I have two lifetime goals. They are both insane and probably impossible to achieve, but so it goes.

The first of these goals is to achieve Frank Marino's level of technique and fame as a guitarist. Of these, his fame is the more accessible of the two.

The traditional formula for this goal is to practice eight hours a day, never having sex (or, for that matter, any kind of meaningful social interaction at all) for several years.
I, alas, spent the formative years of my life from a shredder's standpoint - my grade school career, when you don't have to work for a living - not playing guitar. (I suppose I could always make like Frank Marino, drop enough acid to totally destroy my psyche, get myself institutionalized and use that as an opportunity to practice, but that seems like a bad idea.)

(A subsidiary goal of mine is to reach John Paul Jones's degree of proficiency on the non-bass instruments he plays by the time I'm his age [read: anything with strings.] This I consider to be a much more reasonable goal, on the grounds that I still have forty years to work on everything.)

My other major goal is to have the ability to read an amplifier's tone off the chassis. To be able to look at it and understand, first, how exactly signal goes from one end to the other - and secondly, to be able to pick out any individual part of the circuit and identify what it's doing to the tone, and what would happen to said tone if I swapped it for a part with different specs. It may be on par with learning to read machine code - but it is doable.

Have you ever looked inside an old point-to-point amplifier? A David Reeves Hiwatt, an early Vox, a Jim-made Marshall or a Randall Smith-made Mesa/Boogie? Me neither. But my understanding is that, if you do crack 'em open and look at them, they're goddamn works of art. Craftsmanship on par with any Grecian urn or Masamune sword - and, like them, meant to be used. I'd like to be able to make something like that.

These two goals are closely intertwined. My interest in amplifiers directly stems from my realization that forming a metal band is no substitute for an actual plan to pay my way through life rather than bumming off my parents. (Everybody in Napalm Death and Meshuggah, last I heard, still had to hold day jobs to keep the bands afloat.) Being able to make toys seems to be a more reliable way of making money than being able to play them.

In fairness, there's also a lot of overcompensating going on here. Hypothetically, tone is a crutch that I can rely on to offset the fact that I really need to learn to play guitar. (They're both necessary, but tone takes precedence. If anybody wants to argue with me, explain why ZZ Top is easier to listen to, and listen to repeatedly, than Dragonforce.)

Hampering these goals are my aptitudes. Specifically, I'm not very good at either, and while I'd certainly like to be good at both, neither comes easily in any way.

So what am I good at? Writing. Which means nothing. Quite a few people write hundred-page stories. Most people write poetry sooner or later.

And anybody can write a mediocre self-reflective blog like this one.


i has a sonnet nom nom nom

Originally posted here. Twice.

So when Tiel asked me to post it on one of my blogs, I figured that I probably should.

How could they not have known, I heard them ask,
Their child was an embodiment of sin?
How could they never once see through that mask
In all those years, to glimpse what lay within?

"How could they not, indeed?" I think out loud.
"The signs were there, and waiting to be read.
"Perhaps it was denial... maybe not..."
And let my thoughts run silent through my head.
Two Shoah survivors whose only son
Claimed families of victims to his name
For each new month that he stayed on the run -
How could they face that magnitude of shame?
And so I picked their bodies off the floor,
Threw them in the furnace and shut the door.


Things I would do as King of the World

Meme stolen quite blatantly from Tiel Aisha Ansari, whose blog I really need to read much more.

The prompt was, "My first act as Queen/ King of the World will be..."

Enact all odd-numbered (and every third even-numbered) article in Tiel's list, because she's awesome like that.
Call my guitar heroes and arrange lessons.
Force Justin to get his ass up here so we can jam. If necessary, provide him with a new bass as incentive.
Begin reclamation projects across the Sahara.
Finish what the Levelers started; turn the world upside down and paint it black.
Dissolve my post.


It's like cigarettes

My signature deadly sin is wrath, and one of the ways I express it is through my most-indulged guilty pleasure: Christian radio.

