Archive for August, 2008

A Dream Deferred

August 29th, 2008 at 2:46 pm by Zacque
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What Happens to a Dream Deferred?
Does it Shrivel Up like a Raisin in the Sun?
Or Fester like a Sore and then Run?
Does it Stink like Rotten Meat?
Or Crust and Sugar Over like a Syrupy Sweet?
Maybe It Just Sags like a Heavy Load.

–Or Does it Explode?

 –Langston Hughes

Read It!  Think about it!  Take notes! Most of all interact with it!

Reading is an act of giving.  An act of giving away control and lettiong your mind wander with the artist’s (author’s) direction.  You let the artist lead your hand through the interpretation with the guides they give you in the piece.  There is still plenty left for you to do in regard to your imagination.  I call this reading in the moment, you let yourself be aborbed into the time period, the location, and the description of the times and places the artist takes you to.  It is surrendering yourself to the will of another by faith.

In order to make reading worthwhile, you must feel the literature.  Live it as you read and the reading will have meaning.  Overtime your can begin to understand with your whole heart and your being.  Literature is a living art and should be treated as such.  Once you can be open, then you can respond to the message the artist has in mind.

Ghost in the Machine

August 27th, 2008 at 12:36 pm by Mark
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     For whatever reason, the house I’m in now has some pretty bad wiring.  It’s a relatively new house — built in the 70’s, perhaps early 80’s — and shouldn’t have the problems it does. 
     Unfortunately, that’s one of the things you’ll always get into when you own a home.  There are quirky things about most every house.  In this one, the fuse box may even be a bit overloaded…

     Last Friday night, I had an overwhelming sense of dread.  I felt like someone close to me was in trouble, and there was nothing I could do.  I was distraught, and I couldn’t shake that feeling.  My car had messed up the night before, and just everything seemed to be going the wrong way.  And what should happen but every time I came into the room and sat down on the bed, the ceiling fan would begin this eerie whining, and shake violently back and forth.
     But it only happened when I came back into the room and sat down on the bed…

     I tested that theory seven or eight times, and finally decided to pull out the voice recorder and leave it running in the otherwise silent room for a few minutes… I mean, a little EVP never hurt anyone, right?

     And so, two things became obvious:

  1. Those weren’t ghosts.  They were telephone signals.  There’s obviously a massive amount of Extremely Low Frequency radiation pointed at this upstairs room from “somewhere,” and somehow, it’s bleeding through.  Perhaps it’s the fault of bad grounding in this house’s wiring, or perhaps having a telecommunications transmitter inadvertently pointed directly at this room is the whole problem with the wiring.
  2. The ceiling fan was never mounted straight, and it was extremely loose.  I opened and closed the door each time I moved from the bed, walking into the hallway, and just that amount of air pressure was enough to make the ceiling fan go crazy.  A few twists of the screwdriver fixed the problem, however, it’s still off balance… just not so much that the door makes it appear to be a murder weapon from the afterlife.

     This really made me give a lot more thought to the whole EVP phenomenon.

     Sure, you can make recordings in silence, and end up with all sorts of noises.  Ambient and background noises, wind and air pressure changes and other miscellaneous sounds that you wouldn’t normally notice become amplified.  Since the dynamic range of most microphones is significantly wider than that of the human ear, and the fact that the final recording becomes compressed to fit into an audible bandwidth — not to mention the problems of noise from the internal mechanism on tape recorders and sounds created by digital processing on voice recorders — you end up hearing all sorts of noises that can sound rather ghastly.  It’s the perfect illustration of the old saying, “ghost in the machine.”

     You simply have to take a scientific approach to this sort of thing, otherwise, you’ll end up convincing yourself of all sorts of crazy stuff.  As another old saying goes, “Enough research will tend to support your theory.”

     Inspired by movies like Stir of Echoes, Sixth Sense and White Noise, and entertainment television shows like Ghost Hunters, I know too many people who run around recording EVP.  Most of them are convinced that Ghost Hunters is real, as they’re unable to distinguish the difference between science, pseudoscience and entertainment. 
     These types also totally buy into most of the crazy conspiracy theories going around.

     But, like they’d assuredly tell me … I’m just too cynical… *rolls eyes*

     As for that “feeling of dread” I had Friday night (and through the weekend), I was more than right — in fact, I was dead on, right down to times.  As cynical as I might be, there’s still the fact that I perceive things that I shouldn’t be able to.
     You either get used to that or you don’t.

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Urine Testing and the Welfare System

August 26th, 2008 at 2:47 pm by Zacque
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This is a spin-off of an old e-mail that recently made its way back in my direction.

 Many people in this country have a job.  They receive payment for the work they do.  Then the government steps in a collects a portion of the proceeds they receive.  The government distributes this payment as they see fit.

 In order to get this paycheck, they submit a random urine test to their respective employer.  This is should not be an issue for any law abiding citizen.

 In reality what any citizen of this country should be concerned about are the people who receive a welfare check.  Welfare recipients do not have to pass a random urine test.  Since our government is supposed to be a system of checks and balances, why is there room for this discrepancy?  

 For the most part, United States citizens are quite giving with their money and don’t have a problem doing their part.  It should be no problem for the populous to help a few people back on their feet.

 On the other hand, there is a problem with the people that receive this money who choose to sit around, be unproductive and/or use drugs.  If they have enough money to indulge in these activities, they do not need any monetary assistance.

 The only thing not covered, is who pays for the testing?   Why not have it applied against the balance of the money the recipients of the welfare system receive.  Surely they shouldn’t mind since they are on the receiving end of the bread line anyway.

 Just think, with that money saved maybe we could funnel it into education.  Maybe we could balance the budget?  Who knows?  The possibilities are endless, and perhaps you could employ the people who failed to administer the testing.  Then they wouldn’t have a need for the assistance in the first place.

 The truth be told, this system is outdated.  It was a necessary evil at the time when it was enacted; however legislation is subject to change in order to fit the demands of the present day.  Something needs to be done.  It is only a matter of time till we will make a stand and take action.  Why not make it happen today.

Those Damn Transformers

August 21st, 2008 at 1:06 am by Mark
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     No, I’m not talking about the electrical ones, which I truly hate because my body happens to be extremely conductive… No, I’m talking about the stars of last summer’s blockbuster movie by the same name.
     They always get big heads after a blockbuster, don’t they?

     Although, it is amusing seeing Optimus Prime as a street-talking metrosexual…

Music Bits

August 12th, 2008 at 6:51 pm by Mark
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     Scribbled on the backs of receipts and folded up in my wallet, a text message to myself, calling a friend to send me an e-mail with a few cryptic phrases… That’s how it starts.  And when I look at the words later, I get that feeling again, and I write it all down in its entirety.
     That’s how most of my music has started out… But then I get to the spot where I’m not happy with the music, but the words are still there… 
     And it bothers the shit out of me.  Unfinished songs, some ten years old, sitting there in my brain.  I know every note by heart, know exactly what it’s supposed to sound like, and yet… Just can’t get it out.

     Little bits about sex…

cacophonous, we feed our needs
no reason to abstain
like heroin injected
right through these junkie veins

     A bit of anger and hurt…

when i look into your eyes
what do you think i see?
you strip away my armor
then you damn me when i bleed

     Being apart…

you feel it coming (and coming)
and i know damn well you do
no matter how far you go
i can still feel you

     And True Love…

unworthy of your presence
unabated love
what you give me
is what god is made of

     It all fits together, songs in succession, an opera of sorts… and one of these days maybe I’ll have the patience and drive to actually finish it all…

All bits copyright © 1999-2008 Mark Steel