Robin Masters.

A few things:

1. Today at work I endured a conversation with a random stranger about the seminal television program MacGyver. I love MacGyver, but I wouldn’t go back and watch it now if I could. In my memories it’s still great, and I don’t want those memories to be ruined, shattered, broken, rendered meaningless.

This random stranger really enjoyed MacGyver too, but not as much as I do, or did. Her devotion is not as strong as mine, nor her love as pure. Also, she kept saying “Magnum” when she meant “MacGyver.”

2. After she left, my co-worker and I made fun of her in a very subtle way. We started talking about Magnum, P. I. but we kept saying “Matlock.”

3. RIP Andy Griffith.

4. Remember the episode of Magnum, P.I. where he had to tread water in the ocean for, like, forever? Or, at least for near 45 minutes.

Yeah, it was good. At least… that’s how I remember it.

5. Remember the one where he died and was in a coma, more accurately, and was all astral and ghost-like and was floating around and hanging out people and solving a mystery but no one could see him or hear him?

You think I’m joking but that was totally real.

6. Unrelated… This is a picture of a dog and a bunch of tacos:

7. I can’t testify to full and clear total recall of the episodes, but I am positive that I have seen 100% of MacGyver the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life. I would wager that I have watched 87% of Murder, She Wrote the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life (some of it, or rather, a lot of it in the past year alone). I have probably watched something like 69% of Magnum, P.I. in my life, including the one where that show and Murder, She Wrote crossed over with each other, which I remember happening but don’t fully remember the details of, much to my chagrin.We’re not even going to waste our time talking about the time that Magnum, P.I. crossed over with Simon & Simon. We’re just not.

If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve probably only seen like 34% of Matlock the TV show in my life.

8. Did you ever watch The Rockford Files? It was good. I like James Garner. He’s one of the older actors that I tend to just like in whatever he’s doing.

He played Phillip Marlowe once. You should watch it. It was a silly movie, but highly underrated. Also, it had a really goofy but not terrible Bruce Lee bit part (and a famous scene) in it.

9. I don’t think that Tom Selleck would’ve made that great of an Indiana Jones.

Or, at least, you can only imagine his Indiana Jones as something so incredibly different from the one we all know and love that it is almost incomprehensible.

10. When I was a kid, my father had a great big mustache and wore a lot of Hawaiian shirts and baseball caps and short shorts.

He made faces like these a lot:

So, clearly, the fictional character of Thomas Magnum was my father’s style icon, right?

That seems weird now but maybe it wasn’t so weird back then. How the fuck should I know.

11. No joke: The Magnum, P.I. theme song has been my ringtone for over a year now. It’s the ringtone for calls from numbers that aren’t already in my address book. It was weird to me, considering that, when I spontaneously found myself in this conversation today at work.

12. Maybe it’s not all that weird.

13. Maybe it was fate?

14. Probably not.

15. T.C. was cool but Rick just seemed like an asshole to me.

16. A few nights ago Benjamin Light and I were talking about the future of our podcast and the caterpillar-like life of our blog and how it’ll soon turn into a beautiful and bewildering butterfly – watch for future announcements – and we were also mutually browsing around the internet, just talking and shitting the breeze and I remember reading somewhere that in other countries there confusions and mistranslations and people assumed that the title of the show was Magnum PI

Get it?

17. Anyway.

What a strange coincidence… The ringtone and the random factoid read about the internet and then the strange occurrence of the spontaneous conversation with a stranger about MacGyver but calling it Magnum and I’m trying to fix the broken web of time and it all leads to a journey down the clips show metaphor that is memory lane for me…

18. Maybe it’s not a coincidence. Maybe it’s just a thing, a thing that happens, and it has no meaning other than that which I assign to it?

19. Perhaps it’s no more important than anything, and not even real. Maybe I’m not real. Maybe I’m me, the me that I think I am and only sometimes comfortable with me. Maybe I’m really Zhuangzi, and I’m dreaming that I’m a butterfly.

20. It’s a bit of a stretch, I know, but my mind is still trudging through similar ditches as we slowly make our way towards the end of this blog. Perhaps I’m dancing around things, then taking a few steps backward before marching forward. The past can be a special place, and an odd place where things have different values and meanings assigned to him. Analyze what you can and appreciate the bizarreness of other things and leave them as they are, unmolested, uncontested. Making peace or at least coming to an understanding with your memories is a kind of time travel, and it’s how some of the best mysteries are solved, but don’t forget: The past can be a grotesque animal and you should always be mindful of how you’ll escape it.

