Sing into my mouth.

In the course of my travels through the landscape of the internet the other day I came across this:

The only lovers left alive.

At first I was actually stunned by how pretty and serene the moving image was. I thought to myself, “That is really quite pretty,” which is somewhat uncharacteristic of me.

Later, I looked at it again and it terrified me somewhat. It look on an ethereal quality, something more haunting. It was no longer just two people, frozen in a moment of happy contentment. Suddenly it looked almost… ghostly, you know? It got me thinking about the web of time, the way memories are sliced separate from reality. Some moments are really quite lovely, if only they could be frozen in place,  allowed to continue on forever, unaware of the progress or decline that comes as the world continues spinning past them. How wonderful it would be if you could preserve them like this, but wouldn’t that deprive them of their meaning, leaving them stripped of their context and ultimately hollow?

Oh well. Just thinking. Every love story eventually becomes a ghost story, and every happy home eventually becomes a haunted house.

Three days.

Three days. That’s how many are left in 2010.

That is so wild, right? The end of the science fiction year that wasn’t too science fiction-y, sadly. Or maybe it was and I just wasn’t paying nearly enough attention. Or maybe I’ve just gotten so accustomed to the very pedestrian and incredibly mundane and boringly sexy science fiction-y aspects of my normal life?

from here.

I’m sure it’s something like that. Absolutely. Definitely. Whatever.

Also, this:

from here.

In this year, in this world of internetting and bloggery and social media, I had five very simple goals that I laid out at the start of 2010 and wanted to complete by year’s end. In order of my own personal interest and their importance, they were:

1. Not going to tell you (you’re not ready for this one yet, folks)(and neither am I).

2. Not going to tell you (forthcoming).

3. Not going to tell you (total abysmal failure).

4. Not going to tell you (worked, but was embarrassing and not worth mentioning again).

5. Getting 2,010 tweets in 2010!

The fifth one is the one that I’m going to definitely accomplish. Unless I lose both hands sometime in the next three days. Or lose my phone or computer or both. Or unless an EMP just wipes out all technology in the country/world.

But, well, I just don’t twitter much. And getting 2,010 tweets in 2010 was a silly, frivolous goal that I jokingly threw out on my twitter sometime back in… I don’t know what month, but sometimes those things you only jokingly declare are the ones that stick with you. It was somewhere around the start of the year, I believe, and I think I had less than a thousand tweets then and was probably tweeting an average of four to five tweets a month, roughly.

And eventually I just thought, yeah, I can do this shit, why not? Because it’s stupid? Stupidity has not stopped me from doing anything ever in my life.

Also, this is the 825th post on your friend neighborhood Counterforce. That’s wild. We didn’t make it to 1000 posts this year, but that’s perhaps for the best.  Personally, I’m just shocked that I managed to ramble on for nearly 2,010 tweets. I mean, what a silly declaration. Thinking back upon it, at first I was like this:

And then I was like this:

You understand.

Oh man, how creepy is this photo below?

Right?

Also, New Year’s Eve is almost upon us. Time to celebrate!

Also, this is fog porn:

from here.

And this is the first x-ray picture of a lightning strike:

from here.

Speaking of “science fiction,” the recent Doctor Who Christmas special was fucking wonderful.

So fun and smart and a nice little twist on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol cause, hey, why can’t the ghosts of Christmas’ past, present, and future be time travelers and holograms?

Michael Gambon was brilliant, but ruthlessly mean and joyously funny in places. And while the show did play around with some of it’s own rules towards time travel (and that’s why we have rules about time travel, folks: so they can be broken!), I found the idea of one watching their own past and memories change before their very eyes to be fascinating. Plus, the interesting but slight references to “the silence.” And I had to love the nice little nods to the recent JJ Abrams Star Trek movie with the copious lens flares on display of the crashing starship’s bridge.

