Past Prologue: September, 2009.

The end looms large, but is still a ways away and down the road a bit. But I kind of wanted to look back a little, month by month, at this blog. Maybe not every single month, but most, if I can. I guess I’m getting reacquainted with what I’m saying goodbye to? Or maybe in the back of my mind I’m always remembering that you have to put the chairs up before you turn the lights off and go home…

Right, so:

01.

09/01/09: The House Of Mice/Ideas,” by yours truly: This was back when it was announced that Disney had bought Marvel comics. Such a weird idea at the time, the idea of a mash up between your favorite comic book characters and your favorite Disney characters, or the concern that a certain “family friendly” and “neutered” aesthetic might bleed over into the monthly tales of your friendly neighborhood super powered costume fetishists.

Also, a chance to share links! I like sharing links. I like sharing a little bit of what I’m reading with anyone who might give an inkling of a shit.

from here.

The thing about the links posts is that I don’t claim to always endorse those links, their content, or their authors. I’m not saying, “I read this and I loved it and now you must read it and fall in love with it!” Hardly. Half the time when I would post these “mad linkage” posts, I had not read some of these stories I’ve linked to… yet. They were place holders, something easy for me to get back to and read later. Counterforce is and was my portal to the internet, just as I had hoped it would be for you as well.

02.

09/01/09: Apocalypse Please by Benjamin Light: I like this post. Usually Benjie trucks primarily in words, and yet I think he sets up a nice mood with a preamble of pictures of doom and destruction. As he’ll eventually say in the text bits, there’s a collective mood there, a seductive one of embracing the end (though not necessarily being consumed by it), that I think is somewhat universal.

03.

09/02/09: Humans Being by yours truly and “Lollipop Gomez,” otherwise known as the immensely talented Maria Diaz: This is us getting down and dirty and talking about the sexualized fascination and symbiotic relationship between man and machine, or whoa!-man and machine. In other news, (hu)mankind doesn’t want to just rise up and meet the approaching Singularity, we want to have sex with it. That’s either how we understand things, or how we go about not having to understand things.

from here.

In case you’re wondering, this is pretty much what it was like whenever Maria and I would talk. Pretty much every one of our continuing gmail/gchat conversations would be like this, and some nights we were just “on” more than others. I think about halfway through some of those conversations we realized that we were going to save this conversation and post it online somewhere. So perhaps during the second half we’re performing a little more. Posts with Maria were always some of my favorite because they were less about writing, and more about just being, and us bullshitting and having fun, which lead to some of the writing I most enjoyed reading.

04.

09/03/09: Between The Covers by Occam Razor, Maria Diaz, and Conrad Noir: We never did a lot of big group posts like other blogs and websites, but I think this was an interesting one, especially since it’s such a funny idea, the writers of Counterforce talking about summer reading selections. Perhaps because we’re so outside the norm of what other people on the internet would talk about for their summer reading, perhaps that’s why I like it so much.

by Andy Vible, from here.

Plus, it’s always nice to see anything from Occam Razor and Conrad Noir. Those guys are awesome. Looking back, the original title for this post should’ve been “The Pimp Game, Globalization, and Revolting Youth.” I don’t know. Something like that.

05.

09/04/09: F Is For Friday,” by me: Orson Welles’ F For Fake is a great movie. Half documentary, half essay, and an extra one half magic trick. What else needs to be said?

06.

09/05/09: Super Secret Smile Saturdays by myself: Labor Day weekend, links, and a lot of videos. This is kinda sorta what my average internet browsing probably looks like when I’m pretty substantially bored.

by Lily Camille Clark, from here and here.

07.

09/06/09: 1960s Dance Party by Conrad Noir: This is before I got Conrad hooked on Mad Men. I think this GIF perfectly represented what he saw whenever he saw people gushing about the show online.

08.

09/07/09: Why, yes, you should receive a Victory Medal for beating the clap,” by myself: So weird to read this now. Not just because it’s old, but because it’s from a different time in Mad Men. The new status quo on Mad Men is so ingrained in me now, I guess, that it’s weird to time travel further back into the 60s and see Don and Betty still married, dealing with the trials and tribulations of their lives together, etc.

Also, I always enjoyed doing the Mad Men posts with August Bravo. It certainly kept me more on focus, I think, and made me ramble less, maybe. He would’ve been involved with this one, but he didn’t heed certain advice, moved to Manhattan, and got raped by some sailors, or something.

09.

09/08/09: The Kids Of America by myself: The Republicans were being dicks to Obama, trying to deny him even the most rudimentary respect deserved by his being our elected President of these United States. Funny how few things change. Stay classy, Republicans. Keep celebrating the fundamental lack of education within your party.

