Friday, October 6

Lost Friday - "A Tale Of Two Cities."

This is what happens when you vote Republican.
Season 3 - Episode 1: "A Tale Of Two Cities."

Lost Friday is upon us; we have much to discuss. Welcome back, kids.

You know, with all of the Lost rip-offs and second rate 'paranormal dramas' we've been force-fed so far this season (and last), it's nice to be reminded of what started the trend in the first place. After seeing just the first three minutes of the Lost Season Premiere, I was convinced that I was watching the greatest television drama of all-time. No fooling.

In fact, this show is so good, I needed to invent a brand new adjective just to describe it. 'Snabtabular.' Feel free to use that one; I know that you're going to anyways.

The Twilight Zone was brilliant and groundbreaking, but never went deeper than 30 minutes with an idea. The Prisoner and The Fugitive allowed us to follow along with the protagonist and solve the bizarre mystery for ourselves, but the former ran out of ideas and the latter stopped too early. With Lost, you keep waiting for them to lose the plot and fall flat on their faces, but they continue to hit you with something both unexpected and un-insulting to your intelligence. Considering that 15 million viewers are continuing to have their theories destroyed and their expectations exceeded, that's nothing short of a Hurculean feat. It has to be hard to keep a step ahead of nerds like us.

Don't bother throwing him a preserver.
(Matthew Fox finally drowns in his own ego.)

A few minutes after the episode was over, I wrung the whiz out of my pants, puked, and went online. It was then that I saw what happens when 800,000 people try to edit a Wikipedia page at the same time. Way to go, you damn kids; you've destroyed the World's only Free Encyclopedia. This is why we can't have nice things.

Eventually, it all smoothed out into The Skinny you see before you. And away we go:

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Come for the view, stay for the eggs.
(Ben's restaurant had great food, but the parking was terrible.)

The episode begins with people in a book club, in Juliet's house, who is the host. She is prepping for the party. She first puts on some music (specifically, "Downtown" by Petula Clark) and looks at the mirror. She seems to be flustered by trying to keep her composure. The oven timer starts going off and she notices the oven is filled with smoke. Her muffins are burnt! She rushes over, takes them out, and burns her hand in the process. The doorbell rings, there is a woman at the door. Outside, there is a man working on the plumbing (Ethan). The two women go inside. The book being discussed is Carrie by Stephen King. One of the members of the book club, Adam, complains about Juliet's choice of this book and remarks that Ben wouldn't read it even in the bathroom.

What's Adam Sandler like?
("I just wanted to say that you were great in Happy Gilmore.")

A rumbling appears to be an earthquake (judging by the calm manner in which the party acts, this kind of shaking may be rather common) - after it ends, they run outside, where the house seems to be in a cul-de-sac community. They see the Flight 815 plane break up. Henry Gale (actually named Ben) tells Ethan Rom and Goodwin to go to both of the crash sites and act as survivors, and give him a list in three days. The camera pulls back to fully reveal that this community of houses is in a clearing amidst the jungle on the island.

Kate wakes up in a bathroom. Tom is there and tells Kate to take a hot shower. She says she won't while he's there, but Tom only laughs and tells her she's not his type. He leaves, and she takes a shower. When she emerges, Tom has taken her clothes and has left her a dress instead. She changes into it, reluctantly.


Dress purty, Kate Austen.
(She looks pretty sexy... you know, for a Canadian.)

Tom and two Others bring her to a beach, where "Henry" is waiting at a covered table with chairs, freshly cooked food, utensils, and coffee, with a pair of handcuffs on the side. He compels her to handcuff herself, and when she asks why he's doing all this, "Henry" responds that he gave her a dress to make her feel feminine, fresh food to make her feel at home, allow her a view of the beach because her friends are seeing the same beach, and utensils to make her feel civilized. He tells Kate that the next two weeks will be most unpleasant.

Jack wakes up in a holding cell. He sees an open door, but when he walks towards it, he learns there is a thick glass wall blocking his way. He begins struggling with some chains hanging from the ceiling when Juliet walks into the room on the other side of the glass. She tells him that she wants to give him food, but he must move away from the door. Jack refuses to cooperate with her and continues to yank on the chain. After a number of exchanges, Jack is seemingly convinced that he needs to eat.


What's the deal with airplane food?
(Jack's rendition of 'Over The Rainbow' blew away the judges at the Prison Talent Show.)