Honestly, it was just nice to have Doctor Who back. The trailer for the upcoming season at the end of the special was a nice little tease as far as potential goes. Can it be April already?

Also, I’m worried that this (below) is what women must think of me whenever they see me…

from here.

Sigh. And I’m just trying to be normal and cool and down to earth and approachable. We can’t all be perfect, can we?

from here.

Oh well. Remember this always:

from here.

This is a picture from Tron Legacy

…which I hear was pretty terrible, but that Olivia Wilde was the best part of. Is it me, or is Olivia Wilde totally the new Angelina Jolie?

I mean that based on a lot of things, like her acting ability, her potential, the type of roles she’s taken in the past, but also based on her seemingly having that same ability that Angelina Jolie has to turn straight girls a little curious.

You know?

This is an abandoned theater in Detroit:

from here.

This is a monolith:

This is some good solid crazy fun rough housing:

And this is some old school adorable chillaxing right here:

The last six months or so on this blog and in my life have been… weird, to say the least. I’d go into more details here, but quite frankly, I don’t want to. I’ll just say that due to illness in my family, my life got a bit… derailed and I’m astonished that I’m seeing the end of this year without having gone totally insane. Or maybe I have already gone totally, stupendously insane and it’s just helping me see the end of this year more clearly? Like 3D glasses? That’s a comforting thought, right?

Anyway, at some point this will all be over and I’ll get back to some kind of semblance of “normal,” whatever that is. Are we still doing that? “Normal?”

Hopefully, if we’re lucky, we’ll be right back to asking “Who’s your daddy?” in no time flat.

This is what religion looks like:

from here.

And this is my basic worldview in a nutshell:

This is an example of the happy medium between sanity and fear:

This is an example of how Batman is both a master of surprise and also quite probably a huge pervert:

And sadly, no matter what we say or do, Lost is still over and done with:

Oh well. Three days to go. And then…

Fingers crossed about something exciting happening in those next three days (after all, a good deal of people on this planet thought that their magic wizard man came back from the dead in that same amount of time) but not holding my breath. Exciting, but not too exciting. Wow me, thrill me, blow my mind, fuck me over and fuck me up (but in a good way, please), but remember that when the sun comes up, I’ve still got bills to pay and TV shows to catch up with. Three days to go, promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep, and a long journey sprawling ahead of us through mountains upon mountains. This is both the place we made together and the journey we started together and I’m gonna be there with you. And wherever we end up, whatever new definition of home or normal we excavate, when we do we’ll turn to each other and say, “This must be the place!”

Remember, remember…

…it’s the 5th of November. It’s Guy Fawkes Day. The Gunpowder Plot. Not a huge deal here in America and, well, actually not a deal of any size here in America, but I forgot about it and then was reminded of it by the internet today, thanks to several individuals’ mini salute to the V For Vendetta film adaptation from a few years ago.

And it’s not an outlandish movie to watch so closely to our midterm elections from a few days ago. What a bizarre, strange, curiously odd bit of America that was.

What a strange time we are in currently in this country. Everything is emotions. There’s a phrase I keep hearing bandied about: “post-fact America.” Scary true. Most people get their dish on politicians from stupid email forwards than they do from the honest, serious media, and it’s all bullshit. Of course, there is no such thing as the honest, serious media anymore, is there? You can say anything and it gets reported, which is great, but does it get checked for a basis in reality? No. And why should it? Reality has no basis in our lives anymore, does it?

People are frustrated and upset and with good reason, especially given the precarious financial woe we’ve been in for the past two years. We want someone to blame and most folks don’t even care if if they’re upset at the right person. Tell them anything. Lie to them! Just turn their anger and their fear and heir sadness into something that’ll keep them warm: Hot, irrational anger. They want a rebellion. They don’t know what that means and they don’t care. Just articulate their feelings of uselessness into something that’ll fit onto a sign that they can hold up in public and we’ll worry about the damage we’re allowing to continue to be done in the morning after. And who cares? That’s a million years from now.

