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.

Advertisements

Intensity, part 3.

Previously: Intensity, part 1, and (Intensity, part 2).

I miss Lost. I miss having a TV like Lost on the air. Polarizing to some viewers or not, I miss having a show that flirted with the genre, that provided depth and mystery, that provided spectacle and characters you could enjoying following, and did all of it together in a dazzling array.

Anyway.

I guess I just miss good TV shows. I know the game has changed, but I miss the idea of “appointment television,” or at least I miss the idea of content that’s worthy of being labeled “appointment television,” you know?

And now… J. J. Abrams has a new TV show out every other week, sometimes with no electricity, sometimes with robots. Damon Lindelof did a movie with Ridley Scott that was not particularly great, and then had to go on to explaining the ending of Lost to “journalists” on the publicity tour for said movie. Kate is a hobbit, or an elf, or something. Matthew Fox is freaking us out, and antagonizing the new Alex Cross. And Charlie has nothing nice to say about Mathew Fox. Hurley was on Alcatraz and now he’s on that Once Upon A Time show, which I haven’t watched, but it looks terrible (Is it terrible?)(It looks terrible). Boone is a vampire, or something (though I’ll still always remember Ian Somerhalder better from his roles in Young Americans and The Rules Of Attraction), and Shannon is getting Taken. Again.

Sayid is still Sayid, somewhere out there in the Sideways world. And I think Locke is now supposed to be the Devil?

Anyway. Sorry about the nostalgia trip. Sorry about the “Where Are They Now?” tour. Benjamin Light and I have both watched the Revolution trailer. I imagine we’ll be talking about it on the next episode of the Time Travel Murder Mystery podcast, amongst other things. And that, Kate, that is how we go back.

76 posts to go.

Three days.

Three days. That’s how many are left in 2010.

That is so wild, right? The end of the science fiction year that wasn’t too science fiction-y, sadly. Or maybe it was and I just wasn’t paying nearly enough attention. Or maybe I’ve just gotten so accustomed to the very pedestrian and incredibly mundane and boringly sexy science fiction-y aspects of my normal life?

from here.

I’m sure it’s something like that. Absolutely. Definitely. Whatever.

Also, this:

from here.

In this year, in this world of internetting and bloggery and social media, I had five very simple goals that I laid out at the start of 2010 and wanted to complete by year’s end. In order of my own personal interest and their importance, they were:

1. Not going to tell you (you’re not ready for this one yet, folks)(and neither am I).

2. Not going to tell you (forthcoming).

3. Not going to tell you (total abysmal failure).

4. Not going to tell you (worked, but was embarrassing and not worth mentioning again).

5. Getting 2,010 tweets in 2010!

The fifth one is the one that I’m going to definitely accomplish. Unless I lose both hands sometime in the next three days. Or lose my phone or computer or both. Or unless an EMP just wipes out all technology in the country/world.

But, well, I just don’t twitter much. And getting 2,010 tweets in 2010 was a silly, frivolous goal that I jokingly threw out on my twitter sometime back in… I don’t know what month, but sometimes those things you only jokingly declare are the ones that stick with you. It was somewhere around the start of the year, I believe, and I think I had less than a thousand tweets then and was probably tweeting an average of four to five tweets a month, roughly.

And eventually I just thought, yeah, I can do this shit, why not? Because it’s stupid? Stupidity has not stopped me from doing anything ever in my life.

Also, this is the 825th post on your friend neighborhood Counterforce. That’s wild. We didn’t make it to 1000 posts this year, but that’s perhaps for the best.  Personally, I’m just shocked that I managed to ramble on for nearly 2,010 tweets. I mean, what a silly declaration. Thinking back upon it, at first I was like this:

And then I was like this:

You understand.

Oh man, how creepy is this photo below?

Right?

Also, New Year’s Eve is almost upon us. Time to celebrate!

Also, this is fog porn:

from here.

And this is the first x-ray picture of a lightning strike:

from here.

Speaking of “science fiction,” the recent Doctor Who Christmas special was fucking wonderful.

So fun and smart and a nice little twist on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol cause, hey, why can’t the ghosts of Christmas’ past, present, and future be time travelers and holograms?

Michael Gambon was brilliant, but ruthlessly mean and joyously funny in places. And while the show did play around with some of it’s own rules towards time travel (and that’s why we have rules about time travel, folks: so they can be broken!), I found the idea of one watching their own past and memories change before their very eyes to be fascinating. Plus, the interesting but slight references to “the silence.” And I had to love the nice little nods to the recent JJ Abrams Star Trek movie with the copious lens flares on display of the crashing starship’s bridge.

Honestly, it was just nice to have Doctor Who back. The trailer for the upcoming season at the end of the special was a nice little tease as far as potential goes. Can it be April already?

Also, I’m worried that this (below) is what women must think of me whenever they see me…

from here.

Sigh. And I’m just trying to be normal and cool and down to earth and approachable. We can’t all be perfect, can we?

from here.

Oh well. Remember this always:

from here.

This is a picture from Tron Legacy

…which I hear was pretty terrible, but that Olivia Wilde was the best part of. Is it me, or is Olivia Wilde totally the new Angelina Jolie?

I mean that based on a lot of things, like her acting ability, her potential, the type of roles she’s taken in the past, but also based on her seemingly having that same ability that Angelina Jolie has to turn straight girls a little curious.

You know?

This is an abandoned theater in Detroit:

from here.

This is a monolith:

This is some good solid crazy fun rough housing:

And this is some old school adorable chillaxing right here:

The last six months or so on this blog and in my life have been… weird, to say the least. I’d go into more details here, but quite frankly, I don’t want to. I’ll just say that due to illness in my family, my life got a bit… derailed and I’m astonished that I’m seeing the end of this year without having gone totally insane. Or maybe I have already gone totally, stupendously insane and it’s just helping me see the end of this year more clearly? Like 3D glasses? That’s a comforting thought, right?

Anyway, at some point this will all be over and I’ll get back to some kind of semblance of “normal,” whatever that is. Are we still doing that? “Normal?”

Hopefully, if we’re lucky, we’ll be right back to asking “Who’s your daddy?” in no time flat.

This is what religion looks like:

from here.

And this is my basic worldview in a nutshell:

This is an example of the happy medium between sanity and fear:

This is an example of how Batman is both a master of surprise and also quite probably a huge pervert:

And sadly, no matter what we say or do, Lost is still over and done with:

Oh well. Three days to go. And then…

Fingers crossed about something exciting happening in those next three days (after all, a good deal of people on this planet thought that their magic wizard man came back from the dead in that same amount of time) but not holding my breath. Exciting, but not too exciting. Wow me, thrill me, blow my mind, fuck me over and fuck me up (but in a good way, please), but remember that when the sun comes up, I’ve still got bills to pay and TV shows to catch up with. Three days to go, promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep, and a long journey sprawling ahead of us through mountains upon mountains. This is both the place we made together and the journey we started together and I’m gonna be there with you. And wherever we end up, whatever new definition of home or normal we excavate, when we do we’ll turn to each other and say, “This must be the place!”

“This is the place that you all made together.”

All good things must come to an end.

That’s the one thing you really need to take away from last night’s finale of Lost, super appropriately entitled “The End.” Your favorite TV show is going to end some day (and it was probably yesterday), but not just that, your friendships may end some day. Your relationships. Your circumstances will change. You will have amazing journeys in your life, but even that, some day, will come to an end.

And then…

To me, what the finale did was, in a lot of ways, a truly amazing feat. It gave everyone resolution, not just all the characters, but the audience as well. Everyone got what they wanted, whether they realized they wanted it or not. And they definitely got what they needed. And creators/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were certainly honest about something heading into this last episode about what you should be expecting from it, and that was an answer to just one question: “What is the Sideways world?”

More on that in a second.

Cause this seems to be an episode that, if initial internet reaction is to be believed, has been just about 90% hated. I’m okay with that, but also… not. It only confirms for me further that Lost is our Seinfeld this decade, so of course the ending was despised (and, in that regard, were the 90s about “nothing” and the 00s about “everything?”). But I think it’s a shame that people didn’t like and/or didn’t get the ending. One person on twitter said something to the effect last night of “the finale made me feel like the previous six years were nothing but rape now.” I think that’s a bit strong, but there’s also a meta-answer to that in there somewhere. More on that in a second too.

First things first: This was a wacky, crazy, amazing, beautiful, tragic, mystifying sci fi show about polar bears on a magical island, time travel, synchronicity, esoteric theorizing, faith and hope and both the depths and heights of the human condition. But it was first a show about the characters. I’m sure the producers would have loved to have tackled time travel and paradox theories in the first season, but they couldn’t. No one would’ve watched it, so they got smart and they put the characters first. The show didn’t always succeed, there were some pacing issues here and there, and of course some answers we’d still love to possess (like who was shooting at our heroes on those outriggers in season 5?), but has any show ever came and succeeded as hard as this one?

From episode to episode, you weren’t just watching the show to see answers to questions, you were watching the show to see where the characters went next, and what would happen to them. You cared about that. Sure, the crazy shit going on the island was wonderful, and really, it was a mystery show. But a mystery show with characters at it’s heart. And the mystery aspects only strengthened the human element to all of this.

But for the people who say, “but this is just a TV show!” perhaps don’t understand why we tell ourselves stories. Or why we do TV, or how rare it is for it to actually work out this well. And a mystery is nothing but a story, and that’s what Lost was: a TV show about stories. And it’s a show that asks you to do a little bit of thinking.

On Island last night: Jack is the new Jacob. He’s got to find Desmond, who’s the key to everything, either sinking the Island or it’s salvation. The Locke-ness Monster is also after Desmond, firmly believing that he’ll be the key to putting this Island on the bottom of the ocean. Desmond’s been rescued by Rose and Bernard, and he’s all too happy to go with Locke (to save Rose and Bernard).

On their way to the Source, Locke, Ben, and Desmond encounter Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, and Kate. Jack and Locke have a truly sassy showdown and, classically, have a difference of opinion. They both want to go to the Source, and both want to lower Desmond into it to do what he has to. They just think the other’s wrong.

I think there’s an interesting message here potentially: Regardless of right and wrong, good and evil are the same. They’re just words.

I’m not going to go recap every single moment here, but eventually Locke and Jack work together to lower Desmond down into the cavernous room below the waterfall which is the Source of the Light. The Man In Black seems so eager, in some ways, to be Locke, to fit into a dichotomy with Jack like Locke, and Jack puts him in his place. And at the bottom of the waterfall, Desmond finds what is essentially a cork and when he pulls it out, the Light goes away. The “goodness” seeps away and is replaced by something darker, more red…

And the Island begins to self destruct.

And I’ve said this before, but one of the things I’ve always loved about Lost is that there are answers for everything. You may never get them, but it’s there somewhere. When you look at the room where the Source was, it’s so clearly designed by someone. And all of those skeletons! Memento mori, yes, but… There’s a story there. Probably quite a few, in fact. You’ll never know what it is. That’s up to you. You decide what it is. And if you don’t want to think up some heavy, almost scientific and fantastical reasoning, then the show never really stops you from saying…

From there we get some truly great moments: The Man In Black is corporeal again, a real human. Jack was wrong, and the Man In Black makes a move for the cliffs by where Jacob’s cave was and where the Man In Black has a boat waiting. And that’ll be the scene of Jack and Locke’s final battle there, in the rain, with Jack orchestrating a truly impressive flying punch, and getting his ass handed to him. It wouldn’t be any kind of finale to this show if Jack wasn’t having the stuffing beat out of both his body and his spirit. The Man In Black’s knife finds Jack’s gut and later nicks his neck and we see those same scars and cuts that have been plaguing Jack in the Sideways universe…

Meanwhile, Richard Alpert and Miles are making their way to Hyrda Island, still thinking they need to blow up the Ajira plane and along the way, they find something we’ve all wanted to see again: FRANK LAPIDUS.

And eventually the Man In Black finds what all humans eventually find: death. At the hands of Kate, no less. And now Sawyer and Kate have to get moving, to get to the Hydra island to meet Lapidus and Miles and Richard Alpert (who may start aging and live out the rest of his life?) and take off while there’s still ground to take off from. But first… Kate has to say goodbye to Jack.

And then, back at what used to be the Source, Jack has to transfer his powers and duties and responsibilities. And as much as Hurley believed in Jack, so does Jack believe in Hurley. And as much as Jack being the protector of the Island made sense, it makes even more sense for Hurleybro to have this job. And for Jack to do something else for the Island: to become it’s fixer, because after what Desmond has done, what the Island needs now is a Doctor.

Just look at that one more time:

from here.

And Jack goes down into that cave and he pulls up Desmond – I kept wanting him to say “You’ve got to lift it up,” but he didn’t, and it was okay – and tells him to go home and be with his wife and kid and live his life. And Jack put the cork back into the Island (was that Hell leaking out, as Jacob originally said?). And it took everything out of him. And watching it took everything out of me.

It was amazing seeing Jack be wrong again, then finally being right in a way that really mattered. And now the Island has  new God/messianic figure, one with a proclivity for saying “Dude,” and who makes copious references to Star Wars.

But let’s go back to the Sideways world… It was brilliant in a lot of ways, which I find myself so surprised saying because it was one of the things I looked forward to the least this past season. It kept seeming like the “Wouldn’t it be nice?” world and it was. Everyone went to the concert and then everyone found their true love or their true purpose and in doing so, they remembered who they were.

All except Jack, who resisted because… well, there’s a lot of interpretations there. For a man who spent most of this past season trying to kill himself in some way, shape, or form, perhaps he’s the man who most clung to life?

