pam and Jim reunited. What will her life be like knowing that her dream of becoming a graphic designer will never amount to anything and she'll only ever be a receptionist? Here's hoping that her return is a good thing for her, and not just a temporary happiness.

By the way, to all the viewers of Mad Men, did you notice the guy last week who was telling Pam to stay in NY was Harry? My husband called it, and then wasn't sure, and we both stared at him and realized if you slicked his hair back and put the glasses on him, it's totally him (I googled it and he was right).

30 Rock didn't have any laughs like last week's scene of Jenna dancing and singing "Ease on Down the Road" in blackface, which was shocking and hilarious all at once, though Jack wearing that hat that made him look like Tom Petty as the Mad Hatter in that "Don't Come Around Here No More" video was HYSTERICAL and had me in stitches for a long time. And as a kid, I too loved Night Court, though Harry hasn't aged as well as Markie Post. My favourite moment of all of that was how Ken punched the air with his fist and then held it like that, exactly how episodes of Night Court would end (only it was because the image had been stilled, not because the character held it). That was priceless.

What did you think? I haven't been talking much about other episodes of past weeks, but they've been great too. Have you all been enjoying this season of The Office and 30 Rock so far?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Brace Yourselves...

The networks are sharpening their axes. Lipstick Jungle and My Own Worst Enemy were both just cancelled on NBC, and FOX has cancelled MadTV by the end of this season (after announcing a few weeks ago that the brilliant King of the Hill is coming to an end). I've never watched Lipstick Jungle, but friends of mine who have really love it. I've really enjoyed what I've seen of My Own Worst Enemy, so that was a disappointment, though I can't say it's a surprise.

Please say a quick prayer for Friday Night Lights (which is ROCKING this season) and Pushing Daisies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Good news for Dollhouse!

Finally, I have good news that is NOT tinged with bad! Check me out!!

Preston Beckman, FOX's scheduling guy, has said that there's a method to his madness of putting Dollhouse on Friday nights. First, he wants it as a strong lead-in to Terminator, which he says would be a great night of TV. Secondly, he's confident that the rest of the week has a lot of strong programming that can buoy the network, and might give both Friday night shows more of a chance. "We can afford to let these shows run their course," he said. "We can give them 12 or 13 weeks to find an audience." Then, come fall, he sees these shows playing very strongly. Read the full article here.

Woot! I demonized too soon. (Who... me?!)

Now if only I knew the ABC scheduling person was putting Lost on Wednesday nights to make it a pie-tastic pairing with Pushing Daisies, then all would be well in my world.

The Amazing Race: Colour Me Happy!

There are three teams I hate in this season's Amazing Race: the gay divorcees, the frat boys, and Terence and Sarah. From the very first episode, I liked the brother and sister team, and the mother and son team. Sure, Nick and Starr occasionally play dirty and sometimes Dallas seems to be as dumb as a stump, but I love how well the brother and sister play the game, and maybe it's because I have a son, but I adore Toni and her unconditional love for Dallas, and his love back for his mom.

But now on to the hate. This week the teams were in India. Every season the teams go to India so we can see people pulling their shirts up over their faces and complaining of the stink or getting stuck in insane traffic jams or being mauled by kids (and the occasional man) begging for money or whatever. It hasn't changed the fact I'd love to go to India some day, and luckily in this season, they played down the negatives. First, the teams had a roadblock where they had to go through a holy festival of people chucking pails of paint and dry dye at them as they tried to get to a ladder. Starr got off amazingly easy, like the people weren't quite sure what they were supposed to do in the beginning. But by the time the gay divorcees got there, it was showtime. Kelly or Christy (the dark-haired one; they're pretty much interchangeable) decided to do it while blondie stood back encouraging her, but soon brunette was practically begging for an oxygen mask and crawling through the streets on her hands and knees like she'd just been seriously wounded at Omaha Beach saying, "I can't do it! I can't go on! This will be the death of me!"

I was in stitches. (I had a screen cap all ready but Blogger has been really difficult in letting me upload anything these days.)

Not to mention, as usual, they didn't read the clue correctly and brunette just kept running in snatching envelope after envelope while blondie ripped them open and nothing was inside (even FUNNIER). Meanwhile, all the other teams are first READING THE CLUE, then running in, grabbing the marked envelope and running back out. Making the gay divorcees REALLY ANGRY.

