Lost Friday – "The Variable."

Season 5 – Episode 14: “The Variable.”

Another Lost Friday is upon us; we have much to discuss in a short amount of time.

Well, it feels good to be back in the Wired after a long and uneventful Digital Detox Week. In an effort to fill the void left by my lack of Internet, I watched about a billion hours of television, drank gallons of alcohol on a nightly basis, spent somewhere in the neighborhood of five thousand dollars and walked about 20 total miles in 7 days. I’ll have a detailed essay about it in the upcoming weeks, but the short of it was that it felt good, and I’ll probably do it again very soon.

Oh, and I got the Swine Flu, which sucks for me, but what are you gonna do?

My apologies in advance, but I have to make this week’s Lost Friday as brief and humorless as possible, as schedule conflicts and aforementioned Internet strikes have kept me away from my desk. I’ve been oot and aboot all week, and tonight (Thursday) is no different, giving me less than an hour to hammer this puppy out, wipe the crust out of my eyes and hit the road once more. Then again, you got a super-sized edition the last time around, so look at it as the universe balancing itself out.

You know, as crazy as this is going to sound, this season of Lost makes a lot more sense to me now that I’ve watched ‘The Variable.’ I didn’t think for a second that Mumbly Joe-Faraday would ever do anything that would even remotely straighten out the current plotlines for me, but I’ll be damned. By the end of this week’s episode, things clicked a little more solidly for me, and I actually appreciate it a lot more than I did two weeks ago.

The Eloise/Widmore subplot is significant to say the least, the crumbling of the lives that Sawyer and Juliet made for themselves in 1977 was only a matter of when, not if, and Faraday did his job of explaining as much as possible before he met one of the most interesting and trippy demises in the history of the series (and that’s saying a lot). I’ve got to hand it to that stuttering, stammering bastard; I loved the hell out of this episode. Furthermore, Jeremy Davies’ acting this week was far-and-away the best of the series for him. It’s hard to act that specifically confused.

Still, there were a few issues that stuck in my craw, and they all have to do with the physical impossibility that is Time Travel (never have been a believer, and probably never will). If what Faraday said to Jack was true, that ‘this is our present’ in reference to 1977, how could they prevent a plane crash that already happened? And if it hasn’t already happened, why would it matter that they prevent it, if they are already ‘presently’ dealing with the ramifications of the crash? And Miles living on the same timeline as himself? It sets the precedent that Time Travel is akin to cloning; you’re on the same timeline, but now there’s another one of you? Don’t think about it too long, because it’ll drive you crazy, as it’s illogical, nonsensical and frustrating as all get out.

Furthermore, this all seems to be leading up to the eventual realization that the entire series is one, big Time Loop, which would be more disappointing than words. I’d honestly rather have it all just be a dream in Hurley’s head, to be totally honest with you. Don’t get me wrong, the show is as awesome as ever, but they’ve been treading on an uncomfortable line for a while now.

This week is going to have to be on you, the readers and commenters, so sound off in the comments section and let us know what you think about Season 5 as a whole. There are only two more weeks of episodes left, so start the conversation and enjoy your weekend. The CDP returns at full strength on Monday with more funny stuff.

Season 5 – Episode 1/2 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 4 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 5 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 6 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 7 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 9 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 10 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 11 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 12 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 13 Review.

I Got The Shakes! I Got ‘Em Bad!

If you’re reading this, it means I’m already gone. In a figurative sense, of course.

From Thursday, April 23 at 4pm Central time, to Thursday, April 30 at 4pm Central time, yours truly will be taking part in Digital Detox Week; a full seven days of absolutely no online interaction of any kind. No checking Twitter every two minutes, no constant Facebook updates, no e-mail banter, not even theCDP.net will be spared from a proper shunning. It’s high time I cleansed my system, as gut-wrenching as it’s probably going to be for my brainball.

I shall make my return to the Wired next Thursday afternoon to write next week’s (no doubt, hilarious) Lost Friday, hopefully well-rested, fresh and lemon-scented. Over the next seven days, I’ll probably clean the house, meander around in my boxer shorts a little bit, read a book or two and have the Missus take my iPhone and modem with her to work every day. My hope is that Digital Detox Week rekindles my love for the non-connected world, and maybe- just maybe– reminds me that I don’t always need it every waking moment.

Now, a few ground rules.

1. I work in an office that utilizes networked computers, so if it needs to be done as part of my job, I’ll need to access online information. Also, Outlook Express is a must if I don’t want to get fired, but this is allowed is it’s not enjoyable or informative to me in any way.

2. My iPhone will continue to be used to make phone calls. Of course, anyone who knows me understands that I never make or willingly receive phone calls, so this is a wash.

3. Digital Detox Week includes my Wii connection, too, so no epic MarioKart or Guitar Hero tournaments while I’m on the wagon.

4. I shall continue to watch as much television as humanly possible.

Bear in mind, I’m not doing this because I’m anti-Internet, anti-Social Networking and anti-Checking The Same Page Every 30 Seconds For Nineteen Straight Hours. The web and it’s many facets are a part of our lives now in an extremely necessary way. I’d probably equate it to going a week without your car; it’s seriously going to hinder you in some specific avenues. Truth of the matter is that I’ve had the web since 1994, and I’ve never gone a week without it. So why not now? Why not at a time where my dependence is at a fever pitch?

