Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Stupid drivers

Today has been one of those days that I wish I could carry around a paintball gun while driving. Better yet, I'm going to invent a projectile glue gun. Inside the glue pellets you can put a message like "learn how to drive correctly, stupid" or "do a favor to us all and stay home next time". When the pellet explodes, it sticks to the person's car and so everyone can laugh at the bad driver. Actually, I probably wouldn't limit myself to bad drivers, I would snipe the religious zealots that drive around pushing their religion on others with bumper stickers like "real men love jesus" and "got jesus?". Shut the f*ck up and keep your religion to yourself. Go listen to George Carlin, his opinion of Western religions is one of the most honest and truthful I've heard.

Monday, August 29, 2005


Not much to say at the moment, except that this article was too good to ignore. The grey area of copyrights, something I'm sure we've all intruded into one way or another during our lives, intentional or not.

Monday, August 22, 2005


I cannot explain the events of last night, I can only accept that it happened.

A little bit of background first... a close friend was dabbling in astral projection with some friends in high school and was suddenly ripped back to the physical plane by her friends, stranding a small piece of herself somewhere out there. That was about seven or eight years ago and that part of her has been lost out there since then.

Thursday night, I experienced a lucid dream where I met her and we were walking around a shopping mall back in my hometown. We ended up sitting face to face, hands holding each others' forearms, with a strange man sitting next to her. (At the time, the man seemed very unimportant but in real life my friend recognizes this man... he is apparently a magickal stalker.) She says something that totally hurts and shocks me, though I cannot remember the exact words. The intense feelings generated by what she said snapped me back into full conciousness and I could not return to sleep for hours afterwards. I told my friend about the dream and she confirmed it was probably the missing part of herself and that I need to find out more next time I see "her" in the dreamscape.

The next night, I find myself unwillingly looking for her in the dreamscape again. I was too tired to conciously go searching, but apparently my subconcious decided to do it anyway. When I need to find something in the dreamscape, I have a special store that I visit because it's usually the best place to start. I remember this dream was just as vivid and lucid as the previous night and I could feel her presence, but I couldn't find her. I felt so close and was sure I would just bump into her around the next corner, or the next, or the next... but never did. I finally started getting frustrated and at that point, I woke up again. For the second night in a row, I ended up sorely lacking in sleep.

Since that first encounter on Thursday, I heard things. Small sounds from behind my left shoulder. A sigh. A whisper. A soft sobbing. Not more than a moment's length, rather infrequent, and usually easily dismissed as fatigue or background noise. Until Sunday.

I awoke on Sunday extremely tired and with a small headache. Lack of quality sleep since Thursday night was beginning to take its toll on my body and senses. The intensity of the headache grew steadily as the day wore on. Two, three, four, eventually six Excedrin later and still complete relief from the pain eluded me. I lay down about 9PM to try and get some rest, but it only came in light 20-30 minute intervals. Midnight passed and I awoke again but could not get back to sleep at all this time. I had a small snack and a drink, went outside for some air, did a few minutes worth of work on the computer, and tried to sleep again, but no luck. Tossing and turning, wide awake, it was now 3AM. The lights were off, air conditioning silent, windows closed, and the air was still and mute in my apartment. Then I heard her soft sobbing again, clear as a bell from behind my shoulder again.

Luckily my friend was next door and still wide awake. Together we came to the conclusion that on Thursday night she must have traveled back with me. We were holding arms tightly and I was suddenly ripped back just like she was before. There was no choice but to do something about it because both of our healths had been slowly depleting since that first night. A quick call of help was placed to some close pagan friends who were more than willing to come to our aid, despite it being nearly 4AM.

Once we had gotten our circle set up, myself and the part of her were in the center, with everyone else around the outside. A bundle of sage was burned to help dissolve the spiritual bonds on my arms and begin the transfer. From that moment on, I can only remember an intense spritual tug-of-war and raw emotions, both my own and those of her. Fear. Doubt. Strength. Love. I opened my eyes and felt peace and silence for the first time in days. What happened in this room last night, I cannot say for certain, but it appears that we were at least somewhat successful in our efforts.

Today for both her and myself, the air is crisper, the sky is bluer, the grass is greener. Everything has come into much clearer focus and our energies have both climbed back up to above-normal levels. It comes as a great relief to me to hear that she feels more healthy and complete than she has in a while. As an added bonus to myself, I feel that the transgressions of my past from 21 years ago, have finally been repaid and wiped clean from my soul. My insides, previously feeling disorganized and messy, now feel clean and pristine like polished obsidian.

