The impossible gets real!

Everyone knows this is nowhere, Faraday.

Young Daniel: “But I can make time.”

Eloise: “If only you could.”

Being as eloquent and erudite as I can here, but last night’s episode of Lost was fucking awesome, am I fucking right??

The answer is a simple, undeniable yes. Some thoughts on “The Variable,” on the quick:

Daniel Faraday. Man, the ending kind of sucks there. But is also perfect. Which kind of sucks. But in a perfect sort of way. Oh shit. Ouroboros!

Uh huh.

Charles Widmore. More and more, especially after last night’s episode, I just don’t see this guy as the larger villain of the piece. Like so many characters, he’s just another cog in the machine. And another victim of time, fate, destiny, etc.

Eloise Hawking. Cold blooded!

I think Faraday being the love child of Hawking and Widmore makes a kind of sense, but how cool would it be if they just had him because of their knowledge of the future? And also, one has to presume that they take his journal to have further knowledge of the future, right?

The sad thing is… Faraday was really the continuing agent of fate/destiny and was causing events to unfold exactly as they happened, aided and manipulated into doing so by his parents, and yet, it would see that if anyone in these chain of events could be the trigger for change, wouldn’t it have been them?

Bad parenting! (Also, there just hasn’t been enough slaps across the face this year.)

Kate. I got nothing this week. Good job, Kate. Actually, speaking of Kate…

Sawyer. You’ve upped your game by doing a good job reacting to anything that’s come your way this year so far, but now… Calling the girl you’ve had intense feelings for by her intimate nickname in front of your current squeeze who’s already feeling a bit put out? Dick move, man. Dick move.

Juliet. You know I love your fire, baby. So far this year, Juliet’s walked a fine line between doing what she wants to do, staging little rebellions towards that end, but still remaining loyal to those she cares for and her giving Kate the code was another example. So far I’ve dug that the writers have essentially maintained that Kate and Juliet don’t really have a beef with each other, it’s just a bad situation for both.

Phil. That guy can stay in the closet for all I care.

Radzinsky. I’m ready for this guy to get himself locked in a closet. Granted, that’s not going to happen, but that moment when he blows his head off down in the Swan? I can’t wait.

Little Charlotte. Man, what a heartbreaking scene, especially since you knew Faraday wanted to avoid it, yet just had to end up here. Predestination is a bitch (just like Charlotte will grow up to be). And as much as Faraday wants to break free from this chain of events, he justifies to himself that he has to have this conversation with her. If she doesn’t leave the Island before the Incident, she’ll never grow up to live the life she had, so he’s faced with the impossible choice: Have her die on the Island as a little girl in just over four hours or have her die in his arms kinda sorta 30 years later.

Jack! He doesn’t actually do any drinking in this episode and he starts to shake off that post-pills daze he’s had all this year so far (part of me wonders if his confrontation with the drunken mess that is Roger Linus puts Jack permanently back on the wagon)(or is it off the wagon?)(whatever), and quite possibly (at least, according to the previews for next week’s episode) starts to hunt down that destiny he was promised.

“The Super Power Issue.” Nice cameo by Wired as Widmore moves it aside to plant his ass down and offer Faraday a job, especially considering that J.J. Abrams guest edited the latest issue. Did I mention that already?

Pierre Chang! I totally did not forget him! I love how he just isn’t going to take Faraday’s sass about time travel. I still say that Faraday’s voice in the 1950s video, and I hope that’s something that comes to fruition. Oh, and another thing…

The guy who plays Pierre Chang was Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret Of The Ooze. That’s the one with Vanilla Ice and “Ninja Rap.” How wild is that?

Richard Alpert. Seriously. How cool is this guy?

He’s not scared. He’s not even concerned. He’s all like, “Please. You’re not going to shoot me, bitch. I’m not even going to put my coffee cup down.”

The Fork In The Outlet is the code name for this season’s big finale moment and my current theory for the end of the season is: The Lostaways get back to their “present,” or at least what should be their correct year, somewhere in the vicinity of 2007 or 2008, only to find… Everything’s different! Shades of the ending of the novel version of Planet Of The Apes by Pierre Boulle. That’s my current guess. What do you think?

Daniel Faraday (again). This is a character I’m going to miss. Of course, he could always come back in some form, but I did just read something with the producers about how Jeremy Davies has ended his full time association with the show, so… well, that’s kind of sad. but as we’ve learned from Shannon, Mr. Eko, and Charlie before him… when your song is over on Lost, well, your song is really over.

See you out there, space (and time) cowboys (and girls).


