Flow charts

Such a wonderful photo - a writer's dream. I imagine the writers must have kept a series bible close at hand in order to keep the backstory clear. It's easy enough to miss a detail, and in this day of endless eyes, any mistake will be identified.

Flow charts are one of the keys to a successful life, by the way. Everything flows, after all.

Off Camera

We're all someone different when the camera is on, or off. In fact, we are different people all the time - when dealing with family, with colleagues, with friends, exes, etc.

So who are we? A collection of roles?

Anyways, Jack smokes. I'm crestfallen.

So it goes

I liked it. A lot. Here's the last shot - thematically bringing it all back to the beginning, and I believe the writers when they say they had this final shot planned from the beginning.

To summarize (Spoilers!): The Alt universe was purgatory; it's timeless, so people can die at different times and still be there together. This purgatory was created by the collective survivors, or maybe just Jack.

Everything we saw on the Island happened, and the Alt Universe was the heavenly coda, occurring perhaps long, long after the actual events depicted (consider that Hurley might remain Island protector for thousands of years, with Ben as his faithful number 2).  

On the Island, as per the Alt reality scene between Sawyer and Juliet (she tells him to unplug the machine then plug it back in to get his candy bar), Jack reboots the island. It was only during the reboot that Smokey could be, and was, killed. Thus, no more Smoke Monster. I think.

I've got a lot to say about this episode, but not much time now. I found it very emotional, and I very much like the fact the story goes on - Sawyer and Kate (and Lapidus! And Alpert!) escaped the Island (probably because the rules about leaving were gone), Hurley and Ben are the Guardians, Desmond is still on Island but one assumes he gets to leave and reunite with Penny.

Jack's dead, but he died nobly - and is that not reward in itself?

Finally, as I've been hypothesizing all along, Vincent was the key to everything:
And even though I was emotionally invested in this show, it was still a fictional dog that got me worst of all. Good boy. 


The End

Ends are the best, or, at least, can be the best - they are often botched. But there's nothing better than a great end. Second best would be beginnings. Middles are always predictable.

Drink Milk!

That Party of Five guy says so.

Kate Smoke

Terrifying, is it not?

I've come to like Kate this season, as her motivation for coming back to the Island was quite powerful (to save Claire), and the way this quest has played out (Claire's crazy) has been dramatic  - I sympathize with Kate's torn emotions. To give up her child to save the real Mother only to find her crazy and controlled by the Devil.... it's a dilly of a pickle.

That said, the Kate Hate is still strong on the interweb. Many are hoping for:

But I suspect she'll somehow survive the inevitable slaughter to come. Odds on Kate surviving: 60%. I can't imagine there will be many survivors however - I don't think we're getting a happy ending on the Island. The sideways world, maybe.

Countdown is on! Happy Lostmas!


Two Faced

Great stories should inspire other art. A theory!

In scanning the many Lost posts here to see if I had used this photo before (for shame! Redshirt has no tracking system in place and thus, I apologize in advance if I re-use a picture. I have once before, that I know of, and it was way back in the dawn of this blog - the classic "It's a Tarp!"
and it's worth posting again, Ackbar be Damned!)

But anyways, in my meanderings through the past, I came upon a list of Redshirt's top 5 tv shows. And I didn't like it. So, here, forthwith, is a new and improved top 5(for now):

1. Lost
2. Angel
3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
4. Survivor
5. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

I challenge any nerd to question my taste. And, obviously, nerds need only apply.

The Swan

More great art from the collection I linked to below. Love this one.

Favorite hatch? The Swan sure was a good one, but I'm voting "Flame".


I spend waaaaay too much time on the Intertubey webs reading about Lost. At this point, I could get a damn PhD in the subject. Regardless, there is a great hue and cry coming up from the Internet these past few weeks which can be summarized as such: "I WANT MY ANSWERS!"

I sympathize, but do not agree. 1. There have been plenty of answers. Tons - fer instance, the polar bears have been completely explained. As seen above, this is a polar bear collar from the Hydra station, found by Charlotte in the desert of Tunisia - which indicates that a polar bear turned the Donkey Wheel. And thus, we have the explanation of why there were polar bears on the island - to test the Wheel.

This is true of many other mysteries as well - for instance, we have received answers covering most of the questions regarding the Others - we know why and how they were formed, what the structure was like, their motivation, and an explanation for their most recent actions.

That said, I am a firm believer in the "Always leave 'em wanting more" school of entertainment, and especially so when it comes to mystery stories, which Lost certainly is.

And there is a powerful meta-arguement here: In life, do you get all the answers? I would say, "most definitely not"; why should a great story be any different?

Finally, check out these great selections of Lost art, one example here:


Yes, very clearly, yes, I am Bear.

Powder Cat

Do you REALIZE the street value of this mountain?!

Lamb's n' Lions

Wook at da widdle putty tat!


Jack of Faces

Every one of these seems to be mislabeled to me, but then, that might be part of the joke - you know how wacky the internets can get.

It's going to be you

Fantastic episode last night! I am very well pleased. I loved everything, and have no doubts going into the homestretch.

No big surprise Jack is the successor - it's been rather obvious all along, and the only reason not to feel 100% confident of this prior was the well known Lost "mindfuck twist". Which didn't happen, at least on this subject.

I think the writers have done a great, great job in answering enough of the mystery, yet still leaving it mysterious, but more importantly, accurately reflecting our existence - which is, every answer DOES lead to a new question. Look at what has happened in the sciences over the past 100 years - we have far, far, far more answers than ever before, yet paradoxically, we know that we know almost nothing really about this universe, not yet.

Same with Lost - the answers which have been revealed are: No one knows the full story. Jacob and Smokey and Crazy Mother were as caught up in this mystery as anyone else. They just had longer to learn about it and more direct connections. There's no omniscient  force behind the scenes, just power and mankind's ever mercurial nature. That's it. How this power corrupts, enables, supports, degrades mankind is the story - the story of humanity.

The game Jacob has been playing for millenia is to convince his brother-in-the-form-of-a-murderous-smoke-monster that the island is worth protecting. Here, Island = Life. Smokey as the Judge, fused with the MIB's unyielding desire to leave the island has created the danger. Jacob was responsible, and he's trying to fix it.

Much like Jack takes responsibility for many broken things, and tries to fix them.

I've really liked the character development of Jack over the past few seasons, especially this season. He "ripened" into a real leader, and not just the top Alpha Dog - there is a difference!

More thoughts later. Last thought here: Now that Jack is the Protector, I assume Kate, Hugo, and Sawyer are no longer Candidates and thus, according to the rules, can be killed by Smokey. So watch out!

But I also suspect Jack can now make up his own rules. We'll see.


Time in a bottle

So, same bottle that Mother gave Jacob a glass of wine from? Was it the wine that made Jacob "like" Mother, or was it her touch? And when MiB shatters said wine, is this just symbolic, or actually an act with consequences to the crazy Island rules?

I doubt we'll find out tonight, as I have a feeling the penultimate episode of Lost will focus on the Mirror universe. At least I hope so.

MiB has become much more sympathetic to me since the past episode - that was no doubt the writer's intent. But, I don't think that excuses anything, as this world seemingly demands we accept the consequences of acts we had no control over. For example, MIB was raised in a bubble on craphole Island, lied to, deceived, etc, all for simply wanting to leave. It's understandable. But it cannot excuse thousands of years of murder, can it?

This is not just a question for a fictional show. For example, say you have a person who was molested as a child. This person grows up in bad homes/foster homes, with bad influences, little money, etc. Would it be any surprise if this person grows up to be a criminal?

No, of course not - many criminals fit this very profile. And yet they are held responsible for any crimes they commit, and how could they not?

Thus, our tragedy - beholden to forces we have no control over yet accountable for whatever happens. Bum deal!


Lost no more

This is the end - the last Monday on which there is a new Lost episode to come. So, in the spirit of appreciating what you got before it's gone, I'm going full on Lost till the finale this Sunday, and maybe some days after that.

But then that's it! I give up TV soon enough anyways.

Re: The Light, as seen above. This is a shot when Locke moved the island. If you recall, this light came about when the characters were flashing through time, and specifically, when Locke was going down the well to get to the wheel, the light very clearly came up from the well.

The same well/wheel we saw MIB building long, long ago, which was his attempt at getting off the island via the magic light Crazy Momma had shown him, but he could never find on his own.

A similar, but different light flashed when Desmond turned the failsafe key in the hatch at the end of Season 2.