But despite the "happy ending" that this journey seems to have, there are still questions lingering. Too many questions and not enough space to write them with all of their relevant background details. But the most important one is the man from the dream... why is he doing this? Why is he stalking her magickally? It seems no coincidence now that he appeared in the dreamscape alongside her. Darkness clouds the future. May the fates be kind and bring an answer to our questions soon.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Sweet addiction

You know you're addicted to a game when you want to mod it.

I've spent a lot of time this week playing a DirectX clone of the ultra-addictive PSP game Lumines. I spent two hours tonight digging for dumped tilesets from Super Mario Brothers so I could make a mod to change the blocks. For anyone else willing to become addicted, here is a copy of the program and here is my mod (unpack into the Lumines directory and rename the smb_skins.ini to skins.ini). I thought it would be neat to make retro tiles from other games like Metroid and Zelda too, but it's low on the priorities list.

I need to play again now... enjoy! =)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Surround sound audio and annoying bill collectors

*sigh* I love my home theater system.

Yesterday I picked up a copy of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon on SACD, Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral on DualDisc, and Staind's Chapter V on regular CD. They are all fantastic albums from three totally different parts of the music spectrum. I'm mostly irritated that there was no DualDisc version of the new Staind album... it was listed online everywhere before the release, but apparently pulled close to the release date. I'm hoping that they do eventually release it or a DVD-A version because I'm sure Staind in 5.1 surround sound is just amazing (as if in stereo is amazing enough already for this album).

As for Trent Reznor's masterpiece, I still can't believe that it is now over 10 years old and still has such great appeal. Hearing it in 5.1 is like listening to the album again for the very first time because it sounds like they took a lot of time and effort to effectively use all of the speakers, unlike other surround sound albums I've heard (Disturbed's Believe--an awesome album, but not much better than a CD run through Dolby ProLogic II). The sound clarity and subtle details in the experience really come alive with the extra speakers on this album and I'm so glad that I picked it up.

And Pink Floyd? Who hasn't heard of them, who doesn't like them? It's great chillout music, only in beautifully remastered digital surround sound. Thank you, Pink Floyd, for the many decades of influential music. 'Nuff said.

And the annoying bill collector mentioned in my title? He may as well have been being kicked repeatedly in the nuts by me, as he was nothing more than a limp dick by the end of the call. He calls this morning just after 8AM looking for Andrea, so I told him that she wasn't available at this number but I would take a message. I recognized the name and voice from the answering machine messages he leaves every day. Here's how it went:

    Me: "Ah, the guy who's harassing my babysitter. I'd really appreciate it if you wouldn't do that."
    Him: "That's not what my notes say."
    Me: "I'm not responsible for the inaccuracy of your notes."--basically calling him a liar, only not to his face--"Anyway, Andrea doesn't live here anymore, but I'll let her know you called."
    Him: "Why didn't the babysitter tell me that??" He probably still doesn't believe anything we've told him, despite it being the truth.
    Me: "She's under no obligation to disclose any information to anyone."
    Him: "Okay, well, do you have a number I can reach Andrea at?"
    Me: "I don't have a number I can reach her at right now"--the honest truth, she wasn't answering her cell phone--"but I'll let her know you called again. You can't reach her here because she doesn't live here anymore. We've been separated for a while now." Again, the honest truth, but he probably gets this kind of excuse all the time.
    Him: "Tell me this then, how long have you guys been apart?" What, you think you'll catch me lying when I'm really telling the truth??
    Me: "Oh, since about... how long was it? January. I live apart from her. I have the kids. She comes by in the evening, visits with the kids, and leaves. If I have anything to tell her or if she needs to tell me something, that's when it happens. She doesn't live here anymore and I don't have a number I can give you to reach her." The complete truth. Besides, I can't give out her number without permission, as if she would answer anyway.
    Him: "Uh...." Limp. Dick.
    Me: "I'll tell her you called next time I see her. I would really appreciate it if you would stop calling and stop harassing the babysitter because you can't reach her here."
    Him: "Again, that's not what my notes indicate."
    Me: "And I'm still not responsible for the records you recorded being inaccurate." Another kick to the nuts.
    Him: "Well..." He verifies the address on file.
    Me: "That's her address, this is my phone number, they are not the same place."
    Him: "Alright, we'll notify her at that address as well. I would appreciate it if you did pass on that message to her. Thank you." Didn't I already say that I would?