When Juliet enters with the food, he attacks her and drags her out into the hallway. Henry is waiting and tells him that Juliet cannot open the nearby door, or it will kill all of them. Jack throws her away, and Henry runs out of another door, closing it on Juliet. Jack opens the first door, which pours water into the hallway. Then he and Juliet manage to close the door, but when Jack turns, Juliet knocks him out.

Meanwhile, Sawyer awakes in an outdoors cell with a strange contraption inside. He tries to figure it out, but another prisoner in the cell opposite his tells him not to. He continues, and is shocked by electricity. The other prisoner then picks his lock and picks Sawyer's and tells him to run the opposite way. He does, but Juliet finds him and shocks him. Sawyer is returned to his cell, and the other prisoner, Karl, is forced to apologize for asking him to help with his escape.

Sawyer soon figures out the 'gizmo.' Water falls into the trough, kibble falls on the ground, as does a large fish biscuit(With the word DHARMA on it). Tom tells him that the bears figured it out in two hours, implying the cells are where the polar bears once were held.

Kids, don't beat your wife.
(Shortly after stealing a pack of Marlboros, Sawyer finds himself featured on the 'Tazed & Confused' episode of Cops.)

Throughout Jack's story, he has flashbacks to the process of his divorce from Sarah. He becomes obsessed with discovering whom she is having an affair with, following her and researching her cell phone records. He begins to suspect that her lover is his father Christian, who pleads with Jack to "let it go." Jack ends up assaulting his father at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, driving Christian back to the bottle and landing Jack in jail. Sarah bails him out, imploring Jack to leave her alone.


Later in the episode, Juliet returns and reveals she knows much about Jack, who is back in the cell. She tells him how she has his father's autopsy report, his divorce record, information on his friends and family, etc. Jack only wants to know if his ex-wife is happy, and Juliet says she is. She also tells him he is being held in an aquarium tank in the Hydra, another DHARMA station, which is underwater. Jack agrees to Juliet bringing him food, so Juliet steps into the hallway, where Henry is standing, waiting. He tells her she has done a good job, and she says, "Thanks, Ben," revealing "Henry"'s real name.

Damn it!
("I'm so sick of Internet nerds making fun of my screencaps! WAAAAALLLT!")

There you have it. Considering how the episode was shot and how fans were forced to once again try to understand a new DHARMA location, I thought the writers and directors did a masterful job of keeping it all understandable. Then again, I might just be smarter than you. Numbers, please!

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4 - Be honest with me, now. Did you or did you not have a complete, homo-gay freak out at the way this episode started? This is the 4th time we've reset the clock, so to speak, in regards to the crash of Flight 815. They way they alluded to the Season Two Premiere was also brilliant; "Downtown" is this year's "Make Your Own Kind Of Music."

Twilight Zone much?
("I can't believe we forgot to bring the volleyball net.")

During the 'book club' scene, when the house started to rumble, I thought they were making the connection that this was taking place somewhere on the earth when the Swan Hatch up and imploded. I thought they were making the connection that the implosion was such that the civilized world could feel it. I thought wrong. Once I saw Ethan and Fake Henry walking around, I knew something was seriously wrong. Then I blacked out and my wife had to tell me how the rest of the show went.

Oh, speaking of wives, Ben and Juliet were obviously married at some point. The conversations and clues at the beginning, as well as their their attitude towards each other throughout the episode point to that (watch the opening scene again, this time knowing that Fake Henry is actually Ben).

Ben is also quite powerful; he runs the community like a cult leader and gets people to make scrambled eggs for him. He is, however, not as powerful as Richard Simmons, who actually gets paid to tell people when they can eat. That's the sort of power I'm looking for.

I'm not Penny, jerk.
("I know, I know. I thought I was Penny Widmore, too.")

8 - I want to clear this up, just in case there are people out there that were as confused as I was. Juliet is NOT Penny Widmore. The two actresses that play these parts look almost identical, which threw a huge monkey wrench into this episode. For like, 30 minutes, I was wondering how Penny Widmore could possibly be on the island, when we (assumingly) saw her off of the island in the Season Two Finale. Eventually, I just realized that I was a dumbass and not paying close enough attention.

Note to the Lost Casting Crew: Don't hire women that look alike. It confuses me and makes me sad.

15 - The Others took blood from Jack, Kate and Sawyer. They really tried to hammer that point home, so you know it's going to become important. Something tells me that they're going to be conducting the same 'tests' on these three that they were doing on Walt during Season Two.