All of those beautiful moments: Locke’s rebirth after his legs worked again. Sawyer and Juliet at the vending machine and their lovely call back to “LA X” with “Want to get coffee some time?” Hell, just the fact that Juliet was back at all was amazing to me, as she literally lit up my TV screen, easily glowing as bright as the light at the heart of the Island. And Kate finding Jack, remembering who she was because of him. “That’s not how you know me.” I like that Jack was probably Kate’s true love, but she wasn’t his (something we’ve been saying here for a while now). No, Jack probably couldn’t have allowed himself to really feel that, not when he was so tightly wound, so strong lost in his own past…

And then there’s the very end and Jack finds his father. He’s not in the coffin. He’s there, standing before, with love in his eye, and he explains. And Jack understands. He’s dead. Everyone in the Sideways world is dead. It’s a kind of purgatory, or rather, a sort of limbo, a holding place, if you will, that they’ve all created together in their collective unconscious, united by the amazing things they did on the Island, and a place for them to maybe work on their karma and to find a balance missing in their lives before they move into the afterlife.

I mentioned before how similar Lost was to The Invisibles, and this is exactly how The Invisibles ends: At the end of the world, no one dies, but instead enters the Supercontext, a place created by their collective unconscious in which they can find a balance and be happy. It also puts forth the notion that the ultimate ending, the one that is more possibly than we usually realize, is one in which everyone gets exactly what they want. We love Buddhist ideas here in the West. We also love An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge and The Third Policeman and Jacob’s Ladder, yes.

It’s kind of funny to watch the internet reaction in that regard. “It’s a rip off of Jacob’s Ladder!” some cry out. Or, “They totally stole that from An Occurence At Owl Creek Bridge!” I love seeing the way people skew there. Those who know of Jacob’s Ladder don’t know of The Third Policeman or haven’t ever heard the name Ambrose Bierce. Or Alan Moore’s Superman tale, “For The Man Who Has Everything.” But… It all fits. It all works. It’s all beautiful, and just another piece in the puzzle.

And I said that the ending to this episode was perfect for everyone, right? Cause it is. On one hand, for those of you who wouldn’t want to see your characters get an amazing resolution in the Sideways universe, you have real Island endings: Jack dies. Hurley and Ben will now run the Island. They won’t do things the same, they won’t continue the patterns they’ve inherited. Kate and Sawyer and Claire and Miles and Richard Alpert and Frank Lapidus will fly away to safety. Jack will go to his resting place, to the spot between the bamboo trees where he first awoke on the Island and he’ll watch his friends’ plane fly away overhead and Vincent will come and keep him company in his last resting place…

And the Sideways world negates none of that. Not a single thing, nor does it betray the interest you’ve developed in this show over the years, and it shouldn’t harm the connection you’ve made with it. It just shouldn’t.

from here.

As Christian (loved Kate’s line: “Christian Shephard? Really?”) said, “Everyone dies.” Some of the people in that church died before Jack and some died after. And it makes clear that everything was real. Whatever happened, happened. But they came back together at the end, and remember how we were talking about how time didn’t seem to make sense in the Sideways world? Well, that’s because, there is no time there. There is no now. And when they’re ready and they’ve accepted who they are and who they were, they’ll move on. And those who aren’t ready yet, like Ben or Faraday or Ana Lucia, they won’t go yet. They’ll stay behind and work out what they need to and then, as Lord Of The Rings put it, then they can “sail west.” They can go to the Gray Havens.

In fact, they really should’ve filmed that Jimmy Kimmel special in a church just to echo those last moments with everyone together. I don’t really like Jimmy Kimmel, but the special was interesting, especially watching it pretty near after the beautiful, almost immaculate ending of the episode, when you’re still in shock, still coping.

Right after the end of the episode I went back to watch the beginning of “LA X” and… it works nicely, in my opinion. Jack looks out the window of Oceanic 815 and then looks around the interior of the plane almost as if he’s startled to be back there, struggling to recognize something. The plane hits turbulence and he clings to the arm rest for dear life and it’s broken by Rose’s gentle voice, telling him it’s okay, and that “you can let go now.” It’s so pointed and beautiful when you watch it with new eyes.

And of course the Island is sunk in the Sideways world because in that existence, it’s out of everyone’s mind. They’ve sunk together.

And we can argue about when the happy Sideways reality begins, of course. It’s Jack’s story, of course, so it probably ends the moment Jack closes his eye and that Ajira 316 plane flying overhead could also be metaphorically his Oceanic 815 of his dreams, and Jack’s closing his eyes, going to his final sleep, perchance to dream, a dream of flying. But it all depends on your read: Maybe the Sideways world really did start when Juliet beat the hell out of Jughead at the bottom of that shaft. Or maybe that explosion just used the electromagnetic time travel energy of the Island to send them back to the present. Maybe in your view, Oceanic 815 crashed and everyone died and… Maybe the Sideways world only existed in Jack’s head alone, his final dream of a better life… Whatever way you look at it, you choose your own level of meaning and understanding.

