The End.

Exactly!Everything that has a beginning has an ending.

As it has been written, and promised, and prophesied, so it is, and so it has come to pass: This is the last post for Counterforce. I’m going to try to avoid any melodramatics or perceived grief or anything like that because I’ve sure done enough with it in the past, and hey, it’s just a fucking blog on the internet, right?

But I’ll miss it. And I’ll miss you, and doing blog shit with the people I did blog shit with here.

The end is not near, its here.

I think Counterforce was fun, but flawed. I don’t think it ever reached its potential, and I think it’s safe to say that the blame for that lays entirely with me. So, to that I would say: Sorry, everybody.

But also thanks. There were some good times and fun things to read/look at. Thanks, Benjamin Light. Thanks, Peanut St. Cosmo. Thanks, Occam Razor. Thanks, August Bravo. And thanks, Maria, whom we stuck with the name Lollipop Gomez. I hope you guys had some fun too.

Anyway. It’s the end, but not totally. Benjamin Light do two podcasts which are very much in the spirit of Counterforce, and which you’ve probably heard of on here before: Time Travel Murder Mystery and Greedo Shot First.

Listen to our fucking podcasts! Plz.

Right now TTMM is on a brief hiatus, and could return as early as next week, though it will certainly be back sometime in the next few weeks. Greedo Shot First just posted its latest episode today, in which we rewatch one of our favorite movies ever, The Empire Strikes Back, so go check it out in iTunes.

The corridor of lights

And we’ll follow that next week or the week after with an episode about rewatching Return Of The Jedi.

It’s kind of sad that I won’t be able to plug our podcasts here anymore. Or talk about any of the other things I had planned to ramble on about it, but… oh well. Tomorrow, like today, is another day in a brand new year. I’m sure there’ll be more opportunities. And other spaces, other places.

We’ll meet again. Don’t know how, don’t know when…

One last thing and then I’ll shut up for, well, a while (at least here): I’m going to go rewatch the last episode of Lost right after I hit “Post” on this post. I feel like our love for that show so strongly informed this blog and we bounced back and forth between it so much. I don’t mind telling you that the day we did our post on the last episode of the show, that was the day we got the most hits ever on this blog. So I guess a lot of people’s hearts were either filled or burst along with the passing of the last truly great television show too. It just feels right to go watch that after this, at least to me.

Oh well.

Thanks again. For everything. I’m glad the blog is over, because it mattered to me, and I’m glad to start something else. Hopefully we’ll see you there at the beginning of that.

-Marco Sparks

VLUU L210  / Samsung L210

Closer.

Break out of loops.

from here.

Almost over, almost finished. There will be just this post, this one right here that you’re reading, and then one two more tomorrow (I believe) in 2013, and then I think Counterforce will be finished…

WordPress put together a nice little package of the year 2012 in review for the blog, which didn’t contain a lot because we didn’t do a lot with the blog in 2012. Hence, I’m afraid, it’s coming to a close.

I’m not going to make it public, though it gives you the option to do so, but I will give you two highlights from it which I think are funny…

Attractions.

I do like WordPress in general. I know there are a lot of other blogging platforms out there that people like better, and I don’t doubt that they’re better, but WordPress has always pleased me with its simplicity and being relatively easy to use.

Lost and found.

Anyway, I would like to do more and say more, but there’s no time. I would like to end the blog right now, today, have it close its doors for the last time in 2012, but again, no time. I have other plans, other things to accomplish, a life that exists only part of the time on the internet, and that’s a small part of why the blog is ending. Plus, it’s funny to me to see it last just a little bit longer, to dip over just a little into the next year. If the world had ended last week as we were promised, then it wouldn’t be an issue, but oh well. One down, two to go.

So, that said, have a nice New Year’s Eve, you perverts, and have fun. And we’ll make our final goodbyes tomorrow in

And here we go...

Too soon.

picture from here.

Just out of curiosity: Is the shortened final season of 30 Rock coming back in the fall, or as a mid-season thing again?

Also, hopefully they’ll get Jon Hamm (or Matt Damon) back for at least an episode, right?

Robin Masters.