Our former president says that Kanye West calling him a racist on TV was the low point of his presidency. Not 9/11, not the lying about WMDs, not Iraq or Afghanistan, and not allowing our economy to slowly fade into shit. Not even the fiddling around and poor management post-Katrina, not even that was the low point of his years in the highest office in the land. No, it was when a rapper said what so many of us were already thinking.

Benjie Light were talking the other day, having a post-election pow wow and just sighing in exasperation at this place we now all inhabit together here in this age of conflict vs. compromise. “Probably less than a thousand people in this country really understand what went wrong with the economy,” he said to me and while I question the exact percentage he uses, I fear that he’s right. Hell, I don’t even fully understand the full intricacies of it – but reading The Big Short is on my to do list! – but I do know that we are better now than we were two years ago.

Not terribly better, no, but we’re on the right track and it’ll be a slow one, and a hard one. Now is the time for serious people to take serious action and leave some of the rhetoric behind. The Tea Party had some amazing victories this past Tuesday, regardless of the facts behind so many of their claims, but it’s fascinating how the real winners within that collective were the ones who went back to the center at the last moment, leaving the nutjobs like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell flapping in the wind. And that’s a good sign though. America can only handle morons to a certain degree and I’m thankful for that. Obviously I don’t agree with something like 95% of the beliefs of your average Republican, though I certainly understand where a lot of their feelings and overreactions come from, but my hope is that if they’re going to control something as goofy as the House of Representatives, then, please let’s have the serious people step up to the plate. The Democrats were lucky to retain the Senate, and guys like Harry Reid should be getting down on their knees and thanking his lucky fucking stars for having not lost (or having had such a ridiculous opponent), but what I’d like to see next is some understanding of how important it is that he actually does something with this second chance.

I’m not sure that syncretic politics is exactly the ideal or should be the goal, not always, but it’s what (and not the “noble idea” of anarchy [in the UK]) I think about when I think back on V For Vendetta. The film was one of the few examples of taking original source material, in this case the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, and taking the elements that worked from it and crafting a slightly different story from it. Or just telling the same story, but much better. The original graphic novel is a bit on the immature side, but I think that’s how reactions to the politics of the 80s feel to us now, despite the similarities to the world then and now.

And granted, the movie features Natalie Portman, whom I always like, for a lot of reasons, but part of that is because she has an eye for good films to appear in. And V For Vendetta is an ambitious tale, and kind of a poetic one, an action movie about this romantic idea about the vox populi, and the gentle tether that connects people with ideas and governments and control. “We the people” aren’t always right, I don’t believe, and more often then not the vox populi is woefully misinformed and complacent and lazy.And it’s not always about the level of control you maintain or that you manage to avoid succumbing to. Isn’t part of the point of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom that you sometimes have to give up the idea of freedom to instead find happiness? Either way, it’s about a balance, one that you can flourish under, and that others can as well, one that people can live with.

The other thing that Commander Light said the other day that was incredibly interesting to me was that this election just a few days ago could be about anything you wanted it to be about. Whatever your point is, whatever your thesis statement is, you’ll find something in your analysis to back it up. It’s a multi-layered thing and whatever is being said about America in those polls and votes and turnouts and wins and losses and bullet points from the mouths of babes and talking heads is whatever you want to be said. But what really matters now, the thing that we really need to find some kind of meaning and purpose in is what happens next.

A silence full of music.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.”

-Victor Hugo

from here.

“Music and silence combine strongly because music is done with silence, and silence is full of music.

-Marcel Marceau

from here.

“I’m Peggy Olson and I want to smoke some marijuana.”

Modernist poetry, Roger in blackface, Dramatic near-tension, creativity under the influence, the line of dialogue echoed across the entire internet, whimsical and not so whimsical nostalgia for a time and place that may have never existed, Public humiliation set to music, The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, and young Sally Draper and Grandpa Hofstadt in The Case Of The Missing Five Dollars! All in the newest episode of Mad Men, episode 3 of season 3, “My Old Kentucky Home.” August?

