More in Subtle Tortures

Never in my life did I think I would need to figure out how to segue from a Giant Space Otter - but here I am! I spent some time thinking about it, but this thing is fluid, man, and I can bend anywhich way.

Above is Lucas encased in Carbonite. This doesn't really apply to Lucas, since from what I can gather he's quite enamored of his Star Wars, but imagine, if you will, being caught in your own creation - you're an artist, a writer, a musician, whatever, working hard, beating the streets, struggling to pay the bills, etc yada.... then you make a breakthrough! One of your creations becomes successful, and if you're "lucky", hugely successful. You are completely validated, as well as rich. All your dreams come true....

Until years later, after several tours of the ComicCon, or yet another sequel, or having played the same song 10000 times and each and everytime you are expected to act like it's the first time... some might call this Hell.

Not me, of course, since there's no such thing. But it is a subtle torture, no doubt - to be cursed by the burden of the very thing you struggled to obtain. Tragic!

If only someone would free George from the Carbonite of his mind.... alas. I believe it's too late for him, son.
Also, too:


No Time Nor Rhyme

I didn't really have space ennui; I was being glib for the sake of a phrase. Frankly, I've got no time for ennui these days, nor any of its mopey variations. I've done my share of regret/guilt hairshirting in the past and I learned there's nothing to get from it, other than negatives. Learn the lesson you need to learn in order to not make the same mistake again, and move on. Leave whatever it was in the past.

For, life IS a Giant Space Otter Queen, and when she leaps out to attack you, you won't have time for "Woe's Me." There doesn't need to be a reason or a warning or even fair play - life is predictably unpredictable, and the sooner you learn this lesson, and live it, the better.

Keeping your mind flexible, prepared to adapt, and not stuck in the past (nor dreading the future) is a simple formula to success and happiness. IMO!


Space Ennui

I've been stricken with a case of space ennui, alas! There's only one cure. Vacation. See ya on the other side!

Unless of course I post remotely.


Never Forget (Squirrel War Version)

As I go ever further down the hole of turning this blog into "Stormtrooper's Lament", I feel it important to remind my dear readers - and myself - where the term Stormtrooper first came from. The NAZI's. As with so many evil modern inventions. So, alas, while dressing up as a Star Wars Stormtrooper is mostly for laughs, the foundational undercurrent is disturbing - Lucas did not choose the name or look to be cute, but rather as a very direct reference to the NAZI's. That these same characters are now glorified in pop-culture should tell us that we've been crossing some lines over the past 30 years, and our entire cultural mindset has shifted - towards the Authoritarian, the Imperial, the faceless soldier doing the bidding of Evil. 

Just as, I realized, with what is occurring with the plethora of incredibly realistic war video games on the market - Call of Duty, Counterstrike, etc. While fun and engaging, they are also literally training millions of people in combat tactics and in pure (simulated) violence. There's only so much conditioning required before it becomes the norm. Couple this with the parallel developments in real warfare (robotics), and you see how easy the transition will be from "guy killing fake people on his X-Box" to "same guy, soldier, killing real people via his remotely controlled drone". And maybe he'll get to wear a cool mask while doing so. Black, of course.

The trends are grim.

Why We Fight (Stormtrooper in Heaven)

Having admirably served the Empire and given his Cloned life in a futile attempt to ward off a band of Rebel Scum, this Stormtrooper is at last enjoying his just rewards: VIRGINS IN HEAVEN Y'ALL!

Another neat trick of control: Use basic human instinct to divide and conquer. You'll note that fundamentalists of all stripes seek to control sexuality - whether it be a sweaty fat Snake Handlin' Southern Baptist or a  bearded Imam from the Wahabi School of No Nookie. They both know it's the key to controlling people. It's really well developed in the various schools of Jihad though, to wit: You keep men and women apart; you highly regulate all aspects of their interaction (to no one's happiness); and when the hormones have reached their maximum power (teens/early 20's), you promise them sex IF they do certain things for you. Like wearing a suicide vest. IF you do this for us, you will be granted all the sex you could ever dream of. Really.

It's ludicrous, of course, but so is all religion. But as I've well observed, if you are raised in a stew of insanity, the insane makes sense, and you'll follow it naturally enough as long as there are no external "breaks". Thus, repressed Virgins convinced to kill themselves in order to get laid.

Religion only makes sense as an instrument of Control and Power, and from that perspective, it's fantastically successful.

Note for future Utopians: Align your laws with human nature. It's the only logical and compassionate way to run a civilization.


72 Virgin Metal Bikinis

I think they were trying to establish some kind of world record. Did they make it? Does it matter? Behold the glory that is a Legion of the Finest Leia Metal Bikini impersonators!

ComiCon08 clearly ruled.


Gifts of Despair

A certain professional coldness seems a must to survive the ComicCon circuit. Lookee here at a true, semi-famous pro.

I think it's 50$ a picture, by the way.

Prisoner of Fame

Imagine, if you will, the subtle torture that is being marginally famous. You're famous enough to be forced to deal with the many hassles of celebrities - like random people wanting to take a photo with you. You're not famous enough/rich enough to retire, and so you got to work, just like most folks.

Sure, you could go into Law Talkin', or Doctorin', but you're semi-famous! Where you gonna find the time to go to Law Talkin' School anyways? And so you hussle - a bit role here, a commercial there, maybe a play or two, a book, anything, really, just to pay the bills. But then you discover the Comic Convention circuit, and suddenly, you're marginally set for life.

Except, you have to attend these ComicConventions, sit all day and be pleasant, and sign sign sign autographs/take pictures, for some of the most desperate nerds this desperate world has ever produced.

And thus, the above: Stan Lee, posing with one of his creations. Can you feel the despair? 


Always deeper

I wanted to share a revelation I've had about holes: They can always go deeper. No matter how deep you think you are in the hole now, know with 100% certainty you can always go deeper. So, don't wait to get yourself out.

Also, I never realized how similar Superman's hair is with Jack Kerouac's - go ahead and look for yourself. I'm sure it was a popular hair cut back in the day, but it's strikingly  similar. I'm trying to think what a Super-Kerouac would be like. Probably something like: 'Upupup and upupup and Dean said go upupup and away to the blue American sky hanging low over the dirt farmers and assorted railroad vagrants pining time in the inky black arms of..... (it can go on like this indefinitely)." Additionally, Superman sucks. No drama, and giving up your powers for Lois Lane? Lame.

Also, too:
It's a big world, filled with all kinds of crazy folks.

Edited to add: Click here to follow all Redshirt's crazy adventures. 


Simulated Suffering

Sorry for the long absence! I've been exploring the concept of "simulated suffering", whereby you intentionally choose an action which causes you some suffering, in the hopes of learning/growing from the experience. We do this all the time of course, but there are degrees. And it's the degrees - and the intention - which matters.

Consider running, or jogging. I'd put that squarely into a "simulated suffering" category. You are willingly making yourself uncomfortable, in order to advance physically and mentally. That's the concept!

So, I see many people justify tattoos from this perspective - the pain of getting a tattoo makes you remember it, makes you learn the lesson you're trying to teach yourself. I have no evidence one way or the other whether this works. It might!

But I would like to describe two basic techniques (in addition to the technique already mentioned - exercise): Meditation and fasting.

1. Meditation. You might not think of this as suffering, but to your normal mind, it very much is. Meditation is suffering because the time spent meditating could be time spent by the mind obsessing about whatever is to be obsessed with that day. You are forcing yourself to not think, not talk, not move. These could all be considered degradations done to you by another, but because you are choosing (choice is key here), this becomes a simulated suffering. Again, the idea is by taking time each day to "suffer" - here, meditate - you come to appreciate the normal world far more. Like with...

2. Fasting. Ever gone 24 hours without eating? If you're healthy enough, I'd recommend you try it, at least once, to see what it's about. It's painful, and can be filled with real suffering. But, once done, that mountain climbed, you'll come to appreciate everything in a way you did not even realize before. You'll come to cherish that small snack you have before bed, or the breakfast that is made for you, or the nice lunch near the park...

And that's the goal: We are living a miracle, the greatest gift that could ever be given. We are alive. Yet! The vast majority of us utterly take this for granted, and instead focus on whatever pathetic delusions we've created for ourselves to whine and moan about. It's obscene - but I do it too! We all do.

So, the work is: Take yourself out of your normal perspective, intentionally put yourself in a different perspective, and see what you learn. Do this often enough and it becomes habit. Once it becomes habit, it is you. 

I challenge you to think of ways in which you might implement this thought in your own life. What "simulated sacrifice" can you come up with?

The best example of this of course is the "You don't know what you have till it's gone" School of Living, wherein when you are sick, you can think of nothing else but how wonderful it is to be healthy. But when healthy, you rarely give it a moment's thought, right?

We must realize this miracle as an everyday experience. This is one way to get there: Make yourself suffer - within bounds, constructively, for a purpose; but suffering all the same. Because as far as I can tell that's the only way any of us learn.


Happy Sagan Day!

A proto-nerd, born long before nerds even dreamed of being cool (thanks dotcom!).
In his full glory as 70's Galactic Guru.
An apple pie recipe and inside nerd joke. Do you know it? You should! Being a nerd is awesome!

Because knowledge is awesome - knowing how to do things IS important. Knowledge IS power. Alas! In our redneck, Palinized, 21st century America, learnin' is for Liebrul elites. And that attitude is certainly not good for any culture.

Buck the trend! Stand for truth and apple pie! 

If you're looking for a genuine role model and inspiration, give Carl Sagan a try. If you value reason, common sense, and wonder, all mixed up with knowledge, you won't be disappointed.

What you see

I must confess to ordering a pair of these back in the day, thinking I too could be an undercover lecher. Alas! They were a complete fraud, and I learned something that day about the world.... it lies!

But it is possible to "see" in X-Rays. Or in Radio Waves. Or infrared, etc. Here are some examples of the same object, yet the picture was taken in a different frequency. First series of pix is Galaxy M31, or Andromeda:
Radio, microwave, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and X-ray. And how about our good friend, Mother Earth:
 Infrared, visible, ultraviolet, EXTREME ultraviolet, X-Ray, and Gamma Ray. In the X-Ray photo, the earth is dark except for the Aurora at the north pole. The gamma ray view is showing particles from space bouncing off our atmosphere.

As you can see - wait, what is seeing? You can "see" in x-ray, or radio waves, or even gamma rays,  just not with our eyes, since we did not evolve the ability to perceive that frequency. Some animals can though. So, "seeing" is defined as the ability of a life form to receive and interpret specific frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thus, if there is no "receiver", there is no "seeing", right?

Thus! And in conclusion: If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? And the answer is: If there are no life forms to hear it, then no. Since sound - like color, like smell, like touch - only exists with the receiver, with life. Without a life form to translate a specific frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum into "blue", there's no such thing as blue. Just as, without a medium to travel through, AND a receiver to pick up the noise, there is no sound - just pressure waves. Sound is the brain translating that pressure wave by frequency into everything you hear.

So, again: Nothing is as it seems. In fact, it's far more wonderful than you could ever imagine.


U Sexy Bag o' Bones

That's right baby, work it! Play for the camera! Yeah-Yeah...

That's it yes! Yes! More of that! 

 From a real photo some guy. X-Ray photos of a model. 

Two things here: 1. X-rays: You know they're just different frequencies of the same electromagnetic radiation, right? Like visible light, like microwaves, like radio waves, like infrared waves... etc. Point being, what we "see" is but a small sliver of the overall energy. If we developed differently, we'd see everything differently. Thus, what is seeing, but a matter of....

2. Perspective. Really, all roads lead back to perspective. Consider the sexiest woman/man you could ever think of, then think of them as a water bag with a skeleton infrastructure all designed to transport a brain-stem system that in turn is designed to simply reproduce the genetic code driving the entire show in the first place. NOT SEXY! Puts things in perspective though, don't it?

Reality is rarely sexy. Truth is not sexy. What is sexy, however, is that which appeals to our genetic impulses. Not even to you, necessarily, but to the genes. And that's a huge perspective shift, if you can dig it: YOU are not the driver in your own life; you're merely the vehicle. The genes are directing the travel, and when you are all rusted up in the junkyard, they'll have moved on, leaving you to be recycled.

That's about as big a perspective shift as an individual can have vis-a-vis themselves: You are not in charge.

Try and think about things from this perspective when it comes to your emotions, or your desires, or even just the basic patterns of your day. It can be enlightening, if not depressing. But then, the truth usually is.