I assume all of these lights were from the same source - The Source, as shown in the last episode.

I also assume this will all be brought home soon enough. Too soon. Alas!

Life in a nutshell

This is an actual picture of photosynthesis occurring at the atomic level. I can't help but see a similar pattern to magnetic fields. I also have to marvel at the magic of photosynthesis - light, carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen is all a plant needs to survive - why did evolution move on to food?


Did you know "We" - us Hoomons - have landed probes on asteroids, and in the picture above, crashed probes into asteroids in order to analyze the debris, all in preparation for future asteroid defense systems? Now you do!

Here's the best system, by the way: Launch a fleet of "mother ship" satellites that orbit in a large sphere around earth. These satellites contain dozens and dozens of very tiny satellites that can be launched at an incoming rock; these tiny ships would attach themselves to the asteroid, and then in a swarmed synchronicity, engage the thrusters and begin moving the asteroid out of an impact orbit.

One of these days the Earth will get slammed - not a matter of if, only when. If we don't have any way to stop this inevitable asteroid, it's likely it will be the end for us.

So act now!


Shelter Island

That's the name of the meteorite that just so happened to be near by plucky rover Opportunity.  Look upon an alien rock on an alien world, and ask yourself: Is not this existence grand?

Also, our old friend Iron - did you know Iron is essentially poison to stars? As soon as Iron starts getting formed, everything it touches dies within the star. And the same might be said of Iron here on Mother Earth, no? 

Wish you were here

I have some stress in my life - perhaps you do as well? This stress would often cause me difficulties sleeping, as my mind would race around the track of "All the things to do!".

So I searched about for solutions. No drugs though, as sleeping pills are pure evil, and except for the fun drugs, I am firmly a "Just Say No" kinda redshirt.

I tried tea, milk, curtains, sound machines, fans and fans and more fans, and nothing worked. I tried counting sheep, and I felt like that was getting me somewhere, but not far enough. And then I came upon a realization: Your brain is keeping you awake with thoughts of "All the things to do!"; if you can redirect that mental activity somewhere else, perhaps you can bypass it. This is the principle behind counting sheep, after all - the visualization of sheep jumping over a fence is mentally engaging enough to distract you from your normal thoughts, and the procession of counting more and more sheep creates a hypnotic effect whereby you are talking yourself to sleep in a gentle manner - self hypnosis of a sort.

Counting sheep simply gets boring, my mind drifts back onto the stress, and so I was dissatisfied with the technique. But the principle is sound, so I developed it - what about some kind of complex scenario that would require you to spend that limited mental activity, but also not create any new stress or drama? This last part is key.

For example, one of my early attempts at a "go-to-sleep" scenario was "What would my dream house be?" And I would try and imagine all the cool things I might have in a house if money were no object. But I found this scenario quickly led to thoughts of money, of responsibility, and those thoughts would then lead back to the "real world" of stress and anxiety and etc.

So I searched about for different scenarios, and came upon one that has worked for me for years and years now - stuck on a desert island. Please note this started BEFORE Lost. Ahem! Now, your mileage will vary, and if you try this technique, you'll have to come up with your own scenario, as each of us is unique in our way and no one specific path is necessarily meant for another.

Stuck on a deserted tropical island, with a big chest of whatever I wanted to pack in that chest. Tarps, knives, lighters, pots, fishing gear, etc. How would I drink water? What would I eat? How would I build a shelter? What about bugs? The bathroom? Etc. Endless permutations of mindless repetitions, essentially, for me, disconnected entirely from the "real world" (as in, it's highly unlikely I'd ever find myself stuck on a desert island). Counting sheep writ large, in other words.

It worked wonderfully for me, but alas, some 8 years now doing this, I've found it's gotten a bit stale. So I'm trying out some new material. If you're having any difficulty sleeping, I encourage you to give this general technique a try. Remember, the keys are it has to be quite disconnected from your "real world" so as not to lead to any stressful thoughts, and it has to be engaging in a harmless way in order to distract your brains from the habitual thoughts it wants to engage in. Maybe you could envision a great garden with all types of different plants. Or maybe imagine building a model train set to minute detail. Whatever works for you, but it might take you some time trying out different scenarios, so be patient.

