Music: Lon Milo DuQuette’s “I’m Baba Lon”

If you’re on the fence about buying the music, the two second verdict is that it’s worth a buy. Also until midnight Friday, artists get 100% of the sales if you buy the music through CD Baby:

If people are worried about the production values of the MP3s, don’t be. We’ve all bought (usually pop) music where the MP3s sound like crap and they’re grossly squared. There’s none of that here. The guitar sounds properly mic’ed and it isn’t muddy, it’s got just a hint of separation which gives it nice depth and texture. The rest of the instruments sound nicely layered and it’s obvious DuQuette cared about the production of the CD just as much as the music.

The checkout process from CDBaby is painless and you can use paypal. It lets you link social network accounts but it’s not obvious why. You get your receipt from cdbaby, a receipt from paypal (if used) and a courtesy note about gnomes asking you to reply if you find any problems with your download. Slightly weird, but it’s actually a customer service note. The big question – can you download it again? The answer is “yes”. Sign into your account on another device and your download link is there again under “digital downloads”.

The overall feel of the CD is interesting, it’s somewhere between blues and country with a small pinch of southern jazz. A slide guitar provides the country, blues licks give some of the songs a bluesy feel, the jazz comes from a plucked bass. Sometimes you can wander around the house and have the music on in the background but the music will reward a better listen. “Last Night I Dreamed of Dead People” in particular has some witty parts which are easy to miss if the music is just put on in the background. “Cold Lips of Paper” also stands out as being a slightly different feel, the whole CD is without reverb but on Cold Lips it’s present and it gives it a nice, soft feel. “Caffe Vivaldi” is probably my favorite track on the entire album, it’s sort of a who’s-who of occultism and has plenty of puns.

What’s the topic of the CD? I almost feel like it’s an autobiographical work. Lon works magical topics in there to get back to his roots, but there’s a lot more in there about life in general. There’s romance, drinking too much, and human fault. If you’ve read his books, it’s the same tone in Low Magic and other works of his which tell stories. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to have him make a Low Magic musical. It would amuse me greatly. Lon does a great job of getting the listener to empathize with him, and through empathy with him we can approach empathy with other topics he presents. As a storyteller, Lon is in his element and the CD is just top notch.

Lon’s voice is fantastic throughout and his sense of timing also lends some of the songs a loose but fun feel. It almost feels like a live performance in places.

About the only criticism I can muster is that the tracks run together almost too easily. The sound is nice and meandering but a change of key or instrumentation would be appreciated. It happens for some of the tracks – “Miss Harlow” has a lovely string section – but this is a common gripe in the soloist genre and not a huge fault for a guy who only passingly mentioned guitar lessons as something to pay the bills in his books. Miss Harlow also has a neat phonograph noise at the beginning and end of the track along with a spoken word section.

The secret track “Shem” is another spoken word track, with a nice guitar background. It sounds like it could fit comfortably in The Chicken Qabalah. It’s a nice way to end the disc.

So is it perfect? No, but music rarely is. Some of the songs might run together but Lon’s storytelling is really the showpiece of this work. Is it a great effort and worth the $9? Totally. Buy it from CDBaby before Friday and Lon even gets to keep all 999 pennies.

The Internet is a Cellphone

The last post I wrote was a lament that the internet-as-a-cellphone wasn’t being fully explored from a technological standpoint.

Today we have the opposite problem: The internet-as-a-cellphone is being legislated as a cultural standpoint. Specifically, Domain Seizure has become the tool of choice to shut down “infringing content”. What is this content? Movies, games, pirated apps, etc.

How did we get here?

The old mode of piracy required a fair bit of infrastructure. A person would typically mail some money though the snailmail and they would typically get a stack of CDs or floppies in return with cracked apps and games on them. Things plunked along this way for a good while as the popularity of usenet declined due to AOL and eventually things went viral to the point where IRC was the mode of distribution. The IRC bots evolved to the point where if the bot didn’t have the software you were interested in, groups had agreed to cross referencing to other bots. The decline of USENET and the rise of IRC corresponded roughly from RadioShack and Circuit City not selling software or parts anymore to advertising software being pre-loaded on the pirated applications.

