Behind-the-Scenes: Late Show w/David Letterman

(Originally published on Collegtiate on TV, March 19, 2008. Written by me, so, I cross-published it with my permission.)

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be at a taping of a late-night talk show? Wonder no more. A few days ago I was able to attend a taping of CBS' Late Show with David Letterman in New York City. (Not a perk of having this job, mind you. It came about through a "lucky coincidence.") So here is my painstakingly detailed account of the show, from start to finish.

I was walking along Broadway (I know... be jealous) and I walked past the Ed Sullivan Theater, where I saw a sign for "free tickets" to attend a taping of Letterman. I thought, well, I'm in town for a few days, why not? So I went in, and I gave them my name and contact information, which they then put into a lottery. They said that if my name was drawn, they would give me a call to let me know.

So I went on throughout the day, doing various stuff. (I was in NYC with other Collegiate editors for a journalism conference, so I was in lecture for the afternoon) Later, after a speech, I checked my phone and lo and behold, I had a voicemail telling me I had won the lottery! (For the Late Show, that is.) So I called back, we exchanged more contact information, and they told me to be at the theater between 4:30 and 5:30 on Monday.

Come Monday, I arrived back at the theater lobby at approximately 5:25 to get my ticket. (Long story on why so late... It involved subways and tours that say they are 1-hour, when they are, in fact, 2-hours long.) They then said to come back to the theater at 6:15. So, I did. Obviously. Because a column on how I didn't see a show could be kind of boring.

Come 6:15, I was standing in ropes to be seated. They had assistants, staffers, interns, whoever, talk to the crowds to warm them up. (Terrifically awesome people, I should add. They were all extremely nice, charming, and funny.) They explained to us that the show has no laugh track, so we needed to laugh at everything. And that the more we laughed, the better the show would be, because then Letterman would know it was going well and would be more comfortable on stage. (Fair enough...) They then began to randomly seat people (and boy, was it random!). I got in to my seat maybe at 6:40, 6:45. I got a balcony seat, which was still okay, because the Ed Sullivan Theater is pretty small in person. Those wide-angle lens on the cameras really do help create the impression that the stage is really big.

Also, the set is a big brighter in person than comes across on the broadcast. The blue on the set were, in person, this brilliant color that I can only describe as Disney Store-blue.

They had their in-house comedian come out and give his own little monologue to warm the crowd up. It had topical humor, which surprised me, because I've heard most in-house comedians just repeat the same act. Over. And. Over. So he warmed us up, the band warmed up, and everybody took their places. A few minutes before the show starts, Letterman likes to come out and talk to the audience for a bit.

Remember how Letterman had heart surgery, and who knows what other health ailments? And he's starting to get up there in age, too. Not old, really, but, he's aging. Well, when it came time for him to come out on to stage and talk to the audience, Letterman RAN on to the set. In one or two bounds, he was there. He is amazingly spry for his age! He didn't have much time to talk to us, about two minutes, then he had to go backstage and wait for the curtain to rise for the show.

You know how you see the graphics on TV when you watch the show? All over the audience are TV monitors that show you the graphics and the camera, as it will appear on broadcast. So you are not only seeing the show on stage, but you can also watch it on TV, before it actually airs on TV.

Interestingly enough, and I don't know why I never thought about this before, but they do edit the show for time during broadcast. The show taped on Monday, but aired on Wednesday. Monday was St. Patrick's Day, but it obviously wasn't on Wednesday. When Letterman came out for the show, I was almost positive he made a joke about how "it still feels like it's St. Patrick's Day." Which was funny for the audience, because we were in on the joke. But either that joke was during the warm-up, or it was too "inside joke" for national television.

Another broadcast edit - and this is a major one - was during the Top 10 list with the cast of Battlestar Galactica. When Letterman was introducing Lieutenant Sharon Valeri, he messed up on the pronunciation of "Valeri" and kept trying to say it in different ways. It was fun, it was cute, and the actress seemed to take it in good spirits. And after the Top 10, Dave made another joke about him trying to pronounce the name. But, for whatever reasons, that was cut from broadcast as well.

