Past Prologue: October, 2010.

The end looms large, but it 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…

Previously: September, 2009 in parts one and two.

And…

01.

10/02/10: And Then…” by one Marco Sparks: Pictures and Borges and links to previous Counterforce posts… Sigh. The more things change, the more they don’t seem to matter, right?

02.

10/04/10:Tongues Of Flame by yours truly: Pictures of girls in some sort of relationship with the water, and the horizon, and the poetry of T. S. Eliot. Well… Who knows what I was thinking or where I was coming from back then. I mean, I could tell you, but who cares?

It seems like the hipsters are all shit talking Eliot now, but I don’t care. I still like him. Whenever I’m at my most lost, there’s usually a few lines from Eliot that can perfectly describe where I am, what I’m feeling, and sometimes that’s enough. Also, this poem was quoted in The Magus, which was a notoriously bad movie.

03.

10/04/10: The End Of The Story Is Unwritten by myself: I really like Harlan Ellison, though it is sometimes to do so. I think at this point, when I was writing this post, I had yet to see the documentary about him, Dreams With Sharp Teeth, which is a fine film.

I’ll always be a science fiction nut – maybe you’ve noticed? – but once or twice or thrice a year I really get back into it, and Ellison is one of those writers I go back to. To me, he’s the ur-Neil Gaiman, but less magical and twee. I respect that Ellison doesn’t suffer fools well, that he’s serious about his craft and those who practice it. In many ways, it would appear that he is not a human at all, but a new creature, one best described in works of his favorite genre: all sharp edges and protected, wounded heart and acid and witty talent.

04.

10/06/10: Powers And Responsibilities/Up, Up, And Away We Go by myself: Spider-Man and Superman! Perhaps some day I’ll write a book about super heroes, and how they’re trapped in our world and in desperate need of being given life beyond it, and just get it all out of my fucking system, you know?

Also, it’s not like I need a reason to do a post with copious amounts of Emma Stone pictures. Seriously. And: Jon Hamm really should be playing Superman/Clark Kent.

05.

10/06/10: Crucifixes by myself: I like Richard Pryor and I don’t like religion. In fact, if I remember correctly, I shit talk about it a little on the latest episode of our podcast. But that’s a whole other story, and one for another time.

If I were to get into the nuts and bolts, a post like this comes about like so many others that exist out there in the internet: I saw it somewhere and I liked it. Someone shared it with the world and I was one of those folks in the world who saw it and wanted to pass it along to the rest of my own little corner of the internetting world. I came, I saw, I reblogged.

06.

10/08/10: Animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others,” by myself: Pictures by Dave Eggers, quotes by George Orwell and Voltaire, links from the internet. What a bizarre mixture.

07.

10/09/10:Nobody told me there’d be days like these,” by myself: People who have problems with authority always gravitate towards John, don’t they? Lennon is the favorite Beatle of the perpetually disenfranchised and the smart, smug assholes. I look back at some of these posts and want to delve into a little of the making of them, but… I don’t know. Sometimes it’s all right there in the post, you know? I wanted to do a post about my favorite Beatle, and maybe I was itching for a little Instant Karma.

08.

10/09/10: Vendettas by myself: Tom Gauld!

09.

10/12/10: Running by myself: This is just another thing I saw online and thought was funny. Also, it’s October, the month of Halloween, the time for goblins and things that are a bit ghoulish and macabre, right?

10.

10/12/10: Who Is Natalie Portman Fucking These Days?” by myself: One of my favorite posts on this site, actually. If we talked about solely about celebs, then… Well, I imagine it’ll be something like that. Of course now this post is severely dated… Black Swan has come and gone and we all know who Natalie Portman is fucking these days, and thankfully it’s not John Mayer.

Thankfully.

11.

10/14/10: Video Killed The Internet Star,” by myself: Videos and links about movies and shit I found on the internet. You know… whatever. And a picture of Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly.

12.

10/14/10: Meditations by myself: “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” That sounds about right.

