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?

Advertisements

At eternity’s gate.

Last week the Earth was in danger from it’s original inhabitants crawling from under the surface, but this week on Doctor Who, we’re more in what one of the greatest painters ever sees, be it in himself, or in his future, or in the eyes of a scary looking creature staring out from the windows of a church…

And that’s this week’s episode, which bears the rather low key title of “Vincent And The Doctor,” written by Richard Curtis of Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love, Actually fame.

The plot is relatively simple: The Doctor is showing Amy a good time, trying to make up for the loss of Rory in small ways, but it’s more about alleviating his guilt over what she can’t remember. They go to the Musee D’orsay in Paris and notice a scary face staring out from a window within Van Gogh’s painting, The Church At Auvers, and after finding a approximation of the date the painting was done, decide to back and pay Van Gogh a visit in his final and incredibly product days and do a little investigating. And adventuring.

It’s kind of interesting in that all of Moffat’s previous episodes of Doctor Who during the RTD run of the show dealt with things of an auditory nature, repeated scary catch phrases and noises of monsters, and this series it’s primary more about what is seen. And Van Gogh, dealing with his madness, is the only person who can see the alien creature rampaging through Provence, possibly because of his temporal lobe epilepsy (the part of your brain where God and other wonderful monsters live, as the God helmet taught us), and that monster itself happens to be blind.

The episode is pretty light on the plot and much more character-driven and kind of hauntingly wonderful in that regard. I didn’t dislike last week’s episode or “The Hungry Earth” before it, but ultimately I feel that it may be rather forgettable in the long run, and possibly “Vampires In Venice” as well (this episode was shot in the same Croatian village as that episode, standing in for France this time, rather than Venice), but this one is an odd keeper. And that, in itself, is interesting because a quick scan online has shown me that quite a few have actually hated this episode, which I think it’s a shame. It was lovely in a tragic way, but also rather life affirming of the beauty of both the good and the bad we experience in this brief and temporary life, especially since the Pandorica will be opening in a mere two weeks.

The rumored original title of this episode was supposedly “Lend Me Your Ear,” which is just too funny.

I can’t say enough good things about Tony Curran’s rendition of Vincent Van Gogh, who didn’t have a lot to do in this episode, not really, but did all of it with such incredible weight. The way he delivered the line, “When you leave, as everyone always does, I will be left with an empty heart and no hope” was beautiful in an incredibly touching way that just stabbed at you, and was in an amazing contract with the tears that streamed down his eyes as Bill Nighy’s curator character explained the effect that Van Gogh had on the world of modern art.

Also, keeping his natural Scottish accent and having him then assume that Amy Pond was Dutch as well was brilliant.

And then there was that beautiful scene of Van Gogh laying in the grass with Amy and the Doctor, having them look up at the night sky and seeing it from his perspective, the literal transformation from the real into a starry night.

And Karen Gillan was again, of course, beautiful in this episode, and again, felt somewhat wasted. I quite enjoyed her stuff at the end, after her and the Doctor showed Van Gogh how he changed the world of the future, and the way she hoped that they had had an effect on him that would’ve changed something in his life for the better, perhaps helped him to deal with his demons and live longer…

…but finding that their time with the artist only gave him the strength to carry out his life exactly as it already played out.

From her perspective, that is.

And the perspective of a time traveler can certainly be an interesting thing, I think we’ve seen so far this season.

It’s interesting watching Matt Smith’s progression as the Doctor this series, not so much in acting, but in writing. Part of that has to do with the showrunner, Stephen Moffat, writing more episodes at the start of the series, but there’s certainly much more of a weight to episodes like “The Eleventh Hour” and “The Beast Below” and, of course, in “The Time Of Angels” and “Flesh And Stone.” Life literally felt like it was on the line in those episodes, the situations were certainly more dire, and the actors/characters shown a lot brighter, and I’m looking forward to next week’s episode, but I’m really anxious to see Moffat return in two weeks as River Song returns (along with Rory and a whole host of baddies, apparently, if supposed spoilers are to be believed), the Pandorica opens, and silence falls…

Next time: The Doctor takes the slow path for a week without the TARDIS, becoming a lodger, playing a little soccer, and discovers the mystery of the staircase that people can go up but never come down.