29 February 2008

Lost -- 28 February ("The Constant")

Last night's episode may have been my favorite of this season, despite (or perhaps because of) it focused almost totally on Desmond. Desmond has become one of my favorite characters. He's a bit of a sad sack, but there is this tragic and romantic quality to him that I enjoy. His primary motivation is to demonstrate he's worthy of his love. I actually found the end of the spisode, where Desmond speaks to Penny for the first time in eight years, touching. It's also quite possible he knows when he is going to die. Plus he calls everyone "brother", which is kinda cool.

This episode confirmed the emerging theory that there is some sort of time displacement going on with the island itself. This was hinted at before, primarily with Dan's experiment where the timer arrived at the island half an hour after it should have. But now we know -- the chopper took off at dusk but arrived at midday; to those on the island it seemed as if a day had gone by while the flight only took twenty minutes. We learned Dan has been trying these time experiments for years and that Desmond's consciousness travels in time, from his army days back in 1996 to 2004. (It looks as if this consciousness time traveling was the reason Desmond sucked at being a solider).

As always, there were interesting questions. Who is the mysterious captain of the freighter? Is it someone we have seen before? Who unlocked the door to the sick bay? Presumably Ben's "man on the boat", but who is that? (Part of me thinks Michael is on that freighter). Why do the freighter people avoid Penny's transmissions? How is the Black Rock and the diary from the boat related to all this?

Anyone have any theories?

27 February 2008

And, lo, the stone was removed!

To quote Jimmy Hendrix, I am now stone free. Although I don't think he was talking about kidney stones and laser surgery. We went to the hospital in Pineville yesterday at about 9:00. I was processed and put in pre-op for an hour or so, then they took me to anesthesia. The last thing I remember was Dr. Doolittle (seriously) saying they were going to give me something to help me relax. Apparently, I relaxed enough to fall asleep. Everything else for the rest of the day was hazy. Apparently I asked Sarah to stop at the bookstore and wrote down a book to get for me. I do remember not being able to talk very well because of serious cotton mouth. I came home, slept, got up when Andre and Heidi arrived, ate a big dinner (I hadn't had anything to eat in 24 hours) then went back to bed. I woke up this morning in a little bit of pain, but nothing too bad. I go back on Friday for a follow up, which will hopefully be the end of the Kidney Stone Saga.

25 February 2008

Under the, um, laser?

Well, it's official. The stone has not moved at all, so I have to have surgery tomorrow. There will be no actual cutting, just, um, tubes and lasers and things of that nature. It's outpatient, so I should be home by tomorrow afternoon. It's a minor deal, but I am still a little nervous, so thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

22 February 2008

Lost -- 21 February

Warning -- I am typing this while under the influence of hydrocodone (the stone starting hurting when I got home this evening), so I take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained herein.

Here's what we learned last night:
1. Kate cleans up really well.

Ummm. . . that's about it. Way more questions than answers.

1. The end, of course. How did Kate get Aaron?
2. What the hell is Ben up to? How does Miles know him? Why did Miles ask for 3.2 million dollars? (Interesting theory -- Miles is Ben's man on the boat and they were just speaking in some kind of code).
3. What happened to the helicopter? Looks like that gets answered next week.
After last week it seems like there is definitely some time travel/time displacement going on. Maybe it takes the helicopter three days to get back to the boat?
4. What is going on with Dan and Charlotte? Does Dan have memory issues or is he supposed to be psychic or something (although I thought Miles was supposed to be psychic)? Why didn't Charlotte tell anyone Ben has a man on the freighter?

I didn't like this episode as much as last week (Sayid as an assassin was awesome), but still good stuff. I read today that there will be 13 episodes this season, so hopefully we'll get some answers by May.

21 February 2008

Romancing the Stone

Quick health update: I went to the urologist yesterday -- no stone movement. Ugh. He's giving it until Monday, then they will have to "go get it." All I really care about that process is that I will be unconscious if it has to happen. So until Monday I am drinking lots and lots of water. I wish I liked beer, because that's supposed to help.

20 February 2008

Rocky Week

Wow. All sorts of things have been happening lately that have kept me busy, then laid me up, then put me in a funk that I am just now snapping out of.

I turned in my Pre-Tenure Review early, at about 11:00 on Thursday. Not an hour afterwards, we received an email from the dean extending that deadline until Monday. No matter. I was glad to have it done and turned it. It certainly took most of my time and energy for the previous week. I need to give big thanks to my wife for her editing skills and general understanding and my graduate assistant for all her help.


