Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lostpedia teamwork breaks the puzzle code

Over the past few months, Lostpedia has been closely following the ongoing development of the Official Lost Jigsaw Puzzles, released by TDC Games. The first two were released in July of 2006 and the third in August. At first, no one really had any idea why there was a spoiler warning on the box, as the 1000 piece puzzles appeared to just be your run-of-the-mill puzzles, with Lost-themed designs: The Hatch, The Others, The Numbers and Before the Crash.

It was soon discovered, however, that the backs of the puzzles had secret glow-in-the-dark writing, with a version of the blast door map (pieced from all the puzzles together), and mysterious codes that began with the letter "C". No one really knew how to decode them, but it was theorized by that they stood for chapters, and that there was some book that could be used as a cipher… but to what? Our own Lostpedian, P0pnfresh2002, was very proactive in organizing the effort to figure out and post images of all the puzzles. Maagic of 4815162342.com forums figured out a way to take amazing photos of the backs, after many efforts were made—not an easy task to do, considering the phosfluorescent nature of the ink (clear photos in the dark are difficult without a flash). P0p, along with other Lostpedians, helped further by undertaking the task of transcribing some of the codes, since they are very difficult to read.

The next clue came with Puzzle #4, just released in February. This continued the map and codes pattern. But also written on it was a French line: "Un Vis Classique, Chapitre et Verse". In French, this translates to "A 'Screw' Classic, Chapter and Verse", but there were confusing issues with the literal French translation, due to the form of the word Vis, and other meanings in Old French. The first guess (credited again, to P0p) was the Lost reference, The Turn of the Screw. However, we used this in the wrong way initially (reading it as chapter and word), and moved on to other literary works. Everything from The Count of Monte Cristo to The Mysterious Island to The Divine Comedy were attempted in the same manner, and all found to be dead ends. The subject got more attention after the puzzle article was made Article of the Week on Lostpedia earlier this week, promoting fan interest.

This morning, a new Lostpedia editor named Pamela (Thebrothersworld) was smart enough to try The Turn of the Screw again, but this time, using a different method. She figured out that the cipher was actually pointing to chapter and paragraph/letter (instead of word; see the main article for details). Shortly after this, there was a flurry of activity by various users to decode the string of words on the backs of the puzzles. This translated to (clockwise, from upper left corner):


Whether or not these are truly spoilerish, only time will tell…but it was a fun ride, and it does seem to be enough fodder for theories. Though many are ideas that have been guessed a lot, such as those about sickness and quarantine being fake, and P.R.D., C.V. and D.I.H.G. on the map standing for Periodic Resupply Drop, Cerberus Vent, and DHARMA Initiative Hanso Group, respectively, it's nice to have another source of confirmation. The ramblings about food are silly/strange, but reference various emphasized food items seen on the show (making me wonder if there's yet another layer of code/hidden message), and this is the first we've heard about an emergency escape protocol (Noemis pointed out this is probably the abbreviation E.E.P from the blast door map as well).

A big shout-out to Pamela and the others in our Lostpedia community (special thanks to editors such as Thinker and Jburnson, who did considerable amounts of analysis on the code). Together, they were the first to solve the puzzle on the internet, bringing back fond memories of cooperation during The Lost Experience. It truly was a group effort, with different editors doing everything from taking photographs, to numerical analysis, to literary suggestions, and finally, the tedious legwork of actual decoding. See the chronicle of how the mystery was solved (including the dead ends) on the talk page of the puzzle article

A New Look!

As we begin to finalize the launch of the new Lostbook skin on Lostpedia, I thought it was high time to launch the Lostpedia blog skin, Lostblog. The Lostblog skin is based upon Lostbook, mirroring the style of Lostbook, while still being adaptable to accomodate the blog. Some of the functionality that you were used to may not quite be in place at the moment, but i will be working over the next few days to restore the functions. Its nice to put some fresh new clothes on, instead of that stinky pair that anyone using Blogger can put on!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Episode Blog - Stranger in a Strange Land

Hey all, this week new SysOp Marik7772003 is taking on the blog role, reviewing a real jewel of an episode! I have to relay one gripe though I keep seeing on Lostpedia - just because Karl doesn't know who the Brady Bunch are.... so what? I didn't know who they were either, and they were like in the 70s. Karl's a kid lol! Rant over now. So anyway, in real cliche fashion, over to you, Marik...

