Mike’s Prattle


Archive for the ‘Administrative’ Category

Life after the computer crash

Posted by Mike on March 3, 2012

It’s nice having a little money, it’s had something of a boomerang effect. I bought a new home computer yesterday. Naturally it didn’t go smoothly, Office 2010 crashed on installation so I spent at least 30m with a tech getting it fixed. And there’s also a problem with some of the menus which I’m going to have to wrangle with Dell about. But now I’m very happy, but I’m realizing one of the great things about not actually having a computer since December is the task list ahead of me. I’m at that point in life where I need to divest myself of stuff. You know sending old books to Amazon and selling off some music on ebay, my guess is 2012 in part will be working on all of this.

On the other hand my first task was to get an art gallery up. I had posted a few of my older pieces on this blog, but they distort in this format, at least on some computers. So I’ve created a deviantart gallery here:


I’m missing about eight pieces I want to put up within the time period of what is up there, and I also have six newer ones. There’s a handful of minor things I probably won’t upload and then there are the really large pieces I’m doing as part of my personal temple that created a large mosaic that I’ll have to put up when I’m finished with them as a whole. Seriously the only enemy is time with all of this.

I also plan to split this blog up again so I can have a dedicated blog on the occult, kinda like I spun off Olfactory Rescue Service for incense, but this will follow the deviantart gallery. I just started doing a series of 11x14s of the Hebrew letters as well that I’m really excited about.

There are an incredible amount of really high quality occult books being released and reissued in the last few years. It occured to me after I got in a rather large haul the other day that we’re witnessing some of the most important work coming out on the Golden Dawn, possibly since the Regardie books. First of all anyone interested in the Golden Dawn can not be without Pat Zalewski’s Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries. There is almost a book’s worth of information on the Neophyte ritual alone and it demonstrates quite clearly the depth that came out of the Whare Ra temple. I’m not sure how long the book will be available, but I’m even thinking about getting one of the hardbacks. I wrote a review of it on Amazon but to be sure, I’m not even close to the type of understanding in it and hope to learn from it the rest of my life. I enjoyed Pat’s book on alchemy as well, although there’s no doubt I’ll have to read it again at some point.

The Rosicrucian Order of the Golden Dawn’s reissue series that includes said mentioned alchemy book is also amazing, I just got in the tarot and alchemy books in the series. I’ve had Case’s Tarot book for years but it’s great to have his early work (including the two volumes of Early Writings that came too).

William Gray – The Ladder of Lights is one of those in the “I can’t believe I didn’t have this yet” category. But of all these books the one that is truly kicking my ass right now is Nick Farrell’s King Over the Water. I’ll talk more about it when I finish, but I think this one’s a game changer. One of the things that attracted me to the system in the first place was it’s true lack of an individual “name,” possibly the reason I keep Crowley stuff around for reference and not much more. So to see this history written in a way that shows the system shining even despite the failings of human beings – that’s the Golden Dawn I know. That system doesn’t have sacred cows or personalities bigger than itself, it’s a work in evolution.


Posted in Administrative, Books, Esoteric | 2 Comments »

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition

Posted by Mike on September 27, 2010

No, this isn’t a review really (as if) but I couldn’t think of a good title for this post, which is mostly just a small update. But yeah this set is incredibly beautiful. The album, a few throw away bonus tracks, an audio of the Tanglewood 1970 show that begs the question why there isn’t any video (cuz it does exist), the Copenhagen 69 DVD which is about as free as Miles ever was, an LP which is a replica of the original album, and then this package of goodies, including a really sick poster, some photos and other cool stuff you can’t download.

Other than this life is really odd at the moment, so if I’m not posting here or ORS or Facebook, it’s because I’m preoccupied.

Posted in Administrative, Music | 2 Comments »

Charles L. Grant – The Sound of Midnight; Lucius Shepard – “Shades,” “Life of Buddha,” “The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter,” “Jack’s Decline,” “Nomans Land,” “A Wooden Tiger,” “The Way It Sometimes Happens,” “The Ends of the Earth,” “Carlos Manson Lives;” Fritz Leiber “Do You Know Dave Wenzel?;” “One Station of the Way;” stories from Gardner Dozois ed. – The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol. 1

Posted by Mike on January 26, 2010

Been too busy to do a lot of posting of late, particularly because my home computer went down for about three weeks this month thanks to the latest rootkit du jour. It meant a restoration of my computer which hasn’t gone totally smoothly, the good part is I managed to save all of my old data except possibly old e-mails. Things are working OK now, but my old Feurio CD burner program doesn’t work on the new machine, so I’m hoping to get Nero 9 up and running soon. Other than that I think everything’s working fairly well again.

The best part about not having a computer, perhaps, is not seeing news as much, as when I returned to learning about our current corporatocracy, I learned of the devastating Supreme Court decision to make corporations human beings, which may have been one of the worst events in politics to have happened in years. Whether you vote Republican major or Republican minor (aka Democrats) today, the only truisms seem to be that the banks and major corporations are always the winners. But enough on this, there’s really nothing all that new about the rich and powerful getting their way, King Richard or CEO Richard.