(art) I know what I like

A well rounded education is key to every Stormtrooper's success.
 An individual teaching session.
The finished product! Not what the teacher had in mind, but the mudflap market is too big to overlook. Form equals Money, after all. If you dig it, check out all the cool Stormtrooper merchandise here:


Riffs on a Theme

A Burnstrooper
 A Bunnytrooper (w/ Bonus Deathstar Egg)
A Bengalstrooper, most sadly of all...

Anecdotally, there's something happening on the Internets with this Trooper meme. I'm finding more and more exciting pictures every time I look. 

Also, randomly, you realize a Stormtrooper is the laserfodder equivalent of Darth Vader, right? Same basic mask, same basic armor. Except one is the Leader (in black), the Fodder in white.

Shades of Vader

From some art project, somewhere, in the recent past. Artists are credited in the file name. I really should keep better track of this - it's nagging at me. There were many more examples, but I felt these to be best.

For the record, unless I specifically state a photo or photoshop or art work is from my own hand, it's someone else's work. Most of the photos on this site are someone else's work. Proper credit is impossible to give sometimes, but not all the time. But I will strive to do better in the future. 

It's a thorny issue. On the one hand, I don't intend to sell or make any money off these creations; on the other hand, the artists/creators should always get credit for what they do, regardless of use. The Internet makes it difficult. I would recommend any artist "watermarks" anything they put on the internet.

Regardless, this project is a good example of Art in the Internet Age - to wit: Take a meme, give the basic outlines to a group of individuals who are working individually but with knowledge of the others, and see what results.

The true genius of art on the internet is the Dialectic, of course - one idea spawning another, which spawns another, which is modified by someone else to spawn another.... it's evolution in an almost pure form.

The Internet might be the best environment ever created for the meme. And it's only going to get better and better.


Impressions of Lost Longings

O! What longings lurk beneath the mask of evil - what could have been if this, or if that..... an imagined innocence as the last redoubt of a soul beyond torment....

Wait a second. It's just a whiny douchebag behind that mask. Never mind.

High Art

I don't know where this came from, or even how to explain it, other than I assume it's from the 1970's, and then everything makes sense. Enjoy!

Also, too:



Springtime for a Predator

Yeah, it's disturbing. But! Predators must fall in love too, so, get over your human biases! Dayum!

Also, I've been on a kick of watching bad 80's movies lately - the kind that are so "80's" bad they've magically become good. Like Gymkata, just for example. Hypothesis: Every 80's movie features a montage of some sorts. Prove me wrong!

Anyways, I caught the first half of Predator last night, and it's never been terrible, but still: The 80's factor is awesome! The handshake scene between Arnold and Carl Weathers is so 80's you could make it a "Wish you were here" postcard from 1987. 
 Now that's 80's!

So, as you head into the worst weekend of the year (Daylight savings ends, perpetual darkness begins) and you're looking for something to do, give bad 80's movies a try.  Redshirt recommended! If you're unsure where to begin, I'd recommend "Commando".

A "man" and his guns

This poor Klingon/Human hybrid is all over the internets for some reason. I assume some websites found his sincerely posted pictures and ran with the comedy - folks, remember, anything you do or say on the internets is forever.

This fellow is about as clear an example as you can get in photographic terms of a man defining his masculinity by the accumulation of weapons. I'd hazard to guess that 70% of the gun nuts in America are really cowardly fools worried about their penis sizes, or some other abstract masculine worry. 15% are probably psychopaths, leaving 15% of reasonable, responsible people who own guns. Prove me wrong!

It's the old "projection" giveaway: Anyone trying so hard (yet so pitifully) to look or act tough is no doubt terrified on the inside - of everything, really. To cope with this fear, a delusional world is created, filled with guns and macho heroics and USA! USA! kicking ass with laser guided bombs blowin' the shit out of someone I DON'T CARE ABOUT!!!. Etc.... In the end, though, they're just scared little boys who will never grow up.

Pop-psych 101, sure. But it's true! And this is practical, actionable insight! Use it wisely.


Moran Supremacy

This image nicely and neatly sums up much about America today. Read what you like into it - it's all there. Also, a nice object of parody:
A topical mashup.
 Satire at its finest. 
 And what could be more American than an ironic T-Shirt mass produced in China.



