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

What They Blogged For.

Love. Hate.

Before we say our final goodbye, I just wanted to leave you with a random sampling of posts from some of my favorite people on this blog:

Benjie’s Skyrim addiction.

Occam Razor on “The Seven Robots You Meet In Heaven.”

Benjie and I watching New Moon and The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants 2.

A Movie Script Ending.”

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

Peanut St. Cosmo saying goodbye to her Blackberry.

(And really, just anything by Peanut, cause there’s too many to list.)

Fuck Yeah Sayid!

Anytime we talked about Lost.

High Fidelity vs. 500 Days Of Summer.

Hey, Shitface, Get Off My Lawn!”

Benjie and August Bravo on internet hype, and meeting expectations, and also Super 8.

Independence Day 2?

The end of the Counterforce podcast, and the birth of Time Travel Murder Mystery.

J Fran Fran.

Jonathan Franzen and his “Strong Motion.”

Benjie on his favorite sequel ever.

Occam Razor on a post peak oil world, and big booty bitches.

Benjie on how to properly spend New Year’s Eve.

While my torrent gently downloads” by Benjamin Light.

This is by no means a complete list, not at all. It is, in fact, an extremely rushed list. And may actually be a really terrible retrospective, at least in terms of showing what we did best, when we did our best, but oh well.

It’s just a few of my favorites. I would invite you to explore further, if you get the chance.

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!

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?

The Ides.

Today is the day you were warned about.

Honestly, I just like saying: “Beware!” And telling people to beware various things. Like, “Beware those calories!” Or, “Beware Justin Bieber!”

Recently on Counterforce:

We’ve been comparing things, things like the manic pixie dream girl vs. the amazing girl, Heroes vs. Battlestar Galactica, and Kirsten Dunst vs. Kate Hudson.

We’ve got plenty of our favorite news items and lots of mad linkage to share with you.

And we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

We’ve been watching – what else is new? – this brand new and final season of Lost: “Dr. Linus,” “Sundown,” The Lighthouse,” “The Substitute,” and “What Kate Does.”

And, in doing so, we’ve been trying to get inside the minds of characters like Jack and Sayid. But perhaps they’ve been getting into our brains instead?

Speaking of television: Nip/Tuck finally ended, but the singularity still looms on the horizon (and perhaps on cable TV as well).

Oh, and the Oscars came and went again. We talked about afterward and talked about it quite a bit during the ceremony.

I read Tao Lin’s first collection of stories and then talked a little about short stories in general for your amusement.

The lovely Karen Gillan as a soothsayer of sorts in Doctor Who.

People tend to believe that God believes what they believe, we learned, and then we watched a bit of Chris Marker’s documentary about Andrei Tarkovsky.

Conrad talks about two of his favorite things: Prince and Kevin Smith (but more so Prince than Kevin Smith, he assures me).

from here.

Oh, and my iphone is apparently waiting to me, amidst the sea of pornography, sex pills, and mortgage help that the internet is just dying to offer me.

And our very own Maria Diaz, who’s been rocking it at SXSW this past weekend, got herself wifed up for the purposes of partying and let me DJ the party, and you were cordially invited to the event.

Fun fact about The Ides: It’s the 15th day of the month, but only in March, May, July, and October. In every other month, it’s the 13th of the month. The Roman calendar is really so weird.

All this talk of soothsaying and foretelling has me thinking… Here at Counterforce, when we’re not complaining about shit, we’re typically just slicing up bits of our subconscious, things that we like from all over the place, and sharing them with you. Sometimes it’s planned, and sometimes it happens on a deadly whim, but I wonder… Perhaps we should be planning and sharing what we’re planning more beforehand, teasing you a bit… Hmm. Maybe, right?

Or, more dangerously, just throwing out random things at the start of a month, or any time period, and then talking about them at some point, in some way. Maybe the topics are user generated, or just things the author knows nothing about but have always been abstractly interested in, I don’t know. And then they go off and learn something about that topic, or maybe they don’t. But they find an angle and attack it. Maybe it’s predictive blogging, maybe it’s something else.

OR! And this, this right here, is insane, but let me start earlier… at work, sometimes, when we’re bored, my co-workers and I will play a game, a silly, stupid game that we call “The Wikipedia game.” We generate a large group of topics and subjects, then you pick two randomly. You go to one of those topic/subject’s wikipedia pages, and utilizing only links on that page, you have to, in five clicks or seven clicks (or whatever) or less, you have to arrive at the second topic you picked. Think “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” but more infotastic and time wasting. Mind you, I”m just talking out loud here, so maybe this is lame, but what if blogging was like that? 

