a device for the soul

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lol, srsly?!

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I have to say I’m a late-comer to the whole “lolcat” phenomenon. However, after taking a peek at it and such, I came across this gem: The LOLCat Bible Translation Project. I’m not sure what I’m more amazed at: the concept itself or the fact that there’s actual work being done on it. Talk about revelations, right?

Okay… Stopping all sacrilegious, or otherwise, puns and jokes. I love the world we live in. The possibilities are endlessly surprising and head-shakingly wonderful.


Written by 2ndhandsoul

October 8, 2008 at 11:32 pm

Mario Kart Wii is made for girls.

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Alright, so obviously we have this game. Currently, my wife is in the family room playing, trying to unlock Daisy. It’s a little obsessive, but amusing to observe. One thing I’ve noticed, however, after playing the different incarnations of the Kart series over other gaming platforms, is that girls most often like to turn the controller to move their car… Despite the fact that, in previous days, this would accomplish nothing but looking a little foolish. However! With the advent of the Wii and their control system, it fits in perfectly with the female instinct to move the controller in the manner in which Mario Kart Wii can use. And use well, it seems, for my wife and daughter tend to kick my butt, currently.

Damn you, Nintendo.

Written by 2ndhandsoul

October 8, 2008 at 4:34 am

All I Have Is This For Today

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Remember this band, this song, this video?
Been digging into Gorillaz.
I suggest
putting on some headphones,
sitting back, and tuning out
the rest of the world
for at least the length of this song/video.
Enjoy the break.

Written by 2ndhandsoul

October 3, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Posted in eargasm, eyecandy, serenity

Keeping Your Guard Up

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Madness lurks around every corner. Any moment could mean stepping from the light of reason into the murky depths of insanity. Aren’t you the least bit curious? What will push you over the edge, or what will make you jump? Do you wake up in your well-ordered universe, seeing nothing to give you worry, to give you pause, to make you shiver? Do you get ready for work, already plotting today’s course along its path back again into sleep? What if something goes wrong? What if events outside your control upset the plan? What if you are forced to wake up and see your life from the outside; put under the microscope of cosmic indifference? Will you hide? Will you cringe? Will you laugh in lunacy? Who will you run to in confession? Who will you turn to for solace? Will you wrap yourself in comfort, reminding yourself of the good moments, the happy thoughts, the innocent nostalgia that says, “If it doesn’t matter so much, at least it will matter to you, in some small way, somewhere?” Sure, there’s nothing to worry about. There are no monsters waiting in the shadows, nothing under the bed. Death doesn’t circle over your head like vultures. You aren’t constantly one step closer to death with every breath you take, every beat of your heart, every thought in your head. It’s not like we started dying the moment we were born. (It’s not like there would be anything meaningful you could do about it, anyway, either.) Put your weary head down on your pillow and release your concerns to the realms of sleep. Things will continue on despite you, perhaps in spite of you. But, really, they can hardly be concerned with you. Is that okay? Are you still special, at least to someone, in some way?

Now, look again. Turn around. What’s stopping you from doing it? Is that really you in the mirror today, brushing your teeth? Has the cosmos set afire a new soul within that meaty vessel? What is going to set you off? What will be your breaking point? Do you have an escape plan now, after all the rationalization is over? Or will you try to go down, guns ablaze, in a torrent of fury and sound…signifying nothing?

Or do you let it go with a chuckle, a shake of the head? That’s crazy-talk. A momentary lapse. Things are right now. Back to normal. Time to get on with the day. What stupid nonsense. Oh well. You have your reasons. We all have our reasons, right? Does the universe need a reason? No time to think about that, now. No time for that. Keep it moving, now. Someone’s taking care of it; it’s no concern of yours. Of course, they’ve got your back, right? Right? Hurry up, or you’ll be late.

Written by 2ndhandsoul

October 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Inner Monologue #3

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Why is everything a gimmick nowadays?

“Oh hey, I hardly noticed that you’re back again. Is it Bitching Time? I’m in a pretty good mood, so let’s get this going… What do you mean?”

Well, obviously you know what I mean, so no need to effect a real dialogue here.

“Stop ruining the magic, spoil-sport. That’s my job.”