Besides, I’ve got plenty of other things to do. Like…well, there’s…um…


I’ll return to the Internet in seven days, and I’ll be bringing Lost Friday with me, so be ready. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade #5 – Wrap Party 8.

Finally, after two weeks of sifting, listening, drinking, typing and deciphering handwritten track listings, I’ve managed to make it through all of the Mix-Tapes that were so generously sent to me for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 5. Thank you very much; I appreciate it.

I wanted to take a brief moment to spotlight all of the great mixes that were sent to me, as a small way of saying thank you. Therefore, for the last two weeks, I’ve been doing just that. Today, I’ll be spotlighting the 15th and final Mix sent to me this time around, along with drawing the winner of the Free CDP Mix-Tape T-Shirt!

Mix #15 – Smedley.

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Smedley for dinner here in Madison. As I sat there, nursing my second Spotted Cow of the evening and watching SportsCenter on the bar television, my mind began to wonder; just who exactly was it that I was about to meet?

Who I met turned out to be a ridiculously-motivated, sharp-as-a-tack, Midwestern family man and virtual musical library of obscurity that never ran out of conversation or interesting things to say over the next two hours. I’ve had the pleasure and fortune to meet a lot of CDP readers from around the nation, and I never tire of seeing the different ages, generational gaps, personalities and walks of life that they all seem to come from. Smedley was no different.

Anyone who’s paid attention to the Mix-Tape Trade knows that Smedley doesn’t screw around when it comes time to burn a CD or two (or six). For our Cover Songs Mix last year, he sent me well over 100 different cover songs, exactly none of which I knew existed, including a bonus disc of covers that were made more famous by the artist doing the covering. Some people send me liner notes; this dude sends me Excel spreadsheets, and it’s always a treat when they show up in my Inbox. Spanning every decade, every genre and every corner of the record store, Smedley’s latest Mix was equal parts personal and behemoth; the Top 100 Most-Listened To Songs On His iPod.

For three days, I poured through this compilation, mixing pop, folk, metal, novelty songs, sunshine pop, classic alternative, tremendous indie and what I could only accurately describe as ‘Modern AM Gold.’ It was all here; the true listening patterns of a modern man with varied tastes for the pre and post-modern, and everything in between. Every time I get a Mix from Smed, I almost feel like I should send the guy a check for all the free music. I guess I really should have just bought him a beer instead.

(Disc 1)
#99 – Portions For Foxes – Rilo Kiley
#94 – The Ballad Of El Goodoo – Big Star
#92 – I’m Free Now – Morphine
#86 – Static – Jawbox
(Disc 2)
#73 – Passing Strangers – Ultravox
#70 – Our Sweet Love – The Beach Boys
#66 – Big Take Over – Bad Brains
#61 – Gotta Know Right Now – Smoking Popes
(Disc 3)
#58 – Never Say Never – that dog.
#52 – Tomorrow Night – Shoes
#50 – Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks
#44 – Whole Wide World – Wreckless Eric
(Disc 4)
#40 – I’d Run Away – The Jayhawks
#38 – When My Baby’s Beside Me – Big Star
#35 – Jumpers – Sleater-Kinney
#26 – Flavor Of The Month – The Posies
(Disc 5)
#16 – Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass? – Buck Owens
#10 – Oblivious – Aztec Camera
#4 – This Whole World – The Beach Boys
#1 – Happiness – The Anita Kerr Singers

Okay kids, the time has finally come to draw the winner of the FREE CDP MIX-TAPE T-SHIRT! Here’s how it’s going to work:

1. I reviewed all 15 Mixes that I received in the mail. Those 15 names are put into a hat, one of which will be drawn at random by yours truly.

2. The name I draw will be contacted by me via e-mail, and asked to pick out any Mix-Tape-themed t-shirt of their choosing from the CDP Webstore.

3. I ship it to their doorstep, as a way of saying thanks for participating in the Trade.

And the winner is….the same person that I was chosen to make a Mix-Tape for, Fiona! Fiona, expect to hear from me shortly, and start looking for a Mix-Tape themed shirt that you dig.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; Digital Detox Week begins tomorrow.

CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade #5 – Wrap Party 7.

Finally, after two weeks of sifting, listening, drinking, typing and deciphering handwritten track listings, I’ve managed to make it through all of the Mix-Tapes that were so generously sent to me for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 5. Thank you very much; I appreciate it.

I wanted to take a brief moment to spotlight all of the great mixes that were sent to me, as a small way of saying thank you. Therefore, for the remainder of the week, I’ll be doing just that. Please enjoy.

Mix #13 – Caitlin.

Judging by her taste in music alone, I think that me and Caitlin would get along just fine. An intelligent mix of catchy and mellow, poppy and emotional, serious and lighthearted, light but never empty. Her Mix, titled ‘Top 10 (Plus Five) Songs I Can’t Seem To Stop Listening To,’ boasted beautifully-handmade liner notes consisting of track descriptions and an absolutely adorable hand-drawn cover (I cherish one-of-a-kind stuff like this), gently taking the listener by the hand and leading them through a whimsical, comforting and beautiful stretch of solid music.

I know that I’ve been saying this every day, but this is a tremendous Mix, essentially par for the course when it comes to all of the good stuff I’ve received this time around. It’s beautiful for both a rainy afternoon drive or just a dark room with headphones (I did both).

