This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Don't Shoot the Messenger

Hey, don't get mad if I don't post for the next four days. I'll try to, but I'm driving from Dallas to St. Louis to be with my family, and I don't know how internet is going to be w/r/t me. I'm taking my Ubuntu laptop, but it's tempermental and its screen might decide to have no backlight for the whole weekend. You never know, though.

Namaste. And buy a Jeep filled with Sprite and Verizon phones.

Top 10 Things in the LOST Finale.

First of all, there are some people on the internet who didn't like the season finale of LOST last night. Those people don't like television. Seriously, you should read the complaints, and how stupid they are: "I'm confused by the four-toed foot...Jack's plan was dumb...Why don't The Others want Walt anymore...I don't care about the British girl...I'm only four" and soforth. Here's the thing: Either you like mystery, or you don't. If you think LOST is about a bizarre Jack-Kate-Sawyer love triangle, or think that shows shouldn't have storylines that arch longer than a week, or think that a giant green bird that screams Hurley's name is stupid, or aren't able to figure out rudimentary story points without having someone explicitly and repeatedly point them out to you (i.e., "Henry" told Michael that Walt was "more than they bargained for," because he has weird powers that enable him to become Wet Walt, among other things -- that's why they sent him away. IT'S NOT A WRITING ERROR!!), you should probably watch American Idol or CSI:Somesuch instead. It doesn't mean you're a bad person, it just means you watch TV in a more conventional way than LOST people. It's ok to be conventional, just don't hold your conventions on my cloud.

Anyway, 10 things that were awesome last night (in no particular order):
  • The green bird that screamed Hurley's name, Hurley asking if it just screamed his name, and Michael shooting at it like a screaming mimi.
  • The magnetic craziness, sending forks and pans flying into the wall, and crushing that "108" sign. No more button. Also, the noise and light were pretty sweet.
  • Desmond brought down the plane! Or did he?
  • British chick's last name is "Widmore." Also, Libby gave Desmond the boat. Libby? Yeah, we better get to know more about her.
  • Desmond tried to sail away, but came back. "We're in a snow globe." Heh. St. Elsewhere references...The writers read those internet boards.
  • The giant four-toed foot. Looked like Homer Simpson's foot in a sandle, actually. Mystery, mystery.
  • Michael and Walt getting to go home. The Others are the gatekeepers to the rest of the world, and that's awesome.
  • Speaking of the rest of the world, we now definitively know that the rest of the world exists, and that the LOST island is not all that's left of humanity. Whew, this show isn't another Oops. That British chick has money, and she can find people. That phone call at the end -- talk about moving the narrative forward. Dang.
  • Mr. Eko lives through a giant fireball, and probably an electromagnetic death storm and whatever the "failsafe" did as well. More mystery -- what happens to Locke and Eko and Desmond? What did the failsafe do?
  • "I was wrong." Word, Locke. Be less wrong next year.

I loved the way the show answered a bunch of questions while adding new mysteries to the mix. Contrary to some people's belief, the writers haven't lost their way. My wife said it best last night: "I feel like I now know what's going on, but I have no idea what's going on." We know why the plane crashed, but we don't know why the plane went off course or why all those connected people were on it. We know the Others are led by "Henry," but we don't know what their goal is or why they think they're so "good" all the time. We know what happens when you don't press the button, but we don't know what happens when you turn the key to the failsafe (except, of course, that everybody doesn't die.) We know who Kelvin was (and he was awesome, btw), but we don't know who his predecessor was. We know that the outside world exists (in a great Lynchian noir phone shot), but we don't know what the purpose of the island is, or why there's a giant foot there.

Gonna be a looooong summer.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

News to Make You Crazy

First of all, check out the TNT NBA Playoffs splash page. "Which one of these is not like the others..." Looks like somebody was counting on a Spurs win. Fools.

It's War: You may have casually noticed that the U.S. is under attack again, this time by alligators. Not only that, but they're attacking our weakest link -- young women. Did those scaly a-clowns really think there wouldn't be consequences? The gauntlet has been thrown down, and the humans are finally striking back. Let's just call this a warning. Gator-human truce negitiations are ongoing, and hopefully those sea-dwelling monsters got the message, and will cease eating our young women.

