The Beautiful Days – How I Got Into the Swans

I’d like to take you on a journey through my past and into the realm where no time or space exists. Lets visit a realm of energy, music and passion. This is the realm I go to when I visit the land of the Swans. It is a dark realm in each of us; you can only visit it, if you are willing to face yourself, face me and see the dark and the light without prejudice and with overall equanimity.

I want to show you the very beginnings of my journey into the music of Michael Gira and the Swans. I want to share some of my first pivotal experiences and explain what revelations this brought about.

I started listening to the Swans at around the age of 19. I was exploring some old interviews with Maynard James Keenan from Tool; when I found an interview on JJJ Australian radio. This was an interview where they explore the songs which the particular artist found inspiration. Two of the songs were from the Swans: Time is Money (bastard) and Coward.

I found both of these songs stirred deep dark feelings inside me. They were unlike anything I had ever experienced before. My first inclination was to dislike it, because it wasn’t what I was used to thinking of as music and it scared me; but I became intensely curious, so I decided to buy every album of the Swans I could find, so I could explore this all in much greater depth.

When I got ahold of the albums, my exploration first gravitated towards their compilation album called Various Failures. The songs on this album were more melodic and upbeat, which I found easier to enjoy and relate to, since I had not yet developed my taste for their more exotic work from the earlier, darker, years. At that time period, playing the older, more dark and depressing albums, was like opening pandora’s box to me. I seldom did it for very long and when I would listen to a full album with my full attention, I would inevitably have an enlightening experience.

The first such experience I can remember, is while I was still living at home. I was probably around 18-19 years old at the time. I was at that point in my life where the lie that everything is, started to be made manifest in my perception. I started to realize that the world we are in today, tends to transform everything and everyone into meaningless corporatized crap. Even the so-called alternatives were often as meaningless as that which they purport to replace.

Having this reality dawn upon me was most unsettling indeed, as I had spent years thinking that things were, not necessarily great, but well enough in the world. I was beginning to realize what a tub of filth the world had become over the preceding decades. This was the rotten, empty, forsaken world I was emerging into, in which I would spend the rest of my life.

During one evening, when I was at home alone and had a particularly depressed feeling come over me, I decided to play a live album called The Swans are Dead and take a nice long bath. Little did I know that this experience would be remembered years down the road as a turning point in my relation to this world.

I turned on the music and I just let go, as much as I was capable at the time. I let the emotions it would evoke in me flow as I gave it the full attention of virtually every aspect of my being. The performance started with the song Feel Happiness, which was slow and then gradually layered on this new reality, adding layer upon layer as the moments progressed. I still remember the first lyrics of the performance and how it reverberated in me.

I’m truly sorry,
for what I never did,
but I forgive you, too;
for your indifference.
You’re a lonely child,
laid open to the world,
and when I looked in your eyes
I saw myself there too,
So please forgive me now,
for what we never had,
Although its useless to say,
I wish you happiness.
I wish you happiness,
I wish you happiness,
happiness…

I felt as if it said everything my soul was yearning to say; but had kept bottled up inside for so long, unable to express, unable to really understand or acknowledge. It is difficult to describe with words how powerful that was, especially in the context of experiences I was having. In fact, words and descriptive language could not do it justice; it simply must be fully experienced in ones own life, to be understood.

Even to this day, almost 10 years later, I still find this song and the album in which it is contained, to be one of the most powerful tools for understanding and accepting the great depths of emotions I often feel, deep underneath it all; beneath the facade of personality I must wear each day in order to make my way in this godforsaken world.

After I got a couple of songs into the album, I found myself surrendering completely. I simply gave in and let the music carry me to realms I had never visited. It was a tour de force of everything I was needing to face in my life and in my very being.

It’s was kind of like sex in a way; but it lasted much longer, involved my entire being through and through, and didn’t end in an energy drain. More specifically, I’d say it is like tantric sex with a partner who really knows themselves, the kind of sex where you savor the experience and are truly present at every moment; not letting it drain you by letting go to a climax.

This kind of experience is like a transfer of energy and awareness and since it doesn’t happen in a blip, like a climactic experience, it is able to transfer much more for a sustained period of time.

When the album was all over, I felt like I had really connected with something mysterious and amazing. I felt the deepest depths of depression, met with my shadow self, gained a renewed understanding and learned something of who I really am underneath it all. After all of this, I felt a great elation. I was now far more aware of aspects of myself that I had little experience in knowing and understanding.