August Bravo: So far, this probably my favorite episode this season. Hands down. So many strong themes and strong scenes to it.

Marco Sparks: Oh yes. I thought this season hit the ground running nicely with the first episode, but last night it’s like the show really took a nice deep breath in it’s own skin.

August: The first scene always sets such a huge tone for the rest of the episode. In last night’s case, it was the casting call with Peggy and the boys of Sterling Cooper. Ah, Peggy. Always trying to assert her dominance. More and more throughout the show she’s trying to show the guys that she can do the job she was promoted to. Now, while I’m sure everyone thinks she can, she has to prove it, and not just to herself.

Marco: Peggy Olson was on fire last night. She was blazing. She was all lit up!

August: One of my favorite things about this episode was the introduction to marijuana through someone who isn’t Don. And I’m not surprised it’s Kinsey, but it was funny nonetheless that Smitty  says, “I’m sure you know someone, right?” Ahh, yes. Kinsey knows everyone!

Marco: Yes, and no. I feel like Kinsey would have to know a guy because he’s all talk. Like his drug dealer/college chum revealed: His version of Kinsey is all a facade, a new form of Gatsby. Kinsey with his faux British accent and his fucking mohair sweater. Mohair!

August: Mohair!

Paul Kinsey, ad man. At your service, sir or madam.

Marco: Also, that drug dealer. Ha ha! My God, I want a spin off about literate 1960s drug dealers. Like a 1963 Pineapple Express. Let’s sing and smoke some dope, everybody!

August: I loved how Kinsey got so mad at him when he insulted his singing.

Marco: Kinsey and his fucking singing. Talk about a naive melody (see below). I think everyone knows a Kinsey. He’s the guy that, when you see him, you want to either A) punch him in the gut, or B) fuck his girlfriend.

August: I love how the drug dealer just stuck around. He’s got no other clients. He’s got nowhere else to be.

Marco: For serious. And how often do you deliver grass – grass! – to a Madison Avenue ad agency on a Saturday in1963? Maybe if he stuck around long enough, he could’ve got an internship?

August: That guy was very 60s Pineapple Express.

Marco: I think you’ll love that that guy playing the drug dealer with his psuedo-Tom Cruise/Christian Bale looks is actually Miles Fisher. The one who…

…did the Talking Heads/American Psycho mash up video. If you didn’t know of it before, Augustus, I have a feeling you’re about to crap your pants.

August: Maybe. Also not surprising was Peggy’s willingness to try the pot. She’s just as open-minded as Kinsey or Don, but she just had a reputation to uphold.

Marco: Yeah, she’s a “lady,” and it’s not “proper,” as was reinforced by her square old secretary.

August: While instances of marijuana weren’t previously brought up, I’m sure she would have said no before.

Marco: I imagine she took a moment to contemplate the situation and meditate over her WHAT WOULD DON DRAPER DO? shrine that she keeps i her office.

August: And why didn’t she say no this time? Not peer pressure… Because it was Saturday! Kidding. I’m sure it was probably more to do with that uptight secretary of hers muttering that she knew what those boys were up to in there.

Marco: You think the secretary was a stand in for her mom? This was her “Fuck you, mom!” moment?

You think I don’t know what you’ve been doing in there?

August: Maybe, plus Peggy wants to belong and always feels that she needs to belong at work, like belong to the boy’s club, to belong there during all their reindeer games, you know?

Marco: Believe me, I know.

August: Peggy needs to feel that she’s apart of something, so in this case… she just threw herself into it! And you know her, eager minded as she is, she’s always working. Even when she’s high!

Marco: With the dictaphone! Like a little Hunter S. Thompson.

August: Such a great idea t put something like this in this episode, especially when it seems pointless.