See, my problem with these chiquitas is that they identify themselves as The Divorcees. Every team is forced to do this: There's a mom and son team and in every scene where they're talking to the camera, Dallas says how much he's learned about the mother who raised him by herself, and Toni says how proud she is of her only son whom she raised by herself. Nick and Starr talk about their sibling love. Ken and Tina talk about how they're overcoming his affair. And so on... it's sad these people are identified as one thing, but why did these two identify themselves as Divorcees? Because it hadn't been done before? Rather than say they're best friends who happen to be divorced, they say they're divorcees who happen to be best friends. Every time they're facing the camera they're saying things like, "I could have NEVER gone on the Amazing Race if I hadn't divorced that bastard!" "ME TOO! My life is such a sunshiney peachy place because I let go of that dead weight." "TOTALLY. My husband never would have given me the freedom to do these things." "I KNOW. My husband was just a piece of crap."

I'm sorry, who were you married to? Mussolini??!! Why couldn't you have done the Amazing Race while still being married to these guys? And why do you want to advertise the fact that you chose SO badly that you had to get out of the relationships instantly? (They're both very young, so there's no way they made it to 10 years; I doubt they got close to 5.)

ANYWAY. I can't decide who I hate more of those three teams, though, but I must say, every time Terence is on the screen I want him to take a nasty roadblock and be the first fatal accident on the series. He is SO whiny and annoying and their banter is so irritating I've actually pressed the mute button while they're on screen.
"Come on, babe, you gotta hurry up."
"I'm going as fast as I can, babe, so just leave me alone."
"Well, babe, not fast enough, because everyone is passing us by, babe."
"Shut up, babe, you're not helping me." "All right, babe, but I'm just saying; we're going to lose because of you."
"Babe, that's so not helpful. Just give me happy thoughts, babe."
"All right babe, fine. You're doing a great job."
"Thanks, babe."
"Even though every other team is passing us by, babe."

So when it came down to a detour where they had to choose bleary-eyed (watching power lines for tiny numbers) or teary-eyed (where they had to carry a 40-lb bag of chilis a quarter mile and then crush them, potentially burning their eyes, nasal passages, and hands), I was shouting at the TV, "Choose teary-eyed! Choose teary-eyed!" When Sarah said, "We're going with teary-eyed" it was like Christmas for me.

My favourite moment was Sarah talking to the camera saying, "We felt like that storeowner was so unfair. He was standing there watching what we were going through and had absolutely no sympathy for our terrible situation." Meanwhile, these two have just been hitting one poverty-stricken country after another and haven't shown an ounce of sympathy for ANYONE. In last week's episode (or maybe it was 2 weeks ago; I watched them in a marathon a few nights ago) they went to Cambodia, and Sarah begged their boat driver to go faster than the other teams, so this kid was revving his engine and got them way ahead of everyone. Everything was going well for them... until the engine started smoking and filled with water. As the poor kid bailed water furiously, Sarah screamed at him that this could cost them a million dollars.

REALLY? Because if this boat isn't working, this could cost this kid his livelihood.

How RICH that she of all people talked about how unsympathetic these inhabitants of a developing country were to the plight of these Americans. It was a brilliant moment.

In the end, I would have been happy if any of those teams lost, and lose they did -- the divorcees were last to the mat, after Dan and Andrew offered to work together with them and the girls said, "No, 'fraid not." Nice one, ladies. As my daughter would say, you are not being caring, sharing friends. And that's probably what cost you the race.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lost Return Date Announced!!

Save the date: only 74 more days 'til Lost!

ABC announced today that Lost will be starting up on January 21 at 9pm, at least a week earlier than most people assumed, given last season's January 31 start date. This moves the show to Wednesday nights, which puts it with Private Practice, but which could (gulp) mean bad things for Pushing Daisies or Dirty Sexy Money, both of which are on that night.

The show will have a 2-hour season premiere and will run for 17 straight episodes. I'm so excited I'm going to overlook that bad feeling I now have about the future of my dear Pieman.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Good News... and Possibly Terrible News

The facts are these: Rumour has it that Bryan Fuller, who was on the writing team on Heroes during the first season (a.k.a. its heyday), will be returning to the series in January to revive it and bring it back to its first-season glory. The problem? He's the creator of Pushing Daisies. Fuller has stated he is exclusive to Pushing Daisies until its 13th episode, but if by then it still hasn't been picked up for a full season, he'll be heading over to Hero-land.