A few things:

1. Today at work I endured a conversation with a random stranger about the seminal television program MacGyver. I love MacGyver, but I wouldn’t go back and watch it now if I could. In my memories it’s still great, and I don’t want those memories to be ruined, shattered, broken, rendered meaningless.

This random stranger really enjoyed MacGyver too, but not as much as I do, or did. Her devotion is not as strong as mine, nor her love as pure. Also, she kept saying “Magnum” when she meant “MacGyver.”

2. After she left, my co-worker and I made fun of her in a very subtle way. We started talking about Magnum, P. I. but we kept saying “Matlock.”

3. RIP Andy Griffith.

4. Remember the episode of Magnum, P.I. where he had to tread water in the ocean for, like, forever? Or, at least for near 45 minutes.

Yeah, it was good. At least… that’s how I remember it.

5. Remember the one where he died and was in a coma, more accurately, and was all astral and ghost-like and was floating around and hanging out people and solving a mystery but no one could see him or hear him?

You think I’m joking but that was totally real.

6. Unrelated… This is a picture of a dog and a bunch of tacos:

7. I can’t testify to full and clear total recall of the episodes, but I am positive that I have seen 100% of MacGyver the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life. I would wager that I have watched 87% of Murder, She Wrote the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life (some of it, or rather, a lot of it in the past year alone). I have probably watched something like 69% of Magnum, P.I. in my life, including the one where that show and Murder, She Wrote crossed over with each other, which I remember happening but don’t fully remember the details of, much to my chagrin.We’re not even going to waste our time talking about the time that Magnum, P.I. crossed over with Simon & Simon. We’re just not.

If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve probably only seen like 34% of Matlock the TV show in my life.

8. Did you ever watch The Rockford Files? It was good. I like James Garner. He’s one of the older actors that I tend to just like in whatever he’s doing.

He played Phillip Marlowe once. You should watch it. It was a silly movie, but highly underrated. Also, it had a really goofy but not terrible Bruce Lee bit part (and a famous scene) in it.

9. I don’t think that Tom Selleck would’ve made that great of an Indiana Jones.

Or, at least, you can only imagine his Indiana Jones as something so incredibly different from the one we all know and love that it is almost incomprehensible.

10. When I was a kid, my father had a great big mustache and wore a lot of Hawaiian shirts and baseball caps and short shorts.

He made faces like these a lot:

So, clearly, the fictional character of Thomas Magnum was my father’s style icon, right?

That seems weird now but maybe it wasn’t so weird back then. How the fuck should I know.

11. No joke: The Magnum, P.I. theme song has been my ringtone for over a year now. It’s the ringtone for calls from numbers that aren’t already in my address book. It was weird to me, considering that, when I spontaneously found myself in this conversation today at work.

12. Maybe it’s not all that weird.

13. Maybe it was fate?

14. Probably not.

15. T.C. was cool but Rick just seemed like an asshole to me.

16. A few nights ago Benjamin Light and I were talking about the future of our podcast and the caterpillar-like life of our blog and how it’ll soon turn into a beautiful and bewildering butterfly – watch for future announcements – and we were also mutually browsing around the internet, just talking and shitting the breeze and I remember reading somewhere that in other countries there confusions and mistranslations and people assumed that the title of the show was Magnum PI

Get it?

17. Anyway.

What a strange coincidence… The ringtone and the random factoid read about the internet and then the strange occurrence of the spontaneous conversation with a stranger about MacGyver but calling it Magnum and I’m trying to fix the broken web of time and it all leads to a journey down the clips show metaphor that is memory lane for me…

18. Maybe it’s not a coincidence. Maybe it’s just a thing, a thing that happens, and it has no meaning other than that which I assign to it?

19. Perhaps it’s no more important than anything, and not even real. Maybe I’m not real. Maybe I’m me, the me that I think I am and only sometimes comfortable with me. Maybe I’m really Zhuangzi, and I’m dreaming that I’m a butterfly.