Right, sorry. Anyway, why does everything that people find interesting need to be dressed up with some sort of hook, catch, or gimmick?

“You are making pretty sweeping and generalizing statements, you do realize, right?”

I suppose, but I read in magazines for writers that the first few pages really have to hook a reader in to be effective. If you really want to get “made” somehow, you have to grab attention. When do you run out of tricks? Everything gets recycled. A different face on the same person. A new way to say the same old things. Why bother, right? Seems that you lose something out of the expression in the fight to seem original, edgy, interesting.

“Are we going to bring up lipstick and pigs again?”

No, we already did that, and the context for that metaphor is a little off-base for this topic.

“Ah, point taken. So what do you expect to do? Are you just going to give up because you don’t think you have a gimmick or premise or voice that you think people won’t like or notice?”

I’m not sure. Perhaps I haven’t found it yet. I’m not sure I’ve got enough experience to rightfully say. I think I’m just overwhelmed with the task that may lay ahead, swimming against the current of such a powerful stream.

“The MAINstream, eh?”

That’s pretty corny, but I suppose you’re pretty close. Maybe I can hope for a cult following or something.

“Well, I think you’re getting ahead of yourself again. However, I enjoy putting your perspective back to ground level. You haven’t got the material or following here to begin fantasizing about that, I think, right? How about you just worry about writing something, THEN you can start worrying about the other stuff? Don’t worry about having or not having a gimmick. If you are concerned about finding your niche, maybe you should consider that the niche should just find you. Just do stuff and stuff will happen the way it happens.”

Thanks for that bit of ambiguity.

“Hey, that’s just how it is. Deal with it and quit bitching about it.”

But then I wouldn’t have anything to practice this little gimmick we’re partaking in, would I?

“Good point.”

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 30, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Altered States of America

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Lately, though with some decreased regularity which I may need to correct, I’ve been reading a book called “Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered.” I forget where I picked it up. I think it was at some random book seller somewhere in New Jersey or Philadelphia. Of course, having had some minor experiences in my life with the so-called “drug culture,” I figured that the book might be interesting. It appeared to delve into the drug experience in a rational, scientific manner, which might elucidate the reality of what is really going on.

I am about halfway through, since I’ve only started reading it a few weeks ago, it’s fairly thick, and I also haven’t devoted enough attention to it, I guess, so I cannot give a worthwhile synopsis, yet. I am not really interested in making a book review, either. This post is more for putting forth some thoughts which this book has made into budding form.

The book goes over primarily LSD and related drugs, giving chemical information and notes on physiological and psychological changes in subjects. Besides the “hardcore” scientific facts and reports, they also have a number of testimonials of those under going the effects of the drugs. There are some commonalities in different drugs taken, doses given, and so forth. There are a few salient, interesting points to that. First of all, even undergoing these “trips” most (if not all) subjects realize that they are in the midst of the influence of drugs. Despite that many of those drugs labeled “hallucinogens,” they do not, apparently, produce true hallucinations in that the subject thinks they are real, like a mirage or something. They will understand that much of what they are experiencing is the effects of the drug.

What interests me the most about this is the fact many of these drugs have been used, probably in olden times and in other cultures, for mystical purposes. Many believed they were catalysts for spiritual journies and insights. Many of the subjects in the book experienced a strange “oneness” to existence. A lot of them found new perspectives to their lives and new meanings to things, a depth otherwise unseen before. One question that comes to my mind is: was the experience always there, just waiting for the right catalyst, or was the experience entirely induced because of the drug?

Ultimately, it makes one consider that the brain is quite a strange mechanism in which we observe and interact with our environment. If we introduce chemicals and other changes, we are capable of entirely altering this perception. But what does that mean? Is this just chemical reactions in that squishy matter in our skull, so that if you mix it up and give it some different juice, we’re living in another universe? What’s real then? Do these chemicals simply let down our filters so that in comes an on-rush of sensations and stimuli that we’re suddenly finding ourselves ill-equipped to now sort, categorize, and rationalize?

