The year in pictures, part two.

Almost there. Not quite yet though…

But, man, what a frustrating year.

I felt like Tyler Coates‘ picture here summed up what my attitude was going into this year. And what all of our attitudes should’ve been. As it always should be.

And now Alec Baldwin sums up how I felt about this year.

Though this year has brought some things that I desperately wanted to see.

Or never thought I would see (all together in the same club).

Or things that I would be okay never seeing again.

And some things, things from my childhood, came to an end.

Some things, I think, I realized I was glad to see go.

And it really hit me in this past year that some things will not last forever.

And some of those things are through. Professionally, I mean.

Oh well. Shit happens. Things come. And things go.

And they keep going.

It’s all about perspective.

Isn’t that what they say?

This was the year of hope.

This was the year of rejections.

This was the year of saying that you wanted a revolution.

And it was also the year where you said, “Could you try not to rub your beard up against my forest of tears?”

It was about new things.

And new things to regret (in the morning)(probably)(but hopefully not).

It was, for me, the year I just accepted the often hellish, nonstop barrage of celebrity bullshit.

…Especially in the face of weird hookups that I just can’t condone.

And seeing things I loved shat upon.

But these things happen.

We hold onto the good.

And let go of the bad.

Time to dust yourself off.

Maybe you’ve learned some things. About life, the world, and yourself.

And made some decisions.

And had some fun.

But just remember…

It’s easy to ride off into the sunset.

It’s hard to still be there when the sun rises. But that’s where the true excitement and the fun lay.

Hopefully we’ll see you there.

from here.

The year in pictures, part one.

…but not for much longer.

Midnight In Dostoevsky” by Don DeLillo, who has a new novel in 2010!

Plotting the ruination of Radiohead?

Lady Gaga and the Queen.

This is easily the film I’m most looking forward to next year.

2009 was the year to set aside childish things. Namely, the last eight years.

Putin to retire soon? “Don’t hold your breath,” he says.

“Like taking candy from someone who seriously likes candy.”

There’s always time in time and space to stop and smell the flowers.

from here.

There’s water on the moon!

What this decade has been lacking thus far: Authenticity.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?

The end of love, part one.

Person of the year?

Is this what the culture’s come to?

You know what, don’t answer that.

Going where others have gone before.

Iran pisses on itself just a little more.

“You better be in fear.”

If you are neighbors with Sarah Palin, I guess that puts you within visual range of Russia?

New terror in the skies?

First rap is dead, then love (part two)?

Serious contender for best picture of the year, right?

Both Winston Churchill and Pynchon love inherent vices.



New Justice.

Hacker of the year?

Just think about all the sex you’ve had in the past year (or should have been having.)

MISS U, Batman (though not for much longer).

MISS/LUV U, Juliet.

Tiger Woods killed Brittany Murphy!

“Memes” and “Contraflow.”

I saw her again last night.”

Birds successfully begin phase one of their attack on humanity.

In the year full of recurring royalty and ending love affairs, of course the king of pop songs would die. Makes me want to scream.

Was 2009 the year of sci fi?

The end of love, part three.

To be continued!

List-o-mania, part 1: While you wait for the others.

It’s such a weird time of year, as it starts getting colder in most places, probably especially in our hearts and in our memories, and yet we cast our gaze ever backwards, trying to search our sonic amusements from the past year for value. What was important. What was worthy of being called “the best of” this odd little year that was.

I could wait forever for your answer and you could wait even longer for someone else’s answer, but here’s mine. I hope other members of Counterforce will pipe in at some point with albums/singles/music they valued in the past year, especially as we start cutting up everything of pop culture into lines to put in lists and snort up. But this is my picks, music-wise, albums either released or leaked into the blogosphere and my world this year, split unnumbered into three categories:  The Best Of and Somewhere In The Middle and Albums That Let Me Down This Year. That’s probably about as clear as I can be with categories. Now, let’s take a look back…


Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest.

Broadcast, Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age.

As I’ve seen many people say online, you might like this album if the album title alone attracts your interest. Simply put, this feels like a lovely dream pop/electronica soundtrack to a 60s horror movie about wandering sonic textures hunting down pop songs that I desperately wish was waiting out there for me to discover it.

St. Vincent, Actor.

The best album produced via GarageBand with songs inspired by Woody Allen and Disney movies ever.

Mos Def, The Ecstatic.

Fuck Buttons, Tarot Sport.

Japandroids, Post-Nothing.

Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

Quite frankly, car commercial music has never sounded this good.

mewithoutYou, It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright!