“We should get coffee sometime.” Michael Giacchino. Jack Bender. The actors, every single one of them, not just in the finale but always. “I may not believe in a lot of things, but I believe in duct tape.” The fact that we got as little Boone as possible. How Kate looked in that dress. The idea of Hurley and Ben running the Island together. The fact that the Source is fed from two different streams. That flying punch! The weird shots of the castaways’ beach on the Island, featuring the wreckage of Oceanic 815, (an insert by the good folks at the American Broadcast Network) but devoid of people, reminiscent of the ending of Antonioni’s L’Eclisse. “In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a pilot.” All those amazing awakenings and FLASHBACKgasms. The fact that you even have to relook at the episode titles of this past season with new meaning (“LA X” no longer refers to just another universe, but a crossroads of sorts). All of the episodes really, referenced tonight (“The Long Con”) or not (Just think about “Enter 77” now). The idea of Aaron with two moms (that’s a spin off that is literally dying to happen). Hurley saying to Sayid, “You can’t let other people tell you who you are,” because, well, we all play parts and roles. “I’ll see you in another life, brotha!” There’s so many things that we could be talking about, so many great things…

Watching the finale last night, I kept my eye half on twitter during the commercials and it was interesting seeing people saying a lot about how the finale was a love letter to itself and spent a lot of time self referencing. And I agree. And I think it worked beautifully. For a sci fi show about characters and people, I think the end is about us. We’ve all got to come together on this one, and accept it and appreciate it, and then it’s time to move on…

And in that vein, because I don’t want to philosophize on Lost alone (nor would I want to push that button alone), so I asked some of my fellow Counterforcers to weigh in and I want to share with you what they had to say, and then, despite everything happened in “The End,” the very last thing I want to say about this show is exactly the same, not changed at all, and I’ll share that with you, but first…

Benjamin Light: In a nutshell, I can sum up my thoughts on LOST with a text I sent to Marco as the episode ended. I wrote: “This episode feels like falling in love, over and over and over again.”

I could have watched a dozen more “awakening” moments in the sideways world, they were just perfect TV.

It dawned on me at about the 2 hour mark that, rather than wait for a big explosive end to explain everything, the writers instead were just going to willfully ignore some of the big mysteries. And I wasn’t annoyed at all. One of my favorite things about the show is speculating on the mysteries. Having those long, quasi-scientific conversations with friends about even random strangers about what something might mean on the show was half the fun. Lindelof and Cuse decided not to take that away from the fans. Sure, they could have just told us the island is a spaceship from the future and the smoke monster is evil nanotechnology, but why bother? If that’s your theory, it still holds water. This was a show that was famous for its fans’ speculation and debate; the way they left certain mysteries open to interpretation feels very much in keeping with its history.

Conrad Noir: I still don’t know what to think. I’m content with what happened but I don’t know what to feel at all. Maybe nothing, maybe so many things. What I do know was that was the most dragged out event in TV history. Did it really have to go to 11:30?

Oh yes. I believe I read somewhere that the finale was exactly 103 minutes. I would’ve killed for just an extra five more, if you know what I mean, but apparently there’s going to be an extended cut on the DVDs with 20 more minutes.

Benjamin: After the episode ended, I got up to take a leak. After that, I walked down the hall and suddenly started crying. I wasn’t happy or sad. It was like someone had reached inside me and turned all my emotional knobs up to 11. I was like Daniel Faraday, crying at the news of Flight 815 being found and not knowing why.

That’s how good the finale was.

Take a bow, Lost cast and crew, you did it.

Lola: Sometime ago I wrote a post asking whether or not I really wanted answers from LOST. I guess that Lindelof or Cuse are regular readers of Lovely Entropy because the finale contained next to no “answers.”

I watched the finale with my dad and when it ended, I turned to him and said: “What just happened?”

“What is the Dharma Initiative?” he asked me.

“I don’t know!” I yelled. “Where was Walt? WAAAALT!!!”

I think we all felt like that little necked kid in the Tootsie Roll Pop ad:

“What was up with the Hurley Bird? The world may never know.”

