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

Scottish Manes.

On our Star Wars podcast a few weeks ago, I was threatening that I was going to write a monograph about Ewan McGregor’s hair in films, and I’m sure Benjamin Light thought I was just joking. He probably – rightfully? – hoped that I was.

Scottish manes.I wasn’t. Thought Catalog was nice enough to publish a piece by me the other day: A Selection Of Films Rated On The Quality Of Ewan McGregor’s Hair In Them.”

Here’s the sad thing: I could have gone on and on, and in quite a big of greater detail than I did. Their might be a strange little e-book on this topic in the future so, you know, beware.

* * *

At some point, I feel like I could write another piece (though a much shorter one) on the hair of prominent comic book writers, especially those in the Marvel bullpen. In short: They’re all bald! Sometimes they have the wall of hair on the side, a power move that I’m sure is called “The Captain Picard” in barber college. Sometimes they just go for the shave and shine, electing to try to convince us that they chose to shave their head, not that they were losing a war with genetics. (“Make it SO!”)

I can see you!

Oh well. These are the people who decide who of our favorite four color heroes will die (like Peter Parker recently) or get raped and stuffed in a refrigerator.

FYI: TV Tropes informs me that it is actually referred to as “Bald Of Awesome.”

* * *

Benjamin Light informed me tonight that Ewan McGregor was rated as #5 on GQ‘s list of Most Stylish Men. I could tell you who was rated higher than him, but it’s bullshit. At least it wasn’t Michael Fassbender or Channing Tatum.

Men in suits.

Fucking Channing Tatum.

* * *

The blog is just days away from ending!

And, as always, I’m going to ask and suggest that you check out our podcasts…

Podcasts!

Time Travel Murder Mystery is on a very short hiatus currently, but I imagine that you can expect new episodes again in early January. Meanwhile, Greedo Shot First, our Star Wars podcast for people who hate Star Wars fans, is still going strong. I believe that the subject of our next episode will be a rewatching of The Empire Strikes Back. The haircuts in that movie were really just so so.

Greedo Shot First.

So I’ve done a lot of posts here hyping our podcast – Time Travel Murder Mystery – and this post won’t be any different, except I want to talk about how Benjie and I have another podcast that we’re doing, Greedo Shot First.

This is us getting out all of our hardcore old school Star Wars nerdery and kind of bullshitting around with it and looking at the hype and speculation and strangely shaped observances that come with the upcoming Episode VII. I can’t promise that this podcast is any less dorky than other Star Wars podcasts, but I can tell you that ours is far more mean spirited and foul mouthed.

Anyway, I’m especially excited to share with you some art we have for the podcast…

…provided for us by our good friend, Michael Manuel, whom you may or may not have heard of us talk about on the podcast sometimes, usually referred to as “Erotikus.” Mike has sometimes referred to our podcast as being “A Star Wars podcast for people who hate Star Wars fans,” and I think you could say that’s about half right. Anyway. Say hey to Mike and give him money to do art and check out our podcast in iTunes or keep track of it either here, or at the Time Travel Murder Mystery site. May the Force be with you.

01/11/11.

from here.

From the internet:

Anthropomorphic cannibalism.

The difference between the US version of Skins and the UK version of Skins.

How to use eHOW to turn yourself into a comedic force to be reckoned with.

Brooklyn style, bitch!”

Bond is back.

by Kelly Reemtsen, from here.

The Day The Universe Came and other incredibly amazing and erotic pulp science fiction book covers.

The afterlife of David Foster Wallace.

What really happened to Endor when they ganked the Death Star?

Hark! A Vagrant and Nancy Drew.

from here.

Twitter’s response to the WikiLeaks subpoena should be the industry standard.

FYI: The Prisoner is probably still my favorite show ever.

Meg Ryan and John (Cougar!) Mellencamp are dating and that’s a little too much for me to handle this early in the new year.

Kepler spacecraft finds hot, distant planet.

An infographic history of the Batmobile.

via Boing Boing.

Mona Lisa landscape mystery finally “solved.”

People can build bombs out of anything. Including vibrators.

The Counterforce post with the best pictures.

Myspace cuts half it’s staff in half.

Here’s 12 ways to spot a cheat.

Literal New Yorker cartoon captions.

What would Jesus do about sex trafficking?

There’s going to be another Neil LaBute movie, this time starring Brendan Fraser.

Did Kanye steal Dr. Dog’s music video?

Also, Kanye got his album cover banned on purpose. Sigh.

Atmosphere’s self-cleaning capacity surprisingly stable.

I really like this mash up between Doctor Who and Dr. Seuss.

Ghostbusters meets Inception.

The eurotrash and their monetary destiny.

The ALA’s Youth Media Award winners.

The 50 best comic book covers of 2010.

Grant Morrison’s 2002 performance piece for Steve Cook.

Charlize Theron to star in Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel?

Visualizing the deletion process on Wikipedia.

Interesting photos: The photo that Anna Wintour famously axed from Vogue and Wastelands by Dan Dubowitz.

Climate change to last a millennium. Deal with it.

NASA called 2012 the most flawed sci fi film ever.

Transcending the human, DIY style.

from here.

The Goddamn Batman.

from here.

From the internet:

RIP Leslie Nielsen.

RIP Irvin Kershner.

Your 2010 holiday gift shopping sorted.

Here’s something you clearly (don’t) need: pocket chainsaw.

The top 5 most shocking things about WikiLeaks.

Vladimir Putin is Batman and Dmitry Medvedev is Robin.”

Celebrities quitting twitter for charity.

from here.

This Spider-Man musical sounds like just the kind of crazy train wreck that you want it to be.

Here’s what Christopher Nolan thinks of your Inception fan theories.

Natalie Portman, Halle Berry, and Tom Hanks to star in the Wachowskis’ version of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas?

Actor decapitates own mother in Masonic attack inspired by The Matrix.

The bad sex in fiction awards!

Fox Nation reprints anti-Obama article from The Onion, doesn’t mention (or possibly realize) that it’s a joke.

Music by David Lynch.

Previously on Counterforce.

An interview with Jorge Luis Borges.

from here.

This is just weird: Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal.

From 1993: The future of the internet!

David Foster, from 1998: “I’m not a journalist and I don’t pretend to be one.”

from here.

Klaxons “Twin Flames.”

The little white lies of online dating revealed.

Is this the year that we make contact? Maybe.

Doctor Doom vs. Doctor Who.

Are we about to be inundated with a wave of movie versions of the works of Haruki Murakami?

Batman and Robin investigate “The Carbon Copy Crimes.”

from here.

D. J. Caruso on why he quit the Y The Last Man movie. Wants to make it a TV show instead, huh? Someone owes me a check. You fuckers.

Suck on this: Animated Southland Tales prequel.

How does Commissioner Gordon really feel about Batman?

Do women avoid talking to their fathers because of evolution?

Edgar Allan Bro.

Hercule Poirot kitties. LOL.

from here.

Shocking link between people who like Batman and people who like pornography.

How to survive a mass extinction.

A Spanish woman claims that she owns the Sun and you can bet your ass she wants you to pay her for its usage.

from here.

Do or do not. There is no “try.”

I’m bored and today feels like a Friday to me. Not in a way good though. In a complicated, strange, sad kind of way. Does that make sense? Probably not. Don’t think about it too much. Look at this:

from here.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life.”

Today I was minding my own business and this song came on:

That’s Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” But you’d have to know that, right? The people who don’t know that are probably these same weird people that I keep running into lately that have never seen Back To The Future or have NEVER HEARD (lower case wtf?) of The Empire Strikes Back. Anyway. Hearing this song today reminded me of four things:

1. I think I’m locked into a vicious cycle of having to always pause whatever I’m doing to do the air drums when the drumming enters this song. Is that an unattractive quality? I hope not.

2. The first time I did the air drums at the exact right time that they came into the song when I was a stupid little kid when one of those amazing moments of victories that you experience as a stupid little kid. I felt invincible.

3. I had a friend named Steve, who… well, that’s a long story for another time. But Steve was a drama major once upon a time and I remember him telling me once over a few drinks how it was his dream to do the lyrics to this song as a monologue on stage at some point in his life. I’m sure by now that Steve has awarded himself quite a few Oscars for performances so far only witnessed by the bathroom mirror.