I realized that, while this is a dark and distorted world and I live a dark and distorted life, it isn’t something to be afraid of or upset about; nor is it something to avoid. No, it is something to relish and experience to the fullest; because life can teach us many things, whether those lessons are from the dark or light aspects of our being.

If there is darkness, it is there for a reason; it isn’t just happenstance that things are the way they are. If we let ourselves have those experiences and don’t avoid them, despite the fact that they may not be pleasant, we will ennoble ourselves on a very deep level indeed. It is often the darker lessons, involving our shadow selves, that teaches us the most and helps us to make greatest leaps in our edification.

Even if you are a relatively unevolved life form, living in a primitive society like the western world of today, populated by spiritually blind — though technologically savvy — imbeciles, your life can still be just as rich, interesting and enlightening as if you lived in Shangri-La. Your life will just be enlightening in a different way; because there are different sets of lessons to learn in each kind of world. One advantage of living in a dark, unevolved world, such as ours, is that the potential for growth is truly remarkable.

When, when we were young
We had no history
So nothing to lose

Meant we could choose
Choose what we wanted then
Without any fear
Or thought of revenge

But then you grew old
And I lost my ambition
So I gained an addiction
To drink and depression

(They are mine
My only true friends
And I’ll keep them with me
Until the very end)

I’d choose not to remember
But I miss your arrogance
And I need your intelligence
And your hate for authority

But now you’re gone
I read it today
They found you in Spain
Face down in the Street

With a bottle in your hand
And a wild smile on your face
And a knife in your back
You died in a foreign land

And they found my letter
Rolled up in your pocket
Where I said I’d kill myself
If she left me again

So now she’s gone
And you’re both in my mind
I’ve got one thing to say
Before I am drunk again:

God damn the sun
God damn the sun
God damn anyone
That says a kind word

God damn the sun
God damn the sun
God damn the light it shines
And this world it shows

God damn the sun

Some of the greatest beauty you will ever experience in this life is bittersweet. It is sorrow coupled with understanding and acceptance of who you really are at this stage in your evolution. It is the source of all good art, music and poetry.

MyStrangeMind.com is Evolving

After several years of relatively small changes to this site, I’ve decided to switch things up a bit. The most noticeable change is the new skin on the site. Alot has changed with WordPress, the content management system I use to run this site; so I decided I’d start evolving the site on a more up-to-date theme framework. I’m going to work on some more graphics, logos and other customizations as time progresses too.

I’ve been tinkering around and becoming more familiar with what is happening in the free / open source (FLOSS) community lately; in the process I’ve learned about some great software that I’m now utilizing on this and other domains that I run.

Friendika – decentralised, open source, secure, private, modular, extensible, and federated.

Friendika is a social networking platform which allows you to have a Facebook-like experience, without being tied to services like Facebook, or having your friends necessarily on the same server. In fact, you can connect to friends on other Friendika servers, or just about any other server that implements Ostatus, DFRN or any future protocols that the Friendika community developers can write a bridge for.

One of the neat things about this project, is it is evolving very quickly and the developers are very responsive to suggestions; quick to implement new features and improve the features the software already offers. Another neat thing about Friendika, is the fact that I’m now one of the regular contributers! So if you start using it and see an area that can be improved, you can always talk with me and I’ll see if I can come up with a solution for whatever you might need.

New Pubic Friendika Server Launched: OpenMindSpace.org

I now operate a public Friendika server on openmindspace.org, where you can connect to me on my new profile or anyone else on a friendika compatable system. Anyone who wishes is welcome to sign-up and start using it!

Status.net – decentralized open source microblogging platform

Status.net is another form of decentralized social software. Their software is a microblogging platform similar to Twitter, which allows you to share small blips with anyone else on a Status.net compatible system.

This is a project which is really taking off and may one day help the microbloggers to communicate in a more decentralized fashion, with people able to better cluster together in small groups.

New Status.net Server Launched status.mystrangemind.com

I’ve decided to join the federated microblogging revolution with my own Status.net install. You’re welcome to connect to me there from any Status.net compatible server so we can better share information and stay in touch. You may also notice that I have the microblog feed syndicated on the sidebar of this site; that way you can see what is going on easier.

I’m currently running the status.mystrangemind.com server in “single user mode” meaning it is not possible for others to sign up; but if there is enough interest in it, I’ll be happy to open it up to the public. If you want to get on an already established public status.net server, check out this list of status.net servers. One of the neat things about smaller more decentralized servers, is you can choose your server based upon the kinds of people on the server.

New Technical Blog: chriscase.cc

Something I’ve been angling towards, as I learn more about building websites, is the idea of specialized content. When I first started mystrangemind.com, it covered a wide array of topics and it still does is to some extent. Recently, I’ve started writing more technical posts about programming, software, linux, databases, etc.

