Guns and girls.

This is going to be a very nerdy post: Three reviews of things, the first of…

The Miserable, and the wretched.

Saw Les Misérables yesterday.

Honestly, a musical is not my cup of tea, but the movie was just fine. I have familiarity and appreciation for the story, and the musical, from my youth, so I was curious to see how it would be adapted, and like everyone else, I had heard good things about the performances of Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman. I suspect they’ll both get Oscar nominations, but Anne Hathway is the one with the real shot here. She does a lot of heavy lifting with the relatively limited role of Fantine and even in her short time here no one hits the strides and the heights and depths that she can plumbs so easily. Jackman is good, but not as good as her. Plus, he’s got the unfortunate timing of potentially being nominated for Best Actor in the same award season as Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln.

I dreamed a dream.

Tom Hooper, however, is as boring in his direction as he was in The King’s Speech, and possibly less so. Somehow that film was both nominated and managed to win the big awards, but I don’t think that will be the case here. Especially not in a year that produced a Lincoln, a Zero Dark Thirty, and a Life Of Pi.

Anyway, minor flaws of the film that aren’t so minor: Way too fucking long and not interesting enough to sustain that length. The stuff towards the end with the June Rebellion was dreadfully boring, and anytime Jackman, Hathaway, or even Russell Crowe as Javert weren’t on screen, you found yourself checking your watch. I did enjoy Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (she’s just doomed to always play the gothic clown now, isn’t she?) as the Thénardiers, and they did provide some much needed comic relief to the film, but their rendition of the film’s second most memorable song was pretty boring.

Anyway, my second review is of…

Mad hilarity, merciless action, dark cynicism, and incorruptible bravery.

Gun Machine, the new novel by Warren Ellis.

This is a fun, slightly nuts book, which is the usual from Ellis. His first novel, Crooked Little Vein, was a silly but interesting little pulp travelogue through America, and Gun Machine comes from a similar place, but it’s more of a harder crime novel. This is Warren Ellis sodomizing writers like James Patterson and Ed McBain with his ideas, sort of.

The premise is simple: A cop stumbles upon an apartment filled with guns, hundreds of them and nothing else, and each crime can be traced to a different unsolved crime. Somebody has been keeping these guns all this time as trophies.

I believe I read somewhere the book has already been optioned to be developed into a TV show, which is… exciting, I guess. Granted, they’ll take the premise, and they’ll tone it down. They’ll have to. This book is a little nuts, and filled with a lot of little minutiae that’s probably closer to the harsh reality of crime in a big insane urban cityscape, but not the kind of thing that the flyover states are ready to tune into from their local affiliate. The first scene of the book, for example, involves the main character’s partner getting half of his face blown off by a shotgun blast delivered by a ranting naked man.

Gun

That said, there are lots of little ideas and the basic premise that could easily translate into a very interesting serial procedural. That, and I would like to see the type of characters that Ellis writes on either the small screen or the big screen, as they’re usually broken, mouthy creatures who are incorruptibly brave (a nice way of putting it from the Wired review quoted as a blurb on the cover) and very good at what they do.

Half of this book is written in the parlance of the internet, almost as if Ellis got tired of scanning the internet landscape and fueled some of that excitement and anger into a writing frenzy. At the same time, as a fan of his comic books and ideas shared in various places online, I am excited to see him evolving in a new medium, but I can’t say that it feels like he’s challenging himself here. But I have to say that I would secretly like to see Ellis tackle one of his nonfiction books that have more than one foot inside music theory and hauntological futures (which he is working on, thankfully), or maybe some kind of insane sci fi novel – I would love to see Warren Ellis become the new Harlan Ellison – or really get into TV, writing for Doctor Who or resurrecting Quatermass, something like that.

The second review being of…

Victorian values.

“The Snowmen,” the recent Doctor Who Christmas special.

I miss talking about Doctor Who, here or anywhere else. I really need to develop a venue for that, but as far as this episode goes, in short: This was a merely so so episode with great characters in it. Matt Smith is always good and shining with the Doctor, and only improves as he continues to play the character, and Vastra, Jenny, and Strax are welcome ongoing returns to the series, and I can’t say enough nice things about Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara, who is mysterious and a serious breath of fresh air. If I’m being honest, I may be doing this post solely to post pictures of her.

