Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Creating Grimalkin Lane

Today, Gunderic Mollusk and co embark on a new adventure: trying to create a comic book publishing company from scratch. So far, it's just an idea.

It all started from the most innocuous of moments. To preface, My stepmother, a self-made woman who came to America to create opportunities for herself, gave me one of the most compassionate interventions that I've ever experienced. I'd clouded myself in the realms of the spiritual, escaping into magic for magic's sake as my reason for being, in hopes it would give me an answer. She more or less laid it out that if I didn't make a change in my life, I was doomed. I honored her words, yet shelved them for the rest of the trip. The door blew open to our home in South Philly while I had my childhood friend from Delaware, his mistress and her cousin over for carousing and musing, catching up, et cetera, without anyone noticing. My roommate enters, and of course his cat-preservation instincts kick in fiercely, prompting my erstwhile compatriot to hit the road. It made for an awkward evening, yet the confluence of events overwhelmed me. Being the teetering emotional Tower card I am, I've let no one, not even myself, in on exactly how deeply my existential woes had cut into my being. I fainted a few times, and eventually my roommate, in his infinite compassion, helped me to the bed.

Dare I say it, it was a great time to hit a "ripple" from a previous psychonautical experience. I hadn't listened to my inner promptings up to this point; I merely reported them. I hadn't listened to the voice that told me that if I continued to ignore this drive for purpose, I would self-destruct. My stepmother... really hit it on the nose. Her primary quote was as follows: "Without financial independence, you can't achieve mental independence." I realized that, even though I don't much care for the ways money works, or the process of making it, I can put it aside for a goal that I find enriching. In my head, I've had little musings about post-human stories trapped in superhero conventions, superhero stories trapped in self-referential neurosis, and all manner of these things, but I haven't written a blessed thing outside of tables of correspondences and thousands of rewritten character histories, changed names, and an endlessly complex interpretation of supernatural abilities. If I get keyed into anything organizational, be it cleaning, folding laundry, doing the dishes, putting paperwork in order, and anything along those lines, I'm methodically unstoppable until I hit a wall. I need to use this to create this company. I want Philadelphia to have a comics scene. I want to make a home-grown pile of wierdo comics for people who like both forms of media under the name Avatar, who like canceled TV shows, who want to take control of the effect of the superhero medium and create marketing for compassion, sincerity and the evolution of mankind. I want to see Lance Evaporator onesies on babies who'll make the new economy that'll permit free energy. I want to see Gunderic Mollusk patches on the beat-up jeans of art school vixens who innovate art therapy programs that prove that society needs autistic, bipolar and schizophrenic kids, and it needs to find some better ways of translating their viewpoints aside from pills, pressure and paper trails. Yeah, I want to change the world. I want to make comic books. I want comic books to change the world. This is how I will do it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Skanda lies bleeding, pierced by his own spear

We air the grievance publicly, yet not really. The catharsis occurs through this internet medium, and thus, our own identity as an individual becomes more complicated, bringing the notion of individuality to a possible conundrum in which the matters, as filtered to create this toy persona, express even less than the little we understand from actively living. The extent to which we take these personally comes from awkward moments, seeing the pictured body of a person manifest in close spatial proximity, wondering if, perhaps, you really know anything about the person inhabiting the body pictured, or if somehow through some internet quibble you've said or done anything to set this person against you, precluding their conversing with you. How does one understand collective value with so many proxies and conditions? How much do we allow these conditions to pre-emptively deny experience? That said, it's the due of the manic/depressive and the psychotic to sense few, if any, social barriers. Remember when those folks just did shrooms with the local fauna and had jobs set up for them? Remember when choosing that path didn't have the same social stigma and terror behind it?

I suppose it's my dharma this round to feel connected to the world, still. Maybe next round I'll do the renunciate dance, or at least I'll tell myself that to get over sadhu-envy. I feel like I have pressure to adhere to civilized structure, as I've few faculties to remove myself from it. Do I create those myself, and if so, what do I choose to ignore in order to maintain a certain level of being "psyched out" of doing anything?

Knowledge ends up little more than odd cues more or less resembling sentimentality's stodgy, logical cousin in the perspective of the observing conscious medium. Sometimes, it pay to remember that wisdom and ignorance are a polarity, and stupidity has its own virtues. The collective will have an infinite amount of opposing values. How do we understand the revulsion we have toward opposing values within ourselves? How many of us have devolved to the bumper sticker displays of our conviction and conscience? Do we need to laud our ignorance, or use our charity to justify our hardened hearts? What happened to compassion? I mean, really? What happened to sincerity? So far, I hear the word and the only whisper I get is "oh yeah, like Fugazi." Is Fugazi really the last bastion of sincerity in the world? I mean, I don't even really like listening to Fugazi. Why are we always seeing an attack, or making up fake enemies we can't see? Wouldn't we rather look at that, faint, dying little pulsing heart at the bottom of the tree, weakly beating like a child dying of leukemia, trying to keep us all together, trying to unite us as One? Why must we fight the Adversary around us instead of heal the Unity in ourselves? When did the heroes stop building and creating? Where's our next Hammurabi*? Where's our next Alexander*? Where's the next Lorenzo di Medici*?

*- I'm well aware these guys were dicks. Just sayin', we could use some major constructive cultural shifts into realms imagined.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


God... dammit. So, after a heavy psychedelic experience some time in the beginning of autumn, I've been waking up, slowly but surely. It's been tough on both ends. I just... I don't know what I expected out of choosing this path in life, and I don't know if I've even chosen anything aside from justifying self-indulgence and lassitude. I don't know if I'm making a case for "The Other Guys." I'm damned inept at anything involving paperwork, and basic job applications seem so threatening. I'm doing okay, financially, in that I have food and shelter. That's better than a lot of people in the world, but I wonder if I'm just wasting opportunities for something more fundamental, something more involved with humanity. Is it okay that I don't care?

On a spiritual and experiential level, I understand that I'm a part of this global organic chemical reaction. Thing is, I still feel really uneasy in this place. It's lonely and sad. The frame of reference of my consciousness is from a member of a communal species who has a hard time communicating. I don't know if I'm ever getting across my feelings, and I really try, in a bunch of different ways to do so, but it rarely comes out close.

I used to have faith. I used to call on the universe. Whatever would call in me wasn't anything deserving of an answer. Adversaries develop from half-baked ideas on social constructions. So much of our universe seems dependent on our own inventions. We cope with the pain of compassion by denying God; we justify our cruelty by accepting an all-loving God who will "make it all okay in the end," only on the value of belief instead of action. We invent silly dramas amongst broadly-writ charicatures of human interaction in the hopes of understanding the universe better, yet instead fall back into persistent delusion. My mind cannot stand simply being. It doesn't enjoy anything of this world. It seeks destruction more than anything else, and oh does it hate. It hates the constant hum of instinct and its lack of finesse at achieving its satisfaction. It hates the fallacy of language. It hates this half-baked enslavement to concepts and ideas that masquerades under the names of "culture." It hates the empathic sloth of intolerance and the methods used to enforce it. Pff. That's my favorite: "Can't abide intolerance."

I feel like my senses have been screaming for release. I feel like my nervous system swings between a conflagration and charred remains. I'm exhausted perpetually. I wish I had courage.

I wouldn't feel so much antipathy if I didn't feel an equal amount of love for the universe. I just wish I had a better idea of how to operate, a better idea of what the hell would constitute my center. Whatever had served that purpose has disappeared.

So then, I wonder: if we have a purpose to build and create, we have an equally valid purpose to destroy. In what ways can each individual utilize destruction in the best way possible?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tesla's Wireless Electricity in the Erogenous Zones

Mmkay. Pluto has entered Capricorn. Thank Fucking God, the God of Fucking. Planetary position's as meaningless as everything else, but to go on association, the transformative essence of Pluto applies to the fundamental Structure of our human perspective when in Capricorn. That's neither here nor there, but I guess I have some hopes for certain fundamental changes. I want to change the world to be more accepting so that I don't have to act demonstratively. It's selfish and stupid.

Anyhow, gender identity's been on my mind a lot lately. Of course, I could go on about Batwoman for days. I could talk about how Greg Rucka has written her as a full human being and how that seems so fucking mind-blowing in the reactionary field of superhero comics. I could write about how her scary straight-browed mask offsets the chalk-white skin and blood-red lips, how her body language becomes both intimidating and arousing simultaneously, how White Town's "Your Woman" goes through my head when she flirts with her future Big Ex and future Question, Officer Renee Montoya.

Thing is, I don't know that this should feel as special as it does. I should be more critical of the stilted dialogue during the Baroque Horror of Gotham moments with the Religion of Crime. Frankly, it says something to me about the world that Batwoman doesn't get a title all her own. I can complain that DC Entertainment "should" have done a Batwoman book, but as a retailer, I don't think that it would sell as well as it would within Detective. I'm kind of sad that a character as human as she is seen as new and innovative for a lead role, that LGBTQIA characters most often flesh out ensemble casts as something separate or novel.

There's also the shapeshifter/intersexed character problem that dogs me. "Shapeshifter" as character type seems to carry the dichotomy of Trickster/Sociopath, and, with the exception of a few X-Men or aliens, seem mostly male/masculine in disposition. Mystique, the most high-profile of the feminine shapeshifters in the superhero genre, is a notably oversexed sociopath, all the way to fighting Wolverine while naked and carrying all sorts of phallic artillery. Her callousness seems only portrayed through her cavalier use of sex appeal and through few other outlets. We could argue that it's "part of her character," but she's barely a character in contrast to the potential she has. Secret Invasion, where Earth has been invaded by a shapeshifting species of extraterrestrials, exemplifies this by displaying the War Skrulls as bulky, steroidy Man-Dudes with the ladyshaped ones acting in a more manipulative role. Why does it take so damned long for media to move forward? As much as I love Mad Men, I feel frustrated that a show that takes place in the early 1960s seems more relevant than the most bleeding-edge dramas.

Sure, I get it: it's comic books. Most somatypes are relegated into extremes and visual shorthand due to the limitations of publishing, as well as a given artist's skill. I'm as incapable of living up to Batman's physique as the lady sitting next to me is to Wonder Woman, but with so many opportunities to explore the fallacy of any identity, especially in a genre where identity is writ so large, the stagnation feels like a waste.

Having LGBTQIA characters work in comics would, in my opinion, come through making it less of a big deal. A character's gender identity, or rather gender tendencies, act as window dressing for the person beneath all of those motivations. In the words of Mark Renton, "It has everything to do with aesthetics and fuck all to do with morality." I'm getting kind of tired of two women getting intimate as being seen as "hawt" and marketed toward this weird harem fantasy for the hetero male. Maybe I take all of this too seriously. Maybe it's that focus on sensory intimacy as, well, intimate that makes this whole scenario seem more frustrating than it should be. Maybe I just want the world to change so I don't have to think about how to act like a Man all the fucking time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Spitting Out Golden Apple, Rinsing the Mouth Out with Mes.

Unfettered information shrieks through the mind at a terrible pace when stimulated and given little chance to absorb. The focus of the mind narrows to increase the velocity of the information's processing, yet more often than not a bottleneck occurs for those who tend toward a visual-simultaneous information processing method to their mind. The proverbial log jam thus creates anxiety, since the perspective views all of this information building on itself from all angles instead of a single line. Of course, non-physically-oriented anxiety leads to abstract sources for solutions; imaginary cobra problems require imaginary mongooses.

So anyhow, Assassin's Creed II can share some blame for the length of time it's taken between posts, yet it can take a lot of credit for inspiring this Town Madman to rattle his box full of thingamajigs and scream to high heaven once more. The first Assassin's Creed dropped us into the Crusades of the 13th Century CE, highlighting the effect that dogmatic organized religion has had on civilization, primarily for the worse but without being uncouth about it. While the player operates the Assassin Altair (pronounced all tahyEER), the main character of the game is a fellow from 20 minutes into the future, Desmond Miles. The premise comes from a corporation interacting with his memories to find a particular maguffin artifact, the Apple of Eden, presented as a gold sphere that contains all human knowledge (but of course, not all human wisdom). So, Desmond gets into a machine which allows him to operate within his own memories, synchronizing with the actions of his ancestor, Altair. This ancestor in question had, as far as the first game went, very little in the way of personality, and was a bit like Mr. Spock with a hard-on for libertarianism. You had only so much you could do in the first game, and the gameplay eventually became something you had to do to get on with the story... until you beat the game and have the development of a) Desmond developing similar ESP to Altair and b) the entire lab in which Desmond was imprisoned covered in strange glyphs and symbols, most (if not all) of which come from real sources. (Nazca plains animals, Hebrew phrases, Quran scripture, Newgrange spirals, etc).

The second game comes right after the weirdness of the first, and shoves us immediately into a game whose scale goes absolutely berserk in both macrocosm and microcosm. Desmond escapes the corporation to a hideout of others who belong to the Assassin bloodline (or cause or whatever). Their machine's better, of course (cuz it's made by a cute girl! Haw!) and the premise of the current game is Desmond learning through the memories he accesses with this machine the ins and outs of Assassin training.

Now, let's clarify: "Assassin" in this game comes from a hypothesis of a radical, rational humanist sect coming off of the Ismaili sect of Islam, rather than the mercenary. It doesn't overtly recognize the notion that "assassin" was a pejorative epithet of the Ismaili made by opposing sects and picked up by Christian scholars. While the games use history as incredible window dressings for the game, it does digress wildly.

This round, the Assassins cue him up for the career of his ancestor Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Ezio begins as a pugnacious rich kid who isn't quite used to consequence. In contrast to the angular, cold features of Altair, Ezio has rounded, earthy features. The only real mark that possibly sets him as worth mentioning is a from a split lip he received from a rock to the face during a very demonstrative brawl with a rival family. Once the story requires he accept his role as Assassin, he goes through various stages of helplessness. Where he had been used to punching and yelling, he must now work in secret, skulking in crowds and ducking into alleyways to avoid detection. The designers put a lot of work in the subtlety of his emotional shift from extroverted snarls and barks to cautious speech and chilled stares at odd corners of the room.

One of my favorite things on this game is the introduction of money. Not only does Ezio have numerous ways to gain income (completing side quests, treasure hunting, looting bodies, pickpocketing, maintaining his villa) and utilize income (artwork, weapons, throwing money to distract minstrels and guards, hiring courtesans, thieves and mercenaries, bribing town criers), the power money has becomes more emphasized in this game. Most of the targets in this game have more of an economic influence than religious, although the Church still plays a large part of the story. Lorenzo de Medici has a strong connection with the character, and yet he challenges the player's perceptions of their actions. Aside from the assassinations that move the story forward, Lorenzo sends contracts through carrier pigeons to different cities for you to collect and act on. After about five, I began to wonder about these contracts myself, and exactly how many people Lorenzo wanted me to kill for good reason, how many he wanted me to kill for his own purposes, and how many out of pure paranoia. I've stopped doing those missions altogether, and with the amount of things to do, I don't feel that bad about it.

For me, one of the most important features in the game comes from the glyphs hidden throughout the world on important landmarks in Italy, and the Codex pages penned by Altair after the events of the previous game. These unlock computer code written by the previous person to enter the Animus, which opens into puzzles that bring into question contentious moments in human history (Oppenheimer, Gandhi, JFK, Nikola Tesla, Atilla the Hun, etc) This is where we get into the meat of what the game wants to express ideologically. How does a person fight a war against ideas? What will a person find himself willing to do when rational humanism devolves into atheism and nihilism? What is the responsible use of knowledge? How does a person fight a battle against ideas? How do we outgrow civilization and how can we initiate this next stage in our species' evolution?

I feel like Assassin's Creed will be the next Metal Gear series, and I hope that we'll be able to see this kind of sophistication in subject in future games.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Clapping Away the Calluses

Been thinking about Ragnarok. Well, pieces of it, since a person so possessed could write a lifetime's worth of observation and still find themselves wanting in expresion.

Baldur dies by his brother Hodr's hand, while Hodr is in turn killed by Vali, one of Wodan's sons. In some way, Vali seems to represent some form of the a balancing function. With Baldur, the brightness and active illusion gone, Hodr, the action made in ignorance, must pass as well. Loki's whole role in this, although often presented as due to some self-interested malfeasance and malediction toward the consummately useless, yet well-loved Baldur, Loki can also have performed his own function as the External brought Within. Baldur had no songs of his deeds aside from those that prefaced his death, an inevitable yet exceedingly unlikely event. In fact, his whole existence as the impenetrable allowed for the resolution of extreme penetrability. Baldur would not be wounded; Baldur would in fact stop functioning entirely once his impenetrability had been compromised, like the proverbial imperfection of a diamond that blows the whole thing up. Upon his death, the Aesir, the Pillars and Riverbeds of the Wights, could see past the distracting glow of Baldur and see the resolution of their own paradoxes and beings. Of course Wodan had foreknowledge of the situation, existing outside of time after a fashion.

Frey hasn't the chance to resolve anything. Not unlike Baldur, his function is the sacrifice. He relinquished the martial aspect of his libido for the lovin' aspect of his libido. That martial aspect is then writ large as Surt, a big walking Armageddon. Frey as a progenitor analogue, as this will act as resolution, is slain by the destroyer itself, as if to mention this as the point from which no new things will come into being, but instead break down. The aesir, the big mamma-jamma powers of the universe, are little more than cattle that requires culling during Ragnarok.

On the other end, Wodan makes preparations. He prepares not to overcome his demise; that's inevitable. He instead prepares his son, Vidarr. To his son he gives a boot made from all of the excess straps of leather shoes. The superlative nature of the boot allows for a transdimensional quality, as all leather straps, from all time, from all leather shoes, contribute to the strength of this boot, despite these items being seen as castoffs by Those who Make Shoes. This tradition its opposite number in the attention to the fingernails of the dead, said to construct the Poltergeist Ship Naglfar, which carries jotnar and Bad Dead Guys to the final battle. Although both are inevitable, (The giants get there to wreck shit, Vidarr whups Fenrir) the effects of each action come to making the job of one easier, the other harder. A lot of row has been made on Wodan's death at the jaws of Fenrir, some claiming these silly, anthropically biased ideas of this consummate mad god of inspiration and death slipping on blood while flexing his martial muscle against the big wolf. In this instance, we see Wodan submit to become a part of the natural scheme of things, understanding that all of his preparation, all of his searches for wisdom, for enlightenment, for elucidation of the universe all stems to giving back to the universe. His wisdom holds that he remains little more than a snowflake doomed to melt in the persistent churning of events of the World Tree. The Yggdrasill remains the unshakable yet ever-transforming foundation of the universe, and all of our aspects of life further its living process. He has left behind his children, both who present attributes of ascetic sacrifice (Vali, with his ritual squalor, and Vidarr, with his ritual silence).

Everyone's favorite superhero Thor, one would think, would have been pitted against Loki. This is where Comic Book Shaman Ben shrieks in terror as Vitki Ben and his spitting cobra fangs of maledictions toward fanboys and comic book fundamentalism/escapism. The closest imagining I've found for a Thor archetype comes from Brock Samson on the Venture Brothers. Brock's capable of ludicrous feats of violence and sexual prowess, a fully-realized Mars at peace with his capability. His challenges don't come from the act of killing, screwing and his mission, but from elements that keep him from properly killing or screwing as defined by his mission parameters (Expired OSI license to kill, Molotov Cocktease's chastity belt, a nameless henchman he killed resurrected by his charge to create a childlike Venture-stein who reflexively fears him). Brock's role changes upon his quitting both OSI and the Ventures, signified by an exploding robot. Hidden killers, such as poison and explosives, fall under the scales of Jormundgandr, the World Serpent. Thor faces off with his own capability to kill, with his own Zen sense of the world (all Thor needs is his hammer, all Brock needs is his knife) as an extension of himself. Jormundgandr represents the barrier between this individual sense of control and the actual external world. Once this barrier breaks (through repeated hammer blows) the imperceivable, undodgable, unblockable poison seeps in and the greater unity reabsorbs Thor, who takes nine steps, one for each world in the cosmological model of the Norse. Not unlike Wodan, Thor has left behind children. Magni comes from inborn strength, using one's proclivities to move forward. Modi comes from the sheer desire to reconcile a conflict, using otherwise adverse reactions to achieve victory. Thrud, Thor's daughter, seems a mystery. Her name means "Power," in the most basic terms. Her name has been included amongst the Valkyries, and she may have acted as a feminine analog to Thor to universalize a concept socially confined to one set of plumbing. The children of Thor and Wodan seem to point to methods a person may call upon the "powers" of these gods without ripping out an eye, throwing hammers or any of the other hyperbolic tasks these two aesir undertook.

Heimdall and Loki also annihilate each other. Heimdall represents a Fellow, be it friend or family, pushed to the outskirts of the world while Loki represents an unknown variable welcomed within. Consider the reliable friend with whom you never socialize, and the strange, exciting person you want to know more about. Trickster and Shaman archetypes on occasion act in concert, each providing a different service. Preservation and change annihilate, the Trickster's inductance of transformation creating a process through which the greater pattern can subsist. The interplay of these two acts like the rhythm, the chaos found in order and the order found in chaos. Infinity results, and all becomes renewed.

Once Ragnarok finishes, the children of the aesir emerge to take up the tools and toys their predecessors have left them, and Nidhogg, the ultimate non-being, makes its presence known. This begs a question: would, in the next Ragnarok, Nidhogg resolve a paradox we have yet to perceive, and what world would open up from there?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ajna Heat Vision, Anahata Super Strength

Lately, in very ordinary ways, I've been dunked in the well of Myth for sustenance. The offer to cover one coworker's shift at the comic book store has spun out into two weeks straight of counter-jockeying, bagging, pricing, grading, reading, bag checks, and so on. One tarot reading tends to spill into three at the drop of a hat, and astrological Samhain snorts in laughter at my attempts to act skeptical, rational and detached.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, "Hero" derives from the same route as servare, to protect. This said, one wonders how much stock "protectors" receive. What of the abstract preservation brought through development? The moment in Flex Mentallo when Vic Sage remembers the magic word has stuck with me, and I wonder: what would we consider a super-shaman, super-sadhu, or other such figure? In one way, the attribution of post-human bombast with these social roles might seem counterintuitive, yet there's that there show Avatar that made many transcendental concepts accessible for even eight-year-olds. How would we strip down the scriptural trappings and faces given to the basic ideals that underpin philosophy and paint them in bright primary colors? Would the character really need to wear their briefs on the outside? Does the character require a secret identity? How does identity play into a role of non-civilized living and liberation? How does a person apply extranormality to their position? How does the individual explore a genius phenomenon that gives reason to their manifestation in the reality continuum? How about the super-construction worker or super-chef? Need post-humanity remain purely defined by militarism, with uniforms and stripping of the individual into sickening self-deification and strong reference to deeds as noble in and of themselves?

So now, the caffeine has worn off. Whoops.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Lion in Winter

Still going on comic books. My feelings on and around them are going through a putrefaction for a variety of reasons, so I may as well get some curd from the fermentation.

Andrew Hickey, the Mindless Ones, and others have touched on a lot of these points. All eight people who read this blog, if you like the comics rambles I've been doing, check these guys out.

I've always dug legacy heroes. If anyone got the opportunity to watch "Son of Rambow," the little Mormon boy shows a lot of how Little Ben interacted with and conceived of the universe. I didn't feel right as playing the established character, as most of what I experienced of, say, the Justice League or Marvel characters were from continuity dense works bought sporadically or from the mini-comics I'd get in the Super Powers action figures. I had it in mind that Hal Jordan meant little to me outside of a name, that Superman may or may not have had that Superplane thing, and that Batman seriously didn't have a shiny blue costume for fighting Mr. Freeze. So most of the time I'd conceive of some derivative, some new fellow who would receive endorsement from the Big Grown Up Heroes who had their grown-up things to handle that I didn't recognize all that well. (I'm still waiting for editorial to treat Green Lantern more like The Wire and less like G.I. Joe meets Star Trek.) That said, whenever some young buck would take over the mantle from the Big Grown Up Hero, I'd be excited to no end. For me, it showed that it was possible to take that idea popularized by these unassailable, emotionally inscrutable things made to look like people and make it viable through change.

Unfortunately, most comic book readers never saw it that way. The idea of growing up into a hero meant needing to grow up, and that scares a lot of them. Somehow, "growing up" means things like "get married, have kids, feel guilty about enjoying yourself, overdo it, get chided by Mother-wife-thing." Thus, comics became normalcy. The popular, emotionally inscrutable fellows in the costume became fundamental pillars instead of benchmarks. To my perspective, it's like being mad that Barry Sanders isn't playing football any more. Just because he isn't out there doesn't mean that his contributions to football and the masculine identity aren't valid.

Also, some characters were poor, poor excuses for follow-ups. Ben Reilly had a convoluted origin involving genetics, enough so that he contributed little as a stand-in Spider-Man. He had little with which I could associate, while Peter Parker's acceptance of an ambivalent totem due to an acceptance of his less-than-stellar traits and his desire to redeem them at all costs was something universal. Kyle Rayner had the greatest potential as Hal Jordan's replacement as Green Lantern, yet he was kept too closely in check by shortcomings on both writing and editorial staff. He never showed us what a visually-oriented person could manifest if given the ultimate artistry kit, and he had nothing of a relatable personality, except for the inferiority complex manifested in his appearances in JLA. The entire Marvel Next line, for all of the interesting details, had been far too sanitized. None of the characters dealt with anything heavier than a slightly bad day or a bombastic, vague cosmic threat.

However, some characters taking up mantles were quite successful. Wally West, the original Kid Flash, graduated from sidekick to full-fledged Flash, and with it he brought a hyperkinetic, childlike enthusiasm that the doddering, stiff Barry Allen lacked. Bucky Barnes was retrofitted as a damaged, dark young man who had been a part of numerous questionable moments in history, and his accession to Captain America after the ethical perfection of Steve Rogers gave him a path to show that he was, beneath the wretched history and rightful political cynicism, capable of altruism and evolution.

With that, however, Barry Allen and Steve Rogers have returned to remind us that comics are governed more by fear more than by possibility. The past returns, and with it a message that our futures are useless and meaningless in the face of nostalgia. Wolverine, along with the return of his memories, has been gifted with a son, a successor. However, his successor is a morally bankrupt, manipulative horror, capable of cruelties that even his hard-boiled father cannot match. The same goes for Bruce Banner's son, Skaar. The younger generation is seen as a blight and a terror, bloodthirsty monsters who would sooner eat a live kitten than save one from a tree. The future holds nothing but aggression and pain in the world of Superheroes these days. Those who empathized with the characters who had bad fathers are now perpetuating the same Zeus/Kronos complex that had damaged them.

I really hope that this is a last-ditch effort before the human spirit kick-starts itself into the realms of the impossible, where science and religion aren't seen as proving what doesn't exist, but as displaying what can become manifest.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Thanks to B.L. Donnelly, Batman and related material have gotten a lot of mental airplay over here. Batman has strong roots in the Mystery Man pulps, not to mention Aristotlean philosophy (as often exemplified by Frank Miller's literature). However, I choose to examine the phenomenon of what allowed "Batman" to form as an idea and take the reins.

The canon of Batman's genesis goes as follows. Thomas Wayne, inheritor of the preposterously exhorbitant Wayne family fortune (money as superpower), goes to medical school and becomes a surgeon. Somewhere along the way, he falls for a powerfully idealistic woman named Martha. The two marry and have a son, named Bruce. Although often estranged from other youths and easily startled, Bruce had a good heart and a singularity for a brain. The family resided at Wayne Manor, which has a rich history. Set over a vast cave network, Bruce had his first encounter with live bats after tripping into a well. The event left him shaken, but otherwise unscathed. Most scribes put Bruce at around 7-10 years old when he and his parents set out to see Mask of Zorro on the big screen, as an endulgence for Bruce. This endulgence coincided with a very strong desire, or perhaps even need, for liquid assets in a gentleman named Joe Chill. Agitated by circumstance and possibly other stimulants (or lack of opiates), Joe Chill attempts to mug the Wayne family and in the scuffle shoots the parents before scrambling away from the devastated child.

Here's where the recounting gets shaky. The point at which Bruce re-encountered the bat shifts and changes often, implying a moment out of time. This is where I feel that Bruce interfaced with something much, much bigger than his individual consciousness, the moment in time that sent ripples through his short life. The well of bats didn't exist in Bob Kane's original story, instead coming from later authors. That said, it has been used repeatedly since its inception. Bruce was, nevertheless, left with nothing off of which he could project a Paternal or Maternal role directly, which left him open in that moment of trauma to recognize the Living Idea Being which he identified through the same sensation as a child trapped in a well with an endless stream of bats flying past him. Many authors have projected the idea of what he must have felt, yet it all seemed to ring strangely. It seemed clear-cut and softened, neglecting the raw uncertainty that comes from the loss of fundamental psychological rudders.

As with all great works, Batman started out in utter dreck. Bruce, understandably, felt responsible for the loss of his parents. He pleaded for hedonism's sake; he wanted to see one of his favorite action characters ride around on the big screen when he could experience the same from recording equipment at home. He wanted his mother to wear pearls to make the excursion a noteworthy event. If we take a step back and remember Bruce's exploratory and literate nature, he perhaps "remembered" sacrificial rites in Dionysian tradition, in which the vessel would receive the greatest accolades and endulgence before getting ripped to shreds. Seeing meaning in everything, this seemingly random event may have been part of a larger process of manifestation. If they hadn't gone out, and if he hadn't wanted to make a gaudy spectacle of it, his parents wouldn't have died. Bruce's sense of self-chastisement made any sense of enjoyment for its own sake something to be discarded. Bruce Wayne was responsible, so Bruce had to be cast out as the lead role. The child had such an aversion to the psyche responsible for the sacrifice of his parents on the altar of crime that he chose to embody everything that would send Bruce Wayne running: discipline, vigilance, and control. He chose the trauma in the well as his starting point. Considering Bruce Wayne as co-conspirator, he chose the very thing that would make the boy panic, and used it as his template for future endeavors. The Bat requires the absence of a commanding figure or figures before introducing itself. Bruce Wayne became the puppet, the unwanted thing that the controlling consciousness would use to avert people's attention to its doings. Despite continuing his Father's business and his Mother's philanthropic work, Bruce Wayne would do his best to come across as an idiot and dilettante, in order that the consciousness could return to lashing out at this vague "crime" thing of which Bruce was an unconscious part, using the spirit of the animal that brought the boy to quivering trauma. He would act as the vessel of the Bat.

I don't know how relevant, cohesive or sane any of this sounds, but I'm going to keep at it.

So, a man in a Bat costume runs around, ruthlessly mangling and mutilating those who would choose to bring pain to others through illegal means all throughout his city. Much of this, however, was beating the living shit out of drug addicts and other people whom life handed the short end of the stick. Chances are, Batman began in an ugly, ugly place. Just as it required the sacrifice of two outstanding people, the Bat-monster must have chewed on a lot of furniture and shat on a lot of carpets before the controlling consciousness could get a leash on it. Batman would now give rise to his antithesis, as if to create limits for himself. This he would manifest in the autocratic need for violence and justice in the Man, who would carelessly knock an externally unremarkable fellow into a vat of chemicals, out of which would arise The Joker.

Just as Batman became defined as Not Bruce, this Joker would become defined as Not Anonymous. Every act would be an indulgence. Everything would be seen as a source of amusement. The Joker has no alter ego, for his world is all for fun, and thus he has no need to act in shadow or in secret. The terrorization of the Bat-monster run rampant has consequences with the Joker. No one is an anonymous vessel for crime when a person chooses to become the opposite of their fears instead of the embodiment of them.

The Joker's inception perhaps initiated the Robin scenario as well. Seeing the effects of his works, Batman would perhaps see a unique opportunity in the newly orphaned Dick Grayson, already a child so different than the young Bruce Wayne of an equivalent age. The forgotten Little Boy Bruce found a peer, and Batman found a person in whom he could affect change without terrorizing. Although Robin and Joker share red and green elements in their appearance, Robin chooses yellow which complements the Joker's purple. From here, the Robin figure would act as the synthesis of Joker and Batman.

Grayson would eventually distance himself from Batman. Many authors have attempted to cover this disagreement, yet the result remains the same. He would take a new sobriquet not from the polarity of Batman and Joker, but instead from Superman's mythology, something foreign to the Matter of Gotham. The next Robin, Jason Todd, would not escape the polarity. Jason lacked the discipline that Grayson had learned as an acrobat, and had no desire to develop it. This would, inevitably, lead him to fall into the Joker's hands, or rather his repeated crowbar blows and explosives. Jason at first hung like a scarecrow, a bogeyman story to spook aspiring Robins. He would rise later as the consummate counterpoint, dressing in the rags and castoffs of others to attempt to put a name to his senseless rage. He would come to embody the self-loathing of young Bruce Wayne, the all-consuming sense of abandonment that would burn through whatever stupid outfit he'd put on. The third Robin, Tim Drake, was more of a mirror for Batman. Although he dressed in the colors of Robin, the vibrance and hyper-activity of Dick and Jason gave way to a predatory coolness and diamond-like intellect. Dick was the Detective personified, scouring for solutions to the mysteries that would present themselves before him. Unfortunately, Tim's emotional center hadn't the years of processing that Batman was afforded, and after his father's death, he would retreat into the indestructible mind of his for any and all trauma. When he sought initially to become the next Batman, the "death" of Bruce Wayne brought him to evolve the idea of what being Robin meant in and of itself, without connection to a Batman. Donning one of Jason Todd's Robin-derivative costumes, Tim would step out to solve the mystery of Bruce Wayne's death.

I think this is all I can do for now. There's a lot more to say on the matter, but the Mindless Ones have said it before and have said it better than I have. It's sometimes just nice to vomit information.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Hangman's Banner

I just could not get through the snarls, today. They run too deep and too far, but I may as well get them out of my system. The Internet is our collective Shadow, and I may as well own it.

I love comics. I dare say, I will love comics for a long time, especially those silly superhero ones. That said, the past year has made the Superhero comic into a form of rage-inducing tedium. Meandering hipster chatter about the creation of an issue replaces content, even though that little smidge of content's fucking great. A story with a novel and inventive take becomes bogged down in grindhouse camp and devolves into '90s-style posturing and flexing on who can claim the "baddest ass" title while mowing down redshirts in rockin' cool ways. The bad guys had supposedly won the day in Marvel's Dark Reign, yet after the inception it's become increasingly flaccid and uninspired. We're on the fifth Marvel Zombies iteration, with a sixth, now including zombie superhero monkeys, in the wings. Superman is on some new version of Krypton, and guess what?!? Kryptonians are still the same stiff, dull, soulless alien tropes I've had to suffer through for so many years. I mean, there's no artwork on an alien world aside from architecture, everyone's clothes are plastic, nothing wears down, and everyone has a stick in their ass. Spacemen can say "Fuck." You hear that? Little green men have probably called someone an "unwashed anal bead" or some equivalent. I mean, seriously: where are the rude people, the working class, the sports fans in space? Why don't I see Non of the New Kryptonian military pissing on a building and knocking it over after too much Superlager? Ohhhh wait, speaking of dense and uninteresting aliens, let's get into the great big DC jam-bo-ree called Blackest Night! I barely know any of the characters coming back from the dead, and I have to deal with every dickface who's read DC since they were 8 staring down their nose at the latecomers for not giving a shit about Magpie, Hawkman's unrequited love, the Dibny's, and Necron.

The Batman property, so far, has kept afloat. All anyone needs to know is Bruce Wayne's dead, the first Robin is now Batman, and his biological son is now Robin. From there, it's all crazy adventure. The world of Batman has burst open with possibility, and one needn't have read it for eons to enjoy the story. It feels... unburdened, and I like that a lot.

Well, that's that.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ice and Hammers

What's validity? Okay, yeah, just as most intellectual concepts, "valid" has all manner of subjective values that rearrange between subjects, which in themselves remain just as amorphous as the aforementioned adjective. As far as English goes, I feel more likely to hear "valid assessment" than "valid gardening trowel". That said, could I then come to a notion that "valid" represents the structural integrity of an experience or idea, and thus possessing an oxymoronic nature, as ideas have less physical presence than a neutrino in our sensory observance?

So, with this in mind, I popped onto the Online Etymology Dictionary, which gave the definition of "supported by facts or authority." However, as far as authority goes, the Orson Welles movie F for Fake has elaborately ruined that concept for me.

Yet... in our presentation of ideas and concepts, for the populace that operates in the realm of words, symbols, concepts, philosophies, religion, magic, spirit and persuasion, "Validity" is not unlike the Holy Grail bearing Bran's severed head and the Lapis Philosophorum. Somehow, the idea has no merit if not repeated to another source, be it in singular perspective or in multitude, and if that source mentions a confluence of perspective with that idea, the Ideomancer steps a little closer to finding the Big Prophecy- and Abundance-Barfing Head on a Plate. What do I hope that Validity will offer? What power does it manifest in our social sphere?

I've more found that Validity acts not as a giver of power, but as a means to stave off Thanatoic fear. "If I have people who have heard my ideas and agree with them, and those people either have merit through either number or status, then I have made a worthwhile contribution to humanity, and my existence has been useful. If my existence bears utility, then my experiences of life were not wasted and I need not fear mortality." In my case, this feeds into massive social phobias and ambitions. Will Grant Morrison come across my thoughts and feel moved to see his own effect on a human being? Will I convince Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to forgo anti-Semitism with a comic book? Will I dazzle a member of the desired sex with my intellectual might so that I can appease my lizard-brain's incessant screams for carnal experience? What if I'm not making enough money to meet these people? What if I'm not relaxing in the right way to formulate the Most Impressive Idea in the World? What if I miss the opportunity to Meet Validating Ideomancer/Dazzling Soulmate/Perfect Audience? How do I find these people on the way to finding the Most Impressive Idea in the World?

Ha! Ha ha ha!!!

But... what do we chase when the windmills stop looking like dragons?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Carbon lattice, electrified fence.

Last night I was having dinner at my friend's, and she'd invited over some aging New Agey sorts, if we're going to go about categorizing. Everything seemed to be going okay, and the night started to progress while the one fellow had busted out these pendant-things made of tree resin with bits of some crystal inside. It looked like some sort of opal, but I'm not a geologist. Either way, the shared experience was nice, but the demand and insistence surrounding these was distressing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for stones and crystals. I pick up resonance with ease, to the point that it distracts from, well, most everything else going on around me. However, I recognize that the majority of the populace has other things to worry about, whether narrated by flickering TV screens or through sensible, fundamental instincts like family care and community. It was a comment mentioned through one of the folks going through word-association that really set things in motion: "It gives people what they need..." That kind of thing... terrifies me, especially when considering the recent heebie-jeebies surrounding consumerism as of late. It reminded me of a regular customer when I used to work at Stellar Coffee who would go on paranoid jags, discussing how human consciousness was some fabrication by a crystalline intelligence to reposition their placement around the world to create some new resonance. The way the metaphysical community, myself included, reacts and practically worships crystals, I begin to ponder the validity of this.

With that strong resonance in mind, how much transphysical essence bullies us around into these pockets? Why do so many folks in the metaphysical community sound like the same person? Why is it so often about "joining" and where do we draw the line between community and cult-like idol worshippers? Why do we flock to find objects that will mean something to us when, deep down, these objects have little or no meaning outside of our own associations? How do you point a person past the fascination with the object and toward the individual interaction with it that provides a simple signpost for what non-physical consciousness/wavelengths want to communicate (and this may or may not be anthropically-oriented. We're talking Nature, here.)?

I spent that night sitting on my bed, looking at the wall of collages before me, a swirling expanse of faces and words, and felt like I was sitting on a precipice overlooking the Abyss, like in the Neverending Story. I wonder how many people would fall screaming into it, and how many found a way to climb back into the world, found a way to get back Home; not the regressive home where responsibility is nil and life stagnates into a parody of itself, but that area where we could explore safely, without feeling exposed or self-conscious. I've been adventuring too long in my own wilderness. It's time to get back.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Metropolis vs. Transylvania: a Guidebook to Modern dreck

Yup. Feeling a lot better, today. Just like any cycle, the uncomfortable skin has been shed and new eyes look outward into the opened system until it finds the closure, and newer eyes manifest. Yay Lunar Churning!

"America: Fuck yeah."- Team America theme.

"Are you being sarcastic?" "I don't know any more." -Simpsons "Hullabalooza" episode in the '90s.

Today's been all Superman and Vampires; Final Crisis in a nutshell, I guess.

I wish people could see the Evil Empire in themselves, and I'm not talking about just the Suits and gelled-hair yuppies; I'm talking every person who involves themselves in this mess. If we attempt to push it away, we end up the "enemy" of the Evil Empire, raising flags in opposition and presenting them with a target as much as we ourselves have painted one on "them," with the presumption of an Us vs. Them scenario. It's been exploited too damned much.

See, that's something we forget about Superman: he doesn't give a flying fuck what Lex Luthor does in his spare time unless it fucks with people. He doesn't hate Lex, since Lex is just the opposite end of the Superman spectrum of amplified humanity. Lex's brilliance is all geared toward reflection and validation, where Superman's actions are, in his mind, just what he does. He places no more importance on moving the Earth in and out of orbit than he does saving that kitten from a tree. He doesn't agonize over what he can't do, but enjoys what he does. To put in simply, Lex is the separation of self from collective, and Superman is in unity.

I guess when we're considering the Sun and Superman, we can get into vampires as well. I'm a bad blogger cuz I forgot the link, but someone put down that vampires fear the notion of self-sacrifice that the Cross embodies. The idea that someone chooses to avoid a predator/prey relationship, to avoid victimization for one's own benefit, makes the Vampiric essence go cross-eyed. The lack of a reflection represents just that: lack of reflection. The Vampire, despite being a night creature, has a remarkable lack of self-awareness. The instinct and Will to Power override all higher cognitive aspects. It's the sociopathic aspect of the animal instinct and solitary non-mammalian critter. The coldness and deadness are remarkably reptilian (If I hear any bollocks about Lizard People I am going to fucking scream). Warmth has a metaphor in human language as reciprocity, and the lack of it displays that inner Void so well. There's no way to fake Dead Body Cold. It's too chilly and squamous to pass off as bad circulation. The wooden stake, fire, and sunlight represent pretty much the same thing: Life. The stake was cut from a living entity and will eventually decompose. Fire is a chemical reaction with remarkably life-like characteristics. The Sun, our relative position to it, etc. is that reductionist source of Life. All three act like Wilhelm Reich muscle memory to send the frozen essence back into the living cycle of elements. Garlic seems so basic that it's confounding. It's a bulb, it's living potential, it promotes circulation, it's an overwhelming spice... it just seems the opposite end of the vampiric spectrum of Subterranean Entities.

Vampires, to me, feel more Saturnian than anything else, and getting acquainted with that sort of energy in oneself's pretty daunting, but useful. Vampires have gone from Apotropaic funerary ritual to modern Frost Giant, calcified elements of human nature that require recirculation when left unaware. Like Frost Giants, their position is ambivalent instead of purely pernicious, not unlike the "Asura" in Hindu literature. The key comes to getting that Vampiric part to see itself in the mirror, to enact that self-recognition that accompanies a cognition of one's soul. (I'm of the idea that everything condemned to existence has a soul, but self-awareness and sentience have the unique prerogative to examine it.)

When we consider the Killer of Monsters, from the Winchesters, to Buffy Summers, to Batman, to Thor, we consider the symbolic utilization of destructive instincts for the cause of Life. Sam Winchester flirts with his possession of demon blood, Batman toes the line of power-mad and oppressive Hades, and Thor's brutality and characteristics make him almost indistinguishable from the Giants he bludgeons to death. That said, all have romantic ties, for good or for ill, to members of their quarry. Sam and Ruby, Dean and Anna the Angel, Buffy with both Angel and Spike, Batman to Thalia al-Ghul and Catwoman, and Thor to Jarnsaxa.

In conclusion, to be effective in counteracting the demons which we feel compelled to spit upon and villify, we must understand sacrifice without power-over, we must understand the deed as villainous instead of the perpetrator, and we must, in some way, romance that evil in order to combat it effectively. Love is what conquers all of it, and in the end the poles shall collapse on themselves and become distinct from their previous nature, just to find new oppositions and repeat the process. (Thor and Jormundgand annihilate each other, and find reconciliation in Magni and Modi, a dual-divinity at Rangarok.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

In the cold light of the Hyperborean sun.

The past week has been rough. A chill wind from the winter had hidden in a drawer and escaped while I folded laundry. I stared at my e-mail inbox, with another open-ended rejection, reinforcing my belief that I'd be better off a castrated hermit living on the side of a mountain, subsisting on dirt and prayer, or covering my face in lacerations so that all of the middle-aged hausfraus who tell me I'm beautiful can shut the fuck up and stop imagining me in poses designed for Harlequin book covers. Once more I feel better off as the King of Jerusalem, the hideous leper in a gold mask, sexlessly meandering the halls and appreciating beauty like a eunuch, because God forbid that I seek romantic love or display an active sex drive, that I display the level of rancor I have toward the general ignorance of the world, and the smug superiority of those who stare down their nose at those who lack their particular insecure quality of banner-waving, that I seriously do not care about the useless details that fill the air with banal, soul-crushing chatter.

However, it's the easy, stupid way out to spit bile and justify the emotional defensiveness of the world. It's too easy to release all of this on some poor, unsuspecting individual set on their path in life, thus becoming that smug sense of superiority so despised. The cycle continues: showing oneself causes the other to recoil or misunderstand, and thus retreat digs one further back, propelled in reverse like a nautilus from a hungry octopus, further and further back until an unrecognizable speck in the sea, even more inscrutable and dismissable than before, to begin the cycle again. Those who care stop looking at the person and instead begin smothering, selfishly throwing themselves into realms of admiration and guilt, shrieking for approval and validation for inconsequential acts from a source that finds the whole affair sickening, coddling and crushing it like a lapdog.

I wouldn't feel this much vituperation if I didn't have an equal amount of veneration. The two extremes seem irreconcilable. Perhaps it's from a lack of self-cultivation, a lack of socialization or just because I'm a hypocritical douchebag, but I still find myself alienated from just about everyone. In every circle I've attempted to join, I've felt disinterest in the internal secret handshakes and the pursuit of their social cues, left out in discussions that revolve around experiences shared by core members and unconsciously yet persistently marginalized and invalidated, especially by those who claim friendship (a repeating pattern). Much as I enjoy the individual company of many people, the larger body, the clique, the banner will, by the devices of myself or another, cast me into the outskirts and render me irrelevant.

The human animal is, by nature, a social one. We're formed too awkwardly and too weakly to subsist on an individual agenda, and thus we seek collective clustering to form a superorganism, which have applications as irrelevant and diverse as computer usage, political inclination, genetic heritage, athletic inclination, stylistic/aesthetic inclination, and so on. Competition has greatest strength when intercollective, with intracollective or individual competition serving to excise weak/sick elements from the collective. A human being can take only so much rejection of the collective, initiated by self or other, before pondering the relevance of its being.

In the mire of all of these conflictions, I began to question: why don't I want to die? Why do I want to stay alive? Why can I not fathom leaping in front of an oncoming vehicle like I used to? Why can't I shut myself out from the prospect of the pain and madness I'd cause my father? Do I have some other reason to stay around than simple financial obligation? If so, why don't the people closest to me seem to want me around? Why do I have to rely on a mentally ill person to provide me with the facsimile a familial setting that each day reminds me more and more of my actual familial setting in which I spent endless amounts of time taking care of my physically ill mother whose death was a tempest of guilt and relief? If I seek acceptance and independence, why do I put only nominal amounts of energy into finding a more substantial form of employment? Why do I avoid the idea of taking medication? Why do I worry about the time that I spent living instead of carving myself into pieces to achieve some basic form of credibility, when I really, really don't give a flying fuck how many degrees a person has? If, somehow, all of my decisions and inclinations are valid, then why can't I see the point of my existence? Why can't I get some kind of reward, some kind of kick-back or signpost to let me know what I'm doing right or doing wrong in the cosmic scheme of things? I mean, even Peter Parker, who has a shitty life, gets to be Spider-Man at the end of the day. Where's my reason to be here?

I felt okay, this morning. My emotions were level, and I was happy to see the cats, and as far as I can tell, they were happy to see me. Cats, especially those belonging to someone else, are a pretty poor barometer. They'll forget you exist when you leave the building, and it won't have much consequence on their life if you disappear. Either way, I can make a cat genuinely happy through my actions and observe it, and that brings some validation. I went through my ritual of heading to the coffee shop to do... whatever it is I've decided to do there while guzzling stimulants. Today saw me nestled into research, where I came across some astrological articles of Dana Gerhardt's regarding Venus and the Moon. Maybe it was the subject matter, the music playing at the time (The Rapture's "Been Down for So Long"), the caffeine, or that my brain chemistry reached a breaking point, but I remembered how I felt reading All-Star Superman. Somehow, that story got it into my head that whatever it is that Superman represents, the working-class superhero, the avatar of Vishnu, or any other thing that doesn't matter, that symbol, that primary-colored farmboy from space believes in us. It's the same feeling I got as a kid when I thought about Santa Claus. Much as people would say that Santa had a naughty/nice list or wouldn't give presents to non-believers or some exclusionist hateful shit like that, the real spirit behind both Superman and Santa Claus is that if we let them, if we just, for a minute, drop the skepticism and the snide barriers we've set up to be a rebellious teenager, we're fully permitted to think that there's something out there that believes in whatever we do, that believes we can be great, that loves every single one of us even when we turn our noses up at the red briefs or the jingle-bells. Don't get me wrong: I still hate most Christmas music with a fire that could completely sublimate the polar ice caps into perennial storm clouds, but with the Fortress at the South Pole and Workshop at the North, I'd rather ignore them entirely and learn to just do what I do with the full belief that something bigger than anyone I know, anything I can conceive believes in me, and has wished a happy ending for all of us if we'll have it. If we won't, it still believes we know what we're doing. Ha.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

That thing we found out in the cornfield...

Y'know, for some reason the "gotta be in a relationship" bug's hit me hard. I'll be fine with it for a while, and then I'll see some young lady who either I didn't have the guts to talk to or who shot me down stuck on some fellow with a beard who seems content and approachable, if dull. It'd be one thing if I felt like an alien who wants to be like everyone else and relate to them, but I don't want that. I want to be whatever it is that I am, and reconciling whatever that is with the social structure of humanity feels nearly impossible. It just seems like any time I got into a relationship before, it was either some fateful crossing engineered by God or a very unfortunate alignment of hormones, aesthetics and availability.

Rationalist thought-modes would be gleeful on the anthropological ideas of group dynamics, with stability and security versus variability and irrational behavior. I have a lot of difficulty with jobs and monetary ambition. I justify it with an anarchist philosophy that I must admit I feel strongly about, but those philosophies definitely came after difficulties with fitting into the given model. I mean, ever since I was 7 I was the kid in the "smartypants motherfucker" program that wouldn't turn in homework. According to that given model, I "wasn't living up to my potential," and I had no clue what to make of it or what to do about it, until hearing the idea that maybe the values expressed in our educational/consumerist/capitalist/industrial system weren't anywhere near my own and that I might not need to care about it.

Unfortunately, I still do. I still find myself terrified of working creatively, and despite my aversion to paperwork and most of the way that modern government really operates, I can't bring myself to live on the rails, join a monastery or find a commune.

I keep going back to my family while I'm writing this. I can sum up my childhood and family life with the following scenario: My first bicycle was just a tad too big for me to pedal comfortably, and the rationale was that I would grow into the bike while learning on it at whatever size I was at the time. It took a tempest on my part to point out that the pedals left my feet as I tried to ride. I received neither comfort nor apology, but instead, "Look! It's a smaller bike! Aren't you excited?" No admittance of damage, no apology for not believing me, and no willingness to communicate on any levels aside from small talk and tantrum. It was so strange. The only phenomenon that I can think to describe it is the very uncomfortable feeling of centripetal force on a roller coaster or train making a turn. I wasn't mad about the bike as much as I was mad that they didn't believe me, they didn't trust me, and they didn't care that I was hurt. I was loved, sure. It wasn't an abusive household (although I to recall times when my dad would hit me, scream at me or elbow me, which would generate years of patricidal fantasies that eventually subsided as I got into adulthood), and I wasn't physically neglected, but I received absolutely no attempts on my parent's part to understand my motivations. During my mom's illness, expressions of affection became thinly-masked calls for death, rage, and blame, and I think that, especially after my father remarried to a very ambitious woman, he just got tired of me, and I completely lack that sense of safety that a lot of other people have with the familial ideal. I watch the other "Boomerang Generation" folks dress and act like a long, terrible joke while trying to formulate the punchline as they go along, and just stumbling into some new idiotic quote or bit of kitsch to keep the damned thing limping along, secure that their parents have their back, confident that they have the support they need to get through whatever they're going through in this period. Much as I feel like their appearances and actions are absolutely ludicrous, I'm envious of the support more than anything else.

I don't want to end this with feeling scared and alone. I have support out there: it's unconventional, it gets a little suffocating sometimes and it has just about the same bank account issues that I do. I suppose that sense of alienation has some very strong fundamental roots, but it's just a sense, not a rule of existence.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"We have evolved beyond the need for asses!"

Restricted Site! Your computer is infected. Turn on your anti-virus software, which is useless anyway. "Fhaaaaaaack. Mmkay, I'll try it again." Restricted Site! "Gads you putrescent tumors that pass from the diseased womb and black jizz of the Monster God Ymir! WHY must you make viruses?? WHAT is your fucking damage and why can't you direct it in a less puerile fashion? I hope rabid dogs rape you in your sleep! Okay, now, again." Restricted Site! "PISS!"

This, folks, is the daily internet ritual of the Benjamin. Somehow I have this idea that "Restricted Site" could be a stupid, obvious pun. Saturn wants to try his hand at being clever, and it just generates groans and takes the life from the party. What makes it frustrating is that the restriction encloses communications, primarily. It could be worse, I suppose.

The urge to find the Ultimate Novelty follows when approaching the internet. Endless, endless itineraries and changes in emotion catalogued, with neither purpose nor resolution. Where can a person find that source of infinite wisdom that pours out knowledge in an increasing rate? Why does the information never seem to be enough? How far can we distance ourselves from the people in our lives by having little electric paper dolls of them to replace sincerity, and how pretty can we make our own out of fear that no one will want to talk to our little idol? When did we think that anyone seriously gave a fuck that it was raining, outside of travel complications or the possible cancellation of a physical congregation? How many people have you counted as a friend on an internet site with whom you find yourself willing to talk after doing so? Are you disappointed that few pictures of you exist on these sites, or even so far as few flattering pictures? Have you entertained the idea of a person far longer than was healthy while utilizing Facebook or Google? Have you distanced yourself from someone due to their page content? Have you sent innumerable, inane messages to someone over the internet, or been the recipient of the same? Have you permitted an application on MySpace or Facebook only to spare the feelings of someone you barely know? How far do our emotions extend through this communicative medium?

Well, ladies and gents, someone beat us to the Age of Aquarius and turned the concept of friendship into a fur-trapper's paradise for the Brand. "Why do you dislike this ad? Let us know so that we can better market to you. Be independent: Drink Sprite." Let's not forget our favorite new brand, Eschatology! How much information can we put out there on our impending doom? Can you imagine the internet in the age of The Bomb? Exchange science for anthropology and metaphysics, and well... here we are. Our ideas are eating us alive.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Stellar Dialectic on the De-Tuned Radio

Great. The caffeine's kicked in and my mind's racing a mile a minute. There're days I wish I worked harder at writing as a profession so that I could spend more time on it instead of getting into a groove just before running off to work.

I was trying to research Alice Bailey's esoteric astrology, specifically the esoteric and hierarchical rulers of the signs. The problem is, just about everywhere I try to find information and assertions as to "why" these associations are in place, I find nothing but birdchatter and nonsensical self-interested dithering, to say nothing of rampant metagenetic philosophy. Somehow in the course of this, the relatively simplistic method of calculus as a philosophical template has been confounded in discussions of seven Rays (Bradbury, Park, Stanz, Tampa Bay, Liotta, and Charles) and a strange dismissal of the Moon as "obscuring" a much cooler and more eldritch luminary. The whole things seems to act toward complicating rather than revealing understanding.

Tables of correspondence run rampant, so dismissing this as a search for easy cookbook astrology has left my head. No one can seem to say "Mercury as the hierarchical ruler of Scorpio makes sense because--" and any searches seem to bring up people who will spend much time discussing a lot of nothing.

On another related astrology note, aside from a few allusions to Hellenic creation myths and surprisingly in the book Sextrology, I've seen very few astute discussions of the Aquarian sun. A lot of it seems to be caught up with the idea of causes, and so far all of the Aquarians I know could not give a shit about joining something. We're inherently mistrustful of marketing, and often end up the Martian Manhunter in terms of "superheroic" associations: Just as wonder-oriented and idealistic as Superman, but ultimately as pessimistic and intellectual as Batman, preferring to hide within and unite a drastically different and yet like-minded group while pursuing individual interests that others find extremely obscure, obtuse, or possibly dull. Aquarians tend toward hypersensitivity and neurological problems, and the characteristic stubbornness comes from attempting to handle the onslaught of information screeching through the conscious mind. Aquarians seem more like cavemen than spacemen, or more accurately the arc of Terrence McKenna: beginning as scientific-minded futurists and developing into Archaic Revivalists after objective models prove fallacious or incongruous to a subjective existence. One might see this as the transition from the Saturn/Uranus mundane ruler to the Jupiter esoteric ruler, seeing wonder in data and theory instead of just ideas with no romance or affection. Somehow, as the Aquarian sign moves up in vibration, it moves closer to the Earth, not quite making it, but still affecting tides and emotions in some fashion. That characteristic aloofness and coldness seems at home on the Moon, yet still waters run deep.

Well, there we go. It's time to head out.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hydrochloric Acid Body Scrub

I run the risk of proselytizing once more on a barely-observed record. Motivations become questioned, reproach seeps in at the borders, but those remain chattering noisemakers settled around the doorways, like the carvings surrounding Hindu temples to distract those who would bring their dharma into church with them: God seriously does not give a shit about your opinion of the universe.

I get tattoos and piercings. They're such an old method of delineation that it's hard not to understand. It's the brand logo of a person's tribe, the externalization of some ideological value that demanded manifestation on the skin, corresponding to the stimulation of nerve centers through pain and endorphin firing. The experience often creates powerful talismans, combining minor trauma and symbolic representation, not to mention a reworking of the body-image and the relationship of the senses involving the body.

Then again, I see so many people in the city just covered in boring, kitchy, shitty tattoos with no meaning other than to provide some protective layer to hide a shrieking, terrified child under a layer of false bravado, fucked up on endocrine-based opiates and turning the skin into a cheap barf of meaningless symbols like the separated fat in the cream of the collective unconscious. The subject debases itself in a cloud of 18th Trump misdirection, dressing in the dreck of the world around it in order to keep the world from penetrating and infecting the psychic womb back into which the subject has crawled. The sheer intent of meaninglessness permits the subject elements around which it can erect a field of constant self-consciousness, and thus constant jadedness and cynicism. Angry children draw all over the walls of themselves, instead of primordial humans immortalizing the images of beloved spirits on their most sacred temples in homage.

Perhaps it's no wonder: The non-spirit has given way to the anti-spirit. Compassion and love have become strangled by arrangements of causes and dietary labels to permit some illusion of positive effect and superiority. To love animals has come to mean disregarding the "cries of the carrots," as Mr. Keenan pointed out over a decade ago. To love the environment has come to mean the exorcism of human activity within it. To love humanity has come to mean the denial of aggressive instincts that unite us with our mammalian kin. Thought overcomes Mind. Anthropic bias runs wild across all fields, impoverishing our planet and our souls. Spirituality has become a giant gold Buddha statue, a graven image of the God-Suffering-Flesh and the sacrificial device, a meaningless sitcom of Universal-Scale Gender Politics.

We can't "go back." We can't undo the last 200 years of technological innovation. We will remember the "neat little box that could heat things up in seconds" and perhaps miss the background hiss of radio waves screeching through the atmosphere. We will fret and weep for our vicarious friends at opposing ends of the globe, and our species-tribe shall be carved into pieces once again before returning to exactly the same place it was prior: in constant threat of annihilation, like we have been from the get-go. Golden ages don't exist: Gold doesn't oxidize. We stare back at ourselves and mistake our own experience for the quality of the universe. The world won't end, and that may be our apocalypse: looking down and finally tasting the shit we've been smelling for so long.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Summmerrrrrrr solstice. Lots of weird little ego-drives and stubborn digging-in of heels, but beneath, fireworks spark like a rollercoaster of phosphenes and bass lines.

I've been into the concept of the chimera, lately. I've always dug xenozoic and xenobotanical imagery, and there's something about pondering what makes particular traits in nature, how they combine in different kingdoms and phyla. Upon hearing of the scientific "chimera," or the Genetic Frankenstein Monster thing going on, I felt kind of disappointed.

Y'know, I understand all of the genetic tinkering. We as a species have been doing it since the rise of agriculture, and for all of the dick-moves and moral reprehensibility, I doubt it'll stop. If there's anything I would like to see, it's genetic manipulation of life in order to create a robust and balanced ecosystem in which we may include our current innovations, in whatever new form we may put them in. We as a species are nowhere near this level of understanding or implementation. It would require a massive shift in social consciousness and most likely step on all manner of toes in both animal cruelty and corporate power structure, thus insulting both Left- and Right-wing sensibilities. The goal would be a relatively self-sustaining resource structure. Primarily, I'm going on a few ideas: introduction of plastic-eating microbes and regulatory predatory species, robust "scavenger" types for other forms of waste, symbiotic cleansing animals (inspired by the shrimp-like Dentik from Farscape and this actual spa where little fish eat your dead skin. Apparently it's amazing.), better sewage treament, temperature regulation through heartier plant life, living building material, to say nothing of human genetic manipulation. While that may sound like eugenics (which scares the fuck out of me), imagine attaching a phytokleptic genome, in which the body could utilize the chloroplasts in the greens you eat in order to photosynthesize. Imagine what that would do for world hunger when everyone's body's making their own food during abundant sunlight.

Getting there would suuuuuuure be a mess, however, to say nothing of manipulating reactions to natural allergens. Either way, it's an idea.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Sprout Breaks the Seed

The contentious nature of the separation caused by observation as empirical does indeed cause discomfort. Nevertheless, our frameworks still display polarity, and imbalance along that polarity brings forth conditions around which a given section of the greater cosm may reveal an aspect previously unseen and without experience from the perspective of the conglomeration of universal material affected by the imbalance. In a way, the damage that comes from a dualist perspective seems to find greater purpose when treated as a wound, not ignored or anesthetized, but instead tended and healed. As with any effective treatment, "this may sting."

Sometimes, the manner of trying to break down an imaginary wall or treat an imaginary disease comes through the search for the right imaginary hammer or imaginary elixir. Like many elements, those who find these tools may not have full knowledge of the capacity, or expect to take down the barrier in one mighty blow. I have found that these barriers and wounds require finesse and patience, taking a steady, diligent hand at reducing the barrier between individual existence and the transformative heart of all things, expressed in translation perhaps through the natal placement of Saturn in Scorpio in the 6th house (using Tropical astrology and Placidus house placement).

Thank you, contributors and comrades, for opening your hearts and sharing your radiance. You have offered me invaluable gifts of insight, eternal slivers of Soma that permit translation from the ultraviolet to the infrared. Your communication through the "external" collective of humanity has opened the internal communication to the greater spectrum of internal being, and I hope to utilize these gifts in the best way to honor this interaction.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Le Pendu

This week's put me on the fucking edge, and I'd like to thank my friend Brendan for having the foresight to be born on May 26th in order to make things remotely bearable.

I had a job offer for a retail chain that peddles in wares for which I have a great passion. So, in order to become a blip on the radar, I had to fill out an online application for this company. I filled out all of the pertinent information, and then came the "personality profile" stuff. Now, the questions within were things that I wouldn't fucking ask anyone I didn't share a major life experience with. Most of them I wish I had an extra option for "none of your fucking business; this has nothing to do with my job performance." Nevertheless, I answered as honestly as I could, with a little embellishment where I felt I could wiggle. So, I pop in to check on the update, and I had a red flag. Is it that I want to spend my free time alone, most of the time? Is it that I take pride in my work? What, in that godforsaken quiz, makes me seem like I'm going to set the store on fire while stealing the register? Shouldn't these questions be reserved for a face-to-face interview? In order for the company to view me as a viable candidate, I have to compromise my integrity.

In between this, I had bought a ton of cleaning products for a big Memorial Day/Birthday clean with my roommate while at work. While walking home, I passed a large group of people at Broad and Bainbridge. I thought little of it, until I heard a pop and the groupd of people began running wildly. Figuring "Oh, that was probably a gunshot" I began running as well. A boy probably not much older than 17 started running next to me, and as I turned to ask him what the fuck was going on, he clocked me. While I was dazed, he and others took the cleaning products from my hands, as well as my shoulder bag which contained a tarot deck, a pair of sunglasses, a journal and my work uniform. The crowd pulled away, and I found my uniform and journal lying on the sidewalk. It was such a freak event, but I've been shaken up by it for a bit, now. I think about the circumstances of why I got out of work late enough to experience this, why I got targeted for mugging, and the absurdity of what was stolen, and I find I have a hard time loving mankind in the same way.

Well, this same job has also given me no hours to work next week, and I'd like to figure out whether or not I've been downsized, or if this presages a spotty, obnoxious work schedule. I fought for this job, I battled with myself to maintain my integrity in that preposterous workplace, and I'm returned to the conditions I was in that put me in the position where I needed this job in the first place.

I've been a mental and spiritual train wreck this year, and I just hoped for a little stability, just one fewer things over which to fret. It's getting really hard to keep it together. I have tried relating my feelings to people, and the feelings are understandably deflected and trivialized. I feel very strongly and very intensely, and that's not going to change just to make the people around me comfortable. I often wish my conscience could allow me one of those big, selfish meltdowns that leaves a massive scar of physical and psychic turmoil behind. As much as I regret it sometimes, I'm very glad that I was given the heart that I have. The breadth of experience it allows seems so rare, as painful as it is sometimes. I've withstood what seems like an eternity of heartache. I've accepted roles both chivalrous and contemptible. I've upheld my core beliefs, even when I didn't even know it.

I have no clue how I will handle all of this, but I trust myself. I trust that ineffable Void to offer forth the elements required of me to keep me around to fulfill my purpose for being here. If not, I trust that it will at least allow me to peacably close my affairs before it ejects me from all that I know.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I keep on getting onto the internet, with the notion that somehow I'll find meaning for utilizing it. That said, it devolves into Facebook picks and quizzes, with the occasional excursion onto Hulu or whatever will serve that same purpose of passive entertainment.

I had terrible problems with internet addiction growing up. I used to spend hours doing what teenage boys do with unsupervised access, and drown myself in the mess of introversion and delusion of the AOL chatroom. It took a maddening, damaging relationship to get over it, thus swapping one series of hangups for another instead of resolving either of them.

As I've dealt with enough of the relationship's issues to grow from them and resolve most of the internal conflicts, I find myself falling into patterns that preceded its inception, as if returning to the paradigm of my adolescence. I miss my epic RPGs, my jaunts to the forest and losing myself into the media of the time. It took ten years, but I have finally afforded myself the opportunity to feel my mother's death. I finally feel the anger and the imbalance of it, the "injustice" if you dare. Why couldn't I have a traditional mother figure? Why did I escape from the world instead of embrace it during her illness? Who could I have been if she had the capability to be more involved in my life? Why wasn't I one of those strong, stoic children we see on TV who immediately becomes responsible and comes through it admirably, instead of the dissociative, escapist man-child sitting here right now?

It took a while for me to figure out that our expectations of strength remain disproportionate in comparison to the challenge of the psychological trauma. Here's the story.

I watched my mother's physical capability slowly drag her down and smash her spirit, to the point that I just wished she'd die, some days. I wished that she and I could have arranged her death; something merciful so that we could get all of her affairs in order and so that we could spend some time finishing her business of life so that she could depart feeling complete, using some gentle, painless method. Our society and legal system frown on that, and so I was stuck, watching her body grow weaker and weaker, each day more and more painful for her, changing her adult diapers and patching up bedsores on a woman who, by rights, should have had at least 40 more years before those subjects even would come to mind. So, on May 5, 1999 I woke up to hear my dad making a frantic 911 call (in his measured, unfailingly logical way. You want my family in your corner when shit hits the fan). I watched from the balcony as my mom tried to mumble out some words and went limp. I think at that point I went into shock. I remember the EMTs coming in and trying to resuscitate her on our living room floor, and one of them indirectly telling someone to tell me to put on a shirt. I put on my black Clockwork Orange shirt and still watched in shock, wondering when she was going to spring back to life from the defib pads. They took her out on a stretcher and I got dressed so that my dad and I could get to the hospital. We were both very quiet and solemn, if despondent. I remember my dad saying "Well... looks like you're not going to school today." as a form of gallows humor. That was typical of my family. We're still Scotsmen, underneath it all.

We were paged into a waiting room. We... kind of knew, at that point. I don't know what we felt at that time. I think my emotions just left. A doctor who looked like the Bizarro version of Newt Gingrich (being that he appeared friendly and compassionate) came into the waiting room to tell us that they did all that they could, and that by the time she was at the hospital, she had already passed. He told us that they couldn't do an autopsy, since her MS was so progressed that they couldn't get any accurate data. I would obsess over that for years, but it'd be like trying to figure out who shot whom in a charge on a trench in WWI. My dad and I sat for a while, and we eventually went to see my mother's body. Rigor mortis had set in, so her lips peeled back to bare her teeth. Thankfully, the hospital folks had closed her eyes at this point. I touched her hand: the drop in her temperature had caused condensation to form, and I'll never forget that sensation. I watched my dad try to close her mouth and push down her lips to no avail, until he placed a single kiss on her forehead. We went for coffee in Hockessin after we left. I don't remember the rest of the day.

Trying to be that stoic kid, I went to school the next day. The guidance counselor made a big fuss, which was the last thing I wanted. So, all day teachers were asking me if I was okay, when in truth, I was in shock and just trying to make sense of things. I went on a date and we held the funeral on Mother's Day, which I didn't realize fucked me up until much later (I put a Mother's Day card in her coffin). I mean... I know why we do viewings and all, but I found the makeup and dressing her up so gaudy and needless. It became a stupid carnival instead of recognizing death. The painted corpse wasn't my dead mom, just some tarted up carcass people could look at. I saw my dead mom, with her rictus and pale, cold skin. I hid in my room and viciously necked with the poor, pretty, vapid girl that my friend had the best intentions of setting me up with during the wake. This wouldn't be the only relationship begun at a funeral for me. It fizzled out after a season after I found that I just could not talk to this girl. We were on two totally different planets most of the time, and I don't think I even really liked her, and she thought I was the bee's freakin' knees. That just... sucked.

We spread her ashed at Lum's Pond that summer. I felt the bits of bone as I doled out her ashes into the lake. My dad told me that I didn't have to reach in, but in a way, I kind of did. After all the ashes were dispensed, a rainstorm rolled in like a curtain, drenching us in our canoe. Ever since, I have loved the rain and the overcast sky. It wasn't the sun beaming down like the Polyphonic Spree, but the crack of thunder and the onslaught of water that reminded me what it was to live.

Later I had dead neighbors who "... smell sssso bad," and meeting a girlfriend's family at her father's funeral. I've had death tied tightly with other things. I can't hold it so closely any more. It isn't helping me exist. I won't get any more answers by holding onto it so tightly. I won't be okay for a while, and I sure as fuck won't be average, but I can at least see that "okay" will happen.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hemorrhage of Black Fire

I have an overwhelming urge to try to sort things out in a public forum right now.

Emotionally, things have been difficult. I've been doing my junk food medication thing that I do when I'm depressed, and I'm not sure it actually helps. I just end up realizing that I've blown a shitload of money on food that offers neither nourishment nor satisfaction. I haven't slept well at all the past few weeks. Most of the social gatherings I've gone to have left me feeling even more alienated than when I went in. I haven't gotten laid in six months and I'm sure feeling it this spring, yet I want only to be acquaintances with the prospective women I meet, friends at best, and not even "with benefits."

These new theme party trends everyone's jumping on have also left me cold. I don't want to indulge in the trappings of childhood or play dress-up at 26; supposedly, the sequential art and animation interests do that enough for me. I don't want to cut off my balls and drink the special Kool-Aid to be a part of these damned cliques of cuteness. I feel like this city's in costume all the damned time, hiding behind social networking sites, "grown up" get-together activities, snarky blogs (of which I currently accept guilt) and whatever it can to stay impervious to feeling something genuine, from the deep down scary places where the scars and cavities that have ripped hearts to pieces lie, where that implacable terror of life eventually gives way to exhilaration. Unfortunately, the imperfections fall under the pixelated veils of Photoshop and airbrushing in the heart as much as in image. Personally, I'm getting really tired of my costume and what I'm doing to stay in it.

I wish I cared enough to create something that expressed what I feel. I wish I could open up to someone instead of dancing around with vapid small talk. I'm tired of misery and contempt; I want to feel joy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Scarred Trunk

I have caffeinated almost non-stop since I arrived in Chapterhouse. I trust myself enough to harness this, but I'm still a little nervous that I'm just guzzling the stuff down without heed. Reeh reeh reeh.

Anyhow, Dollhouse has been incredible. As much as I love Whedon's previous works, I feel like this one's my favorite. It's all of the great emotional tension from the previous Whedon shows without being too supernatural/sci-fi. The fight coordinator does beautiful work (see the Muay Thai boxing in the pilot and just about every fight afterwards). I haven't been disappointed yet.

I seem to perceive changes and augmentations in consciousness as necessary parts of a personal directive. I mean, there's changing your mind and changing your mind. To get corny for a moment, it's like in Kingdom Hearts 2. The main character would have certain costume changes that would augment his play style to certain extremes, and exploring these extremes would allow him, in his non-augmented state, to gain certain traits based on the themes expressed through those extremes. By harnessing and exploring the traits of an altered state, one can bring clarity to the baseline state, in effect broadening and refining the zero-point energy of a personality.

I have no reason to panic. The present remains eternal, and the future does not prognosticate inevitable doom. Certain elements will repeat, regardless of one's preference or will. The acceptance of the place in these greater events that cannot be helped, and the choice to utilize our time around it to adhere to our human roots respectively provide the support and the fuel for our growth. As much as we seem to create our circumstances, our own will merely acts as the means through which we manifest a larger pattern and process, purely feeding into our perceptions through which we make these decisions. The predilections and preferences that compose out personalities and consciousness act as simple points of intersections that bring about larger patterns.

Each mistake made, each lapse in awareness and unwilling ignorance acts as an imprint from the greater consciousness upon our reality. What seems a failing on our part merely points to a new venue for that part of consciousness to explore. We hold ourselves and others too accountable for our shortcomings, sometimes. However, much as a person might see it as their duty to inform the world of these unconscious ventures, these intersections come about in their own time, regardless of individual intent. Certain elements must continue on a path deemed hazardous or toxic until a point of realization comes of its own accord. Once desire greater than one's individual being drives a process, the process plays out as it must. If reserve leaves one ennervated, then that reserve denies the greater process.

Woo! That's enough of that.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Canned Madness

I took it upon myself to sample two different sorts of a new marketing chemical phenomenon, the "chill out" drink.

The first is called Mavala Novocaine, with the active ingredient of Kava extract. As with any fad drink, the taste is meaningless, in that it's universally awful. This one left me somewhat drowsy, and loosened up my muscles mostly. It carried over into the following morning, leaving me groggy for a while. All in all, not too shabby. I'd drink this one again.

The next is called Drank. It has the overkill of valerian, rose hips, and- get this- melotonin. I already have a severe melotonin imbalance, and yet my urge for experimentation remains undaunted. I felt drowsy, stupid and giddy as it metabolized, and immediately crashed into a four-hour nap afterwards. The problem with using a chemical that regulates circadian rhythm, is that the brain compensates with its own juices. So... It's 4 am and I'm still awake. No, not feeling active, but just... awake. I don't think I'll be picking this one up again any time soon. Once again, we see the wonders of our legal system's views toward mind-altering substances.

"Kids, nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m. Just do yourselves a favor and go to bed." -Old Ted, How I Met Your Mother

Friday, April 3, 2009

Santos L. Halper

I dunno about the whole thing that fantasy authors and the like seem to enjoy harping on about how "we've abandoned the elves" and so on and so forth, as if these concepts remain unchanging.

Now, let's take the idea of the elf. A major pop culture image of the elf is the image of Orlando Bloom prancing around and looking very worried about the prostheses glued to his ears, or Cate Blanchett in a tight closeup at the end of Return of the King when most everyone in the theater had to take a leak after three hours and endless cut-backs to golden light cutting across water. Then, maybe the idea of Will Ferrel in a ridiculous green getup.

Now, if we were to start backpedaling for a while, the roots of "elf" come from the concepts of the "alfar," spirits encountered by shamans in the tribes of northern Europe during their trances. Somewhere a polarization of the "alfar" concept occured, between the elves and the black elves, cognate with the folkloric dwarf. Mythologically, dwarves tended to be present in the creation of sacred objects of the gods, most often requiring some sort of sacrifice either as payment or for a component in the creation of the piece.

Going back to that "loss of the elves," a common thread tends to be that children, madmen and mystics can see elves, and most people have either grown out of it, or aren't fucking bonkers. With fingers in the pies of both mysticism and mental illness, I noticed that in states of receptivity as an adult and during play as a child, the mind tends to free-associate with facial recognition, perceiving not only human-like faces in random objects, but attributing traits to these faces. This phenomenon might indicate an "elf" experience, as our cultural schematic tends to brush these off as "oh, I'm just imagining things" rather than wondering "why am I seeing these faces right now?"

Some of this phenomenon seems to run along with the "voices in the head" scenarios, as impersonal voices inform activity of a person whose mental stability has been compromised. I have the opinion that the Dualistic qualification of these phenomena (Angels or Demons) has brought more harm than good in this scenario. The subject perceives actions informed by these voices as either the word of God or the word of the Devil, leading to mental images of perceived catastrophe or rapture upon the execution of these tasks. By permitting a mental schematic with these voices taken as simply numinous and reserving qualification on a case-by-case basis, the scenario permits dialogue into the subjective phenomena without compromising the rational decision-making process.

I feel like this phenomenon has been utilized to great effect in marketing and cultural demands. The "liberal-run media," the "evil secret society in charge of the entire world," the "perfect mate," and other memes capitalize on our anthropomorphization and collective-defining instincts, presenting associations and facts that create these constructs that seem to act independently of the intent of the people involved. As Don Draper said, "There is no system. The universe is indifferent." That said, the subjective concerns created by these phenomena have been given faces, and these faces interact with the psyche on levels of which we remain unaware on a day-to-day basis.

Although imaginary and intangible, these "entities" still affect our processes of thought and emotion, and thus these entities have a "reality" to their activity, despite slipping through rational consideration, to the point that a person will rationalize actions based around these conceptualizations. I ask this: when a battle of ideologies breaks out, would it be more effective to go after the "ground troops" following the orders of the ideology, or to go after the ideology itself, using its own tools?

If humanity had greater education on the effects of subjective processes to complement the objective processes, the species as a whole could find greater forms of understanding and communication to overcome aesthetic and cultural hurdles. Often times, one mindset seems to preach in its own subjective language, bestowing a concept of "non-belief=lesser" that can create resentment between parties. If we were to understand the irrational functions of not only ourselves but those whom we sought to inform, we could assuage the presumptions between parties and create a dialogue on more than just the linguistic/dialect level.

Then again, I could just be bonkers.