But of course another good thing about not having a computer is more reading time. So onto trying to catch up with some fiction reviews. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Administrative, Books, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Happy New Year

Posted by Mike on January 4, 2010

Vacation, for the most part, was relaxing and fun, I got to spent a lot of time with family, including my video game-playin’ nephews who I really have a lot of fun with, a family friend was in town and my dad’s birthday is the same week as Christmas so it was busier than I expected it to be. In fact I was sad I didn’t get a last session with the newphews over the weekend, but I had originally planned on getting some projects (home work-like stuff) done only to be zapped by a horrendous computer virus on New Year’s Day which managed to take out my home machine, or at least bad was made worse by the McAfee technicians (my only excuse here is that McAfee is free via Comcast, however I learned my lesson, free is just not good enough in this case). I spend probably a good 5 or 6 hours just on hold over the weekend. During one chat session a technician managed to force start my machine leaving it permanently in blue screen status. I’m supposed to have a meeting with the higher level techs later today but I don’t expect much. Likely I’ll have to take my computer over to the Geek Squad for a week and hope they can save my hard drive.

So really a good week and a half were great and then Murphy’s law stepped in and took a baseball bat to my final weekend. God it was bad, what with Kobe Bryant’s most obvious and awful 3 pointer putting away my Kings on the first. Then a horrible experience with a video game, the first I’ve ever just quit on, which I’ll get to in a later post. The usual synchronicities of dropping and breaking everything I carried, minor accidents spreading with glee (or as an old friend and I used to put it “vicarious aplomb”). The brilliant and excruciatingly devastating regeneration of David Tennant Doctor 10 to Matt Smith Doctor 11 (the most perfect last words ever), which haunted me all weekend, being the end of the best period of the show ever and perhaps the beginning of an even better one (I thought Matt was the Doctor from the word “legs”). And over the two week vacation I come back to work and find out my boss got a new job and is already gone and ditto with another coworker. So when I wasn’t trying to salvage my computer I was largely just staring at the TV rather than attending to projects. So I have a book I need to rush this week. I still think the worst thing about being deprived of the computer is simply the ability to be able to research even the most dumb thing that comes to mind on the spur of the moment.

But remarkably I feel OK at work, probably because I spent a lot of this weekend time sleeping off the stress, which did me a lot of good. It’s damn quiet here though, which is good writing energy. But I don’t relish an evening thinking about viruses though…

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Huffington Post downloader

Posted by Mike on April 13, 2009

About 10m ago I got a virus notification at work on Symantec and then a call from our administrator. I’d gotten the bloodhound.exploit downloader caught by the program. My first thought was what did I accidentally click on to get this, so as for it not to happen again? At the time I was just scanning Huffington Post for news headlines, something I’ve done since in the early days of last year’s campaign. I did a Google search on the downloader name plus Huffington Post and came up with a number of hits indicating that this news site was probably responsible (I had no other windows open). So basically byebye Huffington Post. Kind of the last straw. My other two issues with the site were extremely misleading headlines on a consistent basis, usually to inflate the site’s liberal outlook (something I often share might I add) on something minor (and in several cases often fixed when people complained) and also a heavy emphasis on Hollywood-ish sorts of issues, long blogs on the fashion of Michelle Obama, loads of Perez Hilton celebrity stalker sorts of articles, basically all things I could do without. What I liked was having the headlines of Washington Post, New York Times, AP, etc etc all together, so I need to find a new downloader-free site that does the same thing. The only other time I got a downloader notification was a year or so ago at progrock.com, which is a place I never really look at or use but probably ran across when researching something. Now I get these things show up at all sorts of nefarious sites but it gets irritating when they’re at places you’re supposed to trust not have these things. Grrr.

Posted in Administrative | 1 Comment »

Computer Up plus the latest

Posted by Mike on December 15, 2008

As of last Friday evening, my computer is back up and running again, which means it was out about 5 days. Things went relatively well, I got a diagnosis saying it was the button on the front panel, which meant I had to order a new front part from Dell and Dell delivered very quickly with two day mail. To have discovered this myself would have been to do what needed to be done in replacing it, basically removing the plastic cover from the entire machine. In replacing it (credit to my old man who’s very good at this kind of thing), it was discovered the metal piece that triggers the power button had broken off. With a new front and requisite cleaning the machine looks almost brand new. Really, about the only thing I missed, given computer access at work, was just quickly checking the news when I got up in the morning or before I went to bed.

But it has been part of a string of really rotten luck of late, the kind of bad luck that looks humorous with some distance (which I don’t quite have yet). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Administrative, Basketball, Uncategorized, Video Games | 2 Comments »

Music, Outer Music, Progressive Music, etc.

Posted by Mike on August 18, 2008

I’ve had this intense feeling I’ve been juggling too many balls in the air at once. Most of this is due to Olfactory Rescue Service and the site’s growing success in the incense community, which has basically reduced this blog to tumbleweeds since I moved the incense to ORS (making Prattle the perfect venue for this sort of ramble). To say the least, my experience in incense has been something of an exercise of comparing and contrasting with my experience in the music fields.