#15 – Decatur, Or Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother! – Sufjan Stevens
#14 – Passing The Hat – Cold War Kids
#11 – Billy Brown – Mika
#4 – Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
#3 – Opportunity – Pete Murray
#1 – Tiny Dancer – Elton John

(I included this shot, not just to show off Caitlin’s cute-as-a-button cover art, but to prove that I indeed sit here and listen to every Mix sent to me.)

Mix #14 – Emily Mills.

It’s no surprise or secret that I’ve been enamored with Emily Mills since we first crossed paths. I like the way she dresses, I like her undying committal to anything and everything creative, I admire her writing and I think she’s more than a little cute. Therefore, it would stand to reason that my review of her latest Mix, ‘Top 20 Songs To Kick Righteous Ass By,’ may be a little…biased.

Well, not the case. True to form, Emily once again brought the pain with a deep range of genres that has become a staple of a Miss Mills Mix. Industrial techno, punk rock, Gypsy punk, ska and legendary singer/songwriters all come together somehow to create a non-stop barrage of attitude adjustments and sexy fist-clenching. Seriously, this Mix starts and never stops, and I freaking loved every second of it.

#20 – Kick Out The Jams – MC5
#19 – Irish Drinking Song – Buck-O-Nine
#16 – I Would Never Want To Be Young Again – Gogol Bordello
#14 – Defiled – New Bomb Turks
#7 – Tasmanian Pain Coaster – El-P
#1 – Rasputin – Turisas

It should be noted that for most of the tracks I reviewed, I only spotlighted six tracks per album. I did this to adopt some sort of uniformity for everyone, but I can assure you that every one of these albums was chock-full of winners that would take forever to list properly. If you’re interested in getting a copy of anyone’s Mix-Tape, I strongly recommend contacting them.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; the Wrap Party concludes tomorrow, along with the announcement of the winner of the Free CDP Mix-Tape T-shirt!

CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade #5 – Wrap Party 6.

Finally, after two weeks of sifting, listening, drinking, typing and deciphering handwritten track listings, I’ve managed to make it through all of the Mix-Tapes that were so generously sent to me for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 5. Thank you very much; I appreciate it.

I wanted to take a brief moment to spotlight all of the great mixes that were sent to me, as a small way of saying thank you. Therefore, for the remainder of the week, I’ll be doing just that. Please enjoy.

Mix #11 – Mike Hoss.

Mike Hoss is a neat guy. Computer nerd. Die-hard family man. Tremendous taste in music, which seems to be the case with every Nebraskan I’ve ever spoken to. When it comes to Mixes, he’s as reliable as a foreign car; you’re always going to get solid tracks from superb singers and songwriters, and myself and the Missus always look forward to getting his disc in the mail.

This time around, Hoss’ theme was the cryptically-titled ‘Top 10 Songs Mike Hoss Legally Downloaded For Free,’ which is clearly a winking nod towards the piracy side of song collecting, as driven home by the cover art, featuring a Dollar sign with a line through it. Hey, pilfered or otherwise, this Mix is fantastic, bringing guitar rock, acoustic pop, electro and radio rock. Without question, there are more than a handful of tracks here that have comfortably burrowed their way into my weekly rotation.

#10 – True Affection – The Blow
#9 – Listen Up! – The Gossip
#7 – Rockin’ The Suburbs – Ben Folds
#6 – The Story – Brandi Carlile
#2 – When The Summer’s Gone – Derek Webb & Sandra McCracken
#1 – Criticism_As_Inspiration (Live) – Pedro The Lion

Mix #12 – Regan Jacobsen.

First-time Mix participant Regan brought yet another supremely creative Trade theme, crafting her Top 10 songs that set the scenes from some of her favorite movies of all-time. She took into consideration not only the song itself, but the magnitude of the film scene it enhanced, crafting an intimately personal Mix that also resonates deeply with anyone who has ever experienced and enjoyed the films themselves. I swear, you all have really outdone yourselves this time around.

I should also note that I would love to settle in for a movie night with Ms. Jacobsen, as her tastes in film seem to be similarily close to my own. You know where to find me.

#10 – Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen (Shaun Of The Dead)
#9 – Paper Planes – M.I.A. (Pineapple Express)
#7 – Head Over Heels – Tears For Fears (Donnie Darko)
#3 – Hotel California – Gipsy Kings (The Big Lebowski)
#2 – Plainsong – The Cure
#1 – Hardest Geometry Problem In The World – Mark Mothersbaugh (Rushmore)

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; Part 7 arrives tomorrow.

CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade #5 – Wrap Party 5.

Finally, after two weeks of sifting, listening, drinking, typing and deciphering handwritten track listings, I’ve managed to make it through all of the Mix-Tapes that were so generously sent to me for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 5. Thank you very much; I appreciate it.

I wanted to take a brief moment to spotlight all of the great mixes that were sent to me, as a small way of saying thank you. Therefore, for the remainder of the week, I’ll be doing just that. Please enjoy.

Mix #9 – Carrot Duff.

Duff was certainly talking a big game prior to him sending his Mix my way. Our only International participant this time around, he was making plenty of allusions to ‘The Best Mix Ever,‘ and whatnot, so I was very surprised to see a CD consisting of the ‘Top 10 Rock Instrumentals’ show up on the doorstep of CDP Headquarters. I mean, was he aware of the current, collective attention span of the modern American music fan? Did he honestly think we could hack such mind-blowing musical prowess in one sitting? And what was up with these lyricless, 9+ minute tracks, anyway?