Watching the show in the audience, I won't lie, made the show feel like it was just flying by extremely fast. On TV, the Brooke Shields interview lasted a good long while. But in person, it felt like just two minutes and that was that. (Another editing thing: I'm not sure, but that monkey clip may have been longer... Brooke made a joke about "her role" as the woman being attacked by a monkey)

One tough thing is making yourself laugh for all of the jokes, or when you think people should laugh. Because I know when I was TV, the most I'll usually emote is a chuckle or a smile. But here, you had to laugh, because you had the microphones in front of you, you know?)

Did you know that the background can move? Bridges, lights, everything. Behind the skyline is a screen, which hides the band equipment. During the long commercial break before the guest band plays, the skyline is quickly moved, the band set up, and the set put back as quickly as possible.

What about during the other commercial breaks? you ask. Not much happens! The band plays, a video montage of crazy Letterman stunts plays on the monitors, and Letterman & crew go over stage notes, interview questions or whatever else needs to be discussed.

And as soon as the show was over, we all left. On the main stage, there are three main doors to exit. Well, people would flock to just one of the three. So the assistants kept saying "you can leave through this door, too!" but then the whole crowd would move to just THAT door. One person said people were like "lemmings" that night, and, it was hilariously true. (I can report that I was told I was not one, thank you very much.)

If you missed Wednesday night's show, you can read a full recap of it here. And I have to say, considering I chose to recap Lipstick Jungle for this blog because it was something unique, different and unusual for me - and then wound up hating the show - it is pretty funny that I wound up seeing Brooke Shields in person. (I should remind everyone that my problem has always been with the writing, not the actors... The actors are usually the only good thing I have to say about the episodes.)

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my unnecessarily long and detailed report.

30 Day Music Challenge (in One Day)

For those who like lists, here are my answers to the 30 Day Music Challenge, in one post.

1. Your favorite song: 
"Pilgrim" by Enya 

Always, always, this song speaks to me. "In your heart you wonder, which of these is true: the road that leads that leads to nowhere, to road that leads to you. Will you find the answer in all you say and do? Will you find the answer in you?"

2. Your least favorite song:
"How You Remind Me" by Nickleback

I change the channel whenever this song comes on the radio. I dislike the Rihanna's and Ke$ha's of the world, but, I can understand their value in our culture and where they fit in. Nickleback, I don't know how they fit in, because to give their music any thought or brainpower would be giving them too much credit. Honestly, putting them on this list pretty much tops out my tolerance for them.

3. A song that makes you happy:
"We No Speak Americano" by  Yolanda Be Cool & D Cup

This one is actually a two-fer: The song itself is happy and bouncy. Then there's this music video, where they got some people who do basically Riverdance with their hands, and... it's just amazing. Sure, I speak American, but this song can always at least bring a smirk to my face.

4. A song that makes you sad:
"I Don't Want To Waste Your Time" by Over The Rhine

I love this song. It's amazing. It's poignant. It's beautiful. It's also kind of a downer. It's a mournful plead to a lover, and, it's almost heart-breaking. In spite of that, it is still one of my all-time-favorites.

5. A song that reminds you of someone:
"Undying Love" by Two Steps from Hell

"A song that reminds you of someone." Someone fictional? If so, then, this song. Listen to it. Get through the first minute. It's pretty much the most beautiful music ever, right? It's so sweeping, so moving, so... pure. So, in one of my stories that I'll never fully write that will exist in my head for all eternity, this piece plays out when two characters who have had an on-off romance for seasons (this is a TV show) finally decide to declare their love for each other and kiss. With this music, it can't be anything but a Princess Bride-type Top 5 passionate kiss, right? It's just incredible.

Or maybe I'll just play this at my wedding when it's time for the kiss. It'll be memorable for everyone!