20. It’s a bit of a stretch, I know, but my mind is still trudging through similar ditches as we slowly make our way towards the end of this blog. Perhaps I’m dancing around things, then taking a few steps backward before marching forward. The past can be a special place, and an odd place where things have different values and meanings assigned to him. Analyze what you can and appreciate the bizarreness of other things and leave them as they are, unmolested, uncontested. Making peace or at least coming to an understanding with your memories is a kind of time travel, and it’s how some of the best mysteries are solved, but don’t forget: The past can be a grotesque animal and you should always be mindful of how you’ll escape it.

21. Like I said… That’s a bit of a stretch, sure.

Also:

“Father figures” by Kevin Wada. I love it. Except for the KISS parts. Oh well.

22. After this… 82 posts to go.

Can you guess how it’ll end? I have an idea…

23. Maybe like this:

Crazy Town Banana Pants.

99 posts to go in our countdown, but today, for your approval, some pictures

Continue reading

And so it begins.

If you’re reading this, then I have sad/happy news for you. And perhaps not the most surprising of news…

This is post #900 on ye olde Counterforce. We haven’t been as prolific as we used to be, and we haven’t been as loud and verbal, and maybe we haven’t been as excited as we should. We’ve enjoyed a moment together and we’re going to enjoy many, many more as well, but I don’t think this next part will shock you: Counterforce is going to end with post #1000.

Why end it there? Why not just end it here, or tomorrow, or four months ago? Because it’s going to end with #1000, that’s fucking why. Because the time is now and because I think this particular iteration of what you know as Counterforce is ending – if I can be as heavy handed as possible – and it has to end before the next aeon can be born. But it needs to go in its own way, in its own style, and with a little celebration. And a little dark forecasting of what lays beyond.

We’re not planning to bury it. At least, that’s not my intention. It’s coming to the end and I hope to leave its exquisite corpse just laying around for people to enjoy. But this isn’t a funeral. This is going to be a fucking dance party with eulogies and crazy LOLcat GIFs. There’s plenty more YouTube embeds and shit talking and Jackface pictures and theorizing about the fate of Don Draper to come before we sign off at this particular URL. We’re still going to talk about the things we like and love and hate and detest while also being super mega self-referential and taking this thing so far down the rabbit hole and up our own asses that the sunrise/set will seem like a perpetual strobe effect.

In short, we’re going out with banging and whimpering, and hopefully both in rhythmic and wonderful succession.

I remember that when the 80s ended, as U2 had their final concert of the decade, they went out on this intensely ominous note, telling their audience that they had to go away for a while and dream it all up again. Most people walked out of that decade thinking their favorite band was over, gone forever, but that wasn’t the case.

Again, that’s a bit heavy handed, but I’m this close to embedding Semisonic videos and telling you that every new beginning starts from some other beginning’s end. Perhaps instead I’ll just tell you that you don’t have to go home, but you just can’t stay here.

Not forever, anyway.

Anyway. Count your fucking blessings. You were lucky enough to know us and enjoy this time and this place and moment. We were lucky enough to know you and fap fap fap fap fap about things we liked or thought were important. And we’re doing to keep doing that here for another 100 posts, and we’ll keep doing it elsewhere. There is, for example, the podcast to brighten and enrich your days now. That’ll be an ever evolving thing. Put it in your ears and your mind. And keep your eyes coming back here for the next 100 posts. The final 100 posts.

And then when you close your eyes, all will go dark. But when you open them again, perhaps there’ll be something new there, just waiting for you to see it.

I hope everyone will come back. Everyone who has ever done anything with this site, or wanted to, and everyone who has ever read it. I want to bathe in all the old jokes and callbacks and motifs and references and the things we loved. I want the old shit to make friends with the new shit and then take the new shit behind the middle school and get it pregnant. And, with any luck, Counterforce will end this year. It’s kind of exciting to think that our last dance would take us right up to the stroke of midnight at the end of the world, right?

“Melody Williams, that’s a geography teacher. Melody Pond’s a superhero.”

Last week was a hell of a cliffhanger and the start of a massive call to arms. This week we discover that the answer to the question “Where is the worst place in the universe to be standing?” is easily found out when you kidnap Amy Pond. A baby is born, a baby is kidnapped, a trap is sprung, some old friends return for the first time, we finally discover who River Song is, and this week on Doctor Who we discover that a battle can be lost and won simultaneously and that demons run when “A Good Man Goes To War.”

