The Magician longs to see…

My nightmares have red curtains. There’s people barefoot there, people laughing at me, people speaking backwards gibberish. My nightmares have a laugh track, also.

My nightmares might also be TV mash ups. People used to fear that the camera would steal your soul. Perhaps it does, just a little bit, just a sliver of it, and the trapped and tormented souls of TV people go on to live in my brain. Wouldn’t that be fun?

As with everything else, perhaps I just see what I want to see.

I think that could be especially true now, as we do the work of putting this blog to bed. That picture of Naveen Andrews and Elizabeth Mitchell was previously mentioned here, and K-Stew has been mentioned, fuck, everywhere on this blog, but most recently here.

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Past Prologue: September, 2009 – Part Two.

Continued from Part One.

As I said in the previous post: 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…

And we continue.

18.

09/16/09: Children Are Our Future by Conrad Noir: Linking to the then current Newsweek cover story, “Is Your Baby Racist?” And in the comments section, you’ll see that Peanut St. Cosmo offers a good point on this.

19.

09/17/09: The Post-Modern Prometheus,” by yours truly: I’ve always been fascinated by the Frankenstein story, inside and out. The story itself, the way it’s constantly adapted and how it is, but also with its writer and the creation of the story.

There’s one more post in September of 2009 about this, and I was going to do a whole series of things, just exorcising some of my fascination with everything to do with Mary Shelley and her monster and the connections I was seeing between that and other things I was interested in. The series fell through, obviously, and I never said everything I wanted to say, and sadly, that moment has passed. For now.

But it still interests me, the way we focus all of our frustrations and excitements and failings into the characters and monsters that we create, and then we let them loose into the world. Sometimes those monsters redeem us and sometimes they destroy us. Sometimes they live on long after we’re gone, stuck between the darkness and the light.

20.

09/18/09: Hell Is A Teenage Girl by myself: Speaking of Megan Fox and whoa!-mankind and monsters. Jennifer’s Body was not a great movie, but it was certainly an interesting one. Easily the best possible vehicle for Megan Fox (and for Adam Brody).

21.

09/19/09: Spirits and Sexy Singularities in the Noosphere by myself: This post is so typically me. Honestly, this is the kind of wacky shit that I’m reading about all the time.

It’s just interesting to me now to see discussion of The Lost Symbol turning into Dan Simmon’s The Fall Of Hyperion, then turning into talk of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the Omega Point, and a thinly veiled pondering/lusting about 2012.

22.

09/20/09: The Post-Modern Prometheus, part two: Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves,” by yours truly: Again, with the Frankenstein, but also tying into that classic (it is a classic, right?) episode of The X-Files. Otherwise known as “The Cher Episode.”

What can I say? This series, or longer essay, or whatever you want to call it, was going to start small and then get bigger. Instead, it just stayed small. The lack of further movement on it really betrayed its connective tissue.

23.

09/21/09: American Jokes Are Better Than British Jokes,” by August Bravo and myself: Ha ha. This was a great episode of Mad Men. Ahhh, the tractor episode. The British are coming, they came, and then they left, and they left part of their feet behind.

Also, August Bravo is barely hiding his desire to be physically dominated by Ken Cosgrove here.

24.

09/22/09: There Are Two Kinds Of Light,” by myself: More links, interesting quotes, and pretty pictures. The light that glows, and the light that blinds: that’s interesting, and charming wisdom from Thurber.

Part of why I started with this month to look back on first is that it’s September, just like it is now, here in 2012 as I write this, but also because it was just a little over a year after the blog had started. You’d think we’d have found our legs a little, kicked off some of the training wheels, for example. In intrigues me to notice that when Counterforce was really rolling, there was always two kinds of themes to each month, as if each month was its own issue of a magazine or some kind of periodical: the theme that was intended, and the one that was unintended.

I know, I know, that’s some hardcore Wittgenstein-like wisdom there.

25.

09/23/09: Because It Needs To Be Said,” by me: Well… yeah. What’s said is here is as true in 2012 as it was in 2009, only more so, I guess. Enough said.

26.

09/24/09: PSA by me: Whatever. Cthulhu is funny to me. We create our monsters to embody that which we most find fault within ourselves, and then those monsters proceed to drive us insane and enslave humanity and collapse reality upon itself. It’s just one of those things.

27.

09/25/09: Just because we saw this show doesn’t mean it has to happen,” by myself: I wonder how similar me ranting about the pilot to Flashforward is to Benjie ranting about the pilot to Revolution.

