Past Prologue: September, 2009.

The end looms large, but is still a ways away and down the road a bit. But I kind of wanted to look back a little, month by month, at this blog. Maybe not every single month, but most, if I can. I guess I’m getting reacquainted with what I’m saying goodbye to? Or maybe in the back of my mind I’m always remembering that you have to put the chairs up before you turn the lights off and go home…

Right, so:

01.

09/01/09: The House Of Mice/Ideas,” by yours truly: This was back when it was announced that Disney had bought Marvel comics. Such a weird idea at the time, the idea of a mash up between your favorite comic book characters and your favorite Disney characters, or the concern that a certain “family friendly” and “neutered” aesthetic might bleed over into the monthly tales of your friendly neighborhood super powered costume fetishists.

Also, a chance to share links! I like sharing links. I like sharing a little bit of what I’m reading with anyone who might give an inkling of a shit.

from here.

The thing about the links posts is that I don’t claim to always endorse those links, their content, or their authors. I’m not saying, “I read this and I loved it and now you must read it and fall in love with it!” Hardly. Half the time when I would post these “mad linkage” posts, I had not read some of these stories I’ve linked to… yet. They were place holders, something easy for me to get back to and read later. Counterforce is and was my portal to the internet, just as I had hoped it would be for you as well.

02.

09/01/09: Apocalypse Please by Benjamin Light: I like this post. Usually Benjie trucks primarily in words, and yet I think he sets up a nice mood with a preamble of pictures of doom and destruction. As he’ll eventually say in the text bits, there’s a collective mood there, a seductive one of embracing the end (though not necessarily being consumed by it), that I think is somewhat universal.

03.

09/02/09: Humans Being by yours truly and “Lollipop Gomez,” otherwise known as the immensely talented Maria Diaz: This is us getting down and dirty and talking about the sexualized fascination and symbiotic relationship between man and machine, or whoa!-man and machine. In other news, (hu)mankind doesn’t want to just rise up and meet the approaching Singularity, we want to have sex with it. That’s either how we understand things, or how we go about not having to understand things.

from here.

In case you’re wondering, this is pretty much what it was like whenever Maria and I would talk. Pretty much every one of our continuing gmail/gchat conversations would be like this, and some nights we were just “on” more than others. I think about halfway through some of those conversations we realized that we were going to save this conversation and post it online somewhere. So perhaps during the second half we’re performing a little more. Posts with Maria were always some of my favorite because they were less about writing, and more about just being, and us bullshitting and having fun, which lead to some of the writing I most enjoyed reading.

04.

09/03/09: Between The Covers by Occam Razor, Maria Diaz, and Conrad Noir: We never did a lot of big group posts like other blogs and websites, but I think this was an interesting one, especially since it’s such a funny idea, the writers of Counterforce talking about summer reading selections. Perhaps because we’re so outside the norm of what other people on the internet would talk about for their summer reading, perhaps that’s why I like it so much.

by Andy Vible, from here.

Plus, it’s always nice to see anything from Occam Razor and Conrad Noir. Those guys are awesome. Looking back, the original title for this post should’ve been “The Pimp Game, Globalization, and Revolting Youth.” I don’t know. Something like that.

05.

09/04/09: F Is For Friday,” by me: Orson Welles’ F For Fake is a great movie. Half documentary, half essay, and an extra one half magic trick. What else needs to be said?

06.

09/05/09: Super Secret Smile Saturdays by myself: Labor Day weekend, links, and a lot of videos. This is kinda sorta what my average internet browsing probably looks like when I’m pretty substantially bored.

by Lily Camille Clark, from here and here.

07.

09/06/09: 1960s Dance Party by Conrad Noir: This is before I got Conrad hooked on Mad Men. I think this GIF perfectly represented what he saw whenever he saw people gushing about the show online.

08.

09/07/09: Why, yes, you should receive a Victory Medal for beating the clap,” by myself: So weird to read this now. Not just because it’s old, but because it’s from a different time in Mad Men. The new status quo on Mad Men is so ingrained in me now, I guess, that it’s weird to time travel further back into the 60s and see Don and Betty still married, dealing with the trials and tribulations of their lives together, etc.

Also, I always enjoyed doing the Mad Men posts with August Bravo. It certainly kept me more on focus, I think, and made me ramble less, maybe. He would’ve been involved with this one, but he didn’t heed certain advice, moved to Manhattan, and got raped by some sailors, or something.

09.

09/08/09: The Kids Of America by myself: The Republicans were being dicks to Obama, trying to deny him even the most rudimentary respect deserved by his being our elected President of these United States. Funny how few things change. Stay classy, Republicans. Keep celebrating the fundamental lack of education within your party.