Continue reading

Who wants a Rusty Venture?

The debate continues…

…from Sunday’s season finale of The Venture Bros., “Operation P.R.O.M.,” as discussed here.

Operation B.L.O.G.

Three things today. Two of them looking forward and one looking back…

1. This…

…is hilarious to me. Art by a fella named Murray Groat mashing up TinTin with the Lovecraft mythos. Something about Hergé’s ligne claire style of art mixed with that lovable scamp Cthulhu is just perfect to me. I’m looking forward to Spielberg’s upcoming TinTin movie mostly because it seems like it’s Spielberg just geeking out and that seems fascinating to me since even when he’s at his zaniest, he’s still very controlled, very measured, never what I think you could call “excessive.” How great would it be to see that little French kid taking all tentacled Old Ones from beyond the stars that inspire madness at their very mention? That’s a recipe for box office success, yo.

2. Rumor: Matthew Goode as Superman in the Zack Snyder reboot? That’s bullshit.

I guess that’s better than Gerard Butler, Patrick Wilson, or Billy Crudup though. But, that said, if you’re worried that I’m going to complain about every little bit of news that pops up about Zack Snyder’s Superman movie, then… well, I have nothing to suggest otherwise. There’s a very good thing that I may do just that.

And, yes, also bullshit: That they’re still trying to push forward with the big screen Buffy The Vampire Slayer reboot. We’ll see if it actually makes it to movie theaters. But you should read the always classy Joss Whedon’s reaction to the latest news of the matter.

from here.

3. ast night’s season finale of The Venture Bros. was nothing short of amazing and more than made up for what was not so much a bad season but an unspectacular one. There’s just too much to talk about with the episode but I think the show found a niche that I’d like to see it explore more in the future (if it has a future): a one hour running time, which both allows the plotlines to breathe and run on but doesn’t ever stifle their growth. And, Jesus, they managed to wrap up like 15 storylines there too.

If this was the last episode of the show ever (a very sad but quite possible outcome), it was a worthy one. The show went back to it’s well: Balls to the wall failure and immaturity. Hank and Dean got a home school prom. All of the manly men struck out, dreams weren’t just crushed but stomped into the ground, and women are more than a whole other genre to the males of the show, they’re a whole other monstrous species. At first I was amazed at how long the “Rusty Venture” sex act gag went on and then it reached a point of equilibrium where I never wanted it to end. Al and Shore Leave were some of my least favorite characters (mostly because they, like Sgt. Hatred, were an incredibly funny idea that was literally beat into the ground over and over), but I kind of like that they’re the only ones that found happiness.

Is it sad that I not only loved the montage that ended the episode but almost found it as poignant as the final very musical moments of Lost from earlier this year. And, as if showrunners Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer didn’t have enough geek cred, I adored that the montage was set to Pulp’s “Like A Friend,” a song about how relationships are hard and that it’s easy to be yourself if you suck…

I Got You Babe.

There’s no such thing as fresh starts because lives are always going on, or is there? Or are they? I don’t know, but I do know that you can always go home again, as long as your ex-wife hasn’t sold it, because it’s where the heart is (and perhaps where the head is not). That and maybe more as we talk about last night’s “Tomorrowland,” the season finale of Mad Men

August Bravo: No matter what we thought, well, maybe a little, or what we thought the writers might have thought, this episode, and season for that matter, was about Don Draper, or as some know him, Dick. Lives, businesses, relationships, friendships, and all those other ships we thought were sinking, didn’t. Like Marco told me earlier, this finale wasn’t as upbeat as last season’s. It showed slim promise and some possibilities, but didn’t leave you thinking, “What the fuck is going to happen next?”

Marco: Well, I’d definitely say it leaves you wondering what happens next, but more so than usual, I think you can guess what’s going to happen next and you’re worried that it may not be so great for the characters. Don, especially.

August: Don’s somewhat “redemption” was almost completely omitted from this episode making everyone believe that crises was averted or that it may play a role in his probably inevitable divorce with Megan. Is it Megan?