7 questions with… Tyler Coates.

7 Questions returns! This is a special one for me because I feel that I am Tyler, if I were a young, thin red-headed dude living in Chicago who loves musicals. I first really knew of Tyler when he blew the lid off some particularly juicy Tumblr gossip and he has failed to disappoint ever since. We’re going to switch gears just a bit and switch up the questions. For this one, I decided to go with my favorite Vanity Fair feature: the last page, where they ask a celebrity questions from the Proust Questionnaire. Here were his answers:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I would like to constantly be surrounded by friends. In the last year I’ve had some crappy things happen to me, and the only constant have been my friends. I’ve found that I’m most likely to be down in the dumps when I’m on my own. I don’t like to think of myself as co-dependent, or having to rely on being in a relationship with someone, but I have always been the kind of person who really enjoys being surrounded by people I like. I think, perhaps, I make up for those years in high school, when my “friends” were mostly folks with whom the only common interest we shared was our proximity. It’s quite a relief when you get to college – and later, into the real world – to make connections with people based on something more substantial than having the same homeroom teacher.

2. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

I’m hoping it will be a red panda, because everyone would think I am cute and take pictures of me. And then Molly Lambert would finally love me.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Generally, it’s my vanity. I have a compulsion to blog, to tell stories about myself, and to share my opinions with strangers. I don’t really do that in real life (well, not with strangers, anyway), but I don’t think most people who BLOG (ew) are so open with people they don’t know, either. I’d love to explore this idea and figure out WHY we, as a blogosphere (ew, ew) do this, but I’m pretty lazy (which is another thing I hate about myself), so the chances that I will write The Great American Blog Book are very, very slim.

I also hate my propensity to insert parenthetical asides, which is something I also do in real life. A friend told me recently, “All of your stories require so much exposition.” I blame the blogging.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

I hate it when people eat on public transportation. Specifically, I hate the mysterious people who eat sunflower seeds on the CTA red line. WHO ARE THEY? I have never seen anyone eat seeds on the train, but I always see piles of the seed DROPPINGS on nearly every train car. I don’t think I’ve ever seen McDonald’s bag filled with an empty cardboard Big Mac box or a super-sized cup with the remnants of Dr. Pepper. I have never seen a Popeye’s tray containing the bones of a chicken. What is it about sunflower seeds that makes people feel like it’s appropriate to eat them on the train and then spit them out onto the floor? (This particularly blows my mind because I don’t think I have ever eaten sunflower seeds in my life, much less on mass transit.)

5. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

I suppose I could say that I’m in love with SOMETHING rather than SOMEONE, but, let’s face it: the only thing I could think of is “The Internet,” and I do not want to be that person.

I’ve certainly been in love with people, but my strategy for falling out of love with someone is to hate them. And hating someone is to reject the idea that you could love them in the first place. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s the wrong time to ask me this question, as the most recent person I was in love with is someone I now hate, and the others are so far away from my radar that I don’t really think about them all that much.

I suppose, though, that if I could pick one abstract thing that I was in love with, it would be my emotional maturity.

6. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

This is a tough one to answer. I immediately think of which literary character I relate to the most, and I want to say Quentin Compson from Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury. It’s a bummer of an answer because of the whole, you know, SUICIDE thing, but I understand his dichotomous, “She’s my sister! She’s my daughter! She’s my sister! She’s my daughter!” connection to The South.

In the same vein, and slightly less depressing, is Stingo from Sophie’s Choice. William Styron is my favorite author and it’s fitting that one of my favorite characters in fiction is his literary doppelganger. Stingo, it should be noted, is the only main character in the novel that doesn’t kill himself, so he’s got that going for him. He’s kind of a failed hero, which is maybe what I like about him. I not really attracted to people who actually accomplish shit.

7. What is your motto?

Last year when my life was going – and went – to shit, and I became incredibly angry at pretty much anyone who did as much as gave me a look I could interpret as flippant. After a while, when I had one of those “ONLY YOU CAN MAKE YOURSELF HAPPY” epiphanies that I get every few months, I decided that my motto was: “Fuck that guy!” It worked in nearly all scenarios. Did your boss call you from Germany to yell at you because he missed his flight back to the states? Fuck that guy! Is the dude you have a crush on being obnoxiously aloof and won’t give you a straight answer in response to your obvious feelings for him? Fuck that guy! Is your ex-boyfriend sending you his condolences after the death of a family member (by way of his co-worker whom you do not know very well)? Fuck that guy! Does your Internet connection keep failing when you’re trying to blog about your FEELINGS? Fuck that guy!

