Thursday, March 31, 2011

Twins with Ornette...

Just figured this was missing something...

("Ramblin'" by Ornette Coleman)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Understanding now...

Here's my problem... When Qaddafi started saying al-Qaeda was responsible for the rebellion, I thought, well you know, there is a possibility that they could be involved in some way. But the media played the "he's crazy" card and left it at that. Ha ha, he wears funny clothes, what a nutter... Maybe so. But it made sense to me that al-Qaeda (or some such organization) might jump on the overthrow bandwagon, post Egypt, and fan the flames on uprisings that would eventually draw large scale Western intervention into the region. Not that they started the rebellion in Libya, but, it seemed plausible that they might get involved in the unfolding chess game.

Now, the media reports that the US military thinks, "there were 'flickers' of intelligence suggesting that al-Qaeda or Hezbollah operatives were among the rebels fighting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi." So where does that leave the "he's crazy" analysis that we were all sold by smug snickering news pedalers in recent past? Look, I'm not saying that Col. Qaddafi is a lucid man or a saint by any means. I'm just saying, don't you know a sales pitch when you see one? Can't you smell the small-mindedness of a false expert?

I know it's all happening very quickly, and clarity isn't at a premium. Still, when will we be treated like adults about our collective understanding of unfolding situations, our national intentions, and our real interests? And more importantly, and what's really at the core of this post... Can anyone tell me a truthful, apolitical news source that won't defer to selling us quaint interpretive vignettes of "complex" situations we mere civilians just wouldn't understand?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3rd-eye workout...

OK all you zombie people, get ready for this exhilarating 936Hz workout on your flabby old pineal gland! Let's get metaphysical! Besides lycra leggings and a matching stretch headband, you'll need a (good) set of headphones for this to work.

I've been experimenting with binaural beats lately, and I've had some rather profound experiences in doing so. This sample is a good introduction. Just a simple, fun, mind activator and the candy colored visuals (starting about 3 minutes in) in are pretty fantastic too. I recommend watching full screen.

Binaural beats are created when two slightly different sound frequencies are played simultaneously, one in each ear. In reading these two sounds, our brain combines them into a pulsing beat that matches up with a brain wave pattern associated with a brain state. This is a naturally occurring phenomena called the "frequency following response," in which the electrical activity of the brain begins to pulsate in syncopation with the frequency of the external stimulus. The "beats" are low in the slightly Yani-esque "ambient" mix here; you can hear many samples of unadorned binaural beats all over the web.

It's elementary that sound can make us happy or sad, contemplative or rowdy. It's called music. But binaural beats go deeper into the science of sound, attempting to isolate psychoacoustic responses. I find it a fascinating field. Of course there's the usual ladling of New Age fondue all over these "healing" realms, which is fine. Folk healing has always been a part of human culture, appalling aesthetics and all.

Worse is the whole digital drugs movement that as far as I can tell is simply trying to make money off of thrill seeking college kids. Stay away, some of those downloads are quite dark and disturbing. Not all brain states should be activated!

Hype aside... binaural beats are clearly up to something. Cautiously curious, I'm learning more and more about them. Used wisely, I can foresee wondrous, benevolent applications up ahead.

("Pineal Gland Activator" clip by Source Vibrations)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Proving grounds...

One more way of slicing up humanity: People who have something to prove and people who don't.

This proving thing is fascinating. It's a kind of "closed-circuit" philosophy by which an individual constantly reverts his or her energies into achieving some ongoing ideal. Whether this ideal is truly desired by the individual or imprinted as an expectation from an outside force is a key factor that can be hard to discern. When I see someone living this way, I sometimes perceive it as a kind of reactionary existence - a code of living that is meant to prevent that person from becoming whatever they don't want to be.

People who don't have something to prove can seem a little lost by contrast. They tend to be confronted by broad existential quandaries. Since there is no fixed ideal, there is no rote pattern of behavior. Life is upon them. What to do? When one isn't obsessively compelled to be a hero or a real woman or a superstar or a bandit or a punk or an evil genius or a Muhammad, all of the magnificent and daunting stuff of life is right there in front of you. How you engage with it, if you engage with it, is a fluctuating mystery that can become an obsession in its own right.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do your life...

Ironically, not doing things because you worry about how your actions will be (mis)perceived by others is the single best way to be misperceived by others. Besides, isn't it better to be misperceived than to be missed altogether?

All of this will all be over one day soon. Why freeze your free will and stifle your best in the name of imagined second guesses? Who are you living for?

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Gray Cardinal...

I know that angels are seldom found in high offices, but I have to say that Vladimir Putin's public bio reads more like a Qaddafi confession you'd find locked away in a secret diary.

(painting by Amey Fearon Mathews)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Luna Sea...

Under a super perigee moon the superwolves come out to play.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


That tiny useless handle on your maple syrup jug, the fake spokes on your hubcaps, that shutter clap sound on your digital camera, and all the carefully rendered buttons and sliders on your computer and apps that reference the look of real-world stuff, those are skeuomorphs. In other words, "a derivative object which retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original." (via wikipedia).

Skeuomorphism is rampant in the digital world. The paperclip icon in email that signifies "attachment," even the whole idea of a desktop on which there are white paper documents and folders (depicted with those little extended tabs where you would write what's inside them) and pictures of the wife and kids. It's all visual metaphor, and it's all representative of some deep human need for continuity (and nostalgia) in technology.

Steven Poole has spoken out against this digital skeuomorphism. Personally, as retro as my aesthetics are, I'm in favor of new non-skeuomoprphic visual representations and haptic interfaces in the digital realms that are 100% intuitive to use.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Alf 'Freddie' Lennon...


He sang and played the banjo but was not known for being very dependable...

"That's My Life" was Alf "Freddie" Lennon's attempt to explain his lifelong absence to his rock star son. I'm not sure it succeeded in doing so. But the voice is uncannily familiar. Alf died in 1976 having received a phone call from his estranged son shortly before he passed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mindsets: US vs. The World...

Is the world cracking up or is this just normal? Without making light of the danger and suffering in Japan, I feel the need to report my observations (or is it paranoia?).

Have a look at these two images from the online edition of the NYTimes. The top image is from the US edition and the bottom image is from the global edition. These screen caps were taken a couple seconds apart. What do you notice? (Besides the fact that we get Vegas and the world gets Gucci)

Do us United Statesans need fear words in our headlines (failure, crisis, etc.)? Are we that programmed for doom?

Hang on...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Things that make me sad...

Children and radiation. Horrible. Thinking good thoughts for you Japan.

Friday, March 11, 2011

As tomorrow looks...

Something about yesterday...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dreaming in public...

The only thing that matters about writing is what's behind the words. OK, that's the kind of dramatic thing I say... As you know, the words are important too. But at the end of the day words are only symbolic reflections of invisible clouds on the outskirts of consciousness. Don't get stuck on the words. The map is not the territory.

Writing is the sport of trying to fix wordless emanations in public time. A communal clothesline for airing interpretations of chaos. And don't forget to factor in the radar jammer of a multilingual planet. Don't you wonder about what's hidden in foreign languages? They could be onto something that our symbols can't reflect.

Here's what I've learned: If we become our idioms, then choosing them wisely is one job that's always hiring.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Dalai Lama retires, blows lid on reincarnation...

While I'm 100% certain that this quickly cobbled together image fails to include the proper levels of respect for a truly one-of-a-kind man/manifestation I admire, I'm pursuing a hunch that he might let it slide.

Besides, he's seriously busy tipping over 1000 year-old apple carts by just tossing out that whole reincarnation clause in the who's-your-next-Lama process. Regardless, I wish him well in whatever lifestyle or life form he eventually moves on to.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Closer to experience...

Stepped away from politics and ideology for now. Too easy to define life by pointing at what you like and don't like and being a cheerleader for a conceptual system. Will get closer to the living part of living. Selfish? Short-sighted? Get the government you deserve? I suppose that's all true from one perspective. I just feel like civilization is a mind-bending drug we're all addicted to. But seriously, it's nothing a little nude camping couldn't cure.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Paths of Glory...

The thing I have noticed about heroism in the actual world, is that it can fuel a lifetime of extreme behavior in the name of being perceived as a hero.

A hero needs cowards and laypeople and swooning admirers. A hero is defined by the honor bestowed upon them by others. Does the hero unconsciously seek a certain elevated place within a community (that might otherwise bore him or her to tears)? What is the sound of one heroic act unpraised? (I know there are many.)

Certainly, heroism is costly to the individual. A hero exhibits bravery and fortitude and endures agony and loss in the face of enormous obstacles long after the rest of us are in bed watching Fantasy Island reruns. Heroes have the will and the spirit to take on danger and chaos with total resolution. They do things that no one else can or wants to do. They win wars and save the innocent and the distressed from harm. They shape history and perform selfless acts. And it's that observed selflessness that leads to a mythological self that lives large in other hearts and minds, isn't it?

I don't want to say that there are no heroes. That there are no altruists. That Mother Teresa was a selfish cunt. The world needs heroes. And bad guys. They are archetypal jobs that need filling. We can define our heroes with our own yardsticks. And we can embrace broad metaphors, like facing life with one's sword ready to be drawn. And, thankfully, there are other metaphors too.

(Believe it or not) I have moments of clarity where I know that life should be lived without too many enhancements, formulas, or agendas. Its mysteries should not be abandoned or trampled on the search for a badge of honor. That kind of behavior leads to a culture of manipulation. Big plans need lots of expendable heroes. Medals are cheap.

In Los Angeles you get to see a vivid spectrum of heroes-in-progress. Are they living for the label, or are they truly brave? Either way, heroism is packaged and sold here as a force beyond scrutiny. I accept that some might attack me for these blasphemous observations. Oh you're just (fill in the blank). I boldly accept this risk of public ridicule with a stiff upper lip and a manly chest thrust in the general direction of my Kirk Douglas chin.

Friday, March 04, 2011

She saw me...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


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