Very early yesterday morning I received a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection (otherwise known as a ‘walking epidural’) in my lower back to help reduce the inflammation of nerves that have made the last few months of my life very annoying. It was a non-surgical procedure, although it did require an IV and anesthesia. Apparently I’m more gregarious than usual right before going under; I remember rambling on to the kind medical staff about the World Series, wild turkeys roaming our suburb, and how much I love those Claritin RediTabs for immediate allergy relief.


A brief synopsis of right before and immediately following the procedure:


Me: “Do you buy medicine in bulk from Costco too? Hey, I feel kind of funny. Did you add drugs….”
And: scene. I’m out cold. Cut to 20 minutes later. I am behind a hideous, outdated pastel curtain in another room. Somehow they managed to turn me over so that I was lying on my back when I awoke, and for that I feel sorry for the nursing staff in retrospect. I’m sore and stiff, and feel like I’ve been run over by an 18-wheeler, but look forward to ‘roid rage. I mean recovery. Unfortunately, all of my best laid plans to finally win the office Halloween costume contest will have to be put on hold until next year due to my physical inability to actually wear my clever homemade costume. Sigh.  


Long story short, because I am limited to sitting and sleeping for a week and have some time on my hands, I thought I’d blog about the random topics that have been on my mind.



I had higher expectations for this movie, a blatant American Idol parody that didn’t fair too well at the box office. Given that it was written and directed by Paul Weitz (About a Boy, In Good Company) and featured Hugh Grant channeling Simon Cowell, I thought it had great promise. But the dialogue and flow were disappointing, and the transparent Bush and Cheney caricatures were entirely too campy. The saving grace is Mandy Moore; she really is an underrated comedic actress (see: Saved).



Was anyone else disconcerted by the sudden appearance of Trixie from Deadwood appearing as an Other on Lost? Although her role was short lived, I have to admit that it was difficult for me to imagine her as anything other than a sassy prostitute. It was also nice to see Kim Dickens (Joanie Stubbs on Deadwood) again as Sawyer’s conned ex, Cassidy. I’m sure that Liz Sarnoff, who was a writer on Deadwood and has written several of Lost’s best episodes, had something to do with their casting.



At first it bothered me that the series is filmed exactly like the movie, pseudo-documentary style. But the acting is stellar, starting with the surprisingly compelling Kyle Chandler. He is putting his Georgia accent to good use, and his strong but flawed character is the centerpiece of the entire show. I also love Connie Britton, who not only plays Chandler’s wife in the series, but also filled the role as the coach’s wife in the film. I hear rumors that this show is on the brink for next season, as viewership is low despite critical raves. So if you haven’t jumped on the Friday Night Lights bandwagon yet, hop on now.



Tied for my favorite new show of the season (with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip). I love how each episode is a cliffhanger that does not acutally leave you waiting around all season for answers; resolution begins at the very beginning of the next show.  I continue to think of Hayden Panettiere (who plays indestructible cheerleader Claire), as Ally McBeal’s daughter, but her character is fascinating and my favorite to follow among the many storylines. It is also fun to see Jack Coleman again (Steven Carrington from Dynasty), this time as a mysterious and menacing man who happens to be Claire’s father. And if there were an award for smarmy, Adrian Pasdar (a.k.a. Mr. Dixie Chick – his wife is Natalie Maines) would be the clear winner. We don’t even know if he is good or bad, but it sure is easy to dislike him on this show.



Let me first state that I am not a Josh Hartnett fan. I’ve never really understood his appeal nor have I enjoyed any of his performances in previous films. He is tolerable in this one, primarily because he is surrounded by a strong supporting cast that includes Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley and Bruce Willis. The movie attempts to intermingle aspects of The Usual Suspects with Pulp Fiction, but isn’t as good as either. I enjoyed the ostentatious set design more than the overall story and film, to be quite honest.