Some of the things you notice already about this month: Too many posts by me, which is boring. Lots of doubling up on days, with two posts a day for some reason. Lots of just little things from around the internet. The blog was the pin board for things I found interesting from around the web. Well, I guess in a lot of ways that’s what it always was.

13.

10/16/10: Chaos Reigns by myself: Ahhhh, YouTube comments. They are frequently a treat. I don’t even understand why people bother to engage in “intelligent” discourse there.

In fact… most conversation on the internet is flawed. Severely. Nobody wins an internet argument. Like the famous webcomic says, you can spend your whole life standing vigilant, the sentinel against the raping of the truth, strong against the fact that Someone On The Internet Is Wrong, but there are no winners. You’ll never best someone with your logic. Your insults and your put downs will never be properly scored. All people will see is that you were in an Internet Argument and everyone will be pronounced “Loser.” State your case, and move on. Also, fix your typos.

14.

10/16/10: The Patient Labyrinth,” by myself: Again, I was mesmerized by Borges and the ideas of puzzles and mazes of our own design during October of 2010. That was the theme running around somewhere in my head back then, I guess, and it was weakly explored, for sure.

(Also, you’ll notice another picture of a young woman who has a curious relationship or proximity to the ocean…)

Again, I apologize that all these posts are just me. The difference between myself and my co-authors, I believe, was that they wrote when they had something to say and the energy to say it. I always had something to say on this blog, and usually pursued that impulse even when I didn’t have the energy to do it right, or as coherently as it should’ve been. I think it’s fair to say that I deserve the lion’s share of credit for any failings of this blog. A lot of my favorite posts on Counterforce were those written by the others.

15.

10/18/10: Red Dawn by myself: Ahhh, Laura Leighton. Proto-Emma Stone, perhaps? Perhaps not.

16.

10/18/10: Bad Things by myself: True Blood! Looking at this, I’m just reminded of how weird the finale of the latest season of the show was.

17.

10/19/10: I Got You Babe by August Bravo and myself: This is us talking about Mad Men‘s fourth season finale, “Tomorrowland.” Just so weird to see us looking over the episode and being curious and confused and pondering where the show would go next.

And now, two years later, we’ve seen the season that followed it and saw where things went from there and we’re still left wondering, What’s Next?

18.

10/20/10: The Fate Of The Blogger by myself. I’ll be brief on this one: I like Eddie Campbell. Also, it’s two years later and I’m still pondering the fate of the blogger.

19.

10/21/10: What a man is is an arrow into the future and what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from,” by myself: Ha ha. A mash up between Sylvia Plath and Saved By The Bell.

20.

10/22/10: I Walked With A Zombie,” by myself: Links and funny pictures, but there’s something else here too… Something that I sense and feel now, but perhaps didn’t notice at the time, a kind of darkness. Beyond the seasonal darkness, I mean. I guess that would make sense. The second half of The Year We Make Made Contact was especially hard on me.

21.

10/23/10: The Boob Tube by myself: This is me ranting about what’s wrong with popular TV and how it could be fixed/saved. And now Benjamin Light and I do a podcast about this. We’re on a mission to civilize! But, anyway, a lot of these notes still make sense and feel relevant, and desperately need to be read and followed by the people running some of these shows. Now more than ever, perhaps. The thoughts about The Office and Community, especially. But thankfully The Office is (finally) ending after this season, and Community is most likely ending this year (if they ever decide to air the new season at all). Why? Because NBC is dumb as shit and they’re not afraid to show it.

22.

10/23/10: The Year Of The Depend Adult Undergarment by myself: David Foster Wallace!

23.

10/24/10: Nintendo Power yours truly: The idea of the “friend zone” is total bullshit but I just thought this image was funny and wanted to share it. Thanks, Mario, but…

24.

