Archive for the ‘InnerSpace’ Category

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Circles Redux (Or déjà vu, all over again)

October 9, 2017

One might think one is going in circles… but then one realises that these are not circles but a spiral. Spiralling out of control!

“Confusion will be my epitaph…”

An update on the confusion spiral:

A meeting with my Social Worker is in abeyance because Social Services cannot book a secure room at the local medical centre as the lady who performs these room bookings has left with no replacement. The suggestion being to try the various surgeries downstairs. A subsequent visit there was most unrewarding. They want nothing to do with me and have referred me back to my surgery. Apparently said Social Worker has to get in contact with the Limes Surgery and speak to NHS Property Serices. The worthy involved refused to provide any telephone number, person responsible and especially her name! Except she had a name tag…

However it now seems that –without even an interview– Social Services are refusing to have anything to do with me. Yet another service that I paid for, for most of my adult life, and now –when I need it– isn’t available.

Similarly rubbish collection. My worthy next door neighbours (ish) got my rubbish bin out front. No easy task! Kudos. Then, come the day, the rubbish men passed it by as they always do.

Back in the day, when we had dustbins, the dustbin men would collect from behind the garden fence. Opening the garden gate and everything. Now they won’t even collect a wheely bin parked in the middle of the front lawn. So now I have a stinking wheely bin full of rubbish slowly festering and attracting vermin.

Thanks F’dik!

When I first received our wheely bins –and was fit as a fiddle– I did a simple test.

Prior to these “brave new bins” [Huxley] yours truly merely bagged up the rubbish in a black plastic bag and it was collected. Job done.

Not any more…

If a black plastic bag is placed in a bin: the bag is collected. If a bag is placed next to the empty wheely bin it is not collected. Naturally a bag by itself is ignored. Even when the wheely bin was full.

Currently, with my siatica even an empty wheely bin is something of a struggle; a full one is impossible.

Moving on…

Meanwhile I cannot apply for JSA because I lack a bank account into which said allowance can be paid.

Sadly the days of the fortnightly Giro <wiki> that could be cashed at the local post office are long gone.

Amusingly once in receipt of a letter stating that I am receiving a benefit, then that is proof of identity that a bank will accept. Except I need a bank account to start the JSA payments.

But…

[Edit: for some reason wordpress won’t accept the following link as an embedded Youtube Audio Link. Go figure…

The above link plays from the start of the album; despite being identical code. Gremlins…]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekTmJDCWq0g&t=2181

And starting a bank account is now fraught with monsters from the ID [Forbidden Planet applies]. Time was when in order to open up a bank account one merely had to have some money and the ability to sign a document. Just as soon as I learnt cursive I had a savings account at the Midland Bank. Simples.

Not any more.

Now one needs photo ID and supporting documents but to get photo ID one needs photo ID…

Apparently my: P45/ medical card/ blood donors card/ Nationwide Card/ Bavarian Illuminati Card and a half a dozen passports of my parents and my good self is not enough!

Indeed according to one worthy from the DHSS -bless- I do not exist until I can produce my driving licence –a scrappy bit of green paper some forty-seven years young– and lost somewhere in the Trustee’s house some twenty years ago. But even then they are not satisfied. As my old licence then needs to be swapped for a photo driving licence.  Then and only then do I exist.

Only then can the DHSS process my JSA application. The one that the
computer system swallowed without trace and the old fashioned pen and paper application that is now filed under P for pending

The really amusing thing is the fact that –in addition tofinding said scrappy piece of paper– I have to find twenty pounds for a driving licence that I cannot use! With my siatica I no longer trust myself to drive!

My right leg has a tendency to suddenly stop working…

It would seem that by the time I have jumped through all the Skinnerian hoops: I will have a job and the whole thing a pointless exercise in futility.

But that’s joined up (local) government.

No Thirty

Update: before managing to resolve the Youtube issue over a time stamped replay of a particular track I called in at the local and last bank in Waltham Abbey. Barclays is closing its branch. Leaving just the TSB formerly the Waltham Abbey Building Society/ Waltham Abbey and Cheltenham Building Society/ Cheltenham & Gloucester/ TSB. Probably only a matter of time before thattoo closes leaving just the Post Office.

Yet more evidence that this town is slowly dying on its feet.

Something like this author!

This author whowouldn’t take nofor an answer.

Afterdeflecting the teller and insistingon speaking to a personal advisor and then playing the difficult customer card. Noting obstructionism and names and pointing out that their literature clearly stated “may” rather than “must” I discovered that I could be ‘electronically identified’ by the ‘system’.

To dothis they had to claw back the various documents they hasd rejected out of hand as proof of my non-identity and the computer “he say yes”!