More Ways for The Government to Track Us: Nike and Apple are coming out with an iPod/iShoe combo that will display a runner's distance, time, pace, and calories burned on the iPod screen as he/she runs. While this is cool, it's just another way Bush and Co. can use to compile a huge database of information. First spending habits and e-mail contents, and now running stats and musical tastes. What's next? Exploiting the victims of hurricanes.

Now, on a serious note, do I really believe that the Bush administration is out to collect as much information as possible about us, in the service of some nefarious scheme? Yes and no. It's too complicated a topic to get into right now, but I believe Bush himself just wants to stop terrorism at all costs. It's the people around him I don't trust.

Lloyd Bentsen died. He said Dan Quayle was "no Jack Kennedy." That's all he did, because he was a politician.

The problem with this post is I just don't have time to get into all the news that drives me cray today. Here's a list, to save time:

1) Osama Yo Mama disavowed Zack Moussaoui today, saying the crazed non-Mexican had nothing to do with 9/11. Of course, there's the little matter of the evidence....

2) We're killing Taliban like alligators in Afghanistan.

3) "Experts" are predicting another crazy/unbeautiful hurricane season, bringing up the question of why they didn't just tell us this 5 years ago, so we could have avoided moving to Texas.

4) The FBI raided a Congressman's home and found $90,000 worth of bribes or soon-to-be-bribes in the freezer, but all congress can say about it is that the FBI raid was somehow unfair. I guess they think that Congresspeople are above the law. I say, let's search all their houses. Methinks they doth protest too much. For real.

5) American Idol is the #1 show in America, and it's not even close. At least its a family show, and not Date my Mom.

6) They're tearing up all of Michigan in an attempt to find the dead body of Jimmy Hoffa. This looking like "Al Capone's Vaults" to anyone else?

7) There is no 7).

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Greatest Series Ever?

(Above: the redemption of the German people is finally complete. In fact, go out and hug a German today.)

Well, the torture is finally over, and the good groinpunchers won for once. There will be no NBA Armageddon II (a second Detroit-San Antonio finals), and we won't have to watch Tim Duncan sulk down the court after not getting a foul call until next year. Since Dallas loves only winners, this town is abuzz with Mavs affection. If only it were abuzz in selling me good houses at discount prices. Anyway, we here at This is Epth Nation wish to congratulate Dirk, Jet, J-Ho, Keeezie, Crackhouse, Na-Jop, Damp, The White Barry White (ever hear Keith Van Horn talk?), Griff, DJ Moose Benga, and the greatest player ever to come out of my hometown. You've earned the adulation of the masses of Dallas, but don't enjoy it for very long because if you lose to Steve Nash and the Suns this town will view you as total failures again. Welcome to Big D.

I could break down the game, but I will spare you that injustice. I will, however, point out how much a real coach can mean to a team. Avery Johnson has been awesome, and is already one of the best coaches in the NBA. What he has done with this formerly soft team is amazing. And what did Terry Stotts do with a formerly soft team? Make them a currently soft team. Grr.

Anyway, I keep getting sidetracked here, and I'm sorry for that. The important thing is I delivered a pizza to a woman named Sheila Barf last night, and now my life is divided into B.B. (Before Barf) and A.B. (After Barf). I mean, her last name was Barf -- it was on the ticket, and she signed it on the charge slip. Or at least it looked like she signed "Barf." What am I supposed to do with that? Was she born that way or did she change her name or (gasp) marry into it? The mind, dear reader, boggles.

Oh, and I haven't been able to get my VCR working to watch the Alias finale (read: it's not on bittorrent yet). I will have much to say, I think, about it. Don't worry -- I've heard all about it already. I'm horrible at staying away from spoilers. I will say that the rumors I mentioned yesterday were about the death of Jack, and at least he got to save the day a couple of times before he kicked the bucket. And I think everyone is happy with what happened to Sloane, no matter how overdone the whole "eternal hell" thing is.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Public Service Announcement I

Please, folks, remember that nobody wants to see you naked, especially if you're a hairy dude. Don't answer the door without a shirt on. I know it's your house, and you can wear whatever you want inside it. However, there currently is no way of getting your pizza to you without personal contact. Therefore, put a shirt on, or we will provide one for you. You wouldn't want me to come to your house without a shirt on, believe me. You'd kick me in the knee and send me on my way. So why do you insist on insulting me with your hair sweater? Nobody wants to see that. Nobody.

Clothes are good. I know that's a tough sell in this day-and-age, but it's true nonetheless. Wear more clothes, everybody.

Happy Ultimate Day

Lord willing, tonight will be the end of two things that have taken up way too much of my mental time -- The Spurs-Mavs series and Alias. I'm going to concentrate on the latter because it's been going on much longer and its demise defintely deserves its own blog post.

A recap of my history with Alias: My wife and I watched Seasons 1-3 on Netflix DVD in a two-month period, then eventually caught up with Season 4 last year. Since last year's Alias was tepid and uninspiring for the most part (Zombie Nadia notwithstanding, but of course she didn't show up until the last episode anyway, and now she's dead -- or is she?), I kinda lost interest midway through the season, and only watched the last show, which was crazy with a capital C.

Television is weird in that cancellations can always alter the way a show works, especially in a long-running serialized show that tells a story over many successive episodes. Midway through Season 5, Alias was cancelled, but was given 8 episodes to tie up as many loose ends as possible. This made longtime Alias fans wonder in amazement at a potential 8-hour miniseries of Rambaldi insanity. Even though the Rambaldi stuff is way overdone (and up until this point has been most unsatisfying), we knew they had 8 episodes to come up with a suitable conclusion. Well, after hour 6, we really don't know any more about anything than we did earlier in the season. Oh, sure, Syd's mom showed up and tried to give some lame excuse as for why she's such a heartless and evil hosebeast ("I never wanted to have a baby"), and Vaughn came back because come on, he had to -- the chicks never would have allowed a Vaughn-less finale. But for the most part it's just been same-old Alias, and I would have never believed a show based on evil genetic clones and the End of the World could be this boring.

Truth is, the fans are right: The show jumped the shark in Season 3 when Vaughn's wife Lauren became evil (Alias fans can even pinpoint the exact shark-jumping point -- the camera pans out, and the person holding the gun is...Lauren? Oh, man...), re-jumped it when Lauren's mom became evil, and never really recovered. In Season 4 they disastrously tried to make the show's individual episodes self-containing, like The X-Files or, more accurately, The Avengers. Remember the one with Nick from Freaks & Geeks? Yikes.

The ultimate sin came in Season 5 when they killed Vaughn (or did they?) and got rid of Weiss and Nadia, and tried to rebuild the show around two hot newcomers, "hotcakes" and "eyebrow-line." Seriously, I think the mid-season cancellation saved us from a Jennifer Garner-less Season 6, which let's all take a moment to thank ABC, shall we? I remember when I heard the news -- I was like, yes! Now they can finish the whole Syd-Sloane-Derevko-Vaughn-Jack-Rambaldi story, and I don't have to watch the hot computer girl stumble around Barcelona anymore.

Now, Alias' track record with season-ending episodes is seriously spotty. Certainly, the end of Season 2 was classic as evil Francie got hers (or did she?), and Syd passed out and woke up two years later. Season 3's finale somehow seemed like a tacked-on afterthought and a repeat of Season 2. At least Lauren died (or did she?). Season 4's ending was greatness, and I'll kill anyone who says otherwise, even if it did go about 3 steps beyond anything conceived by those trained monkeys who write 24, and even though it seemed like a big middle finger to the show's female fan base.

That, coupled with the fact that they've been through this whole Rambaldi thing before with mixed results, makes me pessimistic for tonight's finale. There are big-time rumors all over the place about a certain main character's death (staying unspoiled on this blog), and it has me worried that they'll just try to tug on heart strings rather than doing the proper thing, which would be to reveal a still-alive Rambaldi (that we've known all along) and have him verbally slap Sloane and Irina Derevko around. You can't hint at Rambadi's immortality and then not show it, can you? Sadly, they'll probably cut that part out to show more of hotcakes and eyebrow line chasing The Cardinal, as if we even care who that is at this point.

Or maybe "Nature will be undone, stars will fall from the sky, and beared nutcases will take over the world." Isn't that how the prophecy went? I don't know. I'm just glad this stupid show will be over tonight, so I can fully concentrate my TV energies on the season finale of LOST.