How to Make an Island Disappear

From CNN comes the following story:

An international scientific expedition has revealed a South Pacific island roughly the size of Manhattan and clearly marked on online maps and marine charts does not, in fact, exist.

The 'undiscovery' of the island -- which until now was midway between Australia and New Caledonia -- highlights how much there still is to learn about the oceans, scientists say.

“We saw this mysterious island on all the scientific maps and weather maps but not on this one navigational chart that was on our ship,” Ph.D student Sabin Zahirovic, part of the research team on board the RV Southern Surveyor, told CNN.

“So we decided to go see if it was actually there.”

The island, identified as Sandy Island by Google Maps and Sable Island on others, was supposed to be quite large in size -- 156 square kilometers (60 square miles) -- but the ship sailed right through the area where the island was supposed to be.

Read the full article here.

My theory of what really happened to the island can be found in the video below. There's no other logical explanation.



The End of LOST

The End of LOST

Stories are all about the ending. If your audience doesn’t buy into how the hero completes his or her journey, it doesn’t matter how riveting the first chapter or opening scene is, how the characters are developed, or even how fresh and original the plot is—they’ll leave disappointed.

That’s not to say that a “perfect” ending to a book or movie is one where the hero gets someone to fall in love with him, completes the quest she’s been sent on, or solves the puzzle seconds before a nuclear bomb goes off. A perfect ending is one that leaves the audience feeling satisfied—even if things don’t turn out perfect for the hero and others in the story. A perfect ending makes us want to re-read the book or turn around and enter the dark, cozy atmosphere of a theater to relive the story one more time just so we can relive the story one more time, contemplate it, and see what else we can take away from it.

Which brings us to the final episode of LOST.

For rabid LOST fans like me, the expectations were so huge I’m not sure that even the most talented writer could have met them. There were tons of unanswered questions, an island to save, and an epic battle between Fake Locke and Jack that all had to happen in one hour and forty-five minutes. Some people were going to be disappointed.

But I wasn’t one of them.

I liked the ending. I was satisfied with the conclusion.

It wasn’t the kind of ending that made me jump off the couch and immediately contact everyone that I know and tell them they just missed out on the best show in the history of television. Instead the ending left me quietly thinking about the fate and choices of the various characters and some things going on in my own life.

Even though there are still plenty of unanswered questions strewn along the beach of that island and plot lines I wished would have been developed more. But, more often than not, the real world is full of things we’ll never know the answer too. Like the characters in LOST, we’re forced to muck along through this world the best we can.

But the final episode did show us that the characters that we either loved or hated weren’t simply lost on an island trying to get back to civilization. A greater journey and lost loves awaited them after they completed their missions and resolved issues they struggled with. It may not be the neatly packaged ending that many hoped for but it left me content and reflective.

Entertainment that has long lasting value makes people introspective or lost in thought, if you’ll pardon the pun. It’s not like the movie we enjoy Saturday night and then forget about it by Monday morning. It’s one that we keep thinking about and coming back to again and again sometimes with a completely different perspective after we read or watch it again. It’s something that holds up decades after it was first created.

I’ve always got more out of LOST watching it a second or a third time. And now that I know how LOST ends, I look forward watching it from beginning to end—again and again and again.

There Is a God

LOST: The Series Fanale

I’ve slacked on my LOST episode reviews this year mostly because I’ve been busy finishing up The Third, writing the sequel, and being a father and husband to four great kids and one fantastic wife.

I will say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season—it’s by far the best of the series—as well as getting answers to all the questions. This week’s episode, for example really ratcheted up the tension leading to the final confrontation between Locke and whoever manages to stay alive.

And, thanks to the good folks at ABC who never miss an opportunity to sell more advertising, the final episode of LOST has been extended by 30 minutes.

The producers of ABC's hit drama have shot so much crucial material for the show's hugely anticipated series finale that the network has agreed to extend the last episode by an extra half-hour.

The supersizing of the finale is the latest adjustment to what might as well be called "The 'Lost' Weekend." ABC is airing an "enhanced" (pop-ups) version of the show's original two-hour pilot on May 22. On Sunday there's a two-hour retrospective titled "Lost: The Final Journey," followed by the finale, then the local news (which was preempted in the first-blush recounting of this plan) and Kimmel post-show.

