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

Four more years.

Please show yourself out, Mittens.

And this:

http://whitepeoplemourningromney.tumblr.com/

…which has this great image:

Ha ha. I figured the TTMM guys would appreciate the return of that meme.

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?

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!

Paradise Circus.

The other day as I was wasting time away on the internet, as I’m typically wont to do, someone posted this song for all the world to hear and join in on appreciating…

That’s Massive Attack’s “Paradise Circus” featuring Hope Sandoval  (whom you might know from her Warm Inventions or, of course, Mazzy Fucking Star), from their last album, Heligoland. The person who posted that song the other day, Sarah Lynn Knowles, had previously listed Heligoland as one of her favorite albums of this year so far and mentioned that “Paradise Circus” was probably her favorite track of the year.

It was so weird to me, seeing those words from another person, which basically forced me to realize that this is also my favorite song from this year. I had wanted this song to my song of the summer, and what a great summer that would’ve been, but instead “Paradise Circus” became, if not the song I most identified with in some sad way over the summer, than certainly the song I probably listened to the most.

Months and months ago Conrad Noir had sent me a link to the original promotional video that went with the song, directed by Toby Dye, and I had enjoyed it, thought it was the usual amusing and charming NSFW stab at internet marketing that a serious musical artist with cred usually takes (think Sigur Rós’ “Gobbledigook” previously), but, while I loved the song, and thought that promotional video really fit it, I think something about the novelty of it just… lost me. I forgot about the song.

Not shocking. It’s been a busy year for me, and the summer has been especially crazy. Crazier than I usually am, and that’s a pretty astounding feat. Plus, I cram a lot of new music into my head. It’s a sponge most times, sucking in all the good and the bad and the everything in between, but sometimes things go in one ear and bypass the chewy center and slip right out the other ear…

But then somewhere in the past few months this song worked it’s way back into my life, back into my head, as songs are wont to do. Something about that first hearing (second, actually) was amazing, and it was probably due to my having heard it before, but either way, the song started to grow on me. I downloaded it somewhere, possessed it, played it whenever I wanted, commanding it like a snake charmer, summoning it like a genie in a musical bottle. And, like I said, it became the song of my summer, if you will. And if it wasn’t that, then it was certainly, as my itunes will certainly attest to, the song I listened to the most.

And when I started to slowly realize that, that was when the universe started throwing it in my face. As the universe is wont to do, of course. First it’s used in an episode of True Blood from this past season…

…and it’s used perfectly. And the dancer in that video is absolutely right when she mentions that she knows the secret to life and it’s simply this: “A hell I’ll never get out of alive.” And then Bill the vampire tells her, “No one ever does.” And then he adds, SOOKEH IS MAHN!”

And again, the song is used perfectly there. It’s the perfect song to be playing during a particular poignant moment with a stripper in a darkened club somewhere. It’s also the perfect song to be playing on a show about vampires and werewolves, with all the metaphors for darkness between humans at play there, and all that dirty, raunchy, wonderful sex. “Paradise Circus” is just a song that evokes something in you, something twisted but smooth, something sexy but hidden away from light. It reminds you of a time in your life that you had something nasty but wonderful going on, of when you related in a way to parts of season 6 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and you have a hard time putting that resonance in words.

Or maybe not. Maybe that’s just me.

As I was sitting down to write this, just browsing around the wildways of the internet, as I am always so wont to do, I found another video that someone made, somewhat amateur-ish, but a glossy production.

Then, the other day I’m laying in bed watching something on my ipod, watching the first episode of Luther, the police drama that Idris Elba (Stringer Bell!) did back in his native country not too long ago, and of course “Paradise Circus” is the theme song to that song. Of course.

But, again, it fits perfectly. Luther is a dark, sexy show about a brilliant cop who’s always walking just little bit more than just a little across the dark side. I truly wish that American cop shows had not just the weight and intensity of a show like this, not just the style, but the intellect. And it’s nice to see Idris Elba (who is soon to take over the role of Alex Cross from Morgan Freeman, in addition to starring in both Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Thor and the new Nic Cage/Ghost Rider movie) in a role where he sacrifices nothing of his presence but does shed the cleanness that we’ve seen from him on The Wire or on The Office a year or two ago, whenever it was.

