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?

The MPDG vs. the Amazing Girl, Heroes vs. BSG, and Kirsten Dunst vs. Kate Hudson.

You just know you want to read this. You just know it.

Continue reading

It’s only a matter of time before we all burn.

The other day someone came up to me and asked about the continuing fire situation in the southern California area. “It looks like the end of the world,” they told me and were then shocked when I wasn’t shocked by that statement. They asked me if it was still going on, if the fires were still burning, and they asked this as if I knew the answer. Being primarily a still a Californian deep down in my weird little DNA, I’ll constantly let people know where I’m from (in case it’s not obviously and readily apparent why I’m better than them on a variety of levels), but it’s a double edged sword in that I’m expected to have an answer everytime some new weird or stupid piece of news comes out of the Golden State.

So, my answer to this question about the fires was simply: “I don’t know.”  Then the question came: You know a lot of people there, right? Wouldn’t they know from the constant smoke in the distance? Me: “If you live in LA, or spend signifigant time there, I think you make a kind of peace with a lot of things there being perpetually fucked up. The air, especially.” This answer only prompted confusion.

So I attempted a clarification: “Listen, here’s the thing about how people in California operate: Unless your house is on fire, or you’re personally bein evacuated, or it’s fucking up some sex you’re trying to get or, I don’t know, your pot delivery, or something, you don’t really care about a whole lot of other people’s tragedy.”

That’s of course both true and not true. Californians are not that soulless, not really. On the surface, maybe, but deep down… they’re primarily still human beings. Don’t ask me for evidence of their humanity, but just take my word for it, okay? And if you don’t, I’m sure someone will come along soon enough to make a movie with heart that proves me right. But recently, I saw someone put the situation best: “Because the world is always ending in Los Angeles, we are not necessarily surprised when it does. We are also not surprised when the world keeps going on after that.”

from here.

Anyway, after the question and answer exchange about my home land, I came back to my lair, the whole exchange floating around in the back of my head, and I put on my music player, hit random, and the first song given to me was Death Cab For Cutie‘s “Grapevine Fires,” from their nice enough last album, Narrow Stairs.

The video for the song, see above, directed by the Walter Robot duo, is a lovely affair, very nice and effective, but as with so many music videos, it doesn’t follow the lyrical narrative of the song, which is especially a shame here, I think. Particularly since, for me, one of Ben Gibbard’s strengths isn’t just the sonic aspect of his songwriting, the chords he chooses or how well he plays them, but just the way he manages to capture a tone to flow through his short stories.

The songwriter and his brand new bride.

And “Grapevine Fires” is one of the most lovely, most melancholy short stories I think he’s ever released, a beautiful song, drenched in a harmony fit for a funeral, a juxtaposition of the beautiful and the tragic as a man, a woman, the woman’s daughter, all go for a picnic in a cemetery in the Los Angeles area to watch the fires in the distance. There’s wine and some paper cups for the couple, who may have already been evacuated, as they watch the desolation unfolding and the young girl, not aware of the seriousness, or perhaps despite it, just dances around. “The northern sky looks like the end of days” as the man watches her and realizes that, no matter what, everything’s gonna be just fine. Even when it isn’t. Maybe it’ll rain, maybe it won’t. Either way, it’s only a matter of time. And you’re alive today.

Counterforce After Dark: Your Housemate Woke You Up So You Cannot Go Back To Sleep and You Can Not Sleep The Day Away Tomorrow So You Are Sad Edition

Songs to listen to at 5am by the blue light of the MacBook:


80 Windows is the best song on Nada Surf’s sophomore debut, The Proximity Effect. It is insomnia, dark nights, expanses full of nothing. And lyrics so exquisitely sad you’ll want to scrawl them all over your mead composition notebook.

My co-bloggers like the more recent Death Cab for Cutie, which makes me want to bleed from my ears. I prefer the angrier Ben Gibbard, before he cashed in on the Dork Lottery by marrying Zooey Deschanel. Something About Airplanes is DCFC at their lo-fi, un-polished amateur, biting, cynical best. The selection: Champagne From A Paper Cup.

Most of Elliott Smith’s catalog is perfect for middle of the night self loathing, but Between The Bars is hit going to hit really close. I promise.

Being up all night produces rapid mood swings, from euphoria to profound sadness to frustration and back again. This song, a remix of a Modest Mouse/764-Hero song is for the happy stage. Lay on your bed and stare at the ceiling. If you have windows and live in a place where stars are viewable, look at them. Smoke em if you got em. Etc.

When it comes time to think of all the relationships you’ve no doubt messed up and get wistful and longing, the time has come for Depeche Mode. Go ahead and mouth the lyrics: vows are spoken to be broken, feelings are intense, words are trivial.

When the sun starts to come up, you’ve finally hit that elusive wall and the exhaustion settles into your bones, put on Zero 7’s Distractions to slowly carry you onto the other side. Congratulations. You’ve made it. See you in a few hours.