In my daily commute, 104.9 FM starts off as a country station at Exit 24. Ten exits down the way, on the outskirts of Springfield, it's morphed into a Christian station broadcast out of Stepford, CT. (Or at least I think it's Stepford, CT. Something with an S. And Stepford would fit right in with this being Lovecraft Country.) Once you get inside Exit 13, 1400 AM (the local liberal talk-radio) turns into fuzz. All this means that, twice every day, while driving between Exit 6 and Exit 14, I tune in.

Not because there's nothing better to listen to. Almost because there are many better things to listen to.

It's like cigarettes. I trip on the fact that it has no appreciably redeeming qualities, and that I'm never getting those moments of my life back.

I listen to the officially-sanctioned mediocre praise choruses that they put on. It's sorta like this, in that it makes me wanna listen to Cannibal Corpse when I get home. The major differences being that the ilahija is Bosnian. And good. And makes me want to listen to Cannibal Corpse for the exact opposite reason.

The ilahija, for whatever reason, is five minutes of serenity, and no calm can shake my inmost storm while to this rock I'm clinging. Seriously; it'd mess up my gyroscopically-balanced psyche, and no good ever comes of that.

Whereas this (because I'm too lazy to look for the original, which is just as ghastly) is the opposite of that: it's one more wind in the hurricane, keening mosquito-like at an annoying frequency.

Fuck that. I have enough of them already without a boring melody with no bassline.

This is Edo, signing off for this post.


Meme du nuit

Mage: the Awakening Path Quiz
Your Result: Mastigos
You're a Mastigos, a warlock, awakened to the watchtower of the iron gauntlet, in the realm of Pandemonium, the place of demons. You hold mastery over the Mind and Space arcanum.
Mage: the Awakening Path Quiz
See All Our Quizzes

I will say this very bluntly: new Mage is an abomination. Atlantis? The Supernal World, separated from ours by a wizards' war? Piss on that. Give me back the Ascension War, the Nine Spheres, and the glorious insanity of consensus-based reality.

Give me back the Cult of Ecstasy and the Order of Hermes. I grokked the Order of Hermes, in serious ways; I actually took the old Tradition Book for 'em and followed up on it, reading through as much of the recommended-reading list as I could dig up in the Five College library system.

But yeah. I guess it's some comfort knowing that I'd be an infernalist mindfucker.

(Although it's much easier to mindfuck somebody with Death 3 - simply rip their soul out of your body, keep it in your basement for a few months, and watch as their Morality drops to sociopathic lows and the Derangements start piling up. Now that's what a real Warlock would do.)


A year and a day late

A few days back, Jason from Prophetic Heretic sent me an amusing link that, I thought, would take the cake for the day's Daily Suckage.

I was going to put off remarking about it for a few days until its one-year anniversary of posting, but that passed yesterday while I was doing a walkabout in Northampton and later playing Halo until the wee hours. So, without further ado, here ya go:
Microwave beam devices are just one of a number of new weapons under development that could be used against US crowds. This article in Defense Update magazine describes the variety of anti-personnel energy weapons being developed by the Department of Defense. These include the Laser Induced Plasma Channel (LIPC) pictured above, which can "work like 'artificial lightning' to disable human targets" and "can be adjusted for non-lethal or lethal use."

Other weapons being developed include the "Pulsed Energy Projectile" (PEP) device which, as New Scientist explains, "delivers a bout of excruciating pain from up to 2 kilometres away." New Scientist observes that "pain researchers are furious that (medical research) aimed at controlling pain has been used to develop a weapon," adding that "they fear that the technology will be used for torture."

The Wynne story came and went so quickly that radio journalist Charles Goyette from KFNX in Phoenix tried to follow up. An interview was scheduled with the Air Force Secretary's spokesman, USAF Major Aaron Burgstein, to get elaboration on the Secretary's remarks. But Burgstein cancelled at the last minute without explanation.

Burgstein's email to Goyette added that "SECAR (Wynne) is not advocating using non-lethal weapons on the American public," just that they be "fully tested first before they're employed overseas" because our enemy "uses any and all opportunities to wage a propaganda war."