These days I’m trying to be more POSITIVE (I had one of the aforementioned epiphanies about a week ago), so I’m trying to come up with a new motto. In the meantime, I’m going to steal one from Troy Dyer, my favorite hipster philosopher: “The only thing you have to be at the age of twenty-[five] is yourself.”

Tyler’s writing can be found at This Recording and his Tumblr.

The Mystery Box.

My day got off to a nice start this morning when I got online and checked my email and discovered that my friend Lia had thrown me a link to J.J. Abrams’ appearance at the TED conference (or TED Talks, as it’s also known) from a few years ago. I’d heard about this for a while now and always wanted to see it/hear it, but for some reason just never got around to looking it up.

Here’s the link (thanks again, Lia!), and it’s a pretty interesting presentation. It’s only about 20 minutes long and Abrams goes into a little about the inception of Lost and using the creative tools that are all around us and about his grandfather, the man who inspired his love of mysteries and mystery boxes and things that need to be found out and discovered and deconstructed. In fact, mysteries, as he pointed out, are just as important as knowledge, as one kind of leads to the other.

As I’ve said before, here at Counterforce, I’m a big fan of synchronicity. In fact, whatever my personal spiritual beliefs are, they’re highly based on the synchronicity and watching the Abrams talk about mysteries because Abrams also guest edits the latest issue of Wired, which I was thoroughly loving last week.

As you can clearly see up above.

The line up of stories is fascinating, with bits on the strangest places on Earth, how magic hacks your brain, mad scientists, a story on Kryptos that I have yet to read, a story on the third location I want to talk to you about (remember I said there were three mystery spots or items of surreal estate that I said I wanted to share) which I only just discovered myself prior to the magazine’s publication, and an interesting mini comic by Paul Pope that works as a prelude to Abrams’ upcoming Star Trek reboot, working as a nice marriage of the old timeline to the new. Anyway, it’s really interesting, so I’d suggest you check it out and we’ll see you back here tomorrow when I’ll be talking about another one of those odd little places I love, and one that comes with it’s own mystery box of sorts.

The first and last sentences.

The above picture is from My First Dictionary, one of my new favorite blogs. Check it out!

That said, this will be a short post because, well, can you believe I’m still not feeling well? I feel better than I did last weekend, but I may in fact be dying. I’m not oink oinking yet, but you never know, people. This could be swine flu!

A few days ago Lollipop sent me a link to a video interview with Amy Hempel, whom you’ll remember is my favorite author. It’s a really interesting discussion, not just for the little insights to how she writes and her fear of bad sentences (and the reiteration that before she ever sits down to write a story, she always knows what the first and last sentences will be), but because she also reads part of a new story she’s working on. Very cool stuff.

Speaking of writers and short stories, and speaking of J.G. Ballard specifically, this is his last short story from before he died, entitled “The Dying Fall.” It starts like this:

Three years have passed since the collapse of the Tower of Pisa, but only now can I accept the crucial role that I played in the destruction of this unique landmark.

Very interesting.

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.”

-Vladimir Nabokov.

And an interesting bit on colophons and printer’s marks, again thanks to Lollipop (who’s just been on fire with the links lately).

Music and cats.

“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life—music and cats.”

-Albert Schweitzer.

from here.

Here’s something that’s not new: the music industry and the radio suck these days.

The only solution we have for musical artists these days? The internet.

If you’ll wake up one day and tell yourself that you’re going to open your ears to what the smart way to get the kids listening to new music via the internet, what the right marketing strategy is, then you’ll hear about a million different things. For example:

Trent Reznor Digg Dialogg from drawaside on Vimeo. And from here (WordPress won’t embed the interview, and it’s a big of a long one, but an interesting one, certainly).

But the gist is basically DIY, right? Makes sense. And while I’m only a so so fan of what NIN are up to these days, Reznor does make a lot of good points. We don’t know what the new thing is, but it’s not here yet, and the old thing has been dead for a long, long time. And it’s okay to make money off of music, but do it ethically, but more importantly, do it smart: Put the  power in the hands of the artist (as long as they’re not doing this) and the listener, because that will continue to sustain and renew the industry over and over.

Also, CeCe Peniston’s “Finally” is still awesome:

I mean, right?

Personally, for me, the answer right now is 90% the same as say… paintings. Obviously, music is a different kind of art, but bear with me on this metaphor…

Let’s say that I want to look at Picasso’s  Three Musicians.

That’s not really hard at all, is it? All I have to do is turn on my computer and go to the internet. I can go to Google. I can go to Wikipedia. Those are simple and yet. Fuck, I can even go to ye olde Counterforce and there it is!