I was annoyed at first so I did what I always do when I’m annoyed by LOST: called my brother to complain while searching the internet for answers. As I was searching and complaining something dawned on me: everyone was confused and everybody wanted to talk about it. People were posting theories, they were cracking jokes or they were just outright complaining to people in the room with them, friends over the phone or outright strangers on the internet. Sure, there are people who are going to be annoyed no matter what happens, but the more I think about it the more I kind of liked the finale. It’s open-endedness gives it’s nerdy fanbase enough food for thought to last us until Terry O’Quinn & Michael Emerson’s pilot gets picked up. And not only that, but it saves us all from having to sit through anymore of the writer’s awful, half-assed answers (the whispers were dead people? Seriously LOST?). The finale, in my opinion, was genius in its laziness. The writers are happy because they don’t have to try to find answers that would appeal to everyone. The nerds are happy because they can keep talking about the show they love and ABC is happy because they made a boatload of money last night.

So, anyone have any idea what that church was about?

It’s about everything. And everyone. It’s a story about stories and all stories end.

They can be reread time and again though, revisited, and relived. Just like your favorite song. Just like a game, if you want. It’s adaptive. You can make up your own versions for where the story ends, if you want, your own back stories, your own ideas for what happens to your favorite and least favorite characters after it fades to black.

But you know what else you can do when the story and the song and the game ends? You can start it over, you can return and begin again. You’ll see all the connections you missed, and the little moments will resonate even stronger with you…

So, with that in mind, mektoub, let me just say…

KATE!

WE HAVE TO GO BACK!

Drops in the ocean.

Let’s start where it ends: A bunch of people on a beach at night. They’re beaten, weary, bruised, battered, and broken down. They’re all exhausted, physically and emotionally, and one of them has a bullet in their shoulder. They’re the survivors and one by one they all surrender to an uncontrollable weeping…

Elsewhere, on a deck there stands a bald man and a hot, if rather filthy looking, confused young woman. They’re staring at the water intently, trying to decipher the drama that lays deep underneath the ripples of their own reflections. The man is grim, determined fury. It’s not over and he begins to depart. The woman, who’s been left behind again, the latest of many such times, asks him where he’s going. “To finish what I started,” he says and then he disappears past us into the dark.

Continue reading

The Ides.

Today is the day you were warned about.

Honestly, I just like saying: “Beware!” And telling people to beware various things. Like, “Beware those calories!” Or, “Beware Justin Bieber!”

Recently on Counterforce:

We’ve been comparing things, things like the manic pixie dream girl vs. the amazing girl, Heroes vs. Battlestar Galactica, and Kirsten Dunst vs. Kate Hudson.

We’ve got plenty of our favorite news items and lots of mad linkage to share with you.

And we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

We’ve been watching – what else is new? – this brand new and final season of Lost: “Dr. Linus,” “Sundown,” The Lighthouse,” “The Substitute,” and “What Kate Does.”

And, in doing so, we’ve been trying to get inside the minds of characters like Jack and Sayid. But perhaps they’ve been getting into our brains instead?

Speaking of television: Nip/Tuck finally ended, but the singularity still looms on the horizon (and perhaps on cable TV as well).

Oh, and the Oscars came and went again. We talked about afterward and talked about it quite a bit during the ceremony.

I read Tao Lin’s first collection of stories and then talked a little about short stories in general for your amusement.

The lovely Karen Gillan as a soothsayer of sorts in Doctor Who.

People tend to believe that God believes what they believe, we learned, and then we watched a bit of Chris Marker’s documentary about Andrei Tarkovsky.

Conrad talks about two of his favorite things: Prince and Kevin Smith (but more so Prince than Kevin Smith, he assures me).

from here.

Oh, and my iphone is apparently waiting to me, amidst the sea of pornography, sex pills, and mortgage help that the internet is just dying to offer me.

And our very own Maria Diaz, who’s been rocking it at SXSW this past weekend, got herself wifed up for the purposes of partying and let me DJ the party, and you were cordially invited to the event.

Fun fact about The Ides: It’s the 15th day of the month, but only in March, May, July, and October. In every other month, it’s the 13th of the month. The Roman calendar is really so weird.

All this talk of soothsaying and foretelling has me thinking… Here at Counterforce, when we’re not complaining about shit, we’re typically just slicing up bits of our subconscious, things that we like from all over the place, and sharing them with you. Sometimes it’s planned, and sometimes it happens on a deadly whim, but I wonder… Perhaps we should be planning and sharing what we’re planning more beforehand, teasing you a bit… Hmm. Maybe, right?

Or, more dangerously, just throwing out random things at the start of a month, or any time period, and then talking about them at some point, in some way. Maybe the topics are user generated, or just things the author knows nothing about but have always been abstractly interested in, I don’t know. And then they go off and learn something about that topic, or maybe they don’t. But they find an angle and attack it. Maybe it’s predictive blogging, maybe it’s something else.