Don't tell me he doesn't look like Gene Wilder.
(A young Gene Wilder makes his cameo appearance on the island.)

16 - Jack had a great set of flashbacks this week. I think he's had at least 5 flashback episodes at this point, but there's still plenty more to discover about Jack's backstory. Most TV shows could make 4 seasons out of that story alone, mind you. The interaction and eventual breakdown between Jack, his wife and father was actually more emotionally deep than I thought it would be.

Tackling his old man through the 12-Step Program sign? Priceless.

It hurts!
(Here, we see Christian Shepard having nine simultaneous heartattacks.)

23 - So...the Hydra Station, huh? The 'underwater' station, 'eh? We got to finally see it.

Sweet.

This episode also lent to the theory that the Dharma Initiative is in ruins, and a new group of researchers are continuing the work that crumbled in the 80's. These people must know that bringing back things that were popular in the 80's is what's hip in the States nowadays. Expect to see a Mr. T cameo during Sweeps.

Wasn't this on the Flintstones?
(Insert stupid 'Fast food drive-thru joke here.)

42 - When Sawyer finally figured out how to get food out of his kennel, I got a huge laugh out of the fanfare and piped-in music that played. That's just sick, and also brilliantly funny.

A lot of people thought this episode was too complicated; I actually think it was one of the more cut-and-dry episodes they've ever done. It's good thing, too, because it's just what we needed to start Season Three.

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4 - The title of Episode 2 is "The Glass Ballerina." It's about a glass ballerina.

Nevermind.
(I have no less than 20 jokes for this photo, none of which are suitable for print.)

8 - This episode will be Jin/Sun-centric. I think this is the episode where Sun finally leaves Jin for me.

15 - The official press release from ABC reads: "Sayid's plan to locate Jack places Sun and Jin's lives in grave danger. Meanwhile, Kate and Sawyer are forced to work in harsh conditions by their captors, and Henry makes a very tempting offer to Jack that may prove difficult to refuse."

No word yet on what the Others have in store for Kate and Sawyer, but something tells me it has something to do with modeling for a Spiegel catalog. It's the only thing they're halfway decent at.

Have to talked to an Iraqi lately?
("Look, if I don't get to torture someone in the next five minutes, I'm gunna scream.")

16 - Because the castaways are broken up into four different places at the start of this season (prison, the imploded hatch, the beach and Desmond's sailboat) we're going to get episodes from each location's point of view. The writers want to keep the Locke/Eko/Desmond/Hatch situation a secret for at least one more episode, so we're getting this episode as a nice buffer.

23 - The word around the campfire is that Sun is still keeping a big secret from Jin, probably concerning the baby. Wow, never saw that one coming.

42 - In the previews, you'll see that 'Ben' is pretty upset that Sayid has procured a boat; probably because of how Ben spilled the beans about the way to properly escape from the island. Sayid and Jin take turns beating the crap out of random things just for the hell of it. Sun smiles and says "Boat!" twenty-six times.

They'll have ugly kids. I promise.
(They're going to have the ugliest kids.)

Thanks for checking out this week's snabtabular Lost Friday. If you have any questions, sound off in the comments section or send an e-mail to communistdance@yahoo.com. If you would like to buy some CDP swag or make a donation, please check out the links at the top of the page or within this post. For all other Lost-related information, direct your browsers to The Coconut Internet; they're good people who run an exceptional page. Cheers.

MONDAY: FREE MYSPACE POETRY!

Monday, October 2

Casual September.

Madison, Wisconsin; Home Of The CDP. Sort of.

What did you do during September? Here's what I was up to.

1. I moved.

Living Room - Angle 1.

It's done. The Official World Headquarters of the CDP are up, running and fully operational. I have to say, thanks to a solid work ethic and proper planning (by me), the transition was about as smooth as I could have hoped for. We simply set fire to the old place and let our insurance company take care of the rest. I was getting sick of the cats anyways.

Living Room - Angle 2.

The movers were top-notch, meth-free and stole nothing of significant value. The cable guys were in and out of my house before I could even get their names and waist measurements. We also bought a nice, new bed without any haggling or bankruptcy hearings whatsoever. I've set my drums up in the basement, and plan on reuniting myself with the age-old concept of rocking one's face off as soon as possible.

Silencers optional.

Two-car garage? Check. Full basement? Check. Central air and an extra bedroom? Check and mate. I'm officially a suburbanite, and would like to hereby be addressed as one from this point forward.

Get the hell off my lawn, you damn punk kids.

2. I grew a devastating chinstrap.

Baseball & Chinstraps.

The Missus is anti-beard (therefore, anti-awesome), so I couldn't go all-out Hobotron during my time away from work. I did, however, ease her into the inevitable transition by donning the facial hair choice of dumb jocks and Smash Mouth lead singers everywhere, the Chinstrap.

A closer and sexier view.

I have to tell you, I was pretty happy with this and the Missus didn't vomit with disgust, so I might be on to something here. She now realizes that when I do decide to grow a full beard, the Color Ratio and Bum Factor will be to her liking. All my wife really wants is to know what's going to happen before it actually happens.

As you can imagine, it was a pretty big day for me. By the way, I'm not really that white.

3. I went to a Brewers game.

Miller Park - Angle 1.

Although I spent the majority of my time off moving and adjusting to said move, I was able to get out of the house a few times to enjoy my freedom. I received a call from my folks, letting me know that my uncle was giving up three Brewers tickets to whoever wanted them (thanks again, Jeff). Never being one to turn down free tickets to anything (cockfight, stock footage film festival), I was in.

Miller Park - Angle 2.

Miller Park is a beautiful and modern stadium, one of the best in the nation, I've been told. Even the Missus had a good time, which was a monumental occurance in the grand timeline of Sports History. This was due in part to the famous 'Sausage Race,' in which mascots dressed as various Wisconsin sausages race around the field during the Seventh Inning Stretch. She looked like a child on Christmas morning; it was beautiful.

Milwaukee won the game, the Polish Sausage won the race and the beer was $6 a bottle. We plan on going back as soon as we can.

4. I went to a Packers game.

If you lived here, you'd be me by now.
(I didn't take pictures at the game, so here's a shot of my street.)

I've been lucky enough to attend a Packer game every year for the last four years, thanks to my father-in-law's generosity and patience. This one was probably the most special, regardless of the fact they got their worst ass-plastering in over 15 years.

This was the first game of the season, against the Chicago Bears. The festivities started with a fly-over from the Blue Angels (the biggest waste of taxpayer money ever), which was both neat and temporarily deafening. Also, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the last Green Bay Super Bowl win (it was that long ago?), the 1996-97 team came out onto the field. I wasn't able to see the Super Bowl team play in person that season, so to see them all on the field together was amazing.

Representing Reggie White was his wife and son, who then retired his number in the stadium. I'm not the least bit ashamed to admit that I was fighting back emotions at the time. Say what you want about professional sports and athletes in general, but these guys have made millions of fans jump, cheer, smile and cry, which is far more that I can say about myself.

Then my father-in-law called me a "queer" and told me to "compose myself" before he "threw up into his nine-dollar bag of peanuts."

I had a great time.

5. I scared the hell out of a teenage boy.

STAY OFF MY LAWN!

Our new apartment isn't really an apartment as much as it is a condo that we pay rent on. The yard, driveway and everything else belongs to us, but we pay Mexicans to fix things when they break and whatnot. I was looking forward to this harmonic balance of maturity and co-dependence. I sometimes break appliances just so the maintainence guy has to come over and look at it. I have an ever-growing pile of dead guys in blue jumpsuits in my basement.

When the former tenant moved out, all of the neighborhood teenage boys took notice, and thought they had found a nice, big, empty driveway in which to skateboard and bike in. This was true for the three days that the house was empty, but their escapades continued well into the first week of our tenure there.

I have no problem with good-natured kids 'gettin they skate awn.' There isn't a skate park in the neighborhood, despite having one of the thickest concentrations on teenagers in the state of Wisconsin. The problem was that they thought the place was empty, so they were riding their bikes in the lawn and jumping over our hedges and whatnot. If the lawn or shrubbery gets damaged at the hands of these kids, I have to pay for it.

Uh-uh. No way, Sk8er Boi.

The confrontation finally came late one night during the end of the first week. I caught one of the kids screwing around in the driveway again, this time, by my car (the Wild Stallion). I turned on the porch light and emerged, wearing all black and looking positively pissed off. I had spent all day moving, so my hair was a mess and my hands were all cut up. I stood illuminated under the porch light on my stoop, which is about three feet off of the ground. I probably looked pretty spooky to this kid, like some God of serial killer suburbanites.

I should have been holding a hammer; it would have been a nice touch.

His skateboard stopped dead. I've never stopped anyone dead with a look before. Everything got real quiet as he looked up at me, realizing that yes, people actually lived here. People that were young and angry and had no problem murdering people that got in between them and their quest for peace, quiet and well-maintained shrubbery.

