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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Assembling.

ATTN: Counterforce has turned nerdy as shit.

Two thoughts about this new trailer for The Avengers

Thought #1: I feel like if I wasn’t such a Joss Whedon fan, and also if this wasn’t the realization of so many of dorky dreams as a kid standing there in front of the spinner rack when I was so little, that I would hate what I see in this trailer and find it so cheesy. But I don’t. I find it, in a word, AWESOME. My whole being is HULK SMASHING/devolving  its way into a full FAN BOY FRENZY.

Thought #1.5: It looks like so many scenes of this movie will involve the team working together to fight off alien baddies in the crumbling ruins of Cleveland standing in for NYC, and it reminds me a lot of Warren Ellis’ classic The Authority, which was a wonderful analogue for DC Comics’ big hitters, The Justice League Of America.

If there’s any out there, anyone in the world, who doesn’t get who the Justice League Of America are (who, I’d wager, are probably more popular in the everyman and woman than The Avengers, just because the JLA is made up o’ the Big Guns, and not just the Big Guns + characters like Hawkeye), then my simple analogy would be this: The JLA are DC Comics’ jerking it to the right while The Avengers are Marvel’s jerking it to the left.

Also, that’s just a penis and masturbation metaphor folks, not a political analogy. Or is it? Hmmm…

Anyway, long story short, this film looks like it’s finally the movies living up the early 00’s dip into WIDESCREEN COMICS, which were the dream of comics emulating the movies, and it looks GLORIOUS. ALL CAPS NERDERY.

Pre-Thought #2: This is the new poster for the movie:

This is a fine example of a bad poster.

Also, sorry, that’s the UK version of the poster, because in the UK the movie will be called Avengers Assemble. I don’t know this for sure, but I’d guess it has something to do with the TV show? ScarJo’s Black Widow looks kind of like Uma Thurman’s Miss Peel, right? Ugh. Right? (Or was it Mrs. Peel?)(I think it might’ve been Mrs. Peel) But neither Robert Downey Jr. nor Jeremy Renner is a Ralph Fiennes, nor a Patrick Macnee.

Thought #2: Ever since the moment it was rumored and then announced that Joss Whedon would be writing and directing The Avengers (and probably script doctoring the Captain America movie as well), Benjamin Light and I had had this running joke: Well, since Marvel likes to fuck things up, and fire people, there’s still p l e n t y of time to fire Joss Whedon…

And then when the Internet informed us that the first day of filming on The Avengers had commenced, we thought, “Well, there’s still plenty of time to fire him.”

And as new set reports came in, and rumors about various scenes, and mini trailers attached to the end of the Captain America movie, and the announcement of the end of principal photography, and then Super Bowl trailers being show during the Super Bowl, we kept saying, “There’s still plenty of time to fire him, and Marvel’s probably just waiting for the right moment.”

Anyway, May is so close! There’s still plenty of time for Marvel Films to scooch on in here and fuck this up by firing Joss Whedon. Hope not, but just saying. And I’m sure that however too much screen time they’ve already signed over to Robert Downey Jr. they can probably squeeze in another half an hour or forty minutes for him.

TeleMetavision.

I’ve enjoyed the past two weeks’ episodes of Community (after a several episode string of incredibly sub par episodes), and while obviously Joel McHale is the quite able star of this show and the whole ensemble is wonderfully realized and characterized by this point in the show with the exception of Chevy Chase’s character, who wisely written out of this latest episode, “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design,” (or “…and Soft Defenses,” depending on where you look), it seems like there’s always debate on who the show’s “breakout character” would be, and most land on the lightning rod that is Danny Pudi’s Abed.

It seems like most people are going after his character and the writer’s obvious love for him, which allows for them to do more parody, because of that very fact. By pushing him and more towards the Asperger’s side, it seems like he’s just a portal for postmodern musings. There’s nothing wrong with that, but just in occasional spurts, I think. That’s not a wad that I think you’d want to shoot as much as they have so far a 1/3 of the way or so through the second season.

That out of the way, I think we’re not paying attention enough to the show’s real MVPs…

Alison Brie, and

Donald Glover. Clearly.

There’s an equation to Community and it’s a shaky one, one that’s easy to take for granted or to screw up by relying too much on one aspect and not enough on another, or a balance of all elements. As I said before, last season Community and Modern Family were my favorite new sitcoms, and I feel like Modern Family‘s formula can’t be screwed up too much. Well, of course it can, in it’s (hopeful) 5th or 6th or 7th season by bored writers and a desperate network, I’m sure, but it should be solid for at least a few years, but part of what makes Community really work when it does really work is the right lighting of it’s particular fireworks. I’m just hoping the whole factory doesn’t get blown up before the 4th of July, as it were.

Other random thoughts/notes…

Julie Bowen is kind of nuts, and I think I like it.

