11/23.

Just in case you were wondering…

This is what my tonight looks like. Making burritos, reading magazines, fucking around on the internet. It’s so sexy that I might end up hurting myself if I’m not careful.

You were an island and I passed you by.

Okay, for today, let’s start at something we know and go somewhere we don’t and end up… who knows?

1. This man:

Sawyer from Lost. Remember him?

2. This is a picture of Sawyer reading a book:

That’s in “Eggtown.” How odd was it that Sawyer was the most prolific reader on the show? And Ben came in second place. We saw lots of glimpses of Ben’s and Jack’s bookshelves but Sawyer was the one we always saw actually reading (and Ben just occasionally). I wonder if Sawyer and Juliet (re)started a book club somewhere in their three years in the 1970s DHARMA Initiative… Hmm.

2 1/2. I’m all about Sawyer and Juliet reading Erica Jong‘s Fear Of Flying, I gotta say.

Go ahead, say it with me now: “Zipless fuck.” That felt good, didn’t it?

2 3/4. Like I said…

Ben actually read sometimes. In his mind, it goes like this: James Joyce > Stephen King. And I’d have to agree with him.

Sorry, Juliet.

3. Anyway, that book that Sawyer happens to be reading there is this:

The Invention Of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, written in 1940. It’s about a fugitive who ends up on a mysterious island where strange things are happening…

4. That particular cover above is based on the fact that the lead female role of the book, a character called Faustine, is based on silent film star Louise Brooks, whom is on the cover. This is another picture of her:

It’s also been said that the book was written, in part, as a reaction to the decline of her career at the time.

5. The plot, rather roughly, is: a man hiding from the authorities ends up on a mysterious island. Eventually a group of people come and the fugitive falls in love with one of the women with them. He keeps a diary, in which he talks about observing these people and their actions all the while trying to not be discovered by them, and how they seem to repeat some of the same conversations over and over, and then disappear. The fugitive tries to confront the woman, Faustine, and tell her how he feels about her but, as Wikipedia puts it, “an anomalous phenomenon keeps them apart.”

6. This is the original first edition cover of the book:

And another:

…which were designed by Norah Borges, the sister of Jorge Luis Borges, one of the author’s closest friends and a serious advocate of this novel. Borges even wrote a prologue for the book in which he said: “To classify it [the novel] as perfect is neither an imprecision nor a hyperbole.”

7. Supposedly the novel was inspired in part by earlier novels, such as 1934′s XYZ, by Clemente Palma, which I don’t know much about, but also the much more popular novel, The Island Of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells.

8. This is an image from the 1996 film version of the movie:

9. And below is a joke that was inspired by that little detail:

Yeah, that’s right.

10. I only saw that 1996 version of The Island Of Dr. Moreau once, which was directed by John Frakenheimer, and it was incredibly long ago, probably not long after it came out, but I love hearing accounts of the considerably rocky production, which suffered all kinds of shake ups, script rewrites almost daily, the original director being fired just three days into shooting on location in the tropical wilderness of North Queesland, Australia and, of course, the perfect storm that is Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando.

Anyway, so just a day or two after they got to their tropical location shoot, Kilmer decided that he wanted his role (as the lead character who happens upon the unethical villainy of the mad Dr. Moreau) cut by 40%. Some of this was because, yes, Val Kilmer is insane, but it was also right around the time he was going through a painful divorce. And after quite a bit of examination, it was discovered that there was no way to cut down the role Kilmer had been hired for, so he’d have to trade roles with David Thewlis, who had been cast as one of Moreau’s creepy flunkies.

11. Only slightly related: “I’m Val Kilmer. Take me to the strip club!”

12. Val Kilmer, even at your greatest heights, you’re still no Charlie Sheen. That’s a fact to both be ashamed of and to take pride in.

13. Speaking of weird actor bullshit on the set of a movie, if you ever get a chance, and are bored enough, you should go read up on the crazy demands that Marlon Brando came up with on the set of 2001′s The Score starring Rober De Niro, Edward Norton, and Angela Bassett. It’s some great stuff like not wanting to wear pants (so therefore a majority of his scenes are shot from the waist up) or refusing to take direction from director Frank Oz, whom he would only refer to as “Miss Piggy,” which lead to Oz having to sit in a van outside the set with a monitor and relaying direction via walkie talkie to De Niro to give to Brando.

Honestly, it’s enough to make you want to get really huge (mostly in a fame and talent sort of way, but possibly also in physical size) and just go really splendidly crazy, you know?