So although I don’t exist in the meat world, my friend the computer thinks otherwise. It’s nice to have someone on your side! Even if it is in cyberSpace.

Yours electronically…

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Part II: In the shadow of the Schloss (with allusions to Kafka)

September 29, 2017

“DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they’d put me away!

Michael Palin (as Dennis the Peasant) Monty Python’s Holy Grail

Part I: Looking out of the Pit (with allusions to Dante) Link

My Doom naturally came via a Servitor of the Demon “F’dik”. [EFDC] Thus indicating -esoterically- the nature of the Beast at the heart of it all. The means exceptional as it was objectional. Being told over the phone in as public a place as one could get. Not quite Tescos! But the desk phone of Waltham Abbey Public Library. I was about to be made homeless. I told that worthy —From ‘social services’ no less!— that this was neither the time, nor the place for that sort of revelation; as I mused on their tactic.
Curious. First, how did they know I was in the Library?!
Obvious to anyone with a healthy level of paranoia who subscribes to the Deep State form of government. As revealed by Snowdon et al.
Second. Homeless? I had thought that for non-payment of Council Tax: a prison sentence was the usual recourse and a chance to be dragged off by the Police: struggling with my Savasana <wiki> and –Foolish Client that I am– have an opportunity to state my case. But “F’dik” was cannier than that. He and his croney, chthonic Capitalists have a nice little deal. One that benefits them and their wealthy chums.
For not providing a police force —They closed the local police station and, seemingly☸, amusingly, can’t sell it!—, or lighting, or rubbish collection, or all the other services which I do not get. Or the services like schooling or ‘social services’ that I do not need. Exacerbated by having the temerity to extract the money by threats and extortion. Then Ossa on Pelion by the unmitigated incompetance of incorrectly billing me in the first place!
Reminding you, gentle reader and fellow traveller, that the debt is actually in the other direction! Indeed, thinking about it, had they actually done their job and looked into my circumstances: Zero income for twenty odd years. A writer with no buyers or agent to date. A history of depression.
Then perhaps, things would have turned out differently.
Perhaps I would have found a guardian agent or an angel investor.
Perhaps they might have helped…

Instead –poor things– they’re too wrapped up in their Kafkaesque world of Moloch and Maya and Money<Caberet>!
Assuming an average bill of £1,250 p.a then by my calculation: the council, by 2013, owed me £16,250. After that date you have to find roughly £3.65 [now £3.74] p.w. no matter what your circumstances or, interestingly and regressively, no matter what your property band! So allowing for that £1,000 odd, they still owe me £15,250 plus interest. But no, it doesn’t work that way. That would be too rational!  Instead the Demon F’dik has decided to take my house. Have taken my house!
To pay for a debt that they owe to me!

Not only has F’dik taken most of my money under false pretences; they have now taken all my property. Via their agents of extreme extortion. These worthies even own the very thoughts in my head, as they own my intellectual property too. They even own these words as I peck them out on my keyboard… The Demon “F’dik” having instigated Bankruptcy proceedings for money that I didn’t owe!
And this is where it gets really interesting.

Their Cerberic cronies deeper in t’Pit are a firm by the name of Smith & Williamson LLP and a very expensive firm of Chartered Accountants at that. Nothing pro bono about these Servitors of Moloch and Maya and Money <Floyd>! Their fee [Edit: 11/10/2017 at £400/hr] …for being my “Trustee” being more money than I earned –when I was gainfully employed as a Toilet Cleaner BSc(Hons) III class– in TWO YEARS! As my ‘Trustees’ they now own everything and since I now have nothing to pay their extortionate bill, they get to pick and chose what assets they can sell to pay my creditors. Principally, now, themselves. Goodness. (Or, rather, its antithesis!) Nice little earner! After them is “F’dik” and then a small host of lesser demons. All clamouring for equally spurious and inflated -doubled!- sums of money. Like British Gas for £3000 odd when I have written to them repeatedly, even complaining to their ineffectual regulatory body stating that I don’t use gas!
The System seemingly designed to make a bad situation worse.
The System seemingly designed to sow confusion and chaos.
The System seemingly designed to penalise the poor, downtrodden and depressed when they clearly need help!
And obviously designed to benefit the scions of the One Percent, as aided by their State Facilitators but that goes without saying…

A little prediction for the future. Just as the way those that owe money to the State, find that the State uses the Law to compound the debt and its Servitors of Extortion find ways to compound their profit. Then one day they’ll even privatize Life. Your entire existance operated -optimised- to make our feudal suzerains even more wealthy. True serfdom. Chattel slavery. One can only wonder at the percentage of the welfare state system already privatized. About the profit siphoned out of the Commonweal –paid for by your parents and grandparents, in the blood of the Second World War– now being safely off-shored in some hurricane-blasted tax haven.
Or Jersey.