Sounds benign enough. Unfortunately, it directly contradicts what Wynne actually said. "If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens," said Wynne, "then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation."
I love you too.

The new Changeling

I less than three Changeling: the Dreaming.

It was an abomination. It was cute and genki where Demon and Wraith were bleak and inki. It eschewed the Gothic-Punk aesthetic altogether in favor of closeted childhood high fantasy. The seven races of Kithain were dismally balanced and overspecialized, with two whole races fixed pretty much permanently on one of the Seelie-Unseelie axis. There was laughter without schadenfreude. In a World of Darkness, it was a Thomas Kinkade landscape (and not one of those that was, the way Thomas Kinkade paintings actually are, a Dionaea house.)

But there was beauty in it. Sometimes nightmarish, sometimes insane, often childish, but there were some moments in Changeling that were, though not Punk at all, Gothic in their beauty. (The most obvious one is the road to the legendary Snail Graveyard, littered with the crushed shells of the millions of snails that never made it to the end of their final voyage. Beautiful.)

I will also admit to being deeply biased against New World of Darkness. The old World of Darkness had become bloated
Q: How many mortals does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None, because there's too many vampires, mages, demons, changelings, Garou, Gurahl, Bastet, Corax, Ananasi, Nuwisha, Mokolé, Nagah, Kitsune, Ratkin, mummies, Imbued hunters, and Kuei-jin in the room already.
and unstable, too much so to go on forever without turning into a Shadowrun-style endless downward spiral. Too many coming apocalypses; too many product lines.

But I'll take the Old World's decadence - the fact that in any game you'd have dozens of options going to waste - over the New World's cookie-cutter essentialism. (What was done to mages in particular is a travesty. Never mind that I never got the hang of the rules of OWoD magick, never figured out what the Euthanatoi or Virtual Adepts were fighting for, and never spent enough money to make sense of the truly heinous metaplot: the scope and vision of Mage: the Ascension completely outclasses Mage: the Awakening.) And the rules changes suck too.

So it came as a hell of a shock to me, downtown in Northampton this afternoon, to discover that
  • White Wolf has a New World of Darkness incarnation of Changeling,
  • it's orders of magnitude better than Changeling: the Dreaming, and
  • it's the best product line the New World of Darkness has, hands down.
If it weren't for the fact that I spent my month's free spending money on class supplies, and the bulk of the rules come separate from the actual book (making it something like $80 to play), I'd buy it without a second thought.

More on this later, once I've actually read through it, but it's really awesome.


Blame Florida

Hat tip to Trinity for posting this on her blog first:

"Fuck the police" is cliché, but I left my muse on the corner of Biscayne Boulevard; my rhetoric is clotted and doesn't flow as smoothly or frequently as it used to.

So what else is there to say?

I'm bad at math, and ever since I wrote a utilitarian defense of blaming rape victims I've avoided hedonic calculus, but it's still useful - even if only for comparisons.

So let's do some pseudomath.

I refused to heed an order to disperse to earn my epidural hematoma.

As far as I can tell, the student (I keep wanting to say "kid," but that's not fair: I'm not that much older than he is) did nothing specifically to earn his tasering. Taking too long for his questions, sure, but that's not a crime under any civil code I'm aware of - and Kerry obviously didn't consider him a waste of time, because he bothered to answer the kid'sstudent's questions while the tasering was underway.

So, breaking out the hedonic calculator, who came out worse in this? It seems like a simple ratio of harm dealt divided by provocation, so does the student's zero value for having no offense cancel out my side of the equation or not?

I'm overthinking this too much.

And oh yes, because I don't have anything better to say right now: fuck the police.

My first showtune

The game was canceled last night. I was late coming from a lab, and didn't get the message that I was supposed to pick up two other players.

This meant that I wound up, amongst other things, having to get a gallon of water for Adam, who's been going through a gallon a day to try and piss off his weight. No idea how feasible it is, but it's a ritual of his and I was tasked with enabling it this week.

