And so it begins.

If you’re reading this, then I have sad/happy news for you. And perhaps not the most surprising of news…

This is post #900 on ye olde Counterforce. We haven’t been as prolific as we used to be, and we haven’t been as loud and verbal, and maybe we haven’t been as excited as we should. We’ve enjoyed a moment together and we’re going to enjoy many, many more as well, but I don’t think this next part will shock you: Counterforce is going to end with post #1000.

Why end it there? Why not just end it here, or tomorrow, or four months ago? Because it’s going to end with #1000, that’s fucking why. Because the time is now and because I think this particular iteration of what you know as Counterforce is ending – if I can be as heavy handed as possible – and it has to end before the next aeon can be born. But it needs to go in its own way, in its own style, and with a little celebration. And a little dark forecasting of what lays beyond.

We’re not planning to bury it. At least, that’s not my intention. It’s coming to the end and I hope to leave its exquisite corpse just laying around for people to enjoy. But this isn’t a funeral. This is going to be a fucking dance party with eulogies and crazy LOLcat GIFs. There’s plenty more YouTube embeds and shit talking and Jackface pictures and theorizing about the fate of Don Draper to come before we sign off at this particular URL. We’re still going to talk about the things we like and love and hate and detest while also being super mega self-referential and taking this thing so far down the rabbit hole and up our own asses that the sunrise/set will seem like a perpetual strobe effect.

In short, we’re going out with banging and whimpering, and hopefully both in rhythmic and wonderful succession.

I remember that when the 80s ended, as U2 had their final concert of the decade, they went out on this intensely ominous note, telling their audience that they had to go away for a while and dream it all up again. Most people walked out of that decade thinking their favorite band was over, gone forever, but that wasn’t the case.

Again, that’s a bit heavy handed, but I’m this close to embedding Semisonic videos and telling you that every new beginning starts from some other beginning’s end. Perhaps instead I’ll just tell you that you don’t have to go home, but you just can’t stay here.

Not forever, anyway.

Anyway. Count your fucking blessings. You were lucky enough to know us and enjoy this time and this place and moment. We were lucky enough to know you and fap fap fap fap fap about things we liked or thought were important. And we’re doing to keep doing that here for another 100 posts, and we’ll keep doing it elsewhere. There is, for example, the podcast to brighten and enrich your days now. That’ll be an ever evolving thing. Put it in your ears and your mind. And keep your eyes coming back here for the next 100 posts. The final 100 posts.

And then when you close your eyes, all will go dark. But when you open them again, perhaps there’ll be something new there, just waiting for you to see it.

I hope everyone will come back. Everyone who has ever done anything with this site, or wanted to, and everyone who has ever read it. I want to bathe in all the old jokes and callbacks and motifs and references and the things we loved. I want the old shit to make friends with the new shit and then take the new shit behind the middle school and get it pregnant. And, with any luck, Counterforce will end this year. It’s kind of exciting to think that our last dance would take us right up to the stroke of midnight at the end of the world, right?

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What, Whence, and Whereto.

“Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Picture from here.

You could have it all.

Mad linkage:

What happens when the scary predictions of speculative fiction start to come true earlier than expected?

I guess you could say that I’m excited to see A Dangerous Method.

Best Coast and WAVVES.

An interesting interview with Steven Soderbergh about Contagion.

Did Chris Martin cheat on Gwyneth Paltrow?

J.J. Abrams is doing some cool new shit.

Science fiction magazines and The Joy Of Sex.

from here.

Noah Baumbach is developing Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections as an HBO series.

Post-apocalyptic porn. Sure, why not?

Matthew Fox could be in some trouble.

Saturn is beautiful.

The critics of Joan Didion.

This is Peanut St. Cosmo’s new favorite picture on the internet.

What does clitoral stimulation do to your brain?

Post-Sept. 11 Saudi Arabia is modernizing, slowly.

Mos Def will no longer be Mos Def.

Kitty Ravenhart’s selection for The Best Of Yahoo Answers.

Did you drain your balls at DragonCon?

More leaks from David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

from here.