14. Getting somewhat back to our original topic… The Invention Of Morel. Interestingly enough, it was adapted into film in 1974 and starred the lovely Anna Karina, famous from so many Jean-Luc Godard films, and who was also in the film adaptation of The Magus. But that shouldn’t be held against her, should it?

15. But more interesting than that is the theory that the novel was a serious influence on the classic and notorious Alain Resnais film Last Year At Marienbad.

Many a person hate the film, which has inspired so much satire and so very many attempts at deciphering it, at finding meaning in it’s voluptuous qualities, but that’s an almost impossible task to do definitively.

16. If you’ve never seen it, shame on you. But if that’s true, I’ll try to sum the film up succinctly as best I can:

At a European château, a man approaches a woman. He claims to know her, but she doesn’t seem to know him. He tells her that they had met last year at Marienbad and that she had told him that she’d be waiting here for him now. He’s positive of this but again, she doesn’t remember. Her husband shows up. There’s a question of dominance at play, a power struggle, and the continuing effort to try and convince the woman of what the first man says is the truth. The characters have no names, but in the screenplay, the first man is X, the woman is A, and her husband’s name is M. Conversations happen again and again throughout the château, and reality seems to be a changing whim and there are many a haunting, cryptic voiceover hanging over lush, ambiguous tracking shots.

This is a very necessary film if you have any plans of calling yourself a pretentious film buff or a lover of the French New Wave.

17. The film is a thrill for guessing at, for surrendering yourself over to it’s masterful pace and tone, and then for pondering over with enlightened friends after a viewing.

18. Trust me, the film becomes a lot more fun and the guess work far more potent if you take on the assumption that it’s a science fiction story. Or a ghost story. Wander through that same mesmerizing landscape as the characters in the story and you’ll have a fun time.

19. Of course this all kind of ties into Lost, with certain echos of similar scenarios throughout the show and it’s mysterious island setting.

One example of that would be: Horace appearing to John and talking about Jacob’s cabin while chopping wood in a continuous loop. Of course, this was in a dream, but it’s an interesting visual representation of stone tape theory.

Remember back in the early, glory days of Lost theories, there was always stuff like “The Monster is nanotechnology,” which took a long time to fade after repeated denials from the producers, but that I always liked was holograms. Like “Jack’s dad is a hologram” or “Eko’s brother is a hologram,” meaning that they weren’t ghosts in the classic supernatural sense.

20. Last Year At Marienbad inspired the video for “To The End,” a 1994 single by Blur from their album Parklife

Jesus, remember Blur? Fuck, I miss Britpop. Damon Albarn has held on pretty strongly musical, both with Gorillaz and more recently complaining somewhat unnecessarily about Glee. Anyway, in the lovely video, that’s Albarn as “X” and Graham Coxon as “M.”

21. Albarn vs. Coxon? That’s fitting.

22. A year after “To The End” Blur would use another film as fuel for pastiche in a music video with “The Universal” from The Great Escape. Viddy well:

The film this time being Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, interesting enough. And the single’s cover was reminiscent of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

23. It should be pointed out that these both songs that I like quite a bit, as well as their videos. It was a smart move on Blur’s part, I think in doing these pastiches, not only because it makes them appear more stylistically interesting and intellectual (or as intellectually far as an homage can take one these days), but it really reinforced the strong roots that the 1960s held within the foundations of Britpop.

24. Going back to Last Year At Marienbad, another video:

This short film, called “The Arranged Time,” by a filmmaker named Scott Johnston, clearly owes a debt to the mysterious dream logic of Resnais’ classic, but is also it’s own intriguing thing. It’s well worth the viewing, but if you don’t want to favor the tip of the hat to Last Year At Marienbad, I can always offer you the hipster version of a reference: It’s remarkably David Lynch-ian.

25. I should probably loop this thing back around somewhat, back to where we started…

…but to a slightly different starting point…

…with that guy.

from here.

26. Here’s a nice fun fact for you: Matthew Fox has never seen a single episode of Lost.

Apparently he’s just really uncomfortable with watching himself “act.”

I can just imagine him watching the show and thinking, “Oh man, this Jack guy is just too fucking intense.”

27. This is a great picture I found today…

28. I like Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, but I also really liked Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne.

28A. It’s kind of like how I’d rather watch a Tony Stark movie than an Iron Man movie.