10.

09/09/09: 09/09/09 by myself: It doesn’t take much to amuse me, I tell ya.

11.

09/10/09: In my younger and more vulnerable years…” by myself: The Great Gatsby really is a great book, and truly one of the Great American Novels. I used to despise it because it was too simple, too easy, such a perfect textbook for a high school class, but now I suspect that’s part of its charm. I used to think the movie starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow was incredibly boring, but now I’m dreading the new one with DiCaprio and Sally Sparrow and the Peter Parker I’m hoping we can all forget about. At least it’ll be in 3D, as if that mattered.

12.

09/11/09: The Food chain by Benjamin Light: LOL.

13.

09/11/09: NEVAR FORGET by yours truly: Well…

14.

09/13/09: Bloodletting by myself: Just a nice reminder, I think, of how good the first two seasons of True Blood were. That’s not to say that the subsequent seasons have been terrible, because they haven’t, but the first two seasons were just excellent, I thought. Just a perfect balance between the human and the supernatural, between comedy and horror, between mystery and romance, between the darkness and the light.

15.

09/14/09: RIP Patrick Swayze by myself: Seriously. RIP Patrick Swayze. I’m going to go watch Road House again.

16.

09/14/09: Are you aware of the number of handjobs I’m gonna have to give by August Bravo and myself: Once someone says “hand jobs,” then BOOM, there’s August Bravo, suddenly out of nowhere.

Looking back, this was a very interesting episode of Mad Men, the biggest aspect being the birth of baby Gene Draper, but there was so much more going on there. Both in the episode and in our writing about it, talking about Kanye, for example, and for me finally realizing how truly amazing Alison Brie was.

17.

09/15/09: The Development Of Strange Things by myself: I like Harper’s magazine. I like it a lot. But I especially like the “Findings” section at the end, as you may have noticed here on Counterforce time and again.

* * *

Months are longer than we think, especially since we posted something every single day of September, 2009 except for one, so let’s take a break here and resume this after a…

TO BE CONTINUED!

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Contact.

It’s 365 years later and the end of another year. Was it a good one? A bad one? A combination of the two? Did you make “contact” with something?

from here.

Are you optimistic about the future? What about just tomorrow? What about just tonight? What do you think when you look back on this year that just ended? Are things going according to your plans or are you finding yourself constantly delivered into new and different and exciting and altogether unforeseeable outcomes? Are we living in the future? Or are we just dreamers lost in our own magic spells and writing the story as we trip over the words and the lines and the chapter breaks?

Do you have more questions than answers, or vice versa? Which do you prefer more, sunrises or sunsets? Beginnings or endings? Or are they intrinsically tied together, just like all of us, in the grand scheme of things?

Just curious.

This was an interesting year. As much one full of little victories and joys as it was of big failures and sadness. For me, at least. Things happened. The players moved the pieces across the chessboard. The game continued. It was exciting, it was heart breaking, and sometimes it was just one or just the other, and sometimes it was both. The wheel kept turning.

from here.

Next year is possibly the year before the year the world ends, and that kind of puts everything into some kind of perspective.

If you’re reading this now or read it before, then some kind of contact was made. With you, with us, with it, with “the other,” with nothing and everything and anything that falls in between all of that.

It’s really up to you there, though. It’s all subjective. Just as you choose your own level of involvement in all things (but especially the future), you also bring your own meaning to the equation. In the end we’ll all be getting exactly what we what. The angels of tomorrow will all be speaking the same language: glossolalia.

Things can seem small in one moment and in one kind of light, and loom large in another. Understanding has to be unearthed and earned and meaning was to be extrapolated. We keep guessing, we keep surmising, we keep poking and attempting things and shining our torches into the dark.

And if there’s something out there, then have no fear, we’ll find it.

…and I feel fine.

Hello! It’s Sunday. And Sundays, well, Sundays are boring, right? Right.

John Cusack goes out for a little jog in the middle of the apocalypse.

Went and saw 2012 yesterday, as promised. It was, well… Hmm.

the end of the world just got a whole lot more end of the world-ier.

My first reaction to it: Ehhhh. Not horrible, but not great. It’s exactly what’s advertised on the tin, I’ll put it this way. You’ve got a lot of real actors doing some cartoon shit while the world goes to hell all around them. The cast, when you think about it, is actually quite impressive. Also, Woody Harrelson’s in the mix too.

We can see you.

My second reaction to it: Why the fuck didn’t this come out in the middle of the summer?

It was literally this or ID4ever, right?

Third reaction: Comedy of the year, hands down.

Especially in a year when, if you think about it, the big comedy was… what? The Hangover? Right? Get serious. I never saw the movie, I won’t lie, but for a lot of reasons. Primarily, things like the trailer. Did you see it? It looks like it was made for retarded boys. But, you know what’s even worse than the trailer? Listening to people who actually liked the movie. They sound like retarded boys, don’t they? Anyway.

There is virtually no situation in which I will not find Thandie Newton excruciatingly gorgeous, except for maybe 2012.

But I really feel like 2012 deserves a good proper Counterforce review. It really does. It’s really our kind of movie, and I mean that in the best and worst possible ways. I don’t know that I’m the man for that job. Benjamin Light, I’m looking at you. Are you the man for that job?

Can you believe me actually made this ridiculous movie?

Anyway, I went and saw the film yesterday with Conrad Noir and walking out of the theater, still buzzing from all that ridiculousness, we saw this:

You are killing me with this ridiculous shit, Dwayne. You really are.

And we thought, “Dear God, who gave that man wings.” Much less Wings Of Desire and much more Red Bull: The Movie.

But then we got into a little conversation, talking about this and that and action heroes of the 80s, mostly cause we’ve been watching a lot of that horrendous/wonderful action movie fare from that decade, and we were talking about how action stars back then were so… foreign seeming. And maybe that contributed a lot to their allure. Maybe it also made some of the ridiculousness easier to stand, too?

For example there, Benjamin Light and were discussing a week or so ago what a remake of The Terminator would look like – since the franchise is up for sale, and should be sold to Joss Whedon, of course, cause why not? – And I brought up the question, “Does the killer robot from the future have to be Austrian?” Commander Light emphatically assured he that it indeed had to be. I’m taking his word for it.

This just looks magical.

Anyway, so Conrad and I, discussing action stars today, talking about guys like Dwayne Johnson, and how, in our minds, he’s not really latched on with America. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the idea of a “non-conventional” action star quite a bit, i.e. a non white guy running around screaming at people, doing high kicks, and blowing copious amounts of shit up. So why hasn’t “The Rock” caught on with us? I posit two possibilities:

1. In a grab for “credibility” or attempting to “not being as big a joke as he is,” he ditched his silly little wrestling moniker, “The Rock,” and went with his real name: Dwayne Johnson. Except, we can’t root for a guy named Dwayne.

2. Not foreign enough? Perhaps? I suggest investigating this has merit. Especially since it seems American action-loving fans get a bigger hard on from a ponce like Jason Statham than Dwayne Johnson.

How Statham picks up a girl.

Then, walking out of the theater, Conrad and I were looking at the various posters on display, the coming soons and the current releases. Part of me still wants to see This Is It. I’m a Michael Jackson fan, I won’t hide it.  But I’m also a huge Richard Matheson fan, and while I have serious reservations about the movie, I also kind of want to see The Box.

Cameron Diaz is trapped inside her own box.

But I don’t know that I trust Richard Kelly anymore. Donnie Darko was okay when it first came out, before you put it through any real tests of serious thought or logic and saw through it’s masturbatory philophosizing. It’s a glorified remake of Last Temptation Of Christ that doesn’t fully pan out. But Kelly also went on to make – speaking of Dwayne Johnson – the gloriously bad Southland Tales.

Dwayne Johnson Fever Dot Net.

Look, I’m not going to talk about the Philip K. Dick pastiche that was Southland Tales here. I’m just… not. I’m not going to do it. All I’ll say is I went into that movie wanting to like it. And I sit here now feeling like I’m a veteran of that war. It’s like Richard Kelly is George W. Bush and I was some dumb kid who supported the Iraq war until I went into the fucker and got my bits and pieces all cut off. Now I’m shell shocked.

But, yeah, there’s The Box, directed by Richard Kelly, starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden, based on the Richard Matheson story, “Button, Button,” and was previously adapted into an episode of The Twilight Zone. We’ll see if I ever see it.

And again, here we are. It’s Sunday. Tomorrow’s the start of the “work week.” I’d love to Weeks In Review here at Counterforce, but lately it’s just me rambling and I’d feel bad directing the two and a half readers of this site back to more of me rambling. Poor fuckers. Oh yeah, the season finale of Mad Men was last Sunday. And we had a Friday the 13th happen this past week as well. There you go. Oh, and: Young women having sex with sea creatures. Now there you really go.

The Doctor hates funny robots.

But again, here we are. It’s Sunday. Let’s see, let’s see, let’s see… Oh! Tonight was the airing of the latest Doctor Who special over in the UK, “The Waters Of Mars,” the start of the end of David Tennant’s run as #10. You can catch it online if you’re good, if you’re very good, and it’s dark. And a bit sad. And leaves you kind of sweaty and breathless too.

