Tuesday, June 27, 2006

If you're going through Hell, keep going

I have had a strange digestive disturbance for a while (strange to me, as indigestion has not troubled me much in my life) and the other day pinged a muscle in my shoulder, so have started feeling sorry for myself. For all my work on 'self' I can still just fall into glumness as easily as the next person (and I really hate 'feeling sorry for myself' - or 'indulging' as Don Juan would put it). Perhaps the paranoids got it right and sinister bad guys have total control and play with us like pawns and puppets. HAARP causes floods and disasters, not Gaia; all the Disney movies groom our children for ritual abuse; Bush intends to start the next world war, using agent provocateurs; I can't remember my indoctrination, abuse, abduction by aliens, but only because they tampered with my memory; Phew. Back to cheerfulness, even if it seems like whistling in the dark.

Yesterday it was my birthday
I hung one more year on the line
I should be depressed
My life's a mess
But I'm having a good time

Oo, I've been loving and loving and loving
I'm exhausted from loving so well
I should go to bed
But a voice in my head
Says "Ah, what the hell"

Have a good time
Have a good time
Have a good time
Have a good time

Paranoia strikes deep in the heartland
But I think it's all overdone
Exaggerating this and exaggerating that
They don't have no fun

I don't believe what I read in the papers
They're just out to capture my dime
I ain't worrying
And I ain't scurrying;
I'm having a good time

Have a good time
Have a good time
Have a good time
Have a good time

Maybe I'm laughing my way to disaster
Maybe my race has been run
Maybe I'm blind to the fate of mankind
But what can be done?

So God bless the goods we was given
And God bless the U. S. of A.
And God bless our standard of livin'
Let's keep it that way
And we'll all have a good time

Repeat and fade:
Have a good time
Have a good time
Have a good time
Have a good time
Paul Simon

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Passing the hat at the end of the show...

Young and Active RAW I mostly keep my sub-personalities apart, but any lightweight researcher could easily compile a profile as I spend very little time hiding behind avatars. I never felt the actor's need to hide behind a mask, a different name, etc.

Still, in exceptional circumstances we have to break our own rules. Apart from working as a juggler and circus worker and film puppeteer I have spent much of my life reading. If I had followed through on my school work I might have ended up doing Psychology or Philosophy or Anthropology or something. As the physical jobs of the vaudeville/variety world often appeal to less wordy people than me, it often surprises people to find out just how introverted I act at times.

Anyway, for the last two years I have worked with an amazing group of people in an online forum - the Maybe Logic Academy - mostly under the tutorship of the founder, one of my favourite authors - Robert Anton Wilson - someone it would prove hard to categorise in a few words (or even a few books!)

Bob more recentlySuffice to say that I had recently prepared myself for yet another brain-stimulating course with 'Bob' or 'RAW' as we sometimes call him, when I heard he had become very ill. At the age of 74, confined to a wheelchair with Post-Polio Syndrome he has remained cheerful and optimistic to an incredible degree, but it seems as though he may have knocked on Death's Door recently. I don't think he got an answer. However, the course got postponed indefinitely, and now he racks up medical bills that (in spite of his many books still in print) could prove just as crippling. His student group have rallied around, to support and publicise attempts to cover the costs.

He has begun auctioning items on eBay...the first one seems to have done well so far, with bidding up to $500, and if you don't do those kind of Red Nose Day things then you can simply send cash and good wishes to him directly through PayPal - account olgaceline@gmail.com

[UPDATE: 8th July: that link went to Driftless Music's eBay, but Bob has his own profile now, and our latest scam involves inventing our own currency and getting Bob to sign them. For more details on the art/satire/revolutionary aspects of printing your own money see the links here - or dig through RAW's books, which contain quite a lot of commentary on the 'magic' of the Treasury...]

Of course, if you haven't read any of the books (or even heard of him) then you can ignore this, or rush out and start a fun adventure - with his books on everything from conspiracy theory (stuff he covered in the 1970s - 30 years before the f'ing Da Vinci Code) to Quantum Psychology, and essays on libertarianism, economics, James Joyce, etc. Eclectic stuff - all lucidly written and often hilarious.

For more links to the online Academy he set up, to his website, and related fan sites, etc - just go over to the Only Maybe blog which we started a year ago for updating people outside the Academy walls...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Love Libraries

Yet another campaign has started to attempt to make 'libraries' COOOOL...

Love Libraries

- 0 -

Public libraries are on the verge of extinction warn campaigners. How can they be protected for the future?
Actually, many people consider them irrelevant these days, and Councils finding themselves millions of pounds in debt have started closing libraries to save a few thousand. I can't think of anything more short-sighted than that, as a literate, educated and well-informed citizenry makes a healthier and more prosperous country in the long run...

Check out the Good Library Blog, for more information...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Star Wars gossip

Bubo, Jabba's guard dog
For those of you who visited because of the Star Wars connection, I thought I'd let you know that I have asked Franki Anderson (Bubo in ROTJ) to come to a convention for the first time.

She has provisionally said yes, (unless work commitments conflict) so you will find her announced for Empire Day (and yes, I will turn up, too).

At last - all you completists may finally get a chance to meet her...please be aware that she is a busy performer and teacher (as you can see if you visit The Empty Space website) and she works all over Europe doing Fool workshops(check out TheaterLabor ArtProductions) - and she does not have the time to answer unsolicited letters about Star Wars sent to the office at The Empty Space so please don't send pictures and autograph requests to her there.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I just love books

the bookshelf of treasures behind me at my desk Actually, I love information, whether I get it from a person, a movie, a magazine or a book.