6. A song that reminds you of somewhere:
"Round About Midnight" by Gotan Project ft. Chet Baker

I enjoy taking walks. Sometimes, five-to-six-mile walks. So, one needs plenty of music. There's one trail that I walk, alongside a creek, that I usually don't get to after a few miles, so, I'm already in that head-space that one gets to while exercising (*cough*high*cough*). On a sunny day, walking alongside the woods and water with this piece on, is so relaxing and so rewarding. It's a beautiful time on the walk to slow down a bit and just enjoy the surroundings. If I'm near this piece on my playlist when approaching the trail, I always skip towards it. It's my trail buddy.

7. A song that reminds you of a certain event:
"To America We Go" by Ahsley MacIsaac & Mary Jane Lamond

For a few years I would host some "Tiki Parties" at our house. The first year was actually done by my oldest sister, and she wanted some world music to spice up the event. The second year I took over, and, I spent a lot of money buying songs. Just cruising through iTunes, through different world music sections, and buying this, that, and everything. So, whenever I hear one of the songs I bought from the "binge," I think a bit about those parties. I'm grateful to have had the parties -- and to have the music!! (PLUS: This is a unusual, but very neat song.)

8. A song that you know all the words to:
"Those Were The Days" by Mary Hopkins

Not that it's necessarily a complicated song to remember. Those were the days, oh yes those were the days...

9. A song that you can dance to:
"The Casper Cha-Cha" by Casper

Is this cheating? Because they give the directions in the song? In fact, the song is a tutorial. This is like saying my favorite video game is "Help." Oh well. I get down with it much funkier than in this music video. I also have fond memories of "dancing" to "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga. I like to dance, I just... can't dance. Not that it stops me! I just hope that if I smile every now and then, people are okay with it.

10. A song that makes you fall asleep:
"The Battle" by Hans Zimmer

I used to pop in "The Gladiator" soundtrack when I couldn't get to sleep, and I could usually fall to sleep during this track. I tried to imagine a battle, an army of hundreds approaching a band of dozens. In a desert. Very hilly, making for some great combat action. Then mostly everyone does, except, the army keeps one person alive, to warn everyone else about them. Then it gets sad, and mournful, and kind of.. overly dramatic. I'm usually asleep by then, so, there's not much more story fleshed out beyond that battle. 

11. A song from your favorite band:
"Hang on Little Tomato" by Pink Martini

Pink Martini is, by virtue of how many albums I own, my favorite band. They are classy, classical, word-infused musicians. You can tango to their music, clean, sleep... they have so much variety, and it all still fits their style, I love them so much. This song in particular gets bonus points, because the first few notes sound a little bit like music from NBC's "30 Rock." Put it back on in the beginning, picture an establishing shot of Rockefeller Center, then Liz walking into Jack's office... it works, doesn't it?

12. A song from a band you hate:
"How You Remind Me" by Nickleback

They're really terrible.

13. A song that is a guilty pleasure:
"I Don't Feel Like Dancing" by Scissor Sisters

The song, not the video. The video is... if you ever have friends who are showing you "the most trippy music video ever," you just have to show them this video to win the conversation. It's a trump card in weirdness. The song, though, is fun and catchy. My favorite line: "You've got so many colors / make a blind man so confused."

14. A song that no one would expect you to love:
"The Animals Are Behind Bars" by Circus Contraption

Unless you expected me to love a song about drunk animals from a band whose music is meant to sound like a demented circus? Although, honestly... there's a section of you who would not be surprised by this. At all. (Circus Contraption is great, but... some of their stuff is a little *too* dark. Venture carefully!)

15. A song that describes you:
"You're So Vain" by Carly Simon

Who makes a list of 30 songs that describe oneself, puts it on a personal blog, and then links to it from their Facebook account? Vain people, that's who.