And time for another aside:

Private ownership of Public Utilities. Sigh!  Been there. Done that. Got the tee-shirt. Another of the Sainted Margaret’s little wheezes for her husband’s friends in the City [of Dis!]
In the day: electricity generated by nuclear power was going to be “too cheap to meter.” No really! In the day: we led the world in domestic nuclear power generation. Calder Hall… Ooops! Windscale… Ooops! Seascale and it’s ongoing Ooops until they change the name again. But now? Now the nuclear industry is guaranteed to get an “economically insane <wiki>” strike price for electricity and we have to look to France and China for the money and expertise!

Laugh, dear point and clicker? Why I’m pissing myself!

But on the topic of watersports, to my mind the most egregious Privatisation of all was water. And Thames Water in particular. They cut me off sometime ago. Except for one tap.
But we survive…

It’s like some sort of perverted game of Monopoly! Except the impoverished don’t disappear off down to t’pub. Leaving the eventual winner -alone- to put the game components in the box. They die! And the One Percent, as aided by the regressive State –as ever on the side of Moloch, Maya and Money<MIA>!–  get to pick over the corpse like a pack of hyenas.

No not hyenas! Hyenas have a proper place in the food chain. Part of the great green, world wide web that connects us all. Lovelock’s Great Goddess Gaia <wiki> if you will. No these forces are entirely unnatural. Best summed up IMHO by the Buddhist term “preta” or ‘hungry ghosts’. <wiki> Ghasts rather than ghouls from a Lovecraftian perspective…
And naturally the winners of this perverse Monopoly of  Moloch, Maya and Money <Cyrus> go for my biggest asset. My house. Right from the get-go. A three hundred thousand pound asset to service a debt one tenth the size!
One can only speculate the reason…
One that could lead to abuses in firms less honourable and generous than Messrs Smith & Williamson LLP so clearly not embroiled in the of Moloch, Maya and Money<Python>
Messrs Screwtape and Wormwood <wiki>PLL perhaps.
“Oh by the way Screwtape old chap. Nice little earner coming up. Some benighted soul in Waltham Abbey. We’ve got his house. Put in a bid and you could double your money. And he can’t do a thing about it!”
>:-|Infernal Laughter>:-|
But I can…
Wu Wei, Ahimsa, Pu.
☸ The old Police Station is currently “Under offer”. However being a purpose built Police Station and a  listed building, it’s going to be a bit of a challenge for any potential developer!  A little local research indicated that, back in the day, Waltham Abbey had eighteen police officers… in one shift! The night shift -probably- even more. (Chucking out time at the pubs hereabouts.)
To be continued…

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Corpus: Going round in circles

September 26, 2017

oak-seedling An eventful few days to say the least, gentle point and clicker. The most significant  for me since being Banged Up was the sudden discovery of an apple tree growing in my front garden where I had planted no apple tree. It would seem that my new apple tree is growing around the decaying stump of an old Bird Cherry Tree. Last year there were no apples! Then, suddenly, as if by majick: apples. Appearing on what had previously been a bird cherry!

Said bird cherry tree and I go back a long way and -hopefully- this page will be further embellished with a picture of your intrepid hacktivist –aged about three– and my pedal car “Thunderbolt.” Behind me is this thin whispy thing which, in the last sixty odd years, has grown; matured and largely died…

Now there’s a poignant metaphor.

I had thought that the growth around its base was a renaissance in the
manner of  a coppiced tree but no… for in its place, an apple tree has sprung forth. The Great Goddess Gaia endlessly renewing herself for sure!

On the other side of the path was another bird cherry. Much larger than its twin. Now also sadly declining and will probably have to be truncated…! Especially since –springing up in its place– is now a young vigorous oak tree.

As an aside, one of my thoughts considering my physical remains had always involved an oak tree. The maxim: One thousand years to grow. One thousand years to mature. One thousand years to die. With the bonus of  being turned into furniture!
My current intent –after cryo-preservation of my genome (and the extraction of my gold teeth!) is organ donation, then medical science, then the remnants: “cremated and preserved for incorporation into the first lunar biosphere. Ideally to fertilize an oak seedling… with 1 micro-gram reserved for the 1st Interstellar cargo vessel to a new colony world.

I will have the stars!”

Meanwhile back on terra firma: my little bit towards climax vegetation hereabouts. Acute oak decline?
Not a problem in my little nature reserve! Five☸ young oaks in a healthy state. Another triumph for the Wu Wei…

However it had not always been thus. When mowing the lawn in the past  –that was when I had the electric and a working mower and the physical agility– I was always on the lookout for the tell-tale signs of an oak tree sprouting out of the ground before being decapitated by the rotary death of my GEV green death machine. On occasion three beheadings and it would still be coming back for more!
These would be carefully dug up and transplanted to pots. Whereupon my mystical green fingers of death would kick in.

