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?

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The stars have names that somehow fit them.

Just Walking Around

by John Ashbery.

What name do I have for you? Certainly there is not name for you. In the sense that the stars have names that somehow fit them. Just walking around…

An object of curiosity to some, but you are too preoccupied by the secret smudge in the back of your soul to say much and wander around smiling to yourself and others. It gets to be kind of lonely but at the same time off-putting. Counterproductive, as you realize once again that the longest way is the most efficient way, the one that looped among islands, and you always seemed to be traveling in a circle. And now that the end is near…

from here.

The segments of the trip swing open like an orange. There is light in there and mystery and food. Come see it. Come not for me but it. But if I am still there, grant that we may see each other.

Closer.

The day before it was 23 things about Lost, and yesterday it was five things about men and women, Don Draper and Liz Lemon and Meg Ryan and Nic Cage. And today it’s just three things. It’s almost as if time is speeding up as we get closer and closer to something, right? But today… three songs:

1. Blonde Redhead “Silently”

For starters, Benjamin Light: I’m not going to say it. I want to. You know I want to. But I won’t.

Secondly, Conrad Noir: Yes. It sounds like cunnilingus to me. Sweet, seductive cunnilingus… Only instead of legs spread and a tongue moving over the the wetness between, it’s your ears that are spreading and a mouth upon what’s between them…

This is one of my favorite songs. Perhaps ever, actually. It’s from their last album, the lovely 23. (The title track is also fantastic.) Don’t just listen to this song. HEAR it. Put on headphones, turn up the volume, and prepare to go somewhere as you hear it, prepare to smile, prepare to kind of sway a little. Contains the lyric that I find terrifically appropriate far too often: “I realize now that you’re not to be blamed, my love. You didn’t choose your name, my love. You never crossed the seven seas!” But when you listen to this song, you’ll feel like you had, and that you came home from that sexy journey.

2. Architecture In Helsinki “It’5!”

There’s no denying it, this song is fucking ridiculous.

But at the time, which was years and years ago, I desperately needed something ridiculous and catchy to find me and this song did. Caught me when I was falling and I fell in love with it’s cheesiness. And then I grew to love the band, which was the original psuedointellectual tweecore, even before Los Campesinos came along to do it just as well, but with more point and bite perhaps. This song contains and both asks the eternal question: “Have I failed to impress you?” And it also reminds you the inherent dangers of strangers as well? Maybe. I’d also recommend the incredibly sexy “Maybe You Can Owe Me” by the same band. You don’t have to thank me for the recommendation, but maybe you can owe me. 🙂

3. Well…

Today I had to go on a trip with a co-worker. About two hours one way, for a meeting, then two hours back. She drove, I rode shotgun. On the way back to work, we made small talk for a bit and then I retired to my headphones and Pandora radio and let her sing along to the country music station I could tell she was desperate to put on. As we drove, the weather here got more and more severe. The skies were darkening quickly and before long everything was gray, the color of life desaturated and soaked with impending doom. Wind was blowing songs, turning the hard rain sideways. The man on the radio was saying that quarter sized hail was to be expected, then hail the size of ping pong balls, then hail the size of a baseball. She and I half joked that we were expecting him to come back with a warning about basketball sized hail, but that was our way of joking about how terrifying the sky was getting.

We still had a ways to go and in the direction we were heading: Lightning. And lightning is scary the longer it lasts. A quick flash is worrisome, foreshadowing. But this wasn’t a quick flash, these were big, thick bursts of electricity puncturing the landscape ahead of us and it was lasting 1 second, then 2, then 3, then 4, then…

“It’s so close,” she whispered and without saying anything, without looking at me, she moved her hand closer. I could tell she was scared and honestly, so was I. I held her hand and let myself get worried.

The whole time I kept one ear bud in my ear. I need something loud to distract me. At one point on my Pandora station, it was Death From Above 1979 but part of me felt that just wasn’t going to work. Then some Ratatat (by the way, their new album is good), then Crystal Castles at one point. I kept cycling through vaguely techno songs, needing something to take me out of this moment as she and I were flinging ourselves headlong into it. And then it happened, this song:

M83 “We Own The Sky”

…and I just knew it was going to be okay. This is as close as I get to a spiritual experience at times, as empty as it may seem to you, but everything about me that was concerned was gone. I turned the volume up, squeezed her hand gently, and said, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine.”

“Really?” she asked me. This was the first time she looked at me. She was looking to see me flinch, or hesitate, watching for the slightest sign that I might just be saying something to make her feel better. There was none of these signs.

“Really,” I said, and then turned the volume up higher.