Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Kooks in my life


Without any exaggeration I can honestly say the biggest influences on my life and my personal perspective on the world as a whole has come from the various kooks and cranks who are often ridiculed by the world at large. 



The spiritual leaders, artists, philosophers, etc., who shaped me and my mind are usually the butt of many jokes at their expense because most people are just "too normal" to understand anything beyond their own reasoning. 


The book "Kooks", by Donna Kossy (pictured far below) has Ruth E. Norman on the cover, who was famous in her day as the "space granny" Archangel URIEL (Universal Radiant Infinite Eternal Light). As URIEL, Ruth led the Unarius Academy of Science through a renaissance period where they channeled and wrote numerous books on spirituality, science, philosophy, the arts, self-improvement and healing. And the festivals and artwork created under her tutelage was absolutely wonderful. Two years ago I was fortunate enough to visit the Unarius Academy of Science and I was given such a great tour. Some of the best art, I feel, is created when you don't have all the necessary parts you need to construct what's in your mind; limitations force imagination to work harder. 

The costumes, props, models, etc., put together by the students at Unarius blew my mind. I love Unarius, URIEL, and all the students. I admire them because they were brave enough to be different, and I respect them as artists. So for the "Kooks" cover to have URIEL on it, if feel, is a bit too exploitative of a loving and good-natured woman.  There are ill-intentioned organizations in the book that I feel would be better represented as a "kook".


But this train of though I don't feel is too uncommon for those who are a member of the Church of the SubGenius. Although I can't say this is true for every card-carrying member, but I'd say there's a sense of admiration for anyone who goes against the grain. Oh sure we make fun of assholes who take advantage and who hurt other peoples for the sake of gain, but there are other socalled kooks who deserve our admiration and respect.

Reverend Ivan Stang often cites Stanislav Szukalski as the greatest kook of all-time because of his work on his homemade science, Zermatism, as well as his beautiful artwork which was mostly lost during WWII. There's something inspirational about someone who puts 100% into something they want, especially a belief system and the arts, that truly opens my mind to what the possibilities of the world could be in some sense. 

ANYWAY, that was a longwinded way for me to say I was digging through my books and found my SubGenius collection, as well as "Kooks". I guess it all just got me thinking about why I enjoy the things I do. I'm just always trying to figure out what lurks under my admiration for the offbeats, and I guess I found a certain root cause.



Monday, January 29, 2018

Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy


"Batman & Robin" is a pretty unforgettable and unforgivable shit film. Aside from some beautiful costume and set design, it isn't worth watching at all. Unfortuneately for me though, I do return to it sometimes because it has one of my all-time Hollywood crushes in it as one of my favorite Batman villains. I'm not certain if I could consider her miscast, or cast too well, for this film, but Uma Thurman's over-the-top performance really makes this movie shine a bit for me. I never saw Poison Ivy as a "glamor girl" like how she was portrayed in this movie, but it works given the cheesy atmosphere that was presented. 






And a special not has to be said for my favorite film version of Bane. Without a trace of irony I can honestly say I adore his sort of "toxic BDSM" spiked look with the greenish-yellow skin with disgusting black veins like he's filled to bursting with poison, the various tubes connected to a chest centered push button with a fallout symbol on it, and the near comic accurate mask that was given a strange breathing vent. It's a shame he was used as a lackey for Poison Ivy. I mean really, Bane had the best look out of any character in the film and I don't think he had a decent fight scene at all. Relegated to single word responses and being defeated by Robin and Batgirl; what a tragedy.



Friday, January 26, 2018

David Liebe Hart - "I'm not a hoarder, I'm a collector!"


I love collecting toys. Mostly old used action figures, and little figures of monsters. And don't get me started on my Godzilla collection. I sometimes wonder if my collecting has gone too far, and it really does get me down. Because it's not just the toys, I also have a huge collection of books and DVD's. My apartment is basically a series of disorganized boxes.

David Liebe Hart (DLH) has recently created a wonderful anthem for folks like me. Apparantly, DLH is a collector as well, and has felt the same way I do now. What if I'm just hoarding? NO! I'm a collector! Not a hoarder! 