The Raveonettes, In And Out Of Control.

A Place To Bury Strangers, Exploding Head.

Where noise rock, shoegaze, space rock, post punk, and a truckload of dissonance all combine into a giant wall that falls down on you, crushing you. Or, exploding your head, if you will. Not a band for everyone, and definitely not an album for everyone, but if you love sonic death waves, this will be your bag.

Lisa Hannigan, Sea Sew.

I’ve been a huge fan of Hannigan’s work with Damien Rice but always disturbed that she’s been relegated to being in his backing band when her talent has always seemed up and front there with Rice’s own. And honestly, I can only watch/listen to a sad man moaning and keeping a girl down for so long. I hope this is the beginning of Hannigan conquering more and more accolades.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz.

Oh yeah, remember that this came out earlier this year? A solid album, definitely, but not totally compelling in a long term sense, but maybe nothing can be after a mountain like “Maps.” Regardless, I think this album works as a whole and still carries several excellent cuts on it. Silly though it may be, “Soft Shock” is a personal favorite of mine.

The-Dream, Love vs. Money.

Fever Ray, Fever Ray.

Beach House, Teen Dream.

SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE: Albums that are solid, but perhaps over hyped a tad. Or, albums that I like but sadly don’t love.

Andrew Bird, Noble Beast.

“Baroque pop” is how Wikipedia describes this album, and I can see it. It’s indie rock, and it’s well done, but it’s not my usual cup of tea. And I think the album reinforces that, actually, by always impressing me, surprising me with it’s mechanical beauty, but never making me feel like I am a part of it.

Mr. Hudson, Straight No Chaser.

The album is not so bad, but “Supernova,” the Kanye-produced (who also guests, of course)(and continuing his quest to either become European or just conquer European music) lead single by this British artist is my pick for what should be one of the songs of the year:

Bat For Lashes, Two Suns.

Dinosaur Jr., Farm.

Girls, Album.

Good, solid music, but not worth the hype. Praise comes too easy to some people who are not gifted with the depth of thought or true judgment.

The XX, xx.

See above, though this album has more going for it than the Girls album, I feel. Years from now, or possibly just months and days (with the way my life is going) I will quite possibly fall in love with this album. It’s simple in a way, understated, clumsy in a practiced way. There’s a nuance to it, but make no mistake: This is a album for the loneliest, horniest of hipster.

Handsome Furs, Face Control.

No longer a side project and now what feels like a good and proper musical collaboration between Dan Broeckner and his wife Alexei Perry. It fascinates me that their reference to New Order got this album delayed while it was cleared legally. There’s a beautiful rhythmic groove hatched in this album.

Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion.

This is, without a doubt, the album to take drugs to and then take your clothes off to of the year. Enjoy it with another person, but it’s still good by yourself too.

Sonic Youth, The Eternal.

La Roux, La Roux.

A shock and a revelation as far as European dance music goes. Bright, shiny, and beautifully off kilter.

Mirah, (A)spera.

…And You Shall Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Century Of Self.

Micachu and the Shapes, Jewellery.

Third Eye Blind, Ursa Major.

Originally entitled “That Hideous Strength,” taking it’s title from C.S. Lewis, this is a nostalgia pick that doesn’t totally betray me but there’s nothing resembling fireworks on this album. I’m probably the biggest fan in the world of their previous album and this one feels exactly like it was: six years late and the product of a long drought of writer’s block, but definitely the work of the same artist. The band will release their own version of Amnesiac, entitled Ursa Minor, at some point.

Atlas Sound, Logos.

Vivian Girls, Everything Goes Wrong.

Mastodon, Crack The Skye.

Art Brut, Art Brut vs. Satan.

It’s a crazy, fun music party until someone has the balls to challenge Satan. And this English/German indie rock band, with beautiful production by Black Francis, who take their name from Jean Dubuffet’s name for outsider art, lose to Satan, of course. But it’s a tight, clean, and highly listenable loss.

Metric, Fantasies.

Amy Millan, Masters Of The Burial.

The Antlers, Hospice.

Florence And The Machine, Lungs.

The album is decent enough, but all you really need to know is the song, “Dog Days Are Over.” Give it a listen and then tell me if I’m wrong.

ALBUMS THAT LET ME DOWN THIS YEAR: Maybe they’re not terrible, maybe they have some strong points, but like I said, they let me down.

Doves, Kingdom Of Rust.

A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Ashes Grammar.

U2, No Line On The Horizon.