If you’re on MySpace and a fan of The Office, I highly recommend adding the cast as your ‘friends.’ Many of the actors post pages as their characters, and offer entertaining insights and tidbits behind the scenes of both episodes of the series and real life experiences (i.e. attending the Emmys and winning Outstanding Comedy Series in 2006). They’ve also been known to write you back if they have time. I read their often hilarious MySpace blogs (usually written while actually on set and at their desks), and my personal favorites include Pam (Jenna Fischer), Angela (Angela Martin), Meredith (Kate Flannery), and Kevin (Brian Baumgartner).  Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) has a hysterical blog on but is not on MySpace.


Side Note: Most of the episodes of The Office are produced and written by three of the actors on the show (Mindy Kaling – Kelly, Paul Lieberstein – Toby, and BJ Novak – Ryan the Temp). I love that.



So we have both Matthew Fox (Charlie from Party of Five) and Scott Wolf (Bailey from Party of Five) gracing our living rooms once again. And they’re both playing doctors (Fox on Lost, Wolf on The Nine). The network might as well add Neve Campbell to the cast of Grey’s Anatomy and Lacey Chabert to Brothers & Sisters just so we can all enjoy the Salinger clan once again.  


Side Notes: Tamara Taylor, who was Matthew Fox’s girlfriend for a season on Party of Five, plays Walt’s mom on Lost. And talk about six true degrees of separation in casting and directing – Daniel Attias has directed episodes of Party of Five, Deadwood and Lost. It’s a small world after all.



The finale was kind of anticlimactic and I thought Uli deserved to win. Clearly I am not in the fashion world, but as a woman and consumer, I was much more drawn to both her line and Laura’s. Michael appeared to fizzle out toward the end, but something tells me he’ll do just fine with his talent and popularity. In my opinion, very few women outside of the fashion and music industries would choose to wear one of Jeffrey’s pieces; Uli and Laura created clothing that have much broader appeal to everyday women.  



Why, why, why?! I was thrilled to hear that Scrubs is finally returning. But NBC has scheduled it opposite Grey’s Anatomy. Yes, they’re both doctor shows, one that is really funny and one that is fairly dramatic with moments of levity. It is very frustrating that networks fail to realize that these two shows have a lot of the same audience and want to watch both shows. If NBC is really trying to bring back Must See TV comedy on Thursday nights, they should put Scrubs at 8pm, followed by The Office at 8:30pm. Place Twenty Good Years out to pasture instead at 9pm, so that Scrubs won’t have to face the juggernaut that is Grey’s. Not every household in America has TiVo or the capability to tape one show and watch another at the same time. I am pissed, so I can only imagine how Zach Braff and co. feel.

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I don’t know about you, but last night’s episode was easily my favorite of Season Three thus far.  We were fed more information than usual and I loved the intensity. I present to you, in no particular order, my random, long-winded and perhaps outrageously impossible theories and questions of the week:


* I now believe there are two very distinct groups of Others. The first are the Hostiles who live on the island where the plane crashed; the ones who steal children and walk without leaving footsteps. Kelvin referred to them in the Season Two finale. The second group are the ones who claim to be ‘good;’ Others living on a separate island in a Stepford community who seem to have taken control of the abandoned Dharma Initiative experiments…or at least are using the leftover equipment.


* So if the good Others really have contact with the outside world, why do they still use a VCR and outdated computers and television monitors? Why haven’t they received updated technology and medical supplies, such as new defibrillator paddles for resuscitating patients? Were the very modern washer and dryer in Desmond’s hatch meant for the Others and the drop landed on the wrong island? Nothing else in his hatch seemed to be from the last few decades.  


* If the Dharma Initiative is indeed defunct or was abandoned, why would Dharma food and supplies continue to be delivered to the island(s)? If the Others are in touch with the real world, couldn’t they request normal, unbranded goods?


* Did Juliet grow up on the island, as Ben claims to have? If so, how did she receive her medical training? Manuals and videos from the outside world?


* Pickett and (the now deceased) Colleen were the only obvious couple among the Others’ village. Were they trying to have children, using Juliet’s fertility services? Are the Others angrier than ever now because Colleen was one of their last hopes for carrying a child? Are all of the Others barren?