Marco: “Megan… out there?” as Roger puts it so perfectly. As Joan says, Don’s grinning like an idiot, as if he’s the first schmuck on Madison Avenue/in professional New York/the world to marry his secretary, but having Roger be surprised adds a very special symmetry, especially since Don’s pulling a Roger there, and it’s kind of weird.

Can you imagine the Don Draper version of Sterling’s Gold?

August: The somewhat reference that the rest of the cast ACTUALLY exists was finding out, which we thought we knew, but thought it might be too obvious, but I guess wasn’t, was that…

…Joan is in fact still pregnant.

Marco: I love that Mad Men is such a unique show that amongst it’s many other wonderful qualities, still has it’s own rhythms and ways of going about the rules of storytelling, counter to other popular ideas about narrative. There is a certain pattern you can expect from each season, we’ve finally learned, isn’t there?

It’s usually: The season starts with some intriguing signs of where the characters have landed since the previous season. Intriguing ideas and/or questions are brought up. Should they actually answer those questions, it’ll be in a relatively vague though still meaningful way. That question, which literally started off this season was: Who the fuck is Don Draper? We’ve gotten a multi-faceted answer to that, certainly.

From there, certain problems and dramatic conflicts will arise around mid-season. They’ll seem massive – Oh no, the government is about to discover that Don Draper is a liar and a deserter! – but will fizzle quickly, leaving you curious as to their placement at all. Certain things will pop up, which will make you suspect where the story is going – did Joan actually not get that abortion? – but you’ll think, “No, that’s far too obvious. They won’t go there.” They will, friends. Then, whatever the endgame of the season is, it won’t appear until the last two or three episodes and it will be an all consuming fire.

August: Except for Megan. That carrot was dangled in front of us and we’ve just been waiting for Don to take bite after bite after bite.

Marco: True. It’s funny how we believe certain things from this show. When Dr. Faye said to Don that he’s the kind of guy that would be married again within the year, I think we all believed that.

Though, of course, I don’t think I stand alone when I say that we hoped that it would be Dr. Faye that we hoped Don would end up with, or that she’d be the kind of partner he’d strive to find happiness with. The fact that she’s a feminist and someone who has pushed Don to accept himself, and possibly integrate his two personas as it were, didn’t hurt. She’s helped his business, helped his mind, and helped his soul, as it were, yet there’s certain things she couldn’t provide Don that seemed to really make him look elsewhere.

August: She couldn’t be a caregiver to his children while he was off doing whatever he wanted to. She’s the anti-Betty.

Marco: That and she couldn’t worship him the way Megan seemingly can. Plus, I think that as much as Don wants to be able to stop hiding and stop running from the spectre of Dick Whitman, a part of him enjoys the lies that come with the running and hiding. Don Draper is the greatest product he’s ever advertised, and with Megan, he can find a fresh start at that.

August: But Henry Francis says there are no fresh starts!

Marco: I can’t believe that Henry Francis has lingered this whole season.

Sadly, we’ve really dropped the ball this season, August and I, because there’s so much we could say about this episode, so much that needs to be said, but it all ties into this past season and that’s a dialogue that I’m incredibly sad that we haven’t had here at Counterforce. On behalf of us and directed at the three people who actually reads these Mad Men posts from us, I apologize. I had some shit going on and August didn’t have cable. And refused to buy the episodes on itunes. And couldn’t figure out megavideo.

from here.

August: You just knew where it was all going once Stephanie handed Don that engagement ring from the real Don Draper.

Marco: Oh, seriously. Chekhov might as well have come out to California with Don and the kids and fired that ring out of a gun right at Megan.

It’s funny that I posted this picture from Videogum the other day…

…and sadly it came so true, in a lot of ways, since we’re speaking of Megan and Dr. Faye and Sally and… Well, have we mentioned Sally yet? Cause if we haven’t, we should be talking about Sally this season, right?

August: We haven’t mentioned her yet.

from here.