4. I’ve said this many a time before, but I miss this era in Phil Collins’ career. He was just likable and a simple pop star, but he really mined a dark corner of the human psyche and added synthesizer and that’s what the top 40 looked like back then. Just listen to songs like “Mama,” which he did with Genesis, or “I Don’t Care Anymore,” or even the classic “Against All Odds,” they’re just so sad and desperate and dark and… amazing. There’s this grand urban legend built up about the lyrical content of “In The Air Tonight,” which people take quite literally, assuming that Phil Collins perhaps watched a person drown while singling out the guilty party at a concert during the performance of the hit song he wrote about it, which is a little insane, but is fascinating to watch it grow over the years, mostly by what we call “Telephone” here in America, but they call “Chinese Whispers” in England. It just seems so strange and appealing to me, that period of keyboard and lack of… flash. I mean, seriously, back in the day this guy…

…was one of the leading pop stars of the day and age. This guy…

No joke, that. And yet, pre-Disney soundtracks, he was like the Bob Hoskins of pop.

Easter ha ha.

from here and Underpants Jail.

from here.

The 100 Greatest Moments Of Lost, part 1: WWAAAALLLTTTTT!!!

There was a year, probably the year that Return Of The King and the third Matrix movie came out, where I kept hearing the same tagline: “Everything that has a beginning has an ending.” Talk about pompous and wanting to be epic (and falling short, especially that year). And yet, sadly, this phrase works for Lost, but maybe with some modifications: Everything that has a beginning, a middle, and an ending will end, but not necessarily in that order.

Fuck me, this has been a long time coming. It feels like those last few moments of “The Incident” ended a forever ago and we’re so close, and I’m freakishly excited. You know how you finally go on that date with that hot person and you’re nervous and you’re worried about having shit in your teeth or how your hair looks and are you funny enough? And you’re freaking out this date is just tanking (this is obviously a very cliched date, I know), but then that hot, amazing guy/girl says, “Hey, why don’t you come back to my place for a drinky drink?” I’m like that excited. That kind of excited with a mixture of a 100 Hiroshimas. So, you know, the return of this show on Tuesday night is serious business.

And let’s start looking back at how we got here, and how I could possibly be this excited as we begin looking at…

The 100 Greatest Moments of Lost!

PART ONE

100. Workman: “So are going to go back and kill Hitler or some crazy shit like that?” Marvin Candle/Edgar Halliwax/Mark Wickmund/Pierre Chang: “Don’t be absurd! There are rules!” From the season 5 opener, “Because You Left,” this is quite the meta statement. And I think it’s safe to say that Miles’ dad is one of Counterforce’s favorite characters.

99. Ben ditches the sling after the Ajira 316 crash in “Namaste.” This is a personal favorite of Benjamin Light and Occam Razor, and makes you wonder if Ben’s broken arm could be fixed after such a short time back on the Island or were his injuries just another ruse?

98. Jack shoots the oil cans in “The Variable,” while loading up on guns with Faraday and Kate before heading out to see the Others. Jack in 1977, when not making sandwiches and doing janitorial duties, is pretty nuts, man.

97. Regina (stunt woman Zoe Bell) kills herself on the Galaga. (Sea madness!)(Or, is it… time madness?)

96. Locke breaks his leg on his fall towards the frozen donkey wheel/meets with Christian/Smokey down there in “This Place Is Death.” The sound is so visceral and you feel Locke’s pain as he struggles to get up and move to that wheel, to pull it, and then… “Say hello to my son!”

95. “WAAALLLTTTTT!!!” from “Adrift.” I remember this annoying the shit out of me all 700 times that Michael screamed it out, but it clung to the inner walls of my memory like a tattoo.


94. Locke meets young Charles Widmore in “Jughead.” This moment, to me, is classic Locke, the man who deals with obstacles, but considers no one his enemy. Has any of the other characters met this 17 year old piece of snot who would cause them so many troubles in the future, they’d probably kill him. But not Locke. Once he learns the young man’s identity, he unleashes that trademark smirk. When asked what the name means to him, Locke merely replies, “Nothing. Nice to meet you.”

93. Jack and Sawyer’s poker game in “Lockdown.” It doesn’t take long before Kate, who’s watching the whole game, appropriately adds, “Should I get a ruler?”

92. “I screwed her, man.” From seeing who has a bigger dick to this, this touching confession that Sawyer makes to Jack about Ana Lucia in “Three Minutes” is some damn near heartwarming potential bromancery, right?

91. Rose and Bernard re-united in season 2′s “Collision” after 50 days apart.


90. Kate and Jack’s hate sex encounter the night before Ajira 316.

89. Jack’s “I married her!” line to Desmond in “Orientation.”


88. Jack and Kate get caught in a net. Why is this one of our favorite moments? Because of the SEXUAL TENSION! Duh. And it’s kinky.

