Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

Archive for November, 2008

News, TV and other ramblings

Posted by Mike on November 18, 2008

I may have finally broken into the paying market with music writing, probably just at the very point I’d given up on it. I’ve been asked to contribute to a book of essays on a particular music subject by a British book company, with a theme pretty close to my interests. I’ve done quite a bit of work for product over the years, but it’s nice to start getting some pro work on the resume and I’m excited to be part of this project. More news and specifics when things get concrete… Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Music, TV, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a Comment »

Not sure which was better news this morning…

Posted by Mike on November 12, 2008

That it took barely over $30 to fill my gas tank or that George R. R. Martin’s Ice and Fire books have been greenlit for production on the pilot episode for HBO. Don’t think I’ve ever anticipated a TV series this much in my life (sorry Dollhouse!).

Posted in Books, TV | Leave a Comment »

Oblivion

Posted by Mike on November 10, 2008

I’ve been assuaging my more geekish tendencies of late by immersing myself in the world of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It’s a strange thing to do as I still have one more expansion module left to do in ES III: Morrowind, but I finally broke down, bought a new graphics card and the Game of the Year edition of Oblivion. And quite frankly, I was lucky to clean up or even answer the phone (or sleep) since I installed it. It’s so fun it’s absolutely ridiculous, as close to guiding your own movie as anything that’s come before it. It gets super geek chic just from having Patrick Stewart narrate the voice of the Emperor in the beginning of the story, which starts when you’re broken out of prison by the Emperor and guards trying to protect a rare amulet. This whole opening sequence seems to exist to get your character tutored and up to speed on how the game works.

Visually, these games just get closer and closer to reality. Once you’re out of the prison and into the landscape, it’s almost impossible not to take ten minutes just looking around you. The city is on an island in the middle of a lake and the mountains and hills rise around you and it’s hard not to think of those New Zealand locations in the Lord of the Rings movies. The trees in particular not only move with the wind but it seems every specific tree moves on its own by way of the physics of the game. It’s utterly breathtaking, like on a clear night when the moons come out and the constellations are almost exactly what you’d see camping outside of a city (well except there’s 2 or 3 moons iirc).

There seem to be three sorts of quests. There’s the overall story quest, the individual guild and side quests you pick up in towns, as well as what seem like hundreds or thousands of small ruins to explore. (Going to start getting spoilery here, if you plan on playing this you may not want to read on). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Video Games | 1 Comment »

Ascension

Posted by Mike on November 5, 2008

Song of the day: Amnesty “Mister President”

I’m finding it really hard to really capture how I’m feeling about Barack Obama’s win last night. I think there was a part of me somewhere that didn’t believe it could happen, no matter what all the polls were saying, that after eight years of the worst administration in my lifetime, corruption and greed was something we were going to have to accept and live with. That the status quo of old school politicians who carried forward the prejudices and biases of the past would remain entrenched. This is a victory for the “other,” not only everyone outside the normal demographic that has always been in the White House, but for those of us who recognized the world is broken and feel that the status quo is largely responsible for it. For those of us who feel that not only was there a huge difference between conservative and liberal but who feel there’s a huge difference between the conservative of today and the conservative of the Reagan area and earlier. Who feel that there is a huge difference between the increasingly fringe Evangelical movement and the Christian mainstream. Who feel that the Palin segment of the modern Republican party have adopted such a Manichean view of the world that everyone who doesn’t mark in lockstep is somehow the Shadow. This is the moment where those of us who have found science abased, spirituality diminished and humanity divided are finally seeing the possibility of a true paradigm change, where unity is a real, if temporary possibility.