10/25/10: All Things Truly Wicked by myself: Ernest Hemingway! Paper Hemingway was a mean, messed up old bastard, but I still like him, despite all his flaws. And I feel that every time I start to accumulate those flaws, just the obvious ones, and add them up… Well, then I’ll see one of his quotes out of the blue and it’ll just fit into something missing puzzle piece in my brain at that moment and I’m flashing back to what a great writer he was. Also, it’s funny, but we still get a decent number of hits to this particular post from an old BuzzFeed post from a year ago that’s nothing but pictures of Ernest Hemingway partying like a maniac.

25.

10/25/10: This Is Still True by myself: Again, more authors and pictures and quotes. This time, it’s Vonnegut. I hope the kids these days are still reading Vonnegut. His was such a delicate balance of moral righteousness and self loathing, but married together so charmingly.

26.

10/27/10: Which Came First by myself: I don’t know what to say about this post, though it’s weird to look at these almost a full two years later.

27.

10/27/10: Ma-Sheen Manby myself: From pictures of and quotes by famous authors to… this. I regret blogging about Charlie Sheen. About Charlie Sheen and so many other things.

28.

10/27/10: You were an island and I passed you by,” by yours truly: Not the greatest post, but one of my favorites by myself here on the site. Roger Ebert has a great quote in his recent Cloud Atlas review: “Any explanation of a work of art must be found in it, not taken to it.” I agree with that wholeheartedly, but I keep thinking about the questions and the digressions of thought that come out of the works of art. I keep thinking about the way works of art can act as explanations for ourselves, for our lives, for the way we live and exist and make our way through the complicated cosmic murals we’re all sloshing around in.

Anyway. If you know me or not, illustrated in this post about Lost is basically a diagram for how my own personal thought processes tend to work, bouncing from thing to thing, riding along the little connections, going from medium to medium and then essentially looking back at where I started from. As you’ve seen, it’s a convoluted process, and one that doesn’t always yield the most fruitful results, but hopefully it’s been fun at times for you. It certainly has for me.

29.

10/29/10: Vampire Sluts by myself: Kate Beaton! I really like Hark! A Vagrant. I like it a lot.

30.

10/29/10: The risk of going too farby myself: Pictures and links and words by T. S. Eliot. Too far is never far enough, right? Or something.

31.

10/31/10: Samhain by myself: I like how this post starts “Another year, another Halloween.” It’s said with such weariness, or, at least, that’s how I perceive it now. That’s how I feel now, anyway. Another year, another Halloween, and a little more of the magic is gone. The masks are getting heavy, folks. Also interesting that the second line is about how once Halloween arrives you have to accept the inevitable: the year is fading away. The same can be said for now, just as it was back in the year we made contact, only when this year fades away, so does this blog.

Edited to add: I meant to post this at the tail end of October and obviously that did not happen. Sorry. Real life shit got in the way.

32.

10/31/10: Las Ruinas Circulares by myself: This is one of my favorite stories by Borges. Fitting for the time of the year, perhaps. I’ve always felt that there’s a tenuous connection between dreams and the dreamer of those dreamers, something akin to the chicken and the egg. That may be a little too heavy.

from here.

33.

10/31/10: Season Of The Witch by myself: Ha ha. Christine O’Donnell. Ha ha.

The odyssey of the Republican party in the last ten years or so has only gotten more sad and tragic, and Christine O’Donnell is just another one of their sad war stories, I think. Ignoring her for the most part, or this Gawker story about some guy’s claims of having had a one night stand with her, what I really was interested in was the comments section on that post. Internet comments are, of course, terrible. Trolls begetting trolls, all hiding under their bridges and flinging out their shit and hate upon the world with no consequences. And I guess that’s what fascinated me: the way people weigh in on things when there’s no rules, no consequences.

34.

10/31/10: Paradise Circus by myself: I first heard this song in an episode of True Blood‘s third season and it just floored me. A few years ago, during a particularly hard time I was going through, this song was my summer jam, which kind of tells you what that summer was like for me, I think.