Marco: Which, of course, it was. But was meaningful to the people back then. This is the 60s. The era of trying new things and mind expansion.

August: Yes. I’m slowly liking Peggy more and more. I’m sure having a woman direct this particular episode has nothing to do with it.

Marco: I don’t even pay attention to who directs the episodes anymore. All of their directors are sharp and this show just seems so technically well produced, well rehearsed, etc.

August: Okay, so now to my favorite plot line of this episode: Poor little Sally Draper. Can we really call her poor anymore? Maybe now, but for a few hours there she was rich. Rich, I tell you!

Marco: A lot of people seemed to hate that storyline but it felt just as right and seemed, to me, to belong as much as Peggy and the boys smoking dope.

August: love to watch these kids grow up. It’s fantastic.

Marco: Yeah, really. And I despise children, and I’m not going to bullshit about that, but the little girl playing Sally is just precious and adorable.

August: I love how first you don’t really see the kids very much. Then, they’re slowly starting to break things that aren’t theirs. And then, BAM, stealing from their grandfathers. I would have loved it even more i she tried to frame the housekeeper for stealing it, but I guess the writers didn’t want to go in that direction. Great line with the grandfather calling her “Viola.”

Marco: Because he’s pretty much got Alzheimer’s and things she is Viola, his old housekeeper. Or, classically, assumes that she’d know Viola. I really dread a lot of the racist moments on the show, even though they’re so true to the time period. Poor Carla. And, ugh, Roger.

August: So why did Sally steal the money? I mean, after all, she just ends up throwing it on the ground and asking her grandfather if the money she “found” was the missing five dollars in question. Did she want the love and affection of her grandfather? Was she just bored? Or is Sally growing up to be something worse? I’d like to say the last one, but lie I said, she did just give it back. I can see Sally doing something worse this season. I can’t wait to see her reaction to the baby being born.

Marco: Oh, that’ll be fun, for sure. But I think that in this particular case, The Case Of The Missing Five Dollars, it’s just a youthful indiscretion. But, yeah, Sally can also now potentially add kleptomania to her other funtributes like awesome bartending skills and alcoholism. I think what were seeing is that these kids aren’t really being “raised” by their parents, just interacting with them. And, hormones or not, shit, Betty seems to get colder and colder by the minute to her children (Carla’s a better mom to them at this point). So, in these interactions, the kids are just going to pick up nothing but bad habits and not really understand why. Bobby Draper: future serial rapist. Put money on that. Either him or that fucking Glen kid.

But I think that Sally stole the money for a thrill, realized that unlike everything else, Grandpa wasn’t going to forget or confuse himself out of wanting the money back, and she knew she had to get that situation over with as quickly as possible. And she got lucky. I’m ready for Grandpa to go to Heaven. Once you start echoing the paperboy from Better Off Dead, it’s time to go.

August: The scene where the money is stolen sparks one of the best lines in the episode, and the season so far. Don offers the the grandfather five dollars after his appears to be missing and…

Gene: “You people, always thinking money solves problems.”

Don: “Nope, just this particular problem.”

What a great line.

Marco: Maybe not within his actual family unit, but with external forces within his actual house, Don Draper will remain The Man and has no qualms about showing it. Especially if it’s annoying. Besides, Don probably has a few bucks left after having to restock all of their booze last week.

August: Finally, the party scene. You could feel the tension the whole episode with Sterling’s blushing new bride, Jane. Especially when she talks to Joan earlier on.

Marco: Considering the shit Joan had to put up with in her storyline last night, I really wish she had punched Jane in her bony… everything.

August: The party just made Jane look even crazier. I didn’t get the whole dancing thing with Pete and his wife, Trudy. Was that the charleston? Wht was the significance of them parading on the dance floor, basically shooing everyone else off of it? Cute as it was, were they trying to prove something? Who knows.