* Are the Hostile Others kidnapping children in order to keep them from the good Others? Are the two groups of Others unfriendly adversaries? Why didn’t the Hostiles take Walt when they had the chance? Why would the good Others use costumes and dress like their less stylish Other counterparts when confronting the Losties on their island…to appear more intimidating and less normal than they really are?


* Juliet’s assertion that she makes decisions separately from Ben reminded me of the time last season when Ben (as Henry Gale) was toying with Locke’s emotions, after which Locke revealed that he and Jack made decisions together.


* Juliet said she’s not used to death, and yet Ethan, Goodwin and various other Others have died recently…


* The good Others aren’t killers, as they have stated many times. Almost all deaths have been at the hands of the Losties: Sun shot Collen, Ana Lucia shot Shannon and also killed Goodwin, Kate shot an Other who was following the group in last season’s finale, Michael shot Libby and Ana Lucia, Charlie shot Ethan, and Eko killed a few Others during their first attempt to kidnap the tail section kids. The only Other who has killed anyone so far was Goodwin, who killed Nathan when Ana Lucia suspected he was the Other who wasn’t on their flight.


* If indeed there are two islands, don’t you wonder how is it that the Losties never see or hear boats in the dead silence of night? As I’ve said all along, I believe there is a vast underground transportation system that was built and utilized by the Dharma folks. If it was deep enough beneath the ocean (similar to the BART tunnel under the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland), that would explain how the Others travel back and forth quickly and stealthily. Don’t forget – Ben made reference to Alcatraz last night, a small island not far from the underground subway tunnel of the Bay Area. A train system of sorts might also explain the metallic ‘monster’ noises heard on the Lostie’s island (I believe we were given a clue in the Pilot episode, when Rose said the ‘monster’ sounded familiar, that she was from the Bronx). Also, last night the Others said that the ‘sub’ had returned with Colleen. While most will take that to mean that they travel via an actual submarine, I choose to think that they’re referring to the subway. I’d like someone to tell me where they would disembark from a submarine on their small island, let alone why they’re always dry.


* I think that the boat Ben gave Michael to sail away on was the Others’ only one, that Ben really wanted Desmond’s sailboat as a backup to the underground system (it’s also much quieter than the motor boat was).


* If Sawyer and Michael sailed in circles on the broken raft and wound up back on their island, how did Michael and Walt avoid the same situation? Were Ben’s specific directions, the set of coordinates to get them home, the only true way out? Is this the same portal that allows the supply transportation in?


* So if the bear cages are on Other Island, how did the polar bears (and black horse, etc.) get over to the main island?


* In Claire’s flashback last season, the medical hatch where she was taken and returned to is on the main island…not on Other Island. So how do you explain the clearly designated medical facility where Jack operated on Collen last night?  Stepford Hospital?


* Kate repeated the exact phrase that Jack first uttered last season: live together, die alone (which also happened to be the title of the Season Two finale).


* There were some similarities between the interactions of Jack and Juliet & Kate and Sawyer last night, all of whom established feelings in very blunt ways. Kate admitted that she didn’t actually love Sawyer, and Jack told Juliet he didn’t care about her.


* We know that Desmond was able to predict the weather due to his recently acquired psychic powers, but what was the purpose of his homemade antenna? Is he trying to capture electricity for something, or just to prove to himself that the lightning was coming?


* Desmond predicted the rain before it began, much like Locke did in Season One…


* If the island has healing properties (see: Locke’s legs, Rose’s cancer, Jin’s procreative abilities), why wouldn’t it affect/heal the tumor that Jack saw on the x-rays? Everyone is assuming that the x-rays were of Ben’s back, but I think they’re Locke’s!! Think about it…the Others have medical charts and inside knowledge about the Losties, Ben (as Henry Gale) told Locke last season that he was coming for him specifically, and the Others are clearly fascinated with special human circumstances (i.e. Walt). Also, Ben’s behavior has not been demonstrative of an ill man; he was dropped from a net suspended high in a tree, sustained extensive beatings, went on a long hike without so much as a drop of sweat, and threw Sawyer’s tough ass around with great ease.