21. Like I said… That’s a bit of a stretch, sure.

Also:

“Father figures” by Kevin Wada. I love it. Except for the KISS parts. Oh well.

22. After this… 82 posts to go.

Can you guess how it’ll end? I have an idea…

23. Maybe like this:

Advertisements

Orbital decay.

A few things:

One: When I was a kid, one of my favorite movies was The Gods Must Be Crazy. I didn’t exactly understand it as a kid, obviously, but I still enjoyed it for some reason.

I’m happy to say that at least I understood, as my parents explained it to me then: It’s the story of an African bushman and his tribe who have no knowledge of the world beyond their own, of different cultures and advancements in technology, etc. They have everything that their gods provide them with and they’re happy with that.

One day a plane flies over their neck of the woods and someone throws a coca-cola bottle out the window and it somehow lands unbroken. The members of the tribe discover it and at first thing that the sky is falling. Then they presume that it is a gift from the gods, and they discover so many uses for this bottle. But with that comes an even more dangerous element in their world: property, possession, ownership of a limited resource. And with that comes envy, jealousy, hatred, violence.

The item must be removed from their world so that their tribe and worldview can be saved. So the protagonist decides to take on the task of carrying the bottle away, to find what he presumes will be the edge of world, and he’ll throw the bottle over the side and save his people, and the world. He is the ringbearer and he will travel to Mount Doom. But to do so he must journey for the first time into Hell, which comes confusingly in the form of the the modern world and western civilization.

There’s other elements to the story, of course, but that’s what I always remembered from it: The view of our world as interpreted by the limited perspective of someone from outside that world. Hilarity ensues, and as Arthur C. Clarke told us, to less advanced cultures the toys and tools (and tethers) of more advanced cultures would be indistinguishable from magic.

Two: A “Yes” is better than a “No” almost every time. But it really does matter how you pose the question.

Don’t believe me? Ask John Lennon.

Two Point Five: I’m amazed that we (the royal we) haven’t talked more about John Lennon here.

Three: This blog will be going away soon. Soon-ish. Probably some time this year.

The only people who knew that it was ending was Benjamin Light and myself, and that was only when we decided that it was ending. But like ourselves, I’m sure the two and a half actual readers of the blog were barely surprised with the official announcement.

Once they read it, one friend emailed me and asked me how I felt about the imminent closing of Counter-Force’s doors and I literally shrugged upon reading the email. It’s not like it’s my child or anything, but I’ve enjoyed being a part of the thing and will miss it. The next question this particular friend posed to me was whether or not I felt as if the blog had been successful. That made me scratch my chin. Eventually I was able to answer: “Yes.” To me, by a certain set of definitions, yes.

This blog has allowed me to do things and talk about things and share things that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do. It’s given me license to explore things that I’ve enjoyed learning about. It’s given me regrets and little moments of agony, things that I wouldn’t have had in the same way without this blog as the starting point, and for that, believe it or not, I’m thankful. Bad times will teach you just as much about yourself as the good times will, if you play them right.

Could the blog been more successful by my definitions or any definitions at all? FUCK YES. But it is what it is and it’s been great when it’s been great, and the game is different than when we started.

Take a look around at the blogsophere now, and compare what you see today to what that landscape looked like four years ago. Everything changes, which is great, and the only constant in the universe, but it’s bizarre how things change.

All of my favorite blogs from way back when are struggling now, it seems. They’re meandering, trying not to waiver in this quantity and qualitiy, but obviously there’s diminished output and even more diminished returns. All my favorite bloggers, those who aren’t struggling along with their blogs, have gone to print media, or to the netherworld that is the writing staff of sitcoms, and they’re flourishing. And they’re not just celebrated and envied now, but also respected. Which may or may not be new.

Four: Just out of curiosity, do websites and blogs still get turned into books, or at least book deals? Do twitter feeds still get turned into sitcoms?

Five: I would kill for the ability to travel in time. In fact, if someone were to put an ad in the personals looking for someone willing to go back in time to kill, like, Hitler, then I would do it. Sure. Sounds legit enough to me.

Picture a narrative, like a story in a computer file opened up in front of you, on your desktop or laptop. Look at the cursor. It can move forward or backward. It can highlight, change, control. The power is at your fingertips. That’s time travel.

Sorry, that’s a bit out of nowhere, I know.

Six: It’s funny to me how the old monsters are still around and still happy to scoop up the sexy younglings into their bosom. And then eat them.

And it’s understandable. A job is a job. A chance is a chance, even in a market or medium you don’t respect. Maybe you can change the system from the inside, but probably not, but who cares? A foot or even a toe in the door is more than what so many of us have now.