By marik7772003

Before watching the episode and browsing through the Lostpedia, the first time I saw that it was confirmed as being a Jack flashback, my hopes truly dropped for one amazing episode. But after watching the episode, I have but one thing to say about it: Holla! First off, we finally found out the twisted meaning behind Jack's crazy tattoo. Now, the producers initially said that they would just cover it up with makeup. But how can they cover it up when it has such a rich backstory? The amazing Achara, (played by the beautiful Bai Ling, looking hot!) put Jack's tat on him. But then I laughed as I heard Isabel read the Chinese with such a poor accent. Great job Diana Scarwid! Getting back to the flashback: Just what is Achara's gift? (I thought they did a very good job doing the Wai greeting, and having so many of us Lostpedians saying "Oh my god! She did namaste!DHARMA connection!") But then she sneaks in to Jack's room, and Jack finally got something. That's my boy! But then he has to muss up the entire relationship. (Again. Sarah? Deja vu?) He then forces Achara to tattoo him. She initially refuses, saying that there will be "consequences". Aren't there always? Chet and his homies laid the smackdown on Jack! I initially thought that Jack would win, but he was quickly overpowered, leaving Achara in tears. Now, on the Main island: Kate, Sawyer, and Karl continue onward. Sawyer is singing the same song as the crew on "Jaws". (Dum dum, dum dum, dum dum dumdum dum!) I was waiting for the DHARMA shark to leap out of the water. Karl repeated that one phrase from Room 23: "God loves you as he loved Jacob". I need to know what that means! But they finally get to the main island. Its "the start of the lovers" quarrel. But then Karl runs away. He is crying.Aww, poor baby. Sawyer seems sensitive! "Boys only" he says. And then goes and punches Karl in the arm. Hilarious. And then Karl's like "What thehell is the Brady Bunch?" From Wikipedia:

The Brady Bunch is an American television situation comedy, based around a large blended family. The show originally aired from 1969 to 1974 on the ABC network, and was subsequently syndicated across the world.

There ya go, Karl. Now you know what the Brady Bunch is. And later, Sawyer accuses Kate of being guilty because she had sex with him. Boo frickin' hoo. Get over it. Back on the Hydra island, Jack thought that he was going to be killed. (I think that it was a subtle jab at all the speculation that Jack was to be killed off) But he didn't. As he left, Juliet was put in the aquarium. What is going to happen? No, Juliet! Jack then got put in to the cages. He pressed the "Warning" button twice, but he didn't press it again! Gah! Producers, Jack never gets hurt! (save for the smackdown) It would have been hilarious to see Jack fly back and soil himself, as Pickett did! Come on! Then Jack got in the interrogation room, where he's questioned. He lies for Juliet. Aww, how sweet. But Isabel sees through his lies! Back to the cages for Jack! As he wakes, some group of Others are watching him. One is Cindy! (Not too big asurprise, thanks to the Lost Moments) What are they doing here? What are they doing??? They are here to watch. Great answer, Cindy. But wait, double take! That's Emma! A Tailie! OMGZ! She has Cindy ask how Ana's doing. You can see Jack's reaction. Get really angry, making classic Jackfaces in the process!! And he delivered on the Jackface! And Zack is there also. Woo. And then Alex comes. Jack pulls a "take me to your leader," and then came the line we all knew was imminent: "Ben, your father, is he still incharge?" We all knew it. From NIP on. She wants Jack's help for Juliet.Let's do it! (Go go Power Rangers!) Ben's still lying on his side in the operating room. Ben accidentally lets it slip that Ethan was a surgeon. And he was worthy. (Oooh, Jack got burned. But it also raises the question. Why would they send a surgeon on a reconnaissance mission?) Jack begs for Juliet. Please, Ben! Pleeease! Ben writes down his orders. They get to the deliberation room, and Juliet is to be executed. But Ben's note saves her. Hooray! But she is to be "marked". Oh, crap. Juliet comes up to Jack and thanks him. (Gracias, gracias). He tells Juliet to show him her mark. Ouch, that's gotta hurt. With the little calluses, bleh. Sick. And they're going back, presumably to Otherville. On a yacht! Afriggin' yacht! Where do they get a yacht from? But then, at the end of the episode, the best lines occur, about Jack's tattoo. "He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us." That's an amazing thing right there. It also applies to Juliet. Just ruddy brilliant.