Books do seem like extended and co-ordinated information, however. This does mean that a monoculture (The Book) can seriously limit your ability to see how many ways the world manifests, how many different opinions it contains, etc.

I mostly read 'non-fiction' (although that label could seem confusing, when a lot of the stuff in non-fiction actually got made up by the author!) The whole area of what constitutes fiction or non-fiction has slowly become very significant during my lifespan, even though fakery and dissimulation, etc seem as old as the hills.

Our modern dependency on indirect channels for receiving input from the world(rather than direct sensory experience) does leave us vulnerable to manipulation - whether by cunning words, editing or Photoshop.

Get Tertiary from Amazon or lulu.comThis does seem a bit of a waffle, but first thoughts and zero drafts often do. Since my friend John Coppinger published his sci-fi novel Tertiary through Lulu I realised I can no longer put off attempting a book - I suspect I could write an autobiography, which combines my attitudes and opinions, and some of the stuff I have learned. Actually, if I added up all the words I have posted in blogs for the last 4-5 years, and all the words I have posted for online courses at the MLA, I have written enough words for several books, so the old daunting prospect of wordage no longer works to put me off.

I like the idea of turning myself into a book, a way of looking at authorship I got from Cocteau, back in the 70s, when I read a hardback copy of Professional Secrets. My hair stood on end and I almost dropped the book when I read this passage from his journals:

You take this book out of your pocket. You read. And if you can read without anything distracting you from what I write, gradually you will feel that I inhabit you, and you will bring me back to life. Cocteau manifested poetry through all the different media available to himYou will even risk making, unconsciously, one of my gestures, your face will look like my face. Naturally I am speaking to the youth of a time when I shall no longer be here in flesh and blood, when my blood will be mixed with my ink.

That is the whole difference between a book which is only a book and this book which is a person turned into a book. Turned into a book and calling for help so that the spell can be broken and the person reincarnated in the person of the reader. That is the hocus-pocus I ask of you. Understand me. It is not so difficult as it seems at first.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Old Enough

Reflecting upon the fish pondTo paraphrase George Carlin: I don’t like people saying that I am getting older – let’s face it, I’m just getting old.

On Tuesday I decided to apply for my bus pass (free travel on buses around Cardiff for the Over-60s). Why not? I almost never use them (don’t like waiting, or having to know what the ‘right money’ is), but I may hop on and off if I don’t have to pay and can just wave a pass.

While doing that I realised I ought to apply for reductions on train fares, too. This seems more of a con, as you have to buy the card that gives you reduced fares (!) They did this to me with the National Express coach card I got when I turned 50 – charge you for the card, so you have to make a certain number of journeys before you break even… Still, for £20 they gave me a Senior Citizen’s railcard, and now I should get 30% off most journeys. First £60 trip (costing £40) will pay for it…so I should get my money’s worth from trains…this year.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Funny in the head

I may wish to take a sabbatical from hanging out with the intelligent crew soon, because of an information overload. Pretty soon we’ll hit the second anniversary of the start of the Maybe Logic Academy. As an ‘early uptaker’ I got to email Robert Anton Wilson (RAW or Bob for short) directly for the first few weeks, as well as take part in several courses with him as tutor. I couldn’t believe my luck. Wouldn’t you like to chat with your favourite author, and perhaps discuss/analyse your favourite book with him/her?

The other members of the MLA (and course participants) have proved an extraordinary group, including a whole spectrum from bright kids to published authors, from therapists to physicists, from artists to musicians, etc. Great company. I never ever had such a club of bright minds to hang around with.

Unlike virtually every other forum I have visited, we mostly communicate in positive .you can't really see thisand co-operative terms. Occasionally someone (usually one of the bright kids!) will think we sound smug or complacent and self-congratulatory or like a cult or something and they try to stir things up, but they usually get bewildered by people not reacting blindly or emotionally, but finding their point interesting and worthy of discussion, etc. Sometimes they simply get a calculated dose of sarcasm aimed back at them. Whatever. We all seem to find flame wars boring and childish. In any case, when Bob started the thing his initial guideline (our only rule) came out this way:

"If you cannot achieve tolerance, at least attempt courtesy."Longhaired Librarian roaming The Stacks

I have felt useful as a librarian, researcher and old hippie – and not only receive at least as much useful information back from others, but have also got drawn into creativity, collaborating with a talented illustrator, maintaining an Academy blog, helping edit the online magazine, etc.

As it happens, I want to get something written for the Solstice edition, and will start another 8 week course with Bob at about the same time, but I really would like to just chill-out with my magic books, and a few ‘toys’, to balance out all that thinking. Antero Alli offered many opportunities to get away from the screen and keyboard with his 8 Circuit course, some of which I couldn’t take up for lack of a studio space, and some I may have merely resisted…but he will run it again in the autumn, and I recommend it unreservedly. As astrology seems like a core interest of his (relatively unusual at MLA, which seems to have more people into Cabbala, Kabbalah, QBL as a grid or gloss) I enquired among fellow students about levels of interest, and asked him if he would consider devising a course for us and Lo! it turns out that such a course has sprung into existence. I like a college where I can influence the curriculum…I probably wouldn’t have dropped out of school if they had listened to me at all, at all…
Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre in The Maltese Falcon
Joel Cairo: You always have a very smooth explanation...
Sam Spade: What do you want me to do - learn to stutter?
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