We all analyze and talk shit and then sell out. And then shit out some kids. And then die. That’s the cycle of life.

If Benjamin Light were here, he’d tell you that network television is soon to be a thing of the past. He’d tell you that the networks will all be dead or in their cancerous last stages in five years. I don’t disagree with him, but I would disagree on his time table. I think it’ll take a lot longer for them to die and for the new thing that comes after to really get its foothold. “What is dead may never die,” sure, but some things never really die, just shrink for a while. Like print media. Like publishing. I suspect that they may never fully pay the Iron Price, if you will. But it will certainly look like that at times.

All that said, if I were offered a job to write for a network sitcom, I would do it in a heartbeat. Are you kidding me? Of course I would. Fuck yeah. Any shitty ass job too. Two And A Half Men starring Ashton Kutcher dressed up like Steve Jobs? Only seen about five minutes cumulative of the entire show ever, but fuck yeah, I’d take a meeting or submit a spec script or whatever. I’m trying to think of an even worse example…

(FYI – This whole blog thing is obviously winding and grinding down, so if anyone out there wanted to offer me a job, let me just say… I’m cheap. And easy.)

I would literally pitch a buddy roommates sitcom starring Dane Cook and Carrot Top if I thought it meant the slightest possibility of a pay check and to be a breath closer to a creative industry I would like to be a part of. I can’t say that I’d love that job, because… Well, of course, I wouldn’t. But I’d do everything in my power to take that thing that I hated and try to make it something that I can hate less, and I’d much rather have a thing to let go than to never have had it at all…

Meta.

Seven: Here’s an excerpt from a conversation Benjie and I had the other day…

Benjie: This article kind of captures some of the reason that I don’t like blogging anymore: “The Web Is a Customer Service Medium.”

Marco: Interesting article. The last quote in the article kind of sums up a nice train of thought, I think.

Benjie: New potential podcast name: Pedantic Asshattery.

Marco: The medium is the message, and to this day, I still don’t think people understand what the internet medium really is or why things work, or why you should do something other than, “well, someone else is doing it.”

We should start a little dialogue here and turn it into a blog post – which would be so hip – and talk about why we’re bored with blogging, and why Counter-Force is ending, which would the exact opposite of a 5by5 practice.

This follows an earlier discussion/bit of theorizing we were doing about why John Gruber mysteriously or perhaps not so mysteriously moved his podcast, The Talk Show, from one podcast network to another. Also, there’s some ongoing discussion between Benjie and I about a new name for our podcast… Perhaps we can discuss that on the next episode of our podcast?

Also, check out our fucking podcast! Or, rather…

CHECK OUT OUR FUCKING PODCAST! Please. The latest episode is called: “K-Stew Has A Shotgun.”

Benjie: I guess for me, this article articulates why I want our podcast to be “this is entertaining to listen to,” not “I have some opinions on stuff.”

Marco: Well, the tactic that I intend to employ in the podcast, the one that I’m assuming will work for me, is that I’ll have things to say to you. I only ever kind of think about the fact that we’re recording and distributing that recording in some way. That may bite me in the ass later on, but hopefully people will just enjoy listening to us. But hey, it’s free.

Benjie: I live my entire life as though an audience is watching.

Marco: The only audience that I care about consistently is myself. And the million different voices in my head.

Benjie: There is an idea of a Benjamin Light, some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me; only an entity, something illusory…

Marco: “…but even after admitting this there is no catharsis, my punishment continues to elude me and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself; no new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.”

Anyway, I don’t think the internet is going anywhere, and I think it’s always evolving and expanding, but it’s a shallow ocean. And there’s lots of waves with groupthink and LOLcats and porn bobbing up and down all over the place.

Benjie: I don’t think the internet is going anywhere, and what you see on it is just a reflection of culture.

Marco: Right. It’s not going anywhere and it’ll change, as cultures change, but the internet, to me, dances a fine line between not being all that real and being a little too real at times.

Or maybe not real enough? Excuse me, I need to go return some videotapes…

Eight: Was Marshall McLuhan the first academic rock star? I would say yes, at least for our somewhat modern times. Perhaps the first academic rock star was Galilleo, or Isaac Newton. They seemed like real chill bros of science.

But anyway, I’m just bullshitting here. This is just me carrying out some thoughts to their natural conclusions, for now. But if I could further borrow from the man…

Oh yes.

Nine: Here’s one of my favorite McLuhan fun facts…

Not long after he started teaching at Fordham university, and became a full on Academic Rock Star, McLuhan still felt the pressure for people to back up his ideas and philosophies with facts, with proven experiments. So he did so: He split up one of his classes into two, and showed both halves a movie. With the one half of the class, he showed them the movie on a movie screen. They sat there in the dark, watching a large screen with reflected light bouncing off it. The other half of the class was shown the same movie, but on a TV screen.