Marco: Sally! I believe I kept mentioning in our conversations about the show last year how much I liked Sally’s character, how interesting I thought her storylines were, and I feel like that’s only been compounded on more wonderfully this season. Bobby’s still kind of useless, but I’m glad that Sally has really stepped forward and is becoming a real person, even at such a young age, though, again, it’ll be interesting to watch her grow into herself and who she’s going to be while still being the child of Don and Betty Draper.

Anyway, so that once picture: Sally telling Dr. Faye that she’s fired. Ha ha, funny. But kind of eerily prescient in a way, considering that episode, “The Beautiful Girls,” when I know that a lot of people read that one scene there, Benjamin Light included, as Sally kind of picking Megan out of the rest of the “beautiful girls” that surround her father. And maybe Don picked up on that.

I mean, we knew Don wanted to fuck Megan. That notion was exploding louder than bombs for a handful of episodes before it happened, but this picture from Videogum

…is kind of funny for how very accurate it had become.

August: I can’t write too much about this episode because in my head I’m still processing how to feel about it all. The bit I particularly enjoyed the most was Don telling Peggy that Megan(??) looked up to her, and had the same sort of spark, and Peggy being completely jealous. Maybe Peggy will be wife number 3 (or is it number 4??) Her childlike jealousy really made this episode. To see Don slowly turning into Roger (maaaaybe), or to see the evolution of Betty, and I guess Peggy’s, unhappiness/jealousy, or maybe Megan’s (yes, it is Megan) slow transition into the life of being Mrs. Draper/Whitman will be the most interesting thing to watch next season.

Marco: I don’t trust Megan. Well, no, that’s not true. But she’s very manipulative. And Jessica Paré is, I think, very good at playing that so subtly. Megan’s incredibly smart, but dumb and silly in all those ways that a 25 year old would seem or should see to a 40 year old man who should know better – though Don has two addictions in his life: women and the sauce - but it’s not hard to see the way she’s worked the situation with Don to her advantage.

That’s not particularly insidious because all stabs at romance are some form of manipulation, if you think about it, no matter how well intentioned and wholesome they seem. But she’s told Don exactly what he needs or wants to hear, especially that she doesn’t care about his past, just who he is now. For a man who’s finally started to accept that he has all his life ahead of him, what he really wants to do is live in the now. Especially with a girl like Megan, who seems to adore him, but I think will be much better at getting what she wants or deserves than Betty was.

Maybe this really will be “happily ever after” for Don, but I doubt it. But really, it’s not the happily ever after I would’ve picked for this character. I suspect that he’s traded in one “lost weekend” phase for perhaps another? But let’s face it, Don’s not a guy who will get a classical happily ever after, is he? He’s too prone to a life of solemn remorse.

That said, I would disagree with your take on Peggy. Jealousy? Maybe. But I think that was a very, very small part of that look she gave Don. I think if we could’ve heard her thoughts or seen them in a comic book word bubble floating over her head, they would’ve read as: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? HER?! HUH? WHAT?

But Peggy’s defined her life by Don to a lot of degrees. She has, in her own small way, just saved the agency by finally signing some new business, no matter how small, and here’s Don, her mentor, running around like an idiot. And his comment to Peggy about how Megan reminds him a lot of her is the ultimate slap in the face for a great many reasons. For a season that contained the show’s best episode, “The Suitcase,” in which Don and Peggy finally bond in kind of a real way, it was kind of hard to watch their interaction this year end like this.

But, that scene with Joan and Peggy immediately after was perfect. A Joan/Peggy show? I’d watch that. I hope that next season shows those two really claiming some of the power around SCDP (or will it just be SDP?) that they more than rightfully deserve.

August: I think this season had a lot of ups and downs, but mostly ups. Overwhelmingly ups. Like I said, the storyline I’m most interested in for the next year is the stuff with Don and Megan, should Don and Megan really work out. They didn’t leave us with a lot of answers this season, but we maybe that’s because we were all asking too many questions.

Marco: I think you’re right about that. The status quo’s been changed, some things and people are gone, and some are still with us, just amplified. We think we’re ready for what tomorrow will bring, but we have no idea. Just like Don there, we’re laying awake in the dark with a near stranger sleeping beside us as stare out at the night.