A guy jerked off to me in the subway and the NYPD didn’t do a thing.”

I feel like with each passing day I’m a little more amazed that The Avengers movie is happening.

The beginning of the end for Yahoo?

Johnny Depp to star in another fucking remake, this time of The Thin Man.

Female blogger threatened with defamation suit after writing about TSA rape.

Jeff Tweedy and the Black Eyed Peas.

Tech company to build science ghost town.

A new story by Haruki Murakami.

Very cool fan art.

A huge list of deleted scenes that are awaiting you on the new Star Wars blu-rays.

Yelping with Cormac McCarthy.

NYC bans dogs from bars.

A movie about Keith Richards?

Reality as a failed state.

…And I feel fine/No future for you!

Well, I guess the Rapture didn’t happen, huh? Not today, I guess. I mean, I’m still here. You’re reading this, so I guess you’re still here too, huh? The sad thing about “The Rapture” is that, well, besides it being a fictional event in a set of fables in a funny book of short stories about wizards and demons and old world customs, is that… well, I just don’t know anyone who would be going up in this fantastical sounding Rapture thing. It’s just for the good, right? Well, all the people I know are bad, bad people… And I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.

from here.

Oh well, a shame. But I suppose the Internet will quickly find something else for itself to get excited about, right? But there’s still us and there’s tomorrow and a little more juice to be squeezed out of whatever could be “the future” and there’s whatever could possibly come with that…

Mad linkage:

Here’s 10 other recent predictions for the End Times that didn’t come true either.

German insurance firm held orgy to reward salesmen.

Learn how to tie your shoes right.

Quite possibly our first look at Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.

Kirk Cameron vs. Stephen Hawking.

Ricky Gervais on The Office‘s finale.

If you do go up in the Rapture, don’t worry, the atheists will take care of your pets… for a price.

An excerpt from Chris Adrian’s new novel.

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”

-Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

by Beth Hoeckel, from here.

What really goes on in Area 51?

A volcano in Iceland called Grímsvötn has erupted.

Twitter shit about the Rapture from yesterday.

Inside the Robert Redford biography.

Stephen Fry joins The Hobbit.

New discovery about mosquitoes reveals why vampires will never exist.

Speaking of which, Joe Jackson is still a bloodsucking piece of shit.

from here.

“The future is already here… It’s just not even distributed.”

-William Gibson

David Lynch to release an album later this year.

The visual impact of gossip.

The story of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s doomed/failed/totally fucking crazy would be adaptation of Dune to become a documentary. Here’s Dan O’Bannon talking about it a little.

Related: the team up between Salvador Dali and Walt Disney.

Just checking: Still no Rapture, right? Whew.

NBC cancels Outsourced. Good.

The trailer for the new film by Miranda July.

Carrie is being remade and Stephen King suggests Lindsay Lohan for the lead.

from here.

This trailer/movie looks really terrible: Horrible Bosses.

This trailer looks so so, but the movie will probably suck: Another Earth.

It’s Pilot Season! Trailers for (just a few of the) new TV shows that were just picked up:

Awake. Which… looks good, looks interesting, but I just don’t see a TV show that I would follow/watch for years and years there. Funny how both it and Another Earth‘s trailer use that song by the Cinematic Orchestra.

Alcatraz. The latest from the J.J. Abrams camp… The 4400 meets Prison Break, featuring Sam Neill and Hurley from Lost. This looks ridiculous, and I’ll watch it and just hope that it’s not another letdown like Fringe.

Person Of Interest. Another from J. J. Abrams, although it seems like it’s mostly just his name on it and the real creative juice is from Jonathan Nolan, writer of The Dark Knight and brother of Christopher. Looks interesting-ish, but Jim Caviezel? Was that really necessary?

A trailer for the documentary on the showrunners of all your favorite TV shows.

And a nice guide to the shows that didn’t make it to the Fall 2011 season.

“The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.”

-Dennis Gabor

I had a dream a while back that the world was ending… It was an odd dream, but not a terrible one, I guess. It’s just not something you can prepare for, the end of the world. You can’t ever really be ready for it. You just gotta keep on living, don’t you? And loving and listening to music and dancing and pursuing impossible things and enjoying mundane moments and people and doing all kinds of stupid shit. Take things seriously but maybe enjoy the ridiculous things that surround you just a little bit more? I don’t want to tell you something terribly cliched, like… Live every moment like it’s your last!

No, don’t do that. You’ll probably hurt yourself trying to do that.

But maybe every once in a while, take a single moment and consider that it is your last moment on this beautiful, insane planet, and just really ponder that. And think about what you would do if it wasn’t. Beam yourself into the future and peek in on yourself and see what you’re up to. Take a vacation into the future and see who you are there. Interview yourself and find out what went right and wrong in your life in the moments/weeks/months/years between now and then, and take good notes. And when you come back to the present, remember that little trip. Remember that time you went to the future and appreciate that you’re back here, and now, and then go there again.

The anniversary of Bikini Atoll is coming up.

Chinese “dinosaur city” reshapes understanding of prehistoric era.

Brittany Julious is sexy.

The kind of guys who stay single?

The Cat Rapture for Caturday!

Neil Gaiman on Gene Wolf.

Grant Morrison to write a movie about dinosaurs vs. aliens, Barry Sonnenfield to direct.

from here.

RIP “Macho Man.”

The fashion of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Fleetwood Mac to reunite in time for the end of the world.

The never before seen original ending to Alexander Payne’s Election, which is much closer to the book’s ending.

I don’t think I’m all that crazy about these Odd Future guys.

Skeeter Davis and Henry Moore.

Tom Cruise is a lonely robot repairman.

from here.

How to survive a mass extinction.

Plot details from the upcoming Tim Burton/Johnny Depp big screen version of Dark Shadows.

Will the internet destroy academic freedom?

A history of bedwetting.

Bionic hands! The future is now!

A good prank for the Rapture.

Oh well, hopefully this one was good practice for the next time the world (supposedly) ends. Still plenty of time to get your Rapture Playlist just fucking perfect. No sleep til 2012!

Sweet sensation.

In honor of what will and what will most likely not happen tomorrow

Sonic Youth’s “Do You Believe In Rapture?”

Headphones.

An introduction: Months ago the amazing Maria and I had this little chat, and like most of our chats, it started off most interestingly…

Maria Diaz: Hey…

Marco Sparks: What an interesting video. That man stabbed himself in the chest! Multiple times! That is some serious follow through.
MD: Huh? Oh, I sent you the wrong one. But i do love that song. Look at this:
🙂 and…
🙂
Marco: Oh man, that song.
MD: This one is better:
Marco: I just remember hearing it one night, late at night when I was homeless and living with a friend, and I remember loving the song. It’s a tired complaint, I know, but this was back when VH1 and MTV still played… sigh… music videos.
MD: Which one, the Nine Days one? Or Vertical Horizon?
Marco: Oh, the Nine Days one, sorry. But I think a lot part of it had to do with really thinking that the girl in the video was super duper cute.
MD: Yeah, that was probably the real reason. Especially because that Vertical Horizon song is terrible.
Marco: Part of it was also because I was really trying to win over this girl who looked like the girl in the Nine Days video and… I don’t know, maybe I felt justified in my affections by the song/video?
MD: the song is kinda cute, I think.
Marco: She was dating this ginormous drug dealer at the time. Well, not “ginormous,” neither physically not, you know, stature in the suburban drug selling racket, but… well, either way, I just couldn’t compete with the guy. And yeah, the song is fine. Probably better than fine.
MD: Awww. Yeah, drug dealers are very attractive to women. All that money. And all those drugs.
Marco: That particular Vertical Horizon song… I liked it maybe the first time I heard it, but every time after… grating.
MD: It’s the reveal at the end of the song… that HE is the one the girl doesn’t want.
Marco: Of course she doesn’t want him. (He’s hideous.) This…
“Love can be so boring.”
MD: OMG this song.
Marco: There’s a very sad, very tragic playlist of recurring songs that I listened to a lot circa 1999 – 2002ish, and this song was on it intermittently.
MD: I bet we had many of the same songs. This was definitely on mine.
Marco: I feel like I was carrying around this very shallow sense of sadness or regret… like I had lost something that should be crucial but wasn’t, not really, though you at the time you couldn’t convince me of that… and my music reflected that.
MD: Exactly.
Marco: It’s strange that you got me thinking about that cause I was really thinking about a lot of music from back then lately the first summer I moved to this shithole state I live in… I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. Ate shitty food. “Ate shitty” as in “ate terribly.” Drank beer. Lots. Laid on the couch in my huge bedroom listening to music and reading. That was it. Oh, and thought up ridiculous plots of silly Clive Cussler-esque thrillers.
…but that one U2 album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind? I associate that album so strongly, oddly enough, with Bret Easton Ellis’ first book and with Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary because I listened to that album on repeat while reading those books for the first time that summer.
MD: The first Bret Easton Ellis, that’s Less Than Zero?
Marco: Yeah, Less Than Zero.
Okay, that invisible pain I mentioned… do you want to see a really bad example of a song from that period?
MD: Of course. Always.
Marco: okay, this artist I’m about to bring up is ridiculous and you kind of knew that when she first debuted, but just how ridiculous and plastic hadn’t quite hit yet…
Anyway, her first two singles were just silly radio pop fluff, but this was her third single, I believe, and I remember hearing this song for the first time on headphones while walking somewhere late at night… and it just seemed to resonate with that tragic void living inside me…
MD: hahaha YES! I felt similarly about this song…
Marco: (Holy shit, Lizzy Caplan is in that video.)
It’s probably been so long since i’ve bought an actual CD i’m sad to say because I still like CDs, I’m still a guy who likes CDs, but I have a lot of bad pop punk CDs from that circa Avril era. I mean, I probably have 700 cds and it’s just this incredibly awesome, sexy music collection, but just figure that 30 or so of those cds are from artists like…
and
MD: Nothing to be ashamed of.
Marco: Well, maybe a little, but it was a time and a place and everything changes and you make explorations and sometimes what’s bad is good and vice versa. And blah blah blah. And anyone who doesn’t get that is an idiot, right? Plus, these tiny revelations made here are hardly the worse musical sins I’ve committed as a listener…
Though, thankfully, this was the time period in which was i also really discovering, like, The Get Up Kids, so it wasn’t all bad. And that said, I gotta tell you, I’m sorry, but I can’t join you on the Jason Mraz journey.
MD: hahahahaha.
When I was flying back from Europe with an ex, we had a HORRIBLE fight. And this is like 10+ hours of flying BTW, and I just listened to this Jason Mraz song over and over again on the airplane radio system. It was really quite sad.
Marco: I can imagine. I think I’d like the song if it was a different artist, you know?
MD: Yeah. Jason Mraz is easy to hate.
Marco: And it’s something about Mraz himself that I just despise.
Okay, so I am about to hit you with two megahits from that time period. i don’t know if you’re ready for it.
MD: I’m so fucking ready.
Marco: That is exactly what I wanted to hear. But first, let me just say… Thinking about that Unwritten Law song… I was working where I am currently already when that song was unleashed on me and it’s so vivid in my memory the girl I had a crush on then that I associate that song with… I mean, nothing ever happened with that girl. She thought I was profoundly weird without ever realizing just how right she was and yet I still think of her when I hear it. Anyways… Prepare thyself!
MD: Getting ready…
Marco: You say that but can ever truly be ready to go back to… this:
…and also this:
BOOM!
MD: OH MAN, that Lifehouse guy. Do you think he made his voice sound like that?
Marco: Ha ha. Do you remember where you were when you first said out loud, “NO WAY, THAT BIG VOICE DOES NOT SOUND LIKE THAT LITTLE GUY FROM THE CALLING.”
MD: Wow. Seriously. I had no idea this band even had a name. It was just a song that was everywhere at the time.
Marco: Like back then, as they were signing their record contract they must’ve known they would not last.
It would be so much easier if we were talking about just the 90s here…
from here.
or late 90’s fin de siècle music, but this period we’re talking about, that early 00s, was just so fucking weird. Here’s a really, really sad fact: I also recall the first mp3 I ever downloaded and while this wasn’t the very first, I believe that lifehouse single was either #2 or #3.
MD: Hmm has this song been on a lot of commercials?
Marco: Probably so very many.
MD: Here’s one for the ages:
Marco: the first comment on that video’s youtube page is:
“I paused my porn for this. (:”
Editor’s note: This was a few months ago, mind.
MD: The ultimate compliment for any music video, really.
Marco: For serious. Yeah,back then I really liked the Bleed American and Futures album, which made me go back and look up Clarity. So emotastic.
MD: yeah, all the emo kids were soooo mad when they got popular for 5 seconds.