Still the biggest band in the world, no matter how much it upsets your stupid sensibilities. The sad thing about being on the top though is that you can only fall down.

Julian Casablancas, Phrazes For The Young.

I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t expect much from Casablancas. This album isn’t horrible by any means, but never lives up to the possibility you felt in it’s lead off single, “11th Dimension.” The rest of the album, which references Oscar Wilde in it’s title, feels like a few normal rock songs with extra silly production layered onto them by Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis. If I was in junior high, or at least floating around somewhere in the first few years of high school, I would probably think this was the greatest thing ever and might request it at a dance or something. And possibly adding insult to injury, I give you the song (which I actually like quite a bit) by Courtney Love that’s about Casablancas:

The Boy Least Likely To, The Law Of The Playground.

Brand New, Daisy.

Better Than Ezra, Paper Empire.

Another nostalgia pick. BTE, actually, used to be my favorite band. It’s a long story, one that started with a girl, but thankfully, at the end of the story I was left with the better of the two: the music. Now I feel like I don’t even have that. For a band that that mines a brand of “cool” and “joy” that is wonderful and easy to inhabit, I would easily recommend this band. Their previous album was slyly wonderful, as were all of their albums before that.

The Mars Volta, Octahedron.

I think I’m just over this. I appreciate music that sounds like you’re on drugs but I have grown to dislike the Mars Volta’s evolving sound into my needing to be drugs to find an appreciation groove in what they do.

Well, this has been my 2009 in music, for the most part. The best of, the solid and entertaining, and the stuff that let me down. There’s some highs and lows in here, as far as music released/leaked this year goes, but these are my peaks and valleys. What do you think? And what was your year in music like?


Today is September 9, 2009. 09/09/09, everybody!

It’s a precursor to the end of the world! Crazy numerology voodoo! Math and numbers gone crazy! Ahhhh.

But it’s mostly pretty cool. Be prepared!

Supposedly today is a good day to get married.

And the Beatles Rock Band game comes out today also, I guess?


Revolution #9. Is Paul Dead? Turn Me On, Dead Man! “#9 Dream” and Number9Dream.

Famous events on this day in history: A bunch of war shit, particularly in World War II, but HUD was also established, California was admitted into the union, and Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time way back in 1956. Oh, and the Sega Dreamcast came out ten years ago.


“As a great philosopher once said…” Elvis, you’re an asshole. Just ask the Beatles.

Famous births acknowledged today: Emperor Aurelian, William Bligh, Cliff Robertson, Sylvia Miles, Chaim Topol, Inez Foxx, Jeffrey Combs, Michelle Williams, Eric Serra, Hugh Grant, Adam Sandler, Rachel Hunter, Goran Visnjic, and Michael Bublé. So, really, Sept. 9 is the OFFICIAL B-CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY.

Famous deaths on this day in history: A lot of history’s only so so interesting people, some of the standouts including English serial killers and Chairman Mao.

Also today: This movie, 9, comes out today. Ehhh.

And not to be confused with Nine, the musical with the mega all start cast of Oscar Winners based on Fellini’s 8 1/2.


And on the same summer that District 9 came out!

Creepy coincidence city!

Much like a lot of the coincidence that are bound to pop up with the number 9 or a date like today’s. Personally, I just think it’s cool to see 09/09/09 wherever the date is written.

Hail To The Chief

I’m too wired to write anything too coherent, but here are some random thoughts on that thing that happened today.

“I’m not talking about blind optimism here — the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t think about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about something more substantial…

Hope — Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!”

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

Like many of my West Coast brethren, I watched the inauguration on my couch in pajamas.

Watching on TV certainly didn’t diminish the almost bottomless pit of sappiness I felt. My favorite was at the end, during Reverend Lowry’s benediction. He says: “Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen.”

Reverend Lowry with Martin Luther King, via Cornell University

Reverend Lowry with Martin Luther King, via Cornell University

But okay, we get it with the historical significance, right? We get it. Let’s move on to more superficial matters. Like for one, we have attractive people in the White House once again. Look at this fucking hot Presidential team back when they were on the Campaign trail:

And let’s not forget how adorable Sasha and Malia Obama are:

you know joe biden is the coolest fucking uncle ever, right?

you know joe biden is the coolest fucking uncle ever, right?

Sex is totally happening in the White House tonight, you guys.

The Look.