29. Staying mostly on target here… Don’t forget: They originally wanted Michael Keaton to be Jack on Lost. Granted, had that happened, they would’ve killed him off in the pilot (to shock you!) and Kate would’ve become the lead of the show, but had they kept him, I feel confident that he would’ve mustered up a decent quota of Jackface on a regular basis.

The problem with casting a seasoned film actor like Michael Keaton in the role of Jack would’ve been that he just wouldn’t have taken the chances that a seasoned and angry television actor like Matthew Fox (who always seemed to have something of a chip on his shoulder, a kind of unresolved anger residing within him after Party Of Five) would have and did end up taking. It’s shocking to think and say this in a way, but I just don’t think that Michael Keaton would’ve matched Matthew Fox’s intensity.

30. I made mention the other day, somewhat jokingly, that I kind of assumed that The Venture Bros. would end with the titular characters’ father, Rusty, putting himself out of his own misery (which is a much larger conversation, of course), but in thinking about that in the days since I typed those words, I couldn’t think of a moment in Lost where we saw Jack actually reading a book. Which makes sense for a lost of reasons, one being that Jack always had shit to do, was always on the move. He wasn’t a lounger like Sawyer or Ben or Locke. But, speaking of Locke, that was the only instance I could think of where Jack had a seat and read something rather significant…

…that item being Locke’s suicide note. That’s heavy, right?

31. This picture is funny:

32. It’s a nice thought, thinking back to the humble, mysterious beginnings of Lost

I’d love to someday see a book from Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse talking about all the various things they had wanted to do on the show that didn’t work out. On one hand, obviously, it wouldn’t matter. The show is the final product and that’s all that really matters, but even still, from the perspective of creating and writing and running a big show, one as ambitious as the one they produced, I’d be dying to know tricks they had up their sleeves that didn’t work out (Nikki and Paulo), how things would’ve gone if certain tricks hadn’t worked out so well (the character that became Benjamin Linus was only supposed to be around for three episodes and wasn’t intended to be the leader of the Others but Michael Emerson was just too good), and how they got to where they did.

Just imagine all those creative ghosts that are alive and wandering around the Island of Ideas.

33. All of that said, right now I’d figure this would be the last time that we really talk about Lost on this blog, but I can’t commit to that notion, not fully. To me personally, the show was such a broad, interesting thing that I feel like something can always come along that has relevance with the show. Especially, if you’ve noticed so far, since I have a particular interest in the way things align and connect with each other.

Who knows, maybe we’ll never talk about Lost again here. Or maybe we’ll be talking about it again tomorrow. Memories and locations intertwine differently for all of us and we can only bring our own unique meaning to them. The past has an amazing power over us, a constant hold, but it’s different for everyone. I would love to have a new show come along that inspires and interests us and ignites our imagination just like Lost did, but right now I’m not holding my breath. Maybe we’ll never leave the place we made together.

The City On The Edge Of Forever.

Phoenix is the sweatiest city in America.

Stranger In Moscow.”

Sydney and the light rail.

Augmented reality in London.

The ghost in the field, and RFID chips.

What will happen when London is flooded?

Berlin” in Paris.

Interracial couple denied marriage license in Louisiana.

Soft robots and DARPA.

Moscow’s mayor promises a winter without snow.

Paris Syndrome and Jerusalem Syndrome.

San Francisco and the 1906 earthquake.

Rebuilding New Orleans.

from here.

City Of Blinding Lights.”

A possible glimpse at our future space cities.

America’s most expensive cities and most impoverished cities.

FOX promises to air all 13 of the already ordered Dollhouse season two episodes.

Speaking of which, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s The Cabin In The Woods being held back a year to be switched over to 3D.

Magnetricity” observed for the first time.

A map of your future mega-cities and megaopolises.

“When the lights go down in the city…”

Sensing the immaterial-material city.

Cities underground and cities tsunami-resistant.

City Of Shadows.

The ruins of Chernobyl, over 20 years later.

Cities In Dust.”

GTA IV: Inherent Vice City.

Silver City” and “Sad, Sad City.”

Why all cities are haunted.

The mind of a city (and how our brains are similar).

The cityscapes of François Schuiten.

Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem.

The city is a battlesuit for surviving the future.

Phantom City: See the city that could’ve been.

“…when we reach the city.”

“I have come to wound the autumnal city.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

“I’ll take the coral reefs as my metaphor. Though hardly so beautiful. If the essence of life is information carried in DNA, then society and civilization are just colossal memory systems and a metropolis like this one, simply a sprawling external memory….”