16. A song that you used to love but now hate:
"Amazing Grace" on bagpipes

Yes, bagpipes can be soul-piercing. Yes, few songs are as meaningful to us as "Amazing Grace" is. I understand combining the two. I remember once standing in awe as I watched a bagpiper play "Amazing Grace." It was incredible. Absolutely incredible. Little did I know at the time, that bagpipes were invented solely to play "Amazing Grace." Take advice from the swift-boaters and Move On, bagpipers. Move on.

17. A song that you hear often on the radio:
"Rolling In The Deep" by Adele

This is kind of "my song." I loved Adele's first album, "19," and was looking forward to hearing her follow up. She was only moderately successful, so, I didn't expect her to become a bit hit. I mean, every single year there's a "singer vs. sensation" battle, and the sensation always wins, right? So, when I saw this video late 2010/early 2011, I was in awe. Absolutely in awe, of the song and the video. This was before it even had a million views... now it has what, 120 million views?! I know it's overexposed and most people are tired of this song. But, as an Adele fan, I am still glad every single time I hear this song.

18. A song that you wish you heard on the radio:
"Poison and Wine" by The Civil Wars

In fairness, they may be on the radio somewhere, on some easy listening channel. So, it may more reflect my radio choices than this song. Nevertheless, the emotions and honesty of this song makes it an incredible listening experience. These people, they have amazing talent. Plus, you can just pretend the one singer is Johnny Depp.

19. A song from your favorite album:
"Pompeii" by E.S. Posthumus

I enjoy soundtracks and orchestral music. I am also a big fan of "movie trailer music," which is becoming it's own sub-genre of soundtracks, which, I love. Arguably, "Unearthed" is the album that launched this tiny trend. With epic, trailer-like music (which has been used in many trailers and commercials since), it's a great listen. "Pompeii" is a blood-pumping-good-time. It's pretty energizing!

20. A song that you listen to when you’re angry:
"Study War" by Moby

I'm kind of cheating with this song and the next two, because it's not like I get angry, and I go "I HAVE TO LISTEN TO MOBY or else I'll go INSANE." I'm not like that. Usually I listen to my most recently purchased music. But, I guess "Study War" is a song I do come back to, in times of downwards emotions.

21. A song that you listen to when you’re happy:
"Fundamental Things" by Melinda Doolittle

An old-timey-type song from an "American Idol" contestant who *should have* won. She was better than Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis! This song shows off her range, too. Musically, she sounds like an early Tina Turner. This song in particular is fun, bouncy, and a throwback to when songs were more fun.

22. A song that you listen to when you’re sad:
"Hey Jude" by Joe Anderson

The song was written for a sad child, so, this isn't too far off, right? I don't know, there's something soothing about this arrangement... you can loose yourself in it, and get your mind back to a more calm, reasonable state. More Vulcan-like. If not, then, usually the screaming irritates me, and, then my focus is changed to that. Problem still solved!

23. A song that you want to play at your wedding:
"I'll Never Stop Loving You" by Doris Day 

Because I don't think "Wipe Out" would be allowed. I'd actually like the Melinda Doolittle cover version to be played, but, the internet doesn't seem to have that one readily available. Not that Doris Day is a slouch by any means.

24. A song that you want to play at your funeral:
"Jerusalem the Golden" by Bernard of Cluny and John Mason Neale

Just not this video. I couldn't fine a better version of this song, in this tune, sung. Teardrop. Why this song? A) It's probably my favorite hymn ever. B) The words are amazing, appropriate for occasions to mark life or death, C) "Up from the Grave He Arose" may be deemed inappropriate for a funeral.

25. A song that makes you laugh:
"Bananaphone" by Raffi

Just listen to it. It's amazing, right? Ring ring ring bananaphone! Ring ring ring ring ring bananaphone! Also, it's also funnier if you've seen this web short (warning: f-words!):

26. A song that you can play on an instrument:
"Ode to Joy" by Ludwig Beethoven

Granted, it's a piano version made for beginners... but still! I can play Ode to Joy on a piano. I can also do the "Star Wars" theme from memory, and sometimes Zelda's Lullaby. I could never really get the hang of playing the left hand on piano (which is funny, since I'm left-handed), and I didn't like practicing, so, I gave up lessons. But I'm still glad that I can play a few songs whenever I sit down at a piano.