"You want to know how Barack prepares for a debate?', 'He hangs out with me' -- Michelle Obama

Let’s not forget Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden (she didn’t get her doctorate for you to call her Mrs, okay?) who killed it with the sexy knee high boots today. Fashion forward Michelle wore a custom gown designed by Isabel Toledo, foregoing her usual Narciso Rodriguez (who designed the red and black dress she wore on Election Night). The kind of clothes the first lady wears sends a big message to the fashion industry, rather than go with big name designers like Donna Karan or Oscar De La Renta (although Michelle would look beautiful in an Oscar gown, sigh), Michelle’s choice of going for smaller names is indicative of the message this administration is sending. It’s time for change. Big changes. Look how stodgy and old the Bushes look versus the Obamas:

I am fascinated by what George Bush would say to Obama. The Bush sisters wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal today giving advice to Sasha and Malia, which I thought was pretty cute and interesting. On election night, one of the creepiest thinsg I head was the NBC newscaster getting a little too excited over the fact that there’d be “little girls” in the White House again.

the time has come to set aside childish things

the time has come to set aside childish things

I’ve been watching the coverage on ABC all day (still haven’t changed out of my pajamas and Veronica Mars hoodie. Its my sexy blogger outfit!) and have been fascinated by the traditions that follow the Inauguration. After the ceremony, Obama saw the Bushes and Cheneys off as Bush boarded a plane (no longer called Air Force One since he is no longer President!) and Dick Cheney was wheeled into a limo to take him to his evil lair. He was looking an awful lot like Mr. Lebowski today. Then, he got to sign his first executive orders and continuity of government, which expired when Bush’s term officially ended. I felt a particular chill when Dianne Feinstein called him Mr. President as he signed all the papers.

After that, lunch time! On the menu: seafood stew (paired with a sauvignon blanc), a  brace of american birds (paired with a pinot noir), and an apple cinammon sponge cake (paired with a california sparkling white wine, the web site says champagne but whoever wrote it is obviously philistine who does not know that if it’s not from france it’s not champagne it’s sparkling white wine.) All California wines, which is a nice touch! They’re also presented with gifts, which include a giant framed photo of their ceremony, the flags that were flown over the Capitol and two engraved crystal bowls. If it were me, those bowls would hold candy on my desk in the Oval Office. That’s probably some kind of sacrilege, right?

the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

During the lunch, which was closed to the press, in a you couldn’t make this shit up move, ex KKK member Senator Robert Byrd collapsed. I guess his little racist heart couldn’t take seeing a woman who was directly descended from slaves be seated at the head of the room.  The news people actually felt bad about was that Senator Teddy Kennedy also collapsed and had to be taken away in an ambulance.

After lunch, it’s time for the inagural parade. Many people thought the Obamas wouldn’t walk the route to the White House but they did for some of it. Michelle managing to keep it together in that short dress and Jimmy Choos in 25 degree weather is an inspiration to us all.  No taking off the shoes and walking barefoot on concrete for our First Lady.

If I ever had to run against her for public office, I know that she would beat me without much difficulty.

"If I ever had to run against her for public office, I know that she would beat me without much difficulty. "

What’s on the agenda for President Obama this week? Some of his staff have already gone into the office while the president was having lunch. After partying it up tonight (I just heard he plans on attending 10 inaugural balls), Obama plans on starting his day with some prayer and meeting with some military officials to discuss Iraq. If you’re in DC, you could also sign up to be taken on a special tour of the White House. And to make it all official, the White House website has changed to reflect the new president and guess what? It’s got a blog. I wonder if he’ll add us to his blogroll?

Yes We Can.

"... that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can."


Text of Obama’s Inauguration Speech

Text of Obama’s Election Night Speech

Text of Obama’s 2004 DNC Speech

If you liked it, you should’ve put a ring on it.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” -T.S. Eliot.

Did I like 2008? Yeah, sure, I guess. Not a great year, but not a total wasteland, and I didn’t get shot or stabbed or ran down by any husbands who had walked in on me with their wives this year, so that’s always good. Same thing weird diseases. Or being sold into sex slavery. And I didn’t get poor enough that I had to dance for money, not yet, in the past year. All very good things.

But it’s a new year! Time for reinvention and letting go of old baggage and guilt and what have you, right? I mean, that’s the theory, at least. But it’s a good one. Time for everyone to be something new.

Unless you’re just incredibly fucking amazing. If that’s the case, then why screw with a winning formula? I mean, shit, that’s what I always say. Not out loud, mind you. You know, just to the mirror and what have you.

