Beyond the Black Rainbow




Is there redemption in the void? Can I find something to forgive me, can I personify it, can I make you the angel I need to have?

As is traditional with these things, there's a disorienting segue, then crossfade. At some point we hear a voice. The rare bits of dialog have so much weight, your earthly ambassador in this opaque maze: a human voice, and he sets the theme early. "It's easy to get disillusioned." There's an appropriate kaleidoscope of associations as the voice settles in. "If you don't know who you are. What you are." Then the light changes and the face shifts in palettes seeping underneath. "I know who I am. What I am. That's what gives me my confidence. And my power."

Everyone is getting so hermetic. Good for them, it's what they want, to be sealed off, I can understand that kind of want. I do my own form of sealing off, I like to get into extreme comfort trips, music videos that feel up-beat, the rhythm can go down for a second in such and such a way, as it happened before. There are cursors here and there. What is created in the void doesn't matter how it sounds, later.

Why am I reminding myself of emptiness again and again? Can't you hear me? You hear me. I heard that. Nod the head. Off the wagon. Was on the nod. I assent to that. Since I forgot what it was like. How can it all sound so much the same, across filters of personality? Vision of universality takes the form of grass, a rainy blade, that kind of blade, a perfectly wonderful bug crawling over that blade, what's outside of the black rainbow. What they told me I had a right to. Not in a proprietary way, not like the most perverse jesus-freak imaginable.

Flirting with identifying self as unnatural. I stopped being a fan of nature, you can get to thinking that way when you've hung out too long beyond the black rainbow. I want to be natural, with you. Can I have some of your nature? Cause I was in that less-than-nothing howling wind, in the hallway, remember that hallway? It was life or death in that hallway, beyond the life and death spans of individuals, if you can imagine that, you had to hold on for dear life, and at the same time, reach out, to find another ledge, you had to venture, the stakes were higher than anything.

I remember that I was unnatural lust personified, but what is unnatural about that? It's a part of nature that has a source of joy, but the drives it creates, take the form of enormous feats of heroism and treachery, betraying one's own code of morality, the deep desire to include oneself in others, wearing the black jacket of Noriega's fine custom leather and ruminating on some brand of unnaturalism, even after taking off one's appliances, a bare head sticky with hair glue, still feeling as unnatural as ever because what remains post-appliances is a deformed retinal-scarred thing you could barely call a living creature --- but the whole time, wanting that natural reality, the remedy for the sucking void inside, the depth and desperation of that need making the living thing inside the leather jacket all the more wretched, all the less desirable, no matter how red the light, no matter how effective the drugs, no matter what the voice on the phone said, that all important beyond-the-facility communication with a forest of fax sounds book-ending the drawn retrograde breath, a short sprout of telecom trees being the nail in the coffin of the message, a thing it didn't ask for but a fatal partnership, cemented in betrayal and casual cruelty, mutual culpability, observation rooms and mud and blood - but we needn't get so literal. But let's do it anyway, irony left me, don't care how I sound, I'm down to trading in cliches, obeying the basest instinct, and seeing this all from the outside, besides.

The scene of the assisted suicide of Dr. Mercurial Arboria is the most sad and beautiful thing I've ever seen on a screen. I haven't been moved by a movie like this in, I dunno, ever. Had become so aloof to the artform, the idea of even watching any movie twice sounded insane. And yet I can get lost in this one, make it my whole world, my music video. I'll latch onto that shadow vision, I'll grip it tight and yet try and keep my oily personality off of it, and not tag it too much, just let it be what it is in my head, not try and make it anything for others. But I want to bring other people into my world. But there are ways to go about that (keep it dead, in the shed, that's the way). There are windowpanes you keep shut, unless you have to remind yourself again.

When things become as elemental as the pale man in the black jacket and the girl with the teardrop, I remember. The man deranged in perfect control, arranged as protocol demanded, the procedure in place. And the girl, angel, taking on all these burdens, giving birth, taking the hit for more life. She appears angelic to my bug eyes, even though I know she's no angel really, she gets dirty, she gets into the mud, the mud gets into her, we breathe it together. We're all guilty in this planetary prison colony. This putrescent life made her a killer, the new age of enlightenment, like we needed yet another one, has warped her telekinetic abilities into a narrow brutal survivalist's toolkit.