The show starts with Luther tracking down his prey, a killer of women and children, and quite possibly letting the man fall to his death intentionally without helping him. The first episode, trying to avoid spoilers as much as i can here, ends with Luther’s new antagonist, whose nothing that he’s faced before or can predict, finding that killer of women and children, who survived the fall and ended up in a coma. Somewhere between those two points, Luther went a little crazy from what he did, took some time off from the job and was separated from his wife for a while. When he’s cleared of all wrong doing (oh, you foolish police inquiry boards) and returns to the job, he decides that he’s well enough to return to his wife…

When it finally happens, we’re dreading it because we know that his wife will have some bad news for him and Idris Elba’s Luther is a big and ferocious guy. The moments after she tells him her bad news in the living room of the house they once shared, the screen is absolutely charged. It feels for a moment as if no room will ever be big enough to hold his rage and sadness.As he storms off into the night away from her, I heard the echoes of the Massive Attack song just pinging around in my brain.

And then I saw the thing there on tumblr, from SarahSpy, and all of this coalesced together in my brain. But that’s okay. It’s a great song, one to be appreciated by people who have great taste in music, but also those identify with a certain something, maybe. A kind of long ago sadness or darkness, and an appreciation of that time in their life. You only see connections and links after the fact and pain, suffering, and/or sadness can only really be learned from far removed from the infliction of the wounds. And it’s all so much better when it’s set to music.

Closer.

The day before it was 23 things about Lost, and yesterday it was five things about men and women, Don Draper and Liz Lemon and Meg Ryan and Nic Cage. And today it’s just three things. It’s almost as if time is speeding up as we get closer and closer to something, right? But today… three songs:

1. Blonde Redhead “Silently”

For starters, Benjamin Light: I’m not going to say it. I want to. You know I want to. But I won’t.

Secondly, Conrad Noir: Yes. It sounds like cunnilingus to me. Sweet, seductive cunnilingus… Only instead of legs spread and a tongue moving over the the wetness between, it’s your ears that are spreading and a mouth upon what’s between them…

This is one of my favorite songs. Perhaps ever, actually. It’s from their last album, the lovely 23. (The title track is also fantastic.) Don’t just listen to this song. HEAR it. Put on headphones, turn up the volume, and prepare to go somewhere as you hear it, prepare to smile, prepare to kind of sway a little. Contains the lyric that I find terrifically appropriate far too often: “I realize now that you’re not to be blamed, my love. You didn’t choose your name, my love. You never crossed the seven seas!” But when you listen to this song, you’ll feel like you had, and that you came home from that sexy journey.

2. Architecture In Helsinki “It’5!”

There’s no denying it, this song is fucking ridiculous.

But at the time, which was years and years ago, I desperately needed something ridiculous and catchy to find me and this song did. Caught me when I was falling and I fell in love with it’s cheesiness. And then I grew to love the band, which was the original psuedointellectual tweecore, even before Los Campesinos came along to do it just as well, but with more point and bite perhaps. This song contains and both asks the eternal question: “Have I failed to impress you?” And it also reminds you the inherent dangers of strangers as well? Maybe. I’d also recommend the incredibly sexy “Maybe You Can Owe Me” by the same band. You don’t have to thank me for the recommendation, but maybe you can owe me. :)

3. Well…

Today I had to go on a trip with a co-worker. About two hours one way, for a meeting, then two hours back. She drove, I rode shotgun. On the way back to work, we made small talk for a bit and then I retired to my headphones and Pandora radio and let her sing along to the country music station I could tell she was desperate to put on. As we drove, the weather here got more and more severe. The skies were darkening quickly and before long everything was gray, the color of life desaturated and soaked with impending doom. Wind was blowing songs, turning the hard rain sideways. The man on the radio was saying that quarter sized hail was to be expected, then hail the size of ping pong balls, then hail the size of a baseball. She and I half joked that we were expecting him to come back with a warning about basketball sized hail, but that was our way of joking about how terrifying the sky was getting.

We still had a ways to go and in the direction we were heading: Lightning. And lightning is scary the longer it lasts. A quick flash is worrisome, foreshadowing. But this wasn’t a quick flash, these were big, thick bursts of electricity puncturing the landscape ahead of us and it was lasting 1 second, then 2, then 3, then 4, then…

“It’s so close,” she whispered and without saying anything, without looking at me, she moved her hand closer. I could tell she was scared and honestly, so was I. I held her hand and let myself get worried.