Between the covers.

So about two months ago, Marco had this great idea to do some posts on Counterforce about summer. Summer traveling, summer adventures, flings, weird things to be done to the world and to yourself during the course of summer, and of course, summer reading.

Not a hard subject for us to tackle. Quite the opposite, in fact. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re all voracious readers and also, frankly, scary brilliant. But we got a little wrapped up in the business of having a summer, which we’ll leave undefinable for now, and before you knew it, the grass started getting a little less greener, the wind started getting colder, those chirping annoying kids finally went back to school, and the season of summer flings quietly faded away.

So let’s talk about what’s on our nightstands as we head into the autumn months, okay?

Occam Razor:
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What that Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt.

Because you assholes don’t know how to behave on the road and your idiotic fucking tendencies just lead to me being in traffic. I read most of this on my lunch breaks while eating sushi. Now, I’m not saying you have to read this at lunch while eating sushi, but you probably should to get the same exact experience I did. California Rolls will not be accepted. Unless its the ones with the fried shrimp in the middle, I don’t know why but I can’t get enough of those. Damn, I could go for some right now. If I only had a book about the traffic culture of Mumbai to read.
Lollipop Gomez:

Youth In Revolt is one of my favorite books. I read it 10 years ago and then I re-read it when I was recovering from surgery in 2005. It is a treasure. I’m very worried of what they will do to it.

If there aren’t any donuts in the first 20 minutes of this movie, which is a major detail in that they go get donuts all the time in the book, I will be very upset. I remember sending my ex up the hill to get me Maple bars because they kept mentioning them. So, if there’s no donuts in the movie then I will torch Michael Cera’s house. And I don’t know how I feel about this fake Amanda Seyfried as Sheeni. I don’t know if I imagined her being so faux-sexy. Ugh, Hollywood.

Marco Sparks: Cera’s starring in the upcoming movie version, right? When reading the book originally, can you say that you ever would’ve thought to see Michael Cera playing the lead? I totally want some donuts now, by the way.

LG: No, Michael Cera is not Nick. But he’s the awkward man of the moment and I think he’s producer, so we can thank his dollars.

Marco: Hello, Nick and Norah!

Conrad Noir:
Why this book? Because why the fuck not, motherfucker? This book is like experiencing what it’s like when a mentally ill person has an orgasm during a car wreck. It’s fucking wonderful. Here’s an excerpt:
“Soon after this episode there was a birthday party for me. Prince came, he was sitting at a table with some people not drinking. I walked up to him, grabbed him by the back of the hair and poured cognac down his throat. He spit it out like a little bitch and I laughed and walked away. I loved fucking with him like that.”
Occam Razor:
Lush Life: A Novel by Richard Price.

Because of several reasons. A) Richard Price wrote some of the best episodes of The Wire. 2) For the first 350 pages or so it’s an entertaining read. Nevermind the end, though. and C) For all intents and purposes the subtitle A Novel is actually a part of the title of the book. It’s not Lush Life, a novel by Richard Price, it’s Lush Life: A Novel! Why can’t more titles be that informative like this, imagine Bruno: A Terrible Film Where This Guy Sexually Harasses Rednecks Until They Finally Snap.
Conrad:
This one isn’t as easy to enthusiastically recommend. Honestly, I haven’t read it yet, but I certainly intend to. Especially now that I know they’re making it into a movie.
Marco:
I’m honestly too indecisive to pick just one, or just a few books here. I apologize. So, speaking of the post Lollipop and I did yesterday, I’m going to suggest…
What a fun and fascinating read this book was (for me, anyway). On one hand, you could take it as some very factually based interesting guesses into what tomorrow holds for us, but in a lot of ways, due to it’s style and subject matter, I think you could almost take it in as a very experimental novel. Especially if the futurist angle just isn’t for you. In fact, be warned, because I think I may have more to say about this one in a few days…
Occam Razor:
Why Your World is Going to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization by Jeff Rubin

Because I’m too fucking lazy to properly prepare you for Peak Oil.
And you’ll have plenty of time to read after the end of the world

Humans being.