-a quote from Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence, a movie that I was watching the other day and just first stirred the pot on several thoughts I had locked up. Thoughts about human beings and boxes we live in.

Warren Ellis had created a comic book character years ago called Jack Hawksmoor, the “king of cities.” Jack was a normal human who had been abducted by city-empathic aliens from the future and repeatedly operated on and “upgraded” to have city-specific powers for use with fighting some unknown future threat that was coming.

Jack Hawksmoor, the King Of Cities.

Hawksmoor, who’s name was inspired by both Spring Heeled Jack and Nicholas Hawksmoor, couldn’t survive for very long outside of an urban environment, but when he was in any city, he had powers specific to that city, including things like superhuman strength and agility, but also psychometry and the ability to control and alter architecture and infrastructure. I don’t think the character was ever utlized by successive writers to his full potential, but I do remember in one story where Hawksmoor had to fight a powerful villain, he made sure that the fight took place in Mexico City, the larged city in the world, to maximize his abilities.

Quarantined in utopia.

“There’s no one to know. There’s nothing to do. The city’s been down since you’ve been gone.”

Climate change and warfare.

Black And White Town.”

Scientists create “sexual tsunami.”

12 sexist vintage ads.

What’s left of the Roman city of Dougga.

Futurism vs. Science Fiction.

Futuristic steampunk urban recycling.

The little town that Los Angeles killed.

Speaking of which: Future Los Angeles.

Future Chicago.

Future New York.

The saddest blow job story ever.

History Of A Boring Town.”

Russell Brand not capable of monogamy.

10 most amazing ghost towns, including Prypiat.

Everything In It’s Right Place.”

Scientists develop “brain to brain communication.”

As time progresses, the future will literally devour the past: WW2-era statue with added cell tower.

Last Stop: This Town.”

There are two kinds of light.

Can you see time?

How elephants talk to each other through the ground.

Can robots make ethical decisions?

A link about the founder of the Jedi church.

We’re faster at making crises than we are at fixing crises.

Happy Birthday, Brigitte Bardot.

Jennifer’s Body is garbage, but you’d tap it anyways.

“Where’s the light to shine on me?”

Saturn’s moon Titan has a foggy bottom.

“There are two kinds of light — the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.”

-James Thurber, from Lanterns and Lances, 1963.

Using magnetism to turn drugs on and off.

Anticancer nanotech.

Neolithic carving raises eyebrows.

Send the dark underneath.”

Could we create quantum creatures in a lab?

Animals with “metacognition?”

Islands of the dead.

I’m just going to be as cut to the chase and classy as I can with this: last night’s episode of Lost gave me an erection of awesomeness.

I mean, right?

Predictably, since it was a Ben episode, we got a little more details, some holes filled in the various back stories, and plenty of fodder for future speculation.

Some quick thoughts:

Locke. Granted, it’s a Ben episode, but I really dig the “new John Locke” that we’ve been seeing post-resurrection. He’s more serene, operating with more of a purpose, and appears to have a Nic Cage-sized sense of knowing things. Goodbye sometimes confused and lost old man, and hello to embracing the fully confident new leader of the Others. And it sounds like he’s not crazy about housing his people in the barracks when they could be out in the wild. Roughing it!

Ben. He’s always been a little more than just the villain of the piece, but now, I have to say that it’s riveting watching him constantly working his games on people and setting up his machinations. And Michael Emerson’s portrayal of this character is fascinating in that no matter how confused or thrown for a loop the character ever could be, you can tell that the wheels are always still spinning in his brain.

Sure, the guy’s always lying, but I think that his most honest moment was probably last year when he was traipsing through the jungle with Hurley and Locke and had to pause to say: “How many times do I have to tell you, John? I always have a plan.” Good times.

Caesar. Ha ha.

Rousseau. Her encounter with Ben not only made me think that we may actually be done with her character now, but also makes me want to go back to season 2 and watch his first episode again. Lindelof wasn’t kidding when he teased that the two of them “had words” at some point in the past. Also, I think that the whispers have moved up a slots higher on the list of things I’m curious about.

Alex. Interesting how she became both Ben’s one decent quality (and you just have to be amazed that she was raised as well as she was, considering who her “dad” was) and seemingly that noose hanging over his head.