The whole time I kept one ear bud in my ear. I need something loud to distract me. At one point on my Pandora station, it was Death From Above 1979 but part of me felt that just wasn’t going to work. Then some Ratatat (by the way, their new album is good), then Crystal Castles at one point. I kept cycling through vaguely techno songs, needing something to take me out of this moment as she and I were flinging ourselves headlong into it. And then it happened, this song:

M83 “We Own The Sky”

…and I just knew it was going to be okay. This is as close as I get to a spiritual experience at times, as empty as it may seem to you, but everything about me that was concerned was gone. I turned the volume up, squeezed her hand gently, and said, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine.”

“Really?” she asked me. This was the first time she looked at me. She was looking to see me flinch, or hesitate, watching for the slightest sign that I might just be saying something to make her feel better. There was none of these signs.

“Really,” I said, and then turned the volume up higher.

Déjà Entendu.

So, last night I was going from one place to the next and stopped at the supermarket on the way. It was late and I was hungry, looking for some kind of quick snack, hopefully a sandwich from the deli, or… something. No luck because it was late and the deli was closed. So I just started wandering amidst the bright lights, the muzak renditions of pop trash, and the glitzy brand names…

And as I prowled the aisles, this strange feeling crept over me, one that I’ve sadly only experienced on a handful of occasions, if ever, and one that’s hard to romantically recall. The feeling was as close as I could literally think of déjà vu being. Or perhaps jamais vu. I mean, obviously I’ve done that same thing, staring at the contents of the supermarket hundreds of times in my life, no, thousands of times. But why did it feel particularly heavy this time? What was different. I looked at the brands, the names, the new code words used to entice me: “low fat,” “low sodium,” “lite,” “toasted, “flamefresh,” etc. and I looked at the tabloids, immersed for a time, as Don Delillio put it, in the world of “the living and the dead.”

Eventually I decided, “Fuck it.” I took it all in and kept walking. It was only a thing if I made it a thing.

While wandering up and down the aisles still, I passed some guy, someone I barely know, just a familiar face. It took me half a second to place him: Some guy who comes into my place of work every now and then. We did the “S’up” head nod thing that men do and we went about our business.

Moments later I passed a couple I only kind of know. Had dinner at their place once, invited by friends of a friend. It was an awkward dinner and an even more awkward night. Long story short: Someone performed a sex act in their house that night and the hosts did not approve. A silent deal was made that should anyone who there in that time and place ever encounter each other again, they’d do a cold stare and then keep walking. That’s what we did.

Then I passed another guy I’ve seen come into my job before. This dude doesn’t recognized me, which is fine with me. I keep looking for something to eat.

More wandering and I see a girl walking around, laughing as she talks on her cell phone. I sort of know this girl through Conrad Noir. He’s had a thing for her for years but hasn’t been able to make that romantic connection with her, mostly, I think, because she’s not interested. But also, she’s kind of dumb. Those two facts are unrelated, but most equally important. But seeing her made me stop in my tracks and look around…

There was her, the two guys I see come in to my job now and then, that couple, and myself. Two women and three men. Five people in a grocery store. Not all of them know each other, but there’s a tenuous connection of recognition between them, and they’re all in the same place late into a Monday night. Why did this feel important to me? Maybe, and I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but just go with me here, but maybe I was just in a wacky place, or perhaps in a whole other universe, the five of us were on a plane that crashed in the middle of the ocean, landing on a mysterious island with magical properties and weird indigenous people and science fiction monsters and… you know, shit like that? This whole other universe could be sideways to the one we’re currently in, and could feel more real, more accurate. Perhaps this universe, the one we reside in now, is just a tangent, or perhaps just a shard of the whole prism? Perhaps when people who have this connection to another time and place occupy such closer quarters at the same time, there’s this weird effect on reality, something that causes it to resonate? It’s possible, right?

Ehhhh, probably not. Maybe the world is just too damn small. I was only in the supermarket for like five minutes, if that. Had a weird experience, noticed that the price of bananas had gone up, and eventually walked out with a candy bar and a bag of sun chips. Oh, and hey, tonight’s a new episode of Lost. Enjoy it, everyone. In 13 days it’ll be gone forever.