The world would end if I didn't. *shrugs*

I took the opportunity to update him about my court case; he's been outside the loop for awhile, and had no idea that it was over.

And after that we watched a few video clips from Avenue Q, which in good fashion I had heard about but never seen before. Part of "Time," a few different renditions of "The Internet Is For Porn," and eventually a British production of "It Sucks To Be Me."

At which point, abruptly, the following verse came to me:
It sucks to be me
It sucks to be me
I get beaten up
By a Florida cop
In the land of the free...
I'm still trying to work out the first half of it, but yeah, there you go.


Happy Birthday, Victor Wooten

And Theodor Adorno, but Victor Wooten first and foremost.

The long nightmare of hope is over.

My name is Edo. I'm not going to use my real name, because there's enough damning shit about me on the Internet using my real name. I'd rather any future employers not dig it up.

For the last four years, I've been very quiet. I used to blog pretty much every day; that died down because of legal counsel telling me to Not Talk about the elephant in the corner. It's still pretty irregular.

It ends now. As of 12:40 EST this afternoon, I have nothing to lose by blogging. So ladies, gentlemen, and motherfuckers: here's everything you ever needed to know about my life, in a nutshell.

On the morning of Thursday, November 20, 2003, I was at the demonstration against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. There's a two-minute gap in my memory, at the end of which I found myself face-down on Biscayne Boulevard with several police on my back. I was arrested and spent, more or less, the next 36 hours in jail.

When I was released, vomiting and miserable, my friends took me to the ER at Jackson Memorial Hospital. After several hours in the lobby, I was led to a gurney, where I woke up the next afternoon in the ICU. I spent three days there, in and out of consciousness, and another six days in the Neurological Ward on the ninth floor.

After I was released from the hospital, I filed a case against the Miami-Dade Police Department. It was at that time that my lawyer counseled me not to talk; and so I simply stopped writing, because the injury was all there was to talk about. The only thing that I could say that was in any way mine, something worth listening to that made me anything more than another digital echo. My blogging, and all of my writing really, has suffered for it.

As of yesterday afternoon, though, there is no more case. I'll print out what my lawyer emailed me, sign it, and fax him a copy, and my appeal will be retracted.

When I first met my lawyer, I told him, very honestly: "All I want out of this case is a new guitar." I'm not even going to get that.

More on this tomorrow. Tonight I need sleep.


Turing books: Indigo Children

Turing, adj. Mindless, stupid. "I've seldom heard such a turing lecture." "You have to take a lot of turing tests to get into college." Hence turing machine, n. a machine.

-The Philosophical Lexicon

My weekly pilgrimage to Barnes & Noble yielded a few brilliantly stupid books, which have merited their own tag for my blog.

The first of these books was The No-Nonsense Guide to Indigo Children.

If you're wondering what the hell Indigo Children are, and are too goddamn lazy to Wiki it, I guess I'll just have to steal the definition from indigochild.com:
  • They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and often act like it)
  • They have a feeling of "deserving to be here," and are surprised when others don't share that.
  • Self-worth is not a big issue. They often tell the parents "who they are."
  • They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).
  • They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.
  • They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and don't require creative thought.
  • They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like "system busters" (nonconforming to any system).
  • They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward, feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.
  • They will not respond to "guilt" discipline ("Wait till your father gets home and finds out what you did").
  • They are not shy in letting you know what they need.
Or, more simply,
  • They are perfectly normal children.


At Last

I've finally managed to get my PC to connect to the Internet (albeit not on the network that my money seems to be paying for...)

I have also succeeded at ripping most of my CD collection to my new computer. Backups of what I don't own formally will be forthcoming in due time.

So there. Hopefully this means that you'll be seeing more of this soon.


Flag is down

An old forum I used to post on, Flag!, is down. Apparently the domain name expired 6/7/07, and is pending renewal or expiration.

Alas. Hopefully it'll come back. I had to make my leave from it due to circumstances not under my control; one of these days, I was hoping to return.

Something to look forward to.