We've been beyond the rainbow together. When we brought back the motherlode, we found there was no back, not anymore. We didn't know what to do, it had gotten away from us. Bad things happened, every moment since an attempt to salvage something from the horror. Words fail, and that is so wonderful, that I can't tag it, when words flow off it like it's a gleaming teflon skull, the new-school mercury alloy of programmed molecules, that's when you know it's legit, it's the real deal, it's a work of art worth inhabiting me, making me its gibbering evangelist, the art will be fine, whether I represent it well or not, it doesn't matter.

Barry. Bring home the motherlode, Barry. The character's name is Barry. There is no home, not anymore.

negotiations and negations.

Making peace with Alone, checking my piece at the door, I came heavy, I left light, past the checkpoint, no security now. I'm going to negotiate with Alone. I'm gonna shake its hand to show it that I don't have a gun, and I swear that I don't have a gun, no I'm happy with what I have to be happy with.

I came heavy but I left light, I am this light, it's all that is, taking various forms, infinite varieties that point to things, but are meaningless in themselves. On a macro level, the things they point to matter more than I could comprehend, far more, they mean vast things that simply confuse my primitive brain, it's like one of those gray alien anal probe things. We're Earthlings, we should blow up Earth things.

So I'm rowing out to a shipwreck to salvage whatever is left of a collection of volatile put-upon neurons in a long long meandering symphony that gets great here and dissolves into static and pattern-less celesta clicks and crackles retrograde there, a database placemaker of hundreds of thousands of firings a second... I'm just guessing, guestimating, sounding confident because peace sells, but who's buying? Everybody, actually. We're on easy street, the credible image of peace is flying off the shelves as if there could be limitless energy and matter down there, up there, all around. It's a beautiful thing, for a minute, fading, oh if we could only elongate time, maybe we can, maybe I am buying, because it's turtles all the way down, and on their backs we'll defy physics just enough to keep cheating death.

But maybe we don't wanna cheat to survive, maybe we could make peace with death, give life its due and kill the cancer of infinite growth. But our masters won't let us, so, status quo. Until, we realize we can destroy them if we realize we can destroy them. So we realize we can destroy them, they're not as smart as they think they are, they're not even smart enough to see that fact, whatever a fact is, but let's call it a fact: I tell you, this is highly important, it's of great import, it's as if these were my final words, wheezed under my dying breath (they're not). But it's as if they are, so if you listen and let them sink in to you, you could understand. I say you, because I don't really condescend to the outside world, I condescend to myself.

Hey, if you are as depressed as you say, hey, who am I to judge, I'll juggle in braille, leading a trail of blind men in my wake - they keep describing elephants, and aliens, and aliens, and elephants.

Mandy. Watch it.


Everyone has to watch it. Cause I just did. And am mind blown. Maybe it was made for me personally. Maybe that's what billionaires do, order a psychedelic prog-rock horror action epic from their favorite film director, then put Nicholas Cage in it cause they can. But I'm only a thousandaire, and yet, here it is. I won the lottery - all the lotteries I win in lieu of anything real. But hallucinations can be better than real. I can make them better if I try. Try harder.

I saw a lot in that movie, my dipstick got lubed good. I saw a hundred lot, an immaculate sheet of blotter paper in ten by ten perforations, under the surface of a neat shallow rectangular tray glistening with colorless, odorless liquid.

No, it was 5 x 20 squares. Man, they've wrong'd you, he said. Damn, why they gotta be like that? And gave his blessing on a necessary counter balance on behalf of darkness, skulls gotta be crush'd, black armored aliens gotta be arrow'd, the only thing you have left on this whole Jovian moon is a bottle of vodka, so slam that monster-fucker til the pain fades enough to get up and rage, and duel with chainsaw blades.

And that is my review.

The Bedlam in Goliath (The Mars Volta)



pre-ordered the disc, so what the hell, i'll listen to the leak, cause i found one that seems good quality - so, a bowl, a shot of sauza, headphones, darkness:

superficially, it sounds like amputechture, but at a deep level it's most like deloused – omar flavour injected all the way, of course – most prog album yet, hooray! major time dilation happening, i'm halfway through the second song, and feel like i've listened to a whole album already, in a good way – audaciously dense in sounds and ideas – i played the album on some mediocre speakers and it was impenetrable, confusing, noisy and non-musical, but it’s actually extremely well produced, well thought out, musical and melodic – it just demands a good system and a proper listening experience, or it won’t betray its secrets – like i’m listening to metatron at 5:45 the second time through – first time was utterly confusing, now i see that there’s actually a key shift a whole tone up – knowing that, it sounds perfect, the bass really hammers it home, it’s articulated precisely, but there’s so much going on, it doesn’t come across right away, similar to amp in that sense – some might consider it a flaw, but being the rabid mars volta fan i am, i see it as a necessary evolution – it rocks too, holy fuck this album rocks – not that it’s trying to rock, like amputechture was trying a little too hard to rock, but this one just happens to rock out, as the song requires, which is often – love love love the production – gorgeous sound, cinematic sound, bright, synesthetic, visual – the concept sounded like stupid bullshit to me, but now i can actually hear it, feel it, verbal expression being inane and inadequate, but as an album! with omar’s artistry… now i can believe there might be something to the concept that wasn’t put across in that horribly written essay – if nothing else, i can certainly hear and feel it as an unwanted yet partially-perversely-desired invasion of ghostly and wounded consciousness creeping subtly into someone’s sanctuary from some other dimension

wax simulacra, the only song i heard before this listen now fits perfectly in context – i like amp, but i LOVE bedlam, bursting, rich, hallucinogenic, some parts merzbowian, great use of distortion – holy shit, it's rapid fire tollbooth transformed – ikey is awesome on this – goliath is orgasmic, a giant of a song – assimilating cedric's melodic bent, his blues scale in the gravity well of a rogue star, extra galactic gospel

tourniquet man is revelatory, they've never sounded quite like this before – brings to mind the mellow parts of a nevermore album – certainly also recalls the sublime slow songs from previous albums, asilos, miranda, etc. – mainly is a vehicle for fiendish vocal deformation – been so long since the last time they slayed me with new, polished material, i forgot how weird and inventive they are – so used to the old stuff

thomas pridgen is crushing it – drum sound isn't as devastating as it was on deloused, unfortunately, but is meatier than on amputechture – a testament to omar's confidence/ego to delegate a drummer of pridgen’s skill to a role that subservient – maybe why jon left, wasn’t content to be a slave – omar is pharaoh, though, you know? he builds large – has the gall to make foundations with guitars – long long album, like a tantric orgasm – ourobourus throws me for a loop, another sound i didn't know the band was capable of – speed metal? reminding me of megadeth – trouble processing, then it gets into another orgasmic chorus, yes! soulful sound parsed through technical devices, techniques, manipulation, like the twitch of a finger or the dissection of a waveform 

i'm wondering if soothsayer is sampled from some portable recorder in omar's travels – seriously, this music makes me see crazy things, moreso than what i see without the mars volta, it's like they're tugging on archetypal strings that resonate inside me – not listening to the words, but it's so expressive on every level, every instrument, every sound, every tweak – continuing to make use of horns, mind-boggling flute interludes – juan with his slash and burn bass, a machete – totally omar guitars – i don't care what anyone says, i love his playing – i’ll take his inimitable style over a more polished technician any day – not that omar isn’t technical, but he’s about as far from textbook as you can get – the lead – cedric and omar as leads – strange combination, sometimes complimentary, sometimes perverse, always fascinating

goddayum, a new album from this band never fails to inspire – now i want to record great music again – fantastic stuff – i don't think any future album can affect me like frances and deloused, due to them being in that golden oldies age, when everything was perfect and innocent, but their latest record is probably as good as anything they've ever done, and that's saying something

This is what's new for July 2017 - my granddaughter - impromptu!

"quiet as a mouse - i'm quiet as a mouse, free as a bird, cuz it's everything i want! watch this video as long as you want, cuz this free video is free - cuz you could do it - you could be a famous rock star if you want..."

Sean Spicer Press Conference (Melissa McCarthy) - SNL

Best Youtube Vids of Feb. 2017

FUNNIEST (criteria: i am on the floor & watched twice or more) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWuc18xISwI&feature=youtu.be
okay for some reason the link to the funny video is not showing up. so i am taking the url out of html. and we'll see if that works. if it doesn't, the video is, Sean Spicer Press Conference (Melissa McCarthy) - on SNL *the actress that plays the Wall Street Journal reporter, always reminds me of raz.

favorite song, so far this month & i love their cover of 'can't seem to make you mine' by the seeds.

favorite documentary this month, 'THIN'.

favorite perfume for the last year: Nirvana Black Eau de Parfum by Elizabeth and James

feb 2017?

how did that happen? what's new, people? i was googling nativedancer a couple of weeks ago, to see if he had any new work up, anywhere (because i haven't seen him online in a few years & it was around his birthday) and found his wife's obituary. so i dug out an old snail mail addy and dropped him a line only to get the note back with, "moved" stamped on the envelope. tonite i saw some comments he left on someone's blog so i guess he isn't dead.

spring & summer 2016 I discover:

"Haul" videos on youtube! I'm always a day late & a dollar short. but wtf? people make these videos right in their vehicle immediately after making a 'haul', (like taking a dump) before starting the vehicle to drive home, imma just do this haul vid right here, in the mall parking lot! some people do HUGE HAULS! TINY HAULS! Luxury Hauls! I think I found this phenomenon by searching for simple product reviews. I have to admit, because I don't own a tv I do watch a lot of things on my laptop and one of my new favorite shows is (it isn't new anymore it is already old) WIFE SWAP (the UK wife swaps are the best!) another good one. i was talking to my sister (the one that lives in germany) today, and she said, you need to check out the german wife swap episodes... so I just did and the first one I clicked on ...... you won't understand the language but give it less than 5 minutes and you will see the action.. hey ho! add "cringe compilations" to my list. < girl is twerking in a pair of thin, white leggings, farts, & surprise. let me find the one with the crazy chicks. i mean we are talking some serious schizophrenia HERE! BRONIES! sometimes I'm grateful for 'internet-delayed'.
traz, to make, the forbidden palpable - substitutes, the purest, rightest wrong

slur, and darken, dream, power doesn't enter

shatter, lobotomize with substitutes... didn't know philosophy could do this, or this or that could do this... see god, not colors, and subsume, subscribe to the main thing that is everything, the main thing, expression - it's too bad it's not all on my fingertips right now.

anti-whimsy - was one thing, i thought of, before, before i got sideways, side-tracked - this will be another record of subduing a due process that is delirious.

very much so.

there could be something to say, wouldn't that be great? something to say - or a quick smoothout slur to delirium and staving off

UPDATED creepy yet extremely interesting:

So of course none of the following songs/bands that I am going to mention, were created in the year 2013.. they are old news already, but you know me, always and forever out-of-time! However, I did discover them in 2013, therefore they made it onto my 2o13 creep-out list! NUMBER 1 - Salem: Jack Donoghue, Heather Marlatt, John Holland (isn't there a porn star named, Holland?). (doom, witch-house, sludge) I don't remember exactly how I came across Salem's stuff. I think it was one of those, start-out-on-the-main-highway but somehow ended up on a dark, unmarked, pot-holed, one-lane, dirt road. Lost. Alone & Frightened! My introduction to Salem came by a video called Tair. I was instantly intrigued.. "witch-house".. wow. I didn't even know there was such a genre! So I drove-clicked, around, with an actual purpose in mind - to find pics of the band, and when I saw them, I became even more intrigued. Two guys and one chic, looking all drug addiction like, plus all the unsavory things that go along with that lifestyle. I don't feel as though this vibe is, all gimmick. Unlike Ben Ratliff from The New York Times who says in this 2010 article, "Salem - making shrewd and naïve into the same thing." or something to that effect. And then I searched and found that tell-all interview in Butt Magazine. AND OMG! LOOK WHAT I JUST FOUND! what a ..... ( her, not him, he is cute, lol) gosh I didn't mean to turn this into a gossip post, but there is more ---> " #pray4jack " stuff.. what the hell?! I don't think this band has put anything out since 2011.. No wonder. Something definitely has a strong grip on him. Alcohol and drugs .. the devil's tools. oh and have you ever heard the term, "rapegaze"? and next we have # 2 - even more than creepy - everything about these fat ass bozo dicks make me sick. can you imagine stumbling across this video and seeing your daughter deep-throating that huge dildo? So disturbing.

My favorite music finds in 2013:

Foxygen - I think I am almost over my Foxygen crush. I discovered them on Spotify.com while putting together a set of folksy 60's sounding songs. All because of a song called, Blue by First Aid Kit. Which lead me to, No Distruction by Foxygen. For some reason that song just stuck in my head, I think I just like the Dylan vibe that I get from it. So I ended up watching my first Foxygen video on youtube and fell in love with the recycled freshness of that band. Theirs was the first music I actually paid for, in over 7 years! And thanks to all these social media sites, I instantly got caught up in Sam (Jim Morrison's secret grandson) and Elizabeth's, big, break-up drama! It was my favorite online love/hate story for a solid 2 months, if not longer. I think Elizabeth should play Stevie Nicks if anyone ever makes a movie about Fleetwood Mac! Okay .. moving on ... *sigh* Number 2 - Jason Abraham Roberts - I first spotted him in a Norah Jones vid. He is the guy playing the guitar next to Norah. Is he not a doll?! Besides being in a couple of bands, he teaches guitar in NYC. Yeah.. I found his page on one of those job listing sites. He exudes such sweet naivete & energy. I'd do him. In 2013, I fell in love with a live version (The studio version is not as powerful.) of this song - The Observatory - by a band called, Filligar. I find their, all-americana, wholesomeness, very attractive. They would be perfect for a, Ford s-150 commercial, or something along those lines. : ) I mean that in a positive way. Comedian - Superwoman! She reminds me of a nurse I used to work with. Jerry-Lewis's-granddaughter, comedy (I mean that in a good way). and .... LiL' DEBBiE! LOL.. that her with DollaBillGates, she collaborated with RiFF RAFF too. . Favorite "U-Know-U-Made-It-When-Yer-On-the-Letterman-show" group: Die Antwoord (feel the ZEF!) I'll be back with some dark 'likes', and to see what you guys found in 2013! Where is everyone? come out and play, even if you just hate on my likes, lol!

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (review by Brian d'Eon)

At a key point in this political thriller a young woman, reflecting on the very recent terrorist attack on New York’s twin towers, asks her Pakistani boyfriend, “What could make them do such a thing?”  Her Pakistani boyfriend replies in irritation,  “How should know?”

Essentially this movie is an exploration of this question, which I’m sure has rattled around in the heads of many North Americans for the last decade.  The story is old largely from the P.O.V. of the Pakistani boyfriend Changez (hard ‘g’) played brilliantly by Riz Ahmed.                        .

Changez grows up  in Pakistan in an educated family. His father is a well known, published poet.  Like many young Pakistanis of his generation, the dream of going to America, where one can make anything of one’s life, looms large in Changez’s imagination.  He wins a scholarship. He graduates from Princeton.  Soon after, he is hired by one of Wall Street’s finest, played by Kiefer Sutherland who—to his credit—plays an uncharacteristically unsympathetic role in this movie

On Wall St. Changez’s sharp analytical skills are used to help companies “increase their value” which is largely code for firing large numbers of employees.

Changez is very good at his job; he is well on his way to being a poster child for the American dream.  Then 9/11 happens.  Suddenly it no longer matters that Changez is brilliant,  or that he works on Wall St.,  or that he is married to the idea of unbridled capitalism as much as anyone.  Returning from a business meeting, security guards at the airport pull him aside and strip-search him.  Clients at work become hesitant to use his services.  He is judged by his skin colour and facial features, not by his beliefs or actions.

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Changez’s moral crisis comes to a head when he sent to Istanbul with the task of dismembering a centuries-old publishing company which has been losing money. Changez confesses to the publisher that his own father is a poet.  The publisher, with sad, dark eyes, looks up and says to Changez,  “You should be ashamed…”

Within twenty-four hours Changez quits his job and quits America.  Back in Lahore, he begins teaching at a university and quickly (and quite unfairly) is painted as a dangerous radical, in some way implicated in a recent kidnapping of an American academic (who we finally learn is actually and intelligence agent.)

Besides the extraordinary acting of the movie’s principal,  Liev Schreiber turns in a very convincing performance as Bobby, the man drafted by American intelligence to confront Changez.  The close-ups of Schreiber and Ahmed discussing life-and-death issues in a Lahore tea shop are riveting.

Kudos to the movie’s director, Mira Nair.  This is a very thoughtful script, dealing with big issues and told in a most engaging way.  In part it is a plea for dialogue, civility, even love.  “I am a lover of America,” our protagonist states; there is more than irony in this statement.  And later when talking earnestly to the Schreiber character, he says, “Remember, looks can be deceiving.  I ask only one thing of you, Bobby.  First listen to my whole story.”

This movie is an American-Pakistan co-production.  Bravo.  Despite Rotten Tomatoes inexplicably low rating for this movie, I believe it is a must-see flick for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the Muslim world, fundamentalism, and the West’s sometimes unwitting aggravation of international tensions.  I hear the book is pretty good too!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Reluctant_Fundamentalist

movie trailer

http://youtu.be/xfC45oq_drU

review by Brain d'Eon, Lunatic Writer

she's a magneto

i just ate at carraba's because they sent me a buy one get one entree coupon. they haven't been on my go to list since last xmas when they took my last favorite item off the ensalata menu. but they still had the crab cakes. or so i thought. i looked even though i had  the bogo to navigate. attention:THERE ARE NO CRAB CAKES.. travesty

we both got pasta. alla vodka for him, i dunno how they managed to take the flavor out of everything leaving shrimp and scallops mere advertisement for seafood.

i got lobster mac n cheese and while the lobster was canned, it wasn't as wrong as the curly noodle or the watery cheese sauce. they said there was some sort of bacon but i saw no sign. i ate and paid for it, brought the leftovers home. mine was the better of the two.

there are two things they do pretty good: drinks , bread, deserts. ok that's three. and i'm sure i could think of others if i were forced to but honestly i don't think i'll do that online survey for a free ap-etizer or a quartino of house wine. i don't like house wine and THERE ARE NO CRAB CAKES.


because the drinks and bread were good, i rate them one designer doggy bag. o that's right. they got rid of that too.




The Li'l Raskolnikov

"Don't follow me, I beseech you, I have somewhere else to go.... But you go at once and sit with mother. I entreat you to! It's my last request of you. Don't leave her at all; I left her in a state of anxiety, that she is not fit to bear;"














the guilt of carnivores with overdeveloped cerebral cortex signals is currently too much for the wet network to handle but there's new relays in development, a good thing for the maintenance of congealed consciousness, self-reflective flex-spasms, spittle-flecked self-defense, and the need to deflect facts like some kinds of protein taste better than others, just margin enough to deform markets into permanent scar tissue - the sum of carnivore guilt doubles thrice a decade, at pace with processor speed, but it's been there since ego fungaled over id - as quaint as guilt seems in the setting of dostoevsky's russia, it's real enough, contains the universe, god and the devil, and i commiserate

here napoleon is the go-to caricature for cutting edge assholery, but there's a certain base innocence implied when everyone pre-dates the coming desensitization - most of us in the age of information exist under armored leisure suits but folks got character in the K. bridge neighborhood, not just cause they're characters, but accurately drawn, i'll bet - the most outrageous proclamations of the utopian socialists still have the benefit of being untested, they couldn't know any better, cynicism hadn't been earned like an anti-merit badge and even the pale imperialists are downtrodden in historical context - even back then, there was root sickness, but how much the worse now? how much greater the necessity for removal from the real? acceleration, useless information, lumpen proletariat collective guilt, whitewash mandate from an elite reflexively elected, i guess, sort of, if you can call it an electoral system, if you call money free speech and corporations people

it's interesting to delve into some of the more psychologically astute fiction of the time, and feel like it's not so removed from my time, even if i am hopelessly a dude of my time, but not enough of a dude to be content with said time, safely meshed into the winning culture but a loser all the same - still amazes me to think that most adults bring in over thirty Gs a year in this geographically blessed culture, that's well below normal, but i can't imagine making that amount - and it amazes me so many of them can describe their wages and salaries in matter-of-fact figures without embarrassment, as if the numbers don't divide, can't cut - well, if you're cut out of the deal and subsist on charity, you're not supposed to know or care what thirty thousand dollars feels like, or that it's cheap, but that's gauche

maybe i'll get crucified for no good reason in my jesus year, rather than creep into the middle class - i never took that community college course in selling out for a stipend cause it seemed so boring and i was immersed in inertia - if i don't get crucified, i'll contrive a crucifixion to a coma theme in a compound primed to burn as the olympic torch of nihilism

not alone and afraid in a world you never made


Ever notice how things fall into patterns, stay in rote sequence, become routine, numb the mind, eventually strip the sheen off all the pre-existence magic? That's often my observation, anyway. Existence gets to feeling desolate. Sure, I'll take it anyway, what, I'm gonna opt out of the whole shebang cause I feel bored with it sometimes, even, well, most of the time? Cause it's easy to get wrapped up in little dramas that are culture-bound and seem to meaning nothing beyond a rarefied context. But how can this guy ever feel anything as mundane, given the amount of poetic prose that's so apropos in describing the fraction of what he knows about the fraction of what's known about the reality that gave rise to a universe that allowed his little moment of looking back at it? Maybe the ability to feel ennui is the greatest miracle there ever was.

So what is there outside the cultural cul-de-sac? Ultimately, the cosmos. It's a maddening puzzle how human inventions and conventions like numbers and their use in measurement and models allowed our understanding of so much of it. Still more amazing, the profound pointlessness of the Higgs boson, or stars, other than, of course, to have allowed for the processes that warmed this solar rock so I could reflect on it at some vantage sandwiched between a blog post and a cup of coffee. Overall, there's a feeling of isolation. My home, an accident of birth, can be a compelling distraction a lot of the time. I can become lost in many types of games, video games, money games, but with so many layers of synthetic structure, "home" is more a hostel in downtown crazy, lights-years from anything basic or primary, under the burden of human nature, itself bound to the cruel mechanics of the biosphere.

But it's true that some of those who are the most isolated in a personal sense are also the most connected to a kind of kinship with the universe that transcends the scope of social relationships, for instance, great scientific observers who spend large chunks of their lives in remote and lonely locations, underground tunnels built for accelerating sub-atomic particles, astronomical observatories on mountaintops, to study the extremes of nature - likewise, shamans and psychologists who explore dreams and inner-space. In this novella, Brian d'Eon tells a story of people at opposite ends of a cultural spectrum, against a backdrop of interstellar extremes. It's a compelling story, well worth an e-read.

Patrick Mahoney, a parks and aboriginal affairs minister in the Australian Government, is faced with the horrifying scenario of having all that sweet sweet Ayer's Rock tourism revenue dry up in the event of a shut-down by locals. He sends James Cook, the department's token native-Australian, to find out what's going on while lending them PC-cred. On the bus to Alice Springs, James meets Pam, a journalist. She's also an anthropologist, it turns out, with the extraordinary distinction, for a white person, of being fluent in Pitjantajara.

Meanwhile, Frank Peterson and some fellow astronomers at the Mt. Stromlo observatory, have noticed that a nearby star, Eta Carinae, seems to have unexpectedly gone supernova. These events and worlds converge as James and Pam make contact with Billy, an aboriginal elder who claims to have dreamed of James before their meeting. He also has some independent insight into the exploding star that so surprised the scientific community. Here the story begins to take on apocalyptic suggestions as the implications of heavy particles arriving from such a relatively nearby celestial object are mulled over by the characters. The shut-down of the airport and entire park around Ayer's Rock that kicked off events at the political level is explained by the elder merely as preparation for "a coming change".

In the latter half of the story, opposing culture-rooted ways of thought collide with interesting results, and we see how shamans as well as scientists arrive at knowledge in different ways. Some indigenous traditions have survived despite the dominance of western culture. The story is immersive in its imagistic detail and sensitivity to local flavour. It ends with the sort of transcendent feel I get from my favourite science fiction writers, like Arthur C. Clarke, and Carl Sagan. It's a quick read, less verbose than my review, and highly recommended.