The High Countries

because it’s all paperweight…

LOST in the…Two Moments

Lindeloph (left) with Cuse (center) in their home -- the editing bay

Lindeloph (left) with Cuse (center) in their home -- the editing bay

Well, it’s all happened at once now hasn’t it? What used to be my wishful thinking has all come crashing down in a heap of escaped dreams. If only I had had the chutzpah – if only I were Jewish. Prepare yourself for the letdown…

A couple weeks back, as I was leaving my place of work, I was walking down a long stretch of road — no cars, no people to speak of, just me and another bloke. As we walked towards each other – we were both trying to exit the premises – all I could notice was the fact that he looked like he was from the east coast. He had on a big coat, his cap, and was holding a briefcase. The only other thing I immediately noticed was his glasses – black, hard rimmed glasses on an unforgettable face; well, unforgettable for a few.

You’ve got to be kidding me. There’s absolutely no way? Well, considering I am in Burbank, CA, close by to many of the major studios, I suppose, in reality, there actually is a way. I continued on my line. The closer we got to each other, the clearer the face and facts became. I’ve done it. I’m walking stride for stride with Damon Lindelof. This is unreal.  Consider the facts here for a moment if you will:  I write nearly every week about LOST — the show the consumes my thoughts, invades my personal sleep and generally spites me around every turn. I created this blog to vent about my glee for the show and combined cynicism it brings to my Wednesdays, and I was now walking in step with its masked man; its proverbial Wizard of Oz. It all happened so fast.

And then we just kept walking. And walking.

To say that my brain was going crazy would actually be false. He was on his phone, I was listening to my Ipod — let’s be honest though, I had it on pause, just kept the ear buds in to be cool. We walked step for step for the next full minute. The entire time I was deliberately looking away from him, as if to say I didn’t know it was him. As we walked — it must have been a block or so — I made the strict decision not to say anything. I wouldn’t bother him. In an ideal world he would have handed me the summary of Season 5, but it probably would have just been too weird, so we just kept our pace. I wasn’t going to say anything. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to be that guy. Oh, my spider-senses were tingling.

For the next couple weeks I milled that night over in my mind. It’s been my dream for 4 years to be a writer for LOST, to start wherever possible, shouldn’t I have said something? I feel as though I made the right decision – nah, I know I did – I just wonder what would happen if I saw him again.

I did.

Two weeks later, I got a call from my roommate who works at the Disney/ABC Lot in Burbank. He invited me over for lunch and we walked down to the Disney cafeteria. On our way over, we walked right past the LOST writer’s offices and I decided it would be best to just take a deep breath and not focus on the past. We kept walking. I kept thinking. I settled for a salad at the cafe (what?!) and we made our way outside. We hadn’t sat down for more than 5 minutes when low and behold, out of the commissary, five feet away, the entire LOST writing crew plops down, save one: Carleton Cuse. I looked at Todd and he at me as I mumbled the words, “Well, that makes twice…” There I sat, trapped in my own skin, this time confronted with the option of not ruining a phone call, but a large group lunch.

Out walks Carlton.

Son of a…!

I wish I could tell you all that I did the proper thing, just a ‘thank you’ or a ‘I love your work’ type of quip. I wish I came bearing great news of great joy, but I don’t. I sat there like a lump, afraid of burning any future bridges and focused on professionalism – its all very elitist and lame, isn’t it? If I had to live it over, I would’ve done it differently. What exactly this different thing would be, I do not know, but I can say this: The next time I see Mr. Cuse or Mr. Lindeloph, they will know the name Bryce VanKooten. I vow to you on the foundation of this blog. I hereby swear that nothing on this side of Saturn’s rings will keep me from telling them that they can keep their money; I’ll work for free. I’ve never wanted anything more than a position within the LOST writing community. The next time I see their face(s), I’ll make it happen. Perfectly honest, I’ll make it happen, you can bet that freeeaking island on that one.

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September 18, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lost: The Logic-Free Fee

Lost Season 4

A Brief Synopsis of One’s Man’s Journey

By Bryce VanKooten

Solely relying on last week’s shenanigans (Writer’s Strike) here in the greater LA area, many of us hope to put our lives back on hold and re-start our proverbial television engines. Yes, the news is in: It takes a whole city to raise a show; and it takes all of one hour to regain my trust.