"What are you doing?" I asked, trying very hard to appear insane and not blink. I have a childish and unintimidating body, so I can't rely on my figure to scare children. If I were naked, well...that would be a different story. Nope, I have to rely on my acting skills, appearing as if I'm a nanosecond away from lopping someone's head off at the base of the neck.

"Um...you live here?" He sqeaked back, silently wetting his pants. "I didn't know, because..."

"Now you know." I shot back. He turned tail and disappeared into the moonlight.

I felt pretty good about myself, although the experience has left me feeling quite old. Just a few years ago, that would have been me out there, blaring horrible music and impressing female passerby. Nowadays, if you so much as think about setting foot on my lawn again, I'll drag you into the house and do things that will make your parents cry forever.

6. I scratched my cornea.

Not My Eyeball; Hi Lindsay!

Somewhere in the midst of loading and unloading every stupid thing that I own, I got a shard of wood caught in my eye.

Yep, I was just as shocked as you are.

Not being used to getting things stuck (and staying stuck) in my eye, I worked feverishly to extract the foreign intruder. I washed, rinsed, gouged, scraped and tore at my cornea for somewhere north of two hours before falling asleep late one night. The next morning, my right eye looked as if I had shot a thick stream of DDT straight into it. I was getting nervous.

The foreign object had been removed naturally during the night, but I still felt irritation, so I thought that it was merely hiding from me. After another hour of amateur optometric surgery, the Missus informed me that I had scratched my cornea, and I should stop touching it before I went blind and she divorced me.

She's a smart lady. Everything went back to normal in a few days.

7. I pulled my groin for the 4th damn time.

Dramatic Re-enactment.

Pulling your groin is just awful; I don't wish it on anyone (except for maybe you). I swore to myself that it wasn't going to happen to me this time around, regardless of how many boxes and heavy things I loaded into my car. I made sure to properly squat and stretch before lifting; I used correct form and posture, and jacked myself up with metric tons of anabolic steroids.

Yet, no less than three days into the process, my inner thigh rolled up like a windowshade and sent me reeling to the floor, leaving me for the buzzards to pick clean. It was only a slight pull this time, so I healed quickly. It doesn't make it any less awful, though.

However, if you're interested in massaging my pulled groin with ancient oils and aloe butter, send an e-mail to communistdance@yahoo.com, and I will answer them in the order of their delivery. Include a photo.

8. I saw my new nephew again.

Evan - Best Baby Ever.

My Mom is a borderline agoraphopic. If it's outside of the warm confines of her small town, then she's not interested. Trying to get her to visit us in the big city is like pulling teeth; I'm lucky if I can get her down here once a year and tap her for cash. This was one of those times.

My Mom, sister and new nephew came down last weekend to check out the new place and do some shopping. The baby is doing great, and my sister has really stepped into her Motherly role quite nicely. I was so proud of this that I bought her the concert tickets she had been obsessing about for months. I was happy, she was happy; we were all happy.

Then I got drunk and took a swing at the baby. We haven't spoken since.

9. I went for a walk in the Autumn weather.

Aaron's gunna sue for copyright violations.

To long-time readers of the CDP, it's no surprise that October is my absolute favorite time of the year. A Wisconsin Autumn is something to behold; nothing but beauty, photo opportunities and hooded sweatshirts as far as the eye can see. Not only that, but it all culminates with my favorite holiday of all-time, Halloween.

Oh yes, it's a holiday. The Queen Mother of All Holidays, to be exact.

I'm hoping that we'll get some trick-or-treaters this year, considering that now we have a door and everything. I had some ideas for decorating the front lawn, but I didn't want my neighbors holding an emergency meeting to ban us from the community. We saw a bunch of fake blood for sale at the Halloween Superstore, and thought it would be funny to simply stand on the lawn during trick-or-treat hours and take turns murdering one another in a gruesome fashion.

Cold enough for you?

I'm listening to different music. Autumn music. I'm wearing a jacket outside. A light jacket. I'm watching all of my Pete & Pete DVD's. Please enjoy October, or else you just might be a jerk.

10. I took a picture of my cat in mid-sneeze.

Tinker - Mid-Sneeze.

Sweet. This is what makes life worth living.

It's good to be back. Sound off in the comments section and let me know what you were up to last month. Tell me that you missed me, and make me promise I'll never leave you again.

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Lost Friday - You're Invited!