Water Monsters! On Mars!

Also tonight is AMC’s remake of the classic 60s show, The Prisoner. I’d watch it, but I’m not sure I want to see my childhood get raped so thoroughly and with such production values. Ian McKellen is a good choice for just about anything, but Jim Caviezel? I think I hate you for that, AMC. Honestly, Jim Caviezel makes Keanu Reeves look like Marlon Brando to me.

You deserve so much better than this, Gandalf.

Oh well, here we are. The weekend’s almost over. I went to the movies to watch the end of the world as we know it and…

What?

Here We Go.

Roman Polanski: Art is not enough.

Alan Moore’s new fanzine: Dodgem Logic.

Illusions: What’s in a face?

James Ellroy’s American Apocalypse.

Why do women have sex?

Autism may be more common than previously thought.

Top court overturns Italian prime minister’s immunity.

On sex and marriage.

Here We Go.”

Gay men in danger in Iraq.

Man’s skull grows back after 50 years.

Teenager details rape by Joe Francis.

Afghan Taliban say they pose no threat to the West.

Tyler Perry reveals that he was abused as a child.

Pierre Chang does not like being lied to.

Archaeologists unearth 17th century bottle used to scare off witches.

10 reasons not to bring someone back from the dead.

Franken passes bill to help contractors raped abroad.

I’d like to say that I’d like to see less rape in the news, but really what I mean is I’d like to see less rape in the world.

Major breast cancer breakthrough announced.

Want to switch your biological clock around?

Indian shot for public urination.

Between the covers.

So about two months ago, Marco had this great idea to do some posts on Counterforce about summer. Summer traveling, summer adventures, flings, weird things to be done to the world and to yourself during the course of summer, and of course, summer reading.

Not a hard subject for us to tackle. Quite the opposite, in fact. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re all voracious readers and also, frankly, scary brilliant. But we got a little wrapped up in the business of having a summer, which we’ll leave undefinable for now, and before you knew it, the grass started getting a little less greener, the wind started getting colder, those chirping annoying kids finally went back to school, and the season of summer flings quietly faded away.

So let’s talk about what’s on our nightstands as we head into the autumn months, okay?

Occam Razor:
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What that Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt.

Because you assholes don’t know how to behave on the road and your idiotic fucking tendencies just lead to me being in traffic. I read most of this on my lunch breaks while eating sushi. Now, I’m not saying you have to read this at lunch while eating sushi, but you probably should to get the same exact experience I did. California Rolls will not be accepted. Unless its the ones with the fried shrimp in the middle, I don’t know why but I can’t get enough of those. Damn, I could go for some right now. If I only had a book about the traffic culture of Mumbai to read.
Lollipop Gomez:

Youth In Revolt is one of my favorite books. I read it 10 years ago and then I re-read it when I was recovering from surgery in 2005. It is a treasure. I’m very worried of what they will do to it.

If there aren’t any donuts in the first 20 minutes of this movie, which is a major detail in that they go get donuts all the time in the book, I will be very upset. I remember sending my ex up the hill to get me Maple bars because they kept mentioning them. So, if there’s no donuts in the movie then I will torch Michael Cera’s house. And I don’t know how I feel about this fake Amanda Seyfried as Sheeni. I don’t know if I imagined her being so faux-sexy. Ugh, Hollywood.

Marco Sparks: Cera’s starring in the upcoming movie version, right? When reading the book originally, can you say that you ever would’ve thought to see Michael Cera playing the lead? I totally want some donuts now, by the way.

LG: No, Michael Cera is not Nick. But he’s the awkward man of the moment and I think he’s producer, so we can thank his dollars.

Marco: Hello, Nick and Norah!

Conrad Noir:
Why this book? Because why the fuck not, motherfucker? This book is like experiencing what it’s like when a mentally ill person has an orgasm during a car wreck. It’s fucking wonderful. Here’s an excerpt:
“Soon after this episode there was a birthday party for me. Prince came, he was sitting at a table with some people not drinking. I walked up to him, grabbed him by the back of the hair and poured cognac down his throat. He spit it out like a little bitch and I laughed and walked away. I loved fucking with him like that.”
Occam Razor:
Lush Life: A Novel by Richard Price.