27. A song that you wish you could play:
"If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys

I've never really thought about "a song that you wish you could play" before. But! I tried learning piano. I like Alicia Keys. Alicia Keys plays the piano. So... I guess any Alicia Keys song? This one's my favorite, so, Occam's Razor! I guess it's this one. I guess.

28. A song that makes you feel guilty:
"Tired of Being Sorry" by Ringside

Not that I can related to the implied infidelity in this song, but, I think everyone can related to being tired of feeling sorry. So, well done, song! NOTE: I like this video, shown above. NOT the Enrique Iglesias version. That cover is just... horrific, coming off of the Ringside version.

29. A song from your childhood:
"Fish Don't Stink" from "Bobby's World"

"Bobby's World"was a fantastic show to watch growing up. It was funny, well-written, and it produced a memorable song. Growing up, I still sing "under the water the fish don't stink."

30. Your favorite song at this time last year:
"Dog Days Are Over" by Florence + The Machine

So last year, Florence + The Machine was the "voice" in the annual "voice vs. sensation" battle. She lost, badly. But this Welch singer still has lungs and talent and songs to match. Plus: A weird music video.

What a completely arbitrary list. I still don't feel like I've shared a lot of my favorite songs with you. Oh wells. So it goes, I suppose!

# # #

Life Changes Coming

.... more details later.

In the meantime, here's a picture I need readily accessible for a class assignment. Pretty nice of me to take up your RSS reader for my school needs, right?

Tiramisu Cheesecake Bars

Have you ever had Tiramisu Cheesecake Bars? They are the most rich bars you will ever feast on. Absolutely amazing taste, and a tiny little bite will last you an entire day. I got the recipe from Betty Crocker, but, having made these a few times, I've modified what I do.... here is the Charles Jurries+Betty Crocker recipe for Tiramisu Cheesecake Bars:

- One tube sugar cookie dough
- 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese
- 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
- Instant coffee granules or crystals
- 1 package (2 cups, approx. worth) of chocolate chips
- 1 can of cream cheese frosting
- 2 eggs
- Vanilla

STEP ONE: Cookie Crust
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut open sugar cookie dough tube, spread dough over a greased 9x13" pan. This will create a cookie crust for the rest of the desert.
3. Once dough is spread and pressed down all over the pan, stick in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until it's a nice light golden brown. Let cool for at least 15 minutes.
Trivia: The original recipe calls for making sugar cookie dough from a mix. I'm too lazy. I just get some pre-made. Why have another bowl to wash?

STEP TWO: The filling
1. Keep that oven on at 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, beat the 2 packages of softened cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
3. Add the sweetened condensed milk. Beat again until well blended.
4. Add 1 tablespoon coffee crystals. (Or 2. I usually do two.)
5. Add 2 eggs.
6. Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla.
7. Beat everything until well blended.
8. STIR IN (don't mix) one cup -- about half a bag -- of chocolate chips.
9. Pour over the cookie base.
10. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until it's set.

STEP THREE: Finishing it!
Then let it cool down for an hour or so, then stick it in the refrigerator for at least another hour. Once it's cool enough, take that can of frosting and spread it all over the top of it. Once the frosting is on, sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips from that bag (assuming you haven't eaten them all!!!) for a nice chocolate topping.
Trivia: The recipe calls for making a cream cheese frosting from scratch.... I've never gotten that recipe to work right for me. Kudos if you can, but, again, why have another bowl to wash if you can just plop some good canned frosting on top?