Of course, Carrot Duff brought the pain, and in a good way, with a Mix that was significantly more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be. Throwing in Brit Pop, good old-fashioned thrash, funk and acoustic numbers, this was an absolute pleasure from start to finish. Good flow, good back-and-forth, and good intuition to somehow make an hour of instrumental music seem constantly fresh and enjoyable.

#10 – F***in’ In The Bushes – Oasis
#9 – The Gargoyle – Paul Gilbert
#7 – Nun Chuka Kata – Buckethead
#5 – Friend Of The Night – Mogwai
#1 – Threads – This Will Destroy You

Mix #10 – Wigglycito.

Wigglycito’s Mix was the first that I had received in the mail, and it was also the Mix that I was most looking forward to listening to. From the first moment I laid eyes on the fantastic, 8-Bit inspired cover art, I knew that ‘The Top 10 Songs From Video Games’ was going to be right up my alley. Much like Carrot Duff’s Mix, these tracks were largely instrumental tracks, so I was looking forward to the ebb and flow of a Mix that relies on maintaining the attention span of the listener.

Bear in mind, that this wasn’t just Atari 2600 and NES music, here. This was a tribute to the modern masterpeices that have accompanied the most current generation of gaming titles, an art that somehow goes unnoticed amongst all the leaps and bounds in technological advances. Music makes or breaks a game, and Wigglycito’s ear is varied and understanding of this fact. From symphonic epics, bouncy Wii themes, hip-hop background tracks and a classic tune sung by a robot, this Mix was a triumph in that is brought to light a fantastic idea for this Trade, showing a ton of creativity and respect for the gaming genre.

#10 – Main Theme (Fallout 3) – Inon Zur
#8 – Max 300 (DDRMAX) – Omega
#6 – Princess Peach’s Castle (Super Smash Bros. Melee) – Tadashi Ikegami
#3 – The Vengeful Spartan (God Of War) – Gerard Marino
#2 – Otherworld (Final Fantasy X) – Bill Muir
#1 – Still Alive (Portal) – GLADOS

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; Part 6 arrives tomorrow.

Lost Friday – "Some Like It Hoth."

Season 5 – Episode 13: “Some Like It Hoth.”

Another Lost Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss.

In the comments section of last week’s Lost Friday, some random dude passively sniffed something along the lines of, ‘Judging by these photo captions, I can’t tell if you even watch the show anymore.’

Now, I can’t tell what his motives were for saying that to me (good-natured ribbing, boredom, a de-evolutionary tactic that turns everybody on the Internet into a critic), but whatever the case, this week’s Lost Friday is the Fourth of July Sparkler in his general direction, as we’re going Old School and all-out with a 3500-word, Retro Lost Friday worthy of raucous celebration and delicious, sticky pastries. For longtime fans of Lost Friday, you’ll hopefully be happy to see the return of some of your favorite segments. For new fans, you’ll see exactly how lazy I’ve become with my recaps.

I liked this week’s episode. Liked it a lot. Liked it so much, in fact, that I watched the entire episode without reaching once for my iPhone to sneak in a quick game of Yahtzee (I bought the free knock-off version, titled ‘Yacht’). It was interesting, put the pieces in place for the pending Season Finale, asked and answered a lot of questions, and featured riveting footage of Jack erasing a chalkboard. It did its job perfectly; just like any decent episode of Lost.

(Sure, young Miles could hear the dead, but he couldn’t work a door to save his life.)

Look, I know that Season 5 didn’t turn out to be exactly what most of us wanted. In fact, for a lot of people, this season brought our biggest fears to light concerning the show we love so much. What was once logical, scientific and always ready to offer a somewhat-reasonable explanation for its bizarre actions (like an alcoholic Uncle, perhaps), has waved the nerd flag of time travel, looping overlaps in human existence, ageless tribes, attractive redheads, and various other things that have no solid basis in reality.

Yeah, I said it; redheads don’t turn me on. I’d say it again if I had to.

(Juliet and Sawyer typically frittered away their evenings by throwing Cheetos into each other’s mouths.)

But hey, once you get over the fact that not everything in life will go the way you think it will (or nothing at all, if you’re…say, me), you once again respect the brilliant storytelling, baffling character maps and all the other astounding genius that make Lost one of the greatest television dramas of all-time. The fact that we only have about 17 more episodes left before it’s gone forever is equal parts bittersweet and pants-peeingly exciting.

You know what else is pants-peeingly exciting? The triumphant return of the Thick & Meaty!


In the ritziest neighborhood this side of…oh, probably every episode of Cops, we see Miles’ mother scouting out apartments for herself and her little bastard (both insulting and accurate). Initially, the landlord is opposed to having Asian children around the premises, as they have a tendency to play their math homework way too loud at all hours of the night, but Lara ensures him that Miles is a mild-mannered Ghost Whisperer; nothing more or less.

Lara gives Tiny Miles (inches?) a quarter for a soda, presumably because he has a hankering for that one can of Ginger Ale that seems to be the only thing ever stocked in these types of vending machines. Instead, he goes all James Van Praagh on Apartment #4, where he finds a fresh corpse that won’t seem to shut up about his exploding heart. Lara is understandably concerned, but the landlord seems to be more astonished with the fact that Miles knew the man’s wife’s name, and not the fact that he’s inches away from a dead body. Apparently, this sort of stuff happens all the time around there, but noisy children? That’ll be two months rent up front.