Once more into the ditch

Say it proudly! And hurriedly - I'm sure masturbation is high on the list of things to be banned when our Teatard puppets take over tomorrow. Y'know, cuz of small government and all.
 All these pics are from the incredible Stewart/Colbert rally this past weekend in DC. I was inspired for no other reason than 1. It's always nice to see large groups of people who believe in many of things you do, especially after 2 years of artificial coverage of these teabaggin' fools. And 2. They correctly identified the real villain in our current tragedy, or at least a villain we can tackle: the media itself. 
 To wit: Because the MSM seeks ratings in order to obtain advertising revenue, they are hardwired to egg on conflict, to play to the extreme, to maximize drama, etc. All for the eyeballs, just like any TV show. But should the news hold itself to the same standards as, say, "Jersey Shore". It shouldn't, but it does. And this needs to be made clear to everyone.
 Which is the final point Stewart had to make: Sure, you have disagreements all the time in a democracy, but that's what the process is all about. No need to resort to calling your opponent - whomever it is - Hitler, just because he holds a different view. But in this atmosphere of extremism, Fox is doing nothing but stirring this pot. And when they stir, hundreds of others fall in line. If we cannot talk reasonably to each other, than talking will cease, and violence will begin.

In my darker moments, I fear that's the point entirely. Never, ever forget this: The Oligarch's main tool of control is "Divide and Conquer", specifically by pitting disenfranchised groups against each other. Poor Whites v. African Americans, for example. Logically, both groups likely have 98% of the same concerns, yet because of this "Divide and Conquer" tactic, they are at each other's throats. While at each other's throats, they forget their similarities and focus on the anger, and in so doing, while this is going on, the Oligarchs get whatever it is they want (almost always: Power, money).

2010 is just a prelude in the crazy, of course. The election of 2012 starts tonight as well, alas. And here's your nightmare doomsday scenario:


Go Vote!

A synergy of sorts, but the only one I could find: A stormtrooper at a Teabaggin' rally. The sign reads, in case it's too small: "Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies" - Ron Paul.

In case you've forgotten, a sizable percentage of these wingnuts worship RONPAUL! For some reason. And in true fascist "please give us a King"  form, they've taken RONPAUL's son RANDPAUL under the same heavenly wing. You know - RANDPAUL, guy with the Goon Squad who smashes women's heads into curbs because they DARE hold up a protest sign?

I laugh, I cry, at the shocking dissonance revealed in this sign - here's a guy attending a rally dedicated to lies, to stoking fear and hatred, and yet he thinks HE's the one in possession of the truth. And so it is with many/most of these ignoramuses. You could tell them there's plenty of proof for Evolution, but they won't hear it, cuz "They know what they know". They will only listen to approved sources, and then completely uncritically.

In a way, these people reflect a great failing in our education system, since they have seemingly now ability to think critically, or sort lies from the truth. Rather, they've gone so deeply tribal that anything - ANYTHING - perceived as coming from the "Other" is immediately discounted. Completely.

How do you talk with morans like this?

Here's a start:
  Find common interests, and build a foundation of trust from that!

Tomorrow is going to be crazy, I suspect, and possibly grim. We are still on the fine line of... many things. There's been a big uptick in violence and dirty tricks from the usual suspects. I hope nothing happens tomorrow.

There's a few basic scenarios that will happen tomorrow: Dems keep both houses, Teabaggers/Fox declare massive voter fraud and spend the next weeks breathlessly pushing that angle.

Repugs win house/Dems maintain Senate. Some voter fraud, but also the Nation getting back to its senses and putting Repuglicans back in power.

Repugs win both houses - the rightful order has been restored, almost. Time for Impeachment hearings!

Don't think so? Even if they only win the House, keep an eye out for Daryl Issa from CA - he'll be launching bullshit hearing after hearing.

Amazing trick, I still marvel at the what the Repugs have accomplished since St. Ronnie's Revolution: Spend like crazy, but claim you're for small government; outsource all domestic manufacturing, keep wages stagnant, relentlessly attack social programs that benefit the middle class, and claim you're for the "Common man"; meddle in everyone's personal business, but claim your against "intrusive government". Break the country, and then when someone tries to fix it, do everything in your power to stop them, all the while blaming them for all the problems.

And that's where we are today, with the Media fully on board. Ready to give a portion of power back to an even crazier, more incompetent group of jackals than the last.

And if it happens, we deserve whatever we get. Sorry, rest of the world/future!