Also, I’m gonna cheat here a bit and declare lucky #88 a TIE with another of my favorite moments: the scenes between Jack and the then (and still, as a lady sometimes should be) Juliet in the aquarium in “A Tale Of Two Cities.” Jack is held captive, at his wit’s end, his entire being frayed and stressed to the limits, and there’s Juliet, with the face of an angel, pushing him just a little further. It’s an amazing mash up of smoldering and vulnerability and one of several examples I would provide to anyone foolish enough to tell me this show isn’t sexy. (Another example would be #90, obviously.)


87. Sayid, in the rain, with a gun, from season 1′s “Homecoming.” Ethan is back and he’s threatened to kill someone every day until Claire is returned to him, so our 815ers form a posse to take him down. And of course Sayid is the badass Angel of Death.


86. Phil gets killed during “The Incident.” This guy was a serious itch in second half of season 5 and then they scratched it.

85. Karl and Rousseau are killed by Keamy and the mercenaries at the end of “Meet Kevin Johnson.”

84. Ana Lucia and Goodwin face off in “The Other 48 Days.”

83. Jin and Mr. Eko hiding from the Others, in season 2′s “…And Found,” and those bizarre glimpses of dirty bare feet, and teddy bears being dragged along, further tantalizing the mysterious of who the fuck are these people?


82. Hurley is writing The Empire Strikes Back in in “Some Like It Hoth.”

from here.

81. “He walks among us, but he is not one of us.” It’s what it says, but it’s not what it means,” Jack, from “Stranger In A Strange Land.”

80. Sayid hears the mysterious whispers while escaping Rousseau in “Solitary.”

79. Jack and Kate’s conversation in the Others’ rec room in “The Man From Tallahassee.” Just another link in the long chain that has been the Jack/Kate/Sawyer/Juliet/Ana Lucia love “triangle.”

78. Faraday sends the message to the future via Desmond’s head and his being an exception to “the rules” referred to at#100 at the end of “Because You Left.”

77. Jack gets to see the Red Sox win the world series in “The Glass Ballerina.” This is a simple but powerful moment that shows why Lost is more than just some gimmicky show, taking a simple line of dialogue from season 1 about Jack’s dad’s baseball team, the Red Sox, always¬† the team of losers, and showing that sometimes losers can win. Emotional resonance!


76. Nadia the cat silently judges Sayid at the end of “Enter 77.”

See you tomorrow with PART 2!

Islands of the dead.

I’m just going to be as cut to the chase and classy as I can with this: last night’s episode of Lost gave me an erection of awesomeness.

I mean, right?

Predictably, since it was a Ben episode, we got a little more details, some holes filled in the various back stories, and plenty of fodder for future speculation.

Some quick thoughts:

Locke. Granted, it’s a Ben episode, but I really dig the “new John Locke” that we’ve been seeing post-resurrection. He’s more serene, operating with more of a purpose, and appears to have a Nic Cage-sized sense of knowing things. Goodbye sometimes confused and lost old man, and hello to embracing the fully confident new leader of the Others. And it sounds like he’s not crazy about housing his people in the barracks when they could be out in the wild. Roughing it!

Ben. He’s always been a little more than just the villain of the piece, but now, I have to say that it’s riveting watching him constantly working his games on people and setting up his machinations. And Michael Emerson’s portrayal of this character is fascinating in that no matter how confused or thrown for a loop the character ever could be, you can tell that the wheels are always still spinning in his brain.

Sure, the guy’s always lying, but I think that his most honest moment was probably last year when he was traipsing through the jungle with Hurley and Locke and had to pause to say: “How many times do I have to tell you, John? I always have a plan.” Good times.

Caesar. Ha ha.

Rousseau. Her encounter with Ben not only made me think that we may actually be done with her character now, but also makes me want to go back to season 2 and watch his first episode again. Lindelof wasn’t kidding when he teased that the two of them “had words” at some point in the past. Also, I think that the whispers have moved up a slots higher on the list of things I’m curious about.

Alex. Interesting how she became both Ben’s one decent quality (and you just have to be amazed that she was raised as well as she was, considering who her “dad” was) and seemingly that noose hanging over his head.