Take these words to heart, and continue collecting without fear or guilt. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Astro-Zombies is a woefully underappreciated series of movies



It's difficult for me to express how much I adore the "Astro-Zombies" films from Ted V. Mikels. Oh sure, the original "Astro-Zombies" is a definite cult classic and is favored by so many longtime fans, but there's something about the newer crop of Astro-Zombies that really captures my heart. 

Ted. V. Mickels is a legend in grindhouse filmmaking, and his movies always have a particular style to them. His older films have a sort of grit that you can only really feel when watching movies on film, while digital filming make his movies look so much more polished. I'm not sure which I prefer because both have their merits. I think though, these newer Astro-Zombie movies have a higher degree of imagination to them. They feel like comic book movies to me. 



Ted V. Mikels (TVN) and I exchanged a few emails before his passing. It was a real big shock when I found out  that he had passed away, but I'm glad that I at least got to say hello to him through email before then. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

"The Room" at Sunshine Cinemas before their final day


The Sunshine theater on Houston Street is closing down. The building has apparently been there 180 years, but it's being torn down for luxury apartments or something really shitty like that. I've walked by the theater all my life but I've never once entered it. I'm not much of a movie-goer; I only a few  times a year and it's usually to a superhero or a monster movie. 

The problem with the Sunshine, as far as I've read, is that they do good business, but it wasn't enough to pay the costs of existing in Lower Manhattan which is currently going through a overhaul. Out with the old, and in with the new. Basically, we're all being forced out of our homes so that rich business folk can move in. 

But the important thing is, I finally saw a movie at the Sunshine, this morning at midnight. It's a shame it had to be "The Room" though, the current midnight movie trend. The movie is fine actually, it's really likable, and I look forward to Tommy Wiseau's future films, but I always thought of midnight movies as creature features not dramas. Oh well, either way it was a fun time. Lots of spoons were thrown, and words shouted. 


 And a million thanks to my best pal who surprised me with a ticket. We were hoping that Tommy himself would be there to impart wisdom to us, but sadly, he was at another event out in California. I hope I get to meet Tommy Wiseau some day, he seems like an interesting guy. He's really a genius at promoting himself as a "cult of personality" and highlighting the stuff that "The Room" fans ("Roomies"???) like best about him and his work. 



Here's one of the trailers shown during the midnight screening of "The Room". I unironically want to see this film, the premise looks pretty interesting. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

H.P. Lovecraft Mashed up with Billy Joel! It's the mash up I never knew I wanted!



I saw an article last night about how a specific poem by H.P. Lovecraft fit to the tune of Billy Joel's "Piano Man" almost perfectly, and on twitter an artist by the handle of "Julianvelard" had uploaded this mashup onto Souncloud. Needless to say, it's absolutely lovely. The poem was "Nemesis", and although Julianvelard had to remove a line or two to make it fit, I'd stay he still did an excellent job. 


Nemesis
By H. P. Lovecraft

      Thro’ the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
          Past the wan-moon’d abysses of night,
     I have liv’d o’er my lives without number,
          I have sounded all things with my sight;
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.

     I have whirl’d with the earth at the dawning,
          When the sky was a vaporous flame;
     I have seen the dark universe yawning,
          Where the black planets roll without aim;
Where they roll in their horror unheeded, without knowledge or lustre or name.

     I had drifted o’er seas without ending,
          Under sinister grey-clouded skies
     That the many-fork’d lightning is rending,
          That resound with hysterical cries;
With the moans of invisible daemons that out of the green waters rise.

     I have plung’d like a deer thro’ the arches
          Of the hoary primordial grove,
     Where the oaks feel the presence that marches
          And stalks on where no spirit dares rove;
And I flee from a thing that surrounds me, and leers thro’ dead branches above.

     I have stumbled by cave-ridden mountains
          That rise barren and bleak from the plain,
     I have drunk of the fog-foetid fountains
          That ooze down to the marsh and the main;
And in hot cursed tarns I have seen things I care not to gaze on again.

