Sunday, November 30, 2008

time travel... again!!!

Tonight on KCRW I heard that old 90's song by the Primitive Radio Gods. I think the track was called... well actually I have no idea what it's called. But regardless, if you're over 25 you probably remember the song. It's the one that had the sample of, I believe, Martin Luther King, Jr. 'I've been down hearted'.

We on the same page? Cool.

Remember this song? I do. It amazes me how the simple keyboard tones of something like this can overwhelm me with a nostalgia that hits on every sense at once; in fact I believe this to be a kind of sixth sense itself – when touch and smell and taste all seem to meet in the middle of some big, soft swirling feeling in the middle of your head, and you’re standing in the rain ten years before, walking out of a place you used to work surrounded by people you used to know – it’s something else. I’ve talked here before about my belief in time travel through the senses and I take this to be a pretty good example of it. Back then I might have been looking forward in time to this exact moment now where I write this, but I hadn’t touched it before with any of my regular senses, so my brain couldn’t decode it yet. Now, I’m looking down the opposite end of that corridor and even though my ass is still firmly planted in this chair in my kitchen I’m also there in the Bedford Park UnderPaidSlaves parking lot.

I can smell the fucking place.

All that from a song I don’t even particularly give a shit about. Wow.

It's a common problem and one, I think, that is probably not really that difficult to overcome in the grand scheme of things, this inability we 21st century humans exhibit in not being able to Remember forward. Time is a loop, obviously, so why are we restricted to one side of the curvature? Or are we? This is all so 4:00AM-stoned-as-hell (guilty as charged) but really, how do we know the future if we haven't seen it yet? Maybe I had visions of this exact room ten years ago while working the sort at UPS, zoning out with the trance of repetitive labor. How would I have recognized it then, having not been in it or known any of the stuff that would be in it yet?

These are the questions that keep me going...

Thursday, November 27, 2008


... I am thankful for the fact that it's not too much longer now until GWB leaves our lives forever. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. Well, actually now that I think of it, let it hit you in the fucking head a couple times maybe, not that there's that much to damage up there...

David Foster Wallace's INFINTE JEST is, academically speaking, kicking my ass. This is the hardest book I've ever read, regardless of how enjoyable it is (mostly). I've been working on it for probably about a month now, off and on, and I'm just about to crack page 300.

300 of 981 (1079 if you count the footnotes).

One of the things about the book that is difficult while also being extremely cool, is the fact that the tone of the prose changes constantly, as if several different writers were all working on it together. Some is light and breezy. Some, ie the crack-addicts, are ten pages of (literally) one or two run-on sentences. Then there's the academic parts, where I don't understand half of what is written on the page. This is because Mr. Wallace uses technical and medical terminology and jargon, as well as abbreviations, as if everyone reading will understand them. Not that I'm complaining, it just slows the flow.

But the book is definitely good. As in I'm enjoying it. As in I feel it is 'good' for me to read something like this. As my friend Walter has pointed out, some things are just 'good' for you to ingest - he said this in a conversation comparing Goodfellas with The Godfather movies, the latter of which I dislike immensely even though I've not seen them in well over 10 years. Goodfellas is a good time, like listening to a Pixies album, while The Godfather is more stoic and not s easily rewarding, like listening to Puccini. Now apply that comparison to Infinite Jest vs. say, Stephen King. King is going to have more hooky-choruses and toe-tapping drive, like the Pixies, and Infinite Jest is going to reveal itself in layers, making you work for it's rewards.


Not sure why, maybe just because I feel I tend to neglect this blog since starting the one, but I feel compelled to prattle on today about nothing really at all, just enjoying the feeling of my fingers dancing and jabbing over the keyboard for now. So prattle I shall, you've been warned.

Thanksgiving '08 playlist thus far: Let's see, Frank Black and the Catholics, Pistolero; The Bronx (all three are eponymously titled so it was #2, #3 and #1); Soundgarden, Superunknown; Sugar, Copper Blue and that makes us current. Next up will be Luscious Jackson's Fever In Fever Out and later, when company arrives Tom Waits' The Heart of a Saturday Night, Tom Waits' Mule Variations, Tom Waits' Swordfish Trombone and finally of course Mr. Waits' masterpiece, Rain Dogs. As you can tell I'm hip-deep in a big Waits jag. I've always loved the guy but sometimes it seems the later period (83-present) tends to repeat itself a bit. But then I'm starting to wonder if I'm not seriously wrong about that, being that I've somehow made that judgement while owning just a small portion of his prolific (to say the least) career.

We Sail Tonight For Singapore...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I had a rather shocking moment of realization today. I was thinking about writing, as I almost always am, and my thoughts turned to my only 'finished' attempt at a novel thus far, The Subtle War.

Recently I began sending chunks of this to a friend to read and this spurred me to pull out the hard copy Sara printed and had bound for me. I've been trying to avoid doing this for a awhile simply because I am immersed in writing a new novel and to start delving back into the depths of TSW, I knew, would spark me to want to begin re-writing or editing it again*.

But yesterday dive back into it I did, albeit very briefly.

This brings us up almost to the present. In driving to get coffee this morning (read: afternoon) a thought suddenly came to me.

I have become one of my characters.

Now before you take this merely at face value, please, read my previous post. It pertains, among other things, to the strange phenomenon I've discovered as a writer: the world of your story can be used to manifest changes in the world in which you live.

I knew when I began writing TSW that I was writing it to try and trigger something, I just wasn't sure what. I had a head recently pumped full of all kinds of esoteric ideas, I was single, I was in a band, etc. Lots of different angles. The story has several 'main' characters, none of which were directly me, but of course there were little bits of me in most of them. They are all moving through imperfect versions of themselves, trying to become something else. Jake, arguably the 'main' main character is a stylized version of my long ago best friend of the same name. Really I split him in half via the other character, Corey, who is sort of the evil doppleganger of Jake. I think these characters are the least 'me' because the were my attempt to revitalize the soul of my friend who died - I wanted to make him a hero, and conquer some of the demons that haunted him while he was alive.

Quinten Alpha Haley however is the character that somehow, and I didn't realize how well it worked until today, I became, or predicted, or whatever.

Since moving to Cali over two years ago I have indeed turned into this character. Quinten stays in his apartment, does not leave.

This is me.

Aside from work, and the very occasional outing with Sara and friends, I don't leave our place. What's more, Quinten sits with a computer as his only real window to the world, head full of Occult knowledge which has essentially become useless to him, writing journal entries. He stares out a window and longs to make the connections he needs to reinstate himself in the world in a way that will make him meaningful - again, everything right down to the fact that the window in front of the desk where I sit now typing this, is an almost exact replica of what I originally had in mind.

It's funny how these microcosm/macrocosm things work, funnier still that the joke has so totally been on me. For one thing, right after moving out here and receiving a slew of rejection letters for the novel, I went in and took out almost all of the first person technique on the major characters except for Quinten, as the journal entries are the initial introduction and developement device of his character. In thinking about all this now I'm wondering if it was this final, definitive definition of writing as Quinten that did it. 'I' became the 'I' in the book.

Whatever the reason, this is just too perfect of a fit to be anything other than Magick. I too sit at the computer, my window into the outside world, writing journal entries (you're reading one now) and longing to make the connections (agent, publisher) that will reinstall me back into the world in a meaningful fashion as the person I want to be. I had a guidance councilor in high school who told me I was extremely insightful of myself, and that strikes me now as I analyze this bizarre transfiguration into a character I've created. Quinten removed himself from the world he knew in order to reemerge as something better. This was the underlying motivation for me, personally, in our move across country. Sure, the move was for Sara and her chance to advance, but it was also for me to try and redefine myself as a writer after spending ten years trying to make band after band work. I removed myself from 'the world' (read: everything I knew) with the intent of reemerging as something new.

How do I control this? How do I use this to my advantage? How do I use this to put myself in a position to do what I want with my life instead of continuing to waste it working in a job that has nothing to do or offer the 'real' me?

I'll have to think about this more and get back to you if I come up with anything...


* The novel is really only finished in terms of having a (mostly) cohesive start, a lot of work on tense and just generally better sentence structure must be devised.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Experiments in Creativity

I have been undergoing a grueling experiment with my creative energies. Let me tell you about it.

About a month ago I re-read Bret Easton Ellis’ AMERICAN PSYCHO. Originally my dear departed friend Brian had lent me this in the late 90’s and upon reaching what has become infamously known to people who have read the book as ‘The rat scene’ I closed the book, put it in my car and returned it to him the next day, leaving explicit instructions to never have it brought out in my presence again.

I blogged more specifically about this book on CHUD here:

A decade later it had begun to occur to me just how amazing Ellis' style is and I decided to re-read the infamous volume. After finishing Psycho my appetite for his wonderful prose was set and I immediately turned to the E's of our store’s Literature section and decided on GLAMORAMA as my next. Only my boss intervened, promising me a galley’s copy if I waited until she could find it amidst her books and so I went this, the thrifty route, and chose the next book there on the shelf that caught my eye: LUNAR PARK. This, now this was just a fluke then that I read Lunar Park immediately after Psycho and I will forever be grateful that circumstance dictated I did. They are, in a sense, companion pieces and I would implore anyone who reads Psycho to do so with the undiluted intention of following it immediately with Lunar Park.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic THE GREAT GATSBY has long been my favorite novel, but now it has close competition for that accolade. Lunar Park is pretty fucking close. I don’t want to get to into what this book is, except that while continuing to be a wonderful example of Ellis’ style, the story itself is not what it first appears. Ellis himself is the main character and I’ll leave it at that – if you plan to read it please do not wikipedia it or anything like that – I thank beer that whoever did the blurbs on the jacket did so tastefully, giving away nothing of the twists and turns this book takes.

I’m talking about all this here as a precursor to telling you about this experiment. It’s no secret that those of us who are writers or artists or musicians or whatever have other such artists who are our inspirations. Sure, life and consciousness are inspirations in and of themselves, but there are occasionally those other souls on this floating orbital garden that put their blood sweat and tears into creative projects that trigger something of a shared experience in ourselves and give us the momentum to create our own little worlds of sound and glass and steel and words.

This one-two punch of American Psycho and Lunar Park have been my most recent.

For more than a year I have been writing screenplays and have in that time had many thoughts that returning to prose fiction, where my writing began, had possibly become impossible. Ellis helped me get there.

Originally everything I wrote was first person. This started in first grade or so when I began writing stories. As I grew older it was perhaps solidified by my love of H.P. Lovecraft’s megnomanical first person tales of humanity’s otherworldly encounters with forces they could not hope to understand, much less control. My first (and thus far only) completed novel, The Subtle War was originally written in many first person salvo’s, the main character Jake being a thinly-veiled tribute to another dearly departed friend of mine, my best friend after the deterioration of my first long term ‘romance’ Jake Owen Ostrowski. Only after finishing TSW and preparing to shop it, I found a lot of agents and publishers hated first person fiction, some even going so far as to say they would not even consider it. Feeling terrible about it now, I went back in and rewired a lot of that novel to be third person, in hopes it would facilitate it's sale.

Hasn't worked yet. And now I see Ellis, who almost always writes first person, as a glaring example of how to do it. I'm reminded that I should do what I do how I want to read it and say 'Go Fuck Yourself' to anyone that doesn't like it.

But why first person?

With TSW, the tale worked better when I used Jake as a fiction suit; a character-vehicle I could climb inside and maneuver around inside the microcosmic world I had devised for the story, a setting but also a sort of Voodoo-doll of the ‘real’ world my flesh and blood body inhabited on a daily basis. The idea was very much inspired by another writer I love, Grant Morrison, and it went something like this: the microcosm reflects the macrocosm – insert yourself into the world of your story and write things there that would effect the characterized version of you and then conversely echo up into the real world. This worked almost immediately, both invigorating and kind of frightening me when a scene I wrote (that was subsequently cut) where Jake has to look through a junkyard for some hidden message and finds it in the form of a tattered old comic book in the trunk of a junked car. The comic was an adaptation of a Lovecraft tale. Several days after writing this my car broke down and in anger I put my fist through the plastic sheet over the dashboard. Fearing my father would find out I dragged my friend Two into a junkyard and low and behold, I found the piece I needed but I also found a bridge between worlds – a tattered comic book in the trunk of a junked auto. The comic was, of course, an adaptation of a Lovecraft tale…

This method unfortunately has proven, as all scientists will attest when queried about dabbling with the mechanisms behind the consensual world, unpredictable. Of course soon after the comic book incident I overtly tried to write a story where I won the lottery. Hahah I laugh now at my ignorance at the way the Universe works.

Anyway, I’m sidetracking. But that’s okay, because this is all illustrative of the creative process and how I’ve learned to move through my own version of it, and my new approach was the impetus of this post to begin with. After the Ellis-combo inspired me to return to fiction I began writing a novel. This time however, I decided to adhere very strictly to the stimuli which had inspired it to begin with. Although I have a thousand fucking books to read, I would read only Ellis, now moving on to GLAMORAMA at last, the wonderfully original galley indeed coming my way soon after it was promised (thanks Jodi). I would listen only to that music which fit into what I now considered my ‘Ellis mood’, and I guess that will require a bit of an explanation.

Ellis reminded me a lot of my late, aforementioned friend Brian, who was also very influenced by his writing. He also reminded me of Brian’s brother and my long time good friend and on again off again roommate Two. Brian was also an enormous fan of Greg Dulli’s band The Afghan Whigs, and this too was another thing first recommended to me by Brian, which I ignored or couldn’t get into at the time, only to receive one of his copies of the classic album ‘Gentleman’ after his death via Two and fall immediately in love with it and everything Dulli did with the Whigs and after (Twilight Singers, The Gutter Twins).

Here then was the foundation of the music that fit my ‘Ellis mood’ and thus would provide the background and sonic fuel for my new novel.

Dulli and Ellis reminded me so much of Brian because they all craft their art out of and about similar things: drugs, sex, and the things we hide from everyone in our daily lives. Lunar Park, with Ellis as the main character and told first person, begins very much about about the secret life he leads behind the back of those people he loves and who try to help him. This includes drugs, but also intuitions that drive him to see the world in a very different light than most folks would admit they might see too. Dulli’s music always seems to have a vibe to it that accompanies scenes of nighttime debauchery in a young, urban setting. Frat boys scoring coke in a seedy nightclub, fucking questionable women in a bathroom stalls, snorting and drinking until the sun comes up and the blinds just won’t defend them against the return to the mores and expectations that daylight brings with it. There is such an explicit tapestry here, woven similarly between Ellis and Dulli’s art, and joined together through a lost friend who himself influenced me constantly to write just by being so into the craft himself.

So now his influences have become mine, and here I am writing a novel playing with some of these atmospheres but also working through my own violent reaction to fighting like hell to do something that propels me into doing what I truly want to do for a living, leaving the 9to5 world behind and making my world a better place, for me and the love of my life and all of our friends.

So it’s Ellis, Dulli, a lot of dark jazz, dark electronica, and all the music that to me at least, sprung from the minds of people who knew what it truly is to move through the night and experience it for all its epic, otherworldly glory.

90 pages in a month. I’ll let you know how the rest goes. The influence ban is starting to change, one thing bleeding into another, Gutter Twins leading me back into second frontman Mark Lanegan’s (formerly of QOTSA and Screaming Trees) unbelievable solo effort BUBBLEGUM, bleeding me into guest vocalist there PJ HARVEY’s masterpieces TO BRING YOU MY LOVE and STORIES FROM THE CITY STORIES FROM THE SEA leading me to this, to that. Aphex Twin's nighttime salute I CARE BECAUSE YOU DO leading to Roni Size’s NEW FORMS, and a trip home to Chicago to interact with a lot of other friends who influence me just by having been there on so many infamous nocturnal adventures leading me to the music I associate with them and those times, CAT RAPES DOG from Chris W. and New Radicals for the bar where I spent many of my nights pickling my liver with Leine's red, Hacker-Pschorr and great conversation. Of course then there's UNDERWORLD, which not only is the ultimate nighttime music but also a reminder of my one salvation, Sara, the person I am closest to and who keeps me from actually delving into the depths of the real life 'Ellis mood'. Better to craft that microcosm, move in with a character and explore entirely different worlds.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Something wicked this way comes...

This morning I experienced my first California Earthquake. Sara had just left for work and I was sitting at the desk writing when suddenly something notably changed in the atmosphere around me. It wasn't the Earth moving in at first. No, more like some kind of emmanation reached me a few moments just before the actual force waves did. The problem with trying to encapsulate or explain, to yourself or others, this type of thing is it happens so fast and appears without warning, that you can't really prepare yourself to itemize the insights when it occurs. But something definitely precluded it.

Then the Earth shook.

Now that sounds awful dramatic, and where we were it was anything but. It welled up and I was able to recognize it for what it was. I continued to sit and consciously experience (ie pay attention to) it for a few fleeting moments before it left as quickly as it came. However, and this was hard to discern where it stopped and I started, but an almost vertiginous (if that's not a word it is now, deal with it) feeling remained to play over my body and senses for a few minutes afterward.

All in all, interesting. Very interesting.

Now, it had already been a strange morning. Not 'Squid dressed as Nuns and throwing fish around the neighborhood' weird, nor 'Stranger walks up and addresses you by name' weird.

Subtle weird.

It is the kind of weird I have begun associating with my brain's snap over to what writer's like Grant Morrison or William S. Burroughs call 'Magickal Consciousness'* or Carlos Castenada's friend, the Yaqui Indian sorcerer Don Juan called 'Second Attention'. Essentially, this is a kind of consciousness that, while not drastically different than normal everyday consciousness is enhanced with a subtle layer of, well, for lack of a laymantic (again, another new word!) word to encapsulate it, something different. Different as in, there's extra sense operating. Think of when your in a room with someone you know is mad at you but hasn't yet said so. You FEEL it. That's what this is like, except you don't have as direct an area to pinpoint what is causing the strange sensation in your brain, back and balls.

To me it manifests similarly to a good buzz - it comes on and lingers for a while, making you curl your toes and perk your eyes and ears up, your attenae primed for reception at any wavelength. Only problem is, just like the onset of an Earthquake, it's impossible to pinpoint what frequencies that signal is going to come in on. However, the interesting thing for a novice like myself is, even though I don't have the skills to tune into it accurately, once you have those antennae up, you're not only getting the signal, now the signal is aware of you. It is in this way that strange things often happen in this state of consciousness.

So, beside the Earthquake, what strange things happened this morning?

Again, I don't know. At one point however I felt an awful lot of power in my body and used it to try and affect some change for the better in my life. We'll see.


* I think Morrison goes into a more in depth description here:

Friday, June 13, 2008

In case You've ever wondered...

... or might need it, the 1999 revised Catholic church's Rite of Exorcism

I've always thought the whole heaven/hell god/devil thing was hokey at best, but I do think 'demonic' possession or encounters occurs. My take on it though is some people wallow in so much negativity and hatred that they anchor aspects of their personality or psyche here after they die, and that's what us live folk are encountering when things like this pops up.

Having spent a pretty decent amount of time at Bachlor's Grove cemetary I have had some experience with what may very well have been 'If you've convinced yourself, that's great' but sure as hell felt like something strange and possibly malevolent. Because of this I have had a pretty voracious interest in this type of thing for sometime. However, having spent the last 48 hrs. relaxing at my in-laws house in beautiful, lush Defiance, Ohio I've just caught my yearly share of cable tv and what I noticed was that shows about 'hauntings' and exorcisms must currently be all the rage. This may very well have to do with the fact that horror in general has been popularized as the 80's generation that grew up sneaking to watch 'Howling', 'Halloween' and 'Friday the 13th' have become the foundation of the consumer force. Icons like Ozzy Ozbourne do not freak them out, and the things their kids are exposed to do not have to be so squeaky clean. Thus, Mick Harris can jump from the popular HBO series Masters of Horror to NBC with a prime time series, horror movies gain a massive standing as viable box office lures for all ages and things like the stale and cheesy 'Ghost Hunters' and the just plain awful 'A Haunting' litter the daily line-ups of up and coming cable stations. This kind of pop culture exposure steals legitimacy left and right from investigation or conversation of the probably hundreds of possibly legitimate claims of paranormal happening throughout the country and the world. Ten years ago if you punched words or phrases like 'ghost hunters' or 'Haunted places' into a search engine you received links to some pretty voluminous articles. Now its all links to products and shows.

Looks like the spectacle will get us - even after we're dead.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's been a while but I'm back...

... shit, burning the fucking candle at both ends lately with all these blogs. It's cool though - more writing is a good thing. Didn't want to neglect my original too long though, so I'll start with some interesting things that have been occupying the interior of my melon of late...

It's funny. I go through these boughts where I pay next to no attention to the study of anything scientific or occult, then something triggers my interest again and I'm off - and once that happens there is no room for anything else. I'm still struggling through the last bit of Mervyn Peake's Gromenghast trilogy, 'Titus Alone' and I bought that new H.P. Lovecraft tome I mentioned on CHUD, and I started Stephen King's 'On Writing' for inspiration through my writer's block, but now all that is on hold as I've fallen 'Down the Rabbit Hole' again. What sparked it off this time is stress. Work for a major chain book retailer has been enough to make me a crotchety old bastard, and I've been manifesting some pretty freaky headaches, so I finally decided I needed to do something about it or develop a tumor. Breathing was the first thing to come to mind and on that path lay the inclintion to break out my old ass British Edition of Aleister Crowley's 'Magick in Theory and Practice' in search of the specifics on performing what is known as 'The Greater and Lesser Rituals of the Pentagram'. These are invoking/banishing rituals that consist largely of moving energy around through the body and into/out of the lungs, perfect for energizing and cleansing the residues stress leaves clinging in all kinds of areas in the body.

Once I open that book, the trigger is activated and I'm rifling through book after book, shunting down avenues of forgotten knowledge and looking for ways to take a little bit more charge of my short and tempetuous time on this beautiful old mudball of ours. The first place I usually land is the book that, after Grant Morrison's 'Invisibles', is Terence and Dennis McKenna's 'Invisible Landscape'. This is a book I have never been able to finish, as usually I only make it so far before I am forced to seek out accompanying texts on Quantum Physics and the like in order to be able to go back and understand what it was the McKennas were writing about.*

The funny thing is as I start reading and thinking about this stuff synchronicities and other strange things begin to arise in the rest of my life. For one I almost always start dreaming heavy again. Normally I do not remember my dreams, but once into this stuff again they become ludicriously dense and symbolic. This then goes hand in hand with daytime bouts of my special deja vu, where I begin to have episodes where I'm sure whatever it is I'm doing I've already experienced. Kind of like bending the time antenna backwards from the future.

Then there's things like how the same day I began reading the Crawley I discovered a friend of mine at work who I've known for almost two years now is well versed in the study of aspects such as the Masons and Templars, Rennes-le-Chateau** and the like. Never come up before and then out of the blue we have a hour-long conversation about everything from the Templars to Quantum Mechanics. This of course only served to fuel my own fire and its been escalating ever since.

Now this time I am going to try to stick with Invisible Landscape for the entire book. I'm hoping this in and of itself will act as a catalyst to drive up the frequency on novelty and synchronicity to points that will help me reach certain goals I have recently been lazy and angst-ridden about following.

We'll see.

*This is where we get into what I call 'Wiki-vertigo' - When you're on wikipedia reading about one thing and before you know it you've followed so many of the links interlaced throughout the original article you no longer remember where you began.

**I'll definitely have to post a more in-depth on Rennes, but in the meantime you can go here:

for a pretty good introduction (and yes, that is the band Tool's website - another reason why they're just so damn cool)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm blogging for

... so if You all get the chance, check it out. There's just one up right now, but more on the way (and no repeats between blogs, thus forcing me to write more and more and more.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What is it about retail that makes people act like such fucking assholes?

I mean, really, you go into a store to buy things. This isn’t Marrakech circa 1955, is it? No, this is modern day, consumer-driven America. EVERYBODY knows how this works, its pretty simple and the mores and patterns have been engrained in most of us (unless maybe you’re the douche bag INTO THE WILD is about) from the earliest days, so what gives? If an item is marked $9.99, guess what? THE ITEM COSTS $9.99 + TAX, how hard is that?

Here’s some of what I’ve been getting working in retail.

“Excuse me, this is the only copy of this on the shelf. Its marked $4.99 but I’d like a discount.” – this dickhead clearly doesn’t understand capitalism (not that I’m supporting it, in the long run we’re just now starting to see how shitty that works). IF IT’S THE LAST COPY OF SOMETHING, IN A SUPPLY AND DEMAND ECONOMY, IT IS MORE LIKELY TO BE SOLD FOR MORE THAN LESS. Example anyone in the U.S. should be able to understand right now: less oil to go around, the higher the price of gasoline is.

“I dropped this item on my finger, I’d like a discount,” – A discount? On what? The item? Because you dropped it on your finger? No, no, no my friend. For this we could work to get you a discount on sterilization, but not on the item. If you can’t handle products while shopping, don’t fucking touch them.

“The price tag says $19.99 so why is it ringing up $21.95?” – how long have you lived in the states? Seriously, if you were from Honduras maybe I’d understand, but I can tell by your bottled tan, coach purse and Christian Dior jodpurs that you’ve lived here all your life, so what gives? If you’ve never paid sales tax before either your butler just died at age 95 or you’d better get the hell out of the country quick before the IRS opens up a can of AUDIT SAUCE on your Beverly Hills ass.

And my favorite working in a bookstore:

“Excuse me, where are your non-fiction books?” – Well, hmmm, let me see now. Other than FICTION and SCIENCE FICTION, MYSTERY and ROMANCE, the funny thing is THE ENTIRE STORE IS NON-FICTION. When was the last time you saw a fictionalized cooking book? How about health? Okay, with the influx of everybody and their mother writing health books, I guess maybe this crosses that line, but seriously. Self Help? Psychology? History, for fuck’s sake? Come on people, if you need that much help you probably shouldn’t be leaving the house. Might lock yourself in the car.

Friday, May 23, 2008


The Cure's Disintegration, the song, has been skipping on a loop for well over an hour now. I can't turn it off. The relentless emotional beating that this song chronicles is one of the most influential things I have ever experienced. It always sends me to create. I listen to the beautifully layered music and I become amped.

The pitch-shift chorus effect that gives Robert Smith a surreal backing vocal effect that sounds like children crying out in the rain. The staccato guitar effect (is that a guitar I've always wondered?) that stabs like a painful memory, persistantly spinning 'round and around' like a fresh wound, taking apart notions of this thing you call your life.

Who are you? Why are some choices wrong? Why are some lives doorways to pain and regret? These are demons I don't personally toil with daily anymore, but this album, this song especially really puts me into a story; its part The Crow*, part Neil Gaiman's Sandman**, part Frank Miller's Sin City and part fragments I have lived and written, in my days and in my nights, in my head and in my dreams, over and over again in that part of me that's not me but some crazy fictitious character I've been developing in my stories and scripts, written or only half-glimpsed, since I was a Sophmore in what they appropriately call high school.

Now, if only it would rain.

*The GN, not the piece of shit movie.

**Specifically Rose and the Doll's House trade.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Sociological Importance of M.I.A. (really)

So I don't know where You stand on MIA. When I first heard her it was several years ago and Sara had ordered the first CD from somewhere like Amazon Singapore because it was not available in the states. At this point I don't remember if this was because she was just not exposed enough for anyone to mass release her disc in the states or if this had something to do with the entire 'she oposes her oppressive government so we she's too dangerous to let into our country' thing, but it doesn't matter for the sake of this little observational piece.

I like MIA. Not enough to actively listen to her on a regular basis (I like the music but her 'I'm too sublime to do more than utter easily repeatable phrases at converstational levels with hardly any emotional inflection' kinda irritates me), but coming out of that whole Electro-trash/clash thing ARULAR seemed an interesting progression. The beats on that album were very scattered and minimalist, like a blind man with a dyslexic sense of rhythm programmed the beats. It was interesting and different so I liked it. Also, there was that whole, 'watching a knife fight ala Street Fighter video game level in Sri Lanka' vibe to the music - like you were slumming it with some counter revolutionaries in a third world ghetto (remember I said third world ghetto later, that's the crux of my blathering today).

Now MIA has blown up. I know I'm writing this about 6 months too late, as the 2nd album came out a while ago, but its not even the album itself's presence I'm talking about - I don't actively see too many people listening to it or meet too many people that claim to be into her. But THE SMALL, WELL ARMED CABAL OF PRODUCERS WHO MONOPOLIZE THE POP WORLD RIGHT NOW SURE AS FUCK ARE. Seriously, I dig Timbaland and Pharrell and Co. I think they are amazing producers who get amazing drum recordings, make interesting musical arrangements and generally have elevated the fickle arena of pop. If in 2000 you would have told me I'd be a fan of the first Justin Timberlake album I would have finished my fucking beer and knocked you across the face with it (good thing you didn't warn me, eh?) but I am. Period. So now I have kind of followed these guys and seen some of what they've done. And it all has been influenced by MIA's music. Most recently Madonna's new album hard candy, produced by both Neptunes and Timbaland, got me thinking about MIA's impact, because Madonna is all about doing what is going on in the scenes beneath her, and Hard Candy (worst album cover ever. YOUR FUCKING 50, stop the faux bondage shit! really...) has MIA all over it.

And maybe its just LA but all the cars that drive around 'bumping' bass music - well its all hip hop chart station stuff and it seems from a distance like it all has that same 'third world ghetto' feel to it.

So now here's why MIA is really sociologically important. Warning, I'm about to offend any 'Love it or leave it' types out there, although if that's you, what you'd be doing on my blog in the first place would be an interesting question.

AMERICA IS A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY. No, seriously, it is. Don't believe me? Let's look at a few things, starting with a definition:

The term Third World was originally coined in times of the Cold War to distinguish those nations that are neither aligned with the West (NATO) nor with the East, the Communist bloc. Today the term is often used to describe the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania.
Many poorer nations adopted the term to describe themselves.

That's from, a site that from my brief research before quoting it, seems rather agenda-less, if that's possible in this day and age.

So that's where the term started, but that's not what the idea had become by the first time I'd grown old enough to understand how people were using it as colloquially. For that nuance you need only take that second sentence above and rewire it a bit:

'Today the term is often used to describe countries considered poor and exploitable by the major powers in the rest of the world, where poverty, oppression and lack of education are the rule of thumb'. (if you think I'm going out on a limb look at the way the same website from above broke down the lists

First: our 'ruler' wasn't elected, he took office by white collar force. Nuff said. Oppression occurs via the government and perhaps more notably through the companies that lord over us. Disagree? Well, look at all those nice mortgage companies who made their money via predatory loans and then got the government to either bail them out or let em' sink while their CEO's jettisoned with massive pensions. Any of those debters get their mortgage forgiven?

On that topic, our economy is proof fucking positive of my point. Look at things like housing, unemployment, etc. No one has money except for what, some 5% or something? Everyone lives beyond their means. The only difference between us and what we used to think of as a third world country is we on the ground floor in this modern example are more useful to those exploiting us because through the magic of credit EVEN POOR WE CAN CONTINUE TO BE EXPLOITED. Those aforementioned forces of oppression folks used economical weapons such as credit cards, pay day loans and the like to cause the decline in the first place by continually squeezing every last drop from us they could.

And if you still need more proof of this economically, consider that major companies for all industrious or technologically advanced countries, including ourselves, that used to close factories or ship programming jobs over to these third world nations to exploit cheap labor are now moving them here because our money is so weak and our rights as workers have been eeked away until we're all just so fucking happy to have a job we don't flinch when our employers fuck us in the ass on a regular basis and still don't give us extra money or benefits, in fact they just continue to take them away. Air Bus and other European companies are opening plants here now because of the weakened state of the dollar compared to their Euro. There's an interesting article on that here:

Enough already about the economic reasons we meet the criteria, lets move on to that old favorite education, or in our case, the lack thereof I mentioned earlier. Anyone think I'm wrong in saying we fit this criteria AND THEN SOME? Cause if you do, go drive down to the part of town you normally avoid (we all have them), park, leave your car unlocked with the windows rolled down and go for a nice long walk. Then tell me I'm wrong. Shit, for that matter, just walk into a Best Buy, a supermarket, a fast food restaurant...

Our cities have become schizophrenic amalgams worthy of 50's sci fi writer Phillip K. Dick's imagination: consistant, healthy 'communities' (remember when that world was real time and not just some 'virtual' idea) are gone, replaced instead by patchwork landscapes comprised of gated subdivisions on one block and low income, squallor-housing on the next. To further illustrate how we are the next evolution in the third world based on our poors' continued exploitation, while you're strolling through your friendly neighborhood ghetto, look at the cars parked on the street in front of the buildings: hummers, escalades, dodge 300's, etc. Can't afford a nice place to live but through the magic of debt I've got a $30k car.


So, back to MIA, coming from a third world nation, and having the cultural imprint of that in her music, it makes perfect, evolutionary sense, if sociologically one of the ways you can observe and understand a society is through its art and thus its music, then its perfect timing that she should alter the sound of our streets so appropriately: the music we hear while walking through town should evoke images of hostile third world streets - that's what we have. That 5% prey on us, we learn by example and prey on those around or 'below' us. Thus is the world we live in, go ahead and tell me its not 'third world'.

Temporary Autonomous Zone or Permanent Autonomous Residency ...

Wow, an option. This probably won't pan out, but we can hope, right?


The T.A.Z. is such an interesting concept. You can read more about it in Hakim Bey's short work T.A.Z. also, for a different perspective there's Under The Black Flag by David Cordingly (a man described on the jacket as being, 'the world's foremost expert on pirates') and William Burrough's (who I might argue holds that title instead, although he's dead so never mind) staggering work of alchemical genius Cities of The Red Night which uses the idea of the Temorary Autonomous Zone quite nicely.


Closest thing we have in the states I guess is something like Black Rock City during the Burning Man festival, but that's so highly publicized now there must be less of an Autonomous feeling these days, not that I would know, I've never been, but you know, hard to be truly free, if only temporarily, if something's that well known - it would jsut draw policing by its very nature.

It's just good to know people with money, knee deep in this technocracy feel the same and want to use that money to change things.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A long time ago in a country not so far away...

Thanks to my good friend Walter for the link.

Seriously, Star Wars is like Phish - I actually might be able to enjoy it if not for a large percent of the fan base. I wonder if somewhere there are Star War's nerds setting up traveling tailgating parties centered around the theatres to be playing the new animated release. Imagine Boba Fett's and Wookie's making grilled cheese, pushing their 'karma jars' in people's face, and seeling 'dank nuggets' and bunk acid to people waiting in line...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Disasters are coming...

Okay, this first came to my ears (like many others no doubt) in 2000 as part of the final track on TOOL's amazing LATERALUS album. Check out my little widget player - I've removed those same few tracks of mine I'd done a while back and left only this one - it is a copy (and a bad copy, I apologize but I could not find the proper adapter to go straight into the recording program so you get open air hiss - still, you get the point) of the actual call to Art Bell's radio program in 1997. Listening to this sends fucking chills down my spine. The caller sounds so genuine. In juxtaposition Mr. Bell, who I have very little experience with or knowledge of, sounds a bit too calm for this not to be a farce, but man, I don't know. Listen to the panic in this 'Former Area 51 Employee's voice and its easy to be a Mulder.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Brion Gysin's DREAM MACHINE...


Okay, that being said, this is freakin' awesome. I have been toying with the idea of building a Dream Machine for quite a number of years now. Several times I've downloaded specs, diagrams, instructions and the like but A) Have never had the time to follow through and B) Bullshit. I could have made the time if not for letting my lack of experience with electronics intimidate me in inactivity. Whatever, the point is I've always wanted one, was never proactive enough to build one, and now someone has put one on line. Thanks to whoever did this and thanks to Klintron at Technoccult for linking.

So here's the deal. Gysin and William S. Burroughs used to use this thing to induce certain states of mind. Alot has been done with this kind of technology since they were sitting in that little hotel at 9 Rue Gît-le-Cœur in the Latin Quarter of Paris, hacking reality with analog turntables, lights, mirrors and polaroids. This is the root of alot of the modern technoccult movement and the dream machine especially is interesting as hell.

The science, briefly, goes like this. If you apply certain frequencies to the brain, the brain's frequencies will harmonize. You can do this with sound or flicker, anything that can be taken in at the senses and sent straight to the brain. And we know that certain states of mind occur at certain frequencies, i.e. - lucid dreaming occurs when the brain is between 0.1-3 Hz (for a nice full breakdown of more states and frequency correspondencies go here:

Now, I know some of this has been bastardized by cheap new age 'music' companies. I've seen people buy these fairly expensive CD packages from our store that claim to have the appropriate frequencies running under music with titles like, 'Ocean Pleasure' or 'Discovery by Moonlight' - hey, they may very well do what they claim, but the imaging makes people not take it seriously. Take it seriously. You can do some weird shit like this.

You cannot generate 0.1-3Hz Audio frequencies with any speakers I know of. Speakers, a common transducer that takes one form of energy and turns it into another (micorphones being the reverse type of transducer) commonly come with a range of 40 Hz - 40K Hz because this is the practicle range of human hearing. Plus, the lower the frequency, the bigger the physical transducer, ie speaker, you need to project it. So there are probably specially built speakers out there in audio labs or audiophile homes/workshops, but chances are pretty good you and I are not going to come into contact with them easily.

Questions? Yes, ah, you in the back in the tan chino's.

'Why bother, you just said the range of our species' hearing is 40-40k, so if you did build a transducer capable of projecting 0.1-3HZ, we wouldn't be able to hear it, right?'

Yes, well, you FEEL it.

Also, funny thing about the way the brain works, take a conventional pair of consumer grade headphones. Check, they'll undoubtedly have 40-40k response. Put them on and sit with a signal generator (okay, I realize most folks won't be able to have a signal generator at their disposal, but if you know anyone with computer recording programs, especially the magnificent Protools and you'll have access to one). Now run one frequency through one channel and pan it all the way to the right. Next run a frequency 3 Hz more or less through the other channel and pan it all the way to the left. The difference, 3 Hz is what your brain will 'hear' and harmonize with, so technically you can produce off the scale freq's with conventional transducers.

My friend Grez and I used to have a little experiment we'd pull on people at parties. We had our protools set-up in the basement of his crib, and there were always parties there. I'd fire up the computer with a room full of people and pump 40 HZ through one speaker on one side of the room and 45 HZ through the other using Protools' signal generator. There are certain frequencies that will induce unease, disorientation, etc. We'd have a room full of people drinking and wanting to see what we were doing with the band recording wise and unbeknownst to them we'd start running this frequencies through their brains and people would start to act weird (this could be thought of as my CIA phase I guess, experimenting on people without their knowledge of it).

So now that I've rambled on enough, check out that dream machine. Put it on, get comfy, close them eyes and stare at the flicker. Set it to whatever state you want to induce. I'm not saying if you set it to 3 Hz you will fall over into lucid dreaming, but your if you expose yourself to it long enough you'll drudge up some weird states of mind. And if you can record a disc of that 3 hZ audio and fall asleep with 40 in one ear and 44 in the other, you'll kickstart lucidity.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


So I just got an advance of the new Palahniuk today and I read the whole damn thing in a matter of hours. SNUFF is great Palahniuk, not as vile as you might think and a hell of a good read. I always tell people that I never start one of CP's books unless I know I have a good solid couple of hours to kill because once I start I do not stop. Only RANT took me longer than a day to read, otherwise its always straight through from beginning to end. Now I'm not saying the guy is the next Fitzgerald or anything, but his style embodies such amazing pacing - he works with repititions and rhythms that propel me through at a pace NO ONE else does. This pace doesn't serve as a substitute for grandeur, but one can only read the 'Feast' book sat times, otherwise its good to mix in some snacks. Having just finished Mervyn Peake's divine GORMENGHAST previously (coming soon after reading the epic TITUS GROAN, Gormenghast's predecessor and now struggling through the third and infinitely different installment TITUS ALONE) SNUFF was a welcome 'snack' - a wickedly fast paced and cyanide tappered FUCK YOU to whatever I might read next, even if CP does, in a way write the same book over and over (style wise, never content wise). This is not a bad thing if You dig the artist's style - David Lynch has arguably been making the same film over and over again for decades and each one is its own enough to stand out and warrant its existence as a continued step in some uber-arching cinema journey into the mind of a creator I love. So too with Mr. Chuck Palahniuk.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Before the devil knows how to make a convincing drama...

Wow, I hated this movie more than I can even express, but of course, I will try.

To begin with the look of it and the score made it feel like a glorified tv movie from the 1980's. You know the ones - the type that should have starred Charles Durning and Meredith Baxter Bernie. The writer obvioulsy thinks the way to be effectively dramatic is to cram every possible scenario of bad things that could happen to the characters in. It might have been okay if they had just stuck to the robbery. Ugh, I was honestley expecting someone to fly a plane into a school full of bunnies by the end of it.

Hoffman and Ethan Hawke were pretty good with what they had to work with, but unfortunately that wasn't much. Marisa Tomei did nothing but show her tits and Albert Finney needs to be beaten with a hammer for his ineffectiveness in conveying ANYTHING that resembles human emotion not conjured for the camera.

And those stupid segue zooms - it made the focus and camera work look amateurish.


So after watching that stinking piece of tripe I continued to imbibe and smoke and made a b - line for something hard core enough to hammer the smell of shite out of my imagination - Neil Marshal's DOG SOLDIERS is always just what the doctor ordered. Seriously, there's little things about this flick in the set-up that might not jive, but GODDDAMN!!! Take everything great about the intensity of pacing with ALIENS (and there's so much), the set-up and no-way-out of Predator and the Daa-Dah of Jaws but transpose them to the Highlands of Scotland and replace other carnivore predators with the BEST LOOKING, NON CGI werewolves of all time and you get one fucking hell of a good time wrapped up in a movie. This always gets my highest possible recommendation and I've even been known to offer 'money bakc guarantees' to people who buy or rent it.


To cap the night off I watched A PERFECT PLACE. This is a short film that came to my attention via the fact that MIKE PATTON (too many bands to name them all here, but suffice it to say previously and most famously of Faith No More and Currently fucking minds with aural nightmares in Fantomas) composed and performs the entire score for the 25 minute short film written and directed by Derrick Scocchera, previously known for '04's A LOOK INTO THE FORBIDDEN ZONE. Sara ordered this for me right after it came out as Patton's record label IPECAC sells the ST and film in a cozy little package. I've been digging on the soundtrack for weeks but haven't gotten the chance to throw the flick on until now - WOW! Kinda Lynchy in a way, stars Bill Moseley (House of 1000 Corpses, Devils Rejects, TCM 2) and Mark Boone Junior (30 Days of Night, The Grey, John Carpenter's Vampires) as two mooks who have a 140 lb. problem to get rid of. Funny, weird in the right places, good times! I highly recommend everyone support it by following the IPECAC link to the right and ordering a copy of the ST/DVD.



Sunday, April 20, 2008

Duli noted...

Greg Duli is one of a few elite musicians who not only survived beginning a career in the nineties, but also transcended it. Think about it: although it is obviously a generalization that no doubt spews many exceptions, any thing even remotely related to the 'G' word - all that great nineties hard rock that was, for many of us, essentially a natural progression of the aesthetic laid down by Black Sabbath - has become a trapped within a time capsule that in many respects prevents it from assimilating into the vast lexicon of 'classic rock' (thank god).

Duli began public life in the Afghan Whigs. Of course the Whigs have NOTHIING to do with any of that scene, but somehow that big, swooping corporate clusterfuck called 'new alternative' fought to rope everything with a distorted guitar and even moderately pained vocalist into the same basket. The Whigs had a hard rock edge, yet they imaginatively tempered that with healthy doses of Marvin Gaye and early Kenny Rogers as well as their own unique arrangments that utilized everything from slide guitar to boisterous female backups. Still, maybe there was something to the comparisons to some of the guys from Seattle, but probably more Screaming Trees or Mudhoney than other, more well known ones*...

Now, If you listen closely to Duli's records in The Twilight Singers or now his new group The Gutter Twins (with another 90’s breakout, Mark Lanegan from the aforementioned Screaming Trees and currently QOTSA) you’ll hear emotional, sonic and abstract ideological textures that bare a lot of similarities to the Whigs yes, but also to groups like Alice and Chains, thus they possess a unique backwards/forwards in time quality.

Now, I will listen to Layne and the boys until I die, but there is something about any of those great 90’s hard rock bands that occasionally feels dated. BULLSHIT you say! Well, hear me out. I don't mean dated in the way ELP's fledgling synthsizer sounds make them feel dated, or the way ANY soul artist in the 80's sound like a large moustached coke-freak with a bunch of German mics and bad Casio's had there sonic way with them. No, I mean dated as in it sounds like a time other than now. Music does not sound like BADMOTORFINGER now, and if a band released an album that did, they would most likely sound like a stupid novelty act, the same way you can love or hate the Darkness, but they are a novelty by nature of the fact that they are more concerned with sounding like LA hair bands of the 80's than any other aspect of their art (and I use that three-lettered curse word loosely there my friends...)

Nostalgia, wanted or not. Yep. The reason bands like AIC are dated for any late twenties, early thirties year old is because we were there, growing up listening to them. In most cases these bands have all moved on. But so, too, have we. Therefore it is only natural that when I throw on an album like SAP it takes me back so strongly that it’s an emotional investment. This gives it a somewhat dated quality, that and honestly, sometimes a chore just to listen as it can’t be a part time thing – no matter what I’m doing I end up pulling a trance, sitting and staring off into space seeing any number of the miscreants I shared those times with.

So now back to Duli. I’m listening to The Twilight Singers album ‘Powder Burns’ on headphones right now and regardless of the fact that this came out in 2006 it has a similar quality to some of the things we're talking about – only unlike a novelty act Duli and the crew have somehow managed to bring the essence of music at that time, how it sounded and what it meant, into the NOW. They've honored and updated it at the same time. Refreshed.

Duli is a genius, he’s used his three main musical vehicles of the last 20 years to show us his life; what it was, is and could have been. He’s no stranger to the strangely alluring sting of life – not the idea of life but the actual vehicle we etch into the lines of our flesh every minute of every day by sometimes making the right choices and maybe more often making the wrong ones. Greg Duli knows not a one of us here lives forever and such, even the mistakes we make and the corners we paint ourselves into taste awful sweet if you know how to squeeze them for the right juice.

One thing that really fascinates me about Greg Duli is the undercurrent of sophisticated violence that runs through even some of his sweetest songs. Sure, there are tracks like Powder Burns’ ‘I’m Ready’ – a summation of a scene anyone who frequents public houses has witnessed before. Remember walking out of a bar in the city on such and such a date and seeing two guys beating the shit out of each other? Or maybe it was more like one guy taking a full bottle of Heineken to the top of another guy's head - that sickening CRUNCH and the impulse to flee suddenly flooded over by a host of morbid curiosity’s all vying for your full attention:


Duli knows. Afghan Whigs track ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ reads like another all to familiar scene. Someone who burns you on a woman or drugs or both has earned his ass-kicking and your going to be waiting to have him when he’s due to make his score. Drugs, violence, testosterone, yes, but not that caricature bullshit the likes of pantera or rage against the machine stuff down our throats – that stuff is easy to dismiss because it’s not happening to our best friends, our girlfriends or just the people on the other side of the pub window.

But then there’s that sweet, innocent violence. The kind that’s less a fist in the face than it is a thoughtless selfishness that ends up hurting the one you love. See Twilight Singers' 'FORTY DOLLARS' or shit, the WHIGS album 'GENTLEMAN' pretty much in it's entirety.

Greg Duli spent the better part of his career in the Whigs and Twilight Singers and now The Gutter Twins exercising all types of these demons, and its because he’s going through it in front of us that its that much easier and yes, maybe even a little cool that we can go through it in our own lives.


* As fully cognizant adults it is a bane that to talk about this stuff we have to brush the edges of corporate buzz words like the 'G' word or 'alternative', or even that it is still easier to refer to a lot of the music from that period as pertaining to one particular city, but realistically, it would be ridiculous to close our eyes and try to avoid it. I don't like it any more than you do, but face it, that marketing frenzy dug up a bunch of great bands (and some bad ones) and lumped them all under these various umbrellas - we who were sophmores in high school might have been able to smell a phony but good fucking music is good fucking music and we were walled in from all sides. That, and of course yes, it is just easier to talk about this stuff with these terms as vague outlines to condense the verbage - I wouldn't be talking about The Jesus Lizard, Big Black, Urge Overkill, Liz Phair, Smashing Douche bags (well, I just wouldn't be talking about them, and wouldn't Steve Albini just want my blood for mentioning BB in the same parenthetical aside as any of these last couple bands?) without refering to the pre-mature ejaculation that was the 'Chicago-scene' because when I say it that way EVERYBODY, like it or hate it, agree or disagree, knows EXACTLY what I am talking about.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

There were rumors he was into hockey players...

So I had a shite-tastik day of stress stress and more stress and so I'm sitting here getting drunk (but not too drunk cuz I've got another potential one ahead of me tomorrow) and loading stuff into Sara's Ipod.

The Ipod's name is Vlad2 because it's somehow cybernetically related to her favorite stuffed penguin.

Anyway, I've been cycling through a lot of 90's music lately and it's got me thinking. I'm sitting here loading and listening to FUGAZI: STEADY DIET OF NOTHING and END HITS and remembering one of my first 'indie' shows - when indie meant more than being a douche bag with a western style snap shirt, glasses and a willful discovery that you ARE the next band to hit the pages of PASTE (a magazine I'm sorry I subscribed to, even for a cost of a mere $3. Hey PASTE, fuck you). I saw Fugazi on the IN ON THE KILLTAKER tour in what I think was '93. I think Jawbox opened and local Chicagop short-lived wonder TAR followed. Wow. Talk about an eye-opener.

After that Fugazi became an integral part of my growing up with music. I had been a pot-head metal-head for most of my days previous, and this was at a point where I was really being exposed to a lot of new stuff that made a big impression on someone who loved music but only knew how to find new bands via comments in ANTHRAX interviews and SUBCULTURE magazine (if You remember Subculture please leave a comment here about it - Trashin' with Pat Michaels was The Best!!!) Groups like FUGAZI, TAR, NED'S ATOMIC DUSTBIN, MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT, MINISTRY, QUICKSAND, THE CURE, THE FINAL CUT, The RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, BLACK FLAG and of course, NIN were huge to me - they showed me musical landscapes I had not expected. Metal was my extreme juvy reaction to shit my parents listened to like The Carpenters and Johnny Mathis. Probably just by those two examples alone you can understand why I HAD to go the extreme path of the dirthead in order to begin establishing my own identity. I needed full out blast of the double bass kick drum and 166 BPM palm muting in order to propel me as far from suck ranch as I could go. The groups mentioned above showed me the art of the nuance after SLAYER and that shitty-band-who-once-was-good-and-now sucks-so-bad-they-need-to-make-a-movie-about-their-therapy-sessions-with-old-guitarists had beaten me over the head for several years. These groups literally were an alternative for me and kids like me - a hidden path between the suck that came out of the softening of music during the 70's and the heavy metal machismo that fragged and mutated from the brilliant and more nuanced beginnings of Black Sabbath* (not that there's anything wrong with those mutations).

So yeah, as much as the term has made me cringe for well over a decade now, I remember when the idea of 'alternative' music meant something. To bad since bare naked ladies and kid rock got squeezed into its popular definition, I have had to try to find something different to refer to it on a regualr basis. Maybe simply 'doesn't suck' will suffice. But then, maybe I'm just being nostalgic (drunk achieved!!!) woe is me in the morning.

* In mentioning Black Sabbath I must, for the record of course, stipulate that I only acknowledge Ozzy's years, not der-suckmeister Dio.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Legba says...

Run New Play Always Universally


Jack Parsons and the end of the world...

Do You know who John Whiteside Parsons, better known as 'Jack' was? He was the man who essentially invented the solid state rocket fuel that first enabled one of the United States' rockets to reach the moon. Many who were involved in the research at the time, such as Wernher von Braun, a WWII German rocket scientist who eventually defected to America via infamous Project: Paperclip* and is largely credited with the earliest, groundbreaking accomplishments of NASA give more credit to Parsons than to themselves. Parsons came from wealthy, educated and powerful stock and very quickly became an important man around Cal Tech, where the rocket propulsion system that changed the world originated. What is even less known than Parson's himself is that at the age of 26 Jack was initiated into the colloquially mysterious world of Aleister Crowley's occult organization the Ordo Templi Orientis, or the OTO for short (you know how much us occultists love our initials).

The OTO was formed by some accounts between 1895 and 1901 in Austria by some accounts and Germany in others. Originally built around the structure of the ancient Freemasons (not to be confused with the Stonecutters, who inexplicably once made Steve Guttenberg a star) the organization changed considerably once Crowley became involved. Under Crowley the OTO was realigned around the laws of his self-styled religion, Thelema* and took on a more prolific .

So how did the father of the modern rocket, cornerstone of the NASA that we know today become involved in such esoteric, and by all things american 'diabolical' avenues? Let me attempt to explain to the best of my limited ability.

Parsons was seeking. At the age of thirteen it is written in one of his diaries that he had evoked satan himself. Yeah right, I know (you might also know how some occultists, especially I would imagine anyone trained by Crowley himself, like to exaggerate) that sounds insane, but if you read about that kind of thing these days its suggested what that kind of contact actually is (when its not bat-shit crazy) is essentially locking into and communicating with ENERGY.

Now, I know that sounds like I should be working behind the counter of some place that sells incense and Sylvia Browne books, but really, that's what all the hubbub of magick and secret occult lore boils down to.

It's all scientific.

Arthur C. Clarke (R.I.P.) once said: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" and it works the opposite way as well. So Jack Parsons was manipulating/communicating with all kinds of interesting 'energies'.

Think not? Well he bloody well got us to the moon (I'm sure that seemed like magick to alot of people at the time, so it was - that's the point). He also took part in a particularly infamous ritual, something known as The Babylon Working, whereupon he sought to find a Scarlet Woman to impregnate and bring about a moonchild - someone who could help crack the ether and let in the forces that would expedite the end of the world as we know it.

I know, I know. Backup, right? Now I know that's the kind of shit that may sound crazy, but really, it depends on how you look at things. Sure, I love my life and the world I've constructed for it, the people I populate it with. That I'm attached to, just as most of you are. But beyond that there is a really fucking evil world out there with ALOT of bad, evil shit going on, and these days there are always those sublime moments when watching things go from bad to worse when I'm able to kind of feel past my ego and see that in a lot of ways, the 'world' would be better off if it was ended. I'm not one (as neither was Parson's I'm sure) who believes in traditional, Christian after-life scenarios. I look at the idea of death, although really fucking frightening to the ego-plex, as the achievement of perfection for the soul. Parson's and other occultists are ballsy in that even they value the 'perfection' of the world over their own attachments to living/life and actively seek out ways to make this happen. This was the goal of alchemists and mystics all along. It just depends on how big an ideal they're willing to tackle and how far they are willing to go. Agenda's are ALWAYS at stake.

So Jack Whiteside Parson's agenda was one of enormous task and he spent his life actively pursuing it.

Interesting, no?


I've essentially condensed a much larger topic into a smaller space. I won't write more on it because much already has been (well, maybe not much in comparison to something like WW2, but you know what I mean). Although there is an entire book on this that came out in double ought by John Carter and Robert Anton Wilson, my favorite writing on this topic is Disinformation's Richard Metzger's brief article: THE CRYING OF LIBER 49 in the Disinfo BOOK OF LIES, published in 2003. Great book on the occult, start to finish, all areas of it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mr. Chuck Palahniuk...

has a new novel set for release May 20th. Here's a link. I heard about this one right about the time RANT (possibly my fav so far, although that's a tough call) and hoped it would would be what I heard.

It is.

I can't fucking wait for this book.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Shawn's UK Adventure Part 11

Monday, feb 4th, 2002

Taking the 100 bus to Edinburgh airport shortly after noon.

I'm sitting next to Joe in the very back of the bus writing this listening intently to 'Manchester Station'. It's a track by another local chicago band called Sour Deluxe. It's fucking brilliant; one of those creations borne of the artists longing for something that was. Big, weeping guitars force the heartfelt testimonials from the singer, a girl named Jamie something-or-other's lungs. Practically holding back my own tears as the bus pulls us ever further out of this city I've grown to love in just five days and the chorus swells up - a sentimental meathook that tears into the part of me that has absorbed this place and it's people; the moods and atmopspheres shown to me and my kin as travelers here. Cheesy but this is one of those moments where the phrase 'The time of my life' begins to echo through me, like Steven Keaton preaching to Alex about going away to college or some other such bullshit. Only difference is this is real. This is the time of my life. Not that there won't be others, but this, this is something else. It occurrs to me that this is what life is all about - this bittersweet feeling of living and leaving. And maybe that's the key. Many of the highest impact moments in my life have been fleeting. Weeks on vacation, friends, lovers, whatever. To have and hold these times, these feelings in our life and then be able to let them go, so they always stay pure. and maybe thats the key to life and to dying. To be able to come to the end of your life and have your memories.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

That same old song...


Wow, I haven't had the tiime to write one'a these here blogs in 2 weeks now. I miss my catharsis. Been busy with script re-editing and treatments and friends from outta town, as they say (they? whose they? THEM! word.)

Okay, let's jump right in.

I understand people who are legitimately behind the political ideals of Barack O'Bama. I don't really think its much more than talk (I know, I know, is it ever? Probably not much different with HC either, but as I'll get into later, that's the deal with American politics, unless you actually run) I don't feel comfortable with O'Bama for several reasons, some are a little more 'Mulder-ish' and these I've outlined here in a previous post. However, another reason is because YES, he is a pretty damn great speaker. So what? I mean, I hear ALOT of people say they are so enamored with him for this reason and to that I have to ask the question:

Why would anyone vote for a politician that's a good speaker without something to show for backing it up?

For many I feel this is indicitive of their grasp of the political arena: Being wooed by someone who's speeches inspire that fuzzy wuzzy warm feeling of national pride and 'Let's make a Change!' sentimentality will conversely make it that much easier to bitch about the fact that alot of what is promised turns out to be just talk later on. But wouldn't a spoonful of insight and self-appraisal go hand in hand with NOT voting for cosmetic reasons? Isn't ignoring the feelings of greatness and looking at more practical, less emotional stimuli before voting a good way to 'nip that in the bud' so to speak? I mean, vote for someone because you agree with what they've done with their life or because you appreciate the outlines for policy and change they have already laid in place, or better yet the track record as a politician that has led them to where they are now, but DO NOT vote for ANYBODY just because they can talk their way into your hearts. This is not just irresponsible but dangerous.

A good presidential candidate will talk well and act on what they say. Well, as of now, all I can say is look at O'Bama's track record - he talked his way into the Senate in my home state and if You ask a lot of folks there, he's done nothing. In fact, when campaigning for that position he was very clear about how he would not neglect duties for the state by leap-frogging into another campaign - made a lot of nice, inspiring speeches on that point - sounded good at the time, but not really what happened, eh?


Now on the other side of the coin, I actually managed to see O'Bama on 'The View' last week. I know, I know, 'what the hell were you doing watching daytime television, let alone an acctress's discussion forum that has become the last bastion of publicity for washed up and rabid faux movie star Whoopi Goldberg? WEll, some of the peeps at work throw it on in the background on break. When my own break overlaps its become something of a 10 AM ritual for us to gather in the break room and watch this nightmare to foster discussion or afford us ammunition to rip into the various 'celebrities' on the show. So imagine our surprise (that evaporated when I took a moment to actually think about it) when instead of someone like Patrick Dempsey or Squib Holler coming out there's ol' Barrack sitting amidst the decaying hollywood social zombies.

Now, I gotta say, I have watched O'Bama speak b4, but I think I was even more impressed with him this time. Really, turn that broadcast tragedy on for five minutes and you'll see the inane slatherings one would have to deal with as a guest, especially one of such high profile and important politic bearing.

I was most impressed with the way O'Bama handled the redundant titterings from whoever that washed up blonde on the show is (a co-worker informed me she had been on survivor and is married to a football player. That's a warranted membership in the cult of celebrity, let me tell you). With a frightening, prescription induced self-esteem coating her heavily mascaraed eyes and her 'yes I'm a tiny blonde starlot with a purse dog and a rabid shopping addiction, but my opinion still matters!' kind of way, she repeatedly asked O'Bama the same question (what do think it was? She's timely, boy-howdy!) never missing a chance to declare herself a Republican and a Christian just to put him in his place. I can still hear her now, 'But your minister, but your minister...'

You know, the whole damn thing with Barack's former minister is just out of line and fucking retarded. I feel like I did when the whole 'Clinton smoked a joint' thing came around (which clinton lost points to me on. I'm sorry, but I simply do not know if someone who claims to be too stupid to know how to smoke a joint should have access to 'The Button') - talk about blowing something up that is just beside the point and really just an exercise in subterfuge. And the fact that Hillary misses no chance to sprinkle salt in this ridiculously festering wound is just bad politics. But then, for the first time here this election I'm reminded why the whole fucking process makes me so sick to begin with. This IS politics in the US because this IS what we the voters respond to. Of course Hillary's going to jump on that because they've both been hitting each other with Mud for weeks now, off and on. I think this is just the first thing to blow up this big with the media and so until now I guess I was able to lie to myself and pretend we were actually having an intelligent, dignified campaign. No such luck, huh?

I'm not defecting sides, but I gotta say, Hilary is just pissing me off. Now, I can never say that I've been 100% behind her or any other candidate in any election (esp presidential) I've participated in, so fallout is, in any system of man, expected. I'm still not voting for Barack, I'm DEFINITELY not voting for 'build a wall to keep the mexicans out' McCain, but being left with a woman that is turning out to be a mud-throwing liar (duck and cover? Please, this is low rent pandering for image that sickens me. Maybe a grown adult politican in this day and age that is too stupid to realize that IT'S 2008 AND YOU ARE ALWAYS ON CAMERA! ALWAYS!!! shouldn't have access to delicate global negotiations or 'The Button' either?) It's not too far from being political equivalent of pandering young men in gym class on Mondays boasing about their Saturday night conquests that turn out, in the end, to be their hand).

Fuck, so I'm disillusioned with all three. 'Help me Jimmy Smits, you're my only hope...'

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The collection...

Let me tell you how I spent the last five nights (ahh, what bliss…)

A friend procured for me something I have been without for a while. It is something that I partake of less and less as I write more and more, but it’s a must for movie viewing. This occurred at almost the same time a package arrived for me. Said package contained an avante garde horror movie by Russian director Andrey Iskanov entitled ‘Visions of Suffering’. The timing between the two was perfect and Thursday when I got off work I napped (5 AM start times, especially for a night person, do that to you) and then waited for it to get dark. After a brief session I turned on the film, turned off all the lights and sat down to take a high dive into what I am now thinking of, as ‘Avante Garde Horror Movie Weekend’.



Visions of Suffering was good. NOT a masterpiece of film but perhaps momentary masterpieces of imagery and sound. As a whole it fell apart at times (especially near the end), making it seem almost more a strewn together cache of vignettes than a proper film.

Without having seen his other films, I can tell You what Iskanov is amazing at seems to be visually creating nightmare worlds that should not be possible to translate from immemorial archetypal subconscious brain goo into living, breathing film. Iskanov has an eye for location, some talented makeup people and a general 'True Value' know-how in crafting what's around him into a completely terrifying and alien context.

VOS bled into a viewing of Ti West’s The Roost, an independent film Showtime entertainment put out. GREAT FLICK. The Roost is heavily stylized so that it looks as though you're watching a B movie on a UHF station at 2AM in 1987. It's shot entirely at night out in the country and it looks like they bumped the gain on the camera up to the max so as to 'fuzz out' all the images. Adds nice texture to the story, which isn't the greatest but definitely works to move the viewer through the eye-candy from an obvious visual eccentric.

Friday it was Dante Tomaselli's 3rd film, Satan's Playground. I had only watched this once before, after I bought it the week it was released last year. Tomaselli's stuff is definitely 'Avante Garde' aftter a fashion. Like Iskanov this is drug-inspired cinema, to the point with Tomaselli's last (and arueably most popular cult hit 'Horror') includes scenes of characters consuming weed and mushrooms to add to and accelerate the already bizarre world his films take place in. Satan's Playground is great but flawed - maybe not flawed if Tomaselli was purposely critiqueing horror conventions such as how each individual in a stranded car will leave adn walk off into the spooky woods of New Jersey's Pine Barren's, disappearing one after the other, none of hte subsequent adventurers apparently content to just SIT AND FUCKING WAIT before venturing off to be slaughtered, but flawed if one is looking for seamless continuity or any portion of logic to come into play. But then again, this is horror, not theatre, and although I ALWAYS expect more from movies that drift in these directions, I've learned to appreciate other aspects of the genre enough to forgive some oop's and oh's. Of special note in Satan's Playground is actress Irma St. Paule as elderly Mrs. Leeds, mother of the Jersey Devil. Her part could possibly best be described as Frank Booth's grandmother.

Next came Dario Argento's Inferno, sequel to his blood soaked fairytale masterpiece Suspiria. Now, I have LOVED Suspiria since I first encountered some of its imagery in a documentary about Argento that subsequently led me to seek out his movies over a decade ago. Suspiria's anniversay edition was the first DVD I owned. Since then however, I have often grown jaded in my thoughts of Argento's films. I had bought an Anchor Bay special edition double feature of Inferno/Phenomena (known in the States by the unequivacly lame title 'Creeper' and butchered of its goriest scenes) and loved them, but in subsequent exploration of the director's proliferate canon the constant reliance on certain images and plot (used loosely) conventions began to disuade me from further exploration of Argento's works. 'Teenage girls in trouble-black gloved killers-victims standing ludicrously stationary while various sharpened inplements poke, prod and puncture their bodies, etc, etc, etc.' This seems to be the running program, and really, although he definitely has an eye for setting and atmosphere, a few of his films takes you a long way. So now, after several years of nothing but an occasional viewing of Suspiria, I cracked out Inferno one night and Phenomena the next. Here's what I found after some hindsight.

Inferno survives, much as Suspiria does, as a visual masterpiece, so much so, that any plot holes or horror movie posturing can easily be ignored. That scene near the beginning with the girl who UNBELIEVABLY drops herself into a pool of water in the cellar of the old building she's staying in, only to find that its a submerged mansion IS ARCHETYPALLY AMAZING. The sound, the imagery, the lighting, ah, its fucking perfection I tell you. Inferno goes on to match up perfectly with its sister Suspiria as beautifully lit in deep reds, blues and purples, creating a similar, if probably more modern, fairytale image that remains intact no matter where the film goes. Inferno is the 2nd part in Argento's fabled 'Three Mothers' trilogy that has now spanned four decades. The long-awaited and often rumored third and final installment, aptly titled, 'Mother of Tears: the Third Mother' finally came out in late 2007, and hopefully will measure up.

Phenomena, featuring a very young Jennifer Connelly and one of my personal favorite actors, Donald Pleasence, is a strange story that involves a girl that can communicate with insects and, of course, a black gloved killer. Phenomena is good, but sub par when held against Suspiria and Inferno. Taking place in the Swiss countryside, the locations are all gorgously photographed in the film, howver an outdated metal soundtrack often pre-empting the spooky, Victorian-inspired soundtrack one gets used to from Argento and collaborators Goblin, a reliance on faulty-logic posturings, and sans fairytale lighting, well, it just doesn't measure up. The Climax of the film has some great imagery, but its a bit dodgy getting there.

Finally, last night it was Lucio Fulci's House By The Cemetary, for which a more appropriate title might have been 'House Where People Continually Venture into The Dark and Spooky Cellar Where They Have Previously Witnessed Others Being Beheaded and Disembowled', but then I guess a title like that wouldn't leave much to the imagination.

House is a great movie for what it is. To appreciate it you must watch it on its own terms, by its own logic (or lack thereof). If your going to go out and rent a couple horror movies, and the others are conceptual masterpieces like, say, The Exorcist or Day of the Dead, well, House is just not going to measure up after such heady classics. But when House seems strongest is after a cultist's submergence in movies like Demons, Demons 2 or even something like Phenomena. Not alot of what the people in the film do makes sense, and the dialogue replacement is atrocious (yet comical, especially the ADR for the little boy, clearly delivered by an adult trying their best to impersonate a little boy), but as an old school, hacked-to-bits-in-a-haunted-house kind of way, it is of a calibur all its own.

It dawned on me that the movies on my shelf are not all masterpieces; there are those, like Mullholland Drive (or anything Lynch for that matter), Big Lebowski and Donnie Darko, and then there are those such as the ones I've just catalogued. Those niche classics purchased and sometimes awaiting years between viewings. The thing is they are there when I want them, and that's the point of having the collection.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mars Volta...again

I will probably get a lot of shit for this, and I expect most people will not agree with me, but I have come to a conclusion about The Mars Volta. After listening to that new album, Bedlam in Goliath, inside and out for a couple of weeks, I believe that they are the closest thing to what Jimmy Hendrix would be doing if he were still alive today.

I know these kinds of comparisons are pointless, but its just something I have come to hear more and more on this album. Listen to Electric Ladyland a dozen times, then get to know Bedlam in Goliath. I can't quite put my finger on what makes me draw this bizarre conjecture, but its there. For one, the imagery - I have always thought Hendrix was very elemental in his work - he draws on the four mystical elements soo much (Water, Earth, Air and Fire). This is something I'll go into more in a subsequent post because it fascinates me to no end. But really, TMV's imagery is similar. I hear a lot of Water and Air in Bedlam in Goliath, while the title itself seems a nod to the element of Earth. They even have some interesting allusions toward the kind of free form jazz Hendrix was infusing his rock and roll sound with throughout his entire career.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

my week...

...has been a flurry of activity that feels an awful lot like inactivity. I refuse to discuss my day job here and as such I will spare my readers the ongoing tragedy that is working for ANY brand of corporation these days. Remember people, corporations were legally declared the status of human beings back in 1886 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad that under the U.S. constitution a corporation is a natural person and as such is entitled to the same rights under that document as any other ciitzen. Thus corporations ARE the dominant form of life on this here planet Earth...

Today was my newspaper day. This is a new ritual I've worked into my week, where I go and grab a cup of coffee and throw a quarter at a local paper (my choice thus far has been the recently streamlined Long Beach Press Telegram) and sit outside and read it. This is partly to celebrate the return of good weather (easy those back home, I know you think its all good weather out here on the west coast but climate is relative, you know?) and partly just to re-create a dying cultural ritual.

As information becomes more and more intangible I fully recognize that people in my relative age-group are going to be the last ones to want to have a tactal sensation such as holding a cd booklet, amassing shelf upon shelf of DVD's or sitting down and opening up a newspaper - fighting the breeze and working it into different physical folds and manipulations in order to better view the columns and pages. This is important to me - and I am fully aware that it represents a strange schizm within my own personal operating system. The appeal of riding the wave of the future and 'owning nothing' (iTunes old motto, something that appeals to the long standing ideal I've had of being completely 'Nomadic') and the longing to 'time travel' as I'm always talking about, through things like music, media and actual physical manipulations of the spatio-temporal realm I choose to recognize around myself*. This is an act such as that - sitting down with black coffee and an actual, god's honest physical newspaper I channel my heroes, from David Lynch to Hunter S. Thompson and I relive life as it was twenty, thirty, fifty years before the physical world started to disappear (further evidence of this: the housing slump. The person to invent a dwelling for people and their families that takes up NO measured space on the physical plane would not only make TRILLIONS of dollars (or credits by that time as physical currency will also follow suit) but also reinvent the way we view and interact with these infinite wavicles that flutter and vibrate constantly around us, revealing themselves to us only at certain intervals we choose to assign value to...

Anyway, while reading my paper there was an article about the 75th anniversary of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Not as massive as the 1906 San Francisco quake that was retroactively found (???) to have registered a 7.8, the LB quake nonetheless rated a 6.4 on the Richter scale (invented 2 years later), causing a lot of damage and a new outlook on how to prepare for the inevitabilities associated with building on a 46 mile, right lateral, reverse slip fault line.

So apparently Monday the city held a 10 person panel discussion on how far they've come since the quake. Fine. The thing that grabbed my attention, and the reason I'm even going on about ANY of this, is the Press Telegram refers to the discussion Monday as having been 'led' by, and here it is, "...seismology celebrity Lucy Jones."


Seismology Celebrity? Does that even make sense? I didn't realized anybody in the field of seismology, not that there's anything wrong with it, could be considered a 'celebrity'. How much of a celebrity is she? Has she been on Cribs? (and if so, is her abode an amazing prototype of what Earthquake proofing will look like in the year Has she been on the tonight show? Guest starred on Entourage?

I had to know. The very idea of this had my mind racing like Brown's drunken Junebugs** on a warm July evening. I finished my coffee so quickly I burnt the insides of my mouth like a trooper and raced home, stopping only to purchase yet another cup of coffee and be assailed by a turrets afflicted old man who walked up and down the parking lot at the Supermarket plaza up the street from us in a confused and angry stupor. I took his abuse and jotted down the license plate number of the car he finally relinquished to and then sped home, firing up the internet and running a quick search on the intriguing Ms. Jones...

Here's what I found.

Go ahead and google 'Lucy Jones'. Taking somewhat away from the slew of articles and references that one would expect to answer a search on a serious and really rather accomplished scientist are three images at the top of the page. One is a Van Gogh-esque portrait, another a young girl's photo, and the third a somewhat frightening B&W photo from the days of early photgraphy recording an image that is so ... bizarre (and folks who know me know it takes alot for me to say something is bizarre) that I almost could not continue on with my query. It is an unexpected chronicle of one Lucy Elvira Jones, identified by one Daniel Mannix as a former exhibition at the Houston (Texas?) state fair. This Ms. Jones is standing with her knees bent the opposite way, looking much like a wolf or dog. She was apparently double-jointed (I've known double-jointed people and never seen any that could do this) Seriously, go open another window or tab and look at this. It's fucked up, and very reminiscent of something from Tod Browning's cult-classic film 'Freaks'.

Anyway, finally continuing on down the page it does seem Lucy Jones is indeed the closest thing to a 'celebrity seismologist' possible, wikipedia actually stating that,

"...Dr. Lucile M. Jones is the first face most Americans see after an earthquake strikes southern California, as she is known for answering questions from the press following any significant earthquake. Dr. Jones even held a press conference with her sleeping child in her arms, asking that the press be quiet, which they did."

So there, You do learn something new everyday (yesterday I learned that blu-ray dvd sales are about 1/35th of those of regular dvd. Fuck blu ray) and once again I find an interesting odyssey growing out of my weekly newspaper fetish.

* I will discuss the nature of physical reality in a subsequent post tentatively entitled: Indetermincy Prinicple - I hardly knew thee.

** I will discuss the nature and background of the metaphor for 'Brown's drunken Junebug races' in a subsequent post tentatively entitled: Brown's Drunken Junebug races - I hardly knew thee

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

dvd wars...

From the AP this afternoon I learned of the thrilling adventures of pirate dvd busting in Malaysia. Apparently, the Motion Picture Association of America has donated two labradors from Northern Ireland to Malaysia's Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs. The two dogs, Manny and Paddy, are trained to smell the chemicals used in the production of dvd's. The story, by AP writer Julia Zappei has a hysterical twist in that apparently (and I seriously could not believe this when I read it) the 'movie pirates' had placed a bounty on the heads of the previous team of dvd-sniffing canines, somewhere in the purported ball park of $29K. The article ended assuring us that the MPAA and the MDTCA were doing everything in their power to protect the two new dogs, but never answered the question of whether or not the previous 'team' were indeed collected upon by prospective assassins. After doing some sniffing of my own I found many articles, this one being fairly representable of the rest:

Bounties on dogs? This is a new age people; a new age of criminal practice, of one-eyed pirate loyalists committed enough to their cause to don ski masks and hide behind grassy knolls, taking careful aim at Labrador retrievers racing into Malaysian airports at moments notice to catch twisted pirate freaks running off copies of the next Adam Sandler mega-hit in the bathrooms, swallowiing balloons full of USB cables and dvd spindles, turning the once great flea markets of this nation into dens of sinister debauchery where at any moment YOUR son or daughter could spend their hard earned allowance money on these sub-par discs, complete with homemade menus and ill-proportioned aspect ratios.

It is a cold day in hell my friends, and I have seen the evil of the next millenium.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Norton 0 - 2


“How am I supposed to get anything accomplished at all living next to maniacs like this?”

“Look mam, I need you to calm down okay?”

“Calm Down? I AM CALM GODDAMN IT!!!”

“No mam, you are not. Now listen, we’re here to help you, my partner and I, but first you gotta calm down. We understand you have complaints with your neighbor, but if you keep acting like this its going to have to be you we haul off down to the station.”


“Because its part of every police officer’s job when responding to situations like this that we assess the true threat and neutralize it. Now, we’ve heard your complaints about your neighbor, BOB, but I for one have not seen a single sign of any disturbance of the peace since arriving here. What I have seen is you standing on your front lawn and screamin and carrying on to the point that you’ve got all your neighbors out of bed and calling to complain about you. You here that squawk box my partner’s been responding to for the last ten minutes? Those are calls concerning your behavior. Do you understand now?”

The woman would continue to go on complaining for the next five minutes, finally making irritating the officer enough for him to react by handcuffing her. As you might imagine, this did not go over very well and as such his partner had to help him subdue her and cram her more than ample frame into the tiny back door of the police cruiser, finally slamming shut the door that only opens from the outside.

His partner was concerned.

“You think there’s anything to her story Luke?”

“I don’t know Randy, its not like I’ve had time to think on it much since getting here.”

Behind them the woman continued to bark and scream in the back of the cruiser. Officer Randy was becoming visibly distraught by the noise.

“Look, you stay here and make sure she doesn’t eat the fucking apolstery and I’ll walk over and talk to the neighbor, okay?”

“You sure that’s a good idea? Why don’t I just radio for backup?”

“Naw, that’ll take too long. I don’t wanna be here all goddamn night. It’ll be fine, I’ll just go over and let him know we were called.”

“Alright, call me on the walkie you need anything.”

“Will do.”

A tiny rumble of indigestion found its way up from Norton’s belly and overtook his attempt at delicate speech for a moment.

“BURP. Sorry, something we ate definitely isn’t agreeing with me. Anyway, where were we?”

Norton 0 paced, and as he did so he took another tiny treat from the pouch on his belt and popped it into his mouth. He looked at his audience, the Mayor, slouched against the pristine linoleum wall, the egg-shaped bruise still throbbing out that painful red glow that freshly split flesh always seemed to resort to. His eyes were on Norton, but his mind was elsewhere, perhaps with his family.

“LOOK! None of the rest of your party has been harmed. Shit, we didn’t even mean for you to get hurt, but the boy is always over reacting, especially after one too many Charlie Bronson movies, if you know what we mean?”

He could tell by the cold and confused stare that the Mayor most certainly did not.

“Why…why am I here?”

“HELL-OH!!! You are here our dear public representative, to inaugurate the first phase of gentrification set to sweep through the city, an outward wave of demolish, polish and abolish from our P.O.V.”

Norton gesticulated the letter “P”, “O”, “V” with three sharp jaggles of the index finger on their left hand. The fact that they were favoring left instead of the much more common right did not bode well for Mr. Fancy Pants here. It meant Leon or one of the Irma’s was back in charge. Not good…

“Not good at all…”

“Huh? Stop it, you keep trailing off, its like listening to a ransom note.”

“Oh, were we speaking aloud again? My dear…”

Norton’s eyes flaked again but this time they seemed to flip, or perhaps more accurately ‘spin’, like the motion of a slot machine, when you watch and try to follow the cherry through the whirlwind of the interior mechanism. The Mayor watched this with a new kind of fear, and when the motion behind the maniac’s eyelids stopped the blue-gray orbs that turned to re-address him were softer somehow; kinder.

“Are you… are you alright?”
“Me? Oh yes, heavens yes. The question is, are you alright? This nasty little welt on your head, oh my…”

Norton reached into another pouch at his side and after a moment of digging through things (the only somewhat decipherable article the Mayor caught was what appeared to be but he prayed was not, a finger) until finally producing a ratty old handkerchief.

“No, no really, I’m okay…”

“Oh don’t be silly, let’s clean you up a bit, shall we?”

The Mayor consented, the soft padding motion of the suddenly rickety hand, combined with that strange sheer in the eyes made him feel better about his current situation. SO good in fact, he felt he should discuss some things with his attacker.

“So you said I’m here because of the developments…”

“Well heavens yes, aren’t choo? We mean, we certainly didn’t ask you to come here…”

Suddenly the pressure of the disgusting rag against his forehead increased and he looked up to see the eyes had changed once more. Now they were… harsh.

“…we merely took advantage of the situation in order to gain a little bit of an audience with an otherwise busy man….”

The Mayor flinched but Norton did not respond to his new horror, they merely continued to speak.

“It’s really this simple. We live here. A lot of others do as well. It might not look like ‘living to you, but you are not from where we are from, and as such, you do not understand the spatio-temporal intricacies of this plane the way we do.”

“What? What the devil are you talking about?”

“It is people like you, giving open contracts to all of these GODDAMN land perverts {I think you call them contractors} that are destroying all of the sacred spaces of the city-states.”

The Mayor had become distracted. The tiny voice that had interrupted the overall diatribe had seemingly slipped through some possibly exploitable ego-crack in the Universe currently accosting him.

“By god, what the hell am I talking about now? Is your madness contagious?”

“Madness? Oh no my dear,”

The eyes were spinning now like a roulette wheel strapped to a rocket engine, and as a result the voices coming from Norton’s mouth were whipping back and forth through a disturbingly varied plethora of tones and timbres, accents and cadences.

“Madness is what you people suffer from, always walking around with your ‘I’s’ and ‘me’s’. SACRED is what we are talking about, and maybe you’re finally getting the gist of it!”

Suddenly the Mayor began to shake violently. His tongue grew cold and he wet himself. Somewhere deep inside of him a commotion of personalities had broken out. In the few seconds left before he felt the ego-scaffold he long ago declared as his ‘Self’ slipped forever off the edge of stability and liquefied amidst a horde of other, long denied personality statutes, the Mayor realized what a horrible mistake he had made in declaring gentrification this years Magick word.

He began to cry for his mistakes.

As Randy walked the short distance to the woman’s neighbor’s door he lamented briefly on the task of keeping order amidst such a volatile and willful population.

“Oh well, plenty of room for all of ‘em in this Universe I guess.”

The object of his inquisition before him now Randy knocked out three soft, polite rasps on the large iron door.

“Iron? Don’t see that very much anymore…”

Suddenly the door shot upward, some air-fueled track and tech mechanism no doubt employed. Beyond the threshold was a man, hunkered over with twisty spine, three cigarettes hanging from his lips at varying intervals and what appeared to be a Magick wand in his hand, complete with a sparkly star at its terminus.


“Ah, good evening sir. Officer Randy of the department of peace and freedom. Just wanted to let you know we received a complaint on this residence earlier this evening…”

“sO wHaaT? wE’Re fAr tO busy fOr ‘Ese iNter’uPtiOnS’”
“Sir, we just wanted to let you know, BURP, oh, excuse me… ugh, sorry, anyway, we just wanted you to know, BURP, ugh, sorry, uh, sir, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you if I could use your restroom…”

“Oh be quick about it, would you.”

Either something in the man’s demeanor had changed or… oh it didn’t matter. Officer Randy had just enough time to run into the house through the door of the room the man had pointed to, throwing open the strangely shaped lid on the toilet before excavating the contents of his stomach into the dank and cavernous device.

Still at the door the man had disappeared and now there was a large talking turtle occupying the space he had formerly held.

“Well, that’s one down. Now, if the council was right, we should be able to round up the rest of the entirety of the Nortonverse really rather simply. His partner should be along shortly.”

The turtle spoke to no one in particular, and as it turned to approach the door behind which Officer Randy’s screaming emanated from, it passed before a large, ornamented mirror. The reflection, to anyone who might have been watching, was initially that of the old man again, but then it continued even after he had passed before it, as if now a massive single file line of people were passing before its reflective surface. There was the turtle, a tiny blond midget woman with a hockey stick, a midget with a bad comb over and a large, bearded man in a chef suit eating from a crinkled bag that said ‘FINGERS – NEW ASIAN RANCH BAR B Q’ just to name a few of the dozens of images that flashed by while the man quietly slit what was left of Officer Randy’s throat and then consumed his entire frame in .02 seconds, the resultant burp running forward and backwards in time, and up from the microcosm and out into the macrocosm.

The man’s mother-hive had always told him, if you eat too fast you could choke to death from an air bubble.

Norton cradled the other man’s weakened head and whistled a tune that would not be written for another twelve years.

“The author was as you, mistaken and confused by his own sexuality. Make love to each other, but don’t make hate to the world around you by erecting these armies of giant concrete dildo’s to house your EL-EE-VAD-DOORS and ROOMS. These are atrocities of the eleventh degree and as such, as enlightened peoples, we must fight their spread and keep the sacred, mysterious spaces of our cities clean and dark. Like the underpass at 87th.

Forever more a changed man the Mayor gazed into Norton’s eyes and wept openly.

“We… will… put things… right. We promise.”

His eyes closed and beneath the thin, leathery membrane of his lids Norton 0 could see the same spinning motion performing its obligatory shuffle.

They smiled, but the smile was cut short by another burst of gas.