What is new with me?

It's been a while, friends. I've been around, reading the internet, but I think my muse must have been doing Pilates or something for the last month or two.

So what have I been up to? Nothing really. Working a lot, watching a lot of Battlestar Galactica, running a pathetically-small amount three times a week, and socializing occasionally. But I know you've come to depend on me for inane and shallow opinions about Top Chef and Lost, so here we go.

Top Chef:

Sad to see Fabio go, but he's clearly going to be fine. He'll shamelessly market himself based on his heartwarming run here (I hear he's already got a tv show in the works). So don't worry about him. Now let's discuss the contestants still in play.

Carla. Wow. The producers did a good job of portraying her as a lightweight (a quirky caterer with crazy eyes) early on, but it's clear that Carla is actually a very good chef. I still don't see her winning it all, but I've been wrong about her before and nothing would surprise me at this point.

Hosea, meanwhile, has had the opposite journey. He started out looking like a serious contender, but up until last week he'd been on a streak of mediocrity that made him look pretty bad (more creative editing, perhaps). Considering how poorly he's done on most seafood challenges (all while he's a chef at a seafood restaurant), he hasn't comported himself too well. But he has made it to the finals, so I guess you can't completely count him out. (Sidenote: the way he and Leah acted was sooooo annoying. You're adults, stop acting like middle schoolers. You both have people at home who are going to see this--be responsible and cheat on them after the cameras are off.)

Obviously I've got my money on Stefan. He is an arrogant foreigner, that's true, but arrogance doesn't matter as long as you put out great food. He hasn't looked too great for the last couple of weeks, but I think that's as much about how he's been edited as about what he's actually done. For example, you think he was the only chef to take a smoke break last week? I don't. I suspect it's a combination of Stefan dialing it down a bit, just trying to get by without taking any risks, and a need for Bravo to create drama (and judging by the promos for the finals next week, they aren't planning on abandoning that strategy anytime soon). But when it comes down to it, he's been the best chef in just about every challenge, and I think he'll rise to the occasion next week.

Predicted finish:
1. Stefan
2. Carla
3. Hosea

On to Lost:

I'm not sure what to say. I haven't written anything about it all season, I don't think, so way too much has happened to sum up here. Basically, though, I think this season has been really, really strong. It hasn't always made much sense (why do they have to reenact the flight that got them there in the first place, other than that the weird British lady said so? And why is it good enough to kind of reenact it, but not exactly?) but it has been riveting television. What I really like is that they have clearly decided to reward people who have been obsessively watching from the beginning--at this point, they're not picking up new viewers, so they can stuff the last two seasons with callbacks to characters and events only Lostpedia regulars will remember.

Speaking of which (and not at all germane to this season's episodes), I just want to say that I don't think the show will ever be more of a revelation than it was at the end of Season 4, when we learned that those crazy bear cages (the setting for a number of truly boring episodes) were actually used to train polar bears to turn the wheel and move the Island. That was so awesome (and so understated--nobody on the show even hinted at it). Still, without approaching that particular moment, this season has been pretty great.

Watching each week's new episode has been really enjoyable, is what I'm saying (although I mourn the tragic loss of Charlotte, who was the smokin'est cultural anthropologist to ever suffer from Time Sickness). I'm excited to find out more about what the hell this show is about (although I also kind of dread the numerous reveals of who is related to whom, which appears likely to be a dominant theme going forward).

And this may be kind of dumb, but I am REALLY looking forward to buying the box set once it's complete, and watching the entire thing all over again.

1. We'll be seeing Charlie again (Charlie Pace, I mean--although I suspect we'll be seeing more of the other Charlies as well)
2. Ben did not kill Penny last week. He tried to, but she and/or Desmond fought him off. Now Desmond knows that Penny won't be safe until Ben is dead, so he's gonna sail back to the Island to fight it out. They'll both die.
3. Kate is totally preggers. Sawyer is going to be super pissed when he finds out.
4. Dead or alive, Locke will continue to be an overconfident moron whose legs keep getting hurt. Seriously, I'm getting sick of watching everybody manipulate this guy--and I wish he would just stay in that coffin.
5. Charlotte will come back to life and time-jump to my apartment and marry me. I'll let her have cake before dinner if she wants.

I guess those predictions are probably all wrong, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

It's time.

Time, that is, to change every single password I use. I've been stuck on some variant of the same one since... holy crap. 1996 or so. I have changed it to some degree over that time but it's basically still the same. Well it's time for me to move onto a password that I have never typed into Pine or ICQ.

My plan is to adopt some kind of simple (yet robust) system so that every website has its own unique password, based on some universal root. I'm pretty sure I've read about such frameworks, but a rudimentary websearch isn't coming up with anything. Do any of the nerds out there have a tip?

As for the basic root... I'm going to make sure to stay away from any of the top 500 worst passwords. I'm thinking about my general interests for the starting point. How about "t0Pch3f_harold4pres"? Or "encin0mannum1fan"? Okay, last possibility: "mac&cheese4breakfast".

Am eager for suggestions from the peanut gallery.