Neither of these shows is or was the new Lost, and I think that’s important to say because clearly the ghost of Lost still haunts network TV. They were trying to resurrect it with Lost even before the show was officially over.

I remember reading Robert J. Sawyer’s novel, Flash Forward, and thinking it was interesting, even if it was a little weak. There were certainly elements there to create an interesting TV show out of it, but David Goyer and the rest of the show’s makers clearly avoided those parts altogether. Instead Flashfoward the TV show plays out like the most pathetic of all Sideways Universes, in which Charlie and Penny Widmore are still out there somewhere, and things are just really, really mediocre.

28.

09/26/09: Cosmic Caturday.” Meow.

29.

09/27/09: It’s only a matter of time before we all burn by myself: I really like that Death Cab song, and it’s interesting how music can transform and transport you. In this case, a song took me back to a place that I used to live in, one that only exists in my memories now, and was on fire.

Also, this was back when Benjamin Gibbard and Zooey Deschanel were still married, LOL.

30.

09/28/09: Maybe I’m late because I was spending time with my family reading the bible,” by that fucker August Bravo and myself: Again, it’s just weird to me to relive this season of Mad Men through these posts as I look back at them. The show was always so good about the connection between and identity and a name, about crossing boundaries, and playing with all of those things at the same time.

And Don’s always been very hard on Peggy, hasn’t he? Telling her what he’s needed to hear, as if he’s fully recreated himself within her. I’m looking forward to how they keep her character integrated into this show as it continues, but that’s the future, and that’s another place, especially when we’re talking about the past.

31.

09/29/09: Perennial with the Earth by myself: I really liked this ad campaign, or at least, it stuck with me as a piece of art, beyond it’s creation as a piece of advertisement. The perfect marriage of Walt Whitman, jeans, and the “idea” of America.

32.

09/29/09: Things that make you say, hmm…?” by the always amazing Peanut St. Cosmo: Roman Polanski and Woody Allen. Someone should remake My Dinner With Andre just starring those two guys. Maybe it could be directed by Peanut St. Cosmo, who is always sorely missed when she’s not appearing in Counterforce.

33.

09/30/09: Eternities Of Darkness by myself: The month ends like it began, with links and pictures. But now there’s men and women, pictures in black and white, and words by Nabokov. The continuation of that quote, which is from Speak, Memory, is: “Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour.)”

As I’ve said before, my favorite band name (but certainly not my favorite band) is I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, which is just a great name.

And that’s how this month, September in 2009, ended, with us declaring our love for you (perhaps), and abandoning the light for a time to sail away into the darkness.

* * *

I enjoyed doing this, so I think I’m going to do a few more retrospectives of other months in the history of this blog before it becomes permanently just that: History. Again, I don’t think I have the time, space, nor total desire to do every single month, but at least a few more, if I can help, and quite a few more, if the universe is kind. Any suggestions for which month to look back on next?

This post didn’t live up to the hype

So August Bravo tweets at me last night: “super 8 didn’t live up to my expectations but was still pretty good.”

It made me wonder, why do we go through life judging things based on our expectations? Obviously, there are a lot of low-level heuristic reasons for this in terms of everyday brain processing. But why do we do this for movies, books, events, personal experiences? It’s tempting to say this is a modern age phenomenon. That we didn’t do this before the internet. I mean, did people in Colonial America really walk around saying “man, that play didn’t live up to my expectations. The town cryer totally over-hyped it”? But I’m hesitant. Any time you start thinking that anything new is happening in society, you’re probably going to be wrong. Just ask the lorites. Still, the internet has a way of amplifying the echo chamber in ways that didn’t used to be possible.

The first time I can remember this sort of “didn’t live up to the hype” attitude permeating culture was when the Seinfeld finalé aired. Not that this didn’t happen beforehand, but this is when I started to notice. So Much Hype, they would all say, and the show had Failed To Live Up To It. Soon, this way of thinking seemed to spread to practically any form of entertainment or news event. Y2K? Overhyped! Star Wars Prequel? Didn’t meet my expectations. New Franzen book? HYPED! And so on.

But why does hype matter? Why do we go through life with the need to judge entertainment and events against our expectations? Why is it no longer sufficient to just say “I thought X was okay, but not great.”