     I have scann’d the vast ivy-clad palace,
          I have trod its untenanted hall,
     Where the moon writhing up from the valleys
          Shews the tapestried things on the wall;
Strange figures discordantly woven, which I cannot endure to recall.

     I have peer’d from the casement in wonder
          At the mouldering meadows around,
     At the many-roof’d village laid under
          The curse of a grave-girdled ground;
And from rows of white urn-carven marble I listen intently for sound.

     I have haunted the tombs of the ages,
          I have flown on the pinions of fear
     Where the smoke-belching Erebus rages,
          Where the jokulls loom snow-clad and drear:
And in realms where the sun of the desert consumes what it never can cheer.

     I was old when the Pharaohs first mounted
          The jewel-deck’d throne by the Nile;
     I was old in those epochs uncounted
          When I, and I only, was vile;
And Man, yet untainted and happy, dwelt in bliss on the far Arctic isle.

     Oh, great was the sin of my spirit,
          And great is the reach of its doom;
     Not the pity of Heaven can cheer it,
          Nor can respite be found in the tomb:
Down the infinite aeons come beating the wings of unmerciful gloom.

     Thro’ the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
          Past the wan-moon’d abysses of night,
     I have liv’d o’er my lives without number,
          I have sounded all things with my sight;
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.



Friday, January 19, 2018

Because, Sasami


My favorite anime of all time is "Cyberteam in Akihabara", followed by "Ranma 1/2", "Dragon Ball", and a few others. My favorite anime character on the other hand is Sasami from the "Tenchi! Muyo" series. "Tenchi!" has a long and twisted history, but to some it up, it is all in canon because the basis of the series from what I can remember is about four cosmic deities who want to experience the extent of human life and possibility. Don't quote me though, it's been twenty years since I've seen the OVA's or any of the original series. 

Sasami stands out though as her influence on my life far exceeded the impact of "Tenchi!" in all aspects. Sasami, to me, is the titular heroine, with a simple iconic look, and an origin that was both surprising and beautiful. Even in her various spin-off series I found her to be a strong character who really didn't need any of the other characters from the original "Tenchi!" at all; she shines bright with or without them.


It's a shame there wasn't any decent merch based on the series from my youth at the time, I would have loved a beautiful figure of Sasami to display on my shelf. We did get a set of figures from Mcfarlane Toys, but they were mostly terrible, and weren't the same quality as their other more popular lines. I mean of course I have the Sasami figure, but that's because it's the ONLY figure available to me. If there was a better one I'd hunt it down for sure and it'd probably be the centerpiece of my collection. 

I could ramble on for hours about Sasami and not really say anything though. I need to revisit the original "Tenchi!" series someday as I've put so much more focus on the various Sasami-based spin-off series instead. Sasami's true origins are better spelled out in the original series and they really shouldn't be ignored. 















Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Happy Religious Freedom Day, apparently


I had no idea this was even an acknowledged event, but it is apparently. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but like anything else, I can only feel distrust for our government. Trump's proclamation is both beautiful and insidious to me, but I can't place why exactly. 

Religious freedom is of course important, but I'm against most forms of institutionalized religious corporations (like the Vatican for example), or extremist groups (take your pick). The dispensation of religious values and philosophy is a lost art, and most spiritual leaders are too focused on their bottom dollar than they are of how they're steering the minds and hearts of their congregations. 

I'm not even sure this should be a recognized "holiday" or whatever this is, unless it'll give me a day off from work that is. The whole thing just seems a bit too zealous for me to appreciate. As I've stated again and again, and will continue to state, the religious life is a personal and private one. I sort of feel like "celebrating" it in this way puts too much focus on an aspect of personal life that should not be paraded around but public officials to appease their constituents.

But hey, maybe I'm being a poor sport about all this, and maybe this is a perfectly okay and dandy things to celebrate. I mean, what the hell do I know, right?

Read the proclamation below and judge for yourself. 

Proclamation transcript I found via: LifeStream
Other Interesting Links: 


RELIGIOUS FREEDOM DAY, 2018

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

"Faith is embedded in the history, spirit, and soul of our Nation.  On Religious Freedom Day, we celebrate the many faiths that make up our country, and we commemorate the 232nd anniversary of the passing of a State law that has shaped and secured our cherished legacy of religious liberty. 