As it turns out, it was a very good thing I turned in my review early, as I woke up at 4:30 in the morning on Friday having to pee really bad. I staggered into the bathroom, did my business, but the sensation did not go away. Instead, it turned into excruciating pain that put me back into the bathroom puking. That's where I stayed for the next hour or so, as Sarah got Eleanor dressed and ready. They drove me to the local urgent care center, which was empty. (Tip -- if you want the doctor to see you right away, throw up in the waiting room bathroom. Although by this time it was just dry heaves,as my stomach had tossed out all the interlopers long before.)
A very surly doctor saw me first. He ordered some blood work and a urine sample. I spent the next 20 minutes or so heaving into the bathroom toilet or sitting in the exam room with my head on the exam table. A much nicer doctor then came in and said it looked like I had a kidney stone and he was sending me to the hospital for a CT scan. So we went, but not before getting a shot for the pain. Blessed Toridol! The CT scan revealed I did indeed have a fairly good sized stone, so it was back to urgent care. At first, the nice doctor said he would give me pain medicine and the weekend to pass it on my own, but I should contact the urologist the following week. But while I was waiting for my prescription, the urologist told nice doctor they wanted to see me that day. So off I went to the urologist, where they did more X-rays, and I did more peeing in cups. The urologist was super nice and told me exactly what was going on -- I had a big stone, but not too big to pass on it's own. It was pretty far down, close to my bladder already, which was good and bad. Good because it was close to getting out. Bad because if it didn't come out on it's own, it was a the point where they would have to do surgery to get it out. He gave me a perscription for better pain medicine (hydrocodone), some Flomax samples, told me to drink all the water I could stand, and sent me home. I felt much better on Saturday, kinda crappy again on Sunday (which resulted in me taking the codeine and being really stoned for four or five hours) and feel fine now. I've been peeing in a strainer at home, but am not sure I've really gotten rid of anything. I go back to the urologist this afternoon.


So that was the weekend. The week started with some storm Sunday night that knocked out the power to our house. Despite no alarm clocks, I woke up at my usual time Monday morning. Eleanor was freaking out in the dark, but we got her out of her crib and she calmed down. I took a shower by candlelight (our hot water is gas, so that was fine. I am glad it wasn't cold outside, though) and we went out for breakfast. They didn't get the power back on until 11:00 or so. It just threw me off.

So, eventful. I am still trying to catch up after focusing on my Review for a solid week. I am also trying to shake off an inexplicable emotional funk. This morning I stayed home while Sarah went to the gym. She got some personal time while I played with Eleanor, which really improved my mood. Both of those girls are good for that.

13 February 2008

This is what I waste my 100th post on?

Yes, this is post 100. Unfortunately it comes during the week I am preparing my third year review, due Friday.

So I'll get back to that. But I promise more substantial writing and a new look for the blog soon.

08 February 2008

Lost -- 7 February

I missed the first 10 minutes or so of last night's episode trying to get Eleanor to go back to sleep (at which I failed miserably and had to call in the calvary, aka Sarah).
I think all I missed was Dan (or is it Dave -- the bearded parachute guy) and his flashback. I think it was neat how we got all four of the new arrival's flashbacks in one episode and, as usual, the flashbacks are where the mystery lies. The entire episode was a bit more of a setup show that last week, with little payoff and not much plot advancement. Still, there was some forward movement. The Dharma polar bear in Tunisia was nice and gives more evidence to the time travel/teleportation theory about what's going on on the island. We found out the mysterious black guy who appears to Hurley in the mental hospital in the future was the same guy who sent Naomi and the "rescue team". We find out that they are after Ben. We see some photo of Ben, but I couldn't tell how recent it was or where it was taken. If it was a recent photo or it's clearly not taken on the island, that would give more evidence to the time travel/teleportation element, too. We also learned Ben knows all about these strange people and has a mole aboard their boat. Despite knowing all of that stuff, Ben doesn't know what the smoke monster is all about (but he could be lying about that).

We also have another literary/philosophical figure on the island -- the red-head British woman is named Charlotte Simmons? Lewis, so now C.S. Lewis joins Locke, Rousseau, Sawyer, and other literary types on the island.

05 February 2008

The Pope Presidential Endorsement

I don't talk directly about politics much in my blog. Generally, I don't consider myself much of a political person. Perhaps it's the philosopher in me -- I am much more concerned about ideas than the messy business of politics, which often just annoys and frustrates me. That being said, I have found myself interested in all the current political hoopla. It's hard to avoid, for one. There is no predetermined outcome, for another. And, perhaps most importantly, I have come to support Barak Obama. To me, he represents a change away from many of the things I dislike about politics. He's inspiring in ways that others are not. I know people say that being inspiring and hopeful are not enough, that he needs experience. I think inspiration and hope are what we need right now, that personal qualities of integrity, leadership, and inspiration cannot be learned in the way that political savvy can be gained, that you can surround yourself with people that can help navigate the political waters, but one cannot be advised on hope.

Anyway, the Obama campaign sent me this video, which I found captures much of why I like Obama, so I thought I'd post it.

Edit: Apparently, great minds who happen to be brothers think alike. Andre talks about this video (that was produced by wil.i.am) on his blog.

02 February 2008

Saturday update

It's about 9:30 on a Saturday morning. Sarah is at work at Cupps. Eleanor is napping. I just finished a bowl of Honeycomb. As I glance around the house from my typing spot at the kitchen table, I see a lot that needs doing. There's a load of laundry in the washer; there are dirty dishes in the sink. There are gift cards scattered on the floor. Eleanor loves playing with those things, for some reason, so they always end up scattered on the floor. You'd think that I could avoid that whole problem by just putting the gift cards somewhere where Eleanor couldn't grab them, but that seems entirely too reasonable.

I also have a fair amount of reading I need to get done for my classes next week, along with a bit of grading of the blog I set up for my graduate class. The there is the looming pre-tenure review, due in two weeks.

There's also the Dragonlance DVD that's sitting on the television, which is, by all accounts, horrible. Yet I want to watch it anyway, and I should really do it while Sarah is gone, since she has no interest in that stuff whatsoever.

My dad and Teresa are coming today to take us out for my birthday (Monday), so I need to get the guest room ready. We are also pretty much out of food and diapers, so a trip to the grocery store and Target needs to happen today.

Boy, I have a lot to do! And if this post sounds depressingly busy, well, I am busy but certainly not depressed. It will get done and things are good.

01 February 2008

Lost -- 31 January

I was pretty keyed up for last night's season premiere, after watching the season 3 finale last week and the clip show that started at 8:00. Michael Emerson (the actor who plays Ben) narrated the clip show, which led to a creepy vibe as you felt that you were getting Ben's version of events. It also helped to jog my memory about a few things, like we found out that Jin is really the father of Sun's baby and Hurley had that episode on the island where he was seeing people who weren't there. I had also forgotten that there were Others on the island prior to the Dharma Initiative, that Ben had been instrumental in killing all of the Dharma folks, and that the Others don't age.
(Which brings me to new theory #1 -- the Others are part of the island, in something more than a metaphorical sense, which is what gives them the healing power. Locke is, in many ways, an Other. Maybe Mikael is too).

I thought the season premiere was very good. No new mysteries were resolved and a few new threads were started. Here are those questions, most of which come from the flash forward:

1. Do only six people leave the island? Flash-forward Hurley screams "I am part of the Oceanic Six"! Who are those six? We have seen Jack, Kate, and Hurley, but who else?
2. Charlie appears to Hurley and says "I am dead, but I am here now." What's that about?
3. Hurley gets angry at Jack's visit, saying "You're here to make sure I haven't told anybody." What happened that they aren't supposed to tell? That there are still people on the island?

I really enjoyed this episode's Hurley-centric focus. He is easily one of the most likable characters, so you really feel for him when he hears about Charlie, are genuinely scared for him when he's running through the woods and sees Jacob's house (which apparently can move -- it's like Baba Yaga's Hut), and are scared for him when he's threatened by the "attorney" in the institution. (another question -- who was that guy? someone from the "not-Penny's boat" people that are still looking for the rest of the island people?).

Overall, I felt the strength of this episode lay in returning to some of the character foundations we saw in the first season. Kate re-emerged as a strong competent woman, Sawyer as a bit of an ass, and the tension between Locke and Jack. The climax of the episode was, quite literally, a choice between those two and their respective ways of dealing with the island. I like that that thread, which has been around since the first episode, was made to literal here at the beginning of season 4.