That said, this episode was not great. The webisode prequels were more interesting than a good deal of the regular plot of the episode, and I thought it was brave that the threat that the characters were facing down was given an extreme back seat to the character moments.

More guns.

Steven Moffat’s writing is always great, but if I had one major criticism of his tenure on Doctor Who as the showrunner it would be that everything feels too rushed. I assume that the fickle nature of television and the constant need to up the ante is what causes that, but as much as I enjoyed season 5 as the shakedown cruise for a new Doctor, companion, and way of looking at the show, season 6 seemed very rushed, big on set up and small on payoff, possibly because the payoff had to be pushed forward, forward, forward. Part of me wonders if a lot of that was necessitated by the upcoming 50th anniversary special.

That special lead to a lot of new additions in the Christmas special, including the introduction of Smith’s face in the main credit sequence (which I’m positive they’ve been threatening since he took over the role) and a redesigned TARDIS console room that brought back a lot of the blandness of the poorly executed production design from the show’s earlier regenerations in video with rubber monsters back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Cosby sweaters and scripts

And I’m as curious as the next person about some of the big things to come, like the presumed payoff of the First Question, but eventually it could get tiring to constantly finding situations for characters to say, “Doctor… Who?”

Anyway. That said, I’m looking forward to the second half of the current season and the (re)introduction of Clara, Mark 3. I suspect that she’ll be everything that we had assumed and hoped that Amy Pond will be, and I’m really looking forward it. The show regenerates each time a new Doctor steps out of the ashes of the previous one, but as they keep rightfully so telling us, the show is about the companions and the view they provide, and it really feels like the show could come to life again with the addition of Clara. I’m excited.

Remember.

“He does watercolors. Mostly landscapes, but a few nudes.”

I’m excited to talk about Cloud Atlas with Benjie on this week’s episode of the podcast, but I recently (and finally) saw Safety Not Guaranteed and Moonrise Kingdom as well, which Benjie had already seen, so maybe we’ll get to talk about those as well…

And (obviously) I just discovered my new favorite silly mash up tumblr of the moment, Kanye Wes Anderson. I’m a little late to the party on this one, but enjoying it. Both of these guys live in such a precious and stylized little world, so why wouldn’t they mesh together perfectly?

That said, I sincerely hope that after this we can take a break on these mash ups and amalgamations.

Anyway, if you haven’t checked it out in a while, check out the podcast, Time Travel Murder Mystery.

And, until next time: 63 posts to go.

Hunted by your future. Haunted by your past.

I’m not going to say a lot about Looper here, probably because I’m presuming that Benjie and I will talk about it on the next episode of the podcast. But I share a few very brief, very unnecessary comments…

Like, for example: I really liked this movie.

I really liked Brick, and I really liked The Brothers Bloom prior, so I went into this movie expecting to like it, plus it’s Rian Johnson dealing with time travel, which is one of my favorite sci fi devices, and it features Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the young exciting actor that I think everyone’s rooting for these days, right? So me liking this is not all that shocking, but this is a vastly different movie than Johnson’s previous films.

Brick was amazing, and as much as I liked its indie polish and the cleverness of transporting film noir into a typical American high school setting, I was more dazzled by the dialogue. That is a movie that is entranced by and enthralling in its dance to the music of words.

And The Brothers Bloom was also incredibly clever, playing with the style of films from eras past, making them modern, but never losing the cleverness of those tropes. But the movie was a bit precious, a bit twee, if you will, which the same argument could be made for Brick as well.

But then there’s Looper, which feels… a little more grounded, a little more hardcore, a little more mature, perhaps. This film is essentially a very geeky and more humanistic remake of parts of The Terminator, and then it turns into a western. On the past two episodes of the podcast, Benjie and I were discussing the various different forms of time travel out there, and one of the many things I like about Looper is that it is the perfect example of time travel in the movies. Is it the most realistic, the most accurate as far as dealing with cause and effect and the danger of paradoxes? No. But it is exactly what you want to see in a movie. It is a wonderful example of Time Travel In A Visual Medium.

And are there plot holes? (Or loopholes?) Yes, of course. But aren’t plot holes a constant in any movie featuring time travel? Aren’t they almost a requirement?