Editor’s note: I then told MD again about the 600ish page political novel that Benjamin Light and I started writing back during the time period being covered in this music discussion. (Separate editor’s note: Those 600 pages ended up only being probably 1/8the the novel’s probable length had it lived past its infancy. Jesus.) Anyway, about 75 pages of that book were written to Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity album. -Marco.

Marco: Wow, the neural pathways of memory and musical taste progression that this trip and fall down memory lane is opening up for me…
MD: That’s what it’s supposed to do!
Marco: I remember there was a period where I went to Burger King for lunch every day – ugh – and I’d order my food and sit myself in the corner, with my back to the TV and so I could see everyone there and I’d listen to music on headphones and eat and read articles from the internet I had printed out earlier in the day at work and just write. I was working on so many things back then and I had downloaded the Wicker Park soundtrack of all soundtracks because I had heard it was “hip.” And on it was this song:
MD: Very interesting that the video you found is a fandom vid for The Office.
Marco: …and that begat me downloading their album at the time and I would listen to that Snow Patrol album all the time during that period and write and, of course, it’s strongly associated with a girl at the time and all that blah blah blah. Words and music and women… funny how they’re all so strongly tied together in my head.
And yeah, I thought that was funny too, re: The Office video. I guess Pam/Roy was someone’s OTP at the time?
But anyway, that Snow Patrol thing… I think that was the start of me pushing into a new aeon on musical interests, as far as cruising on the surface of mainstream “alternative rock”ish type music for the masses, and enjoying something about the generic nothingness there.
And that strange sadness that belonged to nothing real in my life? I really think that perhaps it died when I first heard this song…
MD: Ah, such a lovely song…
Marco: I remember listening to this song on headphones on a lunchbreak at work and just breaking down into tears. I had to call in to my job from 100 yards away and tell them I’d be late and I just walked around, listening to this over and over again and feeling terrible, and wonderful, and terrible and sad and wounded, and it was like somewhere around then I stopped feeling sad about nothing and it was like the real regrets and misery entered my life.
MD: Like catharsis, like a breakthrough of sorts.
Marco: Yeah, exactly. I mean, like everyone, I have things that happened when I was younger that I carried the pain of those things with me, but I was always too shallow to really be affected by them properly, I think. I was suffering from a different kind of pain, I think, as my early 20s were crystallizing around me, and with that song… It was like the end of something more innocent and silly in my emotional dealings with the world, and the start of me experiencing real world sadness and hurt? Perhaps.
If all of this right now was a part of a documentary about my sad dealings with music at the dawn of my 20s, then the song that would be playing over the end credits sequence would be this:
MD: Ha ha, nice. And what does the hero learn at the end?
Marco: Nothing. Nothing is ever really learned.
And that end titles sequence, also, would just be sitting on the sidelines of a Quinceañera, watching young Spanish girls in pretty dresses dancing around with their family.
MD: You know, that sounds oddly hopeful.
Marco: Le Sigh. Remember when everything was just so simple and innocent and… BRITPOP?
MD: And it’s probably right there when i realized that this whole conversation would a blog post.
Marco: Yeah, sorry about that, but I think you’re right… Or maybe it’ll even be two!
Editor’s note: TO BE CONTINUED!