So, it started like any other conversation between Marco and Lollipop, who sometimes operates under her real name, Maria Diaz, with Marco asking Lollipop for advice about something – since she frequently acts in the capacity of an Oracle – and then her telling him about a new writing gig she’s got coming up, something that will have her getting down and dirty, rubbing elbows up close with celebrities. She mentions a slight nervousness about it and Marco, being Marco, suggests, “You could always achieve worldwide internet notoriety by throwing red paint on Megan Fox or something, right?”

Maria Diaz: Noooooo. Not what I want to do. She terrifies me. Especially since she’s completely man-made.

Marco Sparks: Yeah, she looks like she was put out by the same company that releases those Todd McFarlane action figures.

MD: Someone somewhere on the internet dug up some photos from before she got all that plastic surgery. It was remarkable.

Marco: How significant were the changes?

MD: See for yourself. Plastic surgery is so insidious. All the doctors get taught the same techniques, so everyone comes out looking the same. But I can see how it could get addictive.

Marco: Yeah, there’s always a disorder in which you need more physical alterations to your appearance.

MD: Until you turn into a CAT LADY!

Marco: Like on Nip/Tuck?

MD: Yes. But really… there is something neat about getting to say, FUCK YOU, NATURE!

Marco: I believe in the swarthy, unbridled power of the human intellect,

for the better or the worse, that we can rise above what we are given and change that which we don’t like or that which could hurt us. I mean, there’s a reason that the life expectancy is like 60 years longer now than it was for people our age, what… 100 years ago? Of course, with that comes new disorders and syndromes that can be very harmful.

But I’ve been reading more and more lately about augmented reality, AI, and sentient/spiritual machines (a la Ray Kurzweil) and probably within 200 or so years, the new plastic surgery won’t be changing your face, your body, etc. It’ll be about making yourself more machine-like.

MD: I think that’s so far off, though. Substantially far off. We won’t ever see it.

Marco: No, we won’t, certainly. Like I said, easily 200 or so years.

Benjamin Light and I were just talking about Terminator 2 earlier, and how the vision of… 2019, I think it was, from back in 1997, was homicide bots with working mobile laser cannons and hover attack drones and the future there, while so grim, was so futuristic-y! But realistically? No, not so soon.

But we’ll start to see the slow advances of it. Within 15 years there’s a good chance that for under a $1000 you could be able to own a computer that has at least the computing powers and space of the human brain.

MD: You really think it’ll be that accessible?

I always hesitate to make these kinds of statements because I think they’re American-centric and specific to people with a certain amount of education and/or money. It’s going to take a long time till everyone is up to speed and these kinds of futuristic robot-people become the norm. Even Real Dolls are still out of most people’s price ranges and I think that’s certainly an indication of how future factory jobs/cleaning jobs will turn to. Kind of like the ending of Shaun of the Dead.

Marco: You’re right about the financial aspect of it, but then again, it really becomes a matter of time and manufacturing costs and, of course, the basis for American business language: supply/demand.

But I think it’s coming. Though I can’t put a serious guess on how fast or over the course of what timeline. I can only guess.

That’s one of the things I like about these highly celebrated futurists, and the game of the future in general, that you’re not so much an oracle as just half making educated predictions, and half selling fables of the far off tomorrow that only have to sound a little credible. You go read an article in Wired about the amazing new things that nanotechnology can do each day and then you come back to me and I tell you that within six months, all plastic surgery will be nanosurgery and for just a moment, a scary moment, it sounds half way possible.

MD: Oh, totally.  It’s like a few years ago when the tech came out for identifying things via a thumb-print that would have your ATM pin, and all of your info on it and all the “sky is falling” press that came out of that. You start to get spooked and think it is all entirely possible.

Marco: And, while jumping over body modification a little here, we don’t talk nearly enough about the good things that could be coming, with science and medical breakthroughs and what have you. Maybe partly because it’s so locked down, like stem cell research. Or maybe because all people want is cures of AIDS and cancer, the regrowth of lost limbs, and the Higgs-Boson. Or cold fusion!

MD: Cold fusion! That’s a pop culture reference I’m forgetting.

There’s lots of good things that come out of this, like robots performing surgery. I think there is one called the Da Vinci arm? They can do surgery in a much more precise way than a doctor who maybe had too much coffee or gets distracted for a milisecond and one tiny move can mess the whole thing up. Or robots who dispense medication. Those are a complete trip to see, but again, save lives and do a lot of good since they remove a lot of the error. Of course, it all depends on humans who program these things.