The result? The two halves took something different from the experience, one side able to discuss the film objectively and the other subjectively. Those who watched the film on the movie screen were able to comment on and critique the film itself. Those who watched it on the TV screen talked more in terms of themselves, how the film made them feel, what they took from the whole thing, etc.

Ten: I hope you enjoyed that story. I’m going to record myself saying that story on a podcast, then film it, then translate it into Japanese, and then back into English, and then I’m going to split this blog’s two and a half readers down the middle and I’m going to show one half that video, spliced into every second and a half frame of a super cut video of keyboard cat versus the Japanese further ruining what we think think/know of porn, and the other half is going to have the video broadcast straight into their nightmares.

The Aristocrats!

Eleven: I don’t mean to be continuously, in the parlance of the internet, fap fap fapping about McLuhan, but the dude was seriously smart, and had some good ideas that only become more applicable as the global village gave way to the world wide web. He was smart enough to realize that the book wasn’t just an invention of ease to deliver information and entertainment, but that it was also technology. The Gutenberg Man had his whole consciousness changed by movable type and technology isn’t just something that mankind creates, but something that recreates mankind. Hence… The medium is the message, we create the medium, which in turn recreates us, new media, old shit/new shit, blah blah blah, fap fap fap.

Here’s another quick McLuhan fun fact…

When they did his book which was to feature his famous slogan, “The medium is the message” as the title, they discovered that when the galleys came back that their was a pretty huge typo present: The Medium Is The Massage. Everyone was furious, except for McLuhan himself. He was a smart guy and probably had a good sense of humor, but now he suddenly saw his simple thought presented as a series of puns.

The message is massaged into the Mass Age which gives way for the onslaught of the Mess Age.

Peace be with you.

Twelve: I don’t know a lot of about the more technical side of the internet, and perhaps I don’t know enough about human beings to even go slightly pop psychology about the larger social networking that happens between us wee simple folk. Memes and SEO and the idea of the ecosystem are all extremely fascinating to me, but feel like they’re still in their infancy. Even with as tired and overplayed as they are in our brains.

I remember at the tail end of last summer Benjamin Light and I were having lunch at our favorite tacqueria and he was trying to explain to me the big tech patent wars that had been erupting over the summer. You know the one? The one in which millions of people who don’t understand how our patent system works anyway were complaining that it was broken? That one. Anyway, Benjie was telling me increasingly humorous stories about CEOs and chief legal officers of these massive corporations shit talking each other in blog posts and in YouTube videos. It was either the battle (of attrition) for public opinion or the ongoing struggle to get the last word, I don’t know, but it was funny.

At the time I made some kind of comment like: “The battle for the Internet will be fought to extremes, but with the tools of the Internet, which makes it ridiculous.”

Here’s a fun fact about me: When I originally typed up that half remembered statement just now, instead of “fought,” I wrote “thought.” Weird.

Anyway, I think the patent wars of last year were actually about phones, or something. Whatevs.

Thirteen: Anyway.

The old media may be dying, but it’s dying very slowly. We’ll have quite a bit of shade here underneath those falling giants.

Or, put another way: Orbits deteriorate constantly. Things fall out of the sky all the time. It usually takes a while, longer than you might think, and they tend to burn up before you’ll ever hear a THUD. And some things are pretty when they’re burning away into nothing.

Or, put another way still: 97 posts to go. It may/may not get a little messy on the way out. And then…

Open spaces, human traces.

When you live in a city, in a crammed and crowded urban environment, then there’s nothing more shocking then when you get out of it. Go out into the countryside, go into what looks a lot more like nature, and there you’ll find something you don’t find as much in the places where humans cluster and overpopulate: Space. Open space on a sometimes grand scale.

Well, maybe it’s shocking to you. Maybe it’s terrifying. Maybe it’s like hitting the reset button, breathe in some fresh hair, let your self stretch out, psychically trying to fill up that big open everythingness, and then you go and cram yourself back into the human condition, become a part in the machine again and go back to work.

The sad thing is I was reading something once about how cities are actually how humans should be living, at least for the sake of the environment. Sure, they pollute and destroy nature, but that’s because we don’t stop ourselves, and we don’t do better. The constant suburban sprawl is what is eating up our world, getting it closer to inhospitable for all involved, this thing I was reading was telling me. Now, I’m no expert, so take everything I say in this post as fast and loose, but it sounded frighteningly true.