Lost‘s Carlton Cuse is developing a new “event series” set during the Civil War. Color me intrigued.

They’re doing a claymation episode for Community‘s X-mas episode this season.

I haven’t watched Gossip Girl since the first few episodes of it’s second season, but…  You’re supposed to hate the Penn Badgley character, right? Cause, if that’s not the case, then his whole douchey look here is really kind of a waste.

Spidermen: “We talked it out.”

And last, but certainly not least…

The cure for the common television show.

Mad linkage:

John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe (and hopefully teaming up with young Abe Lincoln to hunt vampires).

Obama urges Americans to “turn the page” on Iraq.

Bill Compton as Doctor Doom and either Jack Bauer or John McClane as the Thing.

Jon Hamm: “If Rob Lowe had been cast in the part, it would have been different. There was no backstory with me.”

An interesting write up on Phonogram: The Singles Club.

Behind the “Frazenfreude.”

Stephen Hawking changes his views on God.

Just imagine this: An 80 hour Lost marathon.

5 mind blowing ways that your memory plays tricks on you.

5 UFO sightings that even non-crazy people find creepy.

5 stupidest ways that movies deal with foreign languages.

6 famous unsolved mysteries (that have totally been solved).

January Jones: “I need not to think about my character. Betty is so blissfully ignorant in certain ways, so I feel like I should be too.”

Speaking of Arcade Fire: Their new collab with Google folks, The Wilderness Downtown.

A cannibal restaurant in Berlin. Figures.

Laura Marling’s award-nominated love triangle.

Self-described CIA assassin dies in ([accidental] self-imposed) gun accident.

Some of these pictures are, of course, from Rolling Stone, which will be featuring Mad Men on the cover of their new issue. Great idea. Bad photoshopping on that cover though.

And, I tell ya, August and I have really missed doing our Mad Men write ups the past few episodes, especially since, as far as I’m concerned, this has been the show’s strongest season yet, but on the plus side, it’s probably spared you an incredible amount of Nora Zehetner photos that I would’ve just bombarded you with…

Seriously.

Creepy artificial arm from the 1800s.

Peter Travers talks with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Weezer’s just trying to sell some clothes and Cee-Lo says “Fuck You.”

Is Barnes & Noble really going bye bye?

Blah blah blah bedbugs.

The Bloom Box: A power plant the size of a coffee mug.

Why do hurricanes often curve out to sea?

There’s some NSFW happening in the new Conan movie.

One year after Disney bought Marvel: Not much has really changed.

The perilous profession of underground mining.

Wormholes in NYC.

I honestly can’t believe that they renewed Human Target.

Booty calls are their own special type of relationship.

Oh, and hey, the next post will be the 750th!

Shits and giggles.

Portrait of the artist as looking like a completely ridiculous Marvel comics super hero character. Completely, completely, completely ridiculous. But just look at it this way: When all the grown men and women in the pajamas and fetish gear are running around beating each other up for arousal and erections and because they quite like property damage on a massive urban scale, just think how embarrassing it would be to get your ass handed to you by someone who looks like… that.

Anyway, I noticed this because Anais did it and you can make your own silly Marvel-esque character here.

(Edited to add: and so I will! -Light)

Anyway, it’s Sunday. What are you up to? Benjie and I are about to do a thing, which you may/may not see here in future pages of ze ol’ Counterforce. Until then, I’ll leave you with this chuckle-worthy bit of something…

The House of Mice/Ideas.

from here.

Disney bought Marvel comics!

from here.

What that actually means in business terms. It’s interesting stuff. One thing: Payoffs, big time.

The top 70 Marvel comics panels of all time.

Sand castle codes.

Brian Jones’ death to reexamined.

The cinema of romantic revenge.

“I don’t know what color your eyes are, baby, but your hair is long and brown…”

What you need to know about one of the greatest comics ever, Love And Rockets.

Chris Brown blames Larry King for what happened with Rihanna.

Africans “under siege” in Moscow.

The five faces of Two Face and Rob Liefeld.

One of my favorite comics ever, Young Liars by David Lapham, presented to you in 17 panels.

Stray Bullets, also by David Lapham.

The future of contextual advertising.

William Golding, author of The Lord Of The Flies, was an attempted rapist.

How to deal with annoying friends.

Batshit nuts pastor prays for Obama’s death.

A remembrance of Sharon Tate.

India abandons their moon mission.

Jack Kirby and the severed head of Superman.

from here.

Symbolism and the $1 bill.

The sequential art version of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.

Where science fiction gets serious.

Grant Morrison and Clive Barker.

New Batgirl. And you know I like Batgirl.

Someone is actually adapting Shhh! by Jason into a film. Nice.

Akiva Goldsman to write a reboot of those shitty Fantastic Four movies.

Science ponders zombie attack. The gist of it: We lose.