STEP FOUR: Eat and enjoy! Please, take small pieces... this is an incredibly rich dessert. You may feel like you can eat half a pan, but, a hour or two later, you WILL regret it if you eat more than a couple pieces... it'll feel like a rock in your stomach, it's so rich! However, eating it in moderation, this is an incredibly AWESOME desert, and, I thank Betty Crocker for bringing it into my life. :)

Link: Original Recipe:

#LOST: The End

The following is a recap of the LOST series finale, entitled "The End." Elements of this article carry spoilers for the entire series. DO NOT READ if you intend on watching any of LOST, or if you have yet to finish the show.

So. That happened.

After all this time. All this fighting. All the flashbacks to horribly boring lives. It turned out to be all... connected.

During the first season, the flashbacks showed us who the show's characters were before they crash-landed on the island, and why they were in Australia. For seasons two and three, the flashbacks delved more into how miserable all of their lives were. One just assumed this was their narrative gimmick, and there was not a whole lot else to show for it. Once the narrative got shaken up for season four, the flashbacks' importance was never questioned again.

Until now.

Following Jacob's recent revelation that the reason why "the candidates" were summoned to Craphole Island was because their lives were so miserable beforehand, it would seem that the characters needed to do more to redeem themselves of a wasted life than what the island gave them.

To course-correct this, a new life was set in motion. A "sideways" look at how our character's lives may have been. If they had someone to love. If their jobs were better. If they were respected. Yet, there was still something missing from all of our character's lives. For many, it was their one true love. For others, such as Locke, they had already found true love, and needed to overcome another obstacle (physical disability) in order to move on in life.

Move on in life. What does that mean? For this show, it's about forgiveness. About letting go. About using what has happened to shape your future. Letting go is also depending upon other people. In a contemporary society where individualism is still rampant, LOST taught us to depend upon a community, a family, to get through life.

Life lived alone is worthless. Life without purpose is worthless. The show perhaps hinted at this as early as season two, where it gave us a episode showing how madly in love Rose and Bernard are, how dependent they are upon each other... and not much else other than that. They found what they were looking for. They are complete. They didn't need candidacy, an island, the Orchid station, DHARMA, or anything else. They had love. Love was all they needed.

Love was all anybody needed. Did you see how many happy couples there were at the Saint Eloise of the Lamp Post church? They learned to let go and be happy for one another. Jack learned to let go of his dad and anger issues he had towards him. Locke learned to let go of the wheelchair and be happy in everything. Everyone found their something.

With their profound happiness, they were able to move on to the great beyond. The afterlife. Purgatory was done. Their sins had been atoned for. Their lives reached their peak potential. They found each others constants. With no baggage weighing them down, they could pass to the next life.

But, the biggest shock of the entire season was, the Sideways plot didn't occur immediately after the bomb went off. In fact, it exists apart from time and space. Everyone was there, yet, in the 'real world,' they had all died at different times in different places. They all seemed to have some knowledge of their deaths, of what transpired, and yet were immensely happy at their lives. Happy for what they had become, for the different choices they had made.

Do we know exactly where and how the Sideways plot was generated? No, not exactly. We don't need to, either. Maybe the bomb did work, and it helped to create it. Maybe it didn't. What it did, though, was give us tremendous closure for our characters. We have seen them at their lowest, we now have seen them at their happiest. After spending many miserable months and years together, the main characters at some point decided they would share their happiness with one another before passing on.

BEFORE THE ISLAND... the characters lived separate lives.
ON THE ISLAND... they tried to work together, but, with mixed success.
AFTER THE ISLAND... they went back (mainly) to separate lives... and were miserable again.
BACK ON THE ISLAND... they realized that perhaps there was something else living for beyond themselves. They had to live for each other, for a greater good.
IN THE AFTERLIFE... they were able to correct all the wrongs that had come before. By getting their memories back in the end, they could see how far they have come, and see that with true love, there is nothing else on the planet more worthwhile. 

When Christian Shepherd opened the doors, and the bright light engulfed everyone, their stories ended. The only thing that awaited them was the afterlife. Everyone in the church was ready for it. They found their purpose. They found their love. They turned their lives around. Now they were ready for the end.

Except for Benjamin Linus. Having hurt a lot of people, Ben felt he needed plenty of forgiveness before moving to the great white beyond. Although, having Locke's forgiveness and Hurley's friendship, seemed to be of tremendous aid and support for him on his new quest. A quest of apologizing and atoning. Perhaps even doing some "witnessing" as Desmond had done to the characters who weren't in the finale, such as Nikki, Paulo, Eko, Frogurt, and so forth.

The great thing about the finale is, it helps paint the entire series in a different light than before, but, by no means diminishes what it once was. I can still re-watch key episodes from early seasons and enjoy them as is, even knowing how they fit into the endgame. Yet, for the fans who have watched every episode at least once (...), seeing the final piece of the puzzle helps to put the entire series into perspective.

It wasn't about figuring out a magic box. (Which, could easily be a long con deception by Ben... with Mikhail surveillance everyone, they could have gotten John Cooper easily, knowing that Locke would want to show up sooner or later.)

It wasn't about polar bears... which was answered in season three, guys... seriously. DHARMA observed different animals on the island, studying how they related to it's unique properties. DHARMA got purged, animals remained. Bears kept in cool, dark caves to stay alive.

It wasn't about the history of the island, and all it's previous inhabitants. People are drawn to the island, and different people need to protect it. Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Los Angelinos... anyone and everyone seemed to leave their mark on the island throughout the course of time.

It was about the characters. Learning to live together. It is that simple. It was repeatedly frequently on the show. Yet, it took until the last episode of the series to finally realize it in it's simplest, purest form.

There are many mysteries that would have been nice to get an answer to (Why Walt, Hurley and Miles are special). However? I can live without these answers. What we saw, was fulfilling and satisfying. Even weird plots, like the Sayid infection, were indirectly addressed in the sideways plot, when Hurley tells Sayid that he doesn't have to be whoever anyone tells him to be. If you are told you are evil, does that mean you ARE evil? Sayid this season seemed to struggle with that intensely. In the end, he was a "good person" by sacrificing himself for his friends. In that way, Sayid's weird infection plotline hinted at problems with self-identification, and how we see ourselves based completely on how others view us.

Speaking of viewing ourselves... I loved that in every sideways episode this season, a character looked into a mirror, but the most prominent mirror scene tonight was a broken mirror -- signaling the end of the sideways narrative.

I'm suspecting that my thoughts are becoming less cohesive as I keep typing, so, I'll end it around here for now. The more I think about the ending, and the ultimate purpose of the sideways narrative... the more I am okay with it. I expected universes to collide with each other (which I know from FRINGE is a horrible idea!), but instead, the universes complimented each other and barely crossed over.

And Desmond and Penny may get a happy ending after all. Aw, yay!

Now, if you'll excuse me, it is late. Time to close my eyes...

What Happened to Twitter?

A few hours ago, Twitter's homepage was redirected to a splash image, saying the site had been hacked by a group calling themselves the "Iranian Cyber Army." Not much is known about the attack yet (because, it just happened), but here's what can be shared:

- Here's a cached image of Twitter while it was "under attack":
- The same image apparently is found on other web sites, but most notably on Mowjcamp, a Iranian Green Wave web site. ( (news source)
- TechCrunch commenters theorizing this is a DNS-attack-and-re-direct. Meaning? The hackers may not have touched the databases, rather, they took the virtual address and sent it elsewhere. (

2:45 a.m. EST - Twitter released this statement:

We are working to recovery from an unplanned downtime and will update more as we learn the cause of this outage.
Update (11:28p): Twitter’s DNS records were temporarily compromised but have now been fixed. We are looking into the underlying cause and will update with more information soon. 

That's what *I* know right now. But I'm about to go to sleep. You'll probably know more than me, really soon.