I decided beforehand that these kinds of posts just wouldn’t fit in well here; since many of the people who would go to a site like this aren’t interested in programming and the like. That is why I started another blog at chriscase.cc.

This new website functions as a more technically oriented professional site for me, where I can focus solely on topics such as programming, open source software, databases, and other computer-related topics. It also functions as a sort of resume for me, so people interested in working with me on freelance or open source projects can see how I think, the way I code and what kinds of projects I’ve worked on in the past.

Part of my intent is to document things that I’ve done or had to figure out; both for my future reference and for the benefit of others who may be researching how to do things. I’ve already found it useful myself on many occasions, I like being able to go to the site and just search for the topic and some detailed information instead of having to research and rediscover everything again on articles that may come and go on other people’s websites.

Vision for the Future

Like most webmasters, I’d really love to see my sites get more hits and have more participation from others of like mind. It would be great if more people used Friendika and contributed to the enrichment of that community of ideas too. Together, we can explore the kinds of topics discussed here and have a great time in the process.

I am going to keep working diligently, to not only add useful functionality to the sites; but also to regularly contribute high-quality content. With perseverance and a little good fortune, even more interesting people will come visit and contribute their ideas, creating a synergy which will add to the community as a whole.

The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor: What Fusion Wanted To Be

Google Tech Talks

November 18, 2008

ABSTRACT

Electrical power is, and will increasingly become, the desired form of energy for its convenience, safety, flexibility and applicability. Even future transportation embraces electric cars, trains, and chemical fuel production (jet fuel, hydrogen, etc.) based upon an abundant electrical supply. Although existing energy sources can and should be expanded where practical, no one source has shown to be practical to rapidly fulfill the world’s energy requirements effectively. Presently there is an existing source of energy ideally suited to electrical energy production that is not being exploited anywhere in the world today, although its existence and practicality has been know since the earliest days of nuclear science. Thorium is the third source of fission energy and the LFTR is the idealized mechanism to turn this resource into electrical energy. Enough safe, clean energy, globally sustainable for 1000’s of years at US standards.

This talk is aimed at explaining this thorium energy resource from fundamental physics to today’s practical applications. The presentation is sufficient for the non-scientist to grasp the whole subject, but will be intriguing to even classically trained nuclear engineers. By providing the historical context in which the technology was discovered and later developed into a power reactor, the story of thorium’s disappearance as an energy source is revealed. But times have changed, and today, thorium energy can be safely exploited in a completely new form of nuclear reactor.

The LFTR is unique, having a hot liquid core thus eliminating fuel fabrication costs and the need for a large reactor. It cannot have a nuclear meltdown and is so safe that typical control rods are not required at all. This design topples all the conventional arguments against conventional energy sources in such areas as:

  • Waste Production
  • Safety
  • Proliferation
  • Capital Costs and Location
  • Environmental Impact
  • Social Acceptance
  • Flexibility
  • Grid Infrastructure
  • Efficiency

Should America take this step toward a New Era in Nuclear Energy Production? Hear the case for “The Electricity Rock” and then decide.

Speaker: Dr. Joe Bonometti

Dr. Bonometti has extensive engineering experience in the government, within industry, and in academia over a 25-year career. Recently completing an assignment as the NASA Chair Professor at the Naval Post graduate School, he supported a ship design study that utilized advanced nuclear power derived from thorium. Working at NASA for ten years as a technology manager, lead systems engineer, nuclear specialist, and propulsion researcher, he lead several NASA tiger teams in evaluating the Nuclear System Initiatives fission demonstration vehicle and missions. He managed the Emerging Propulsion Technology Area for in-space systems, the Marshall Air Launch team, as well as a variety of other power and propulsion assignments and is now the Lead Systems Engineer for the Ares I-Y flight. After earning a Doctorate degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Alabama in Huntsville, he spent several years as a Research Scientist & Senior Research Engineer at the UAH Propulsion Research Center where he served as a Principal Investigator and manager for the Solar Thermal Laboratory. He has worked as a Senior Mechanical Designer at Pratt & Whitney supporting aircraft engine manufacturing and at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory within the laser fusion program. A graduate from the United States Military Academy, at West Point, where he studied nuclear physics and engineering, Dr. Bonometti served as an officer in the United States Army Corps of Engineers; both in combat and district engineering management assignments. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Virginia, and has authored numerous aerospace technical publications, particularly propulsion and space systems technologies. His technical expertise includes nuclear engineering, specialized mechanical & materials research, space plasmas & propulsion, thermodynamics, heat transfer, and space systems engineering.