Richard Alpert, Benjamin Light’s #1 man crush. For starters, Ben was totally his Alex, right? Seemingly he was always cheering him on just a little (until Locke came alone), yeah? Secondly, he totally lies to Widmore about what Jacob wants, but Widmore just kind of goes with it, which I find fascinating, even though he really din’t have a choice. Speaking of which…

Jacob! Seemingly, he and the Island are one in the same, especially if you wanted to use them in a sentence. So, If I were to say to you, “Jacob wanted me to kick you in the balls,” then you could easily just as well say, “The Island wanted me to kick you in the balls.” Also, Jacob seems to be the magic word to use in just about every situation. You’re pissed and want to know why I just kicked you square in your balls? It’s simple. Jacob wanted me to. Sorry. You can’t argue with that.

Charles Widmore. Well, Chuck here didn’t leave the way I was thinking he would (I was hoping for a turn of the frozen donkey wheel, after being tricked into doing it by Ben), but this was just as interesting. Of course, after the fiasco with the baby Alex situation, it didn’t seem like it would’ve been too hard for Ben to make quick business of him. Also, try to ignore that he’s seriously rounding up on how long he’s been trying to get back to the Island.

Also, it’s interesting to see the new guy playing the middle aged Widmore, who looks a lot like Alan Dale, especially with that wig they gave him. Of course, the guy who played teenage Widmore back in the 50s looked a lot like Alan Dale too. Oddly, teenage Widmore guy and middle aged Widmore guy look nothing alike. Let’s hope they do just as good with the actress coming in to play middle aged Eloise.

Annddd, I’m fascinated by the symbol on the vests of the Others guys who were escorting Widmore (don’t ask my why, but I got a total Nixon vibe in that scene) to the submarine, which also had the symbol on it. It seems to be based on the Taoist ba gua, much like the DHARMA logo. A hold over from the Purge?

Desmond! A collective “Whew!” comes over the audience to find that his family and he weren’t violently murdered by Ben, even though I think Ben effectively got the revenge he sought against Widmore in the transaction. But also perhaps found a glimmer of a soul in himself too. And we got to see Desmond deserve a nice little beat down as well. I really want to go watch that sad little phone call Ben makes to Jack in “316.”

The Monster! Ah, the monster. They tell us over and over again, that it’s not a nanotech swarm (which I really want it to be even more now after having finished Michael Crichton’s Prey today), and yet… wouldn’t that make perfect sense? The way the “creature” transitions from it’s Monster state to it’s human replica capable of real conversational interactions (and throwing people against walls) is intriguing as hell.

Also, like Locke, I think all the monster wanted was an apology and some remorse. And some undying fear of God loyalty for the new leader of the Others. And you know what? I think it’s going to happen.

Oh, and The Question: What lies in the shadow of the statue?

Ooooh. I think something very interesting it happening with the red shirts of Ajira flight 316. Perhaps their tiny brains are being taken over? Or perhaps, just perhaps, they aren’t there on accident and have something to do with the upcoming war that Widmore has warned us about. Plus, I love that Frank Lapidus enters every scene he’s in like he just stumbled out of a bender. If they only gave him a drinking scene with Desmond he’d be my favorite character.

Next week: Miles talks to dead people! (Spoiler: Naomi appears). Dr. Pierre Chang! Hurley (who also talks to dead people) and… what appears to just be some awesome good times with the DHARMA gang back in the 70s. That, or we’re going to outer space, brotha!

But tonight is the premiere of Harper’s Island, the 13 week close ended episodic television version And Then There Was None meets your average cheap slasher flick, where a group of well to do strangers go to a wedding on an island, and then slowly get picked off one by one by a mysterious killer who has a beef with them from the past.

At Wonder-Con, Lollipop and August and I attended a panel promoting the show, but held by the makers of the Lonelygirl15 franchise, who were executing an online web series meant to tie in to the main show. The whole presentation was laughably bad, and the show appeared to be ridiculously shot “video blogs” of a cute girl who couldn’t stop herself from accidentally filming her boobs all the time.

I love mysteries and horror movies, but I’ve always preferred the “slasher” films because, typically, you get that little bit of whodunnit involved. The mysteries are usually either retarded or too easy to figure out, but maybe that’s half the fun too. More so if they’re trashy. And this show just sounds like one of interesting ideas that can only be executed horribly. I’m watching the first few minutes of this as I type and aside from Final Girl to be Elaine Cassidy (who was wonderful in Atom Egoyan’s Felicia’s Journey), Richard Burgi being his usual level of sleaze, and Harry Hamlin making eyes at some twink in the wedding party, this is just a bunch of nobodies that you can’t wait to see get offed (though I’d suggest that you just go watch the original April Fools’ Day instead). Secluded island murder porn, here we come.