To finish, in all this time, I don't recall ever once dreaming of being on a deserted tropical island, which I find exceedingly strange.

Island in the Stream

Cloud eddies caused by the presence of the Island. At a large scale, clouds behave as a liquid, and can be modeled using very small scale experiments - fluid dynamics.

Macro is the Micro is the Macro is the Micro (and so on)

On the left, a cell in a mouse brain; on the right, a computer model showing the large scale structure of the universe - each point of light in the picture would be an individual galaxy.

This is a fundamental truth to our reality - wherever you look, no matter how high or low, the macro is repeated in the micro and the micro in the macro;

There is wisdom to be gained by fully understanding this in your day to day life. I leave it to you to decide how. Or why.


Truck Stop Palette

The story of everything: Energy transforming.

Center of the World

Not a photoshop, but rather an incredible shot of the Icelandic volcano and the northern lights. Amazing.

Iceland could claim easily enough to be the "center of the world" - the island sits atop the mid-Atlantic ridge which is, right now, pushing the Americas and Europe/Africa further and further apart - I think it's an inch or two per year. That adds up!

But then, as a very old and very useful mythological metaphor, every place on Earth could legitimately claim to be "the center of the world", since, what point is actually the center on a surface of a sphere? There is no center, or, conversely, every point is the center.

It's a powerful metaphor if you let it soak in.

Gates of Hell

Did you know the entrance to Hell was in Turkmenistan? Well, now you do! Lookee above!

But really, in fine Soviet fashion, there was an explosion at a mine, with a resultant gas leak, and the Soviet authorities at the time thought the way to take care of it was to light it on fire and.... well, it's been burning ever since - over 30 years, with no sign of going out anytime soon.

Visit Turkmenistan!


The Source

I was a bit taken back while watching last night's episode, due to the lack of our normal characters and the use of child actors (always risky), but in retrospect the episode gets better and better. It was pure mythology, hewing very closely to the Garden of Eden myth which I've always assumed has been at the basis of the show - Island is the garden, filled with wonders and delights, but can be ruined by knowledge.

Last night, crazy Island Mother kept the twins in mostly ignorance, and it was the "bad" twin's pursuit of knowledge that led to his fall - or did it? I got the strong sense that everything that happened might have simply been a long con by the Mother to find her replacement. Also, she was Smokey, right? How else did she fill the well and kill all the people in the village?

Also, MIB is not Smokey, right? MIB is dead - MIB is Adam! And crazy Mother is Eve. ANSWERED! But we clearly saw MIB's dead body, and we saw Smokey, so they are not the same. I assume Smokey is either the trapped soul of MIB, or it is simply impersonating him completely, just like it does with Locke.

But what led to all the trouble was the appearance of the dead real mother, who appeared only to MIB. She spoke nothing but the truth, but in a vengeful way, as if she wanted the boy to hate his Crazy Mother and do something to her. Which he did, which leads me to believe this dead apparition was in service to a goal like many of the dead apparitions we've seen in modern times - Smokey's goals. So the theory here is Crazy Mother was Smokey, wanted out of the job, got lucky by finding a pregnant woman, kills her, and raises the kids in isolation only with the intent that one of them will take her place. By the end, she gets her wish, MIB kills her, freeing her, and he becomes Smokey, or at least his soul.

The time period for this tale is defined by the use of Latin - so, circa 500 BC to 700 AD or so. They were using an Egyptian game, but sadly this misses my hope of getting full on Egyptian action.

We saw what appeared to be the very same knife MIB gave Richard and Dogen gave Sayid to kill Jacob and MIB, respectively - MIB uses this knife to kill crazy Mother. Who thanks him for it.

We also saw the beginnings of the Wheel of Time, and I won't make any attempt to understand how that thing is supposed to work - light and water! But it was fascinating to me to see the dichotomy of the two brothers: MIB is the man of science, of this world; Jacob is the man of faith, aloof from the world. We also now know the young boy we've been seeing this season who spook's Smokey is Young Jacob - whether his ghost or his resurrected spirit, who knows?

Finally, for now, I think it likely the Other's Temple we saw earlier this season is connected to this cave/stream of light. That's where the healing spring comes from, now not-so-healy.

Overall, it seems pretty clear that no one really knows what's going on with the Island, and that's most likely the way it will stay. And isn't the mystery better, anyways?