The movies thing I don’t think anyone saw coming. VHS piracy was as simple as going to blockbuster and renting whatever you wanted for $1 and then going home and wiring up the VCRs. As media moved into the digital realm, it meandered back to mail order DVDs (or the guy on the street corner selling questionable copies in strange languages), CD-Video (popular in asia, never here), MPEG copies on IRC, and the unfortunately named DivX video codec. DIVX players attempted to stem the tide with their dial-up DVD service but I would guess most of them ended up cracked.

Let me digress for a second and point out we forget who or what came before. The chinese looking to circumvent the firewall could learn oodles from the old US piracy market. How many books fit on a DVD? Actual text, I’m talking about, not ebooks. How many cameras come with an SD card now? Who checks all these things versus how much electronic stuff moves in and out of china? The great firewall doesn’t currently censor email as I recall, what about a wget service or a newsnet service with UUENCODED files? This is how the US used to do it and people wrote special mail handlers to reassemble these files, it would work in china. Its how it used to work. I had a DXR2. I bought it after my alpha died with which I used to rip DVDs. Nostalgia.

Somewhere along the way someone figured out the space requirements even for compressed, pirated materials (movies, games) was somewhere around 4GB.  Things plodded along at the 4GB limit for a bit and the movie industry responded by packing “HD Content” into 9GB DVDs with double layers, and finally the whole weird push to blu-ray and HD-DVD came around and blu-ray won because Sony’s pockets are deep enough to pay for a loss leader like that.

Suddenly, things came full circle. TV stalled. Gimmicks for TVs haven’t impressed consumers much because who cares about 3D content if it’s not on demand. Movies suffer the same problem. The issue is the world simply got busier. No-one has a two hour chunk of time to go to the theatre anymore. We don’t even have time to take books off the shelf. Why should we? We read books on our laptops, then the laptop became a tablet, than the table became an ebook reader, then the ebook reader stopped existing and became software on a cellphone. We scaled up the cellphone screen to a tablet again, but these new tablets had enough bandwidth and CPU to do something interesting – they could surf the web, and they could watch video. How big is the new HD AVATAR? 1.2GB. How big is the new HD INCEPTION? 1.4GB. This for full, 1080p content. Samsung said as much with it’s cellphones with the screen, but more importantly the line-out to your actual TV.

This is the other side of the convergence that the new internet is a cellphone.

Now we look at Megaupload and GMAIL and such and 8GB is the norm. 8GB used to be just under what it took to store a DVD. Now 8GB is just enough to store 7 full movies. What’s important is that it’s the norm. It’s an artefact from a time when things were bigger and they could be bigger because we weren’t trying to consume content down small pipes. The movie companies know this but how could they legislate how much storage a particular user has? YouTube doesn’t even care. GMAIL? Why should they make it smaller? MegaUpload? 200MB, but how hard is it to keep a list of 5 URLs to unpack a RAR of a movie? Therein lies the problem. This is basically a bandwidth problem versus a content control problem. Since they (the MPAA/RIAA) can’t control the bandwidth they’ll try to control the content. What’s the best way to do that? Take away their cellphone. One man’s ZIP is another man’s video-codec, what’s the difference between cat and zcat? Compression, but they work the same way. The MPAA/RIAA already subscribes to this new model where the internet is a cellphone, and so everyone crying FREE SPEECH over the whole seizure of URLs doesn’t get it.Taking away a sites URL is like taking away their cellphone. It doesn’t impinge on their free speech, it just takes away the radio tower. Get another cellphone, learn the IPs. Your OS has a hosts file for a reason. It’s no biggie.

Just for reference: I do believe the megaupload files were seized improperly. I think everyone who was using it as a legitimate document repository should sue. I just don’t think the URL seizure is illegal nor amoral and reveals a profound misunderstanding of how the internet works.