In ten years, my musical outlook and tastes have vastly changed. In the 90s I was involved with several progressive rock magazines: Expose, Audion, Melodie e Dissonanze. In the last 90s/early 00s I was coresponsible for starting the Gnosis project. But it always felt like as soon as I created something in the music field, my tastes had already changed to the point where I never felt part of the audience these projects were aimed at. I’ve always felt more comfortable in areas where people had more multiplicity and breadth in their musical tastes and have always felt that certain musical communities were quite insular and navel gazing. That is, I think it’s possible to like something without the act of that like becoming an implicit dislike of something else.

Overall, I don’t have the musical appetite that I used to and think that perhaps some of this interest has just transferred to my passion over incense. WIth music, I generally feel satisfied with what I’ve collected and feel very rarely that when I add something new to the pile that it sufficiently enhances it. For years I’ve had that idea that trying to appreciate something outside your tastes enhances your life and while it does, it has the exact opposite effect on your pocketbook. The major event for me was “cracking” the Grateful Dead. Never liked them much growing up, but around 2000-2001, I figured I’d give them the benefit of the doubt, started playing Europe 72, broke through my hesitancy and became a fan. But what it did for me most importantly was realize how much pleasure I could get out of one band. And learning this, along with some other influences, more or less ended the “need to hear everything” mentality I picked up from progressive rock. I find more satisfaction in trying to get to know something better than I do in trying to get to know something new.

Another aspect of this was retiring from Expose. As a writer you stay up on everything and are generally aware of almost everything remotely connected to the genre that comes out. All other issues aside, leaving the magazine was a relief in that hours of listening to promos you’d rather not could be used for something else. Being fully in control of what you listen to means you gravitate more and more to what you naturally like, passionate listening rather than intellectual. And overall, I think I’ve found I just generally like late 60s and early 70s music above all else, no matter if it’s rock, jazz, funk, soul or anything else. My respect for the avant garde is almost entirely intellectual or mental, never particularly passionate.

All of these questions are sort of hanging over me in a very Virgo-like way, as I consider hanging up musical activities. I sometimes have to resist the urge to make clean breaks. At the moment I don’t have a particular urge or desire to return to music writing of any sort. Not only have my tastes moved away from progressive rock but it’s a genre without any intellectual/academic dialogue while being tailor-made for it. Like the entire political landscape of the day, facts aren’t facts anymore, it’s a matter of how you feel and who yells the loudest. The genre’s greatest strength, its eclecticism, has now just become another competing idealogy with those who think its greatest strength is melodrama.

So, if you’re here wondering why I’m taking a (probably permanent) sabbatical from music forums and writing activities, this is generally where my head’s at. I honestly don’t feel like the world of progressive rock is going to miss my voice much at all, after all it’s not a voice much representative of the genre or its fans anymore (if it ever really was). And remember, I’m saying that as a progressive rock fan in love with its eclecticism not its melodrama. It’s not a statement fishing for someone to convince me otherwise, just someone who sees the art of criticism as opening a dialogue rather than digging a trench, while seeing the landscape of progressive music as a map of trenches where the dominant aesthetic is to lob grenades at each other. I’ve had grenades lobbed at me in the incense world as well, the difference there is that your fellow soldiers will deliver the A-bomb back, where in progressive rock they’ll blame you for the war.

Posted in Administrative, Music, Outer Music Diary, Writing | Leave a Comment »

Mike’s Prattle and the Olfactory Rescue Service

Posted by Mike on May 31, 2008

When I started Mike’s Prattle in 2006, I had no idea it would turn into an incense resource, and over time the original, casually named blog name seemed less and less appropriate to the new direction. So I’ve exported (almost) all of the blog content from MP to the new blog:


The credit for this name goes to Ross Urrere, who graciously let me borrow it. Thanks Ross! Apparently my links column did not make the transition but I hope to add them all back in the next few days if not sooner.

I’ve decided it’s pretty practical to actually split the two blogs up. From here on out what you’ll find here is random chatter not associated with music (Outer Music Diary) or incense (Olfactory Rescue Service). For the time being I’ve disabled comments here to encourage redirection of the conversations to ORS. If you’ve written a comment that did not go through, please contact me through the About page.

[Incense categories, links and articles are now removed from this site 6/4]

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Posted by Mike on February 12, 2008

Been spending quite a bit of time on my other blog of late, Outer Music Diary, so posting here will be quiet for the next week or so. OM survives collaboratively based on how we coordinate and encourage our writing streaks and we’re kind of fortunate that things are very good on that end for both Tom and I at this point, so we’re going to keep the flame going while it lasts. I think we’re about a month ahead at this point. Should be back with the February Incense Top 10 in a week or two.

Posted in Administrative, Outer Music Diary | Leave a Comment »

Dear progarchives.com,

Posted by Mike on July 12, 2007

Thank you for giving me so much web traffic recently. I can hardly believe how many people still find my posts about the site so interesting even to this day. But all good things must come to and end, and, so must these old posts, no longer relevant thanks to your kind, if time-delayed, cooperation. They are now toast, as may this blog be, now that nobody will read it. Peace and good luck in your total domination of the prog rock world!

Your pal,


Posted in Administrative, Music | Leave a Comment »