The answer probably lies somewhere is the middle of modern internet shared culture, man’s fear of being made a fool, and the apparent need for everyone to have an opinion about everything. I guess it’s easier to talk about yourself and what you wanted from something rather than to articulate a critical viewpoint on it.
I would just posit this: it’s no way to live. Stop thinking about the hype. Ignore the hype. Don’t worry about whether your expectations are too high or too low, because in the end, nobody cares what you thought you would think, and you shouldn’t either. Just take it as it comes. (editor’s note: that’s what she said)

I really liked Super 8. Not a perfect movie by any means. Not a classic. And that’s okay. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a movie like this. Visual storytelling! Steady pacing! Kids who act like kids, not precocious one-liner machines or dead weight! People call this Spielbergian, but I feel like this is a disservice to both Spielberg and JJ Abrams. There was a time, lets call it “the 80s,” when this is what tons of movies looked like. They weren’t just a handful of CGI set pieces strung together by the weakest of scripts with lowest common denominator humor. Sure, maybe the idea wouldn’t be that groundbreaking or original, but at least they made some movies that weren’t remakes, reboots, sequels or adaptations back then. I miss this kind of movie. There should be more like it.

Also, Elle Fanning is ridiculously good in this. Worth seeing it just for her. Star-making.

This is what August Bravo thought. (editor’s note: no, we don’t know what he’s talking about either.)

August Bravo: Ok, I’ll get this off my chest first. The teaser for Super 8 had me really excited to see this movie. JJ Abrams could literally touch my bowel movement and make it into art, so I knew this would be an astonishing movie with some mediocre(ha) special effects.

The great thing about a teaser, especially like the one for Super 8 which I thought was just a working title, is that they say nothing. Ideas are populating your mind.

Naturally, I’m thinking Cthulhu.

Naturally, I’m wrong. How much is this guy going to fuck with us(me)? It’s cool, because it was still very awesome. Not as awesome as I’m thinking in my head because teasers let the mind wander. While most aren’t this broad, people can’t help but think of things beyond their imagination. Why else release a teaser trailer? Because they don’t have enough content to fill a whole trailer? Well yeah, probably. But they want to give the audience a ride. They want their expectations to be high.

And then with the full trailer, they want to smash all your Cthulhu-loving dreams and just show you it’s a movie about some kids with a camera. Albeit, still a very very good movie, with a very meaningful(aliens!!) plot. But audiences expect nothing and something. And I’m sorry that with Abrams I expect everything.

So what if it wasn’t Cthulhu, I still thought it would be something more. Yeah, it would have been cornier if it was more about (spoiler alert!) aliens, rather than having it very down to Earth. But I’m into bad movies. I think expectations are what get the movie going, the audience going. I’ll end it with this. Don’t put practically nothing in your teaser if you don’t want me to dream big.

As far as expectations go, I set mine at an all-time low and I’m generally never disappointed. Generally.

Straight up.

All of these worlds are yours.

Meanwhile on the internet:

Ricky Gervais: Why I’m An Atheist.

The objectification of writers.

Alf drops the n-word.

Escape From Spiderhead” by George Saunders.

Quite frankly, Argentina has better dance reality shows.

Ten of the most intriguing movies of 2011.

Sarah Palin’s gloomy new poll numbers.

What has always been missing from your life and will now make it more complete: A mash-up between Fiddler On The Roof and You Got Served.

Eisenstein, Mickey Mouse, and the synthesis of ecstasy.

WikiLeaks and Nerd Supremacy.

15 things that Kurt Vonnegut said better than anyone.

The scientist who lit up the Dark Ages.

These screencaps, of course, are from Peter Hyam’s 1984 adaptation of 2010: The Year We Make Contact.

One of the absolute best comics of the year: Phonogram: The Singles Club.

One of the absolute worst comics of the year: When Kevin Smith took a big, smelly shit on Batman.

Does our universe show “bruises” from where it collided with other universes?

Angry people in local newspapers.

“Look at your God. Now look at me.” Cthulhu and Old Spice!

Operation B.L.O.G.

Three things today. Two of them looking forward and one looking back…

1. This…

…is hilarious to me. Art by a fella named Murray Groat mashing up TinTin with the Lovecraft mythos. Something about Hergé’s ligne claire style of art mixed with that lovable scamp Cthulhu is just perfect to me. I’m looking forward to Spielberg’s upcoming TinTin movie mostly because it seems like it’s Spielberg just geeking out and that seems fascinating to me since even when he’s at his zaniest, he’s still very controlled, very measured, never what I think you could call “excessive.” How great would it be to see that little French kid taking all tentacled Old Ones from beyond the stars that inspire madness at their very mention? That’s a recipe for box office success, yo.

2. Rumor: Matthew Goode as Superman in the Zack Snyder reboot? That’s bullshit.

I guess that’s better than Gerard Butler, Patrick Wilson, or Billy Crudup though. But, that said, if you’re worried that I’m going to complain about every little bit of news that pops up about Zack Snyder’s Superman movie, then… well, I have nothing to suggest otherwise. There’s a very good thing that I may do just that.

