A tiny bit on the Lost finale

I’ve only had a few hours to process the Lost finale, and I was asleep for most of them, so this is still a little unformed and right off the cuff. Still, right off the bat, I’m a bit of two minds on how it all wrapped up…

(Behind the jump for those who prefer to remain spoiler-free.)

Update, two hours later: Okay — after conversation both with Prairie and in the comments to this post, it seems I didn’t quite “get it” right off the bat, and misinterpreted the end. The more I talk and think about it, the more I understand, and the more I like how things wrapped up. So, don’t pay too much attention to what follows…or if you do, please read through the comments as well. I’m actually quite okay with the fact that I didn’t get it at first and needed to talk it out. Too much TV is dumbed down so that the masses don’t have to engage their brain matter, and can just sit and zone in front of the tube. That this show didn’t take its viewers for granted, didn’t spoonfeed everything, and was willing to do things in a way that could (and, in my case, did) lead to some initial misinterpretation, forcing me to think about it, is a good, good thing.

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Links for December 16th through January 4th

Sometime between December 16th and January 4th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • Why Is JJ Abrams Obsessed With Alice in Wonderland?: "Abrams has been mining the Alice mythos for years -Alias, Lost, and yes, even Felicity are all filled to the brim with Into the Looking Glass subtext and, as is the case with Fringe, actual context. For the sake of brevity, topicality and to spare you the pain of many, many white rabbit-related metaphors we'll keep the focus on Fringe with a bit of Abrams' back catalog to support the theory."
  • Population of the Dead: "How many people have ever lived? While doing research about populations for my last piece, I began to wonder just how many people had ever walked the face of the earth. The articles I found [here and here] were intriguing so I decided to visualize them as well."
  • The Weekly World News on Google Books: Heh. Awesome. My favorite of the trash news rags. Sad that it doesn't exist in print anymore.
  • This Dumb Decade: The 87 Lamest Moments in Tech, 2000-2009: "If ever a decade began dumb, it was this one. When clocks struck midnight on January 1st and the dreaded Y2K bug turned out to be nothing but a mild irritant, it proved once again that the experts often don't know what the heck they're talking about."
  • 20 Greatest SF Movies of the Past Decade: "The past decade has seen a lot of bloated special-effects brain-sucks… but it's also seen some of the best science-fiction films ever. Superhero films came of age, apocalypses ruled, and interstellar adventures came back. Here are the decade's 20 greatest."

Links for January 21st from 08:43 to 17:23

Sometime between 08:43 and 17:23, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • US Democracy Server: Patch Day: * Leadership: Will now scale properly to national crises. Intelligence was not being properly applied. * A bug has been fixed that allowed the President to ignore the effects of debuffs applied by the Legislative classes. * Drain Treasury: There appears to be a bug that allowed loot to be transferred from the treasury to anyone on the President’s friends list, or in the President’s party. We are investigating. * Messages to and from the President will now be correctly saved to the chat log. * Messages originating from the President were being misclassified as originating from The American People. * A rendering error that frequently caused the President to appear wrapped in the American Flag texture has been addressed.
  • Gregg Nations’s Job – Keeping ‘Lost’ on Track: ith 34 episodes to go in its two final seasons, the stories of nearly 100 characters to wrap up, several Dharma stations to keep track of and a whole lot of time traveling going on, the writers of “Lost” are doing anything but winding down. Yet their task — untangling the seemingly impenetrable mass of plotlines that have become addictive to some viewers of the show and alienating to others — is relatively simple compared with that of Gregg Nations.
  • The Inauguration of President Barack Obama – The Big Picture: Yesterday was a historic day. On January 20th, 2009, Barack H. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America – the first African-American ever to hold the office of U.S. Commander-in-Chief. The event was witnessed by well over one million attendees in chilly Washington D.C., and by many millions more through coverage on television and the Internet. Collected here are photographs of the event, the participants, and some of the witnesses around the world.
  • 88 Lines about 44 Presidents: Washington was quite reluctant / Didn't want to rule the land, / Adams, more enthusiastic, / Claimed Sedition Acts were grand, / Jefferson bought half the nation, / Headlined the two dollar bill, / Madison's Federalist Papers / Seemed to give him quite a thrill.
  • Obama inauguration stops traffic – web traffic, that is: Shh! Hear that? It's the sound of people not searching and not doing things on the web while Barack Obama is giving his inauguration speech. This is a man who can stop traffic of all sorts – including web traffic.