10.

09/09/09: 09/09/09 by myself: It doesn’t take much to amuse me, I tell ya.

11.

09/10/09: In my younger and more vulnerable years…” by myself: The Great Gatsby really is a great book, and truly one of the Great American Novels. I used to despise it because it was too simple, too easy, such a perfect textbook for a high school class, but now I suspect that’s part of its charm. I used to think the movie starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow was incredibly boring, but now I’m dreading the new one with DiCaprio and Sally Sparrow and the Peter Parker I’m hoping we can all forget about. At least it’ll be in 3D, as if that mattered.

12.

09/11/09: The Food chain by Benjamin Light: LOL.

13.

09/11/09: NEVAR FORGET by yours truly: Well…

14.

09/13/09: Bloodletting by myself: Just a nice reminder, I think, of how good the first two seasons of True Blood were. That’s not to say that the subsequent seasons have been terrible, because they haven’t, but the first two seasons were just excellent, I thought. Just a perfect balance between the human and the supernatural, between comedy and horror, between mystery and romance, between the darkness and the light.

15.

09/14/09: RIP Patrick Swayze by myself: Seriously. RIP Patrick Swayze. I’m going to go watch Road House again.

16.

09/14/09: Are you aware of the number of handjobs I’m gonna have to give by August Bravo and myself: Once someone says “hand jobs,” then BOOM, there’s August Bravo, suddenly out of nowhere.

Looking back, this was a very interesting episode of Mad Men, the biggest aspect being the birth of baby Gene Draper, but there was so much more going on there. Both in the episode and in our writing about it, talking about Kanye, for example, and for me finally realizing how truly amazing Alison Brie was.

17.

09/15/09: The Development Of Strange Things by myself: I like Harper’s magazine. I like it a lot. But I especially like the “Findings” section at the end, as you may have noticed here on Counterforce time and again.

* * *

Months are longer than we think, especially since we posted something every single day of September, 2009 except for one, so let’s take a break here and resume this after a…

TO BE CONTINUED!

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Ordinary people going nowhere.

Last week it was all about fighting invisible chicken monsters from outer space and getting inside the lonely, tragic head of a challenged painter who didn’t realize how important he would be in the eyes of all those who looked upon his works…

…and this week on Doctor Who it’s about the lives of ordinary people, in a pretty simple lo fi episode as we gear up for next week’s two part season finale…

And that’s this weeks’ episode, “The Lodger,” written by Gareth Roberts and featuring James Corden, whom I don’t think many outside of England will know, and I don’t know much about him either, except that he was going to be in this episode and, of course, was recently a dick to Patrick Stewart:

A lot of times after viewing an episode and before I write one of these things, I’ll do a quick scan online to see where my feelings fit in with the rest of the online, er, “community,” and usually, it’s a match. Well, for the most part. This week, I have to say, I was quite shocked to find that most of the viewers loved this episode, and perhaps more than loved it. In the typical fashion of any television show reaching the conclusion of it’s season, there’s the slow down before the great big ramp up and exit, and many online compared to this to “Love And Monsters” and “Fear Her,” and how much better tonight’s episode was compared to those, though I didn’t dislike those episodes or look upon them negatively at all. At least not “Love And Monsters.” Though none of them will compared to “Utopia,” of course.

And don’t get me wrong, I certainly didn’t hate “The Lodger,” not at all. It was quite fine, actually, but I’m starting to notice perhaps the tiniest thread of disconnect between myself and other Doctor Who fans out there. Many, it seems, are quite eager to proclaim this new season the best yet (since the revival started, I imagine, and probably before as well), and I don’t know that I would go that far just yet.

That said, I really did like this episode, maybe not as much as others, but it was very good. The Eleventh Doctor, left behind by a manufacturing TARDIS, and having to spend a few days pretending to be a normal human as he figures out and tries to stop whatever it is that’s interfering with his time machine. Brilliant set up. I tend to like all forms of (good) sci fi, but especially that which pulls it out of space and tentacle rape and girls with three tits and brings it down to Earth in a normal setting, showing humans dealing with the fantastic. And this episode did that, even though it appeared to be more of a showcase for just how weird Matt Smith’s incarnation of the Doctor is.

That and, in case  you didn’t know, that Matt Smith was just this close to becoming a professional footballer (that’s soccer for those of us stateside), until an injury derailed that and set him down the path towards acting.