Marco: Until the robots start programming the humans who program the robots. And, of course, I’ll take the low road and speak for every man who just read that someday a robot might be performing surgery on him: Where’s the robot that can jack me off too?

There’s actually a joke on the new Patton Oswalt album about robots that can deliver babies better than human doctors, except for that rare 1 in 100 times glitch in which the robot skins the baby and turns it into an ipod case. “Murder spasms,” I think he called it.

Be honest: How shocked would you be if tomorrow it was revealed that Megan Fox was actually a project the Japanese started ten years ago in crafting the ultimate pop starletbot?

MD: The answer to any and all questions is always the Real Doll. Do you reallly want a robot giving you a handjob? Let’s be real, here.

And to answer your question: I would not shocked at all.

Marco: Would I really want a handjob from a robot? Well, a handjob is a lot different from other kinds of sex, which is a bullshit kind of kind that I could intellectualize to death for no real good. No, I probably don’t want to fuck a robot. Not in a way that I could imagine right now. Though I have a very unique, very special, very disturbingly fun imagination, so ask me again later. But then again, by the time we all get oral pleasure bots, we may be living in a very different type of world, morals-wise.

Megan Fox being a robot created by the Japanese to star in a Michael Bay movie about fighting giant super Robots that can turn into cars and shit would be a fascinating movie all of it’s own. Didn’t Al Pacino star in some movie years ago about a computer generated starlet?

MD: You can’t say something like that and then not follow up, son. “Not in a way you could imagine right now…” Then what way? Would sex with robots be more akin to masturbation? Would it just be novelty? Would it replace human interaction entirely? I’m sure for some people, it would.

Yes, Pacino was in such a movie. It was called Simone and it sucked.

Marco: As I was typing out that paragraph, I was remember the future episode of Newsradio where they talk about how sex with robots is so much better than sex with humans. You have to remember that I’m an old school sci fi geek so, on this subject, my brain is a mash up of Asimov’s three laws and the Jane/Sex bot counterpart to Jude Law’s Gigolo Joe from Spielberg/Kubrick’s A.I.

Would sex with robots become masturbation 8.0 or a new novelty or just replace human interaction entirely? Yes. And for some people, that may be a good thing. We’ve all seen that documentary on the Real Dolls, right? As much as we snicker at guys like Davecat, I can’t help but think where he and that old British man would be if they didn’t have those real dolls in their lives, you know? I clearly remember the British man taking his real dolls on holiday, a nice drive out into the country, but before he goes, he puts a sign on the doll saying, “I AM A DOLL,” so should he get into an accident or something, no one will risk their life trying to safe her. Because she’s not a real human being. A bit off subject, but that fascinated me. The man lived on that very blurry edge of fantasy and reality, but he knew which was which. And he made a happy little home for himself there.

Part of the real I say it’s hard to answer the question now about sex with robots in a future point is look at our ever evolving hang ups about sex. We’re so quiet and insecure about so much, yet even that changes bit by bit. Years ago a man probably wouldn’t have openly admitted to masturbation (and especially not a woman)(and I’m thinking of Betty Draper on that washing machine as I say that), but now it can be dinner party talk for a bunch of yuppies between discussing the latest gossip of what’s going on down at the tennis club and how socialist they think Obama’s health care plan is. “Ha ha, so Janet and the in-laws walks in on me jacking off to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue…”

Now just replace that same dinner party with one 50 years from now. “Ha ha, so Edmund walks in on me on all fours getting a spanking from LX-9000…”

MD: You know, when I saw that real doll documentary, I always thought that if Davecat had just hung out in the right chat rooms or gone to a small, liberal arts college where nerds get laid, he never would have needed that real doll. It doesn’t seem happy to me at all, it just seems sad. Especially that other guy who was so clearly completely paralyzed by the death of his mother.  They did bring them some joy as he took her out on drives and such, but so much of that was just projection. They’re just setting themselves up for failure, they will never be able to relate to a woman who talks back. I could see sex robots becoming the new sex worker in that way, you know?

Marco: Yeah, exactly. But imagine in this bright new future where we have sex robots aiding us in our carnal needs, these robots actually get respect. As much as a robot can. Now, I know it’s a sad thought that a robot as a sex worker would get more respect than a human as a sex worker, but isn’t that just how humans work?

