From the Horse's Mouth

math, color, shapes or thoughts

Posted in Mind Goo by theskinhorse on October 28, 2009

Microscopic shards of glass migrate through my hand

abrasively.

I appreciate color

and wit.

Color by num63r5

(hid secrets in the sequence)

knew more than it would expect.

Math is promiscuous.

If math were a woman, she’d probably be a librarian type.

(too cliche)

No, wait! She’d have superpowers!

(Like what?)

Her footsteps would be music.

Her doodles would be perfect spirals in the golden ratio.

She’d never be lost.

Her laughter would be coordinates to new lands.

She’d wear geometric patterns and textured stockings.

Colors would change around her,

depending on the balance of her bank account.

In theory, she could be a cook, but she’d never deviate from the recipe,

hence missing the most important ingredient: _ _ _ _ .

Goldfish are always happy in my mind.

I like to see them smile.

(Seaweed salads are much better tasting than I had originally anticipated.)

A collage of thoughts seems to go on forever…

What is that woman’s name?…

That clairvoyant, schizophrenic writer

Hannah Weiner, I think.

Hannah is a palindrome. Oh, how I love them.

Hearts and minds…

or stars.

(all shapes)

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Injustices to Dark Side of the Moon

Posted in 1 by theskinhorse on October 25, 2009

I haven’t been to a laser light show in about ten years, so Friday night I was stoked to see Dark Side of the Moon interpreted by our local planetarium. My first laser light show was a Led Zeppelin show that my mother took me and a group of my friends to go see for my eleventh birthday. I’ve been a huge fan ever since. My expectations upon entering a laser light show are: bright colors, abstract patterns, mind-melting fractals, near-seizure strobe lights, trippy animation, a free-spirited audience, and an all-around awesome time. However, this particular show delivered a mixed bag of wicked geometric designs with decent use of smoke and color with boring animations, terrible content and mixed feelings of disappointment and violation. Yeah, I said it, violation. You bet hardcore Pink Floyd fans are gonna get pissed when pervasive, ground-breaking albums are wildly misinterpreted and shoddily represented.

Let’s start from the beginning:

The show started off slow with Speak to Me, as expected, priming the audience for the neon trip into the madness of the album. No worries there, I was giddy with anticipation for what was to come.

Breathe was executed in an acceptable manner. Animations tended to dominate over the abstract laser patterns, but their timing of switching from one to the other seemed appropriate. When I saw how literal and uninspired some of the animations were, I became a bit worried that the rest of the show would follow suit. When we got to the lyrics, “Run, rabbit, run. Dig that hole,” I was pleasantly surprised to see a trippy, neon pink, bipedal rabbit with a shovel pop on the screen. There is hope yet, I thought. Perhaps they are still warming us up? Their choice of which lyrics to match animations to and which to ignore seemed random, but the more crazy geometric laser patterns, the better, in my opinion. After all, that is what I go to the shows to see; I have plenty of cartoons at home.

On the Run was awesome. There was great use of strobe lights and smoke effects with spiraling and shifting patterns. I would have been completely satisfied if the show kept up that aesthetic. I was almost in an exuberant meditative state, and then the song was over. Thankfully, Time was up next. I won’t lie, I had high hopes for it.

Time opened as expected, with many clocks and time pieces spinning and ringing. There were one or two flashes of melting Dali clocks, which I greatly appreciated. The we got to the lyrics, and it all went to shit pretty quickly.

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town”

These lyrics do not make me think of athletics. To my dismay, this verse of the song was paired with crappy images of baseball, football, basketball, and canoeing. I was irritated and confused. I also got the distinct undertone of ‘Americanism’ since the sports that they chose to focus on are much more popular in the states than in the UK. (I’ll get back to that point later.)Feelings of irritation increased when I saw the animations for the next line:

“Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.” Before me was a lit up bible. I can see how/why this line can be interpreted in that way; however, it is my firm belief that religious symbolism should not enter the forum of a laser light show geared for public viewing unless the musicians SPECIFICALLY refer to a set of religious symbols or the content of the song is obviously spiritual. They could have just as easily interpreted that line with sign posts or maps, something more neutral than a definite religious affiliation or reference. I remained disappointed for the rest of the song, as their animations became repetitive and too literal. Whoever was in creative control for these songs seemed not to be a Pink Floyd fan. They certainly didn’t demonstrate the content and messages in the songs up to this point. OH! I forgot to mention the ubiquitous and obnoxious saxophone. For some reason, every time a sax would be featured in the song, it got its own close-up in the show, disrupting any abstractions or other content threads. The saxophone became that annoying child that everyone knew in elementary school that bounced in front of everyone’s face given the chance and would never shut up. We would see more of the saxophone in Money (oh the joy).