* How much of what Kate is seeing and doing part of the difficult two weeks that Ben warned her about? Was Sawyer’s pacemaker experiment part of it? What about her lack of escape, regardless of the opportunity?


* If the Others really know so much about the Losties, why would Ben ask how much Sawyer weighs?


* While standing above Sawyer with the needle, the Others referenced ‘the movie.’ Clearly they were talking about the infamous Pulp Fiction scene with Uma Thurman. Was that one of the VHS cassettes included in a supply drop from the outside world?


* It’s not a coincidence that we find out Sawyer has a daughter in the same episode that Juliet reveals her background in fertility. Totally Out There Theories of the Week: Sawyer’s ex, Cassidy, got pregnant using fertility drugs and Juliet was her doctor. At some point in time. AND… we’ll meet young Clementine on the island in the near future.

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Here are a few observations about last night’s episode, ‘Further Instructions.’


* The episode began the very same way that the Pilot episode did: opening shot on a man’s eye, the guy lying in the jungle, discombobulated and not sure how he got there.


* In Locke’s hallucination dream at the airport, he saw his fellow survivors in very distinct groups, and Boone offered some insightful statements about the situation that each is currently in: Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Ben (“there’s nothing you can do for them…yet”); Sayid, Jin and Sun (“Sayid’s got it covered”); Charlie, Claire and baby Aaron (“they will be fine…for a while”); and Desmond (“He’s helping himself).


* After the hatch explosion, Charlie had trouble hearing, Locke had trouble speaking, and we’re not sure about Eko yet. Perhaps we’re looking at a Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil triangle…


* Last season, Eko went 40 days without talking. Although his was self-imposed, there has to be a coincidence with Locke’s brief inability to speak.


* It seems that Desmond gained special telepathic abilities after the hatch imploded. Did the destruction of the electromagnetic anomaly have anything to do with it? Did it have anything to do with Locke’s temporary condition too? His was short-lived, so it will be interesting to see if Desmond’s new powers last…


* In the Incredible Hulk comic (which was referenced last night), a man is exposed to a nuclear blast that blows his clothes off and results in a major personal transformation. Sounds quite like our pal Desmond… 


* After returning to the beach, no one seemed to notice Desmond; not his odd behavior and not the fact that he was now wearing a Hurley dress. Is there a chance that he’s actually dead, a la The Sixth Sense? And if so, why can only Hurley see him?


* Did the Others let the polar bears out, perhaps as a security system? We now know that the bears ate some Dharma folks, and they’re certainly interested in our survivors…but not the Others.


* Undercover agent Eddie told John in the forest that he was a ‘good man.’ Ben (back when he was Henry Gale in the hatch) also told John that he was one of the ‘good’ ones. And both Eddie and Ben have told Locke that they were looking for him specifically. It was interesting that Eddie said ‘they’ choose him. I believe that the Others didn’t take Locke for the very reason Eddie stated: he doesn’t have a criminal record and is amenable for coercion (unlike Kate & Sawyer). There has to be a connection between Eddie and the Others…


* Locke came across a broken and dirty Tonka truck in the polar bear cave. So either some Dharma kids perished or lived in there.


* If the hatch imploded down and in (rather than exploding up and out), wouldn’t Desmond, Eko and Locke have been trapped down inside and died? There is no visible hatch debris from the explosion, only the Quarantine door that flew down and almost hit Claire and Bernard in last season’s finale. Something doesn’t add up…

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The Pros:

It is pure Scorsese, compelling and violent with an excellent story and cast. In my opinion, this is his best film since Goodfellas.  I am finally convinced that Leonardo DiCaprio is a damn good actor; his intensity is off the charts in this one.  The star power is overwhelming but none of the talent is wasted or over the top…except for Mark Wahlberg.  Vera Farmiga (who looks like a Sarah Jessica Parker/Robin Wright Penn hybrid), more than holds her own as the sole female lead among the big boys.


The Cons:

The editing is distracting. I realize that it is a Scorsese characteristic, but certain scenes and songs were poorly cut and did not transition well. I had the same issue with Gangs of New York (well, that and the casting disaster that was Cameron Diaz).