MD: I see it going the opposite, that the robot would get treated much worse. Since you know, it’s just a robot and would be seen as even more property (if that’s possible) than a human.

Marco: That’s true. And part of me hopes it stays that way, not from a sex with machines perspective, but from a relation between robots and humans kind of way. I don’t want to get into the idea of the human soul or spark or noumenon too much, but hopefully in the future, when they make the robots… they’ll leave that out…

Of course, that would suck for WALL-E, wouldn’t it?

But then again, if they ever build robots with programming advanced enough to satisfying us sexually – which, granted, I know isn’t that complex since bored and curious guys have been getting the same thrill from the hose on the vacuum cleaner – who knows where AI and sentience in machines will be. To take it back to the language of pop culture nerdery: Data from Star Trek: TNG. Ever evolving, creating himself as an existing being, and fully functional sexual and “programmed in a variety of methods.”

MD: Well…for it to really work, it would have to beyond that base level of just getting you off. If that’s all that mattered, then women would just stick with vibrators, which, let’s be honest, are usually better/more efficient at getting the job done than any man. And I’d reckon that a vacuum cleaner probably gives a more proficient blowjob than any girl/guy. HOWEVER, if they could program the robot with human touches, that would change the game. Do you know what I mean?

Marco: Exactly. Like I said, it wouldn’t be about getting you off. It’d be about being a lover.

I love how we’ve gone from talking the future and robotics to… fuck machines.

Maybe that’s how the machines will eventually kill us. They’ll give us what we seem to all secretly want: to have sex with a machine. They’ll learn how to plug themselves into the wall and then they’ll jackhammer us right out of existence. Death by Kiwi, people.

MD: Speak for yourself!  I can think of nothing less appealing. Well, I can think of a few things, but that’s pretty high on the list.

Ultimately, I think that’s the thing here.. we think we want robots to automate everything, but it’s not easier. It just creates a new set of problems.

Marco: And that’s how we work, right? Today, tomorrow, yesterday. We like to make things simpler. And then we make them more complex!

MD: To use the words of Sean Combs… mo money, mo problems. Or … mo robots, mo problems?

Marco: Jesus, look at us. From Megan Fox to plastic surgery to robots to robot sex to Diddy. That makes sense, I think. Right?

MD: From two crazy people, yes.

One Year Later.

So, on this day in history, about 62 years ago, the US Air Force shot down and captured what was either a weather balloon or some kind of “flying disk” in Roswell, New Mexico.

Perhaps related or not so related, just over a year ago, Benjamin Light mentioned something outlandishly foolish to me. I really thought he was off his meds, no joke. But he had that kind of dangerous, scary clarity that only a nutcase can have. The kind where you don’t turn your back on them, are afraid to look them in the eye, and you pretty much agree with whatever the fuck they say just so you can get out of the room with her genitalia intact. He said to me, “I think I want to start a blog.”

And I – always the level headed one – said, “What? You’re fucking crazy.”

And he said, “No, no, trust me, it’ll be good.”

And then crazy psychotic history was made…

So here we are.

What a long strange trip it’s been, right?

We’ve talked about post peak oil, we’ve talked about Lost (like, a lot), we’ve talked about politics and the news in general. And general weirdness. We’ve talked about being cool with yourself, not so cool with yourself, and how to get laid either way. We’ve barely give you a chance to get a word in edgewise, because we’ve been talking about cats (and more cats), and things that are in bad taste, and the moon.We’ve talked about film, music, and literature at times, and everything in between. Including the stuff that’s just bullshit. We’ve talked about ourselves just a little, both with words and in video, and we’ve even talked to people we love (other than ourselves)(though this site is filthy with onanism, to be sure). Hell, we’ve even talked about talking (but mostly about ourselves, again with the onanism)!

Look at all that talk talk talking. It’s like we’ve found the nexus of the fucking universe and we’re mapping it for you.

Michael Jackson is dead and we’re still alive.

And not to brag too much, but we’ve seen a few faces and we’ve rocked them all!

Sometimes we’ve felt like we’re a bit alien ourselves, or maybe we’re transmitting to you from outer space, but we do it anyway. We do it because, no joke, there is something very seriously wrong with us and we love it.

This Recording already used the blog as a spaceship metaphor that I would love to use here, but rather than appropriate it here, I’m just gonna outright steal it. But rather than a proper spaceship, Counterforce is the fucked up. The weird one. The one that the prisoners took over and started running their own way. Like Spock and Nero and all of those pointy eared fuckers, we’re bursting through your black holes and disrupting your time stream and hopefully reality as well. Hello there, we’re from the future. We’re in your here and now and you’re our living sexy museum and we’re yours. Don’t take us to your leader, because we only care about you.

Not that we haven’t made some mistakes. Sometimes we’ve been really on our games and sometimes… well, really off them. That’s usually on me though, I’m not gonna lie. As blogonauts, we’re still learning out here in space. There’s a few less rings on Saturn because, well, we crashed into them just a little. Same with the Big Dipper. We did something inappropriate with a black hole for the same people climb Everest. Also, we found life on Mars and then accidentally blogged it out of existence. And Halley’s comet won’t make it’s way back to this solar system for a few more years than it was already scheduled to because we saw it, liked it’s style, were in kind of a naughty bad place, and now, long story short, it won’t look our way, won’t return our phone calls, and wants to take a break with the Earth. Our bad, kids.

That said, we’re still here, and even though we’re sometimes the blogging equivalent of the chaos cloud that will someday end all life on Earth, we’re also hopefully going to only get better. Help us? Tell us what you think. Tell us how much we rock, or how hard we suck. Tell us what you want to see and maybe, just maybe, we won’t poke your eyes out.

We’ve been proud so far that with us, you’ve gotten basically 6+ different blogs, some that overlap, and some that are drastically different. We’ve enjoyed it and hope you have too. My co-bloggers all wanted to be more involved in our very special 1 year birthday here, but most were busy with jobs and living sexy lives of danger and adventure. Benjamin Light has been off the grid and we eagerly await his return, and his shocked disgust at how I’ve trainwrecked this beast in his absence. And Occam’s probably not speaking to me since he realized that I stole some CDs from his house during a Lost party. And Lollipop especially wanted to remind you of how much greater the blog has gotten since she first commented and then joined us (and she’s more right than she’s wrong about that) and August Bravo wants to let you know that he’s giving up Heroes due to relentless scrutiny. Bravo, August Bravo.

This is where I wrap it up. If it was just me closing this up, I’d say something like: We’ll see you out there, space cowboys and cowgirls. But instead I found someone to put it even better than I can…

And now a special word from the desk of Peanut St. Cosmo:

hello readers! funny to think we’ve been in existence on this “series of tubes” for a year now! it feels kinda like the first rocky year of a marriage and if you make it, you figure you’ve got about six more years before the itch comes on and you’re both fucking the pool boy/baby sitter and filing for divorce. you get the idea, i give us six more years until you call it quits on us, but you’ll never find a better lay! i promise you, i’m the best you ever had!!!

but in all seriousness, i do appreciate the two of you who like my infrequent posts. thanks for stopping by :)

Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics

This is a picture of two baby bears playing:

This is a picture of a fresh plate of cookies:

And this is a picture of a man with a funny mustache:

The most popular post on Counterforce is by the least prolific writer, Occam Razor, and is called LA Face With An Oakland Booty. The least popular is about sports. The most popular “bio” page is the Marco Sparks one. The interview with the most views is Tess Lynch‘s, but the Topher Chris interview is catching up. Coincidentally, the day the site got the most page views was March 28, 2009 when Topher Chris posted a link to the interview on his incredibly popular Tumblr. The most popular outgoing click that is not a link to another page on this website is a blog post on documentaries on Hulu. In the past thirty days, the most popular search term was simply “chuck.” For the past quarter, the most popular was “junk in the trunk,” followed by YouTube star Caitlin Hill.  At the bottom of the search terms list is blogger Lena Chen. Just searching “counterforce” or “counterforce wordpress” is also a slightly popular search term.  In the last quarter, 4 of the top 5 viewed posts have been interview posts. Peanut St. Cosmo‘s bio page has gotten 146 more views than about 20 (I didn’t count) other posts, two of which were related to Lost, one about abortion and another about Obama.  Almost all referring links come from the Counterforce tumblr, followed by the Tumblr dashboard. 18 referring links came from within Gmail. 22 referring links came from a Sylvester Stallone message board. Overall pageviews started increasing in January, doubled in March, and have stayed about the same for April & May.