Breathe Reprise came on, and I was not dazzled. The same repetitive images appeared with many American and Christian references. There were no geometric patterns to salvage this portion.

My confusion and irritation continued. What was more clear to me than anything was the personality or background of the person or people that put the show together. They were not die-hard Floyd fans, they were American, and more likely than not, they were Christian. None of these things are bad, of course, but none of the commentaries attached to these traits belongs in Dark Side of the Moon. Pink Floyd are NOT American, and they are not religiously affiliated. Dark Side of the Moon is not about any of these concepts. I was apprehensive about the content of The Great Gig in the Sky, to say the least. But none, NONE of my concerns and projections prepared me for the violation to lie ahead.

If you have never heard The Great Gig in the Sky (which, frankly, is difficult for me to imagine, but, then again, apparently there are those that are so blatantly unfamiliar with Dark Side of the Moon that they interpret Time as song referring to athletics), let me briefly describe the sound and aura of it. First off, the song is all instrumental and non-lyrical female soul/gospel singing. With a name like The Great Gig in the Sky, it is obvious what the reference is. If there is any place in Dark Side of the Moon for spiritual and religious overtones, this is it. Here, any and all religious connotations are not only expected, but welcome. After all, the song is about the experience of death, the travel to the Heavens, an experience of unity and the spiritual journey of a soul. Buddha, Jesus, the Creator, the Goddess, Allah, have at it. Go, do it. It’s appropriate here.

Now, given the tone and message of the song, imagine my shock and disgust when I see the whole song interpreted as a theme to a strip club. All the images were silhouettes of women disrobing and assuming compromising or revealing positions. To make matters even worse, towards the end of the song, there was girl-on-girl stripper action. I am not such an uptight broad to be offended by something like this when it is in context. If the song was explicitly sexual, this kind of interpretation would be fine, although not necessarily my cup of tea. Also, I see no problem whatsoever (and perhaps I even encourage) fusing sex with spirituality. Hello, people, Tantra. But this was NOT that. This was objectifying women in the context of a song about spirituality, death and the soul’s journey. Not OK, in any way, shape or form. Just, no. This should have never happened. I almost feel like calling the planetarium to complain and tell them to excise this segment. The creators obviously don’t get it.

Moving on, the first half of Money was meh with the same animations all over again, throwing in the anticipated dollar signs and coinage. The second half rocked minus the annoying saxophone, but I was still too peeved to really get the most out of the experience.I did notice that they tried to add some humor with throwing up an image of someone smoking a joint with the lyrics, “Money, it’s a hit.” The overall effect, though, was a bit lame, and I was left wondering what their actual intention was. Were they now trying to appeal to the stoners in the audience that they anticipated?

I won’t go into Us and Them and Any Colour You Like much. There were some images of war and the image of Uncle Sam with certain vague overtones.

Brain Damage was done better than I had expected after the botched The Great Gig in the Sky. They took the clever literalization of “lunatic,” using the image of a crescent moon-headed man as the primary animation. He was seen in cages, drunk, dancing in hallways, riding a carousel horse, running through a man’s head and floating among balloons. I assumed they didn’t want “to go there” as far as the serial killer references in the song lyrics. Overall, I was pleased with this one. This is also where I started wondering if the second half of the album was in control of other artists and directors since it was certainly a step up from the beginning.

Moving onto Eclipse, the previous subversive American and Christian messages changed quite a bit. The American overtones were almost completely gone in the song. They kept with some of the literal imagery with each line: hands for “All that you touch,” eyes for “All that you see,” a carrot (?????) for “All that you taste.” When we came to “All you distrust,” there came a bit of unexpected commentary with an image of a priest. Hmmm… wait a minute… what they pushed in the beginning as a potential Way, they are now saying is untrustworthy? Or are they assuming the audience is anti-Christian? I raised an eyebrow and sat back calmly. Did I really expect anything more at this point? I as hit with a couple more offenses before leaving. “All that you deal,” as accompanied by pills and cannabis. Great, it was just implied that the audience may be drug-dealers. We love that. Really, we do. One last insult was another image of a priest matched to the lyrics, “All that you slight,” which increased my warm-fuzzies. Again, we are assumed to be anti-Christian or at least, contemptuous and not spiritual.

We have reached the end of the laser light show, and the audience has been preached to, violated, called drug-dealers and assumed to be anti-Christian. Meanwhile, Pink Floyd has been misinterpreted, misrepresented and their messages and content have neglected or butchered. Needless to say, this is not the best way to cater to your audience and conduct business.