Because of several reasons. A) Richard Price wrote some of the best episodes of The Wire. 2) For the first 350 pages or so it’s an entertaining read. Nevermind the end, though. and C) For all intents and purposes the subtitle A Novel is actually a part of the title of the book. It’s not Lush Life, a novel by Richard Price, it’s Lush Life: A Novel! Why can’t more titles be that informative like this, imagine Bruno: A Terrible Film Where This Guy Sexually Harasses Rednecks Until They Finally Snap.
Conrad:
This one isn’t as easy to enthusiastically recommend. Honestly, I haven’t read it yet, but I certainly intend to. Especially now that I know they’re making it into a movie.
Marco:
I’m honestly too indecisive to pick just one, or just a few books here. I apologize. So, speaking of the post Lollipop and I did yesterday, I’m going to suggest…
What a fun and fascinating read this book was (for me, anyway). On one hand, you could take it as some very factually based interesting guesses into what tomorrow holds for us, but in a lot of ways, due to it’s style and subject matter, I think you could almost take it in as a very experimental novel. Especially if the futurist angle just isn’t for you. In fact, be warned, because I think I may have more to say about this one in a few days…
Occam Razor:
Why Your World is Going to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization by Jeff Rubin

Because I’m too fucking lazy to properly prepare you for Peak Oil.
And you’ll have plenty of time to read after the end of the world

Apex Predator…

…is a predator that has no predators of it’s own, and resides at the top of the food chain, with virtually nothing or no one to fear.

A prime example of an apex predator would be…

The Great White Shark. Of course.

Of course.

Aesop’s Fables may be true.

Nic Cage and mega sharks.

Mash up artists scratch old favorites.

Robin Hood in the future!

“President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse.”

Where I Write.

Don’t fuck with Blackwater. They’ll fucking kill you.

…and pimp out  young Iraqi girls.

Terry Gilliam likes Dick.

Learn how to text.

The most spoiled child in Britain.

Sharks being driven to the edge of extinction?

A comparison of the megalodon shark, the great white shark, and a human being. From wikipedia.

A size comparison between a few apex predators and a human being, again from wikipedia.

I find Beyonce to be completely overrated. That said, this Shakira video does weird, scary, wonderful things to me.

What’s driving divorce.

Grounds For Divorce.”

The Raw Shark Texts.

Can Sarah Palin ever come back?

Ben Stein lose NYT column over endorsement.

Busted having sex in library bathroom.

Legalized pot a tough sell in Governor’s race.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a lovely novel, but the movie looks kind of horrid.

Shark vs. Octopus.

8 internet things to throw into a black hole.

Birthplace of Roman Emperor Vespasian found in Italy.

We’re going to need a bigger blog!

Fires on the moon.

It’s Saturday night, I’m staying in, relaxing a little, catching up on a few movies, and I wanted to talk briefly about the moon. To howl at it, if you will. And I wanted to share with you old Counterforce links, to invite you to take gander back at some of our older posts…

Primarily Occam Razor’s post peak oil series, something you should be re-reading constantly. Maybe every other week? That’s about right, right?

That’s what I wanted to do, but I noticed we’ve been getting a lot of hits the past few days for one tag/search term in particular: Autoerotic asphyxiation.

Primarily in reference to my post on the passing of David Carradine, but also on the post from way back when about the death of David Foster Wallace. Is it me, or are people fascinated by weird masturbation attempts gone horribly wrong?

Probably, but I’m not sure I want to explore it too much. Cause eventually that conversation goes Michael Hutchence (sometimes you kick, and sometimes you get kicked!), which is fine, or Soderbergh’s Full Frontal, which is also fine, but it also goes to Ken Park, and that is not fine.

Also, there’s a fine line between being sensitive to a subject and enjoying the outrageous humor in it. It’s a kind of class that I’m not sure I currently possess, to be honest with you. But my basic rule on the subject goes like this: If you’re going to masturbate and someone walks in on you, no matter how awkward or embarrassing it is, make sure they know you’re getting yourself off, okay? And if you’re going to kill yourself, make sure that whatever is left is easily identifiable as, well, a suicide, okay (unless you’re framing someone for your “murder,” which is cool)? Make it easy on those left behind! No “Oh no, he killed himself, or actually… Oh, I think he was trying to… See the way that thing is… Oh… Oh… Oh, dear,” okay?

Just a little bit in the way of mad linkage:

The building 2012 paranoia may be a bit stupid.

How to be single and stay that way.

The-Dream feat. Kanye West “Walking On The Moon,” a song that I love for a lot of reasons, especially it’s Michael Jackson-ness. You can make an army of babies to The-Dream’s album, but I also like this song because it’s… what’s the word… more sweet and goofy, less sexist than the rest.

John August is doing an interesting experiment with a short story of his, entitled “The Variant.”

And speaking of writing, if you’re a little saddened by the declining state of literary culture, then Dave Eggers would like to send you a personal “Buck up” about it.

The flag of Earth.

Io, a moon on fire.