If we find God in our drug experience, what does that say about God? Did the drug trick us with an illusion, a chemical substitute? Or did the drug melt the veil from our third eye, to see with new sight and a new light? A lot of these drugs are to be found in nature. Are they, like Bill Hicks has said, been put there to help Man to evolve? Give us a little different spin on things, widen our horizons, put things into a different arrangement? If our brains are capable of having these experiences with drugs, is it possible we are able to achieve these states without them? Are the reactions in our brain able to align themselves with their own methods to do this? Are the drugs just the “easy way” already laid out upon the earth for us to “try before we buy” and figure it out for ourselves?

I’m still stuck on finding out what it really means, the depth and breadth of it. And what are we so afraid of in the experience? Where is the taboo? Sure, we can treat the experience with a little reverence and healthy respect, but awe bordering on superstitious fear seems a little much. The drug laws are a whole seperate issue, however, so I’ll let that lie for now. Am I missing out on a piece of reality? I’m I keeping myself mired in mundania by accident or design? I guess we shall see.

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 30, 2008 at 9:03 pm


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Traffic. You hate it, I hate it. Almost simultaneous with the invention of the car came terrible drivers. This is not anything new to most people out there. However, what I’d like anyone to realize, to remember, to consider, is this:

A car is, for most intents and purposes, a moving room with wheels. It is also several thousand pounds of metallic-death-and-destruction-waiting-to-happen. If we pause to consider the fact that we’re driving a really large bullet, we might not take the act of driving for granted, so much. It’s somewhat sobering to contemplate just the danger one can cause or be placed in, while at the mercy of a few tons of steel speeding at many miles per hour. One wrong turn, one distraction, one bad decision, can destroy lives forever.

What is also taken for granted is the fact that there are rules governing the operation of traffic. One has to realize that these rules – and perhaps any rules at all – are pretty arbitrary. They are words and ideas that everyone expects the other people out there will follow. But we don’t have to, that’s the thing. There is literally nothing stopping you from veering off the road and onto a sidewalk to decimate all the yielding and weak, fleshy people presumably kept safe by “traffic laws.”

We stop at red lights and stop signs. We yield to the right of way and pedestrians. We use our turn signals, check both ways, go the listed speed limit, etc. At least, we should, and we expect (and I guess, hope) that everyone else zipping around in their death-machines will as well.

I have news though: there is no one watching to see if we misbehave. Sure, there’s the police, but they are not everywhere at all times. The only thing keeping us from really doing the possibly terrible things we so easily could is some sort of “tattletale” complex. If I do something bad, someone else is going to tell on me – that sort of thing. (Of course, that presumes anyone is really watching or cares. It also presumes that there’s anyone left alive afterward to be a tattletale.)

I guess I just find it fascinating the way traffic functions without the need for constant, overbearing enforcement and regulation. Operating the lethal metal boxes at breakneck speeds assuming our safety and that everything will remain just fine. That’s right Mr. Pedestrian, you may cross the street now. Don’t mind the growl of the combustion engine churning, controlling and channeling the energy of miniature explosions within, empowering this machine that could so entirely obliterate you without even slowing down, should I decide to switch from the brake pedal to the accelerator. You’re life is safe and sound and unthreatened.

I guess that’s what cheeses me off about reckless or rude drivers. So they think they can get away with shit? The rules are able to bend for them, because…what? They’re special exceptions? What’s stopping me from snapping and forgetting the rules, myself? This made me consider making a little list…


– Jump into the lane with oncoming traffic and see how long I can last before getting hit.
– Drive along a sidewalk, preferably downtown.
– Drive a car off a parking ramp, hopefully from the top floor. Also hopefully onto a crowded street and sidewalk below.
– Smash through the front door of a shopping mall or office building or bank; whichever has nice, big glass doors. Then I would park and continue my business there. Fuck parking lots, right? That’d be the closest spot, I think.
– Always go as fast as the car can go, even if it’s just down the street. Without heeding crosswalks, stop signs, or traffic lights, of course.
– Do some donuts in the middle of a cemetery or public park.
– Instead of the horn, I’d just ram people to get their attention.
– Straddle the lane-dividing lines.
– Side-swipe people that try to pass me. Slam on my brakes if someone is tail-gating me.

Well, that’s just some. I’m sure to think of more.

Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 19, 2008 at 4:05 pm