And, yes, also bullshit: That they’re still trying to push forward with the big screen Buffy The Vampire Slayer reboot. We’ll see if it actually makes it to movie theaters. But you should read the always classy Joss Whedon’s reaction to the latest news of the matter.

from here.

3. ast night’s season finale of The Venture Bros. was nothing short of amazing and more than made up for what was not so much a bad season but an unspectacular one. There’s just too much to talk about with the episode but I think the show found a niche that I’d like to see it explore more in the future (if it has a future): a one hour running time, which both allows the plotlines to breathe and run on but doesn’t ever stifle their growth. And, Jesus, they managed to wrap up like 15 storylines there too.

If this was the last episode of the show ever (a very sad but quite possible outcome), it was a worthy one. The show went back to it’s well: Balls to the wall failure and immaturity. Hank and Dean got a home school prom. All of the manly men struck out, dreams weren’t just crushed but stomped into the ground, and women are more than a whole other genre to the males of the show, they’re a whole other monstrous species. At first I was amazed at how long the “Rusty Venture” sex act gag went on and then it reached a point of equilibrium where I never wanted it to end. Al and Shore Leave were some of my least favorite characters (mostly because they, like Sgt. Hatred, were an incredibly funny idea that was literally beat into the ground over and over), but I kind of like that they’re the only ones that found happiness.

Is it sad that I not only loved the montage that ended the episode but almost found it as poignant as the final very musical moments of Lost from earlier this year. And, as if showrunners Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer didn’t have enough geek cred, I adored that the montage was set to Pulp’s “Like A Friend,” a song about how relationships are hard and that it’s easy to be yourself if you suck…

Search Party!

Just a few of the things that people have searched for and then found ye old Counterforce thru:

from here.

Good fuck!”

Galactic collision pictures.”

Harry Knowles.” Yuck. Plus a lot of people seeking out pictures of his wife for some reason. Why, people, why?!

Both “Tina Fey Hot” and “Tiny Fey Butt.”

Both “Kim Kardashian Sex” and “Kim Kardashian Fucking.”

And “Kim Kardashian ASS.” Oh, for the love of Ray J, people!

Le sigh. Some of the things people find us via really makes me feel terrible about myself. Like a new, even lower kind of terrible than what I’m normally used to.

Woody Harrelson” and “The end of the world.” The two go hand in hand, I guess. Much like Woody and Owen up above.

“Don Betty Rome.”

Billy Dee Williams” and “Colt 45.”

“Classic Beatles songs sung by talented children.” I have no idea where that came from.

Queen Mab and Merlin.”

“Max” and “Wild Things.” Speaking of which…

Trashy shit.” This tends to be how we roll more often than not (or than I’d like).

Gail Simmons.”

“Robert Downey senior.”

Both “Tess Lynch” and “Tyler Coates.” Both fine searchs, but you should probably look for Tess here and here, and also here, and Tyler, the man about the internet, can be found here.

Oak Island.”

Jackface” and “Lost.” And “It only ends once.”

And, ha ha, also “Donface.” Nice.

Alexis Dziena.”

Sally Sparrow.” Carey Mulligan, I think you’re a fine actor and potentially a brilliant one, but Shia LeBeowulf? I don’t love that.

Lara Flynn Boyle.” (Also, there’s this one.)

Ursula Andress.” (I’m pretty sure that’s what they meant, though they did search for “Ursula Address,” so who knows, perhaps they just wanted Ursula’s address?)

And…

Sarah Silverman.”

Agent Scully mating.” Ick.

Sybian sex.” Also searched with the sybian was “How it works.” The simple answer? Magic.

And “cunnilingus.”

“Robots and Cthulhu.” Nice.

“Our bodies touch and the angels cry.”

Batman alley death.”

And last, but not least, for now: “Fashion of the great depression.”

Glad we could be of service!

Cthulhu and me. And you!

from here.

And if, for some reason, Cthulhu isn’t doing it for you today, there’s always this:

via the always always always interesting Molly Crabapple, but look also here and perhaps maybe here, if you’re into that kind of thing. And let’s face it: you probably are, right?

Edited to add:

ALSO! Up next: Post #500! It’s been that many, can you believe it? Shocking, right? For that very special post we have something planned that may be very interesting. Or, it may suck hard. Either way… stay tuned! Until then, here’s a picture of Sarah Palin visiting herself from the future: