Past Prologue: October, 2010.

The end looms large, but it 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…

Previously: September, 2009 in parts one and two.



10/02/10: And Then…” by one Marco Sparks: Pictures and Borges and links to previous Counterforce posts… Sigh. The more things change, the more they don’t seem to matter, right?


10/04/10:Tongues Of Flame by yours truly: Pictures of girls in some sort of relationship with the water, and the horizon, and the poetry of T. S. Eliot. Well… Who knows what I was thinking or where I was coming from back then. I mean, I could tell you, but who cares?

It seems like the hipsters are all shit talking Eliot now, but I don’t care. I still like him. Whenever I’m at my most lost, there’s usually a few lines from Eliot that can perfectly describe where I am, what I’m feeling, and sometimes that’s enough. Also, this poem was quoted in The Magus, which was a notoriously bad movie.


10/04/10: The End Of The Story Is Unwritten by myself: I really like Harlan Ellison, though it is sometimes to do so. I think at this point, when I was writing this post, I had yet to see the documentary about him, Dreams With Sharp Teeth, which is a fine film.

I’ll always be a science fiction nut – maybe you’ve noticed? – but once or twice or thrice a year I really get back into it, and Ellison is one of those writers I go back to. To me, he’s the ur-Neil Gaiman, but less magical and twee. I respect that Ellison doesn’t suffer fools well, that he’s serious about his craft and those who practice it. In many ways, it would appear that he is not a human at all, but a new creature, one best described in works of his favorite genre: all sharp edges and protected, wounded heart and acid and witty talent.


10/06/10: Powers And Responsibilities/Up, Up, And Away We Go by myself: Spider-Man and Superman! Perhaps some day I’ll write a book about super heroes, and how they’re trapped in our world and in desperate need of being given life beyond it, and just get it all out of my fucking system, you know?

Also, it’s not like I need a reason to do a post with copious amounts of Emma Stone pictures. Seriously. And: Jon Hamm really should be playing Superman/Clark Kent.


10/06/10: Crucifixes by myself: I like Richard Pryor and I don’t like religion. In fact, if I remember correctly, I shit talk about it a little on the latest episode of our podcast. But that’s a whole other story, and one for another time.

If I were to get into the nuts and bolts, a post like this comes about like so many others that exist out there in the internet: I saw it somewhere and I liked it. Someone shared it with the world and I was one of those folks in the world who saw it and wanted to pass it along to the rest of my own little corner of the internetting world. I came, I saw, I reblogged.


10/08/10: Animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others,” by myself: Pictures by Dave Eggers, quotes by George Orwell and Voltaire, links from the internet. What a bizarre mixture.


10/09/10:Nobody told me there’d be days like these,” by myself: People who have problems with authority always gravitate towards John, don’t they? Lennon is the favorite Beatle of the perpetually disenfranchised and the smart, smug assholes. I look back at some of these posts and want to delve into a little of the making of them, but… I don’t know. Sometimes it’s all right there in the post, you know? I wanted to do a post about my favorite Beatle, and maybe I was itching for a little Instant Karma.


10/09/10: Vendettas by myself: Tom Gauld!


10/12/10: Running by myself: This is just another thing I saw online and thought was funny. Also, it’s October, the month of Halloween, the time for goblins and things that are a bit ghoulish and macabre, right?


10/12/10: Who Is Natalie Portman Fucking These Days?” by myself: One of my favorite posts on this site, actually. If we talked about solely about celebs, then… Well, I imagine it’ll be something like that. Of course now this post is severely dated… Black Swan has come and gone and we all know who Natalie Portman is fucking these days, and thankfully it’s not John Mayer.



10/14/10: Video Killed The Internet Star,” by myself: Videos and links about movies and shit I found on the internet. You know… whatever. And a picture of Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly.


10/14/10: Meditations by myself: “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” That sounds about right.

Some of the things you notice already about this month: Too many posts by me, which is boring. Lots of doubling up on days, with two posts a day for some reason. Lots of just little things from around the internet. The blog was the pin board for things I found interesting from around the web. Well, I guess in a lot of ways that’s what it always was.


10/16/10: Chaos Reigns by myself: Ahhhh, YouTube comments. They are frequently a treat. I don’t even understand why people bother to engage in “intelligent” discourse there.

In fact… most conversation on the internet is flawed. Severely. Nobody wins an internet argument. Like the famous webcomic says, you can spend your whole life standing vigilant, the sentinel against the raping of the truth, strong against the fact that Someone On The Internet Is Wrong, but there are no winners. You’ll never best someone with your logic. Your insults and your put downs will never be properly scored. All people will see is that you were in an Internet Argument and everyone will be pronounced “Loser.” State your case, and move on. Also, fix your typos.


10/16/10: The Patient Labyrinth,” by myself: Again, I was mesmerized by Borges and the ideas of puzzles and mazes of our own design during October of 2010. That was the theme running around somewhere in my head back then, I guess, and it was weakly explored, for sure.

(Also, you’ll notice another picture of a young woman who has a curious relationship or proximity to the ocean…)

Again, I apologize that all these posts are just me. The difference between myself and my co-authors, I believe, was that they wrote when they had something to say and the energy to say it. I always had something to say on this blog, and usually pursued that impulse even when I didn’t have the energy to do it right, or as coherently as it should’ve been. I think it’s fair to say that I deserve the lion’s share of credit for any failings of this blog. A lot of my favorite posts on Counterforce were those written by the others.


10/18/10: Red Dawn by myself: Ahhh, Laura Leighton. Proto-Emma Stone, perhaps? Perhaps not.


10/18/10: Bad Things by myself: True Blood! Looking at this, I’m just reminded of how weird the finale of the latest season of the show was.


10/19/10: I Got You Babe by August Bravo and myself: This is us talking about Mad Men‘s fourth season finale, “Tomorrowland.” Just so weird to see us looking over the episode and being curious and confused and pondering where the show would go next.

And now, two years later, we’ve seen the season that followed it and saw where things went from there and we’re still left wondering, What’s Next?


10/20/10: The Fate Of The Blogger by myself. I’ll be brief on this one: I like Eddie Campbell. Also, it’s two years later and I’m still pondering the fate of the blogger.


10/21/10: What a man is is an arrow into the future and what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from,” by myself: Ha ha. A mash up between Sylvia Plath and Saved By The Bell.


10/22/10: I Walked With A Zombie,” by myself: Links and funny pictures, but there’s something else here too… Something that I sense and feel now, but perhaps didn’t notice at the time, a kind of darkness. Beyond the seasonal darkness, I mean. I guess that would make sense. The second half of The Year We Make Made Contact was especially hard on me.


10/23/10: The Boob Tube by myself: This is me ranting about what’s wrong with popular TV and how it could be fixed/saved. And now Benjamin Light and I do a podcast about this. We’re on a mission to civilize! But, anyway, a lot of these notes still make sense and feel relevant, and desperately need to be read and followed by the people running some of these shows. Now more than ever, perhaps. The thoughts about The Office and Community, especially. But thankfully The Office is (finally) ending after this season, and Community is most likely ending this year (if they ever decide to air the new season at all). Why? Because NBC is dumb as shit and they’re not afraid to show it.


10/23/10: The Year Of The Depend Adult Undergarment by myself: David Foster Wallace!


10/24/10: Nintendo Power yours truly: The idea of the “friend zone” is total bullshit but I just thought this image was funny and wanted to share it. Thanks, Mario, but…


10/25/10: All Things Truly Wicked by myself: Ernest Hemingway! Paper Hemingway was a mean, messed up old bastard, but I still like him, despite all his flaws. And I feel that every time I start to accumulate those flaws, just the obvious ones, and add them up… Well, then I’ll see one of his quotes out of the blue and it’ll just fit into something missing puzzle piece in my brain at that moment and I’m flashing back to what a great writer he was. Also, it’s funny, but we still get a decent number of hits to this particular post from an old BuzzFeed post from a year ago that’s nothing but pictures of Ernest Hemingway partying like a maniac.


10/25/10: This Is Still True by myself: Again, more authors and pictures and quotes. This time, it’s Vonnegut. I hope the kids these days are still reading Vonnegut. His was such a delicate balance of moral righteousness and self loathing, but married together so charmingly.


10/27/10: Which Came First by myself: I don’t know what to say about this post, though it’s weird to look at these almost a full two years later.


10/27/10: Ma-Sheen Manby myself: From pictures of and quotes by famous authors to… this. I regret blogging about Charlie Sheen. About Charlie Sheen and so many other things.


10/27/10: You were an island and I passed you by,” by yours truly: Not the greatest post, but one of my favorites by myself here on the site. Roger Ebert has a great quote in his recent Cloud Atlas review: “Any explanation of a work of art must be found in it, not taken to it.” I agree with that wholeheartedly, but I keep thinking about the questions and the digressions of thought that come out of the works of art. I keep thinking about the way works of art can act as explanations for ourselves, for our lives, for the way we live and exist and make our way through the complicated cosmic murals we’re all sloshing around in.

Anyway. If you know me or not, illustrated in this post about Lost is basically a diagram for how my own personal thought processes tend to work, bouncing from thing to thing, riding along the little connections, going from medium to medium and then essentially looking back at where I started from. As you’ve seen, it’s a convoluted process, and one that doesn’t always yield the most fruitful results, but hopefully it’s been fun at times for you. It certainly has for me.


10/29/10: Vampire Sluts by myself: Kate Beaton! I really like Hark! A Vagrant. I like it a lot.


10/29/10: The risk of going too farby myself: Pictures and links and words by T. S. Eliot. Too far is never far enough, right? Or something.


10/31/10: Samhain by myself: I like how this post starts “Another year, another Halloween.” It’s said with such weariness, or, at least, that’s how I perceive it now. That’s how I feel now, anyway. Another year, another Halloween, and a little more of the magic is gone. The masks are getting heavy, folks. Also interesting that the second line is about how once Halloween arrives you have to accept the inevitable: the year is fading away. The same can be said for now, just as it was back in the year we made contact, only when this year fades away, so does this blog.

Edited to add: I meant to post this at the tail end of October and obviously that did not happen. Sorry. Real life shit got in the way.


10/31/10: Las Ruinas Circulares by myself: This is one of my favorite stories by Borges. Fitting for the time of the year, perhaps. I’ve always felt that there’s a tenuous connection between dreams and the dreamer of those dreamers, something akin to the chicken and the egg. That may be a little too heavy.

from here.


10/31/10: Season Of The Witch by myself: Ha ha. Christine O’Donnell. Ha ha.

The odyssey of the Republican party in the last ten years or so has only gotten more sad and tragic, and Christine O’Donnell is just another one of their sad war stories, I think. Ignoring her for the most part, or this Gawker story about some guy’s claims of having had a one night stand with her, what I really was interested in was the comments section on that post. Internet comments are, of course, terrible. Trolls begetting trolls, all hiding under their bridges and flinging out their shit and hate upon the world with no consequences. And I guess that’s what fascinated me: the way people weigh in on things when there’s no rules, no consequences.


10/31/10: Paradise Circus by myself: I first heard this song in an episode of True Blood‘s third season and it just floored me. A few years ago, during a particularly hard time I was going through, this song was my summer jam, which kind of tells you what that summer was like for me, I think.

It was during that summer that I first started watching the cop show, Luther, a British show starring Idris Elba as the titular detective, and “Paradise Circus” was the theme song for the show, which instantly tells you that it’s going to be unlike any other kind of cop show that you can imagine. Luther is a fun show, a bit silly at times, but darkly interesting and all the actors on the show do very interesting work, Idris Elba especially. I’m glad that he backed out of playing Alex Cross to keep doing (other) movies and eventually a third series of Luther.

And Ruth Wilson, who is exceptional on the show as his sociopathic ally of sorts, is rumored to be in the next Avengers movie. I kind of doubt that will happen, but I’d really like to see it.

But anyway, that’s another thing for another time. Again, in a less interesting way, this post was similar to the one about Lost from a few days earlier… Just a glimpse into the way a thing will pop up into your life and spawn legs and connect to other things. And those things, be it songs or TV shows or whatever, will just find you. Claim you, when you think you’re claiming them. It couldn’t been tackled in a much more interesting or succinct way, definitely, but that stuff still fascinates me.

And that’s how the month of October, 2010 ends. Maybe we didn’t create the blog. Maybe it created us?

* * *

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?

Go write your novel.

It’s NaNoWriMo, so go write your novel. Though you probably shouldn’t wait just until it’s NaNoWriMo to be doing that, but whatever. And while you’re at it, go vote.

Meanwhile on the internet…

How to blog.

Why we always vote on Tuesdays.

5 year old girl gives birth.

A man fights a shark to save a woman’s life!

Roger Ebert hates top 10 lists. And your face!

Brazil elects first female president.

Nerdiest signs from the Rally to restore Sanity and/or Fear.

Good NaNoWriMo advice from Merlin Mann.

A look back on the possible alternate futures of Back To The Future.

Gavin Rossdale’s past is more interesting than this present.

I don’t understand the appeal of Bret Michaels, or his dick (featuring Miley Cyrus’ mom).

Carey Mulligan looks amazing after finally dropping that dead weight otherwise known as Shia LeBeowulf.

Here’s the plot of a potential romantic comedy for you: Justin Long and the internet film critic (who thinks he sucks).

It’s so wonderfully dorky, but I think this TARDIS dress is really cool and adorable:

from here and here.

Schwarzeneger bans welfare use for psychics and pot.

NaNoWriMo/LOL Cat pictures from here, but also from here, here, and here.

Shirley Manson says that Garbage is coming back with an album and a tour.

I think it’s time I started developing shows for either CBS or ABC.

Could you give up showering?

The GoldenEye video game getting remade with Daniel Craig.

Can social media break up a marriage?

Kill your co-workers (with kindness)!

The girl with 7 evil exes.

The trailer for the long awaited Scott Pilgrim movie came out yesterday. It’s based on the much loved six part graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley and stars Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans (the new Captain America), Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Mae Whitman, Jason Schwartzman, and like a thousand other people as well.

The film, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is directed by Edgar Wright, of Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz fame. Haven’t seen Hot Fuzz but Shaun Of The Dead left me flaccid. Only saw a few episodes of Spaced. I guess Wright’s not terrible, but a little overrated, and seems to be a junior member of Tarantino’s homage trapper league. I pray that he doesn’t end up directing the next Mission: Impossible movie.

And I should point out that while I’ve only read the first entry in the Scott Pilgrim comics series, is not Michael Cera horrible casting?

Somebody, please, enlighten me on that one. I’ll probably see this movie, it seems fresh and not totally horrible, but like Where The Wild Things Are, something designed to appear magical and lure in and then capture hipsters or whatever we’re calling them these days and those who want to seem cool.

Also, will this be the film adaptation by which people have to go out and read the original material, like Watchmen, and act like they were always down with it?

And, honestly, all of that’s fine with me as long as I don’t have to endure Michael Cera fingerbanging somebody again.

Mad linkage:

Music is replacing religion,” says academic.

Will Broken Social Scene be able to “recapture the magic?”

13 year old prodigy is being discriminated against because of his age. Geek.

Possible explanation for ghosts: The “Stone Tape” theory.

The ten worst jobs in science.

The most beautiful death of Aldous Huxley.

David Mamet sends a memo to his writers on The Wire.

Hash browns.

The world’s most feminist country? Motherfucking Iceland, yo.

Chicago architects to design the world’s tallest building to be built in Saudi Arabia.

Brie Larson, who plays Envy Adams (the character based on Emily Haines) in the Scott Pilgrim movie.


Are serials losing forward momentum with television audiences?

Speaking of which, 24 is officially cancelled.

Obama tells the GOP to suck his dick, re: health care reform.

Roger Ebert producing new movie review show. RIP At The Movies.

China’s female astronauts must be married mothers. That wouldn’t be the case in motherfucking Iceland.

John Kerry’s regrets about John Edwards.

Du Pacque “Walk Straight

“And this I know, his teeth were as white as snow.”

The postal service is moving closer to a five day delivery schedule.

Only slightly related, I don’t think the other Postal Service will ever put out a second album.

How to get chatroulette girls to flash their boobs.

Ben Lyons raped and killed a girl and her name was Pauline Kael.

Peter Biskind, Steven Spielberg, Jaws and “Bruce.”

Is it better to cheat with normal girls or “trashy girls?”

Extinction events that almost wiped out humans.

The night time you say forever

Breakfast pizza.

Carrying a gun increases your risk of getting shot and killed.

Finally have something in common with Peaches Geldof.

Psychologist invents butt bra.

Kid Cudi “Pursuit Of Happiness” (feat. MGMT, Ratatat)

Oral sex to blame for rise in head and neck cancer?

Lesbian Holocaust memorial.

Vienna boy’s choir sex scandal, by Roger Boyes.

Interview with Atom Egoyan.

Butch returning for a sequel, minus Sundance.

The hubble telescope confirms that the universe is getting bigger, faster!

Adults are just obsolete children.

“Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it develops a sense of humor, which si awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.”

-Dr. Theordore Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss.

Today is Dr. Seuss’ birthday!

The thing that always captured me about the works of Dr. Seuss as a kid wasn’t that there was some joy of reading out there for my childlike self to discover, not yet. Sure, that would follow soon on the heels of discovering Suess’s fascinating world of characters and silliness…

And it’s funny, when my mother first started taking me to libraries, and first started showing me that books contained not just knowledge, but whole worlds inside them, whole new amazing discoveries, she would say things like, “Oh, the places you’ll go!” I knew it was cheesy back then, but didn’t know she was cribbing it from Seuss himself. It didn’t matter though. When she said it, I believed her. She was my mother, after all. And her boundless enthusiasm about the world of literature that was about to come crashing down on me was far too intoxicating.

But, no, the world of Seuss isn’t just a gateway to the joys of reading. His works and the works of someone like Shel Silverstein, whom I see many parallels, taught you more about the rhyme and reason, to pardon the pun there, of the world that awaited children. They showed you something else: silliness and nonsense.

Your parents and teachers read these stories to you or introduced them to you and they too thought they were nonsense. And as a kid, there’s so many things you don’t understand, so many things that you know you don’t understand and you look at your parents for those answers and some things are just too big to explain to the mind of a child. And there’s far too many questions that you can have to which the answer “…when you’re older” just hurts to hear. But then Seuss comes into your hands. You read it with your parents or any adult and that smile comes on both of your faces, that smile and laugh at something so ridiculous, and it’s shared. It’s a simple world, one of hilarious images and rhyming dialogue and no narrative descriptions, and it’s easy and fun. For a second there, you’re on a plateau with anyone of all ages. And then you get your footing, you grow and develop, and you continue climbing.

The wartime political cartoons of Dr. Seuss:

from here.

Some linkage, unrelated:

Two literary superstars (Ian McEwan and Rick Moody) publishing science fiction soon.

Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

Nanotube thermocells hold promise as energy source.

Looting in Chile.

Speaking of which, the earthquake in Chile may have changed the Earth’s axis, shortened days on the planet.

The mystery of nuclear scientist’s “bizarre” disappearance.

Roger Ebert gets his voice back.

The world’s first temple?

Jumbo shrimp.”

Doing an about-face on “overmedicated” children.

Really, Carly, it’s about David Geffen? Really?

Roger Ailes is a self-loathing liberal.

The fascinating letterheads of Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.

The universe is “hella big.”

“Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.”


Seuss and the frequently mentioned cat, from the Dr. Suess Memorial.

The decade gone past (through the eye of the film projector).

from here.

Tomorrow we’ll be presenting our best films of the decade list, and yeah, we’re a few weeks late, but you know what? Fuck off. That’s what.

Now, normally, I don’t like to talk needless shit, but as Benjie Light and I were waxing and musing about various films that we felt deserved to be on this list, we also, of course, were taking a gander at others’ lists. Some of them are really, really interesting. Some… not so much.

If you click over to the trainwreck of a website that is Ain’t It Cool News these days, you can take a look here at the best of the decade lists by one of their regularly featured… I don’t know what you call them. Are they writers? I’ll be charitable and just say: bloggers. Anyway, the fella calls himself “Mr. Beaks.”

Now, there’s some quality films in this list, there really are. In The Mood For Love in the top five? I respect that. You Can Count On Me in the list at all? I can definitely get behind that. There’s two films by Michael Haneke on the list, which is surprising, but I applaud it. WALL-E‘s on the list, which is a no brainer, and so are films like The Constant Gardener, which people always told me were good but I never saw. All of this sounds fine.