Sometimes the best action is no action at all.

This certainly seems to be the case with the online JSA system.
Now I would like to think that I am reasonably au fait with computers. Having been programming for some 43 years. However this was one kludged system! At one point forcing a reset and wiping two pages of data. Including a strange output of: “Concerning your current work: Writer, Html coder and Web designer please describe your current work”!
The input frame being the source of the generated text on a previous iteration!
So the data was already in there somewhere!
Thanks to multiple requirements to resubmit the same data to blank fields previously completed: it was a close run thing to complete the form before the time limit on the Library computer ran out. One can only wonder how this kludge of a system is handled by someone with learning difficulties or technoPhobia!
Apparently the Universal credit system is even worse!

Anyhoo the form was submitted and an automatic confirmatory NOREPLY e-mail generated and then I waited for an e-mail; setting out the date of my appointment.

And waited… and waited.

Finally I contacted my local CAB.
Then we found out my submission had evaporated; or had never been sent; or was on the system… but some foul up by Capita meant that the COMPLETED form was not available online.
All depending on who we were talking to at the time!

This took about two hours. Including one excrutiating eternity: roughly nine iterations of the opening  bars of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in automated attendant / tape loop from Hell.
Fortunately there are top secret CAB shortcuts to speaking to a real human being!
Who knew!
From whom we discover that I should make my way to Loughton Job Centre and collect an old fashioned paper form and fill it in!
Since I am destitute this means a 7.3km walk, much of it along roads
largely without pavement, and -in places- no street lighting!
The time for a normal fit person: 1hour 32min. With sciatica and a
sporadically painful osteo-sarcoma (currently benign) I better set
aside double that. Unless I can hitch a lift!

map

Fortunately the very nice lady in the CAB lives in Loughton and will
pick up a form!
Then it’s back to the beginning again!
No thirty…
☸Alas, one has been beheaded since I started writing this post. A victim of a little over-enthusiastic clearance by some well meaning neighbours helping me pickup the pieces. Kudos Julian and David!

Like me oaks are tough… it will be back.

Edit UPDATE 30/9/2017 The DHSS Loughon gave her a reassessment form not an application form. Sigh. Now pending a bank account. Apparently a bankrupt can open a new account… Who knew?

But so far I have yet to be able to prove that I am me. Currently a non-person as I lack photo ID!

No thirty.

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Banged Up!

September 23, 2017

Well it’s well before six o clock in the morning and I’ve just been woken by aloud banging on the door!
Naturally this brings on a panic attack!
On prior occasions, the banging has been quite vociferous. However, owing to the parlous state of the porch, they had better not bang too hard, as things are not too stable!

I’m not too stable!!

With a heart trembling like a church mouse, I waited in the dark. Expecting the worst. Expecting a deep gutteral: “This is the police” and then the sound of your front door being smashed in with a sledge hammer followed by heavy footfalls up the stairs as the SWAT squat take up positions, weapons drawn!
Lacking an aerosol deodorant, the Rorschach (Watchman applies)

option is not really viable and, as a NeoBuddhist, one trys to echew violence.  Whilst –at the same time–  appreciating the aesthetic in works of art like Watchmen! Kudos Zac. [Kudos Dave and Alan!] A little hyper real but not going overboard. Unlike some movies I could mention….

But back to my own domestic drama: after lying quiet for a bit, they seemed to go away. But then they do. It’s a tactic!
As is my wont, after a little while, I sneaked up to a front window to see what was what! Naturally not putting the lights on! That would be a bit of a give away.

However I earnestly try not to use electricity. My provider EON, having refused to carry out my wishes, still perversely continues to supply the house! Despite not having paid a bill in the last four years! Merely threatening to invade my privacy and charge me for the privilege! Some two hundred pounds if I remember correctly.
Why not just cut me off? They keep threatening me with that option and indeed it’s what I instructed their representative to do! Verbally and in person! Simple enough to do. Cheaper for them to do. And cheaper for me!

I suspect that their secret intent is to install a paymeter—Naturally at my cost and their profit— and thus ensure an above cost electricity supply and further profit! Then, after me and my house get parted, charge someone else for yet more profit to take it out again!
It’s what they do…

namaḥ saptānāṃ samyaksaṃbuddha koṭīnāṃ tadyathā
oṃ cale cule cunde svāhā

Cundī Dhāraṇī Sūtra <wikiSource>

A little timeless meditation quieted the heart palpatations; so I investigated in the dark. Making my way to the front of the house.
Catching hrough the trees: a white van!
Oh-Oh
A big white van!
OH-OH!!
One reads that the Police perform their raids at an ungodly hour.
Perhaps the Bailiffs do the same.
Well I would. Catch their poor victim napping!
Or having heart palpitations…

Peeking through the venetian blinds I quickly espied a severe looking man. A man in black! With what looked like “security” emblazoned on their black uniform. Although without my glasses, it was difficult to see. But I could see they were harassing my next door neighbours!
A quick check to the skies didn’t reveal any black helicopters.
Pity!
A few of those would have made my day!
Or rather my six o’clock in the morning!