This is such a conundrum. Like Ned, Fuller could use his magic touch to bring Heroes back to life. But Pushing Daisies must be the fatality that will suffer the consequences. I loved Heroes in season 1, and the thought that it could return is definitely squee-worthy. But at the expense of Pushing Daisies? Sigh... I'm afraid my loyalties have shifted from the time/space-bender to the piemaker. Getting Heroes back will be a bittersweet thing, if this all comes to pass.

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

As the world continues to bask in the end of the election, and the Republicans dish the dirt on the loose cannon that was Sarah Palin, I am happy to finally get back to talking about TV. Because not only is the election over, but as of yesterday, I'm finished writing the Lost book! (You can preorder in Canada and the US using the buttons on the left side, plug plug.) My PVR is overloaded, and I'm going to be gunning through some programs. Many people have been emailing me or leaving comments asking about why I'm not writing about Heroes or Fringe, and it's simply because I haven't watched them. I watched the 2-hour premiere of Heroes, and the first two episodes of Fringe. That's it. When you work full time and have two young 'uns, you have to use every spare moment you can to fit in writing time. (Well, that and Mad Men, which I'm totally obsessed with right now, midway through the second season.)

So look for longish (like I do short, ha!) posts coming soon on Heroes and Fringe -- the story so far. And my beloved Pushing Daisies, which is sitting there like a luscious cheese-topped pie begging me to come and watch it.

But first, DOLLHOUSE. Y'all might have seen the trailer for it, premiering in February, but since FOX is doing its utmost to keep the trailer away from prying eyes outside the U.S. borders, here it is for the rest of you.

WICKED. And now... the bad news. Insiders are saying that FOX has halted production AGAIN on this show, and the series' super-awesome time slot has just been announced: Friday nights at 9pm.

Um... can you say FIREFLY?? Cripes almighty, Joss, I TOLD you this would happen. This trailer just has me tingling with excitement, and this article that talks about all the problems has me cringing in fear. FOX has one problem after another with the scripts, and keeps forcing Joss to go back for rewrites. According to one insider, he's barely on the set anymore because he's spending all day, every day, rewriting.

Come on NBC and ABC: step up next time the Master is looking for a network that will accept his brilliance, and sign him up. ABC: you've given Damon and Carlton the keys to the network; take a look at Joss next time. Sigh...

I'm sad.

In other news (old news now), Jeph Loeb and Jesse Alexander have been fired from Heroes. My initial reaction (and, since I haven't read much about it since, still my reaction) is that these two were the naysayers who were sitting in the meetings saying, "Um... this storyline kind of, uh... sucks?" Apparently when Entertainment Weekly was conducting interviews for their recent cover story on the series, they did it under the auspices of a big feature saying Heroes is back (I don't know if that's true, but that's what reports from NBC are saying) and it shocked everyone when the big cover story came out, basically calling Heroes a colossal FAIL, and NBC sent down the message from on high that heads must ROLL for this one. So, two heads rolled, and they were the two heads I thought were two of the most sensible ones in there. Alexander is from Alias and Lost, and Jeph Loeb is, well, a legend in comic books. The thing that bugs me about Heroes is that while it actually used comic books heavily in the first season as a selling point, Kring happily admitted he knew nothing about them, but that was why Loeb was on board. Well, quick thing about comic books: while the stories are short and there's satisfaction to be had at the end of each issue, comic books typically hold back certain things and drop them as crazy twists so you keep coming back. It's sort of like, oh, I don't know... LOST, where there are lots of questions and we keep coming back dying to hear the answers. Kring's way of doing things was, "Oh, you want the answers? Here ya go." If he'd written the Star Wars trilogy, it would have opened with a different crawl:

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships (Leia is their princess; don't worry, you'll see her soon), striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire (which includes Darth Vader, who ironically, is Leia's father! In fact, we'll soon be seeing Luke Skywalker on Tatooine, and HE is Leia's sister and Darth Vader's son! But it's still worth watching for his unwitting incestuous feelings toward his sister and his Oedipal reaction to his father). ANYWAY... During the battle, rebel spies managed to steal...

I find it hard to believe that the current state of Heroes has everything to do with Loeb and Alexander and not the team of writers with less of a comic background.