OR! And this, this right here, is insane, but let me start earlier… at work, sometimes, when we’re bored, my co-workers and I will play a game, a silly, stupid game that we call “The Wikipedia game.” We generate a large group of topics and subjects, then you pick two randomly. You go to one of those topic/subject’s wikipedia pages, and utilizing only links on that page, you have to, in five clicks or seven clicks (or whatever) or less, you have to arrive at the second topic you picked. Think “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” but more infotastic and time wasting. Mind you, I”m just talking out loud here, so maybe this is lame, but what if blogging was like that? 

Fuck Yeah Sayid!

Well, Benjamin Light certainly said it best:

But let’s start earlier…

So, I had this friend, okay? A female friend. And she was leaving town. This was a week and a half ago, because she’s gone now, but a week and a half ago, we decided to go hang out one night, do a little drinking, socializing, etc. “Things that young people do,” my fellow young people tell me ad nauseam in chorus.

And, you see, this is at a point right after we had realized, my lady friend and I, that we’d like to hang out like this, maybe as more than just friends, and somewhat exclusively. But then there was the little thing of her leaving town, but that night, that night we decided to hang out, it didn’t matter.

So we went out, did a little drinking, talking, gazing longingly into each other’s eyes and souls and other stuff.

That’s all you need to know about that.

But then I went home, still a little intoxicated, both drunk  on all that alcohol and the night itself. A collection of a thousand or more little moments, all precious and special and dazzling, and they’ll be with me forever. Regardless, there I was. At home. Drunk. Not sleepy drunk, but what was I to do with myself?

About four years ago I remember hanging out with Benjie Light and Peanut St. Cosmo and we did some drinking one night. When it eventually Peanut’s bedtime, we called it a night. And after she went to sleep, Benjie and I were still up and he said something to me like, “We missed Lost.”

Still a little cloudy, I said, “Wha huh hurrh?”

“Tonight was Lost,” he said. “It was a Sayid episode. Don’t worry, I downloaded it. Let’s watch it.”

And so I plopped down in a chair beside him and he clicked play on the keyboard and Lost started. The episode was from season 2, “One Of Them,” the first one with Henry Gale, when Rousseau catches the man we shall come to know as Ben Linus in a net and delivers him to Sayid, informing him that he is one of the Others. But this man, Henry Gale, swears otherwise, and he has a very convincing story about how his balloon, carrying his wife and he, crashed on the Island. His wife eventually grew sick and died.

The story is incredibly convincing, but still, Sayid does not believe it. And though he knows that Jack will not agree, there in the hatch Sayid wants to use his special skill on this mysterious new man with the bug eyes to ascertain the truth. And in the flashbacks within the episode we see Sayid back in the first Gulf War learning how to use that special skill: the art of torture.

You can’t imagine how bizarre it is to watch this episode while your head is slowly clearing, the fog lifting, and your world is sobering up. It just gets darker and more brutal by each passing moment. It just gets all that much more Fuck Yeah Sayid, if you will.

But that was four years ago, and here I was, a week and a half ago, at home, still a little drunk, pondering what to do with myself. I didn’t want to wake anyone else up and what better place for a drunk man with a head full of regrets and way too many thoughts? The internet, of course. But as I get onto the internet, I remembered that night from four years ago and I decided, fuck it, went to Hulu, and clicked on that episode…

And what an episode it is, let me tell you. Still strong, still powerful. Except for the B-storyline about Hurley and Sawyer hunting down the treefrog that keeps Sawyer from getting his beauty sleep. Other than that… it’s all good times: We’re back in the hatch, still pushing the button, Jack is well into his descent into full on craziness, and Locke is still Locke and still looking for a meaning and a purpose in his life, and they’re just inches away from being at each other’s necks. And Shannon hasn’t been dead for too terribly long and though I don’t believe her name is mentioned in the episode, you can almost feel the spectre of her constantly floating over Naveen Andrews’ amazing performance here.

And it’s all wonderfully on display thanks to this strange new arrival, this “Henry Gale” whom they believe to be one of the Others,with Locke and Sayid making plans to go behind Jack’s back and then Sayid excludes even Locke from his plans, locking himself and Ben/”Henry Gale” in the armory and proceeds to question, torture, and then beat him.

Through all the questioning, Ben/”Henry Gale” never breaks character until he starts talking about his supposed wife whom he had to bury on the Island after she fell ill and died. Sayid begins to ask him technical questions about the process of burying a loved one, and that morbid place that’s concerned with and knows death too well, well, that’s a place Sayid’s always had one foot firmly in. But Ben/”Henry Gale” says he doesn’t know how many shovelfuls of earth he dug up to bury the woman he loved and that’s what convinces Sayid that this man is a lair. “You would remember!” Sayid screams as he begins raining a flurry of punches on the spiky haired bug eyed Other.