The Pros:

Paul Giamatti should be a shoo-in for a Best Supporting Actor nomination. He seems much more comfortable as a character actor; he has mastered the art of disappearing into his roles and inadvertently steals the show more often than not.


The Cons:

The movie is a rental, not an experience you need to see in a theater. The other film about magicians in turn-of-the-century Europe, The Prestige, comes out soon and will undoubtedly do better at the box office. Not only did it have more than double the budget of The Illusionist, but it reunited Batman Begins director Christopher Nolan with Christian Bale and Michael Caine. Oh, and two other folks named Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson co-star. And some icon named David Bowie. 

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Here are some belated theories and thoughts about last week’s Lost:


* Before getting shot on the boat, Colleen said that Sun wasn’t a killer, despite what she may think. Did Sun kill Jae Lee, the man she was having an affair with? When Jae came crashing down onto Jin’s car in an apparent suicide, he had the pearls he’d offered Sun in his hand (only Jae and Sun knew about those pearls). So my theory is that Sun was in the hotel room (unbeknownst to Jin when he beat Jae up) and she pushed him out the window herself. This is the woman, after all, that handled and shot a gun with surprising ease and agility on that boat. Could she have dropped and shattered Jae without remorse, like that glass ballerina when she was young?


* In typical LOST fashion, there has to be a connection between Jae’s string of pearls for Sun and the Pearl Hatch….


* If the Others are so interested in babies and know so much about the survivors, then why on earth would they shoot at a pregnant woman (Sun)?


* Something tells me that the Others will look to Jack to operate on Colleen. The value of kidnapping a doctor for their village is obvious (although there seemed to have been physicians of some sort in Claire’s flashback).  So why are they so interested in Kate and Sawyer? In Others’ terms, Kate and Sawyer are ‘bad’ people, both with criminal pasts…


* Why hasn’t Ben been to visit Sawyer? He’s spent time with both Jack and Kate.


* When Sun told Sayid that Jin knows she betrayed him, was she referring to her affair or lying to him on the boat about their plan?


* The survivors have been on the island for 69 days. Has that been enough time for Jin to comprehend and speak English as quickly as he has, or was he also secretly learning the language before the flight too?


* Why was Alex (Rousseau’s daughter) hiding in the bushes to talk to Kate? Is she not part of the Others group that seems to be in charge of Jack, Kate and Sawyer (perhaps a different Other contingency that includes Mrs. Klugh from Season 2)? Was she another plant, a trap set up by Ben to see how Kate would respond? Ben was watching the entire thing unfold on his monitors, after all. Was she really interested in the fate of Karl, the younger guy who tried to flee the cage across from Sawyer?  


* They made a point of letting us know that Kate is wearing one of Alex’s dresses. Is Alex an Other outcast? Did they get all they needed from her and now she’s roaming freely as a rogue Other? And how is it that in 16 years, she and Rousseau have never found each other on that island?


* When Ben told Kate that the next two weeks were going to be very difficult, was she told that her every move would be under observation, that she and the boys were going to be put in various social and physical situations so that the Others could gauge their reactions? Putting Kate in that dress to do hard labor in the heat with Sawyer could have been a test for him…


* Is Ben monitoring activity in all hatches? If so, he would have known about the sailboat (by listening to & watching Desmond and Kelvin).


* If the Others really do have contact with the outside world, then they could have gathered information about all of the survivors from news reports about the disappearance of Flight 815.  


* Ben said that he’s lived on the island his entire life but has chosen not to leave. When he tells Jack that he can go home if he cooperates, does Jack make that same decision (is his loyalty to the other survivors strong enough to make him stay)? Is Ben grooming Jack to replace him so he can leave, much like Kelvin tried to with Desmond?


* Why was Ben so concerned with getting that sailboat? We were led to believe that no one can ever really leave the island (i.e. Desmond sailing in circles), but perhaps there is an escape route. Either that or he simply needed to replace the boat that he gave Michael and Walt…


* Random Thought of the Week: There HAS to be something to the fact that Jack, Jin, Kate, Locke, Sawyer, and Sun all have major issues with their fathers.

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