Now, as you all know if you've actually read everything I've written in this post, I haven't actually SEEN Heroes, and I'm sad that it has the potential to be disappointing (I thought the premiere held promise) so I'm simply basing my comments on what I know from the season 1 finale and what followed in season 2. I'm still going to watch the episodes with an open mind -- who knows, maybe the show is much better when you watch the episodes back to back! :)

Of the shows I HAVE been watching, The Office, 30 Rock (last week's episode was a brilliant return -- "She was wearing Dora the Explorer underwear, which I'm pretty sure was made for an obese child"), Dexter (I love this season, and the idea that Jimmy Smits is pretty much taking the place of Dex's father), Gossip Girl ("You just hooked yourself a Bass." Have I mentioned I've decided I'm in love with Chuck Bass? AND Rufus? So much love in that show), The Amazing Race (I'm two weeks behind, though, so I don't know who's been kicked out, but I'm really hoping those frat boys go soon), The Daily Show (when I watched the clip last night of Dick Cheney giving his endorsement to McCain -- yeah, it was an old episode -- and he had to clear his throat, and it cut back to Jon Stewart clearing his throat like a cat with a furball, I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe and tears were running down my face... seriously, I haven't laughed that hard since summer 2007, when I was watching Eddie Izzard in Dress to Kill), Entourage (I'm mad that Ari didn't take that studio position; it would have been an interesting and new direction for the show; otherwise I love it), The Life and Times of Tim (if you haven't watched this, watch it; I should do a longer post on it). So yeah, it's not like I haven't been watching TV (like, come ON) but I'm watching TV that I could have on in the background while washing dishes or cleaning up or something. With the exception of Dexter, which I watch while seated on the couch taking a break from writing.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Random Thoughts for Today

I've been thinking all day of how to put my thoughts into words. I considered not blogging on the historic election results of last night at all, and just letting the result stand for itself. I've thought of describing my feelings, but I'm at a loss for words (for all of you who know my long, wordy, rambling style all too well, I understand your shock at this time). But since a blog is verbal, I shall do my best. The only way to really do it is various sketches of how I feel. This post will just be random thoughts, and probably won't have any cohesiveness, so be forewarned.

I wept last night when CNN called the election. I had a grin on my face and my hands over my mouth and my eyes welled up with tears as I saw the joyous faces of the American people in bars, churches, parks, streets and stadiums. Something glorious had happened. It wasn't just a Democrat coming back into office after such a long, long, long drought of George W. Bush. It wasn't just the fact that he is immensely intelligent and informed and seems to be all the things Bush isn't. It wasn't just the fact that the country will now go in a new, hopeful, wonderful direction. It wasn't just the end of the "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality that has dominated the last 8 years. It wasn't just that the man who could do all these things and bring all this change is black. It was all those things... and the fact that the American people voted him in. They voted for the black man. They voted for an intelligent man who could bring change. His win had nothing to do with his family connections, or how much money he had, or any sort of bartering. It was just good, old-fashioned, best man winning.

I walked to work this morning with the sun shining, and it was 18 degrees outside! In Toronto! In November! (For those who don't read Celsius, that's about 65 degrees, which is unseasonably warm for Toronto at this time of year; our weather is very close to that of New York City.) It was as if Mother Nature had decided, "Hey, I want in on this, too!" I walked up the quiet street where I park my car behind my office, which is just far enough away from the busy street where my office is located that you can walk in peace for a few minutes before entering the busy building. The leaves were falling from the trees. I reached up and caught one. I could swear I could hear Louis Armstrong singing, "What a Wonderful World," and then realized it was in my head. And then I realized: I'm in a freakin' movie. A cheeseball movie where the impossible happens and it had a crazy happy ending and the sky turns blue and the sun shines through the clouds and everyone is smiling. I'm in a Gene Kelly movie. No, wait, a Disney movie. I half-expected a little cartoon bird to flutter down and land on my shoulder.

Honestly, I've never felt like this for as long as I can remember. I'm sure I felt pure, unadulterated joy as a child many times, but this morning, it was different. It was like racism had been obliterated. (I know it hasn't -- not even close -- but for one brief, shining moment, it had been.) It was like the world was a good, wholesome, happy place. I felt like I could say to my children, "The world is fair. Good things come to good people. You can do or be whatever you want to be." and not be lying. IMAGINE.

I wished Martin Luther King Jr. could have witnessed today. Or Rosa Parks. Or John Lennon. Or Barack Obama's grandmother.

I'm a big fan of Dave Chappelle, and he did a brilliant stand-up film for HBO a few years ago; it was probably 1999 or 2000. In it, he does a bit where he talks about how a black man will never become president. The bit goes on for a while, giving all the reasons, and it's very funny. Yet now, only a few short years later, that joke seems so old and dated, like it's a scene from Mad Men.

I watched the speeches this morning on CNN. I thought John McCain's was eloquent, wonderful, and beautiful. I was discussing it with my brother and with my dear friend K. and we all agreed that this was the John McCain who had entered the election. This was the man about whom I'd said, "Hey, I'd be happy if the Republican won this time, because the man is pretty awesome."

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to visit -- to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African American to the presidency of the United States. Let there be no reason now -- (cheers, applause) -- let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth. (Cheers, applause.)

Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer in my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day, though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.

I think if he'd chosen a different running mate, his campaign wouldn't have devolved into the circus that it did. McCain deserved better than that. You can go back through my posts, and you'll see I never mocked McCain. It was that running mate of his that was the joke. And, by extension, his major flaw was that he'd chosen her. The thought that she actually thinks she could run in 2012 is shocking to me. As my brother said, let her have her own talk show. Now THAT she could probably do well at, and I mean it.

And then Obama took the stage. I felt a wave of joy wash over me as they showed that audience, and the looks on their faces. It really, truly felt like a new day had arrived. And his speech, delivered in his trademark way, was perfect:

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

Obama has the weight of the world on his shoulders right now. Millions of people are looking at him with their faces turned upwards, eyes wide and hopeful, hoping he will carry them to the Promised Land. That's a big task for anyone. He'll soon have to follow through on some of the promises he has made. But for now, let's just bask in this. I'm basking in the fact that I have two children, ages 1 and 4, and they will never remember a time when a black man was NOT president. Imagine! That fact alone has put a spring in my step all day.

And now I'll share with you a story I've told everyone who will listen today. My daughter, who is 4, watched the speeches with me this morning (I had them on my PVR). I wanted her to know how important and amazing this was, and I tried to explain it to her. She didn't understand what he had won, exactly, and asked me if it was a race, and I said yes, you could call it that. I told her this man was very important. She asked why. I said because only a few years ago, silly people believed you shouldn't be able to choose your leader if you had dark skin. And now, a man with dark skin had BECOME that leader. Isn't that amazing? I asked her. She said yes, and even though she didn't quite get how momentous this was, she could tell it was important by the look on my face (usually she's begging for Little Einsteins in the morning, but she seemed very interested in what I was watching instead). But this was my favourite part of the exchange:

Her: Why are all those people cheering for him?
Me: Because he is going to bring change for all of them, and it’s change they all need.
Her: Why don’t they have any money?
Me: [???] They have money, hon.... what do you mean?
Her: Well, if they have money, then why is he going to give all his change to them?

Out of the mouths of babes. :)

I disabled the comments on my last two posts, just because I didn't want any Anonymouses coming on and trampling on these happy times. Thank you to everyone who took the time to actually email me with positive, nice emails. I'm going to leave the comments open on this one because I would love for you to share with me your thoughts on this day. I hope the negative people will just keep away on this one.

Again, thank you America. The world is applauding you today.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thank You, America.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

It's Election Day!

Well, America, today is your day to make history, whether you're voting for the first black president in U.S. history or the first woman vice-president. (Honestly, I hope neither of these things actually comes into play when you're making your vote.) This election has been endlessly fascinating to me, more so because I, a Canadian, have deigned to actually write about it on my blog. I've had my supporters, and I've had detractors. I have legions of Anonymous posters who rip my posts to shreds, hiding behind the secrecy of anonymity. And while there are some readers who have fought me on my anti-Republican views, when they do it with a real name, I have a lot more respect for them and encourage the debates. (Interestingly, someone directed me to this article about how the Internet has become rife with Anonymous posters who can hide behind their anonymity.) I've received emails from people who share my beliefs, and some extremely hateful emails from people who don't. They say you should never talk about politics and religion, and you'll be safe. I, for one, will be glad to get back to talking about television.

Does that mean I should be taking the safe route and never bringing up anything controversial? Should I "SHUT THE F**K UP" as one person emailed me yesterday and not show my support for the leader I believe in? No. If I did, I'd be as cowardly as my anonymous posters. In Canada, the right to free speech is one held close to our hearts, and in the US, last time I checked, the First Amendment allowed you to do the same thing. So here are my thoughts on the day Americans could change the world.

First, I want to say how proud I am of the people who read my blog, with the exception of a few people who've emailed me hate mail or pictures of angry extremist Muslims saying these are the people who Obama will be supporting (isn't that like showing people holding posters of dead fetuses and saying those are the people McCain is supporting? Because neither is true). Of the people who have commented here on my board, even the rudest people seem to be intelligent and thoughtful, and I've only had one person who bordered on pure hate mail (happily, my more informed readers shouted him down). I was on other boards yesterday and was shocked by the stupidity, racism, sexism, bigotry, and general hatred that exists out there. It makes me sad that we are so divided, but also happy that those people -- including the guy who said he was in the "Klu" Klux Klan -- aren't here. Maybe they are, but they've luckily kept their mouths shut. So thank you for being here, for being thoughtful and considerate in your responses, whether you're a Republican, Democrat, or independent. I mean that.

Secondly, on a personal level, I want you to know that just because the main thing I blog about is television does not make me the village idiot. I'm tired of people saying, "Get back to writing about television!" as if I know nothing about anything else. Yes, my main thing is television, but I spend hours of unpaid time keeping up this blog, and if I want to occasionally talk about something else, I can. If you don't want to read it, you can skip the post that day. But I am an informed individual with many interests outside of television. I'm not going to list my achievements -- academic or otherwise -- because I don't think anyone cares. But if you are here reading this blog, then you clearly have discerning taste when it comes to television, and believe there is a lot of TV out there that can challenge and provoke, and that's what I write about. So to turn around and tell me to get back to writing about TV, with a little pat on my head and a "Aw, isn't she cute when she gets all political?? :::giggles:::" attitude is kind of missing the point. Oddly enough, when I do "get back to writing about TV" and post a Tina Fey as Sarah Palin sketch with barely a comment, I'm STILL attacked. When it comes to politics, you can't win, even if you're just saying you thought a particular comedian was funny.

Also, just because I'm a Canadian doesn't mean I'm not informed. I have read a ton on all candidates. When Sarah Palin was first announced as McCain's running mate, I reserved judgment of her and suggested others do as well because all I knew about her was that she was from Alaska and had 5 children, and that latter point alone made me want to bow down before her. I was skeptical about Obama; he was young, seemed a little inexperienced, and I wondered if he was just carrying us all along on the wave of his speech. I've known a lot of people who have little substance but tons o' style when they speak. McCain was the guy I knew from the Daily Show who always seemed funny, at ease, and making snide remarks about Bush. Before Palin was on the ticket, I said I'd be happy if either one of them came in, because they'd be a vast improvement over Bush. But then I did the reading, I watched the debates, I remained informed, and I realized Obama is a lot more than a big speech, Palin should perhaps stay away from public speaking, and McCain isn't the "maverick" he'd like us all to think he is. So I said what I thought. That is my opinion, and despite what the few anonymous posters think, I have the right to give it.

Some Americans are annoyed by Canadians or other foreigners who comment, editorialize, and have opinions about their election. They think we should butt out, since this isn't our country. But if I were an American, I'd take that as a compliment. Most Canadians barely cared about our last election, much less anyone outside of our country. But what you might not understand is you are voting for someone whose policies and actions affect EVERYONE on this planet. I have been paying through the roof for the gas in my car, as has everyone else in Canada and around the world. That has nothing to do with any Canadian policy. Canadians are currently in Afghanistan and Iraq on peacekeeping missions. We might not have invaded Iraq, but we are still there, and our soldiers are dying. A friend of mine and dear colleague was a soldier on a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan and went into a small village. As a show of faith, he removed his helmet and sat it on the ground in front of him, then pulled out a notebook and asked the villagers to tell him what they needed -- food, clothes, water, etc. -- and he would do the best he could to accomodate that. A young man from the Taliban walked up behind him and embedded an axe in the back of his head. When I heard the news the next day, I broke down in sobs, thinking of his infant daughter and his fiance. We all thought he would die, but he lived, and has spent the last three years relearning basic motor skills.

So don't tell a Canadian we have no stake in what's going on in this world.