Richard Alpert, Benjamin Light’s #1 man crush. For starters, Ben was totally his Alex, right? Seemingly he was always cheering him on just a little (until Locke came alone), yeah? Secondly, he totally lies to Widmore about what Jacob wants, but Widmore just kind of goes with it, which I find fascinating, even though he really din’t have a choice. Speaking of which…

Jacob! Seemingly, he and the Island are one in the same, especially if you wanted to use them in a sentence. So, If I were to say to you, “Jacob wanted me to kick you in the balls,” then you could easily just as well say, “The Island wanted me to kick you in the balls.” Also, Jacob seems to be the magic word to use in just about every situation. You’re pissed and want to know why I just kicked you square in your balls? It’s simple. Jacob wanted me to. Sorry. You can’t argue with that.

Charles Widmore. Well, Chuck here didn’t leave the way I was thinking he would (I was hoping for a turn of the frozen donkey wheel, after being tricked into doing it by Ben), but this was just as interesting. Of course, after the fiasco with the baby Alex situation, it didn’t seem like it would’ve been too hard for Ben to make quick business of him. Also, try to ignore that he’s seriously rounding up on how long he’s been trying to get back to the Island.

Also, it’s interesting to see the new guy playing the middle aged Widmore, who looks a lot like Alan Dale, especially with that wig they gave him. Of course, the guy who played teenage Widmore back in the 50s looked a lot like Alan Dale too. Oddly, teenage Widmore guy and middle aged Widmore guy look nothing alike. Let’s hope they do just as good with the actress coming in to play middle aged Eloise.

Annddd, I’m fascinated by the symbol on the vests of the Others guys who were escorting Widmore (don’t ask my why, but I got a total Nixon vibe in that scene) to the submarine, which also had the symbol on it. It seems to be based on the Taoist ba gua, much like the DHARMA logo. A hold over from the Purge?

Desmond! A collective “Whew!” comes over the audience to find that his family and he weren’t violently murdered by Ben, even though I think Ben effectively got the revenge he sought against Widmore in the transaction. But also perhaps found a glimmer of a soul in himself too. And we got to see Desmond deserve a nice little beat down as well. I really want to go watch that sad little phone call Ben makes to Jack in “316.”

The Monster! Ah, the monster. They tell us over and over again, that it’s not a nanotech swarm (which I really want it to be even more now after having finished Michael Crichton’s Prey today), and yet… wouldn’t that make perfect sense? The way the “creature” transitions from it’s Monster state to it’s human replica capable of real conversational interactions (and throwing people against walls) is intriguing as hell.

Also, like Locke, I think all the monster wanted was an apology and some remorse. And some undying fear of God loyalty for the new leader of the Others. And you know what? I think it’s going to happen.

Oh, and The Question: What lies in the shadow of the statue?

Ooooh. I think something very interesting it happening with the red shirts of Ajira flight 316. Perhaps their tiny brains are being taken over? Or perhaps, just perhaps, they aren’t there on accident and have something to do with the upcoming war that Widmore has warned us about. Plus, I love that Frank Lapidus enters every scene he’s in like he just stumbled out of a bender. If they only gave him a drinking scene with Desmond he’d be my favorite character.

Next week: Miles talks to dead people! (Spoiler: Naomi appears). Dr. Pierre Chang! Hurley (who also talks to dead people) and… what appears to just be some awesome good times with the DHARMA gang back in the 70s. That, or we’re going to outer space, brotha!

But tonight is the premiere of Harper’s Island, the 13 week close ended episodic television version And Then There Was None meets your average cheap slasher flick, where a group of well to do strangers go to a wedding on an island, and then slowly get picked off one by one by a mysterious killer who has a beef with them from the past.

At Wonder-Con, Lollipop and August and I attended a panel promoting the show, but held by the makers of the Lonelygirl15 franchise, who were executing an online web series meant to tie in to the main show. The whole presentation was laughably bad, and the show appeared to be ridiculously shot “video blogs” of a cute girl who couldn’t stop herself from accidentally filming her boobs all the time.

I love mysteries and horror movies, but I’ve always preferred the “slasher” films because, typically, you get that little bit of whodunnit involved. The mysteries are usually either retarded or too easy to figure out, but maybe that’s half the fun too. More so if they’re trashy. And this show just sounds like one of interesting ideas that can only be executed horribly. I’m watching the first few minutes of this as I type and aside from Final Girl to be Elaine Cassidy (who was wonderful in Atom Egoyan’s Felicia’s Journey), Richard Burgi being his usual level of sleaze, and Harry Hamlin making eyes at some twink in the wedding party, this is just a bunch of nobodies that you can’t wait to see get offed (though I’d suggest that you just go watch the original April Fools’ Day instead). Secluded island murder porn, here we come.