It’s a powerful moment. Sayid is the man who will always love and will always be doomed to lose that love, usually violently. He will always feel a part of himself is buried in the ground and the part of him that’s still up and walking around is ghoulish and prone to something nasty. If there’s a dark path out there, he feels he deserves to be on it, that he’s fated to be doomed and therefore he wants to start marching towards that oblivion as soon as he possibly can. And in this episode, you feel it. It feels both natural and is terrifying, but you understand it.

We talk a lot about the Jack character on Lost around these parts on Counterforce. A lot, right? He’s a fucked up character, but we praise him. And Kate’s a fucked up character too, but we tend to talk shit about her, which isn’t fair. But the Kate character has a lot of good qualities too. Whereas the other characters, usually the male ones, consider themselves, pardon the pun, lost and accept it, Kate keeps going on, keeps trying for something else, even if that something else is just running away from feeling bad all the time. And despite all the twists and turns, all the sci fi and geek shit about this, what keeps you coming back is the characters, time and again. And those charaters all different points on a spectrum of everyone.

That’s to say that there’s times when I really identify with the Jack character on the show. And sometimes, I see something that feels natural and familiar in the Locke character. Sometimes too much for both of those character. I’m naturally awesome and good looking and always doing well, but I’m still a human being, so sometimes I feel like I can identify with the beta boys on the show, characters like Charlie or Boone (and I’m being there, assigning them as beta boys, because let’s face it, those guys are a lot farther down the ladder). And at times I can identify with Kate too because there’s times when all I have is a bad idea and all I can do is run to it because nothing else will fit. That, or the desire to do copious amounts of tree climbing.

But this point isn’t called “Fuck Yeah Kate” or “Fuck Yeah Nikkie and Paulo.” This is “FUCK YEAH SAYID.” Everyone likes Sayid. He once killed a man with a dishwasher. He once broke a man’s neck with just his legs while tied up. Like we always say here: If he had been in charge on day one of the plane crash, they would’ve probably been rescued on day four. But then again, we also always threaten to do a post on how many times the plot has neccessitated Sayid being knocked out or taken out of the action (well, the plot or the fact that Naveen Andrews knocked up Barbara Hershey). He is all bright spectrum himself, but especially when he goes dark. Then we feel it. Then we understand it. Then we identify with it.

And there I was the other night, in a dark place myself but not really realizing it. And I was watching Sayid lose it, beating a man in a bizarre hatch on a fantastical Island in this magical piece of fiction and still, it resonated. I felt lost or partly lost or that I was about to be lost and the claws wanted to come out. I wanted to scream at someone or grab someone and do something to… to change things. But there was nothing that could be changed. And taking how I felt out on someone else wouldn’t have made me feel any better or accomplished anything useful. It was okay to be angry, but it was better to understand why I was feeling that way and even more importantly, it was better to remember the things that I would be losing, to not let go of that.

And I’ll never forget as the episode ended, as I fully sobered up and there was Sayid sitting on the beach with Charlie. Something else seemed to be gone from Sayid, another very human light turned somewhere in his eyes, and he a man living somewhere in the place after the sundown even then. Sayid told Charlie what had just happened down there in the hatch and Charlie asked him why he was telling him this…

SAYID: “Jack asked me how I knew — knew for sure that this man was lying. How I knew for sure that he was one of them — one of the Others. I know because I feel no guilt for what I did to him. — But there is no way I can ever explain that to Jack, or even Locke, because both of them have forgotten.”

CHARLIE: “Forgotten? What?”

SAYID: “That you were strung up by your neck and left for dead. That Claire was taken and kept for days during which god only know what happened to her. That these people — these Others — are merciless, and can take any one of us whenever they choose. So tell me, Charlie, have you forgotten?”

Events can shape you, because you bring the tools you have to do them and you make choices and act in certain ways or others. You make these choices based on your past experiences and then you keep going, just gaining more memories. And no matter what you do or where you go, all you have are those memories. If your life has been good, bad, full of suffering, or full of joy, or most likely a mix of it all, those memories are you.

Maybe you’re sitting in your room at some point, reflecting on everything that’s lead to now, or maybe you’re out on the street somewhere looking up at the window of someone you care about, watching as their light turns off. Or maybe you’re sitting on the beach, staring out at the ocean, seeing that tiny little window into the past that can only be visible on the horizon…

What’s important is that you always remember. What is it they say about those who forget the past?