It was during that summer that I first started watching the cop show, Luther, a British show starring Idris Elba as the titular detective, and “Paradise Circus” was the theme song for the show, which instantly tells you that it’s going to be unlike any other kind of cop show that you can imagine. Luther is a fun show, a bit silly at times, but darkly interesting and all the actors on the show do very interesting work, Idris Elba especially. I’m glad that he backed out of playing Alex Cross to keep doing (other) movies and eventually a third series of Luther.

And Ruth Wilson, who is exceptional on the show as his sociopathic ally of sorts, is rumored to be in the next Avengers movie. I kind of doubt that will happen, but I’d really like to see it.

But anyway, that’s another thing for another time. Again, in a less interesting way, this post was similar to the one about Lost from a few days earlier… Just a glimpse into the way a thing will pop up into your life and spawn legs and connect to other things. And those things, be it songs or TV shows or whatever, will just find you. Claim you, when you think you’re claiming them. It couldn’t been tackled in a much more interesting or succinct way, definitely, but that stuff still fascinates me.

And that’s how the month of October, 2010 ends. Maybe we didn’t create the blog. Maybe it created us?

* * *

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?

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The summer so far.

Mad linkage:

This is going to be awkward.

Jon Hamm will direct Mad Men‘s season 5 premiere (in 2012).

Terrorist “pre-crime” detector field tested.

The wisdom of crowds is a dangerous, stupid thing.

Of course Annie Hardy has a tumblr.

Important news: Ciara likes being naked.

Michael Jackson’s daughter is going to be a star some day.

Idris Elba is so hot right now.

Pictures from here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Food prices will double by 2030.

Here’s that Jonathan Franzen link that every other fucker has posted somewhere on your facebook, tumblr, twitter, or whatever.

Copanhagen suborbitals upcoming launch attempt in June.

Kevin Fanning on the daily commute.

Read more about that terrible sounding Wonder Woman pilot.

To the blogger who thinks saying “fuck” means I’m dumb.

An excerpt from Mindy Kaling’s new book.

The Hangover Part II has to be the laziest fucking movie ever.

The gospel according to Bill Clinton.

In September, DC Comics will relaunch all their superhero titles with new #1s, other changes.

Here’s a wild new drug that you should surely know about: Oxi.

Michael Kupperman doing Mark Twain’s Autobiography.

Is Donald Sutherland the last person to join the cast of The Hunger Games or could there possibly be more?

Hip-hop loved Gil Scott-Heron.

A drug that could erase your memories of being afraid.

PBS website hacked with a story about Tupac still being alive.

Paradise Circus.

The other day as I was wasting time away on the internet, as I’m typically wont to do, someone posted this song for all the world to hear and join in on appreciating…

That’s Massive Attack’s “Paradise Circus” featuring Hope Sandoval  (whom you might know from her Warm Inventions or, of course, Mazzy Fucking Star), from their last album, Heligoland. The person who posted that song the other day, Sarah Lynn Knowles, had previously listed Heligoland as one of her favorite albums of this year so far and mentioned that “Paradise Circus” was probably her favorite track of the year.

It was so weird to me, seeing those words from another person, which basically forced me to realize that this is also my favorite song from this year. I had wanted this song to my song of the summer, and what a great summer that would’ve been, but instead “Paradise Circus” became, if not the song I most identified with in some sad way over the summer, than certainly the song I probably listened to the most.

Months and months ago Conrad Noir had sent me a link to the original promotional video that went with the song, directed by Toby Dye, and I had enjoyed it, thought it was the usual amusing and charming NSFW stab at internet marketing that a serious musical artist with cred usually takes (think Sigur Rós’ “Gobbledigook” previously), but, while I loved the song, and thought that promotional video really fit it, I think something about the novelty of it just… lost me. I forgot about the song.