Even more interesting to me is that the initial story to this episode started off as a comic strip in the Doctor Who magazine, and I always love that this show will mine other sources for it’s stories and adapt them. For example, Moffat’s own “Blink” was initially a short story starring a much younger version of Sally Sparrow, and the lovely two parter “The Family Of Blood” and “Human Nature” were based on a previous Doctor Who novel. Those two episodes, in particular, make you wonder why the Doctor would choose to go by “The Doctor” in this episode rather than his go to nom de plume of “John Smith.”

From what I can surmise though, the initial comic strip featured a then new Tenth Doctor getting separated from Rose and the TARDIS and having to move in with Mickey Smith for a week. Interesting enough, the angle of the comic strip was apparently how normal and more human-like David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor was than his predecessor and how much of an irritant that was to Mickey Smith, how that split him from Rose even more. And I think that’s a more than valid point, especially since Tennant’s Doctor was so likable, and in such a human way, and was more prone to walk into any situation and master it within moments and get everyone on his side.

from here.

And I think it’s interesting how they flipped that with Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, almost making him the exact opposite of his predecessor, all bow ties and weird hair and an alien understanding of the normality of the humanity he seems so obsessed with. Whereas Tennant’s Doctor read the last Harry Potter book and cried or loves chips (french fries), Smith’s Doctor can’t tell how time progresses for normal humans or how to properly greet someone in a particular era. He has blithe, slightly telepathic conversations with cats and, thanks to slightly rushed feeling writing, head butts people in a rather slapstick fashion to pass along quick psychic infodumps.

from here.

And for a quirky, amusing story, I should add that the humor wasn’t unwelcome, but as I believe I said last week, I’m eagerly awaiting next week’s return of Moffat and the deadly seriousness he can bring. In my wildest dreams, Moffat would write like ten out of a given series’ 13 episodes. I know, I know, that’s insane. But just imagine it.

That said, again, liked the episode, but thought parts of it were a bit rushed feeling. The silhouetted villains at the top of the stairs and the flickering lights were brilliant, but let’s face it, kids are fucking terrifying. At least to me. I thought the notion of an alien ship trying to built itself a TARDIS left me more curious and intrigued than the episode probably meant to do and I liked the cameo of Van Gogh again (on the fridge)(and rumor has it that another Van Gogh appearance is slated for next week).

And despite all his quirks and brain being in a million different places other than right here and now, the Doctor seems a bit lazy and pedestrian (again, perhaps that’s merely the writing) in tackling the unseen menace upstairs. And in that infodump of the Doctor’s history, we get yet another roll call of previous Doctors. Makes you wonder if the show is still struggling to cement Matt Smith’s place in the history of these other incarnations or if it’s going somewhere next week, with the Doctor perhaps finding himself erased from history…

And if the episode had one major flaw, it’s something the last few episodes have shared: Not enough Amy Pond. She started off so strong this season and then was a bit wasted. But now’s found the engagement ring hidden there in the Doctor’s coat and perhaps she’s remembered Rory? Or perhaps it’s something else all together, but either way, part of me is glad this season is ending now. It’s been a fun ride and especially after tonight’s brief landing with a group of ordinary people who are fine going nowhere in their lives, I’m happy to follow the Doctor and Amy Pond and River Song as they zoom off into time and space and adventure…

Next time: Time and space and adventure! River Song returns and accompanies the Doctor and Amy to Stonehenge. The return of a whole slew of nasty monsters and villains. Rory the Roman! And perhaps, at last, the Pandorica opens…

“What if our dreams no longer needed us?”

Okay then! Having survived the return of those silly Daleks, it’s another week, and a brain new episode of Doctor Who, this being “The Time Of Angels,” part one of a two parter…

Continue reading

Search Party!

Just a few of the things that people have searched for and then found ye old Counterforce thru:

from here.

Good fuck!”

Galactic collision pictures.”

Harry Knowles.” Yuck. Plus a lot of people seeking out pictures of his wife for some reason. Why, people, why?!

Both “Tina Fey Hot” and “Tiny Fey Butt.”

Both “Kim Kardashian Sex” and “Kim Kardashian Fucking.”

And “Kim Kardashian ASS.” Oh, for the love of Ray J, people!

Le sigh. Some of the things people find us via really makes me feel terrible about myself. Like a new, even lower kind of terrible than what I’m normally used to.

Woody Harrelson” and “The end of the world.” The two go hand in hand, I guess. Much like Woody and Owen up above.

“Don Betty Rome.”

Billy Dee Williams” and “Colt 45.”

“Classic Beatles songs sung by talented children.” I have no idea where that came from.

Queen Mab and Merlin.”

“Max” and “Wild Things.” Speaking of which…

Trashy shit.” This tends to be how we roll more often than not (or than I’d like).

Gail Simmons.”

“Robert Downey senior.”