Art and able for me to touch look at and experience in my own home, just as it should be.

But you know what? Having it hear in my home, like this, is not the same as actually being near the thing. It’s not horrible, but say I want that extra experience. And if I do, I just go to the MoMA and there it is waiting for me.

Personally, as a musical privateer, I believe you should be able to get your music that you want in your own home or in your car or just in your headphones rotating around and making things vibrate in your brain. That should be essential part of your day, whether it happens through “nefarious means” or through legal downloads or whatever. But you know it’s not the same as being in the same room as the artist making that music. And the most spectacular artists make their money off of concerts. Go to them. That’s a kind of magic you can’t replicate in your home. It’s a one time only amazingly special thing as you take a break from your life and go to their world and experience that and you deserve it.

And you deserve good music, and that’s what artists should be giving you always. I hate to quote Lady Gaga here (though this compilation of ridiculous quotes is priceless), but take heed, artists: “It’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about.” So, you know, please get on that for us.

And finally I’ll leave you with a new unsigned artist. Dark Knights Of Camelot is a band that Conrad Noir saw somewhere a while back and he couldn’t stop gushing about their show afterward. They’re a combination of Queens Of The Stone Ago (the aspects of that group that I like, he assured me, since there’s a lot of aspects of them that I don’t like) and Dinosaur, Jr. “They’re really, really fucking good,” he told me and he shared with me their EP that he bought. “Of course they’re better in concert though,” he said. “Of course,” I said. “Of course,” he repeated. This is their myspace and this is their music:

Dark Knights Of Camelot “Wannabe” (mp3)

Dark Knights Of Camelot “I’d Rather You” (mp3)

Dark Knights Of Camelot “Lusterlack” (mp3)

Cthulhu waits dreaming on a Thursday afternoon.

A while back Lollipop was telling me about how the Gawker model of blogging, regardless of what anyone personally feels about it, is one of the most successful models out there. The smartest strategy, she essentially told me, is to keep it short and simple, keep it coming fast and hard, and make is trashy whenever you can. Cause we all want to dig through the trash.

She’s right, I feel, for the most part. And while I don’t tend to care about Gawker (and come to think of it, BoingBoing essentially follows the same model of group microblogging, right?), it’s affiliates tend to interest me more. IO9, for example. Why don’t I look at this site more often?  I took a dip over there the other day and encountered a series of different posts sharing essentially the same theme:

Aliens want your sex.

A crash course in alien reproduction.

What are you doing to prepare for human-alien sex? (Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s not enough, never enough.)

Five ways to hit on aliens.

Kim Basinger’s penis terrorizes Allyson Hannigan. (That makes sense. It terrorizes me a little too just to think about it.)

Must see: Starman. And must see: Liquid Sky.

Rudy Rucker’s math orgy classic “Sex Sphere” gets reissued. (I promise it’s worth clicking on just for the pictures from The Sex Sphere.)

Most embarrassing alien mating scenes of all time.

I could continue, but I won’t (eve though, wonderfully, there’s much more similar silliness). Basically, you get the theme:

…which I find just hilarious. I guess I’m not just a sci fi nerd, I’m also a bit of a dork. Which is probably more obvious to you from reading any of my posts than it is to me, or should be to me. Everyone here at Counterforce has a different vision for what they want the blog to be like (which I love), but whenever someone asks me what I would really want Counterforce to be like, my answer is usually 30% Harper’s magazine and now 30% IO9. I’ll tell you about the other 40% later. Cool your anticipation with either a super crazy huge Lost spoiler that could break your brain in half or some more of this hotness:

It’s the scary place where Suicide Girls collide with little green men, only they’re kind of a gross piss yellow color.

And then there’s the almost as terrifying place where Lost collides with Twin Peaks to scare the ever loving shit out of Marco Sparks:

I’ll return in the next day or so to talk about more bits of oddity or mystery spots I love on this planet, or… surreal estate, if you will. Ha ha. Yeah, that’s bad. Anyway, in the mean time…

Mad Linkage:

Space Blob on the outer edges of faraway space!

Sibling worlds might be the wettest and lightest known.

The first 7 minutes of The Brothers Bloom is on Hulu, for anyone interested in the follow up film by Rian Johnson, who made Brick. It’s really good and I would highly recommend it.

The 10 coolest foreign words that the English language needs.

Agent Scully joining Doctor Who.

More tributes to J. G. Ballard.

Couples to test intimacy device.

Avoid a future cataclysm: Forget the past!