Also in film law correlation, but with spoilers: No one can touch Bruce Willis in psuedo-hero mode. This is the third time where he’s played a character who’s encountered a younger version of himself, and all of his bullets hit his targets and none of his foes’ bullets can hit him. The only thing that can stop him when he’s in Terminator mode is temporal murder/suicide.

(Also, loved that this is the first film to address Willis’ male pattern baldness realistically.)

Rian Johnson has now done movies featuring murder mysteries, con men, and also time travel. Some of the absolute favorite types of stories, at least to this nerd. Perhaps we can change the name of the podcast to Time Travel Murder Mystery Sexy Confidence Man Shenangians.

Or, more importantly, aren’t you dying to know what Johnson will dabble in next? As much word of mouth as this filmmaker gets, and more so lately in the advance buzz leading up to Looper‘s release, he still doesn’t get enough. He’s doing it incredibly subtly, but I like to think that Johnson is literally crafting some of the genre cinema of the future, and people aren’t paying nearly enough attention.

In the past week, Peter Jackson has publicly  proclaimed his love for Doctor Who and his desire to direct an episode and the moronic world at large has celebrated this and the BBC is seemingly now going to move Heaven and Earth to make that happen. Sigh. Whatever. This is the same week that Rian Johnson has also declared his love for the show and the desire to do an episode (the same for Game Of Thrones), and that seems all that more intriguing and exciting to me. I don’t watch Breaking Bad, but I hear the episodes he directed of it were pretty impressive, at least visually.

I’m not going to talk about the prosthetics that poor JGL was saddled with once they cast Bruce Willis in the film, except to say that JGL is an actor who can clearly thrive despite them, and you have to admire a film that is that committed to its set up to force such a thing on its lead.

Anyway, I’m saying more here than I intended, and plenty that I’ll probably repeat in a few days time (it’s like looking into the future, that). Oh, one last tidbit that I don’t want to leave out…

It’s fascinating that Shane Carruth was involved in the visual effects of this film, especially considering that he’s done probably the most mind bendingly accurate time travel movie ever, Primer. Probably a big contributor to why the effects looked as good as they did considering how low this film’s budget was.

from here.

Anyway. This was all inelegantly put down, I know, but I didn’t want to let the time pass without me saying something about Looper here, doing so with a bunch of pictures, or doing it without a few time travel puns. Go see the movie if you haven’t already, and then, even though time travel hasn’t been invented yet, go back to the theater and see it again. The person sitting in the dark there next to you might just be you, from either the past or the future.

Imagine the fire.

It’s so weird to live in a post-The Dark Knight Rises world…

What is the next big movie/event/thing to come to our lives? At least in a pop culture sense, I mean. I’m very curious to see The Master, but that is not nearly the same thing, of course.

This is just a digression, of course, but I think it goes to show you: savor the expectations and the moments where you’re left waiting, desperate to will the hands on the clock to move faster. Spoiler: I really liked The Dark Knight Rises, it met all my expectations and then some, but I also enjoyed those times in my life when I had not yet seen it, that all I had was the imagined storylines and scenes in my head, when I just had the curiosity and that unbridled enthusiasm. What I have now is no better (well, it’s probably better) nor worse, but different.

Anyway. That’s a story for another time.

Also, I’m clearly going to use a ton of Batman pictures in this post. This is nothing new on Counterforce, but all the same…

Deal with it.

Also, a few entries ago, WordPress greeted me with this beautiful sight after I hit the “post” button:

For some reason that image has stuck with me. Stuck with me beyond me screencapping it, I mean. And it has stuck with me for a lot of reasons, I think… But that is a story for another time, a long story, and right now I do not have the time to make it shorter.

Anyway.

Just wanted to give you a heads up: The Counterforce podcast is over.

We’re not finished podcasting, and this site isn’t done, no, not just yet, but in a few days you’re going to see something new and different from us.

I’m sure not many folks out there care, which is fine because I care and that’s all that I need, but I like that for at least another day or two it’ll remain a mystery. As much as I would like to travel through time to get to that place, I’m thankful to be here in this place right now, dreaming of the future. If that makes sense.

I think/hope it does.

I’ll just say this… A new site and a new podcast. Somewhat the same, but a little bit different…

Dusty in space.