Yahweh, Jehova, Adonai and the Meru Foundation

This is just wild as a mental game. If you’re familiar with the idea that numbers are letters (“music is math”) then this is going to be fun. The entire thing was posited from the Meru Foundation. We’re going to do this backwards and give you the big reveal first. Most people don’t know what they have in hand until they get that ah-ha moment and realize they knew it the entire time. Disclaimer – My Hebrew sucks. Want to play along at home? Take the mental model and correct my Hebrew. I only recently became interested in this stuff.

This entire piece does not vindicate the Jews, nor any other religion or race. If anything the principal laid out by the rabbis holds – “The [Torah] was written 2000 years before creation”. The spiritual world is a garden, and we tend to it by meditating on spiritual things. There are Jews who have this, Christians and Muslims too, and they don’t even understand where words come from. They have not the faintest idea that the secret of Islamic holy thought is that AL LA – All and Nothing. The Alpha and the Omega. This is the thread of esoteric thought.

For the people who are looking for the bite sized version, here’s a video:

Now the long version… I got interested in the entire thing from Puscifers “Sour Grapes” video. I had played with the idea, mentally, forever. It’s one of those things where the mirror isn’t important. You just need to know it’s a mirror. This existentialist idea blows you away the first time you get there. It’s not a mirror. Its you thinking about a mirror.

Remember that their front man is Maynard James Keenan of TOOL. TOOL is one of the rare, so very rare groups that have peeked behind the veil. TOOL suddenly look a weird trip into space with the release of Lateralus. They hinted that they knew something was up and that the next album was going to be about the Sacred Geometry but they didn’t say what, if anything, they intended. You can do the research on your own regarding TOOL, it’s been posted to here and back before.

TOOL is probably most people’s introduction to both Enochian thinking and the Kabbalah. Enochian is nothing more than the Kabbalah reinvented and entire books have been written about the mechanics with little regard to why. Now that 90% of you have stopped reading, we can discuss what Sour Grapes means. Sour Grapes is typical Maynard. He doesn’t ever hand you something. On the face of it, you can write it off as Maynard making fun of religion. The song sounds like a black evangelical church and you can just imagine the GOD HATES FAGS signs waving around.

Listen more closely, he’s trying to tell you something.

Watching the video shows us space. Then in space there’s a line. Then the line becomes a circle. Then the circle becomes a cell. Sound familiar? In the beginning were the heavens and the earth. Wait, it doesn’t say that, what does it say?

Righteous are those
Who look up and sway with the wind,
Who look down and dance with the shifting of the soil,
Who swim with the movement of the tides

Hm, doesn’t seem like chuch now does it? Maybe we should listen closer…

In the background it starts off with a hallelujah chorus. Sounds fine, it echos through the first verse. Wait, maybe it doesn’t. Right before the transition there’s a (barely audible) stumble in the back which sounds an awful lot like Ha-Le-Ha. It is not the words of the next part. The next part of the background vocals sings Jehovah, Yahweh over and over again. I think there’s a tell here. The background vocals for just one moment are vulgar hebrew – Hei-Lamed-Heh. What’s missing? Yod. Where do we find it? Yahweh.

Or rather, he hands it to us, but Maynard doesn’t say the trick out loud. It’s a secret, you see and it’s hidden in plain sight. After Hei-Lamed-Heh, the chorus background turns to Yahweh, jehova. What is this? This is the tetragrammaton – The Name of God. YHVH, JHVH. The transition here is incredibly important how it was executed. Missing from the language is Yod. Assuming Maynards Hebrew is as bad as my own, he said HVH, or “I will be”. Yod comes first to make this YHVH. Yod becomes Veh in the future, or HVH becomes YHVH. This is part of the message, no doubt in my mind. Yod represents the anchor of creation, the contraction of God’s energy to spark all of life. YHVH therefor is the post-creation name of God.