Not shocking. It’s been a busy year for me, and the summer has been especially crazy. Crazier than I usually am, and that’s a pretty astounding feat. Plus, I cram a lot of new music into my head. It’s a sponge most times, sucking in all the good and the bad and the everything in between, but sometimes things go in one ear and bypass the chewy center and slip right out the other ear…

But then somewhere in the past few months this song worked it’s way back into my life, back into my head, as songs are wont to do. Something about that first hearing (second, actually) was amazing, and it was probably due to my having heard it before, but either way, the song started to grow on me. I downloaded it somewhere, possessed it, played it whenever I wanted, commanding it like a snake charmer, summoning it like a genie in a musical bottle. And, like I said, it became the song of my summer, if you will. And if it wasn’t that, then it was certainly, as my itunes will certainly attest to, the song I listened to the most.

And when I started to slowly realize that, that was when the universe started throwing it in my face. As the universe is wont to do, of course. First it’s used in an episode of True Blood from this past season…

…and it’s used perfectly. And the dancer in that video is absolutely right when she mentions that she knows the secret to life and it’s simply this: “A hell I’ll never get out of alive.” And then Bill the vampire tells her, “No one ever does.” And then he adds, SOOKEH IS MAHN!”

And again, the song is used perfectly there. It’s the perfect song to be playing during a particular poignant moment with a stripper in a darkened club somewhere. It’s also the perfect song to be playing on a show about vampires and werewolves, with all the metaphors for darkness between humans at play there, and all that dirty, raunchy, wonderful sex. “Paradise Circus” is just a song that evokes something in you, something twisted but smooth, something sexy but hidden away from light. It reminds you of a time in your life that you had something nasty but wonderful going on, of when you related in a way to parts of season 6 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and you have a hard time putting that resonance in words.

Or maybe not. Maybe that’s just me.

As I was sitting down to write this, just browsing around the wildways of the internet, as I am always so wont to do, I found another video that someone made, somewhat amateur-ish, but a glossy production.

Then, the other day I’m laying in bed watching something on my ipod, watching the first episode of Luther, the police drama that Idris Elba (Stringer Bell!) did back in his native country not too long ago, and of course “Paradise Circus” is the theme song to that song. Of course.

But, again, it fits perfectly. Luther is a dark, sexy show about a brilliant cop who’s always walking just little bit more than just a little across the dark side. I truly wish that American cop shows had not just the weight and intensity of a show like this, not just the style, but the intellect. And it’s nice to see Idris Elba (who is soon to take over the role of Alex Cross from Morgan Freeman, in addition to starring in both Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Thor and the new Nic Cage/Ghost Rider movie) in a role where he sacrifices nothing of his presence but does shed the cleanness that we’ve seen from him on The Wire or on The Office a year or two ago, whenever it was.

The show starts with Luther tracking down his prey, a killer of women and children, and quite possibly letting the man fall to his death intentionally without helping him. The first episode, trying to avoid spoilers as much as i can here, ends with Luther’s new antagonist, whose nothing that he’s faced before or can predict, finding that killer of women and children, who survived the fall and ended up in a coma. Somewhere between those two points, Luther went a little crazy from what he did, took some time off from the job and was separated from his wife for a while. When he’s cleared of all wrong doing (oh, you foolish police inquiry boards) and returns to the job, he decides that he’s well enough to return to his wife…

When it finally happens, we’re dreading it because we know that his wife will have some bad news for him and Idris Elba’s Luther is a big and ferocious guy. The moments after she tells him her bad news in the living room of the house they once shared, the screen is absolutely charged. It feels for a moment as if no room will ever be big enough to hold his rage and sadness.As he storms off into the night away from her, I heard the echoes of the Massive Attack song just pinging around in my brain.

And then I saw the thing there on tumblr, from SarahSpy, and all of this coalesced together in my brain. But that’s okay. It’s a great song, one to be appreciated by people who have great taste in music, but also those identify with a certain something, maybe. A kind of long ago sadness or darkness, and an appreciation of that time in their life. You only see connections and links after the fact and pain, suffering, and/or sadness can only really be learned from far removed from the infliction of the wounds. And it’s all so much better when it’s set to music.