Summary: Juliet is about to be executed, but instead gets marked, thanks to the help of Jack, and we finally find out the meaning behind Jack's tattoos. The promos promised us three big mysteries answered, but the producers said that the only mystery answered was Jack's tattoo. Until next week, holla!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Episode Blog - Flashes Before Your Eyes

I believe this episode could be successfully summarised in but one word: confusion. Normally points of particular interest and "easter eggs" can be picked out, but with this one it seemed like the whole thing was mystery. Was it a flashback? Was it deja vu? Did Desmond go back in time? Who the heck was that woman? Who the hell wears a business suit with bright red converse?

As a Brit, I felt this episode of course leant to my usual moan of "god Americans think THAT is London". Apologies for popping the view, but I haven't seen a roast chestnut stand... well... ever, and must admit, can't say I've ever tried it (I'm sure I must be living a sheltered life though...). Equally, its much more likely that a thug in a hooded jumper would have stolen the money from Charlie's guitar case, etc etc. In fact probably one of the few representations I believed was the man with the baseball bat lol! Its good when you take pride in your own nation, isn't it?

So anyway, let's try to pin down some of the things in Desmond's dream/flashback/journey to the past/concusssion/who knows. I'm going to try and note Lost-shoutouts (if you get me) and other continuity issues. These are just the ones I noticed, so there's probably plenty more other Lostpedians found:

* The clock says 1:08 in Penny's flat.
* Penny says "the end of the world".
* The microwave in the flat makes the same sound as the Swan alarm.
* A parcel is delivered for 815.
* The artwork in Widmore's office shows a polar bear, mountains, a Buddha, and the word NAMASTE.
* Desmond begins to say that he couldn't go to University after his father... (died? became ill?)
* Desmond seems to lie about having military experience (or possibly didn't join up until after the events? A bit unclear...)
* Widmore mentions the race around the world. He also refers to the Widmore company as "his foundation", which would make it the Widmore Foundation.
* Widmore discusses his drink - a possible connection to Arthur Widmore in the Bad Twin novel, who seemed to be a connoisseur of good whiskey.
* The song "Make Your Own Kind of Music" plays in the pub.
* In the ring shop, a faint ticking can be heard, probably from one of the clocks. The sound is identical to a ticking sound that could sometimes be heard in the Swan computer room.
* The woman says pushing the button was the only truly great thing Desmond will ever do.
* The photo stand has a "15" on the top side of it.
* The photo previously seen in other episodes is taken at the photo stand.

And that was it. Gotta say it was nice to learn a little more about the Widmore Corporation. I was hoping to see Rachel Blake in the background, on exchange to the UK branch - but hey can't have it all. But of course the biggest "huh" in this episode was reserved for the woman. Was she a Doctor Who time traveller? Or maybe, as one theory I liked states, she was involved in the incident and got shot back in time like Desmond (bit of a stretch, but I don't see any more logical explanations!).

Lastly, to the final scene. So after Desmond returned he continued to have odd flashes - only this time of the future, I assume? Like the woman said about fate, Charlie is destined to die like the red Converse man. Can Desmond change the future? He saved the man from getting hit by the baseball bat, but that sent him back to the Island?!

Basically, this episode just confused more than anything, and we still don't know what happened to the Swan, why Desmond woke up nude, and why he can see "flashes". Gotta say I'm the man of science, and so would like to see more of the mundane Hydra Island high-tempo action with Jack and co. than the tame vision approach of Desmond and Locke. I thought they would be going to the Flame station as well, as John said in "I Do" he wanted to make a stop on the way back. I guess maybe that's a flash for a future ep...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Episode Blog - Not in Portland

How nice it is to be backing and blogging about episodes of Lost again, and doesn't Not in Portland deliver. I was a little gutted at the start though to be honest, as I found the initial "its Miami not the island" lacked a punch considering so many spoilers around on the web. But hey, that's my own fault for looking, right?

The first thing I've got to look at in this episode is right at the start with Juliet crying on the beach. Now normally I'd skip past this to the first point of real interest to a Lost theorist, but I have to give a shout-out to a Lostpedia member who beautifully stated that, in Miami, there are no sandy beaches next to apartments which have a view of the skyline. Major geeky kudos there I must say - how many other people noticed that one?! Anyway, so back on track, Juliet heads back into the apartment building, which I think was a good attempt by the writers to make it look as though it was a DHARMA station. Of course we instantly knew it was flashback when we saw Ethan, but for a time you could be excused in thinking it was an on-island flashback. Of course we then see the Miami skyline though, not to mention an Oceanic Airline plane flying past for nice continuity.