(“Okay, don’t get mad, but I accidentally taped over Battle Of The Network Stars.”)

Several years later, Miles now resembles the guy that used to kick my ass in Street Fighter II at the Aladdin’s Castle arcade every day during the Summer of 1997. He goes to visit his mom on her deathbed, where she remains stubborn about revealing information about his father and where they used to reside. She claims that he’s long dead, and nothing short of a Time Machine, magical coordinates to a secret island, and a miraculous masterstroke of good timing will ever reunite them.

‘Not a problem,’ says Miles.

Years later, we see Miles cashing in on his psychic gift. Sort of like a blazer-wearing Sylvia Browne, only more talented and not an evil, withered, cancer-riddled shell of a human being. Here, we find out that Miles’ gift only works when the corpse is intact (no cremations, unknown locations or Black Hole vaporizations, please), yet he’s still more than willing to grift a grieving dude if the price is right. Hey, gift or no gift, he’s still a psychic, after all.

Miles then runs into Naomi, who ranks around #82 on the List of Dead Characters I Wanted to See Again, wedged right between Paulo and Dr. Arzt. She tells him that Widmore is leading an expedition to Richard Alpert Island, and they could sure use his corpse interviewing talents to help locate and ritualistically slaughter Ben Linus. As an audition, he does a reading on a deceased fellow named Felix, who was killed while delivering all of that ‘Fake Flight 815 Wreckage’ stuff to Widmore. Miles is initially not interested in the free tropical getaway, but Charles backs up the Money Truck and he quickly agrees.

(Kate’s still denying those Botox rumors, but she ain’t fooling nobody.)

Later on, we see Miles enjoying a fish taco on the sidewalk (still the most disgustingly-named and slapped-together foodstuff on God’s green Earth), when he’s Code Adam’d by a van full of jack-booted thugs. We recognize one of the guys as Bram, who was a member of the ‘new’ castaways that crashed with the New And Improved Oceanic 5. This causes me to stop Twittering for a minute and actually look at the television, as this is the first major plot point of the episode.

Is seems that Bram, along with a few others from that plane, are on the ‘Non-Widmore’ side of the Great Island War of Whatever Year It Happens To Be, and tried their damnest to convince Miles to start batting for the other team (in a manner of speaking). When Miles refuses to turn down the $1.6 million bucks promised by Charles, they dump him back onto the street, sans one delicious, nutritious fish taco.


(“This isn’t to share, dude; this is just my lunchbox.”)

Kate and Sawyer are on their way back from handing Little Ben off to Richard, and they radio Miles so he can erase the security tape. Before he can handle this seemingly simple task, Jackass Horace shows up and makes Miles a member of the ‘Circle Of Trust,’ which is merely another name for ‘Corpse Courier.’

‘Horace?’ more like ‘Borin’ Us.’ Am I right, people? High five. Touchdown.

Miles heads out to pick up the dead body and transport it back to Horace. Through his Shining-esque powers, he finds out the the deceased in question, a man named Alverez, died by having his filling ripped out of his mouth and shot straight through his brain. Electromagnetic Activity is a dangerous thing, kids; remember that the next time you need an MRI. Refuse it with every fiber of your crippled being.

(“I need to make sure that my son is okay, so he can brutally murder me in 20 years!”)

Roger Linus then shows up at the hospital and notices that Ben is missing, which leads him into another trademark drunken, blubbering tirade. Seriously, I had no idea that people were so whiny in 1977. Anyway, Kate continues to comfort Roger for some completely unknown reason, leading him to suspect shenanigans, hornswoggling, and/or possible hoodwinkery.

Later that night, Sawyer returns home to find Phil ready to out him for the kidnapping of Mini Ben (way to grab that security tape, Miles). Instead of fessing up or…I don’t know…conning his way out of the matter, Sawyer decides to just knock him goofy and string him up in his house instead. Personally, I would have shot him in the head, fed him to the Polar Bears, and forever denied his very existence like Area 51. “Phil? Who is this Phil you speak of? We never had an employee named Phil! Stop this nonsense! That was a weather balloon!

Back with Horace Mushmouth McWhinerpants III, he consults with Dr. Chang (aka. Marvin Candle, aka. Mark Wickmund, aka Ron Mexico) and tells Miles to transport Alvarez’s husk to the Orchid station. There, he runs into Hurley, where through a madcap series of comic mishaps, he discovers the dead body, they both admit to speaking to dead people, and Hurley eats Alvarez.

(Naomi has a Mustache Potential Quotient (MPQ) of 6. This falls somewhere between myself and Robin Williams.)

Dr. Markvin Canwickchang is less than pleased that Hurley came along for the ride, as he alone causes the fuel economy of the VW Bug to decrease by about a gajillion percent. Somewhere along the way, Miles admits to Hurley that Chang is his long-lost-but-now-present-day father. The three of them drive over to the Swan Station, still very much under construction, where Hurley continues to attempt a father and child reunion between the two estranged Asians.

After dropping off Dr. Chang, Miles discovers that Hurley is rewriting the script for The Empire Strikes Back, which, let’s face it, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. However, it draws parallels between the daddy issues displayed between Miles and Chang, so…I guess that’s something. Either way, this causes Miles to attempt gain some sort of relationship with his father, which leads to spying on himself as a baby. This, surprisingly, does not make the Earth explode.