The American economy is falling apart. That affects us and every other nation. In high school and university, Canadians take American history courses and American political science courses. We know how your system works, we know the history of your great country. Most Americans have no idea what the name of our prime minister is. You probably don't have to, simply because Canadian policy barely registers on your radar, much less affects your day-to-day life. The majority of Canadians own a passport; the majority of Americans do not. Maybe that means you don't have to be aware of the world that exists outside your borders, but there is one there, and it's one that looks to you for so much. But when the American economy goes down the tankhole, the rest of the world goes with it. Your dollar sinks, it affects us. The United States is our #1 trading partner. I work for a company that has lost thousands of dollars in the exchange rate alone, based on the books we export to the US. On a personal level, I, too have lost a lot of money on my own book sales in the US because of the sinking economy. And if you own an RRSP in Canada, it's likely you own shares in several American companies and lost a lot of money there, too. I know I have.

So please, please don't tell me what happens in the United States has absolutely nothing to do with me, and it's none of my business.

We are so lucky. If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, you are a voter who has never lived through a world war. You can sit back and take your right to vote for granted, because you didn't personally know people who died to maintain a democracy for you. You've never known the fear of having no recourse for having your rights stripped. My grandparents were proud of their right to vote, because their parents were from a time where the women couldn't, and the men had to die in battle for it. But we HAVE THAT RIGHT now, and when I see people posting on my blog that voting doesn't matter, it's not a duty, it's not a responsibility, it makes me so sad.

You are making an incredibly important decision today, and regardless of which way you vote, if you are informed, that's what matters. Vote for the party that best speaks to your needs. Vote for the party that you think will effect the change you need in your life right now. Vote for the party who will do the most for you.

The rest of the world is watching you today, sitting on our hands, unable to do a thing, while you make a decision that affects us deeply, in our day-to-day lives. I can say whatever I want, and you can take it, leave it, or ignore it. It's entirely your decision. I can verbally support the person I like because I have an informed opinion.

But guess what: that's ALL I can do. If you're an American reading this right now, you have the ability to do so much more.

The world is not against you. You have a rich history with a diverse population, and two incredible candidates running for president of that remarkable country today. We are standing with you, eager to see what will happen tonight. And no matter what the outcome, it will affect all of us.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Lost Season 5 Ep Titles

The first six episode titles of Lost's season 5 have been announced. For those who consider titles a spoiler, I'll post them in white so you won't see them (everyone else can highlight to see what they are).

Episode 5.01 - Because You Left
Episode 5.02 - The Lie
Episode 5.03 - Jughead
Episode 5.04 - The Little Prince
Episode 5.05 - This Place Is Death
Episode 5.06 - The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

I don't know who the flashbacks and flashforwards will be for, but maybe episode 1 will be on the island, "The Lie" could be about the Oceanic 6, I have no idea what episode 3 would refer to, "The Little Prince" could be Aaron (and it's one of my fave books!), This Place Is Death might be an island flashback/forward (maybe Alpert?), and episode 6 is the one that excites me the most, because maybe we'll see Bentham off the island visiting everyone. I'm keen to know if he visited Sun, since we never get any mention that he did.

Okay, y'all can open your eyes now.

And... GO OBAMA!!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Shut Up or DIE

I saved this one for Halloween. I've known Tony Burgess for years. I worked with Tony as his editor for a book of short stories called "Fiction for Lovers." The book went on to win the ReLit Award (the only literary award I know of where the author AND the editor are honored, and I got a cool Tolkien-looking inscribed ring) and I've always been very proud of it. In fact, you can buy it here! (Plug plug):

Before Fiction for Lovers, Tony wrote a book called Pontypool Changes Everything. Set in Ontario cottage country, it's a psychological horror novel about how language begins infecting people and they turn into flesh-eating zombie-type monsters, virtually annihilating the population of the area. Then Bruce McDonald, of Hard Core Logo, Road Kill, and Highway 61 (one of my all-time favourite movies) fame, came a-knocking and bought the film rights to the book. The option went on as Tony tried several times to write a script that could capture visually what he'd successfully achieved on a psychological level in the book, but it got increasingly difficult, and script after script was tossed out.

And then, one day, he came up with the idea of placing the suspense and terror in words and NOT visuals, and boom, the script came out, and it worked.

Unfortunately, I missed it at the film festival (we, the publishers of the book, stupidly thought we might actually get tickets, but those were all reserved for people who worked in the mailroom at Visa or something), but it's skedded to open in March in Canada. The movie has been getting rave reviews already (Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly opened her article about the film festival by talking about it) and here is the trailer, for your viewing pleasure. Scary stuff!!