Stupid collectors. I feel bad for him though, because of the nine months I worked at Chase in credit card collections... I heard all of the excuses and it's really hard to determine which ones are genuine and which ones are full of crap. Regardless, I hope this is the last time I hear from him. It's not my problem. I think I'll go listen to The Downward Sprial again now.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Interpretations (continuing from previous post)

I must say that today was the most productive I have ever been at work, which will definitely make my stats look nice this week. Ever since the vision last night, I have had two tracks off of Dishwalla's Opaline running through my head: When Morning Comes and Candleburn. (If you own the DVD-A or DualDisc version of the album, you know how emotional these songs are to JR.) I finally managed to get them out of my head by listening to the album a total of about three times today, followed by some Staind and Tool while at work. Of course I am playing the album again for the fourth time now as I write this....

there's so much life here
and so much pain - we forget
there's so much life
as morning comes
and it's real - the silence

From When Morning Comes, by Dishwalla

Anyway, what disturbs me the most is that I have no way of knowing if what I experienced has really happened. I have no working phone numbers anymore for him or anyone else that would know how to get a hold of him. Even if I did, what would I ask? "Hey, did you OD on heroin like in my psychic vision?" I need to take a trip back home to find out what's going on. We had been the best of friends since about the seventh grade until I moved out of town when I was 21. Having dabbled in minor drug use before I left Texas, his habit had turned into something more frequent and harder by the time I had returned a few years later. It's hard to see someone you cared so much about do something like this to themself. I brought it up, but as expected the "oh, it's not really a problem" excuse came out of him like a genuine junkie in denial. Sadly on the trip after that, on the way to visit my family I drove down a cross street next to his house, saw him out in front on the phone, and I simply drove on by without stopping. I was so disappointed to find out how far backward he had gone that I didn't want to visit him anymore.

take me over when I'm gone
take me over make me strong
take me over when I'm gone
will they burn for me

From Candleburn, by Dishwalla

As much as I refuse to acknowledge it, many people have pointed out that I have a certain impact on people. Those around me sincerely value my help, opinions, and company. It sounds like bragging and self-centered talk, which may be part of the reason I try to deny it when someone says it to me. I'm afraid I may have had such a significant impact on his life that this was a simple way out after I had left. In a way I feel guilty because we were so close that it was my job to stop him from getting that far down, but I didn't and couldn't. If what I saw has already happened, it is too late now to do anything. I hope for his sake, it isn't.

I already told you that falling is easy
its getting back up that becomes the problem
becomes the problem
if you don't believe you can find a way out you become the problem
become the problem

From Falling, by Staind

There's also the distinct possibility that it was nothing but a dream. As I said before, I remember nothing between when I started moving my astral body and when I looked down to find that sickening image playing before my eyes. I may have passed out and moved on to the dreamscape and my subconcious mind was trying to get a message across to me. I haven't really had any solid friends since I've moved, and those that had become friends have either moved out of town or we have simply drifted apart. Even the woman that I married and was to be my best friend for the rest of my life is now gone from my home, we just have not had the money to file the paperwork and make it official yet. Perhaps my subconcious realized this and is trying to tell me to move on and open up to new friendships and relationships. What better way to tell me this than to shock me with a startling image of my former best friend? The drug use may just be symbolic of how I need company of others, the "high" being the warm feeling of friendship and belonging.

But you always find a way to keep me right here waiting
You always find the words to say to keep me right here waiting
And if you chose to walk away I'd still be right here waiting
Searching for the things to say to keep you right here waiting

From Right Here, by Staind

The third and final possibility, is that it is a prophetic dream. Based on past experiences, this could be quite likely. I've never had a foreshadowing dream so specific before, but my dreams do often foretell of future events or remind me of the lessons of the past. Many people discount dreams as just the mind idly at play while we are sleeping, but I believe otherwise.

Black then white are all I see in my infancy.
red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me.
lets me see there is so much more and
beckons me to look thru to these infinite possibilities.
as below, so above and beyond, I imagine
drawn outside the lines of reason.
Push the envelope. Watch it bend.

From Lateralus, by Tool

Whatever it was, only time will tell what the real lesson or message of the vision was. The best I can do for now is to learn from the images and keep moving forward in life.

But I made my decision with my back to the wall
and I gotta move on from here
I've done all that I can do
yeah I gotta move on from here
I've been swimming upstream for you

From Swimming Upstream, by Ra

Fate calling--or just a dream?