Marco: Oh, they definitely were. That bit says so, so much. Especially about Pete and Trudy, whom I think, despite their differences, makes a wonderful Lady MacBeth to his manchildness. It’s about wowing his bosses, the previous generation, with a dance from their generation. Something you know he hated learning from the previous generation, but now needs to get what he wants from said generation. And it’s about sticking it to his coworkers, especially as he tries to win over all of the Accounts department from Ken Cosgrove.

Also, again: Fuck Harry Crane. I hate that guy. Sure, I’d punch Kinsey in the stomach for being a loud mouth asshole, but then I’d let him pick up the check for a round while taking in some beatnik poetry readings in the village. But Crane? I’d hit that guy with a boat.

August: Back to Roger’s wife, Jane. Basically she’s a kid and she doesn’t know her limits, booze-wise. Sound like someone we personally know?

Marco: Surely not someone who writes here at Counterforce…

August: No, of course not.

Marco: Inside jokery! But can I just throw this out there… Jane = the evil, out of her depth Peggy?

August: Ah, Jane, drinking too much and blabbing to Betty about the secret split between her and Don. What does this do? Does this provoke a huge catfight? I wish… But, no, Betty just feels it necessary to storm off all dramatic like, and have Don come in and take control.

Marco: To be fair, Betty does have the virus of human life stuck inside her. That’d make me moody about certain issues too.

August: But the handling Don does, so precise in a way. Being Jane’s boss again, telling her to just sit down, and making her even more awkwardly placed at the party. Then Roger comes back and asks what’s going on and Don belittles the young bride, and her husband even more, by saying she’s had too much to drink. And he has that same look on his face that he’s had all season when having to deal with Roger.

Marco: That look like he either has to take a shit or he’d rather be taking a shit.

August: Yeah. That look that says: You made a dumb decision leaving your wife and marrying this young whore.

Marco: Ouch.

August: But I could be wrong. Roger picks up on Don’s look, and his whole attitude. I wish I could remember exactly what Roger said to it all. Maybe you could fill in the blank fr me there, Marco? Something about being happy an inviting your own guests? I forgetz.

Marco: Something to the effect of them being there at the super rich country club on Long Island and Roger reiterating for Don’s benefit that it was me who invited you here, buddy boy. It reminded me of Mr. Big reminding The R about who’s dumping whom in the desert to die after a swift beatdown.

August: Hey, “nobody has to know!”

Marco: Other than Peggy, my favorite scene has to be Don having a drink with Conrad Hilton. You just have to love Don’s climb over bar because he doesn’t have time to walk around. Fantastic! Definitey in my top five Don Draper moments ever.

I want to talk about the Joan stuff, but I don’t. Poor Joan. Goddamn, her rapist doctor husband infuriates me. In so many ways Joan is the more successful good housewife type than Betty, though she has to put up with a shittier husband than Betty does. And all that Emily Post bullshit? Oh man. I hope she leaves him this year. And let’s face it, at some point her and Don are going to have to hook up, at least once, and when they do, televisions everywhere are going to melt from the nuclear sexiness. And then we’ll all melt. And then the TVs will melt. And then the Soviets will bomb us out of existence.

August: Maybe.

Marco: Also, prediction: By the end of the 60s on this show, at least a few seasons from now, you just know that Don and Peggy are going to drop acid together. Maybe when they go to Haight Ashbury and pitch their services to the Grateful Dead? Something like that.

Also, I love Peggy’s assertion of success in the face of probably being incredibly hungry (and not at all paranoid), but it did sound a tad naive. Wonderfully naive, even for a moment who has so much potential success hanging on her shoulders. But I hope that was the last of and not the start of a Peggy Olson recreational drug storyline. Hum another naive melody, please.

August: Once again, the previews for next time got me pretty pissed off, but what can you do?

Marco: You’ll just have to tune in next time.

Same as it ever was!

I won’t lie, I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle of this… uh, debate/meeting?