Although thinking about it, black surveillance drones may be a feature of our daily lives, at all hours of the day –or the night– if things go on…
After harrassing my neighbours they returned to their van.
Perhaps a waiting game…
Perhaps a blog entry!
Inspired I returned to my computer –More electricity! Oops– discovering the time: 6.16am, no less. —Eschatological or what!— and pecked out this latest piece by the light of the LCD; as night slowly turned into day.

Such is the curious life that I lead at the moment.
Not quite a Wonderful life (Capra)
More like a Wonderful life (Kafka!)

But the curious thing is, is that in choosing six o’ clock in the morning for their raid. By what right do they have, disturbing my next door neighbours!
My heartfelt apologies Ian –and Family– that you have been embroiled in this little drama at this ungodly hour!
Perhaps they have a cart blanche.
Or should that be a carte noir!

When looking out of the Pit one tries not to be too paranoid but sometimes it’s a little difficult!

No thirty…

[Edit interestingly there is no official online reference to this little phrase dating back to the early days of newspapers. Perhaps a wiki entry… The phrase means “breaking story, more to follow…”]

Time for a toilet break.
7.45
Well they’ve gone and it’s now light enough to see my keyboard. Time for some serious work before I retreat to my not-so-secret-sanctuary and get this latest on the web.
Like I’m going to be able to get back to sleep after this!

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Will -Spiritus

September 22, 2017

In the way of an ongoing epitaphion: I think we are shaped by our internal landscape and that, in part, is shaped by unreal events. Just as much as the real things that happen to us in this illusory realm of Maya!

So, to this end, consider this a sort of Deceased Island Discs (Of all sorts!)

If there was one book that I would transfigure to Hell it would be “Stranger in a Strange Land by RAH (the unabridged version). Appropriate given the content! After that, surprisingly, most of my favorite books –the ones I return to time-after-time– are fantasies read as a child. Starting with “We didn’t really mean to go to sea!” by Arthur Ransome. The first book I really read! Story of the Amulet; Puck of Pook’s Hill; the works of Garner <wiki> and The Hobbit.
Similarly my favorite film of all time isn’t Science Fiction at all. (Gasp!) But it was originally penned by Rudyard Kipling who, amongst more fabulist works, including Puck of Pook’s Hill, also dabbled in S.F.: Easy as A.B.C <online-literature.com> and With the Night Mail <forgottenfutures.com> {Kudos Marcus! with original illustrations!}.
Yes the Jungle Book has it all: Disney animation, great songs, a pantomine baddy suavely voiced by George Saunders, an Acid trip sequence… Trust in Me! And a romantic ending…

As an Aside: Apart from the Japanese, cartoon (Anime) SF has not been prominent over the years but an honorable mention to Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (1953)
Thus having ‘ducked’ the issue of my favorite S.F. Film of all time, I would suggest that, because of the wealth of good films, and in order to give the films of yesteryear a fair crack of the whip, I have a Best Film of the Decade:

The Original Naughties: A Trip to the Moon “Le Voyage dans la lune” (1902, Dir Georges Méliès.) for the whole tale <wiki>.

Babes in bathing costumes woo-hoo! I would also suggest searching out “From the Earth to the Moon” wiki and in particular the last episode: #12.

1910s Alas I have not seen any S.F. Films of this period. Unsurprisingly! So as a place holder I give you:
Aelita (1924, Dir. Yakov Protazanov) <wiki><imdb> after many years of waiting I eventually got to see it… but my chance of actually getting a copy evaporated with a Tivo HD Failure. (Sigh!) An acquired taste. Visually stunning – when it gets a chance – and a fascinating take on post revolutionary Soviet Russia. (Secret Tea Parties!)

However Metropolis (1926, Dir. Fritz Lang) <imdb> <wiki> is simply quite stunning. And more so with every passing decade. As prophetic then, as it is today. One can only wonder at the effect it must have had on the cinema goer back in the day. Avoid the Giorgio Moroder version (nuff said). The Kino version is said to be revelatory but only available in the States. Curses!
http://www.kino.com/video/item.php?product_id=429

1930s Things to Come (1936, Dir William Cameron Menzies) <wiki><imdb> I could go on all day and night about howgood this film is… no matter how many times I’ve seen this masterwork, this old cynic is still left blubbing his heart out at the end! Just thinking about it brings a tear to my eye. So moving quickly on.