But the list itself? Deeply flawed. For example, there’s way too Ridley Scott happening here. Way too much. I’m surprised that Peter Berg isn’t on the guy’s list. And Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale. Seriously. There’s weird caveats as well, like, sure Bad Santa makes it onto the list of top 100 films of the decade, but only the “January 2003 Pasadena Test Screening Cut?” What? That’s ridiculous. Oh, and the that the #100 film is Bring It On, seriously, and the #1 film – and it’s important to note that this appears to be a ranked list – is Irreversible. Which is… wow. Indeed.

Also, here is a list of films that “Mr. Beaks” says “just missed” finding a place on his best of the decade list: The Dark Knight, Juno, May, Closer, Old Joy, Bad Boys 2, Unfaithful, Lovely And Amazing, Unbreakable, Mission To Mars, Humpday, The Prestige, Paranoid Park, and I’m Not There. And The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Just consider for a moment that these titles are together in one section, and then think about how they’re good enough to make it onto the best of list. A-mazing.

Then again, this list is perfect for AICN, and their larger than life founder, Harry Knowles, who once deserved mention in early 90s when it came to how film was discussed on the internet, at least upcoming films. Benjamin Light’s been saying it for a while, and maybe he’s right: I don’t think we care about spoilers anymore. Not that AICN has had them for a while. The system merely absorbed them and spit them back out.

Harry Knowles = the anti-Roger Ebert?

So, it just goes without saying: Reviewing anything is a careful process. Take any review with a grain of salt. If you’re reading a review of a film you’ve never seen before, the review should be enlightening, only slightly spoiler-ish, giving you a good tease, and in clear, firm, and smart language, illustrate for you whether this is something you’d like or not, for whatever reason you like or don’t like things. A review for a film you’ve already seen should feel like a conversation with somebody you’ve either just met or feel like someone you’ve known for years. It should be smart, of course, and thoughtful. It should point out things to you and and excite you, and bring you into a conversation you’d be lucky to engage in. Or not. It’s up to you.

Hell, maybe Bring It On is on your 100 best movies of the decade list. SPOILER: I’m pretty sure it’s not on ours.

That said, our 100 Best Films of the Decade list is (most likely) dropping tomorrow. It’s fantastic. Trust me.


Who are the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, really?

Joss Whedon could potentially be going to FX.

The new memoir by Patti Smith.

Scientists turn stem cells into pork.

Ben Kingsley in Bollywood.

The 100 greatest sci fi/fantasy novels of all time?

Diamond oceans possible on Uranus and Neptune.

The founder of Taco Bell made a run for the border…

The end of time, part one.


This is a Doctor Who post. Sort of.

I should talk about the part one finale of the Tenth Doctor era, “The End Of Time, Part One,” but instead, especially in the spirit of the approaching New Year, this is about the anticipation of the concluding episode, which airs on New Year’s day in the UK, and the day after here in the colonies.

If I were to talk about part one, I’d tell you that it was a truly silly and ridiculous episode, just incredibly over the top at times. But wonderful. Just perfectly strange and nonsensical at times, but then within that wildnerness of weird, you’d get little scenes, like the one between David Tennant and Bernard Cribbins in the cafe. With just the faintest possibility of a tear in my eye, I could probably watch that scene again and again.

Also, thank you mightily Timothy Dalton for all that Time Lord spittle.

Definitely something that I think the thespians in America need to appropriate from across the Atlantic: The glorious art of just throwing some of your own saliva in another actor’s faces while chewing the scenery. Making someone blink and possibly having to take a handkerchief to their face is really what should decide who gets Oscars and things like that these days.

Play along at home:

from here.

Now, some mad linkage as the year draws to a close…

Ricky Jay and the secrets of the magus.

The man who is scaling Mt. Criterion film by film.

Julie Klausner and the end of the 00s.

15 reasons to live for the next ten years. If a meteorite doesn’t kill you, that is…

The Russians are going to chip in to save the Earth from destruction via meteorite in 2032. I remember reading about 99942 Apophis, the asteroid that will get dangerously close to our planet two decades from now and emailing a few people about it, not freaking out or anything, just saying, “You know, this is kind of interesting.” And I remember people telling me, “If this was a big deal, we would’ve heard something by now.” The time is now.