Our forefathers, seeking refuge from religious persecution, believed in the eternal truth that freedom is not a gift from the government, but a sacred right from Almighty God.  On the coattails of the American Revolution, on January 16, 1786, the Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom.  This seminal bill, penned by Thomas Jefferson, states that, "all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."  Five years later, these principles served as the inspiration for the First Amendment, which affirms our right to choose and exercise faith without government coercion or reprisal. 

Today, Americans from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds remain steadfast in a commitment to the inherent values of faith, honesty, integrity, and patriotism.  Our Constitution and laws guarantee Americans the right not just to believe as they see fit, but to freely exercise their religion.  Unfortunately, not all have recognized the importance of religious freedom, whether by threatening tax consequences for particular forms of religious speech, or forcing people to comply with laws that violate their core religious beliefs without sufficient justification.  These incursions, little by little, can destroy the fundamental freedom underlying our democracy.  Therefore, soon after taking office, I addressed these issues in an Executive Order that helps ensure Americans are able to follow their consciences without undue Government interference and the Department of Justice has issued guidance to Federal agencies regarding their compliance with laws that protect religious freedom.  No American -- whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner -- should be forced to choose between the tenants of faith or adherence to the law.  

The United States is also the paramount champion for religious freedom around the world, because we do not believe that conscience rights are only for Americans.  We will continue to condemn and combat extremism, terrorism, and violence against people of faith, including genocide waged by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria against Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims.  We will be undeterred in our commitment to monitor religious persecution and implement policies that promote religious freedom.  Through these efforts, we strive for the day when people of all faiths can follow their hearts and worship according to their consciences.  

The free exercise of religion is a source of personal and national stability, and its preservation is essential to protecting human dignity.  Religious diversity strengthens our communities and promotes tolerance, respect, understanding, and equality.  Faith breathes life and hope into our world.  We must diligently guard, preserve, and cherish this unalienable right.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 16, 2018, as Religious Freedom Day.  I call on all Americans to commemorate this day with events and activities that remind us of our shared heritage of religious liberty and teach us to secure this blessing both at home and abroad.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second."

Drowning my woes in 1990's fansites


Like Popeye, I feel pretty bad, but at least I look better than I usually do. My hair is shorter and easier to manage, and I'm starting to lose the weight I gained over the holiday season. It's been a slow shuffle to start this year. Only 16 days in and I feel like I've been drowning in my own misanthropy. 

I'm trying to stay positive though, and relax my mind so I can focus on the important stuff. Recently I've started smoking mugwart, a legal herb that is suppose to offer some benefits during sleep, but also help relax the body. It tastes no different than tobacco, but I'm not expert. I do feel it's smoother than pipe tobacco though, and it leaves my apartment smelling rather aromatic like I've been burning incense. 

Another aspect about of my positivism are my hobbies. Generally, I collect action figures and books, but my finances are tight right now, so I've decided to shift all of that obsessive energy into reconnecting with my other hobbies; namely watching obscure old cartoons and anime. 


And although I haven't had much time lately to watch any anime, I've found myself digging through more and more archaic fansites and character shrines from the 1990's. Last year I created my own, soley based on Sasami from the long-running "Tenchi" series, but I feel like putting together a much larger site to dedicate to my favorite anime character of all time. Maybe I'll just take what I've already created and reestablish it on a web-hosting site that provides more than a few measly MB of memory. Angelfire isn't as powerful as it once was; maybe I'll try Tripod next. 

I don't have a plan just yet, but I've been carrying a notebook around and jotting down ideas. I hope to have something up by the summer. 

I wonder if I have to learn HTML... 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Current Read: "Without the Bands", by Darrell B. Cobb


So I don't normally read novels, but this one is different. It's a novel that is about the SubGenius mythos, in a sense anyway. I don't believe this is an official release by the SubGenius Foundation, which makes it even more interesting. 

The story is about a strange salesman named John Robert Dobbs and  the events that transpire after his wife, Connie, and his daughter Carrie, are killed in a fire at their home. Bob returns home and is mostly unaffected by it all, and now lives in a tent on the property where his house used to be. Some SubGenii have taken noticed though that this man named J.R. Dobbs, with a wife named Connie, looks like the spitting image of the smiling Dobbshead that represents "Bob" in all Church of the SubGenius materials. What makes things even more interesting is that Bob has a strange neurological disorder that allows him to transverse multiple dimensions and see beings from different time periods at nearly all times. 

So is Bob Dobbs actually "Bob" Dobbs? I'm not sure yet, but this is such an interesting read. I got it on my Kindle app for $3 two days ago, but I only really started reading it today and I can't stop. I honestly can't tell where the story is going. Part of me feels like this is just high-grade fanfiction that is meant to be an "origin story" for "Bob", but I'm not sure if that's the right mindset to have while reading it. I don't want to take this as part of the official liturgies.

What I find interesting is how each chapter starts with a quote from G.I. Gurdjieff, a mystic who was popular back in the early 20th century.

I'm about 20% done with the novel, and it's starting to really pick up. I'll give my final thoughts on it after I'm done, but I can definitely say it's worth a read.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Precursor to hacking the spacetime continuum


This past week I've been under the cloud of negative emotion. Towards myself and humanity as a whole. While I admit I've been misanthropic in the past, I've tried my best to steer away from that so that I could live more harmoniously with my inner and outer self. It's difficult though, especially with the weight of time on my shoulders, slowing me down as I trudge along. 

I feel as though all my worries are truly invisible and non-existent. They're just made-up demons in my mind pestering me and creating self-doubt. But to a degree, I suppose, my concerns are real, but then, I wonder if it is possible to live a 100% carefree life. Everyone suffers, rich or poor, sick or healthy, so I guess what I'm going through is natural. If it's natural then why do I worry? If my aim for this year is to create a new reality tunnel by hacking into this thing I call my reality, I have to find a way for it all to either make complete sense to me, or, to make everything so abstract I don't have to worry about right or wrong answers.

My true goal is to be 100% self-sufficient. To be at a point where I don't have to ask for help from anyone, where, my finances will all be in order and I can walk into practically any restaurant and not have to worry about the price, and I can save money with confidence that I won't have to continuously loan myself anything for any sort of emergency. It's a tall order right now, but I'm sure that if I manipulate the spacetime continuum enough, that world can be mine. I just have to plan accordingly. 

What sort of device must I construct within my pineal gland to change the structure of the universe I wonder. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Fred Mertz, Bodhisattva


Fred Mertz, according to a sect that I believe no longer truly exists as it once did, is a Bodhisattva. Bodhisattvas are in essence the Buddhist equivalent to a saint, or angel. They do good works to no reward and little thanks. 

I'm no expert on this group, as I don't believe they've ever had an internet presence, and all of their literature is become trapped in the boxes of collectors who have a fondness for this sort of esoteric knowledge. I first heard of the Church of Fred Mertz, Bodhisattva on a rerun of the "SubGenius Hour of Slack" where a young Reverend Ivan Stang is interviewing a not-so-young Pope Robert Anton Wilson, and they both talk very briefly about the group. This recording took place during the late 1980's.

Below is a page from the book "Angel Tech", by Antero Ali, where a page is dedicated to some of the teachings of Fred Mertz, Bodhisattva. This book, by the way, is very good. I plan on doing a short reflection once I'm done with it.


The most extensive bit of information comes from Facebook where a user named "Fred Mertz" into a group called "Steve dilley 100,000 boddisatvas". This information syncs up rather nicely with what I've heard said previously about the group, and also what was printed in "Angel Tech". I'm not sure if it's authentic to the original group, but it sounds about right.












Sadly, that's all the information I could find on the Church of Fred Mertz, Bodhisattva. It's a bit sad, but maybe this is an indication that his mission is complete and now Fred Mertz's eternal self that finally be at ease while basking in nirvana. If I had to guess I'd say Homer Simpson is continuing his mission.