[I would provide a spoiler here but you really have to see the entire film!]

1940s Dr. Cyclops (1940, Dir. Ernest B. Schoedsack) <wiki> <imdb> Mad scientist’s everywhere eat your heart out! Although the meme has been done over and over again this is still the best. And colour too. Trailer:

Sneeking in a little late (and early) an honorable mention to Destination Moon (1950, Dir. George Pal) [Trailer]<wiki> <imdb> Alas a little too earnest. But it set the Hard S.F. standard until 2001 …in 1968!

1950s Forbidden Planet (1956, Dir. Fred M. Wilcox) <wiki><imdb> [Trailer] What can I say; made in the same year as myself and we have both lasted pretty well IMHO! Cue big red lips “Anne Francis stars in … Forbidden Planet. […in the backrow…] Woh – Oh, Oh-Oh-Oh!”

1960s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Dir. Stanley Kubrick) [Original Trailer] <wiki><imdb> This film set the standard of the bright ultra-clean Future. (Where are my self-polarising shades.)

1970s Dark Star (1974, Dir. John Carpenter) <imdb> <wiki>And this one dragged it kicking and screaming back into the filth. “Bombed out in space with a spaced out Bomb” Still the funniest S.F sequence ever! (Alien will never be the same again. You have been warned!) For something that started out as a student project, a true tour de force. A deal more innovative than the Hollywood of today where you need a million dollars just to set up the finance. Muffin trays and toy helmets and polystyrene as spacesuits! Classic.

1980s Altered States (1980, Dir. Ken Russell) [Trailer] <wiki><imdb>] Ah yes the Introverted Eighties and the start of ‘Inner Space.’ A veritable explosion of ideas –thanks to our Ken– and the end more satisfying than that of Brainstorm  (1983, Dir. Douglas Trumbull) <wiki><imdb> an equally troubled film in all senses of the term. But a close second. Multiple imitators but this tackles the Big Issue. More than its successors from Vanilla Sky to Inception.

1990s Galaxy Quest (1999, Dir. Dean Parisot) [Trailer] <wiki><imdb>Whilst “La cité des enfants perdus” [The City of Lost Children] (1995, Dirs. Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet) [Trailer]<wiki><imdb>is clearly the better Film. Galaxy Quest is a defining moment in the cinematic treatment of S.F. A fannish Ouroboros. The circle is complete and entirely self referential. Who needs Mundanes anyway?

Noughties Take II A Scanner Darkly (2006, Dir. Richard Linklater) [Trailer] <wiki> <imdb>Finally Hollywood Gets Phillip K. Finally some anime! Post-modern urban paranoia. I know K-PAX (2001, Dir. Iain Softley)[Trailer]<wiki><imdb>was a tour de force but was it a tour de Science Fiction? This reviewer says no! Whilst various science fiction memes were part of the premis it failed the Rockets & Rayguns test!

However as a piece of non-S.F. it is clear evidence that the various memes of the genre are firmly embedded in the landscape of our technological culture. A prediction: that science fictional references will form part of the narrative of even the most mundane of movies.

Long sidelined, S.F. is now mainstream. And remains the best way for the arts to explore the potentials of our Technic society.

For this Decade the jury is still out out to lunch, as -clearly- is this blogger!

Suggestions?

Anyone?

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Will: Corpus- The StarSeed Foundation

September 20, 2017
Preamble

The following is a means to my end. A semi-charitable foundation looking to generate revenue in order to carry out its mandate. My Estate, such that it is, is invested by my beneficiary and their duly authorised successors, (descendants!) in conventional stocks until the StarSeed Foundation becomes a legally constituted organisation. Naturally paying themselves a commensurate fee for their time and effort! This continuing until the StarSeed Foundation is …er founded! Whereupon my Estate then becomes part of its seed stock and eventually my seed –or selected genetic traits– are expressed in some distant time and distant location.

But you are way ahead of me!

Premis

This is similar to that of the various cryonic schemes in the 1960s. (And scams of the 1970s!) However this time your immortality is in your genes. Rather than brain soup!

Conventionally most of us seek immortality by having children. A survival of the fittest going back to homo habilis. Alas it would appear that none of the opposite sex ever found me fit! Not that I would blame them. Indeed I would probably agree with their assessment. Nevertheless, buried amongst my junk D.N.A., not to be passed forward into the future, there just might be a few codons worthwhile preserving. And these days we only need to preserve a single cell to get at its genetic code!

However this is not about Cloning. We have enough problems with overpopulation as it is!