There I sit relaxed in the moment, free of all anxiety (outside of that brought on by the last 4 hours) watching Lost Season 1. Pleasantly joined by my roommate at the time Dave; I sat. I listened. I loved. I have never fallen in love before, nor have a fallen hard for much of anything. I would call myself a simple man, nay––an inherently simple man––willing to see Transformers for its good and able to listen to soundtrack music till I’ve added more lyrics than a Sean-Paul tune. However, there comes a time in every man’s life when he faces his antithesis and realizes, before he proceeds, that he has met not his match but his victor.

So it was with Lost.

Four episodes in, I had relinquished myself to the joys of Doritos and Red Bull and gave a swift, “Be gone!” to the remainder of any other roommates that dared enter their own living room. Free from the woes of academia for the remainder of the month; I was a man possessed. I had a new show, new socks and new scripts––this was the pinnacle of living.

This wonderland lasted only as long as could have been expected (24 Episodes = 24 hours in the course of 3 days) and I was off to the neighbors house to get the second season. Shortly following that season, and after many lengthy philosophical, rhetorical and impossible discussions, I found myself not in need of a cure, but another fix. Six steps down the hall, and there she was: Ahhhh….iTunes. Dave and I — both as addicted as we possibly could be and pleasantly alienating the world — split the cost and decided to binge together. Its never been truer: Pain does love company.  We swiped the credit card faster than Mrs. Clinton at a pants store, and had our 10 episodes — locked and loaded. I wish I could tell you that we watched them carefully, savoring them by the minute knowing the inevitable cliff of depression that was to come in their wake…

We didn’t.

The next couple of months saw a lot of cursing, attempted illegal downloading and other normal stuff (who could quickest track down Cuse and/or Lindelof for ransom, etc). Needless to say and despite all of our anger, during the months of season 2 (and some of 3) we all knew that any given episode would involve three things:

Back Story: Back story that would so fervently mock our intelligence that we would honestly consider breaking the very television we were watching (ex: Hurley’s still fat! Sawyer found a frog! Jack has dad issues!).

Answers … or Lack of Answers: Moments in the episode when an answer seemed inevitable, but never probable.

The Oath: A silent, bitter oath would be taken following each episode — from those of us watching — realizing after all the torment we put ourselves through, we would cancel our wedding before we would miss the next episode. They hopelessly have us. We’re hooked.

Why is this so? Why can something so similar to herpes (its sly way of embarrassing, disrespecting and torturing) bring you back so loyally? Why don’t we face the facts of this injustice and react accordingly by stop watching!?

I’ll tell you why: Its a mystery.

My dad has told me for years, “You can’t add logic to an illogical situation” and after watching LOST, we all know this is true. For some reason, unknown to man and unproved by science, I keep watching. We all keep watching. This is Lost to me.

Granted, there have actually been some fairly insightful (and altogether plausible) theories regarding the Island’s powers, questions and curses––most of which I have checked out and dismissed. Most of them are touched on briefly in Lostpedia and others simply roam the depths of the World Wide Web, stirring mostly in the minds of their creators. My favorite (and most fun) is Jason Hunter’s theory concerning the entrance of Time Travel to the inhabitants of the Island. If you’ve never read it, I urge you to do three things (in this order): Get a cup of coffee. Set aside a good half hour. And as a friend put it, “Prepare to get your mind blown”.

Regardless of opinion, there’s more ‘fun’ to come, wonderful answers to be given and glorious epiphany’s in store, I’m sure. Bitterly, I would rather not have to wait, but alas, we all will. And each week, wrought with hate and focused on revenge, we clear our schedules and tune in. Each week I’m confounded by LOST’s ability to line me up and kick me in the crotch. To keep me coming back to the thing which tortures me most. Lost––quite frankly ––is something I will never understand and for that; I tip my cap, offer my hours of service and volumes of thanks and prepare my crotch once again…

February 12, 2008 Posted by | Lost, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments