lEARNING TO WALK AGAIN

Well, I had my first follow-up with the surgeon. Apparently there are still some minor balance and reflex issues which are a sign that my spinal cord is still healing. I was prescribed agmatine which I had previously taken as a nootropic supplement. Hopefully it and the b vitamins and Chinese skullcap will help with the nerve regeneration. These videos are from while I was still getting my bearings back and just doing a little walking and some minor aerobics and stair steps really wore me out. I’m making sure to get some exercise and walking done each day in the meantime though.

Meanwhile, in a couple weeks I am supposed to get another x ray and see how things look from there. Hopefully then will be able to get rid of the cervical collar once and for all. Just being able to walk around has been amazing though. Here’s some short clips from the physical therapy while I was still in the hospital. I am not supposed to lift over five pounds for now and then in about a week need to keep it under 25 lbs for a couple weeks but hopefully after that should be able to get back to normal activities. Just being able to climb stairs and walk at a normal to brisk pace has been so amazing.

Speaking of amazing, since I can finally sit up and type again that means some of the writing projects I had to put on the back burner in January are finally going to be back in the works as well, so stay tuned…

Sirhan Paroled? The Truth Of the RFK Assassination

With his recommendation for parole for the first time ever, Sirhan Sirhan is a step closer to freedom than ever before. Some say the 77-year-old “has served his time” and therefore deserves to be free. I disagree, as Sirhan was never guilty in the first place. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence however, which is why I compiled multiple citations, sources and expert opinions for each of the claims made. The bulk of this video is from sections of the chapter on the Kennedy assassinations from my forthcoming book, Deep State: penetrating the veils of the unelected shadow government.

Please excuse my slightly scratchy voice, also faltered and lost my place a few times. Have been short on sleep for months now thanks to the pain from the spinal injury but with so many sharing their opinions without mentioning so many of the pertinent details which make it clear that it was physically impossible for Sirhan to have shot RFK despite having a gun and firing it at the scene.

Kabul Falls?! Musing on the Graveyard of Empires

“We’ve got them outnumbered and they’ve got us surrounded!” Kabul is now being taken by the Taliban as the US and allied forces turn tail and run leaving massive amounts of military hardware. But how different will the world be for Afghan citizens and the world if the Taliban does breeze through? How much worse will they be (or can they be) than what they’ve been putting up with under occupation for two decades straight. Military waste, intelligence operation drug running and ruined lives all around are the legacy of these wars for profit. Don’t buy the hype that after 20 years of not fixing it we should toss a few trillion more on the funeral pyre of the American empire as the military industrial complex marches on…

Currently making notes on James Tharin Bradford’s Poppies, Politics and Power: Afghanistan and the Global History of Drugs and Diplomacy, Dawn Paley’s Drug War Capitalism and Ryan Gingeras’ Heroin, Organized Crime, and the Making of Modern Turkey. Turkey and Afghanistan have long been important stops on the opium/heroin pipeline and I have a feeling Turkey will likely be working to ensure they stay “in the loop” as the dust settles at the changing of the guard in the graveyard of empires.

ALBUM REVIEW: DESCARTES A KANT – VICTIMS OF LOVE PROPAGANDA

Descartes a kant: victims of love propaganda

Descartes a Kant
Victims of Love Propaganda
(Cleopatra Records)

From Guadalajara, Mexico by way of LA’s Cleopatra Records, come a sonic and visual art gang to be reckoned with. Until not long ago, if you’d asked me who my favorite Mexican musical group were, I would have smiled and answered: “Ampersan, hands down. The greatest group I know of in Mexico playing today.” Well, most days I learn something, and if you’re like me, the more you learn the more you’re reminded of the vacuum of absolute ignorance you are trying to fill. Discovering Descartes a Kant was a darkly illuminating experience like being pulled free of a shipwreck by being tossed a lifeline into a vortex.

Love and propaganda are nothing to play around with, nor approach lightly if safety is of any concern. I’m personally opposed to warning labels on album covers myself (primarily for aesthetic purposes) but consider this my implicit advisory in regards to Victims of Love Propaganda.

At the fore of the band of busquers are 3 women – Sandrushka (vocals/guitar), Defne (vocals/guitar/violin) and Ana (bass/synth) -and backed by male members Memo (bass/synth), Androv (synth/piano) and Jorge (drums/samples).

The album opens with “You a*****ked my heart” distorted megaphone blasts a monologue about love and addiction (as if they were separate entities, no, as they are). “you a*****ked my heart, you a*****ked my heart, you a*****ked my heart, I RESENT YOU FOR THAT!”

“Motion Picture Dream Boy” is a perfect exemplum of the theatrical nature of the Gran Guignol influenced group from Guadalajara. Promotional video directed by Gamaliel de Santiago Ruvalcaba, a well-known Mexican horror film maker perfectly realizes the visual and conceptual element of the Kantians.

Reflecting on obsession, addiction and other manifestations of what passes for love in the age of propaganda “our delusions” DaK explain, “will keep us alive.” And in lieu of love, is there much more we could really ask for?

“Until The Day We Die”: there’s something literally unsettling in the frequencies alone. Of course, it’s been no secret since the late 1800’s that certain sonic differences in frequency can actual produce literal alterations in our brains frequencies resulting in some instances in altered mood or other states. The melody paints a mise en scene from some dark carnival troupe.

Speaking of calliope’s the dark cabaret vibe is introduced quite strongly in this track, just one of the “elements” shifted and reordered like a Burroughs/Gysin cut-up Perhaps the more imaginative in the audience could conceive of some possible vagabond tribe of faux road entertainers advancing this technology by way of their traveling show’s calliope, though not even I would speculate as to what purposes such might find behind.

“Mother I’m in trouble,” the harried chorus appeals frantically “my marriage is a mess, my marriage is a mess. He wants control, me I want control. Him, he wants control, me I want control.” I picture the first track as that first slight, the initial hairline fracture that eventually leads on to the final break. “Serotonine,” is a stand out track on an album that stands out in whole as well as in its individuals parts. There’s a definite evocation of Sonic Youth and Breeders style classic art-noise rock though the fully fleshed integrity of the group’s palpable and original style manages to hearken to the past while still being wholly original and new.

I’ll admit that there are times it feels like the band is singing directly to me, for example in “Serotonine”: “You’re a narcissistic Pseudointellectual, it’s a complementary narcissism we adore, you think that you’re the special one, you’re not, you’re my design.”

Breakup and loss of love are symbolized beautifully in song through the metaphor of a crime scene. “Someone says it’s growing old, someone says it’s dying, someone’s calling 911 someone says I’m dying” the warning calls before the moment of no return, the emotional crime for which no clemency can be offered. That proverbial last straw that teaches you how much you can take if you didn’t know it the day before. terminally cold. The “multiple stabbings” referenced in the song were most likely in the back and inflicted by both parties if this break up is like many others. The urgent cry for someone to call 911, to “reconstruct the crime scene” is a potent metaphor for that 20/20 hindsight that so often appears clearly after the final straw has been broken in any romantic entanglement. “You are just another drop of blood in this crime scene.”

Reeking of the assembly line suicide swan song of industrialized society, in the age of “the victims of love propaganda” at the base of this album is a storyline of humanity breaking up with its humaneness. Or at least so it appears to this reviewer. Like Frank Zappa, these gals ain’t just rock if it’s rock at all, it’s art, dammit. This is no accident, either, like other glam-punk outfits like Sophe Lux & the Mystic, carefully orchestrated choreography and a supporting stage show is as important to the songs as the lyrics are to the melody.

This is no happenstance, everything about this group is perfectly orchestrated and choreographed. If the album itself soars with an uncanny cohesion thematically and melodically it’s just a testament to this performing art troupe’s dedication to the original Dionysian roots of ritual stage performance, in the vein of the seminal performance art industrial outfits Throbbing Gristle & Psychic TV. Steampunk, classical ballet and other elements meld in the live spell set in their worldwide tour.

As if my words of praise weren’t enough, the dazzlingly talented performers have shared stage with music legends and giants like Sonic Youth, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Melvins and Slayer. Lyrics run from the sickeningly sweet (“If I could be you for a day I would, I’d cuddle with myself all day”) to the macabre (“You are just another drop of blood in this crime scene.”) to the lackadaisical refrain of the last track, which is possibly the most honest thing that can be said in any relationship: “we’ll care until we won’t, I’ll love you until I don’t. often without warning or transition. All in all a beautifully unsettling and fascinatingly disturbing work of art.”

Purchase the album here.

Through the Plastic Screen ep06, Language, Culture, Education & History with Lindo Faelnar

This week it was my absolute pleasure to take part in a long chat with Lino Faelnar from Defenders of Indigenous Languages of the Archipelago. A lawyer, linguistic expert and language preservationist, Lino is also a genuine renaissance man. Our conversation was all over the map, both literally and figuratively as we bounced around from indigenous Filipino languages to the history of Crimea, Suharto and E. Timor, strange coincidences that seem to connect the Vikings to China, the Basque, Celts and the indigenous Melanesians who inhabited the Philippine islands before the Austronesian migrations. From Dr. Charles Tart to linguist Noam Chomsky and concepts like linguistic fascism or intellectual piracy, we covered quite a bit of ground in a little over 2 hours. Endangered languages and cultural genocide to the importance of folk tales and how stories and language affect our window on the world and much more today on through the plastic screen…

Unfortunately this was the last episode of the podcast for a while. I’ll be on hiatus until I can get the cost of the surgery taken care of and recover from that, but once I have that out of the way, already have several amazing guests from artists to best selling authors and ordinary people with extraordinary stories.

Pedogate Primer on How to Kill a Sacred Cow Podcast

Big thanks to Jay Henehan with How to Kill a Sacred Cow podcast for inviting me on the show. We ended up talking about a lot of topics that were tangential to those in the book. I also mentioned some of my current research projects.

If you would like to hear more check out other podcasts and radio shows in the  interview section. You can get your copy of Pedogate Primer: the politcs of pedophilia for Kindle and it is free to read instantly with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. You can also pick up the paperback from Amazon, Barnes & NobleTarget and Powell’s Books and a few other shops worldwide including Australia, Taiwan and Poland. The audiobook, narrated by myself, was also just released at Audible.com. If you’d like a review copy of the audiobook, contact me through the contact form or email at kafkaguy@gmail.com and I’ll send you a promo code.

THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE MYSTERIOUS NYMPHAEA: PART I

Blue Lotus

The blue lotus, (botanical name, Nymphaea caerulea) is a plant shrouded in three millennia of hazy mystery and equal controversy befitting such an intriguing subject. Through years of it’s being venerated and memorialized in art and architecture as much seems to have been hidden as revealed. Like the glorious golden globe, concealed by the field of blue petals  until dawn’s light awakens it to seeming life to beam along with the sun. It’s unique role in the development of medicine, religion and culture wasn’t even begun to be fully unveiled until the 1800’s. It is perhaps here that the beginnings of at least the modern academic controversy hearken back.

lotus

Even it’s nomenclature is at times confused or in dispute. the blue lotus, is in fact, a stylized lily. It’s official name in Latin,  Nymphaea Caerulea, in fact is part of our origin of the word cerulean. Indigo and several other hues of blue may have began in the form of adjectives in Proto-Indo-European. The word indigo, for instance hearkens from “nila” which meant blue (as in the color of the Nile).

The irrigation of the Nile and the early botanical marvel that was stylizing the white lily into the blue lotus are perfect symbols of the growth of civilization out of wilderness. The white lily was an unscented aquatic flower that opened and night and closed at dawn. Early Egyptian botanists were able to, from it’s literal roots create a blue-petaled flower which a strong, sweetly pungent scent that opened it’s blue petals at dawn to expose a yellow center (symbolizing the sun arising from the blue field of the sky daily).

White lily had already been an important plant to the Egyptians and continued to be featured in paintings, but the introduction of the blue lotus began the veneration of a plant that would spread in the years to come from continent to continent, whose mystery over the years would only seem to increase as more puzzle pieces are discovered. Originally, it was assumed the blue lotus was merely an ornamental flower. Egyptians with blue flowers pressed to their mouths and noses was a common sight in many ancient Egyptian portrayals of daily life, history or in religious stelae (slabs of wood or stone used to house  portrayals of things of religious and or historical importance).

Despite the fact that herbalists from as far back as the early document of medicinal history, the Ebers papyrus were using Blue lotus as an addition to recipes there has been heated debate as to whether or not the flower was merely used as ornaments. Up until the mid-1800’s (before George Moritz Ebers discovered the papyrus named after him in Luxor) blue lotus had been considered a mere ornament and any pharmacological use of the plant was considered ridiculous but evidence since then points more and more to the plant being a focal point to the development of religion, culture and yes, even a symbol of the rise of early civilization. From hunters and gatherers we became masters of our environment with basic technologies like irrigation and botany, evidenced in the breeding of these beautiful hybrid flowers that could also be used as medicine. In short, a vitally important step out of the darkness of pre-history.

The blue lotus’ importance to historical and cultural development, religion and medicine wouldn’t end in the sandy shores of the Nile. Nymphaea’s precious nature would prove to continue to play an important role in cultural development, trade and the art of multiple civilizations from it’s mention in Homer’s Odyssey in the portion on the island of the Lotus eaters and it’s resurgence in art of the 19th century when Ebers, Blavatsky and others sparked an interest in this mysteriously, exotic flower.

In our next chapter of the blue lotus saga we’ll continue along in Egypt and learn about the roots of this amazing flower that captivated revenants across the globe in it’s time.

pirates are everywhere! Surrender or Die! mental marauders on the high seas of cyberspace and the ports of your stream of consciousness

pirates are everywhere. it was chomsky quoting the patron saint of brewers st. augustine, who said that the basic difference between pirates and emperors are that pirates have a ship and emperors have an armada.  the notion of piracy to me, in regards to the realm of cyberspace as well as that of “meatspace,” is as intriguing as it is frightening. pirates, like any other selective society have “signals” and “totems” that set them apart from the world at large. the infamous jolly roger, the pirate’s skull and bones, were one of the most well known and feared of the hailing signs of these infamous marauders.the so-called “anonymous” legion of hackers are a great example of modern day pirates sailing the high seas of cyberspace. however, like the pirates of old, there is infighting, treachery, mistrust along with the occasional loose alliance with either some other faction of the mass of miscreants, looters, anti-authoritarians and mercenaries who fly under the same defiant sign.

for instance a group of trolls or torrenters may form occasional uneasy alliances with others flying beneath their flag or, depending on the occasion, the individual’s philosophy or the circumstance, any flag. in place of the jolly roger today we have the guy fawkes mask of 4chan borne meme “epic fail guy” and hearkening back to secret societies with their code words we have terms like “soup” and “i know what you did there.”according to Peter T. Leeson’s essay “Pirational Choice: The Economics of Infamous PiratePractices” (a discussion of “the economics of famous pirate practices” as viewed through the lens of economics and games theory), “Pirates earn their largest payoff when the merchantman doesn’t resist them and they don’t slaughter its crew. Pirates take the target without a costly fight. Further, they contribute to a reputation for kindness to cooperative targets. Pirates earn a smaller payoff if the merchantman surrenders but pirates slaughter its crewmembers anyway. Pirates take the target without a costly fight but they damage their reputation for kindness to cooperative targets. Pirates earn a still smaller payoff if the merchantman resists and they slaughter its crew in response. In this case pirates engage in a costly conflict, but they contribute to a reputation for mercilessness toward uncooperative targets. Pirates earn their smallest payoff if the merchantman resists but pirates ‘wimp out’ and don’t slaughter its crew as punishment. Pirates suffer a costly conflict. Further, they damage their reputation for mercilessness toward resistant targets.”

pirates jolly roger anonymous
Pirates of Penzance, Act I finale, The Jolly Roger raised

the world is a mass of gangs who at the highest levels are, if not in league, at least gentlemanly, or rather, economically shrewd enough to realize that though a bit of healthily blooodthirsty competition coordinated amongst the numerous gangs involved will lead to reputation building within the cadre for the secured thugs in whatever field, be it the security state, organized crime, fraternal secret orders, street gangs, high profile corporations, politicians and various national, political and/or ideological coalitions struggling for a mass of (in the new century) not just market share, but the all important currency of “mind share.” perhaps the rise in interest in the idea of an all-controlling group like “the illuminati” comes from a gestalt arising from the reality of multiple power brokers (pirates) sailing the seas of cyberspace (and from that sea of cyberspace often directly through multiple varied streams of consciousness) in a sort of collusion as they cast lots over the contents of our psyches via shared symbols and manipulation of fears and aspirations of sub-groups of the populace.

mind share, if you weren’t familiar, is a creepy bit of marketing/advertising terminology that’s about as nefarious as it sounds. Instead of being all focused on controlling the market share and amassing purely material capital, we’ve entered an age where having a greater “mind share” is preferable to market share, i.e. Pepsi Cola has a narrowly smaller market share worldwide and is actually making greater gains as of last fiscal season* compared to Coca Cola which has a respectable but not commanding lead in shares and net revenue. However as per mind share, Coca Cola wins hands down. in short, they’re not merely after our wallets anymore, now they want our heads and hearts.

here’s how this works: what bandage company has the largest mind share? Band-aid brand. what flavored gelatin producer has the most share in the collective consumer mind? Jell-o, and like these three previously mentioned classics, Coca Cola is also practically eponymous as the prototypical and quintessential eponymous cola product. being from small town tennessee i’m fairly used to hearing folks ask for a “coke” when they could be requesting anything from a dr pepper to a sprite or a root beer.

“Pirates earn their largest payoff when the merchantman doesn’t resist them and they don’t slaughter its crew. Pirates take the target without a costly fight. Further, they contribute to a reputation for kindness to cooperative targets. Pirates earn a smaller payoff if the merchantman surrenders but pirates slaughter its crewmembers anyway. Pirates take the target without a costly fight but they damage their reputation for kindness to cooperative targets. Pirates earn a still smaller payoff if the merchantman resists and they slaughter its crew in response. In this case pirates engage in a costly conflict, but they contribute to a reputation for mercilessness toward uncooperative targets. Pirates earn their smallest payoff if the merchantman resists but pirates ‘wimp out’ and don’t slaughter its crew as punishment. Pirates suffer a costly conflict. Further, they damage their reputation for mercilessness toward resistant targets.”

the Net is a Sea loaded with gold including a new currency for the new millennium. bullion, here at the beginning of the first quarter of the new century in this new millennial age, is still the “gold standard” for wealth, but info brokering for the purposes of consumer research, trend forecasting, predictive analytics within the realm of the burgeoning field of data mining (there’s gold in them thar’ algorithms). “big data”  may soon keep pace with the “dinosaurs” of the petrofueled “big oil” In addition with the revolutions in communications, as web3.0 (UbikWeb as I call it, as it will be practically ubiquitous within and without of the home) is rolled out, there appears before us a wireless wonderland for the “users” to gladly offer up their personalities to be profiled and comparatively analyzed alongside the larger field of their surrounding culture.

The the world of UbikWeb is one where Isaac Aasimov’s fictional science of “Psychohistory” which melded history, psychology and statistics to predict overall patterns in populations is becoming closer to a reality. The the basic idea is that, for instance, one can’t perfectly predict the behavior of a single helium molecule outside of a vacuum, but the general movement of a helium gas cloud could be fairly well foreseen. which brings us to predictive analytics, the boon of “big data.” that is the holy grail for social media marketers, media moguls, law enforcement and government agents. The the trend for law enforcement to use “fusion centers” for “receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information between the federal government and state, local, tribal, territorial (SLTT) and private sector partners” is an example of the department of homeland security’s utilization of this new field. this was supposedly what “strategic forecasting” aka “stratfor” was aiming towards. using predictive software and commercial mass surveillance (which is a multi-billion dollar industry) before being exposed by “hacktivists,” speaking once again of our aforementioned modern day pirates the “anonymous” hacker gang. this technology and it’s use aren’t going away any time soon, the payoffs are too great for those involved. besides, in a society that’s “amusing ourselves to death” in the words of neil postman, eventually leading towards “descent into computer aided unconsciousness and consumer fascism” as NYU’s Douglas Rushkoff (author of 1995’s “media virus” one of the first book length works to tackle the topic of viral media) puts it, and it seems as if we may be heading right there into a world where our every move and public comment are cataloged and scrutinized in order to influence and predict our future thoughts and
behaviors.

Surrender or Die, was the cry of the ( mostly unrelated excepting their mutual use of the fear inspiring emblem of the skull and crossbones) black legions who branded themselves as mercenaries to be dealt with on their terms, or suffer dire consequences. similarly today big banks, multimedia institutions, corporations, governments and others are amassing, hoarding and hiding the treasure troves of what cnbc has called “the sexiest job of the 21st century”  and one of the most in demand fields to work in. surrender or die, is the cry of the varying groups who would like to control data, influence future trends and most effectively engage in civilian perception management  as mapped out in the 90’s air force document “new world vistas” . see also cass sunnstein, (author of “on rumours” and formerly of the “office of information and regulatory affairs”) a proponent of Infiltrative Disinformation Tactics termed “cognitive infiltration” in regards to the growing community of “truthers,” “alex jonesians” and other subscribers to any but the “official story” that’s been standardized, broadcast and purposefully doctored and formulated for a specific behavioural outcome within the desired target “belief-network.” considering his viewpoints on the use of disinformation tactics to weaken from within and discredit from without numerous alternatives to the neatly packaged bit of over-processed gruel that passes for “fact” in the mainstream media as well as the academic institutions. now,, maybe i’m just crass and i know i have a tendency to be paranoid but this strikes me as eerily similar to the model of orwell’s “ministry of truth.”

Alex Jones Infowars Hoffman Lenses they live
Hoffman lenses ftw

as the world becomes more and more standardized and we’re bombarded with more and more simulations of reality in what was already a hyperreal plastic simulacra, the smoke and mirror sideshow illusion that keeps the emperor looking clothed. taste tribes growing up around “lifestyle” brands creating convenient pigeon-hole niches to choose from any number of pre-approved and prefabricated lifestyles with accompanying uniform, mores, culture, ideals, etc. who needs a personality these days when there are so many being sold right off the rack and from such a variety of sub-genres of the massive mono-culture in it’s prismatic incarnation. the real is becoming less real. Ron Sukenick, in his novel “out,” describes the situation as being like a billboard obscuring the mountains with a billboard proudly proclaiming: “come see the mountains.”

surrender or die, cry the hordes poised upon their black binary galleons. collecting, analyzing and modifying information then regurgitating it as specifically altered pablum designed for a specific response from the various target behavioral groups and by controlling the “good data,” i.e. the truly valuable mass of information from an increasingly growing number of sources in the age of UbikWeb where a neo-luddite can’t stand a chance these days in a world where even job applications and more are often required to be filled out online. pirates are everywhere and these days may be as significant in the coming years as they were in the days of dreaded privateers. they’re still out for your head, this time they won’t take it with a cutlass but wiith the voluntarily offered information you feed to the ever hungry data banks of the “big data” mines, whose mines may one day outovulate the oil fields, diamond and gold mines that have been the kingmakers in the millennium prior.

and as for advice from your soapbox climbing evangelist? don’t lose your head.

*this article was initially written/completed circa March/April 2014.

Interview with artist/motivational speaker Shane Watson About Silverladder

Recently, long time friend and art compatriot Shane Watson reached out with me to share this video from Brazil. A YouTuber with a half million subscribers had created a nearly half hour video about the history of the Silverladder, including the early badscaryplace days where I first began correspondence with Shane. After years of writing back and forth and publishing an interview with Shane online I was once asked out of the blue if I’d be willing to take part in a sort of dada/surrealist interactive art project borrowing from Alternate Reality Game (ARG) culture. The catch? I’d be interacting with Shane’s alter ego as Shane would be dead “in the game.”

Codebreaking, steganography, interacting with “characters” from the bit of chaotic fiction we were taking part in were all big parts of the Silverladder experience but most important honestly were the connections we made, the genuine community that sprung up. After years of voice chat, emails and chat rooms it didn’t even seem that bizarre when several of us would meet in Phoenix to hang out with Shane for the weekend of November 11. (11/11 was one of several overarching “themes” that Silverladder played with).

As for exactly what Silverladder is, that’s a hard one to answer. This YouTuber actually does a pretty decent job, especially doing so from after the fact. Deconstructing the “internet mystery” as it were. I even show up briefly in some footage of the SL get together around a decade ago. If you want to check out the video below, you can click on closed captions, go to options and switch from Portugese to auto-translate and the auto-generated translation is pretty easy to understand from there. I’m also sharing here my interview with Shane below.

The following interview was conducted by freelance journalist and long-time Bad Scary Place fan Philip Fairbanks in 2004.

Philip Fairbanks: What was your inspiration for creating this? Don’t just tell me you liked Burroughs/Gysin cutups either. I’m talking about the elusive “theme,” which is quite well developed.

Shane Watson: The inspirations for the BSP are extremely varied. It began a few years back when my cousin Trey showed me a particularly surreal site on the internet. Trey has introduced me to lots of good things over the years, such as the bands Ween and Built To Spill, but I digress. He sat me down at a computer at my aunt’s house and said, “Here, check this out.” I started clicking. It was unlike anything I had seen on the internet, because up to that point, the sites I had dealt with were very straightforward and quite linear in nature. It made perfect sense to me, though.

In real life I can be a somewhat quirky, eclectic person. Although up to that point, my website hadn’t reflected that about me at all. While having *some* artistic flourishes and bizarre moments here and there, my site was pretty, well… normal. Whatever this odd site was, it got me thinking about what I hadn’t done with my site yet, and what parts of my ability to create hadn’t been unleashed on my site.

This soon mixed in with several other factors:

1. As a kid, I was a huge fan of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book series, which you may or may not be familiar with. They give you options, and rather than being a linear (there we go with that word again) story, you come to certain pages where you get to make a choice. Based on which choice you select, you are instructed to turn to a particular page. Your choices then affect the outcome of the story.

2. While in high school, I picked up a CD called “Telecommunication Breakdown” by a losely-formed “band” (more of an art project, really) called EBN (“Emergency Broadcast Network”). The CD used a heavy amount of television samples within the music, including political speeches cut up and re-arranged in such a manner as to make it sound like people such as George Bush (Sr.) were saying things like “We will rock you.” The CD also came with some Quicktime movies that were quick-cut collages of all kinds of various TV broadcasts, movie clips, war footage, home shopping channels, self-help videos, etc. It was like a 200-channel assault of the emptiness of TV over an industrial music background. The album and the accompanying videos had a very big impact on me at the time. This group actually went on to produce the video walls for U2’s “Zoo TV” tour.

3. Other factors and influences may include game shows, the movie “Fight Club”, the movie “12 Monkeys”, Japanese pop culture, William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, Las Vegas, televangelists, lucid dreaming, the constant bombardment of media from all directions, the evolution of people into consumers, psychedelia, advertising, cryptic shortwave radio broadcasts (“numbers stations”), police scanner transmissions, technology, disco balls, strobe lights, smoke machines, red wine, good beer, The “Mind’s Eye” animation series, conspiracy theories, abnormal psychology (that would be a big one), DADA, surrealism, M.C. Escher, Salvador Dali, and the music of Ween, Radiohead, David Sylvian, Holger Czukay, Robert Fripp, Trance Induction, Flaming Lips, Alice In Chains, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Air, Bjork, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and COUNTLESS jazz and ambient music artists.

Anyway, these (and other) influences all eventually converged in my mind and led me to start what was the precursor to the BSP. While I DID have Silver Ladder Studios up on the internet at the time, I decided to make this a side project site, not affiliated with SLS. Therefore, I went and opened a cheesy little Geocities site, with pop-ups and all. The original version of the BSP wasn’t even called the Bad Scary Place, in fact it didn’t have a title. It didn’t get very big, maybe 20-25 pages deep, before I started slacking on it and quit making progress. However, not long after, the e-mail address I had listed on the Geocities site (accessed by site visitors via a picture of a bomb and the text “send me threats”) started getting hit with e-mails from people who somehow had run across the site. It was strange because I hadn’t advertised the site or submitted it to search engines or anything. But these people were e-mailing and saying how much they liked the site. Making a long story longer, I soon scrapped the Geocities site and put a re-direct link up on the Geocities page to send people to the new site within Silver Ladder Studios. I trashed all of the original pages (which I now sometimes wish I had held on to) and started from scratch.

The name Bad Scary Place comes from the type of terminology that a child might use. The use of the words “bad” and “scary” (both being quite simple and somewhat similar) right after each other gives it this kind of wide-eyed innocent naive kind of sound. It’s really more of a reference to a closet with a monster in it or something frightening outside the window than it is an actual reference to the site being scary or something. It never really was intended to be flat-out scary or anything. Some people still fail to understand that. Even if it WAS scary, anything that is SUPPOSED to be frightening that refers to itself as such is just plain cheesy. Not my style. Little known fact: I have often entertained the idea of ditching the name Bad Scary Place and renaming the site “The Umbrella Graveyard.” However, now that the site has caught on so much and refers to itself in SO many places as the BSP, it’s a little too late now. Who knows though, the Umbrella Graveyard may very well become a subdimension of the BSP, just like Menthol Tunnels (ever been there?).

As far as the “theme,” well, you’re correct about there being an underlying “story” beneath the bizarre surface of the BSP. The story is first-person. YOU (whoever is clicking through the site) are the main character, though I never formally explain that because doing so would be tacky and clunky and corny. However, while you are the star, Morris the mailman is the catalyst. Morris the mailman was *originally* Morris the milkman, who came from an old 4-track song I did in high school. The song, “Charlie Jones” was on a little underground cassette release that I distributed within my school, and Charlie’s wife runs off with Morris the milkman in the song. Interestingly enough, the tape (“Underground Noise Museum” – referring to being PHYSICALLY underground, not referring to being “too cool” for the mainstream or some nonsense) had a liner-note booklet (on standard 8.5×11″ paper) that came with it… much of the artwork from those liner notes is now in the BSP (i.e. the black and white picture on this page, the picture of someone shooting up on this pagethis image, which is the background for a BSP page, etc.). I can’t go too in-depth about the plot of the whole deal, but (as you may have discovered on a later page) it involves Morris slipping some kind of substance into your drink at a company party (held in a courtyard) and you waking up elsewhere. What else has happened in the mean time? What WILL happen coming up? That remains to be seen or may already be defined somewhere, somehow within the BSP. Some “chapters” of the story are much more literal than others. Some segments may be completely in metaphor and based in images rather than text.

Read the rest at Silverladder.

It’s Not Easy Being Vegan

Back in 2015 I embarked on a little experiment to see what it was like trying to transition to a completely plant based diet. What I found out was, it’s not that easy in a lot of ways. Animal products are so prevalent it’s really surprising how many foods you wouldn’t even expect to not be vegan-friendly that aren’t. Eating mostly raw, plant-based meals for a few months however was great to my stomach and even after the experiment ran its course, I ended up sticking with a mostly plant-based diet for around a year, year and a half or so… until that fateful day I fell off the wagon having a sausage biscuit with my dad. Yup, turns out just like any other addiction, once you relapse into eating meat and highly processed foods it’s really easy to stay off the wagon from then on. By the way, this article was inspired by the ethnobotanicals, medical herbs, premium spices and organic food vendor Eternally Herbal who I definitely would recommend!

Vegan like me: Part I

Chapter 1: “What happens when a meat & dairy loving dude attempts to “go vegan” for 60 days?”


WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2015

“Goodbye, meat and dairy…”

I mean how hard could it be, rite?

As soon as I wake up, early. Earlier than I had expected and two and a half hours before my first alarm (you know, the one you set to snooze the first 45 foggy minutes of the morning?) goes off. Even with the heady weight of early morning sleep fogging the ol’ gray matter, I am already beginning to doubt last night’s resolution. Maybe I was just up too late? Delirious from the past month’s work overload? Just an inevitable eventuality to the slow but steady increasing immersion into my (over a decade in the works) “all natural/herbal” kick?

Perhaps. And Perhaps a mixture of all those factors and inspiration owed to Paige, the resident vegan here at Eternally Herbal and my and Eternally Herbal new friend, vegan model, the lovely Dani Bre (who coincidentally I discovered, once again, through Paige here at EH).

Last night I had a steak. Tastiest steak I’d had all year, or a calendar year marked from yesterday. (Albeit one of two total steaks I’ve had in said calendar year). Fitting send off, I suppose before I begin this adventure. I can’t help but be reminded of the zen koan about the two Buddhist monks traveling. A woman is standing at a bank unable to cross, one monk lifts her up and carries her across the river despite the religious injunction against any contact with members of the opposite sex.

The next day, the other zazen practitioner looks at his companion, puzzled and upset:
“I still cannot believe you broke our oath by touching that woman, even going so far as to hold her, carry her across that wide and treacherous stream.”