Instead the Foundation has two goals in attracting the wealthy patron/ client or a selected and worthy person. Its prime purpose: preserving their genes (ova/ sperm/ stem cells) for future utilisation in medium term post-human solar system and, in the distant future: gene-seeded colonies in our stellar neighbourhood.

The idea of an interstellar ark as posited in the last century with a living population taking a couple of generations to get there has its merits. Preserving human society along with its genes. And one would like to think that this route will be explored. However this futurist posits the more likely outcome of a post Singularity culture. Hopefully benign! It is thus more likely that humans will be taken for a ride by their Dei ex Machinae.

Well we can hope…

The benefits of interstellar colonisation using cellular seed stocks are obvious. No requirements for life support. And the greatest genetic diversity for the minimum payload mass. The one problem: the first generation raised by robotic parents. But that problem sould solve itself after a few normal generations. That is whatever passes for normal parenting in two to three hundred years!

Ways and Means

Alas this futurist also posits a Perfect Storm [Vide:Beddington] and the StarSeed Foundation will have to ride out the Global Catastrophies of the middle of this century. To that end I would suggest that the StarSeed bank start in Iceland. Isolated and hopefully spared the conflagration. A bastion from where  the Reconstruction can take place. With the bonus of cheap geothermal power and a degree of cold. Then, once we are capable of such luxuries, a.s.a.p. to the Moon and the lunar poles. Where there will be Deep Cold and (near) permanent photo-electricity. I would expect the Foundation to remain there for a great deal of time until the stored genes are needed for specific traits in a post-human solar system, or on board an interstellar seed ship.

At the same time as the genotype is preserved for our future, the second ‘Immortality’ would lie in preserving the works, links and entire ‘digital fingerprint’ of one of our patrons, clients or specially selected individuals. This gestalt would be stored on the latest stable medium and made available as an ever more sophisticated avatar; as synthetic personalities draw on the personal database to project a voice and opinion from beyond the ‘Veil’ 🙂

However this does give rise to the ‘spectre’… of the Dead Vote! This futurist posits such Ghosts in the Machine will be disenfranchised! Their role closer to the Lares and Penates of Classical Rome. Brought out for special occasions!

Since writing these words back –in 2008!– Things have moved on.

Naturally with advances in technology our patrons/ clients/ worthies will be better served. But the Foundation should also maintain and, where possible, improve on the earlier more primitive ‘fingerprints’ of the early adopters!

Like me…

Blessed Be

Bro.B!O!F!

 

h1

Looking out of the Pit (with allusions to Dante)

September 16, 2017

People crushed by law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous.

Edmund Burke, Letter to Charles James
Fox (8 October 1777)

Starvation, I have found, brings a funny sort of clarity to one’s thought processes. That and, curiously, nightmares concerning food!

Perhaps it’s the low blood sugar, but I like to think that the closer one gets to death, the clearer the true nature of Reality becomes. After all, intense fasting has been used by ascetics, alchemists and would be atmans to find spiritual Enlightenment for millenia and, indeed, rats that have been starved actually live longer. No really! Trust me I’m a graduate biochemist. It’s true. With the caveat that, after the fasting, you resume feeding them!

And in that clarity of mind I state my purpose:

I was intensively involved in the Occupy Movement (London <wiki>, Egypt and
elsewhere) and, in that Cusp, for one glorious moment in time, we thought we could really change things. Build a more compassionate caring society.

In fact we did! Huddled around St. Paul’s: we sheltered the homeless in London, fed the hungry of London and reached Consensus in the unlikeliest of places. And all largely for free. Indeed, at the end, through donations by fellow travellers and those sympathetic to our cause: we had an abundance of wealth! Something of a embarrassment for people on a quest to do away with Capitalism!

Alas it was not to be and, after it’s dissolution by the might of the One Percent, as aided by the regressive State –as ever on the side of Moloch <Metropolis>, Maya and Money!– I decided where I should go next.

An epiphany: My Tunisian Epiphany. My Mohamed Bouazizi <wiki> moment. I decided that my protest would be to Occupy my house!
Not very revolutionary you might think. But there is more.

My reasoning –in part– deriving from the Taoist concept of Wu Wei <wiki>, in part from my NeoBuddist principles that indicate, sometimes, the best Karma “action” is no action at all and, finally, one of the real saints of modern times: Gandhi.
Ahimsa.

Non-violent. Non-cooperation. Total non-cooperation.
As Eric Frank Russell has it: “Freedom: I won’t!” [FIW]<wiki>.

Just to see what would happen! A MicroCosmic [Fludd <wiki>]  experiment of our MacroCosmic –and MacroEconomic– feudal-capitalist system and a Peasant or “Plebe” just saying:

Non Serviam!