Both “Tess Lynch” and “Tyler Coates.” Both fine searchs, but you should probably look for Tess here and here, and also here, and Tyler, the man about the internet, can be found here.

Oak Island.”

Jackface” and “Lost.” And “It only ends once.”

And, ha ha, also “Donface.” Nice.

Alexis Dziena.”

Sally Sparrow.” Carey Mulligan, I think you’re a fine actor and potentially a brilliant one, but Shia LeBeowulf? I don’t love that.

Lara Flynn Boyle.” (Also, there’s this one.)

Ursula Andress.” (I’m pretty sure that’s what they meant, though they did search for “Ursula Address,” so who knows, perhaps they just wanted Ursula’s address?)

And…

Sarah Silverman.”

Agent Scully mating.” Ick.

Sybian sex.” Also searched with the sybian was “How it works.” The simple answer? Magic.

And “cunnilingus.”

“Robots and Cthulhu.” Nice.

“Our bodies touch and the angels cry.”

Batman alley death.”

And last, but not least, for now: “Fashion of the great depression.”

Glad we could be of service!

The girl most likely to…

I really want to see An Education, the new movie based on the memoir of the same name by Lynn Barber, directed by Lone Scherfig, and adapted for the screen by Nick Horny.

The story seems interesting enough, about a 16 year old girl named Jenny in 1960s England with a normal mum and dad who’s working hard at her studies with plans to go to Oxford. And then she meets an older man, played by Peter Sarsgaard, who sweeps her off her feet with romance and the jet set travels of his swinging friends and leads her slowly down the path to ruin and the eventual growth into a woman. There’s more to that, much more, but I’ll spare you the details unless you’re truly interested.

First thing you should know, impressionable ladies of any age: Stay the fuck away from Peter Sarsgaard. He just looks like he’s out there to scoop up impressionable young girls.

But in all seriousness, the real reason I want to see this movie, besides the fact that it just looks good and has been getting incredibly positive reviews, is it’s lead, Carey Mulligan.

Ah…

I’ve only been lucky enough to catch her in a few things here and there, but she’s always come off as a young actress of grace and intelligence. And there’s an adorableness factor that’s truly undeniable. But all that ties into the fact that in one instant she can seem so young, so painfully, beautifully young, full of innocence and wide eyed wonder of the world, and then she can turn in an instant, those large eyes quivering with sadness, and then turn again, staying in the realm of adulthood, moving from the sadness to the joy of growing up. And she does it all with something that I never honestly thought I’d ever find in a living human being: grace.

I should also add, since I am a nerd, that I originally caught her in an episode of Doctor Who, the classic “Blink,” which I would highly recommend not only as an excellent piece of science fiction storytelling, but because it’s a stand alone episode, featuring solely Carey Mulligan’s one off character, the unstoppably inquisitive Sally Sparrow, girl detective, as she faces off against a mysterious mansion and one of the scariest bit of creatures (it is almost Halloween, after all) you’ll ever see: The Weeping Angels.

To say more would be criminal, but I’d give my highest recommendation to that episode, written by the genius Steven Moffat (set to take over the reins of Doctor Who early next year) and Carey Mulligan’s performance in it especially. She not crafts an energetic and intelligent young character who loves a good mystery, but she manages to create a role you fall in love with instantly. It’s a joke I make quite frequently on this site, but I’d truly give just about anything to see a spin off with her character in it (as opposed to the bisexual Nigel Kneale ripoff that is Torchwood on it’s better days).

Carey Mulligan is only 24 and already has a wide variety of film and television roles under her belt. Other than An Education now, she’ll also appear in the Natalie Portman/Tobey Maguire/Jake Gyllenhaal remake of Brothers, as well as Oliver Stone’s Wall Street 2 and Mark Romanek’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

Nick Hornby, who you of course know from his earlier works like High Fidelity and About A Boy, and who adapted the autobiographical memoir by Barber into An Education, also has a new book about called Juliet, Naked. And I hear it’s actually pretty good.

“She’s a suburban girl who’s frightened that she’s going to get cut out of everything good that happens in the city. That, to me, is a big story in popular culture. It’s the story of pretty much every rock ‘n’ roll band,” said Hornby about the character in the book version of An Education. Interesting the way he frames that, but when asked about the actual writing of a teenage girl, as opposed to just a man who’s whole live revolves around music and quim, Hornby said, “I think the moment you’re writing about somebody who’s not exactly you, then the challenge is all equal. I was glad that everyone around me on this movie was a woman so that they could watch me carefully. But I don’t remember anyone saying to me, ‘That isn’t how women think.'”

If not stopped, I could potentially post pictures of Carey Mulligan here forever.