Blogs, Memes and Fails: Web sites you should be following

Those blogs. The ones you see linked, e-mailed to you, funny posts printed off around the office. These are those blogs that you will want to know about for the watercooler talk:

**UPDATE** The following blogs are user suggestions, sent in via Twitter and that old dinosaur, e-mail:

Oddee -
A blog on the oddest, bizarre things around. Think of Ripley's Believe It Or Not, but with less Dean Cain. -
It's kind of like a Lifehacker type-magazine, but, more blog-y. It's got some cool, unique content, well worth checking out. (Thanks, @namtrok, for these suggestions!)

RandomCreepyGuy -
A blog dedicated to those terrible, creepy photobombers, the random creepy guy who winds up being the central focus of your photographed. (Thanks to the blog's founder for the suggestion)

FAIL Blog -
One of the most recognizable blogs out there, this web site is full of failures and disappointments that will make you smile.

Probably Bad News -
Whether it's a sloppy copy editor's mistake or trying to fill a newspaper with enough news to send off to the printers, the information industry makes mistakes. Big, big mistakes. If you bookmark this site, you can go to bed before Jay Leno does his "Headlines" skit. (And who doesn't want to go to bed at 10 p.m.?)

People of Wal-Mart -
Since this blog has started, there have been 'concerns' that people are dressing up intentionally like the most un-self-aware people around. If so, that makes this site even more sad, that people would do all their shopping dressed like they've never seen another human before.

My Parents Were Awesome -
It's funny now, but someday, we'll be laughing about what we wore in 2009.

Overheard in the Newsroom -
More or less like the title says, this blog is a collection of quotes submitted anonymously from newsrooms across the nation.

Angry people in local newspapers -
Posed photos never look natural. Why get upset over a puddle on the road? To make a photo more dynamic, of course. This blog collects the best of the worst of the staged news photos.

Picture is Unrelated -
Not necessarily FAIL-worthy, but, random and unnerving.

Oddly Specific -
Sometimes, you need to be specific when posting a sign. However, there are times when you need to tone back your exact language. Else, you wind up on this blog.

Judge a Book by its Cover -
Occasionally pushing the SWF limits.... This site mocks horrible book artwork. Oh, there is some truly bad stuff out there, particularly in fantasy and romance.

Awkward Family Photos -
And you thought your Christmas card was bad.

Cake Wrecks -
Ever pick up a cake from the bakery and discover it's not quite what you wanted it to be? The worse, the better, for this blog-turned-book-turned-superblog.

texts from last night -
Another kinda-not-SFW site... the title is brilliantly explanatory.

Others? Let me know in the comments, or @ reply to me on Twitter, @charlesjurries

Obama, Twitter and the Tech Guru Who Never Used Technology

(Read TechCrunch article here)

Tonight there is some mild curiosity on Twitter surrounding @BarackObama, considering the President's recent claim that he has "never used" the microblogging service. Here's my stance:

- The only "sin" committed is not saying on the profile's description that the @BarackObama account is tweets from his staff. Otherwise, yes, it looks like the tweets COULD be from him directly, and then there's some credibility issues at stake.
HOWEVER... who really thought he was sending out some tweets? On the campaign, I could see it, but once you are in the Oval Office, your every minute is planned and controlled, and the very words you say are written out for you... it's a terribly hectic life, and I'd doubt that even if he had time, that he would be allowed by his time to Tweet. (It's far easier to fire a staffer for a mis-tweet, than it is deal with a Presidential scandal.)

Introvert Seeking Job As Extrovert

I like to plan. Yet I'm going into a profession that has not much plans, and, you spend more time doing, than planning. It's like I'm a character in a work of fiction, you know, like how there's the classic psychiatrist whose own life is in shambles? Or the matchmaker who is single and lonely? Yes. That's me and journalism. A classic mismatch, made in love. Should be a fun life, or, at least, a fun book to write in 60 years.

College Stuff

I recently found out that, if classes fall into the right places for winter and spring semesters, I could have my undergrad degrees by the end of summer. Scary.