Where do we get Jehovah or Yahweh from then? We know we’re supposed to be playing games with Hebrew. In typical esoteric thought fashion, you must know the word to be the word. The word is vulgar, but in it is the truth. Once you understand the meaning of The Word the words you use to express it are entirely incidental. YHVH isn’t something you’re going to render in English without some vowels. We weren’t looking for YHVH, Sour Grapes is about Adonai. Adonai is the name of the vowel subtext in YHVH, yAd-hOn-hAi. This is Hebrew as it is read, Qere, as opposed to how it is written, Ketiv.

Hows it supposed to be read? In English. How is Sour Grapes about Adonai? Ezekiel 18 says:

1 The word ADONAI came to me: 2 “What does it mean, that you keep quoting this proverb in the land of Isra’el ‘When parents eat sour grapes, their children’s teeth are set on edge’? 3 “As I live,” says Adonai ELOHIM, “I swear that you will never again quote this proverb in Isra’el.

The four levels of the song reflect the four levels of Kaballistic thought.

Pershat – The “direct interpretation”. The first go of the song is a bunch of bible thumping conservative Christians. My wife accused the song of being scary because it quoted the boble.

Remez – “Hints”. Reading the lyrics give us a hint as to the meaning of the song. We read the lyrics and realize that this is a religious song in the context of the direct interpretation of listening to the song without hearing the lyrics, then we listen to the lyrics.

Drash – “To seek”. We read the lyrics and think about what they might mean. Obviously thing is a song which requires us to not examine the obvious lyrics but the less obvious lyrics. Hallelujah, HVH, YHVH, JHVH.

Sod – “The mystery”. Or not even that. The entire song is setup to make people go from bible thumping fundies to taking a serious think about the universe. The mystery is made plain by concentrating on the sublime.

The word was written before creation, in the subject of this post before the post was written…

Punk Rock Moment of the Day

You know a band you enjoy has finally gotten popular when you go “Oh this song sort of sucks” and you go to push the “next track” button and instead roll over to the next FM station.

You know you’re getting old when you don’t realize you have the radio on and you think “Hmmm, I didn’t put this band on this CD”….

Flash Player for Linux

I really hate Adobe’s stuff, I truely do.

If you’ve recently gotten screwed by the latest flash release, this post is for you. I know the update has been around forever, but it shows you how often I actually get on youtube or whatever to use flash.

If you’re using the RPM, stop right now. You fail.

If you’re using the .DEB, it might work. The deb is slightly less braindead than the RPM.

If you’re using Ubuntu you have your own set of issues to deal with and shouldn’t be fucking around on youtube anyway.

Everyone else – here’s what you do: The following is loosely based on the official adobe instructions. If you’re saying “I did follow them and I broke my firefox” you’re in the right place! It doesn’t work, at all, as it’s packaged.

Step 1: Go to the official website and get flash player. Or you can use this link, which does the same thing.

Step 2: As root, remove all previous versions of either through your package management application or simply ripping them out wholesale. find / -name will show you all the places it’s lurking.

Step 3: Grab the tar.gz version. Skip the deb, skip the rpm, skip whatever other crap you’re offered.

Step 4: As your user execute mkdir $HOME/.mozilla/plugins

Step 5: cd $HOME/.mozilla/plugins and then tar -zxvf $HOME/install_flash_player_10_linux.tar.gz

Restart your browser. You should be able to visit about:plugins and see shockwave flash and futuresplash. The reason we did it this way was because your user and only your user should have access to the so that if some weird remote exploit comes out, you don’t have to worry about polluting everyone’s shared libraries with your filth. More on the point if you ever have to write off your account entirely due to a remote exploit, we can ensure the only thing which the exploit can touch is your home directory. There’s no reason for adobe to be putting this in the shared libraries directory and more on the point I believe selinux doesn’t permit it’s execution anyway.

My guess is that Adobe either doesn’t know how it works or they want to prevent the forking of flash with competing products. If they make it so flash must be installed system wide then they keep the other forks of flash out of the system.