Last week it was time machines made human and the king of all dreams and stories and Michael Sheen and bubble universes and other good and fun stuff on Doctor Who. This week we take a step back and go a little more gothic with dark castles in the future and lightning strikes and doppelgangers and “The Rebel Flesh” brought to life!

Continue reading

The cosmic fart.

Speaking of time travel, this is awesome:

That’s a short film entitled Ollie Klublershturf vs. the Nazis, written by Lost‘s Damon Lindelof and directed by Skot Bright. It features a few famous faces such Chris Hemsworth (who’s now Thor in Thor, and was Kirk’s dad in the Star Trek reboot), George Segal, Rachel Nichols, Norman Reedus, and Samm Levine. IO9 posted it the other day and I was excited because I hadn’t actually realized it had been produced. It’s about a little boy genius who invented a time machine and is trying to stop the Nazi scum who’ve infiltrated his family dinner in an attempt to steal his device. It’s silly but good fun.

Anyway, I had heard of it before because I remembered reading an interview with Lindelof about the origin of his being paired with J.J. Abrams to write the Lost pilot, which ABC gave them after it let go of Jeffrey Lieber (but kept his initial concept about a group of strangers crash landing on a mysterious island, hence his name appearing as one of the creator’s of the show). The gist of the story is essentially that Abrams was intrigued by the idea, and already had a deal in place with the network, but didn’t really want to do it on his own, so he needed to find another writer to work with and whom he could work with. Along came Lindelof, with the script for this short film being his audition piece, and history was made.

The legs, the nose, and Mrs. Robinson.

This is a Doctor Who post.

Continue reading

Young Blood!

Mad linkage:

Nudists are seeking the next generation.

The grilled cheese sandwich gets a trendy rebirth.

An absolutely amazing abandoned end of the world bunker.

Animals that have Jack Shephard’s face.

“Only zealots and fools will continue to bow down to the gods of social media.”

Junot Diaz on Tokyo’s insane urbanism.

Relive Bill Paxton in all his glory in James Cameron’s Aliens.

FYI: The last name of the guy who plays Magnitude (which is short for “Magnetic Attitude”) on Community is Youngblood. Pop pop!

Martin Amis on Christopher Hitchens.

Japanese graffiti artist adds Fukushima disaster to famous A-bomb mural.

The haunted pod village of San-zhi.

An interview with Werner Herzog.

Professional online poker player ponders how he’ll make a living now.

Lindsay Lohan & Shenae Grimes: This should be interesting.

Thankfully the death of Osama Bin Laden doesn’t really affect Kathryn Bigelow’s film about the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Salvador Dali’s TV ads for chocolate, alka-seltzer, and wine.

On Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Roberto Bolaño’s European adventures.

The Naked And Famous.

Jim Caviezel says that playing Jesus ruined his acting career. LOL. Good.

Baby was breastfed by wrong woman!

The man most likely to take top military job has never seen war.

The collected letters of Vladimir Nabokov.

Women are changing the sex industry from the inside, by Molly Lambert.

Guy Pearce cast in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus/Aliens prequel.

Will Ferrell shaved Conan O’Brien last night.

The pictures in this post are from this awesome collection of covers to the various editions of the novel and the two film adaptations of Lolita. Some really interesting design work there, ranging from the incredibly boring to the incredibly tantalizing.

Lolita is famous, not I. I am an obscure, doubly obscure, novelist with an unpronounceable name.”

-Vladimir Nabokov, interviewed in The Paris Review.

But I guess they just happened to miss this one:

from here.

Nikola Mihov’s fascinating photography series “Forget Your Past.”

Relive Bill Paxton in all his glory in James Cameron’s True Lies.

The billionaires go back to school.

Bin Laden’s legacy will depend in part on what Obama does next.

Al-Quaeda: the next generation?

Back To The Future 2 is totally amazing and depressing at the same time.

6 medication side effects straight out of a horror movie.

Tracing that fake MLK quote back to its source.

Hipster animals!

Hot women pandering to nerds.

A planet called America, part two.