This Google Tech Talk was hosted by Boris Debic.

More Holes Shot In Global Warmist Propaganda

The chicken little theory that the ice cap will disappear permanently appears to have been disproven; as someone who has a modicum of intution, I could have told you that viewpoint was to be taken with a grain of salt. Unfortunately for many of the cherry picking “climate scientists”, the earth isn’t as dumb of a system as they would think; it actually balances itself out quite nicely.

Current sea ice measurements indicate:

…at the south pole the sea ice around Antarctica is actually increasing. The ice there has been covering another 100,000 square km more sea each decade for the last 30 years, despite the well-publicised losses of ice shelf in the Western Antarctic.

Here’s the full article:

No ‘tipping point’ for Arctic sea ice – latest science

Polar cap would be back 2 yrs after an ice-free summer
By Lewis Page

OK, so the floating Arctic ice cap appears to be shrinking. Catastrophe if it goes on, right? As white ice reflects heat into space, past a certain point more and more heat will not be reflected, more and more ice will melt. Past such a “tipping point”, the ice cap would never recover – it would vanish completely, taking with it the ice cover of Greenland which would cause huge rises in sea levels and Biblical flooding worldwide.

Not so much, according to the latest research by German climate scientists. It seems that even in the case of a completely ice-free summer with the sun shining down onto an unprotected Arctic Ocean 24 hours a day (as it does in summer time up there), the heat absorbed by the sea would not be enough to permanently remove the ice cap. It would recover, in fact, within two years: there is no tipping point.

According to Steffen Tietsche, a polar ice expert at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, this is because removal of ice works two ways. It lets the sun’s rays warm the ocean beneath more strongly, but it also lets heat escape from the sea more easily. Thus, following an ice-free summer the Arctic will shed the extra heat fast due to the lack of its usual igloo-like ice blanket. Soon it will be so cold that the ice will reappear.

Tietsche and his colleagues write:

We examine the recovery of Arctic sea ice from prescribed ice-free summer conditions in simulations of 21st century climate in an atmosphere–ocean general circulation model. We find that ice extent recovers typically within two years.

The excess oceanic heat that had built up during the ice-free summer is rapidly returned to the atmosphere during the following autumn and winter, and then leaves the Arctic partly through increased longwave emission at the top of the atmosphere and partly through reduced atmospheric heat advection from lower latitudes. Oceanic heat transport does not contribute significantly to the loss of the excess heat.

Our results suggest that anomalous loss of Arctic sea ice during a single summer is reversible, as the ice–albedo feedback is alleviated by large-scale recovery mechanisms. Hence, hysteretic threshold behavior (or a “tipping point”) is unlikely to occur during the decline of Arctic summer sea-ice cover in the 21st century.

Details of the full paper in Geophysical Research Letters can be read here.

So the gradual decline in ice extent seen in recent decades may continue, but even if a very hot summer seriously eats away at the sea ice – even so much as to completely melt it all – it will recover; there will be no sudden disaster this century.

Meanwhile down at the south pole the sea ice around Antarctica is actually increasing. The ice there has been covering another 100,000 square km more sea each decade for the last 30 years, despite the well-publicised losses of ice shelf in the Western Antarctic.

Open Letter to CONgressman Mo Brooks: His Vote to Re-Authorize the “Patriot” Act

Congressman Brooks,

When you were sworn into office, you took an oath to the Constitution of the United States of America. Your vote to reauthorize the so-called “Patriot Act” shows that you don’t take that oath seriously.

You and the others who voted to reauthorize this Constitution defying bill are a disgrace. Please consider your oath of office before you vote on a bill. It is your duty to follow the Constitution and just because others are not doing so does not give you the excuse to follow suit.

Edgar Cayce on Material Law versus Creative Energies

For under material law one meets that it has constantly sown, but if constructive influences or forces of Creative Energies are applied, these become rather as null in the experience. For it indeed becomes as has been given by Him of old, it must needs be that offences come, but woe to him by whom they come!

Hence because an offence may have been committed against thee, only in attempting to demand an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or blood for blood, does one become only under the law.

But doing good for evil, being gentle when harshness is manifested, makes for that attunement to the influences within the soul as well as in the experience of an entity in material activity, of harmony and peace and quiet.

One may not sow riots and reap harmony. One may not sow indiscretions of any nature and expect the mental, the physical or the spiritual to respond as an instrument attuned to only good.

–Edgar Cayce (1397-1)