(“You’re not, by any chance, my time traveling son, are you?”)

However, we then see Daniel Faraday pop his head out of a submarine, which instantly makes my cerebral cortex explode.

Smash cut; episode over.

For all the information that we wrung out of this episode, it was rather simplistic and straightforward, certainly moreso than the other Season 5 episodes. That being said, there are still a few things that are sticking in my proverbial craw, so to speak. For that, we must Break It Down!

1. The lies, deception and clear lack of managerial skills from Sawyer is leading up to a final showdown between the Dharma Initiative and the characters we’ve known and loved for years now. In previous episodes, we’ve always heard about an ‘incident’ that caused all sorts of problems for the Dharma folk, and it seems that this Incident was actually caused by our friends in the Oceanic 6.

Funny how things work out. It’s almost exactly like the time I realized that I’m nowhere near as fully formed of a human being as I wanted to be at the age of 27, and it was because a younger version of myself wrecked my past life with terrible music, embarrassing haircuts and cheap vodka.

2. For the first time in the history of the series, a character (in this case, Miles), came face to face with a younger version of himself. Now, putting aside the fact that this is completely impossible and a borderline-insult to anyone that even pretends to accept Time Travel as a futuristic reality, I was surprised at just how nonchalant he was with the realization. In fact, he was more emotional about watching his father take an interest in him than he was to see himself in the past. Are we supposed to assume that comes with the territory of time travel? Because if that were me, I surely would have started screaming and never stopped.

(The Sex Offender Registry clearly listed the ramifications of drunkenly hanging out on the playground, but Roger wasn’t having any of it.)

3. At first, the returning Oceanic 5 did so under the guise that they were saving the lives of those they left behind on the Island. However, now that they have returned and discovered that they’re in 1977, they’re beginning to wonder why they went through the trouble. My question is this. If Kate, Jack and Hurley came to the collective conclusion that they have no real reason to hang around; why don’t they just do a shitty job and get sent back home to the 1977 mainland?

Look at it this way. They think Locke is dead, Sawyer and Juliet have no intention of leaving, nobody has even bothered to ask where Sun is, and Sayid has decided to go rogue on everyone. So seriously, what’s the point of sticking around? At this point, I’d be much more excited about returning to America in the 70’s than I would be to save a few people that don’t need to be saved. For the television shows and discos alone, really.

4. I don’t know about you, but I think that the Series Finale should just be a 55 minute-long fistfight to the death between Ben and Charles, with all of the surviving members of the cast cheering them on and throwing crumpled currency around, Bloodsport-style.

(This is the only machine keeping My Network TV on the air.)

5. At the end of this week’s episode, we see that not only is Faraday alive, well and back in 1977, but that he’s been doing some warp-whistling all over the mainland. Now, I hate this guy as much as the next self-respecting fan, but he’s got information that we need, and the word around the campfire is that he’s finally going to spill it in two weeks. After that, the Smoke Monster can spew hunks of his hollowed-out shell all over the ocean, as far as I’m concerned.

Still not enough information for you? Make way for The Numbers!

4 – This is the first time that one of the Kahana crew members were given their own flashback episode. I would have enjoyed a Keamy-centric episode, however, which consisted of him just murdering people by the dozens as he advanced through the public school system.

8 – The periodic table on the wall in the Schoolhouse contained elements not yet discovered in 1977. Also, the answer for every question was ‘Bruce Jenner.’

15 – When Kate is sharing a beer with Roger Linus, the pop-top is a new style, not a 70’s-era pull tab-top. And no, I did not notice that myself. I have a crack research team at my disposal, known only as ‘The Internet.’

(“Listen man, I just want to thank you for taking my place as the most annoying failure on the show; I appreciate this.”)

16 – The number ‘3:16’ appears on the microwave in the first flashback scene, the man who had the heart attack died in Apartment #4, the number 8 is written inside the ear of the rabbit statue where Young Miles finds the apartment key, Sawyer asks Miles to delete the security video from Camera 4, Naomi tells Miles that Widmore will pay him 1.6 million dollars, Miles tells Bram that he’ll switch teams for 3.2 million dollars, we see ‘4815162342’ being hammered into the door of the Swan Hatch, and the cover of the Sports Illustrated magazine Miles is reading in the security station reads ‘After 23 Years…’.

Numbers, bitch!

23 – Dharma is apparently building the Swan Station in Hostile territory and hiding it under the cover of fake foliage, a direct violation of the truce between the two camps. This will assuredly ruffle Alpert’s eyeliner a nip.

(You’ve been LaFleur’d!)

42 – I’m not a Star Wars fan, but I did appreciate the subtle parallel between Luke losing his hand and the eventual reveal of Dr. Chang losing his hand. I don’t think that they’ve ever mentioned or even referred to the fact that Dr. Chang has a prosthetic hand in certain scenes, so I found this to be a clever nod of the cap towards the more obsessed viewers.

Certainly a lot of awesomeness for one episode. In fact, let’s spotlight just a handful, with 5 Awesome Things!

1. Somehow, despite lacking Locke, Ben, Desmond, Sun, Jin, Sayid and Richard, they made this a halfway-decent episode, pushing the plot along smoothly while staying true to the development of one specific character. It had more of an ‘old-school’ feel to it, as the flashbacks and present day footage were told in a style similar to Seasons 1 and 2.