16. The Fool

Art: A young man dances at the edge of a cliff, wearing a crown, a khimar and a bellydancer's costume with bells around his ankles. His right arm is upraised, and he holds the edge of his khimar. In his other hand, seemingly absentmindedly, he holds a cobalt blue rose, such that the stem runs along his arm and the head is towards the ground. In the foreground, a butterfly floats and a feather is tossed aimlessly on the breeze. In the background, a tsunami sweeps towards a small island.



Associations: The Fool is the intermediary between the Sword and the Cup. In traditional readings, The Fool reinforces and is reinforced by The Night (and, by extension, The Hidden Treasure.)

Designer's Notes: Since nobody's going to guess it otherwise, the basic image of The Fool was inspired by a stunning poster of Bulleh Shah I discovered in The Friends of God: Sufi Saints in Islam. All other references are esoteric and for the reader to discern.

Notes from an imaginary drama

Satan the Accursed
Satan the Accursed, self-described "man of wealth and taste," is the narrator of the play. (While he is an unreliable narrator, the alternative is prohibitively inconvenient to attempt to stage.)

Satan the Accursed is a firm believer in total human depravity, and has held this opinion since humanity first came into existence. (On occasion, Satan the Accursed will state that the actions of somebody, not necessarily a character in the play, have been added to the list of case studies that he is accumulating to prove his point. As the play begins, he has accumulated six trillion and three.)

As a being predating humanity, Satan the Accursed is capable of easily stepping sideways into the Absence, and perceives Presence and Absence equally well. He occasionally stops one conversation to engage in another with an Absent being; since other characters are unable to perceive the Absent under most circumstances, the rest of the cast assumes Satan to be unfathomably alien and possibly insane, a misconception he makes no effort to correct.

Despite his open hostility towards humans, Satan the Accursed is nonetheless quite willing to provide assistance to anybody who asks politely. In all cases, this assistance is taken as further proof of the irredeemably flawed nature of humans....

Author's Note: Further points will be added to the Sternbilden as they are discerned.


I was evangelized by a Moonie

My mom knew a Moonie once. One of her coworkers, back when the Moonies were just starting to explode and before Hare Krishnas were banned from airports. Not sure what time period it was.

It was sorta awkward, meeting a Moonie. In part this was because he approached me, and didn't obviously look like a Moonie, whatever that's supposed to mean. (The only image I'm familiar with is of Rev. Moon officiating at a mass wedding.)

This meant that, until he asked the fateful question, I was sure that he was going to wind up doing one of three things:
  • Asking me what time it was and/or how to get to the Student Center;
  • Asking how my court case is going (bad news on that, by the way, but I won't post it here); or
  • Inviting me back to his place for an afternoon of hot sweaty gay sex.
As it is, none of these things happened, because he asked the fateful question:
"Are you happy with your life?"
Missionaries really need to find a way to segué into that question more gracefully. Posing it honestly puts people into a position that's much more awkward than being unsure if they're being invited somewhere for hot sweaty gay sex.

So I said "More or less," and the rest of the exchange went rather smoothly. It was actually rather amusing, to be honest. If I'd tried a bit harder to keep the topic off what he was selling, and on the tangents that came up, it could've possibly become a dry comedy skit with some work.

(In particular, he asked me if I played music. It was a week ago - this being backdated so as to correspond with when it actually happened - but I'm still feeling sorta bad that I didn't turn that around and do with Randall MTS series amps what Bugmaster did with tomatos about 2/3 of the way down the thread.)

Since I didn't do that, however, I did (unknowingly) the next best thing: I asked him for a URL. And eventually he gave me one: http://www.worldcarp.org/. At which point the conversation fizzled out and we went our separate ways.

That day on Slacktivist, in a fit of synchronicity, Hapax posted this:
Actually, from what I've heard, the point of LDS (and JW) missions isn't so much to convert other people, as to strengthen Mormons in their faith.

