Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm blogging for CHUD.com...

... 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 www.nationsonline.org, 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.