Notes on A Lover’s Discourse.

My Dinner With Andre is online.

Why do so many terrorists have engineering degrees?

Dear Benjamin, Light: Ap-Ro-Po. You cunt.

Jeff Dunham’s show has thankfully been canceled.

The sudden exoticism of Africa, and how ridiculous such a notion is.

Joeblog, you are missed.

Dylan Moran’s Black Books is on Hulu!

Republicans, Obama, and failed airplane bombs.

This article linked here: 2009. Independent film. Brave. Free thinkers.

Clean your screen.

In love with the past, present, and future.

Saw The Time Traveler’s Wife today. It’s… not a great movie. If you never read the truly fantastic book by Audrey Niffenegger, you’re not going to know what the fuck is going on there. Nor will you care. In fact, you’ll desire time travel to take you out of the theater. And you’ll probably never want to pick up the book.

And that, I think, is the film’s greatest flaw.

Adapting a novel is tough work. So few works of prose are really created to be cinematic, and this novel, with dual perspectives, is equally tough. The screenwriter here gave me the same sense when watching some of the latter Harry Potter movies (of which I’ve never read the books): Here’s a list of all the big scenes that have to be in the film because they’re huge in the book. Why are they huge in the book? Sorry, we don’t have time for things like character development or story arcs.

Here’s the gist of how the novel starts: Henry, 28 years old, works in a library in Chicago. One day a 20 year old woman comes in looking for a book. She’s young, gorgeous, and her name’s Clare. She recognizes Henry instantly. She’s ecstatic to see him. He, however, has no clue who she is, and has never seen her before. That throws her for a loop for a moment because she’s known him her entire life, and has been in love with him since she was 6 years old.

Henry’s a time traveler. It’s a genetic disorder, something called chronal displacement. One moment he’s here, and then: he’s not. Poof. Vanished into thin air. Leaving just a pile of clothes wherever he stood. He travels to the past, the present, and the future, constantly anchored in by the big events: Clare, the woman he’ll fall in love with and marry. And his mother, who dies tragically when he’s a young boy. He constantly travels back to the site of her car accident, probably hundreds of times. But you can’t change the past, no matter how hard you try.

And realistically, you can’t change the future either.

The thing that makes the book work so good is that beyond that simple set up of time travel, this is a mature story of romance between two people. And like any real romance, for every happy moment the couple is allowed, they’re forced to live through two moments of pain and suffering. In fact, the ending is absolutely heartbreaking, and what makes it worse is the fact that we’re told what will happen well in advance of the moment it happens. But there’s nothing we can do because just like Henry, we’re slingshot throughout the narrative, going along for the thrilling ride.

None of that applies to the movie, I’m sad to say. Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, who play Henry and Clare, are great actors. I can’t even begin to think of how much worse this movie would be without them to just make it all… nice. And “worse” is too harsh. Confusing? No, that’s not it.

Even Ebert, who seems to enjoyed the film enough, questions many of the logical flaws of the film’s story in his review, all of which are actually addressed or not present in the book.

Let me put it this way: It’s like someone tried to adapt a synopsis of the book, and not the actual book itself.

In that, they succeeded, which is a shame because this really wouldn’t have – or, shouldn’t have – been that hard to bring to the screen properly. In fact, had it been done so right, this would’ve been that new, crazy tragic love story that people go to see over and over again. I believe that’s why the book became such a mega best seller.

One last night, about the music: In the novel, Henry and Clare are going through what you might call their present day courtship in the 90s, but are both obsessed with the great American punk bands of the 70s. In fact, some of Henry’s preaching about the primal animal rebellious spirit of mankind being turned into music and called punk rock is a bit ridiculous, but you get the point. The man knows his shit. It’s such a shame that instead of that, in the film, you get a single by Lifehouse of all bands.

Odder still: In the film, not only is the song used, but members of Broken Social Scene actually perform a cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” In fact, it’s the first dance of the newly married Henry and Clare as family and friends watch. It’s… kind of creepy. A touch romantic, yes, but really creepy. Perhaps as it should be.