This morning I walked into work and said something to one of my co-workers along the lines of, “So, is your life any better now that Osama is dead?” She looked at me said, “OMG, the President is dead?” And I said, “Huh? What? No. NO. Osama. Bin Laden!” And then she squinted, looked at me curiously, and said, “What the fuck are you talking about?” Just then another co-worker held up the front page of the newspaper which had a huge picture of the deceased terrorist mastermind on it and a massive headline that said “BIN LADEN DEAD.” Or maybe it said “BIN LADEN KILLED.” Honestly, I can’t remember anymore. But the headline was huge.

from here.

A week ago I said to a friend: “Dealing with your enemies is simple and easy. The best way to combat them is to simply make friends with them. Make friends with them so hard that it hurts.”

It’s so weird to me still that one of the time I felt most unified with this crazy, amazing, fucked up country was on 9/11. The wost metaphor I could use here would be: It’s like that girlfriend, the one who’s really fucking amazing, if a little weird, and way too good for you, and you just treat her like shit. She should really quit you and your bullshit. You just don’t appreciate her and for some reason she just won’t leave you. And you don’t realize how important she really is to you until someone else threatens here. Some clarity only comes to us on the precipice of great and terrible disaster. Life is funny like that.

Part of me is glad that Bin Laden wasn’t captured and forced to answer for his crimes to us and to the world in person, though I would have wanted that, of course. Part of me was glad to hear that this was finally over, that everyone who had been wounded by the tragedies that seemed to be dialed up at this man’s fingertips can now crawl just one more inch ever so slowly and painfully into the past. I wouldn’t really call this “justice “though because, well, there is no such thing as justice. Scales aren’t balanced because Bin Laden is dead. His life will never ever begin to be equal in worth to those lost on 9/11 or those who have put on an military uniform and defended a certain set of ideals and beliefs that we all take for granted every single minute. America is a brilliant, beautiful idea, but not a perfect one, and it can be hurt and it can be dented, but it’ll always be stronger than some cheap thug, no matter where he lives, no matter what he looks like, no matter what he worships. It can only be killed by those who give up on the idea, or who sell it out bit by bit in the name of “freedom.”

from here.

The death of what we consider to be an evil man on the other side of the world doesn’t bring back all those special people that we lost but hopefully it helps some people to breathe easier. Hopefully it reminds us why those people were special to us and hopefully we never forget what they meant to us. I’d like to say that hopefully it makes us appreciate each moment we have on this planet all that much more, but we should’ve been doing that long before now, and of course should continue doing that to the moment we draw our last breath. Hopefully someone like Bin Laden will never ever come close to challenging that idea every again.

I’ll admit to being conflicted or just confused about this news and how I should be feeling, but I’m lucky. Lucky to be here, lucky to be typing this in the land of the free, home of the brave. I’m lucky that I didn’t lose anyone ten years ago on that strange September day or in the fights and wars that followed. Who Osama Bin Laden is and what all of this means is something for you to decide. I can tell you that I don’t view this man’s death as closure, but honestly, I won’t look down on anyone who gets it from this news.

Thank you, mom. Thank you, God. Thank you, Barack Obama. Thank you, Donald Trump (with your stupid ass hair and head full of shit). Thank you, Pakistan. Thank you, India! Thank you, everyone who’s ever stood up for what they believed in and put that belief above themselves. Thank you, Bill Murray. Thank you, internet jokesters and “expert thinkers.” Thank you, Doctor Who. Thank you to the moon and to The Onion, both. Thank you, mainstream media. Thank you, “Mission Accomplished.” Thank you, those who agree with me, and thank you to those who would never agree with me in a million years. Thank you, Jack Donaghy, and thank you, Condoleezza Rice and thank you, Margaret Cho (for guest starring on 30 Rock). Thank you, strange new/old world that has such people in it. Thank you, post-Now. Thank you to everyone who thinks this matters and everyone who knows that it really doesn’t. Thank you to all those who never forget and especially thank you to those who are doomed to remember.

I saw this picture posted on the internet a little while ago…

…and I had a might good chuckle.

The terrorists are always winning. And the terrorists are always losing. And the battle will keep raging and hopefully we’ll never forget what we’re fighting for or who we should actually be fighting.

It’s doesn’t even matter that Superman’s no longer an American citizen or that The Rock had the #1 movie at the box office this weekend AND knew that Osama was dead before you did because…

Well, because the story’s not over and the dream is never ending.

And like PKD said, Maybe the Empire never ended?

Like fake MLK said, “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”

It’s been over 24 hours now and tonight when I go to bed I’ll be thinking the same thing I was thinking last night, “Okay, so Osama’s dead. And what will tomorrow look like?”

The earth is doomed…

…yeah, but what else is new?

Mad linkage:

How to be a retronaut!

Superman is no longer an American citizen. Deal with it.

The uncensored version of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray to finally be published.

How to build a religion.

They might actually release Joss Whedon’s Cabin In The Woods.

Lars Von Trier and the apocalyptic whimper.

Unlike with Natalie Portman, don’t expect a post here called “Who’s January Jones fucking these days?”

Budget cuts curtail the search for alien life out there. :(

Also, Natalie Portman’s dad self-publishes a novel about severed heads, stolen presidential embryos, and mysterious clones.

May Day, 1871: The day “Science Fiction” was invented.

Emma Watson leaves Brown.

Speaking of which, the new Harry Potter trailer is kind of epic.

Ayn Rand’s first love and mentor was a sadistic serial killer who dismembered little girls.

Charlie Sheen and Chuck Lorre: Honestly, who gives a fuck anymore?

Mitt Romney’s bullshit is back and it’s not off to such a great start.

RIP Joanna Russ.

Bessel beams are cool, but don’t actually exist.

FYI: It’s Walpurgisnacht!

Before he retires Steven Soderbergh will make Channing Tatum’s male stripper movie.

I don’t know where you are but summer’s here.

Is Netflix helping to reduce movie piracy in the United States?

Giant black holes discovered in the nuclei of merging galaxies.

An interview with Chuck Klosterman.

Big Boi and Modest Mouse are finally working together.

How bacteria could generate radio waves.

Iggy Pop was considered for a judge slot on American Idol and Fugazi may actually reunite some day.

Scientists create stable, self-renewing neural stem cells.

The 10 greatest apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic music videos.

All living humans are more closely related than you might think.

Vigilantes band together to protect NYC sex workers.

What can we learn by comparing the old and the new covers for the Left Behind series?

Unemployed ninja for hire.

from here.

Last night I had the strangest dream…

In the dream, it was the end of the world, or, well, it was the last night on Earth, and the following morning it was all going to end. In fire and flame, buried and suffocated in ash, or via instantaneous evaporation into total nothingness… the how I didn’t know. Things are vague in dreams. They change moment to moment and you just feel things, just know them. And I felt like it wasn’t this year, not 2011, but maybe it was next year, or maybe it wasn’t.

In the dream, some people had known that the end of was coming for a long time. The crazy people, we called them and always had, but they were the ones who had been having the dreams for years now. That’s how we all knew, every living thing on the planet, I mean, that’s how we knew that it was expiring the following morning: we had dreams. Most of us started having them about six months before that final night. In the dreams we were told that our time was finite and we woke up with the certainty of it. The sad, cold certainty of it.

We knew from the dreams and from intuition that most wouldn’t accept this, that there would be fights and attempts to stop it and plans concocted to spirit away or just generally save the human race, and that every effort must be made. But from the dreams we knew that all those plans would come up with nothing, all those efforts would be ultimately fruitless, and in the end… it would come down to the simple question of how would you want to spend your last night alive?

In the dream I had last night, I had tried to get in touch with my friends, but they were all on the other side of the world from me. Whoever they were and wherever I was, they were somewhere else. They had lives to finish living and people to wrap their existence up with. It was just me, me by myself, just as it had always been. And I was thirsty with nothing to drink in the house, so I went to a bar. There were strangers there living like there was no tomorrow, which was fitting because there would be no tomorrow, and everyone was laughing and talking and loud and very, very drunk. A band was playing. It felt like a celebration. The band wasn’t that great, but for the occasion, they were amazing. The music was so loud, so perfect. It felt like it wasn’t just coming from their instruments and their speakers and souls, but that it was coming from inside me. And they were playing this song:

This morning I woke up and the sun was shining. Dogs were barking down the street, my neighbor was mowing his yard, and car alarms were going off somewhere. And I had to pee really, really, really bad. For the briefest of moments, beyond anything else that could possibly be going on, it just felt good to be alive.