What more proof that do you need that God exists? :-)

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

First FigMy candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends— It gives a lovely light. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

It’s last Wednesday night. Marathon Girl and I have just put the kids to bed. We’re in our bedroom. I open up my laptop and check my email. Galleys for The Third have arrived. I start scanning the file, anxious to do one final edit on my book before it goes to press.

“Are you going to watch LOST?” Marathon Girl asks.

I gave her my best deer-in-the-headlights look.

“Lost?” I reply.

Marathon Girl gives me a look—the one she always give me when she’s trying to tell if I’m being facetious.

“Yeah, you know, LOST,” she says. “That show you’ve been obsessing over for the last six years.”

“Oh, that show,” I say. “Yeah, I want to watch it. What time is it on?”

“It was on last night.”

I pause. “Why didn’t we watch it?”

“Because you went to the local caucus meeting then stayed up until midnight getting your website ready to post chapters from The Third.”

“I did?”

Marathon Girl nods. “Positive.”

“Are you sure LOST was on last night?” I ask.

“One hundred percent.”

“Why didn’t you say anything when I got home?”

“I did. You just said something about watching it later.”

“That doesn’t sound like me.”

“I know.”

“What day of the week is it?”


“You sure?”

“Check the calendar.”

“Hmmmmm. We waited until Thursday watch it last week, right?” I ask hoping for a sign we watched it earlier.

“That’s right. Because you were busy with your new job.”

“And the week before that?”

“You were busy wrapping things up with your old job.”

“And the week before that one.”

“I don’t remember. But something came up.”

“My life sounds kind of busy.”

“It is.”

“I should slow down. Stop and smell the roses. That sort of thing.”

“You should.”

“Any suggestions?”

“You could put the computer away and spend some time with me.”

I close the laptop. “Okay where do we start?”

“Want to watch LOST? It’s Richard Alpert’s back story.”

“It is?”

“You don’t know what the episode’s about? You really have been busy.”

“OK. Rest of the night it’s just me and you. No writing, editing, or anything else. Just us.”

“I like that idea.”

“Then tomorrow it’s back to burning the preverbal candle at both ends.”

Marathon Girl has stopped smiling.

“OK. I’ll just burn one end at a time.”

Marathon Girl smiles. We go and watch LOST—which was great.

A Lost Vacation

LOST Vacation

A coworker is heading to Hawaii next month for vacation. He’s going to unwind, relax, spend time with his family, and go see all the places on Oahu where they film LOST.

Yeah, I’m jealous.

Sure, swimming in the ocean and eating pineapple would be nice. But it would be really fun to take some pictures of some of the more famous places in LOST and send emails back to friends and family telling them how your plane had crashed and you found yourself stuck on an island with smoke monsters and the Dharma Initiative.

That would be fun.


Speaking of LOST, I’m impressed with the way the writers are driving the show home. We’re getting more answers then questions every week and I’m actually enjoying the “side” universe that the characters are experiencing. I just hope the “side” universe has a point to it. I’m nowhere close to figuring out what it is but so far the writers have been good so I’m going to trust them.

As for what’s going to happen on the island? I don’t know. I’m done trying to predict the show. I’m just kicking back and enjoying the ride. :-)

LOST: What Kate Does

Lost: What Kate Does

I'm starting to wonder if the Island needs some kind of crazy woman who lost her baby running around to make it feel complete.

When the show first started we had Rousseau who had been running around for several years after Ben took her baby. She set traps, shot people who got in her way, and went nuts. Now that Claire’s back, it appears she’s shooting people and setting traps. It remains to be seen if she’s crazy too.

Of course the entire show is a bit crazy and I hope the writers have a good explanation as to what Claire’s been doing for the last three years. So far they haven’t disappointed me in their explanations of what’s going on with the Island but there’s a first time for everything.

And wasn’t it a bit creepy to see Ethan as the doctor? I had to laugh when he told Claire that he didn’t want to stick any needles in her since in the alternate reality, that’s exactly what he does.

I’m still not sure how they’re going to tie in the “flash sideways” scenes where the plane doesn’t crash into the 2007 storyline. It’s fun to watch the alternate realities but I’m scratching my head as to where they’re going. Most of the characters seem to have some recollection of each other or a different life (Jack talking to Locke, Claire knowing the name of her baby is Aaron) but it seems hazy.