Turn Down Service

I want to live in a hotel, just like Eloise, who lives in the Plaza and who is “not yet pretty but is already a person”.

Most people can’t wait to leave the hotel and go back to their beds. Having slept in very uncomfortable beds (and its inferior cousin, the futon) for many years, my favorite part of traveling is getting to sleep in a hotel bed. All hotel rooms smell the same, with their attempts to wipe the memories of the other people who were there away. When I first get to a hotel room, I like to find the bible, spread out all my stuff, get some ice and water and read the room service menu.

But it’s not just the rooms that turn me on. I also love hotel bars, a cross section of people who shouldn’t be in the same place, but are. And the lobbies! It’s like going into someone’s house and being allowed to sit in their living room. No one can bother you in a hotel lobby. You don’t have to buy anything or do anything. I’ve done some of my best writing (and freaking out) in hotel lobbies while sports silently plays somewhere and buttoned up waiters bring me water after water.

The Driskill Hotel in Austin is easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. It’s eerily out of place on Brazos street, which is full of bars, pedi-cabs and street sausage vendors. And then all of a sudden there’s this gorgeous Southern mansion right on the corner. Built in 1886, the Driskill is believed to be haunted by a few ghosts, including its namesake Colonel Driskill who likes to turn bathroom lights on and off.

Upscale hotel lobbies are a wonderful place to take refuge from bustling downtown centers. In San Francisco, I had two hotel lobbies I liked to loiter in: the Westin on 3rd and the sexiest place on earth, the St Regis Hotel. Typically I am an old school dork who likes everything to be either art-deco or pre-war, but the St Regis makes me happy in a way typically reserved for .. well, for almost nothing. The extremely expensive bar offers expertly made drinks served by waitresses in asexual black uniforms and top notch escort watching. Last but not certainly least, the touch activated fireplace is a fun way to freak out your date or make you feel like you are evading some kind of fire inspired death.

The hotel Abba in Amsterdam is so budget they only have twin beds. This leads to you almost falling in between them in the middle of a hash induced make out session. The other thing about budget European accomodation is you don’t get your own bathroom. We shared it with one other room, who luckily we never saw and who were apparently able to hold their space cakes. It was a huge bathroom with almost no ventilation and I spent about half an hour staring at the blue tiles in the shower after eating half a box of mushrooms. The window in our room faced a giant courtyard with different tiny Dutch apartments to look into, with a band of roving cats that would jump from balcony to balcony. That came in handy as well, when you’re stoned and need to look at something. I would recommend the Hotel Abba if you are traveling cheaply in Europe but really hate people (hostelling requires too much interaction).

I could write an entire book about hotels in Vegas (don’t dare me because I will). I love all the hotels on the Strip except for Imperial Palace, where no one should stay or enter, ever. For a group? The Venetian. For hot sex in the most comfortable bed you will ever sleep or roll around in? The Wynn. You want to drink out of a medieval chalice and watch brides drink 40s while wearing stonewashed cut offs and a cheap veil they bought at Claire’s? Excalibur. The hottest waitress uniforms are at Caesar’s Palace (togas). If you’re going to stay downtown because you have some kind of problem with things that are nice, the Golden Nugget, with a shark tank by the pool is white trash perfection. The pina colada they serve at the pool bar is spectacular and actually is kind of spicy. A mixologist after my pretentious little heart.

The worst hotel I stayed at was also in Amsterdam, in Vondelpark. The elevator smelled like there were a million dead rats in the wall and the TV that night would show one channel, which was playing the Demi Moore movie Striptease. I’m sure you can understand why I hold it as the worst hotel stay ever. The travelodge in San Jose was also a terrible place, but at some point I started to feel better and this happened:

Hotels are possibility and secrets and intrigue. It’s your pretend home so you can have a pretend self, too. Or it’s where you can finally be the person you’ve always wanted to be. You can eat in bed and not worry about cleaning it up. You can order porn and no one will know. Best of all, it’s one of the few places in life where it’s socially acceptable to tell everyone to stay the hell out of your room with a cute little sign to hang on the door. At worst, hotels are sad places where you will end up covered in your own vomit and tears. Whatever it is, it’s not the same old. It’s not the usual. You’ll have a story to tell. And sometimes, that’s the best we can hope for.

[All images belong to the author, except for the first, which belongs to Amazon]