Lost Finale Show-to-Commercial Ratio

Watching the season finale of Lost last night was an exercise in frustration — not because of the show itself (we enjoy the frustration that comes from the many twists, turns, and unanswered questions of the show), but from the horrendous number of and length of commercial breaks. It felt like we were getting about a 1:1 ratio of show to commercial, so starting a little before the halfway point of the two-hour program, I started jotting down when we’d switch from show to commercial.

The end result: Over the final 72 minutes of the show…

  • there were 48 minutes of show and 24 minutes of commercial, for a 2:1 show-to-commercial ratio (It was nice to know that it wasn’t actually 1:1, though it really did feel like it),
  • there were 6 commercial breaks, averaging 4 minutes each,
    • most commercial breaks were four minutes,
    • the shortest commercial break was three minutes,
    • the longest commercial break was five minuets,
  • there were 6 show segments, averaging 8 minutes each,
    • the shortest show segment was five minutes,
    • the longest show segment was eleven minutes.

Okay, so it’s not the most impressive set of statistics out there, but the continuing drive for more commercial time and less show time is ever more aggravating, and one of the big reasons I didn’t watch TV for close to a decade (and for most shows, still prefer to just wait ’til they come out on DVD). That 2:1 ratio means that every hour of TV will actually have only 40 minutes of show.

For quick (and admittedly loose) comparisons with other well-known historical popular TV series, IMDB lists original Star Trek as 47 minutes, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager as 45 minutes, and Enterprise as 42 minutes. From the 60’s to the 80’s shows only lost about two minutes to advertisers, we held steady through the 90’s, but by 2001 had lost another three minutes, and in 2008 we’ve lost another two. Not only are we getting noticeably less show and more advertising, but the rate at which advertising takes over show time is increasing. Ick.

And then people wonder are surprised that I don’t watch more TV than I do? Heck, I’m often surprised that I watch as much as I do!

The End of the Countdown

Two quick things regarding Lost:

  1. I’m afraid I didn’t bother with the usual recap of the last two episodes. I’ve been at work ’til 10pm on Wednesdays lately, so I just watched both of them back-to-back, and…well, I just didn’t feel like doing that. I doubt anyone’s heartbroken, but just in case…sorry!

  2. Oh, sure, the timer runs out…and then you just get to reset it again anyway? What a gyp!

I’m still really curious about the hieroglyphs, though.

Lost Heiroglyphs

iTunesBlue Suit Boogie” by Indigo Swing from the album All Aboard! (1998, 3:53).

Whoops…something slipped.

And…we’re back. The server my site resides on went down about 3pm yesterday, and didn’t come back until sometime this morning. Sorry ’bout that — these things do happen from time to time, though.

In the meantime…

Yesterday, a customer came wandering into the store. “Hi there,” I greeted him. “Anything we can help you with today?”

“Yeah, I wanted to look at a couple cameras.” Then he paused and took a closer look at me. “Um…are you Michael? Of Eclecticism?”

I laughed. “Yeah, that’s me.”

“I’m Joe — Pop Astronaut.”

And another connection was made between the online world and real life. We chatted for a bit, then got him set up with the camera he’d been considering. Small world!

Small bits related to my recent re-acquaintance with television:

  • Desperate HousewivesLast night, Prairie and I finished our Desperate Housewives Season One marathon, which we’d been working on for the past couple weeks. We’ve both been enjoying watching Season Two on Sunday nights, and have been borrowing Season One so that I could get caught up on all the back story.

  • Battlestar Galactica has started up again also, and I’ve been doing my best to avoid any articles about the first episode of the second half of Season Two until I get a chance to watch it myself. The episode is sitting on my ‘puter…I just need to get a chance to watch it! Maybe tonight…

  • LostFinally, Lost finally starts up again this Wednesday — and because I’m working until 10pm that night, I’m not going to be able to see it until I get a chance to download it! Grrrrr…stupid work. ;)

And I think that pretty much brings us up to date. Plans for tonight are light: work ’til 6pm, do my reading for school tomorrow, have dinner, and watch tonight’s Desperate Housewives. Non-stop excitement, I tell you!