2. Alvarez’s filling was ripped out of its socket and shot out the front of his head. If you don’t think that’s awesome, there’s something seriously wrong with you. I’m personally holding out for a flashback scene that shows it happen; maybe sometime around Sweeps.

3. Miles’ grey sideburns. Those things rule!

(“…and then the scientist abandoned his wife and child to continue his research, lost his arm and eventually died alone and afraid on a secret island. Now let’s get you ready for bed.”)

4. One brief scene that I wanted to discuss more at length was the seemingly insignificant one between Jack, Sawyer and Juliet back at Sawyer’s house. If you recall, Jack was there to tell Sawyer that Roger was suspecting Kate of knowing something about Ben’s disappearance; sort of a ‘heads up’ type of warning.

This got me to thinking about the subtle games of one-upsmanship concerning the endless ‘Love Square’ between Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Juliet. When Jack showed up to tell Sawyer the news, he could have just as soon had Juliet relay the message to him and be on his merry way, but he didn’t. He sat around. Had Juliet make him some coffee. Probably asked her how she was doing; all to relay a five second communique to Sawyer. Did you see the look of concern and gentle annoyance upon Sawyer seeing Jack in his house? It was beautifully well-played, brilliantly passive-aggressive, and a really cool scene for those that pay attention to that sort of stuff.

(In actuality, we’d be a lot better off had Hurley just murdered George Lucas instead.)

5. At least five minutes of this week’s episode were shots of people getting into, getting out of, or simply driving around in VW buses. Too awesome to ignore.

Before we move onto the preview of next week’s episode, we still have an award to hand out. Make way for the Jerk Of The Week!

For the unforgivable stubbornness of leaving your son in the dark about his dad, the Dharma Initiative, the Island and his gift of post-mortem gab, Lara is hereby bestowed the honor of Jerk of the Week. Congrats!

Divert your eyes! Spoilers ahoy! It’s time for The Preview!

1. Episode 14 is titled ‘The Variable.’ It will be Daniel Faraday-centric. It also marks the 100th Episode of Lost, for those keeping score at home.

2. The official press release from ABC reads: “The time of reckoning has begun when Daniel Faraday comes clean regarding what he knows about the island.” You can make a drinking game out of the episode and take a shot every time Daniel stutters or stammers, but don’t call me when you need to get your stomach pumped.

3. From Spoilerfix: “This episode is a direct follow up from ‘The Constant.’ It continues with Desmond’s and Daniel’s adventures. We get more info on Daniel’s notebook statement: ‘Desmond is my Constant.’ This episode may also explain why Desmond left the army.”

I liked the idea of ‘Desmond’s and Daniel’s adventures,’ like they’ve been off fighting crime in a convertible or something.

(“He-he-he-hello th-th-th-th-there, Ma-ma-ma-ma Miles.”)

4. Expect to see Richard Alpert, Penny Widmore, Charles Widmore, Dr. Chang, Eloise Hawking, what’s left of Phil and perhaps a young Charlie Pace, sans heroin.

5. Remember, next week’s episode is a clip show, so ‘The Variable’ will not air until Wednesday, April 29. Use this Lost-free week to watch Mythbusters instead.

Well, there you have it, another Lost Friday in the books. Start the conversation in the comments section, enjoy your weekend and check out links to every Lost Friday so far this season. Thanks much, kids.

Season 5 – Episode 1/2 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 4 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 5 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 6 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 7 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 9 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 10 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 11 Review.
Season 5 – Episode 12 Review.

CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade #5 – Wrap Party 4.

Finally, after two weeks of sifting, listening, drinking, typing and deciphering handwritten track listings, I’ve managed to make it through all of the Mix-Tapes that were so generously sent to me for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 5. Thank you very much; I appreciate it.

I wanted to take a brief moment to spotlight all of the great mixes that were sent to me, as a small way of saying thank you. Therefore, for the next several days, I’ll be doing just that. Please enjoy.

Mix #7/8 – Fiona/Heather.

By this point, every time we do another Mix-Tape Trade, I look forward to seeing if Fiona and Heather are going to jump on board. Seriously, getting a package in the mail with their names on it is like Christmas in…whatever month I happen to be in at the time. They both stun me equally with their creativity, beautifully handcrafted liner notes and consistently above-average Mixes. Maybe San Francisco just creates an aura of artistry that simply turns you into an intellectual; whatever the case, it’s always a treat.

Fiona’s Mix was entitled ‘It’s Warm & Sunny Here: Top 20 Songs That Reference San Francisco and California.’ Now, if you know anything about me, you’ll know that I’m not the biggest fan of songs that reference California. Typically, they’re pompous, eye-rollingly ridiculous radio ballads that would make me wretch regardless of what city they were name-dropping, but Fiona came through like she always does, compiling a terrific and varied collection of many genres and styles. And if finding 20 decent tracks that suited the theme wasn’t cool enough, she accentuated her liner notes with personalized photographs of some of her favorite California locations. Beautiful, and a fitting advertisement for the coast, as if they needed one in the first place.

#17 – Highway 101 – Social Distortion
#13 – Fake Tales Of San Francisco – Arctic Monkeys
#12 – Cold Wind – Arcade Fire
#8 – California – Hollywood Undead (simply for being the filthiest song I’ve heard in months)
#4 – Alone In Santa Cruz – The Ataris
#1 – When The Lights Go Down In The City – Journey

The first thing I noticed about Heather’s Mix were the adorably soothing liner notes, laid out like a handmade greeting card of construction paper, depicting a winding road leading off into the sunset. I would soon find that this fit her theme, ‘Songs For A Road Trip On A Sunny Day,’ perfectly. Now, I don’t know much about Ms. Fiona, but she can drive cross-country with me any day of the week, crafting a winding, emotional, fleeting and beautiful collection of 10 solid driving tunes.