Things have just been a bit odd since the beginning of the month and I couldn't quite put my finger on it until a sudden unnaturally strong storm hit us Thursday evening... it was time for Lammas. (That's a pagan sabbat, for those who don't know.) The first of August had come and gone with a surprise visit from the in-laws before they headed up to Idaho for a vacation, gremlins in the system at work, and a general busyness that comes with being a parent.

Last night would have been the seventh night by my count since Lammas and the supernatural hit home very hard last night. I still cannot say for sure if it was just a figment of my imagination, possibly a waking dream trying to send me a message, or if was a terrifying glimpse of reality over which I was powerless but only to watch. Whatever it may have been, it was so starkly vivid and filled with emotion that I cannot stop thinking about it this morning.

So I lay on my couch after 10PM last night in the darkness with some hemi-sync soundtracks playing softly. Relaxed, I tried to reach out, either with astral projection or by having an out-of-body experience, but with no success. I felt locked into my body, with even the simplest movements of my astral self being impossible. I finally found success when I realized for the first time that my astral body has wings, much like my dreamscape form does. Unfortunately, when I felt the "lock" on my non-corporeal body was finally removed, my neighbors downstairs went into a viciously loud fight that included slamming doors and screaming. Frustratingly, I was snapped back into full physical conciousness again and had to wait a little over an hour for the whole disturbance downstairs to quiet down and resolve itself.

I was tired and it was almost 11:30PM and was going to just go to sleep, but something deep down told me that I needed to try again. Making my bed up, I turned the lights back down and the music back up. Having already figured out the key to astral movement earlier, I tried wiggling my wings again to get things started. Honestly, I can't remember anything from here until I felt that familiar place. It was warm and dimly lit, but I couldn't figure out where exactly this place was, only that it was familiar.

I look down and I see an arm resting wrist-up on the arm of a recliner. I see the opposite hand reaching towards the elbow joint and I realize there is a needle in the hand. I can now feel the thoughts rushing through my head, thoughts of chaos and confusion and sadness, possibly disappointment. Everyone thinks in their own unique ways and I could make little sense out of the thoughts I was receiving, only interpret the raw emotions behind them. I tried to move. Frozen, I was forced to watch as the tip of the needle broke skin--obviously not the first time from the look of it--and slid into the vein near the bend of the arm. The thoughts suddenly scrambled and surged with a single word underlying the whole flurry: heroin.

I believe I now know what a junkie feels like when they take a hit. The intense rush was more than I have ever felt in my life and the sudden feelings caused me to begin the snap back into my physical body again. As I pulled out of the body I temporarily co-inhabited, time seemed to slow and I could look around for a moment as I was pulled upward. I looked upon the den of one of my best friends back in Texas. I heard the sound of his mother's voice as she came into the room and shrieked in terror. The last feelings I felt before returning was that of finality, as if the dose of substance in the needle was meant to be a fatal overdose, very possibly it was intentional.

I opened my eyes and awoke with a bad headache and with my arm hurting. The experience seemed so realistic, but looking back at it, I have my doubts as to whether it really happened or if it was merely a dream. I was wide awake and hungry, so I had a snack before going to sleep for the night. I still can't shake the feelings or images I saw....

I'll continue with my thoughts and analysis later. I have to go to work now....

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Lucas Strikes Back

You have to admire a man who can make money like George Lucas does. He can throw out crap like Star Wars Episode 1 and still make mega-millions off of it. Apparently, now he wants to move in on Asia's low-tech filmmaking industry and become their god. However, from reading the article, it sounds like Lucas is like myself and have too many ideas that are only half-thought out and not enough time to do anything about them. The man has his head in his ass thinking he will come along and bring Asian studios up to date with his ILM studios... while making video games... and making anime... and filming a live-action series.

*Sigh* If there's anything I've learned so far in life, it is that you can't spread yourself thin like this. You'll never get anything worthwhile accomplished, so focus on the big things that you like and you're good at (hint: Lucas needs to stop writing dialogue). If you can get around to doing some of the other little things, then great. At least he's only going to lose $1 million instead of tens of millions by running his operations out of Asia. He has already created (then half-destroyed again) a lasting legacy in our society with the Star Wars universe, but he's past his prime. When the first trilogy came out over 20 years ago, it had a unique magic because there wasn't ever anything like it. Now, the films are mostly fluff and special effects. You've done your job, now retire and be happy with your money before you spend it all.

PS, If you really want to impress me, Mr. Lucas, then start coming out with good new stuff (no more Star Wars) under a different name... then we'll see how well it sells. Your last three movies made you money for one reason--they had the names "Star Wars" and "Lucas" associated with them.