I just hope the characters from the flash sideways 2004 storyline don’t end up on the island in 2007. Not only would that be confusing, it would be really lame.

LOST LAX Part 1 and 2

Lost LAX Part 1 and 2

Due to time constraints, I won't go into a lot of detail about the season premier of LOST other than to say IT ROCKS.

The best part?

Finding out who (or what) the smoke monster really is and the explanation for the ash that was always around Jacob's cabin.

The biggest challenge the show will have this season is the end game. If they can leave viewers satisfied after they close the show, then this would have been a six year journey worth taking.

I Won't Be Watching LOST :-(

As much as it's going to kill me, I won't be watching the season premier of LOST tonight. Prior obligations means I'll have to wait until Wednesday night to see it.

All I ask is that no one spoils it for me. If anyone does, they'll end up as one of the bad guys in my next novel. :-)

At least I got to watch the first four minutes. It looks like they hit the reset button.

LOST: The Incident, Parts 1 and 2

LOST: Jacob and Esau

LOST’s Season 5 finale = Best. Episode. Ever.

The writers of LOST have been stringing the viewers along for five seasons making people guess why the survivors of Oceanic 815 were brought to the Island. Only now, in the first few minutes of the show do we actually see what’s really been going on. It appears the Island is a playground for Jacob and his unnamed companion (we’ll probably find out his name is Esau) to test humanity.

We see Jacob, dressed in white, who seems to think that people are generally good and is bringing people to the island. Then there’s “Esau” in black who has a fatalistic view of humanity. Bringing people to the Island, “Esau” tells Jacob, will only result in more death and suffering. The Black Rock sails closer.

Similar to Steven King’s The Stand or the classic video-game Myst, it appears the survivors of Oceanic 815 have been thrust in the middle of a Biblical(?) struggle between good and evil. The black and white imagery that has been a part of LOST since the beginning is now becoming something real.

Talking with a co-worker at work about the episode, he reminded me of a discussion Locke and Walt had back in the show’s second episode.

Locke: Backgammon is the oldest game in the world. Archaeologists found sets when they excavated the ruins of ancient Mesopotamia. Five thousand years old. That's older than Jesus Christ.

Walt: Did they have dice and stuff?

Locke: [nods] But their dice weren't made of plastic. Their dice were made of bones.

Walt: Cool.

Locke: Two players. Two sides. One is light. One is dark. Walt... do you wanna know a secret?

My guess is we’re going to find out a lot more about this war in the next season. We’ll see the Survivors and the Others sides in an epic battle for control of the Island and their destinies.

Sadly we have to wait until 2010 to know what happens.

LOST: The Variable

LOST: The Variable

I love all the answers were getting as LOST draws to the close this season. We now know why the button in the hatch had to be pushed every 90 minutes and that Charles Widmore is Faraday’s father. The latter wasn’t that big a surprise but it added to the complex relationship web that spans so many of the LOST characters.

I really like the destiny vs. free will theme that has been a constant part of LOST. I like the take Faraday’s taking on the people being variables and having the ability to change their future, even if it seems like it’s written in stone. Sadly the one thing Faraday didn’t take into account was the Island. Sure, people are free to do what they want but the Island seems to gets its own way no matter what the people want to do. I don’t see Faraday’s plan working unless the Island wants it to.

It was nice to get more back story on Faraday and his shrew mother Eloise. It gave the episode a classic LOST feel of learning about the characters while still moving the plot forward and a nice clip. It was also nice to see more context to Faraday crying upon seeing the wreckage of the plane Widmore placed in the bottom of the ocean and his being Orchid station with Dr. Chang. It shows that the writers are aware of the breadcrumbs they’ve dropped throughout the previous seasons and are trying to tie them all together.

And don’t worry about Faraday. He’s not dead. Maybe Alpert will take him to the temple to do some Egyptian magic and heal him. Maybe his mom will reach inside is gut and pull the bullet out. But the writers aren’t not going to kill him off – at least not right away. Who else can attempt to set off the hydrogen bomb and save the survivors of Oceanic flight 815 from crashing on the island? Write it down. The climax of season 4 is going to be that bomb going off (or about to go off).