The Crowded City by Kerry Belgrave.

Sometimes you need to go out into nature, find a testament and a monument to the parts of this beautiful planet that were here long before (and hopefully will be here long after us) and just say…

“You rock, rock.” Or something very much like that.

All of this occurred to me this afternoon, I’m sad to report to you, in a Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is easily one of the prime examples of how human begins are so incredibly good and quite ingenious at owning you in all the little, petty ways. We’re good at compassion and community too, but we’re even better when it comes to making those values a part of a corporate mindset that slowly invades your lives, giving you goods and services you can’t live without.

But, really, this isn’t going to be a post about Wal-Mart. I hate the place, obviously. Sadly, though, I live in a part of the world where I have to shop there just because of the level of income I make and the cheapness in every sense of the word of what they can give me. So I guess I can’t complain? Or shouldn’t? Well, of course I can. And should if I want to. But this isn’t going to be that kind of a post. But we all get the gist of Wal-Mart, and other “big box” department stores. They’re not only soul crushing and demeaning, but they’re affordable in those regards.

Anyway. So there I am in this Wal-Mart today, and they’re remodeling there, I guess. I didn’t know this as I walked in. I’ve gone to get my local grocery shopping done here for years and today I noticed that the usual things weren’t in their usual places. And then I turned a corner and saw something shocking…

Great big open space.

It was like looking at an art installation. I was half expecting someone to walk up with silly haircut and a glass of champagne and tell me what it “means.”

by Lori Nix.

Wal-Mart’s a giant warehouse with fluorescent lights and banners for Miley Cyrus/Jonas bros. bullshit all about and constant calls over the intercom for either a manager or a clean up on some aisle or another. People are always crammed in it. Usually the lowest common denominator of people and you can feel like an alien observer amongst your own human race as you go there, but the point is, things are packed in there tight. Someday aliens or future humans will look at the ruins of a Wal-Mart and treat it like the marketplace of Pompeii or an ancient Aztec city. They’re write beautiful dissertations on how it was important in our lives, and they’ll question what things like J. Lo and DVDs are, as young, nubile Indiana Jones-wannabes dust through what used to be the electronics section with little brushes.

They’ll talk about how money was our universal language, and that even things like God are spoken about in dialects of currency, and Wal-Martw will seem like a holy temple to people of the future and/or alien visitors. This is after some cyberpunk-ish dystopia period where corporations rise up as nation states and you have implants with Sam Walton’s face somewhere in your skeletal structure.

Again, I’m rambling. Apologies. But open spaces. It wasn’t shocking to anyone else. Or, at least, it didn’t appear that anyone else stopped to notice it like I did. Maybe it doesn’t matter to anyone other than me. My other shoppers just filled that newly opened space as they crossed over from $5 DVD bins to the grocery section where you can buy Wal-Mart’s store brand of everything you’d ever need to buy, and now they all come in the same white bag, bland and cold, and reminiscent of the products in Repo Man.

Or stuff produced by the DHARMA Initiative.

Look at that. Rambling again and complaining about Wal-Mart again. And I promised I wouldn’t do that, right? So sorry. But, then again, complaining isn’t so terrible as long as it isn’t all you do. And I should add in that a majority of people who shop/work at a Wal-Mart aren’t terrible people. They’re not all white trash or Jerry Springer rejects. They’re just people. Some of them are people like me, and some of them are better than me, and some are worse, not that it matters. They have lives to live, jobs to work at (when work can be found), and places to be, even if those places are nowhere.

It’s not always easy to rise up from complaining to action, but maybe somewhere on that road is where all your anger and frustration and complaining turns into conversation with others and perhaps eventual solution.

Just remember: As you, me, all of us, everyone and anyone, as we all pick our paths and walk through this life and this world, we’re leaving footprints. Are they for the better or for the worse?

from here.

I’m not advocating anyone go chain themselves to a tree or put themselves in front of a bulldozer. I’m not suggesting you go vegan or start picketing things, but just be aware of how your world is changing and decide if that’s a change you’re okay with and then go from there. Of course, as you make that decision, the park closest to you is being turned into a parking lot so more cars can help to cram more people into a mall and a bunch of trees are being turned into another housing development. These things happen.

They don’t have to happen though, but that’s a conversation for another time, maybe. Think, search, learn, grow. Or, do your best at something similar. That’s all I’m saying. It’s okay to be naive and idealistic for a while, but then go turn it into something useful, if that’s your bag. Or, just go find an open space, something still untouched by the hands of man and enjoy it while you can, while it’s still with us…

And try to fill it with your imagination before it gets filled with things and stuff, or trampled all to shit.