Good luck getting people to see The Wall. I’ll make sure they don’t ruin it for me.

Search for an “Electric Eye”

Posted in Mind Goo by theskinhorse on October 21, 2009

If I had 20/20 vision, I would seriously consider becoming a roaming gypsy. People with such clear vision often take it for granted. Perhaps the clarity of the inner eye has a price?

Someone searched for the meaning of the “electric eye.” I’m not sure if I hold the wisdom or not, but to the ones that seek it, here is what I’ve found for you:

One definition

A company

Lyrics to the “electric eye,” a song by Judas Priest:

Up here in space
I’m looking down on you
My lasers trace
Everything you do

You think you’ve private lives
Think nothing of the kind
There is no true escape
I’m watching all the time

I’m made of metal
My circuits gleam
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean

I’m elected electric spy
I’m protected electric eye

Always in focus
You cant feel my stare
I zoom into you
You dont know Im there

I take a pride in probing all your secret moves
My tearless retina takes pictures that can prove

I’m made of metal
My circuits gleam
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean

I’m elected electric spy
I’m protected electric eye

Electric eye, in the sky
Feel my stare, always there
Theres nothing you can do about it
Develop and expose
I feed upon your every thought
And so my power grows

I’m made of metal
My circuits gleam
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean

I’m elected electric spy
I’m protected electric eye

And let’s not forget “Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie (one of my all-time favorites by him):

I’m an alligator, I’m a mama-papa coming for you
I’m the space invader, I’ll be a rock ‘n’ rollin’ bitch for you
Keep your mouth shut,
you’re squawking like a pink monkey bird
And I’m busting up my brains for the words

Keep your ‘lectric eye on me babe
Put your ray gun to my head
Press your space face close to mine, love

Freak out in a moonage daydream oh yeah!

Don’t fake it baby, lay the real thing on me
The church of man, love
Is such a holy place to be
Make me baby, make me know you really care

Make me jump into the air

Keep your ‘lectric eye on me babe
Put your ray gun to my head
Press your space face close to mine, love
Freak out in a moonage daydream oh yeah!

Freak out, far out, in out

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Four Days in San Bartolo

Posted in 1 by theskinhorse on October 7, 2009

(Transcribed two years later:)

Hiking the Inca Trail was one of the most inspiring and sacred experiences of my life. This post is not about that. This post is about the days that followed that mystical and exhausting trek.

We arrived back in Lima from Cusco; already upon landing, I could feel the change of atmosphere and climate, physically, socially and culturally. We piled in a bus and headed off to the coast where my uncle, his two high school buddies and his friend’s son could relive their youth in sand, surf and beer. Despite their winter season, we had hopes of mild coastal weather. In my mind, I planned to swim, run on the beach, relax, read, go to town for cerviche and take a surfing lesson or two in the days to come.

From the populated city with strange billboards, rogue dogs and tattered housing, we traveled to a sandy ghost town on the coast. The streets were practically deserted. Most of the restaurants and shops had closed. Locals kept a few businesses open, but nothing more than a few blocks were in operation.

We were met with colorful totem faces at the gates of the resort; sea green, bright blue and yellow extended a cheerful welcome, contrasting the grey skies and misty air. Stepping across the threshold, empty rooms awaited us. One of the owners met us there and escorted us to the unlocked room. Two were next to each other, close to the eating area and front gate; one was around the corner, closer to the workers’ area and the back gate to the beach. Each had two beds. Since I was the odd woman out, I inhabited the isolated room.

After setting our stuff down and getting acquainted with the perimeter, the owner explained that he would be absent from the premises most of the time. There were two workers that spoke very little English. The only other residents at the time were a couple, and they would be leaving shortly. Since the town was closed down for the season, we had only one restaurant from which to order food, and only one taxi driver that would deliver food and take us into town. The one and only day we ventured into town was to get cash, eat out at one of the open restaurants, catch up on email at a cyber café and to collect fruit, canned goods, and alcohol for our rooms. All other hours for those four days was spent at the resort with only each other, the rain, the wet beach, the gulls, rogue dogs and the limited contact with the workers who made us breakfast every morning and ordered our lunches and dinners.

The chilly air, drab sky and turbulent waves told me that I was not going to be swimming at all this trip. Since the owner that offered me surfing lessons over the phone was MIA the entire time, I knew I would not be surfing. I communed with the sand dunes and shells when it was nice enough to sit on the beach. I may have been fully clothed in a hoodie and long pants, but it was peaceful all the same. One of my wishes had come true: I had the beach almost entirely to myself. Listening to the water was such a pure and simple pleasure that if not for the chilliness, I probably wouldn’t have left the shoreline.