My guess: It doesn’t matter whether or not the bomb goes off. The survivors of Oceanic flight 815 are not going to be able to change their fate. Their plane will still crash no matter how hard they try to prevent it.

LOST: Dead Is Dead

LOST: Dead Is Dead

Last night’s episode of LOST put me on an emotional rollercoaster. I want to hate the Benjamin Linus character so bad yet I can never do that despite all the evil and horrible things he does to people. He saves Alex then hesitates to kill Penny when he sees her young son. How can such a monster have the tiniest bit of good in him? Even after learning that he was planning to kill Locke (big surprise), I just felt bad for him. Sorry, for him actually. It had something to do with seeing the good side of him come out and realizing how he wasted his life ruining the lives of others.

Despite how I feel about him, Ben is still the best character on the show. Period. Since 90% of the episode was about Ben, the entire episode had an extra tension from the beginning to the end. I loved seeing how he tricked Cesar and was glad to get just a flavor of how he got Widmore off the island. I hope we see more of it because I didn’t see enough to understand why Widmore and Ben despise each other so much. And I’m willing to be that Ben’s death –whenever that happens – will be at the hands of the monster. He may put up with following John Locke for awhile but at some point I can see him thinking he can get away with thing again and trying to kill Locke will be his undoing.

And it was nice to finally learn more about the monster. Okay, we didn’t have all our questions answered but at least we know where it comes from and that it really can turn into other people such as Alex or Christian. I’m not big on my Egyptian mythology or history so of someone can tie it into a real Egyptian god or monster (or point me to a website that can offer some well thought out theories) that would be great.

The hardest part of the episode for me to watch was when Ben was “judged” by the Monster. There are some aspects of the show (like Locke’s attempted suicide a few episodes back) that just ring too close to home. It’s silly, I know. But sometimes guilt resurfaces even when there’s no logical reason for it to do so.

The Importance of a Good Editor

Behind every good writer is a good editor. Good writers who have a good editor (and a good relationship with that editor) know he or she can help with the storytelling process and give needed insight to turn an okay book into a great book. The same is true with TV shows and movies. After the show or movie is shot, a good film editor takes images, dialogue, pacing, music, and actor’s performances to make the film or TV show into and turns it into a something the audience will become whole absorbed it.

Like good book editors, if film editors are good at what they do, the audience won’t be aware of the editor’s influence over the film or TV show.

So my hat’s off to whoever edited the first episode of LOST. By cutting out the original first minute of footage from the show, they not only set the tone for the entire series, but made the first episode an instant classic.

See the original beginning of LOST below.

LOST: Whatever Happened, Happened

Lost: Whatever Happened, Happened

If you could go back in time and kill Hitler before he began his rise to power, would you? LOST tried to answer that hypothetical question last night. Only instead of killing Hitler, the question is what whether or not to let young Benjamin Linus live and risk letting him grow up to be the most ruthless and cunning person that we all love to hate.

I liked seeing just how much the main characters have changed from the beginning of the show. Sawyer and Kate who were the two of the most selfish, self-centered characters at the beginning of the show are now the ones trying to save Ben. And Jack, the doctor who took an oath to do no harm, refused to help. (I’m really starting to hate Jack. Get over your daddy issues, already! They’re nothing compared to what young Ben has to deal with.)

The back story with Kate and Aaron was touching. I actually felt the decision to leave Aaron and go back to the island was a tough one for Kate. In past episodes it’s seemed like Kate was too big on being a mom but it was nice to see that leaving Aaron was a tough and heart wrenching decision for her.

And kudos to the writers for using Hurley and Miles to explain the time travel rules of the LOST universe. Their “geek” conversation was similar to one a coworker and I last week trying to unravel how the time issues worked. It’s nice to know that just because Jack, Hurley, Sawyer and the rest of the gang are back in 1977, they can still die because the past is their present. At least they gave us a reason young Ben can’t remember getting shot by Sayid or hanging around with Sawyer.

The big mosaic that is LOST finally feels like it’s slowly coming together. It seems like every episode answers questions and fills in a piece of the puzzle. And next week’s all about Ben. I’m really looking forward to learning more about what turned Ben into such a monster.