“I left her there at the other side, my brother. It is you now, who carry her still, in your mind.”
Chew on that as I consider how I still carry that steak in my mind’s belly…

****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

This won’t be too bad though, I’m thinking (bright and bushy-tailed now, after a shower). I’ll start with my usual anyway, the veggie sub at Subway next door to the Inn I’m currently posted up at. Drat, they’re still closed. I thought they served breakfast. How can you serve breakfast and not open before 8? Ok, ok, that’s fine, we’ll have one last send off then. A sausage and egg burrito (as non-vegan as it gets without bacon involved, gang) is my (gulp) final non-vegan meal of the day.
At least they’ve got that tasty veggie burger here at Burger King I can… Wait, you’re telling me Morningstar uses milk and dairy products in their veggie burger? This is going to be a challenge. I like Morningstar, personally prefer them to Boca, but maybe that’s just cause the first veggie patty I loved was the black bean and corn burger from MS, but does this mean even a lot of vegetarian products are taboo when you go the whole vegan? Guess so. Well, good thing I’ve got a handful of friends who’ve already gone vegan to refer to with advice. Not to mention a whole mess of nice vegetable proteins, seeds and smoothie mixers coming from Eternally Herbal soon…

“Mmmmmmmm, guacamole.”

SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2015

Chapter 2: It’s not easy being vegan

It’s not easy being vegan…

It’s the little things. I’m becoming totally used to having to check “the instructions” as I’m beginning to call them,. the nutrition information, to make sure there’s no animal products or by-products in anything. But there’s so many in so much that you wouldn’t consider. No dairy products, I think. Ha, I’m fine without poultry or dairy. I’m not a huge fan of milk or chicken and it’s not like I eat eggs often. 

Oh wait, you mean even if it just HAS eggs or milk in it it’s not allowed. This is where I notice that being strictly vegan is going to be a challenge. Vegetarian is easy. I’ve done that a time or twenty for a week or 40 at a time, but no ice cream, no cheese, no chocolate… Wait, they make vegan chocolate. Come to think of it, I’m more of a dark chocolate man than a milk chocolate fan anyway. 

Then it hits me again, that it’s not only grilling season, but that I’m coming up on one of the most important grilling weekends in all of Summer. And me gone, vegan… Oh well, I’m beginning to become accustomed to guacamole instead of the veggie patty at Subway and avocados and bananas and nuts keep me grazing but full and there’s something refreshing about those vegetable burps. It almost feels like there’s so much freshness and nutrition it just has to burst out and announce itself. 

It’s not until well into the third day that I experience my first temptation. I’m riding with my friends we’re in the drive-thru for Krystal’s, Tennessee’s version of White Castle, basically White Castle with more lard. The smell as we approach is nearly overpowering, but I’m remaining strong. I try to distract myself. I think about what a great scene this will be, my first major temptation and how I still stand strong. My friend orders a sack of 24 freshly steamed Krystals. They’re packed in this box that traps the steam and grease and beef and lard smell in and I’m still fine. 

And then she rolls the windows up. I am engulfed with the smell of my favorite gut-bombs in all the world. Let me explain, I used to work at Krystal’s. I don’t know if it’s some secret in the lard that causes habituation to it (I’ve heard similar things about bacon, don’t laugh, it could be true!) but I found that when I worked there and ate there daily I would occasionally have a craving come over me and the more I ate them the more often the cravings would come. 

So here I am, feeling trapped and trying to stay strong. I don’t say a word. Then as my friend is doling out burgers it hits her and she apologizes. 

“It’s ok. It’s great for the story…”

****************************************************************************

And so, it’s time for a quick snack since burgers are out of the way. I grab one of those gummy chewy candy things that have the “real fruit juice” in them that I convince myself are healthy when I want candy but won’t let myself. Oh boy, these things are great and they’re fruit and stuff, definitely could not have been made from any animals. But wait, “check the instructions first” I remind myself. Flip over the bag and read through the list, corn syrup, yuck, ok, ok, and… I knew it. Too good to be true, it’s chewy, it’s gummy, it’s HORSE HOOVES. Bahh, so no gelatin either, didn’t think that’d be a problem. I don’t like Jell-o, but anything gummy? Hmmmm, jujubes are ok. So at least I know one candy that’ll be safe next time I go to the movies. 
Which begs the question, is movie theater popcorn butter really even considered butter? Guess will have to research that one too… Despite a few false starts at the beginning and a tense moment or two, so far this whole thing seems like it’s actually going to be ok. Must admit, there is a release of tension on the stomach and a bit more pep in my step. Thank goodness for the Eternally Herbal dried goji berries and dragonfruit. I’ll admit, the dragonfruit scared me at first, it’s dried flesh does resemble, more than a tiny tad, the scales of some mythical beast, but they taste great. I’m betting in a tropical trail mix with the right combination of nuts these would make a great tasting and super-healthy snack. 

“It really does look like a dragon’s skin!”In between the new diet and plenty of items from Eternally Herbals Clean and Detoxify section, I’m anxious to see how this does feel after another full week or two. But Memorial day weekend is poking it’s head right around the corner. Best bet just may be to stay indoors the whole weekend and away from the wafting scents of barbecue and steaks and burgers and pork chops. We’ll see…