And as such feelings go, it’s going to take me a while to believe it’s happening. I’ve been following this election by the footnote since Barack Obama’s sophistication, intelligence, unflappability and poise convinced me that for the first time in my entire life, I wasn’t just voting for the lesser of two evils, but for someone who is actually my voice. Someone who was clearly introspective and self-critical, who realized that healing is not accomplished by the type of divisiveness our country has seen. Who doesn’t pander to the extremes of either party, a man who would calmly try to explain to Bill O’Reilly his vision of the future over constant interruptions, but would also try to temper Rachel Maddow’s implication that Obama’s campaign is an actual condemnation of conservatism. Over and over, I pinched my arm until I bruised, a part of me still not convinced this was actually happening.

I’m not sure when I knew it was over. Part of me was convinced very early on it was a done deal, especially after Hilary Clinton was ousted in the primaries. It had all the hallmarks of history in the making. I was even more convinced it was over when McCain picked Sarah Palin, a move I saw as shoring up the base rather than aiming for the moderates who decide these things. If it wasn’t for the close elections in 2000 and 2004, one or both that always looked shifty, and the constant worries over election fraud, one might have looked at what were rather obvious poll numbers. I kept reminding myself about the dangers and pitfalls of conspiracy theories, most of which never pan out. Last night they had no chance.

Pennsylvania was the first huge moment. After that only one big state was needed and when Ohio went blue, it was virtually over. The next hour was like a dream. I was watching MS-NBC talking to friend and it all seemed to happen in slow motion. Chris Matthews started giving a big speech about the implications of the Obama win and like a climax, the entire west coast lit up blue. As a California voter talking to an Oregon voter on the phone, this was a hell of a moment, it was as if our states clinched the win. And it felt like a huge weight disappeared, like 1000 banishing rituals ending all at once.

Obviously a moment that feels like the grand finale to the best movie of all time is actually only the beginning. But for the moment, the sun is shining.

An image from The Classical Golden Dawn Tarot after the break: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Esoteric, Politics | Leave a Comment »

The Rising Sun

Posted by Mike on November 4, 2008

I haven’t seen much discussion on the Obama Biden emblem. It’s an insignia that captures one of the most profound and significant symbols of the ages, that of the rising sun. It’s the very basic simple of hope, a new day will rise. This goes all the way back to the Egyptians who originally did not have the certainty modern man does about the sun coming up again the next day.

It’s also a significant symbol for many esoteric groups, most famously the Golden Dawn (this book shows one example of how it’s used). In the Golden Dawn, this symbol encapsulates quite a bit more than the hope for a new day, in particular it symbolizes an important spiritual concept that has a far reaching effect. If you notice in the symbol, the rising sun is in the center of the Star of David. In the Golden Dawn this star is the combination of the downward pointing triangle that is the blue elemental symbol of water and the red upward pointing triangle that is the elemental symbol of fire. In the form of the Star (or hexagram if you will) it is the fusion and the reconciliation of opposites. In the kabbalah this is Tiphareth, whose planetary association, naturally, is the Sun. Tiphareth is also the sixth sephirah, corresponding nicely with the hexagram. It not only balances the pillars of mercy and severity, but also the divine and earthbound parts of the tree.

Strangely enough this dovetails quite nicely with Barack Obama. Obama’s an August 4th Leo, a sign that the Sun rules. It’s probably worth noting here that Bill Clinton was also a Leo democrat. Leos are known for radiant charisma and leadership abilities, two aspects I can even imagine most of Obama’s detractors are likely to at least grudgingly admit. Having dated an August 4th Leo before, Obama’s chameleon-like way of being able to relate to just about any situation and to be empathetic with nearly everyone he comes into contact with is very familiar to me. The constant refrains of one America, one party, crossing party lines, transformation, “change we need” and all of this imagery is definitively Tiphareth, all of these things smaller ripples and echoes of that greater truth the rising sun represents.

Whether this has all come together in the way chains of unexplained synchroncity tend to or if there was someone in the mix who knows these symbols beyond the Jungian level, I’m sure I’ll never know. After all this isn’t Harry Potter. But the way they’re all lining up speaks of a powerful influence at play here, at the very least there’s an interesting subconscious response at work here.

Posted in Esoteric, Politics | 1 Comment »