LOST: He’s Our You

LOST: He's Our You

Benjamin Linus is such a great character. Even young Ben back in 1977 can steal the show, can’t he? Sending a burning Dharma van into a house just to get Sayid out of jail. Brilliant. Okay, we don’t know if it was Ben that did it but I really want to give that 12-year-old kid some credit. I mean the most evil, callus guy on the show has to get a start somewhere. It might as well be burning vans and breaking people out of jail.

So the real question is this: Is young Ben Linus dead? Faraday and other characters have already told us that the future can’t be changed. So bib Ben will be around in the future. But that doesn’t mean he’s not dead. Characters that die on the island have a strange way of coming back to life. I wouldn’t be surprised if young Ben is dead that the Others take his body and bring him back to life. And there’s always a chance that whatever the Others do to young Ben could cause to be more than human. Someone like, say, Richard Alpert. I say this because when Ben spoke to Charles Widmore in his home back in season 3(?) Widmore told Ben that he knew what he was – not who he was.

And would anyone really be surprised if Ben turned out to be a little more than human? He seems to have an uncanny way to get inside the heads of the other characters. I like how the flashbacks showed how Ben used, abused, and manipulated Sayid -- the master torturer and gainer of information in the real world -- into killing Widmore’s men for him then coming back to Los Angeles. Ben’s always been a puppet master but this episode really brought out how he convinced Sayid that he’s nothing more than a killer. Way to go Ben! LOST would be nothing without you!

LOST: Namaste

Lost: Namaste

I really enjoy how much Sawyer’s character has evolved since the beginning of the show. Instead of being the self-centered jackass who gathers up the supplies and hides them for himself, he’s turned into someone who does everything he can to look out for and save his friends. Last week we saw him do what it takes to save Jin, Juliet, and the others who were left behind in the island. This week he saves those who came back. I liked the conversation Sawyer had with Jack on the porch where he stated that he thinks while Jack reacts. What that conversation highlighted was just how much Sawyer as changed while Jack is really the same guy he was when he first crashed on the island.

After the episode, Marathon Girl and I talked about what characters have changed the most since the beginning of the show. Aside from Sawyer we both thought Sun was the character that had evolved the most. She’s turned from a quiet, reserved person so someone who knows how to look out for herself. (We both cheered when she knocked out Ben.)

I also found it interesting that the women of the Dharma Initiative can have children on the island. Either that means they did something that made it impossible to have children later or it’s the Others that can’t have children. (That would make sense considering we’ve never seen any kids with them – even when we see them back in time.)

And what’s up with the monster? Has it lost its bite? Sadly, it seems to be a shell of its former self. Sneaking through bushes, opening up doors and misting in rooms but not attacking anyone. Come on! I liked the monster better when it was mean, fighting security device and killed people.

Admittedly, the only think I’m not looking forward to is the love square between Jack, Juliet, Sawyer, and Kate. Sawyer’s with Juliet now. Kate and Jack just need to accept it and move on. (Hint, hint, oh ye writers of LOST!)

Finally, I’m curious to see how they’re going to weave young Ben into this story. As far as I know, Ben’s never claimed or hinted that he knew the rest of them when he was part of the Dharma Initiative. I hope the writers do a good job weaving that part of the story together with what we already know.

LOST: LeFeur

Lost Four Toed Statue

Before I get into LeFeur, I have to tell Vickie, Ryan, Cassie, and Holli that they were right about last week’s episode and the reason’s Locke tried to hang himself. I watched that scene online yesterday afternoon several times and I reached the same conclusion: Locke hanging himself not because he was depressed but because he felt that it was the only way to bring people back to the island. The whole suicide subject still stirs up powerful emotions in me and I think the first time I saw it, I put too much of my own life history into the scene. I stand corrected.

Now to this week’s episode….

Wasn’t it great?

The most intriguing part of the episode for me took place in the first minute of the show when we saw the back of the giant four-toed statue. He (or she) appears to be holding an ankh – the same symbol that was on Paul’s – the guy who was shot by the Others – necklace. (There’s a decent shot of the statue here.) This has left some to speculate if the giant statue is an Egyptian god. I’m not going to take a position on what the statue is other than it does have characteristics make it seem only part human. I anyone else has insights on the statue, chime in.