I think this episode will be quite polarizing with the fans. It's also ballsy - no main cast at all, at this junction in the show? Takes creative guts.


The Miracle of Domesticity

More art I like - Dharmatown, artist unknown. I'd take a full print of this (hint hint!).

Also, for the completists out there:
I am quite excited for tonight's episode. I still hope we get answers to certain questions, like, "Why no babies on the island"? "What are the rules for Jacob and Smokey, and who makes them"? "Can we see some Egyptians, please?"

And, I doubt we'll get it, but what was the deal with the murky water in the Spring O' Resurrection, and how did Sayid come back to life? 

Oh, and who's Adam and Eve? Also, confirm or deny: Vincent is really in charge of everything, and this all been his long con.

All Too Easy

I don't know art, but I know what I like. And I like this. A lot. Also.
This trooper is pulling off the pink look with Imperial aplomb.


Time for War!

When living in the Empire, it's pretty much always time for war.

Also, color is amazingly powerful. Look what happens just by adding pink:

And remember! Color is simply the frequency of the photons hitting your eye, then translated by your brain into... "pink".

Take away lesson? Stick with black.

Mom, Apple Pie, Dark Side

Nothing says "I love America" like a Vader Parade.

2 Girls, 1 Sith Lord


Banality of Evil

Even a Dark Lord needs to take the kid with him from time to time.


Bruce Wayne, Spiderman

Click for big, must be read to be believed - especially all the nerds in the hizzay - holla?

Anyways, the Great and Powerful Google reveals all things. Type in "Chinese Knock Off Toys" and have fun. For example:

Knock off factories must be fun places - so confusing!

Super Rummy

Heck of a job, Rummy.

Some tips for dealing with Repuglicans: 

1. Anything they accuse anyone else of, they are guilty of themselves. It's called "Projection".
2. They live in a Fantasy World that came from the "Leave it to Beaver" TV show, which in fact never existed.
3. They are selfish to the point of evil.

That about sums up your typical so-called "Conservative" today. 


Rule for this world: Everything looks cool (Weird) close up.

Dragonfly es mi amigo

Know any dragonflies? You should - they're nature's friendliest insects! All you need to do is find a body of water and sit still nearby - they'll come to you. Repeat this act enough and soon you'll have dragonflies sitting on your shoulders, gossiping about the bugs. Always with the bugs.

Helix Nebula

Every nebula, like this beauty, is the remnant of a supernovae - the event when a star of a certain density collapses on itself, and then explodes. If the star is really big, this event will leave behind a nebula with a neutron star at the center; if it's really, really big, the nebula will swiftly be eaten by the black hole that is created instead.

Stars explode because they've used up all their fuel for fusion - this happens as the star converts hydrogen to helium, helium to lithium, and so on till it hits the mid point of our reality: Iron. Iron doesn't easily give into fusion, so the process stops at iron, and since Iron is the heaviest of all these elements created so far, it sinks to the center of the star. And builds, and builds, and builds till you have a truly odd creature: A star with a massive iron core (an iron core far bigger than the earth, for perspective). Soon enough, this iron core cannot be supported, and it collapses on itself, triggering the supernova. In the supernova, and ONLY in supernovas, are the rest of the elements created, such as Gold, Silver, Tin, Lead, Mercury, etc. 

Our Sun, and everything in our solar system, emerged from a supernova some 5 billion years ago. And so it goes with all nebula - they are the birthplaces of stars and planets. Creation - Destruction - Creation etc.


Next Stop, Themis

Say hello to the asteroids of the inner solar system! Note the wave like effect of Jupiter - it pushes asteroids ahead of it, and another group of asteroids follow in its wake.

But, the key to this picture is the white ring of Asteroids in the Asteroid Belt proper, with the giant Themis highlighted. Recent analysis reveals Themis is covered in ice - water ice. Tons and tons and tons of water ice. Point? Where there is water, there can be life. This is another in a series of major revelations about the presence of water in the Solar System - water has been found on the Moon, Mars, moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and now asteroids. It's likely there's water everywhere out there, and that's not something we knew or could even be confident in just 10 years ago.

These water resources will inevitably be used as fueling stations for humanity's expansion into the solar system. I hope I am around to see some of it.