Fortunately I didn’t have to resort to Mohamed’s means of protest. Although I gave serious thought to it. Worked out the logistics. Ways and means. In front of Loughton Job Centre no less! As a reproof of a long distant ill-treatment, that engendered a solemn vow never to return. But then those responsible are probably now dead and their scions -relatively- blameless. After all, it is now their job to sanction and punish. And there are so many many bureaucratic hoops <wiki> for the bewildered Skinnerian lab rat to jump through, that most of the staff employed in a job centre undoubtedly wish they had a much nicer job elsewhere! But concluded that it would  devalue his sacrifice, his martyrdom, as well as those of innumerable Buddhist priests. Notably Thich Quang Duc <wiki> prior to and during the Vietnam War and their ongoing travails in Tibet… <wiki>

—Oops there goes those Great Big Chinese Walls!—
But mostly because I choose a slower, less painful death. Cowardly Lion that I am!

Fortunately I was aided in this endeavour by the Wu Wei and my money running out! Or rather sucked out of my bank account by that rapacious Demon “Efdc” [Epping Forest District Council] Or “F’dik” as I am wont to visualise…

Amusingly and by way of an acerbic aside: I have since discovered that said monies had been taken under false pretences! Naturally there is no way of getting them back. The State, like the One Percent, is a one way street! Trickle up Reganomics.

Or perhaps “Trickle up Trumponomics <wiki>)!” To be topical. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose:

An analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice found that under Trump’s plan, the poorest 20% of Americans would see a tax cut averaging $250, middle-income Americans would see a tax cut averaging just over $2,500, and the best-off 1% of Americans would see a tax cut averaging over $227,000.[8]
CTJ determined that 37% of Trump’s proposed tax cuts would benefit the top 1%.
[10]

False pretences? Yes! Much to my surprise I discovered that if you are unemployed then there was a total –until 2013– <wiki> or partial waiver of Council Tax. Naturally there is no mention of that exemption in any of the literature that they send with their demands. Then in 2013 <link> the Tories changed that, but then that’s what they do! More fool us for voting for them.

But then the Council Tax, IMHO, is a regressive and unfair tax that should be replaced by a local income tax. With strict safeguards to ensure that local authorities actually encourage jobs to pay said income tax.

Instead of turning Essex into a set of dormitory ghetto’s –like Waltham Abbey– for the NinetyNine Percent displaced from London, and deluxe gated communities –like Epping– for the lackeys of Capitalism. As well as sucking up to the local farmers and landowners who often, through clever accountancy, end up paying (pro rata) practically no Council Tax at all!

One looks fondly back to the halcyon days of the Sixties and Harold Wilson’s: “White Hot Heat of the Technological Revolution.” <link> In those days Waltham Abbey had Catalins: a plastics R&D facility and factory; Pan Britannica Industries: a similar facility involved in the development and production of plant care and gardening products and the Governments’ very own ERDE: the Establishment for the Research and Development of Explosives.

Now, thanks to the Sainted Margaret’s <wiki> de-industrialisation of GBplc and our forward looking Council, we have a Tescos.

Full Stop.

Well not quite full stop. In amongst the boarded up charity shops and shops “To Let” and shops that never seem to open at all: there are a series of small boutiques, and nail parlours, and cafes that last a few years, and then expire when the bank forecloses. Plus the betting shops and the pawnbrokers and the other signs of a vibrant local economy! The only exception to this: Estate Agents. We nearly have more estate agents than pubs. And Waltham Abbey –being a market town of old– has a lot of pubs!
And, despite the nine or so housing estates built here in my lifetime: most of these pubs, empty of an evening…

But, as I say, I digress…

Well my MicroCosmic experiment has run its course and despite having no money what-so-ever, I have managed to survive. For four years.

Remarkable and something of a personal triumph!

Mostly by starving. Mostly by finding money in the gutter. Dropped by people too lazy to pick it up. Mostly pennies, or the occasional bit of silver from the Queen of Heaven and, on two occasions, ten pound notes!

Then there are the worthies. And, in reading this, they will know who they are. Some of them only a little better off than I, finding out my situation. Blessings unto you all, from your preferred Deity. Alas I am heading, intentionally, in the other direction!

Conclusion: it is possible to survive on bread and water. With a little meat and fruit when the symptoms of dietary disease become all too rampant.

But this is, as yet, merely the preamble, merely the first step of this Fool into the Dantean depths, as we still have to get to the core of my purpose. The reaction of the One Percent and their State Facilitators to a Peasant who has dared them to do their worst… by doing Nothing at All.
The Wu wei way if you’ll permit the witticism. And the alliteration.
And there at the end of it all, there’s the true horror of the system. The true faces of the Adversary! But you have to persevere, really persevere on your journey into the Pit to discover those True Faces.
To be continued…