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 earth is doomed…

…yeah, but what else is new?

Mad linkage:

How to be a retronaut!

Superman is no longer an American citizen. Deal with it.

The uncensored version of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray to finally be published.

How to build a religion.

They might actually release Joss Whedon’s Cabin In The Woods.

Lars Von Trier and the apocalyptic whimper.

Unlike with Natalie Portman, don’t expect a post here called “Who’s January Jones fucking these days?”

Budget cuts curtail the search for alien life out there. 😦

Also, Natalie Portman’s dad self-publishes a novel about severed heads, stolen presidential embryos, and mysterious clones.

May Day, 1871: The day “Science Fiction” was invented.

Emma Watson leaves Brown.

Speaking of which, the new Harry Potter trailer is kind of epic.

Ayn Rand’s first love and mentor was a sadistic serial killer who dismembered little girls.

Charlie Sheen and Chuck Lorre: Honestly, who gives a fuck anymore?

Mitt Romney’s bullshit is back and it’s not off to such a great start.

RIP Joanna Russ.

Bessel beams are cool, but don’t actually exist.

FYI: It’s Walpurgisnacht!

Before he retires Steven Soderbergh will make Channing Tatum’s male stripper movie.

I don’t know where you are but summer’s here.

Is Netflix helping to reduce movie piracy in the United States?

Giant black holes discovered in the nuclei of merging galaxies.

An interview with Chuck Klosterman.

Big Boi and Modest Mouse are finally working together.

How bacteria could generate radio waves.

Iggy Pop was considered for a judge slot on American Idol and Fugazi may actually reunite some day.

Scientists create stable, self-renewing neural stem cells.

The 10 greatest apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic music videos.

All living humans are more closely related than you might think.

Vigilantes band together to protect NYC sex workers.

What can we learn by comparing the old and the new covers for the Left Behind series?

Unemployed ninja for hire.

from here.

Last night I had the strangest dream…

In the dream, it was the end of the world, or, well, it was the last night on Earth, and the following morning it was all going to end. In fire and flame, buried and suffocated in ash, or via instantaneous evaporation into total nothingness… the how I didn’t know. Things are vague in dreams. They change moment to moment and you just feel things, just know them. And I felt like it wasn’t this year, not 2011, but maybe it was next year, or maybe it wasn’t.

In the dream, some people had known that the end of was coming for a long time. The crazy people, we called them and always had, but they were the ones who had been having the dreams for years now. That’s how we all knew, every living thing on the planet, I mean, that’s how we knew that it was expiring the following morning: we had dreams. Most of us started having them about six months before that final night. In the dreams we were told that our time was finite and we woke up with the certainty of it. The sad, cold certainty of it.

We knew from the dreams and from intuition that most wouldn’t accept this, that there would be fights and attempts to stop it and plans concocted to spirit away or just generally save the human race, and that every effort must be made. But from the dreams we knew that all those plans would come up with nothing, all those efforts would be ultimately fruitless, and in the end… it would come down to the simple question of how would you want to spend your last night alive?

In the dream I had last night, I had tried to get in touch with my friends, but they were all on the other side of the world from me. Whoever they were and wherever I was, they were somewhere else. They had lives to finish living and people to wrap their existence up with. It was just me, me by myself, just as it had always been. And I was thirsty with nothing to drink in the house, so I went to a bar. There were strangers there living like there was no tomorrow, which was fitting because there would be no tomorrow, and everyone was laughing and talking and loud and very, very drunk. A band was playing. It felt like a celebration. The band wasn’t that great, but for the occasion, they were amazing. The music was so loud, so perfect. It felt like it wasn’t just coming from their instruments and their speakers and souls, but that it was coming from inside me. And they were playing this song:

This morning I woke up and the sun was shining. Dogs were barking down the street, my neighbor was mowing his yard, and car alarms were going off somewhere. And I had to pee really, really, really bad. For the briefest of moments, beyond anything else that could possibly be going on, it just felt good to be alive.

Reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Mad linkage:

Don Draper/Jon Hamm as Superman?

Google and the CIA to invest in the “future” of web monitoring.

The above image, if you can believe it, is for a condom ad. I love it.

Girls like boys with skills.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s wacky lesbian theory.

“My soul knows my meat is doing bad things, and is embarrassed. But my meat keeps on doing bad, dumb things.”

-Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard.

Lost‘s Damon Lindelof to rewrite Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel.

Old Spice’s sales double with YouTube campaign.

Mike Tyson likes cocaine and sex.

Disabled Austrian man eaten to death by maggots while his partner slept in bed beside him.

The first half of the Rubicon pilot is certainly interesting. A show for smart people or a show for people who think they’re smart (and love 70s paranoia thrillers)?

from here.

The Booker Prize longlist announced.

The longest photographic exposures in history.

Quantum time machine “allows paradox-free time travel.” If you need me, I’ll be in the past. Or the future.

The oil spill: when a science fiction nightmare becomes reality.

The plight of Afghan women: a disturbing picture.

“History is merely a list of surprises… It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again. Please write that down.

-Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick: Or, Lonesome No More!


The above is a trailer for Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, Super Sad True Love Story. Here’s an excerpt.

The porniest American Apparel ad ever.

Ship lost for more than 150 years is recovered.

Stieg Larsson is the first to sell one million Amazon Kindle books.

Inception: Dreams vs. Reality.

“Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math, that doesn’t mean we deserve to conquer the Universe.”

-Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus.

Also: Every cigarette smoked in Mad Men.

Where did the money to rebuild Iraq go?

Tokyo’s oldest man has been dead for 30 years.

Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast talks about her cat.

Your lack of privacy on the internet.

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.

In my younger and more vulnerable years…

People disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away.

The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.

He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.

It was dark now, and as we dipped under a little bridge I put my arm around Jordan’s golden shoulder and drew her toward me and asked her to dinner. Suddenly I wasn’t thinking of Daisy and Gatsby any more, but of this clean, hard, limited person, who dealt in universal skepticism, and who leaned back jauntily just within the circle of my arm. A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: “There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.”

“I wouldn’t ask too much of her,” I ventured. “You can’t repeat the past.”

“Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!”

He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.

“I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,” he said, nodding determinedly. “She’ll see.

Their eyes met, and they stared together at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the table.

You always look so cool,” she repeated.

She had told him that she loved him, and Tom Buchanan saw. He was astounded. His mouth opened a little, and he looked at Gatsby, and then back at Daisy as if he had just recognized her…

-all passages, of course, from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and pictures from the 1949, 1974, and 2000 film adaptations.

The novel, being an American classic, like all things American, is perfect in places and hideously overrated in others.

The dark side comes in any colour you like.

I’m fascinated by human perception, especially of art, as the human eye takes two separate things and combines them, giving them new special meaning. Sometimes it’s on purpose, a mashup, like adbusting or The Grey Album, but sometimes it’s not, like the accidental synchronicity of combining The Wizard Of Oz with Pink Floyd’s classic The Dark Side Of The Moon.

I love the idea that human beings live somewhere in the meaty subspace between synchronicity and apophenia.

But the question of just what’s going on as you play the Pink Floyd album along with the film and the way things line up eerily has been around since the 90s, with hundreds of examples of odd connections noted by people. At one point, Turner Classic Movies, which owns the broadcast rights to the film, even aired Wizard Of Oz with Dark Side as the alternate soundtrack.

Engineer Alan Parsons mixing the album in great big quadrophonic sound.

“It was an American radio guy who pointed it out to me. It’s such a non-starter, a complete load of eyewash. I tried it for the first time about two years ago. One of my fiancee’s kids had a copy of the video, and I thought I had see what it was all about. I was very disappointed. The only thing I noticed was that the line “balanced on the biggest wave” came up when Dorothy was kind of tightrope walking along a fence. One of the things any audio professional will tell you is that the scope for the drift between the video and the record is enormous; it could be anything up to twenty seconds by the time the record’s finished. And anyway, if you play any record with the sound turned down on the TV, you will find things that work.”

-Alan Parsons, the engineer on Dark Side, about the supposed synchronicity.

No matter the coincidence versus the intent, I like the way our brains work, either looking for or creating connections in things, giving added contextual meaning, trying to make the universe more special to us. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong, but sometimes we do find things, little bits of weird magic to call our own. And let’s face it, this bit of film/music weird is so much more cheery than the urban legend about the munchkin hanging himself in the background of The Wizard Of Oz, right?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see the Wizard – the wonderful Wizard – on the dark side of the moon…