Look at the model. You take a small group of idealistic young people at the age when they start seriously questioning the institutions of their youth. You remove them from their families, friends, any place familiar, any support structure or distractions that isn't supplied by that institution. You send them out to strangers to repeat over and over with every bit of sincerity they can muster how that institution is the best, the most, the only important thing in the world. At that point, the strangers will either a) agree with them (unlikely, but will reinforce the message) b) reject them, usually with hostility (more likely, but will reinforce an 'us against them' worldview) or c) ignore them (which will send them back into the arms of the institution as the only source of attention positive or negative). Missions like these are an incredibly effective mechanism for binding people to the church for life.
Synchronicity is a wonderful thing.


8. The Lost

Art: A child is shivering in a misty winter forest. In the picture are four cups, one of them empty; the other three are filled with ashes, dust and salt. In the distance, a volcano is erupting and the sky is illuminated with lightning. In the foreground, a rapier and a diamond lie in the mud, concealed by rocks.

Meaning: Irrecuperable losses. Obsolescence ("the world has moved on.")

Meaning-reversed: Overreaction, making mountains out of molehills. This card may, occasionally, connote the involvement of rakshasa.


Not dead, nor dreaming

Well, I may as well say it now: Kredge Karlish has been silent for so long because his campaign ended. Two players left (with few tears, to be honest), and Fox was dissatisfied with the way the game was turning out.

As with many things, however, he is not dead. Just dreaming. I'm keeping the blog up, because I will be posting to it sporadically - I was very backlogged to begin with, so there's a lot of updating to do on my part. Once I'm done with that, his further adventures will be dealt with as I make them up.

In the meantime, a new campaign has started. I guess this is the time for me to introduce Narko Charkozu, my alter ego for the indefinite future.

Just thought you might like to know.


Tried so hard to love you in my way

I saw Aida performed at Bethel High School an hour ago.

It wasn't bad. Overly loud, which drowned out the reverberation, and the lyrics were a bit belted for my taste. But then again I'm a fucking spectator, so it doesn't matter what I think.

It made me realize that I miss Mika.


The Emerald Setlist

I haven't finished the writeup of the Emerald Set yet; I only have about half of the cards named at all, never mind designed. With that said, I'm posting what is done here as a backup, and to remind myself that this is a work in progress.

In total, the Emerald Set will have 55 cards, because that's how many the Levantine Set has and I'm too damn lazy to consider rewriting a Random Card Generation table myself.

The Emerald Set

The Emerald Set is inspired by Fax Celestis and his generally-inspiring Cartomancer class.

I liked the idea. I liked the mechanics. But I had my own ideas of what exactly a D&D-style Tarot deck would look like, and they didn't correspond very well with the Levantine Set, so I'm posting them here instead.

Sooner or later I'll find hosting for it, but until then this will have to work.


A closing and an opening

Sister Scorpion has locked her blog.

And so I grieve, for I have no way to express that I loved her blog passionately and deeply. When I get the band together, we're going to have to do a show in Oklahoma as a pretext for me stalking her down and introducing myself.

On that note, I suppose this would be a decent time to introduce another blog I'm starting to record the life and times of my alter ego, Kredge Karlish. Insofar as my current D&D campaign meets every Monday, and I have an ulterior motive for writing it (keeping records translates to bonus XP), you can safely rest assured that it will be updated with much more regularity than this one.


When the silence becomes deafening

With Sister Scorpion having declared a blog fast - and one of my multiple-visits-a-day blogs thus on standby - it occurs to me that I should probably start posting here; but I don't have terribly much to say.

Fox enlisted me for some creative work after class today; it was grueling, but I managed to hash out something that I think will work for her purposes. (Much staring at the screen in frustration was involved.) Getting that completed has been the best thing to happen to me in recent days.

Probably up there with Fox telling me that what I'd look for in a hypothetical wife (the ability to beat me in single unarmed combat three times out of five, given some hypothetical martial arts training on my part; the ability to kick my ass being, in my eyes, a healthy basis for a long-term relationship) really wasn't healthy.


And so it goes.

It's been more than a year since last I posted at my previous blog, and in that time enough things have changed that I feel that a change of blog is in order.

So here we go again.