#9 – Song For Sunshine – Belle & Sebastian
#6 – Angel Won’t You Call Me – The Decemberists
#4 – Virtue & Wine – Sondre Lerche
#2 – Orbiting – The Weepies
#1 – 7/4 (Shoreline) – Broken Social Scene (one of my favorite songs ever)

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. Lost Friday arrives tomorrow.

CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade #5 – Wrap Party 3.

Finally, after two weeks of sifting, listening, drinking, typing and deciphering handwritten track listings, I’ve managed to make it through all of the Mix-Tapes that were so generously sent to me for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 5. Thank you very much; I appreciate it.

I wanted to take a brief moment to spotlight all of the great mixes that were sent to me, as a small way of saying thank you. Therefore, for the next several days, I’ll be doing just that. Please enjoy.

Review #5 – Sherry.

I love Sherry. One of the things that I love most about her is her specific, unflinching and devoted commitment to the things that she loves the most. This comes through when it comes to the music she listens to, sometimes in a rather annoying fashion. I mean, when she gets on a kick, she will absolutely listen an album to death if given the opportunity. Therefore, it’s no surprise to me that her countdown would consist of ’15 Songs I Could Listen To For The Rest Of My Life.’ Unsurprisingly, I believe her when she says that, but surprisingly, this Mix is fantastic. A good range of songwriters, genres, moods and emotions, this is a solid Mix, and probably her best to date.

#14 – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
#13 – At Your Funeral – Saves The Day
#12 – Our Retired Explorer – The Weakerthans
#10 – Friend Of Mine – Big Drill Car
#9 – First Time – Smoking Popes
#4 – Together Forever In Love – Go Sailor
#1 – Fade Into You – Mazzy Star

Review #6 – The CDP.

I’ve never reviewed my own Mix before, but I decided to throw it into the fray, because so many people ask me what my Mixes look like. Truth of the matter is that I’m a rather middle-of-the-road Mix-Tape creator, especially considering some of the brilliant works of art that I see every time I do one of these Trades. As the creator of the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade, I find it fascinating to see how much of themselves people put into their Mixes, and it always inspires me to do the same. Therefore, for the Countdown, I put together 30 tracks that I find emotionally touching in one way or another. Tracks that have brought me to tears, tracks that have talked me down from the figurative ledge; emo stuff like that. Spread out over two discs, I sort of felt bad for the recipient, as it was essentially a buildup of some of the saddest and most depressing songs ever written; not exactly a Mix you’ll want to listen to every day. That being said, it’s solid, and I tried to make it as varied as possible. You be the judge.

#28 – Action And Action – The Get Up Kids
#26 – Poor Celine – The Velvet Teen
#25 – Give It A Name – At The Drive-In
#21 – I’ll Get There – ALL
#19 – Burn Your Way Home – Algebra One
#16 – Become One Anything One Time – The Promise Ring
#9 – Stand By Me – Ben E. King
#4 – Wake Up – Arcade Fire
#3 – Nightswimming – R.E.M.
#2 – Hope There’s Someone – Antony & The Johnsons
#1 – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; Part 4 arrives tomorrow.

CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade #5 – Wrap Party 2.

Finally, after two weeks of sifting, listening, drinking, typing and deciphering handwritten track listings, I’ve managed to make it through all of the Mix-Tapes that were so generously sent to me for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 5. Thank you very much; I appreciate it.

I wanted to take a brief moment to spotlight all of the great mixes that were sent to me, as a small way of saying thank you. Therefore, for the next several days, I’ll be doing just that. Please enjoy.

Review #3 – The Missus.

The Missus is not a fan of countdowns, which differs drastically from her husband, who always finds the need to categorize and rank everything in his sights. So in defiance, she created her most creatively-themed Mix to date, by compiling 20 tracks that had the numbers 1 through 20 in their song title or artist’s name. This seemingly random collection had all the ingredients for a disastrous result, but thanks to our ridiculously awesome iTunes library, this Mix turned out to be a great gathering of deep cuts that came from a super clever idea.

#19 – Holland, 1945 – Neutral Milk Hotel
#14 – Uma 14 Times – Zoinks!
#8 – Eightball – The Impossibles
#6 – U16 Girls – Travis
#3 – Measure 3 – Matt Pond PA
#2 – Neighborhood #2 (Laika) – Arcade Fire

Review #4 – Tami.

Tami is another first-time Mix creator that came through with another creative theme that runs deep in the history of Pop Music: song titles that are also girl’s names. Some of the best pop songs ever written are about the fairer gender, and this collection spans the gauntlet of decades and genres, plucking out the best stuff and presenting it in a decently-ranked countdown. Punctuated by quality songwriting, one-hit wonders and guilty pleasures, the ‘Top 20 Songs That Are Girl’s Names’ is a winner.

#20 – Jenny (867-5309) – Tommy Tutone
#13 – Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
#11 – Angie – The Rolling Stones
#7 – Come On Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
#4 – Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
#1 – Maggie May – Rod Stewart

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; Part 3 arrives tomorrow.