As I was wandering about the night on New Year’s Eve, I noticed that Sci Fi channel was playing a marathon of the The Twilight Zone. Beautiful. I hadn’t seen an episode in years so I lingered a bit.

Of course all the classics were aired like “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet” with William Shatner and “Time Enough At Last” with Burgess Meredith and “Eye Of The Beholder” (which was also known as “The Private World Of Darkness”). And kudos to them for even playing the very first episode, “Where Is Everybody?” which contains no sci fi elements at all, just quality writing. I have no idea if this was one of those countdown to the best episodes things or not since I didn’t stick around that long, but I can guarantee that if it was, then the best episode was probably one of the first three I mentioned.

Anyways, that was then and this is now. New year, new words, language, and voice. Let’s all start talking dirty to each other.

The Walkmen “In The New Year” (mp3)

Times New Viking “Another Day” (mp3)

Camera Obscura “Happy New Year” (mp3)

Teenage Fanclub “Alcoholiday” (mp3)

Kadman “New Year’s Day” (mp3)

Fuck Buttons “Bright Tomorrow” (mp3)

Audrye Sessions “New Year’s Day” (mp3)

The Eels “Old Shit/New Shit” (mp3)

Crimson menstrual dawn

Morning, Sunshine!

It is a New Day, and all that perfunctory bullshit. As Occam pointed out to me last night, we no longer have to see those morons wearing 200X glasses on new years eve because next year it’ll be 2010. Huzzah!

Was it me or did the telecasts last night feature more product placement and in-camera advertisements than ever before? The fucking hideous nivea tophats. I’m sure they paid a shitload of money to NBC to keep cutting to shots of people wearing them. Sometime soon either I or an associate of ours is going to do a post on advertising and how not cool and sexy it is like they show on Mad Men.



Meh. Granted, it’s a New Day now and all, but I still feel the need to look back over 2008 and offer some worthless thoughts on it. I would have done some earlier, but Marco was on a roll. But still, who the fuck is Eartha Kitt? Also, maybe I’m a callous asshole — okay not maybe, I am — but I just don’t feel great sadness when very old people pass away. Sure, death sucks and all and we’ll miss those who’ve gone away, but if you reach 80, it’s kind of like, hey man, you had a good run, save us a window table in hell.

blah blah blah. My favorite word of the year was “contraflow.” What a fucking awesome word, should be used way more often.

deadly fart

Meme,” on the other hand, was my least favorite. Thousands of naive little Obama supporters running around the internets “meme this” and “meme that.” Basically any time somebody wrote anything not laudatory of Mr. O, some twerp would pop up screaming about how this is the latest MSM meme dsfasd sgadg. Fuck em. And retire that fucking word.

My least favorite journalistic trend of 08 was every third headline being “XXsubjectXX set to XXverbXX.” This, along with the rise of over-covering press conferences, is indicative of the media’s new lazy standards. They don’t cover a story anymore, they just announce that something is going to happen sometime soon. We seriously don’t need to go live to the scene where Brett Favre’s plane is set to land. If you want a culprit for the slow death of print media, don’t look at the Internet, look at cable television and the fucking associated press.

My favorite news story of the year was this:

Man jumps from plane with no parachute, dies

Saturday, June 7, 2008
(06-07) 16:51 PDT Duanesburg, N.Y. (AP) —

A 29-year-old man leaped out of a plane at 10,000 feet with a camera but no parachute Saturday. His body was found next to a house with a damaged roof, police said.

Sloan Carafello of Schenectady, who was observing on the flight, followed an instructor, student and videographer out the door, wearing no skydiving gear, officials said.

Police said they did not suspect foul play but would not elaborate.

Robert Rawlins, pilot and owner of the Duanesburg Skydiving Club, said he was flying the single-engine plane and had begun to close the door when Carafello jumped.

His body was found next to a house west of Albany.

Never jump out of an airplane without a parachute or a gun. One of those two.

Never jump out of an airplane without a parachute or a gun. One of those two.


What to look for this year from Counterforce: I’d like to get us a real domain and maybe even migrate the page to our own design and depart from wordpress. Or maybe we’ll all get bored and stop posting. We’ll see.

Prince Caspian is the new Douchebag. From now on, instead of calling a long, or even shaggy-haired guy a d-bag, we shall call them prince caspian.

I really enjoyed the Stars Sad Robot EP this year. Anathem was a great read. Having not seen any of the winter oscar bait, and not being very impressed by the buzz, I’m going to declare Wall-E the best movie of 08. There were many many many movies tied for the worst.

I did see most of those.