Then its back to Hydra Island for some serious action - since when could Kate fight like that? I did enjoy, like many fans, Sawyer throwing Pickett into the shock button - very good - as well as Kate and Sawyer's teamwork - they make quite the pair of fugitives. What I wished most about their whole escape was when they got to the shore and didn't follow it round to find the Others' boat. I wish they had, maybe we might have seen this Galaga so many think exists. This was one of three "what if" moments in this episode, the other two I'll discuss shortly. Firstly though, gotta appreciate the return of ALEX! We all knew she'd be a key player in learning about the division amongst the Others, and it seems like she's pretty much their enemy if it weren't for who her father is...

Next thing of interest was the Mittelos Bioscience thing and Dr Alpert (or as I like to call him, Dr. All Eyeliner). Is Mittelos a connection to Mittelwerk, former chief of the Hanso Foundation? Probably not, but then why choose Mittelos as what is effectively a cover for "DHARMA Initiative". Other than the Austrian thing, I can't find anything significant in the name, unless its yet another Other anagram?

Now we move onto the weirdest thing I've ever seen on Lost - Room 23. I actually have very little to say about this, as it was so confusing my mind draws a blank. More mention of Jacob, images of Turkish Nazars, bees, the Buddha, everything you can shake a stick at (I think there actually was a stick in there too). The only thing I can say though other than I saw Alvar and Gerald DeGroot amongst the images, is that I can't help thinking "what if" over the images. The video began when they broke in discussing how mankind was messing itself up, and just before they all left it discussed "ANOTHER WAY" and showed fireworks and DeGroot. If only they had stayed longer, it might have shown what the DHARMA Initiative does, and how they are "another way". Typically though they leave just at the moment it gets interesting.

The next thing interesting was the bus incident - now we all saw that one coming the moment it enterred the background in the street scene. One thing ya might not have noticed was that it had an Apollo Candy advertisement on the side of the vehicle. However, the only pics I've seen are production photos, so I'm not sure if you can actually see it in the episode.

Now for the final "what if" moment - Tom explaining to Jack why they never took Ben to the mainland for surgery - "cause every since the sky turned purple..." - what was the rest of that sentence? We can't contact our friends? The Hanso Foundation?

And then there's Ben and Alex. He obviously raised Alex, making it interesting Lost irony I tink that in Season 2 he was caught and shot by Danielle.

Finally, Juliet's big scene. She was taken to the Island for the job, and couldn't leave thereafter. I thought this whole thing could have influenced quite a lot. For instance, did Ben allow her the authority to kill Danny, or did she do it to ensure Kate and Sawyer got away, otherwise their death would have meant Ben's death - meaning she'd never leave the Island. So will she now face punishment for killing Danny? Also, is this why she was not at the Pala Ferry in Season 2 (other than obviously cast reasons)? If she had, she would have heard Ben's "325" speech, and learnt how to escape the Island. We know she knew about the tides going in circles, and possibly is unaware that going by that degree will let you escape.

Apologies for the big rant - I think the excitement of Lost being back has caused major rambling. I look forward to reading theories on Room 23 though. Later!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Doesn't time fly when there's no Lost? No I hear you cry!

Hey to everyone, hope you all had a fantastic time over the festive season! Yeah, now that we're in February, you can't really say that now. Apologies from all SysOps for being as radio silent as Flight 815 (oohh what a geeky pun), but I'm sure all the editors have been speaking on the wiki and forums. Speaking of forums, hope all the wiki users have found time to step on over and check the boards out, they're full of very cool yet freakishly knowledgeable Lost fans, and the whole thing is growing everyday. I expect when LOST RETURNS NEXT WEEK (ahem, just had to put that in caps), the forum and indeed the wiki will be inundated with newbies - isn't it great when Recent Changes is buzzing?

There's gonna be a few new moderators on the forum as well, so keep an eye out for an announcment in the coming days.

There's still lots of plans to have Lostpedia take over the world, though I'll grant we've been letting current projects fester for a while before considering new stuff. Chat is still one place though where we haven't seen all the regulars yet - get on over and enjoy instant messaging! As Santa says, try and stick around if no-one replies to your "heys", they're all just lurking behind the curtain.

All that remains for me to say is bring on Not in Portland. I personally am damn excited - not least by the fact I know whose flashback it is - and how awesome is that!!!!!!!!!!! And the Lost Moments - with a certain stewardess?!!?!? Who is now evil?!??!?! And a key in the dog's mouth??!!?! And Claire in the water!!!!? OK I'll stop now and just wait for the actual episode :-)

Gonna be a fun 6 months!


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