The one think I’ve sorely missed from this season’s episodes is the lack of flashbacks. And this episode gave us flashbacks. OK, they’re not the traditional flashbacks where we learn specific background about a character, but it was more of a group flashback about how they made it from point A to Point B. But I loved the way the writers seamlessly weaved the parallel stories and the theme of love and loss together.

We saw how Amy lost her husband to the Others and eventually moved on and remarried Horace. But even then, Horace is insecure whether or not Amy really got over her dead husband. Sawyer, I thought, gave a great speech to Horace about three years being plenty of time to get over someone. (For the record, it is.) I also liked the tender scene on the dock between Juliet and Sawyer. I liked the way he convinced her to stay on the island at least two more weeks and, three years later gives her the encouragement she needs when putting on the doctors’ gloves for the first time in three years.

Yet we know Sawyer still has feelings for Kate which is most likely the reason he didn’t tell Juliet where he was going at the end of the episode. Three years may be enough time to get over someone – but once that person comes back a lot of old feelings come back. It’s going to be interesting to see how the writers handle the Sawyer-Kate-Juliet feelings in the upcoming episodes.

Sadly, we have to wait two weeks to find out.

LOST: 316

Lost: 316 -- The Lamp-Post

Kudos to the writers for providing the audience with lots of concrete answers to questions that have been hanging around the show for years. Eloise Hawking’s did a great job of explaining about the electromagnetic energy, the island time shifting, and how the island could be found from the Lamp-Post. It’s nice to know the Dharma Initiative (and the U.S. Government, apparently) didn’t happen upon the island by chance.

And speaking of the Dharma Initiative, wasn’t it great to see Jin driving those blue Dharma van? I take back what I said a few weeks ago about Jin being alive. What a perfect way for Kate, Jack, and Hurley to be greeted on their return to the island.

One thing I hadn’t thought about when Locke “fixed” the wheel inside the island was that what time he jumped everyone to when he did it. Now it looks like we’re back to the 1970s in the heyday of the Dharma Initiative. And I thought we had learned everything we could about those mysterious Dharma guys. I’m so glad I’m wrong. There’s no better way to learn about them then to have Jack, Kate, and the rest of the crew become part of it.

And I loved the way everyone – even Charlie – ended up on the plane. When the Island wants you, I guess fate finds a way of bringing everyone together. Do you hear that Desmond? Even though you’re “done with the island” I bet you end up crashing again on its shores with Penny and your kid. Sayid, Hurley, and Lapidus ended up on Ajira Airlines flight 316 even though going to the Island was the last thing they were trying to do. I bet we see you on the Island again before the season is over.

LOST: This Place is Death

LOST: This Place Is Death

Did the writers really have to kill Charlotte so soon? I was hoping to learn more about her first. A series of flashbacks would have been nice. You know, something that would give the viewer more of sense of why she was so determined to find the island again and why her mom took her off the island again. Instead all we get is this story about how she grew up on the island and how Faraday may have warned her as kid not to come back. Since the writers have generally done a good job fleshing out even minor characters in the past, I was a little disappointed that we never got a really good sense of who Charlotte was. Who was her father, after all? Hopefully they don’t take out the Ghostbusters before we can learn a little more about him.

But learning more about the smoke monster was cool – even if Rousseau told us way back in Season 1 that it was a security system. At least we know that it’s guarding the temple now. And the temple seems to be the last structure on the island that we haven’t seen yet and it was the place that Ben told the Others to flee for safety. I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.

Even though I was left wanting when it comes to Rousseau’s story, it was nice to see them tie up the story she told Sayid back in Season 1 about her lover, Robert, not noticing the firing pin was missing on the gun. (Remember when Sayid pointed the rifle at her and pulled the trigger only to have it not fire?) And now we got to see it. Little tie-ins like that really make me appreciate the detail the writers adhere to when writing this show. Of course we need to know more about why the heck happened to those guys that made Rousseau think they were “infected.” Hopefully we get to see more of Rousseau’s story before the wrap up the show.

And isn’t Ben just a killer character. The more he manipulates people, the more I can’t stand the guy. But he really is becoming the central character since his actions seem to determine the what everyone else does. I just hope he gets what’s coming to him by the time the show comes to an end next year.