The days passed slowly. At nights we played cards and drank bland beer. We donned hats made from alpaca wool and blankets bought from the plazas at Cusco. With nothing of interest on TV, hardly any electronic entertainment and no way out of the resort, we were left to each other’s company, the beach and our internal landscapes. When the men were out surfing, my first inclination was to “busy” myself. So I read… until I wanted a change. I tried to write and draw, with little success at first. For some reason, it felt forced (probably because it was). There I was, unable to get wrapped up in a creative whirlwind when I had the space, the time, the peace and the quiet to do so. Of course, when I was at work just a few weeks prior, I longed for the R&R, and when it arrived, I didn’t know what to do with it.

The first day I felt unproductive despite the fact I had finished a book I had been meaning to read. That night was one of the most solitary that I can remember. The wind pounded against the glass doors as I lay in an unfamiliar bed on a deserted coast. In the morning I was greeted with grey skies and roaring waves again. It was difficult at first for me to give into the seeming “nothingness.” I paced and repeated old patterns of behavior to the best of my ability. As I begun to allow the time to fall over me as it would, I was graced with some slow inspiration; I let it creep into my sketchbook. It was of a different nature than which I had been accustomed. I spent more time sketching and reading in those few days than any other time in my life. Time was angled differently there, with strange and unpredictable periods of lengthening and shortening. Many things were different in that place. I noticed the difference in expectation, passage and association.

Dogs with no names came bounding through the center room as we played cards, perhaps looking for scraps or a temporary friend. Clouds rolled in a dance with the tides. The gulls called out messages as they landed on the shore. The night air was heavy with water and called us out for company.

Looking back, I should have taken some invitations from the Night to walk its beach. I am just thankful that I could drop out of the hectic world for a while to see another one. Without the people and the traffic of their on-season, I was able to really see that shore, able to experience it as it is. The isolation, once faced, was simple. The quiet, once appreciated, was comforting. The openness, embraced, was breath-taking. The grey, accepted, can be a gentle hand of inspiration.

on the Dreamscape

Posted in Dreams, Visions by theskinhorse on October 6, 2009

Everyone has the same dream at some time (all the time?). Over and over again…

Before you mount arguments, I refer you to this anime: Paprika.

The art, the progression of the story and the presentation places you fluidly in the dream state. You are primed for reception of the messages and for the acceptance of the dreamscapes presented. Trust me, you will find reflections of your own dreams in one or many of the tunneling realities.

The movie explores many concepts: the nature of dreams, control of the psyche, alter egos/dopplegangers, memories, trauma, sanctuary, and the splitting and merging of realities. When does one world end and another begin? Will we (can we) secure our portals and gateways? At what point does the veil become so thin that we can no longer tell which reality we are navigating? And is that a real concern if we can navigate each one effectively?

We may assume that our dream life is our own private quarters, secure and wholly solitary in experience. However, as humans, we share many primal landscapes and common scenarios. What themes keep occurring in your psychic spaces? We have all fallen through frightening depths. We have seen heavens and wastelands, history and revolution, alien planets and faery realms. We have been the pursuer and the pursued. (Ever meet the entity on the other end?) We are the warden and the prisoner, the student and the master, the defendant and the judge, the slayer and the slain, the champion and the monster… the list goes on.

What do the overlapping collective subconscious dreamscapes imply? Does it imply that the deepest closets of our psyches can be hacked, manipulated and modified by either ourselves or others regardless of our conscious awareness of what is happening? Does it imply that our evolutionary memories are similar despite region and culture of origin; that there is something about being human that ties us together regardless of race, religion or any other association/affiliation? Or take it another step… that there is something about being an animal, being of the Earth that we will always carry with us?

And what of those who hold memories and lives of the non-human: of the Faery, of the Stars, of the Angels, of the Darkness, of the Hungry, of the Shifters, of the Robots, of the Alien? With what dreams do they impregnate us?

Posted in Mind Goo by theskinhorse on October 1, 2009

I see these images in dreams, images of those I supposedly know. The interactions in the dreamscape are reflections and refractions of wishes, fears, hopes, biases and aspirations that I can recognize in waking life. I know warnings from unconscious observations; I know wish-fulfillment from true potential. These images do not fool or enchant me. They live in my head, not to be known by others that do not share my dreams. We all carry on secret lives, as do our doubles and counters, our dopplegangers and shadows. Perhaps we remember each other from different lives and different worlds. Perhaps we know each other well from stories. Each plane is a different reality that has/is/will swell(ed/ing) and collapse(d/ing). At every turn, we must be re-acquainted.