My DAW Yellow Spine Read Thru

In 1971, editor Donald A Wolheim left Ace Books to start an imprint with his wife Elsie.  The new DAW Books were mass market paperbacks with a distinctive yellow spine and the DAW logo on the front.  

Growing up, my mother loved to drag her sons to various thrift shops.  An avid reader from an early age, I would scour the used books for science fiction, fantasy, horror, and obscure non-fiction, especially fringe religion.  Those habits never changed. 

DAW yellow spines were my favorites, although they tended to be hit or miss.  A few years ago I decided to collect and read through the imprint until they changed the design away from the classic yellow spine. 

These are their stories.  

The reasoning (reposting)

Update:

“Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, thrice is enemy action” … thrice?

Go figure, a DC comic quoting a James Bond movie contains a blind.

A) What is a blind?  A blind is either dis- or mis- information given to misdirect a false, lazy, or insincere seeker.

B) What is The blind?   “enemy action”

Why do I think this? In my interpretation of a post-Thelemic worldview, after you are given (or ‘notice’) transmitted information in a series of ‘coincidence’, it is an opportunity to investigate and learn.   Again, we are not pretending this is sane behavior, just a self-examination into personal perception of reality.

^^^

Original post:

“Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, thrice is enemy action”   Recently read that in a Hawkgirl comic, which attributed the quote from the movie Goldfinger.

The basic premise is that there is information being ‘transmitted’ to us, disguised in the everyday noise we are bombarded with.  Hidden patterns, word games, puzzles, personalized clues.  We are not pretending this is sane behavior.  In fact, deciphering these “messages from the Secret Masters” is nothing less than a romanticized artificial psychosis.

Hence the danger.  This is Left Hand Path workings, driving yourself falsely schizophrenic based off of subjective gleanings of information.  This is not a simple ladder to enlightenment.  This is a journey into your own pathetic need for meaning.  There is no winner, there is no prize.  Once you start, the only way out is thru.

These will not be mere reviews of books, and other art.  This will be a surface look at the construction of my personal Qabalah.  Most of this work is gleaned from years past.  I no longer torture myself with daily workings.  My past work has brought me to a different, hopefully better, perception.  However, one cannot just abandon the work once one sees the light.  Keep in mind the daily lesson of the false dawn.

Moon Called

     Some nights I just can’t sleep.  I pad into the guest room, wrap myself in a blanket, and grab a random paperback.  I’ve been on an Andre Norton kick lately and grabbed Moon Called.  Pecover of Moon Called paperbackrfect choice.

Grandmaster Norton has several different writing styles and this one is in her high fantasy style.  The novel is stand-alone, almost a vignette.  The Heroine is a fantasy version of a Wiccan, the bad guys are alien and sinister, the “Old Times” gave us radiation and left over tanks. Her religious poetry seems like it’s taken from a Book of Shadows, in fact I’m working one of the poems into mine. 

The book is not about the plot or action or even defeating evil.  It’s about it’s Wiccan heroine finding purpose and solace in her love for the Lady.  One reviewer on GoodReads mentioned how much this book meant to her in 6th grade in the early 80s and how it help formulate her adult identity.

Her review was written a decade before I read Moon Called.  It lead me into thinking about how random books can shape a personality seeking adolescent.  How my own life was shaped by Zelanzy’s mythopoeia, Moorcock’s despairing heroes.   

      I’ve been reading Ms. Norton since my early days but I’m only now understanding her constant current of influence on me.  Damned subtlety. 

My only complaint about the particular style of this book by Mother Andre is what I call the “fog”.  Her dark fairy tales make me feel that sometimes we enter a fog-drenched part of the woods and I lose the thread for a paragraph or for a several pages.  Doesn’t matter the time of day I’m reading.  I know, this is more on me, I start daydreaming within the prose.  I’m afraid I’ve been ruined by short attention entertainment.  I should read more. 

Appendix N Book Club

(Since a very young age, I have kept a list of To Read books.  It was started as centered around Gygax’s Appendix N and Uncle Al related works.  The list, hereafter referred to as the Biblio, remains my main focus of study and reading.  Related posts tagged Bibliography, naturally)

The delightful podcast Appendix N Book Club recently (December 2, 2019) interviewed the legendary author Michael Moorcock.   I have a few takeaways.

At one point Mr. Moorcock name-dropped author John Brunner as a fellow anti-racist. This stood out to me because Mr. Brunner’s book Stand on Zanzibar was a heavy piece of programming for me.  I’m probably overdue to read it again.

They also briefly discussed on whether D&D (etc.) has ruined fantasy fiction.  I thought of this when a Forgotten Realms ™ book showed up on my randomized To Read bibliography list.  So I’ve given myself permission to remove all the FR ™ books from my bibliography.  I’ve gotten nothing from any of them and found most of them unreadable.  There was one I shall not name that was a naval fantasy retelling of Atlas Shrugged.  Ugh.

So I am in the midst of retooling the Biblio, as always a work in progress.   I urge the reader to explore the Appendix N Book Club podcast.  Good people and very inspirational.

New Media Artist: the Ong’s Hat creators

{All posts under the New Media Class category are for a History and Theory of New Media class I am taking during the 2019 Spring Semester at SUNY Empire. Please be aware that all comments must be approved before they are posted}

In the late 90s and early 00s, the internet was a different place.  Instead of everything being based on large corporate Social Media sites, you typed subjects, thoughts, queries, and keywords into the search engine of your choice and jumped in.  Instead of becoming lost in an endless news feed or auto-playing YouTube videos, you jumped from site to site. 

I don’t remember how or why I stumbled onto Ong’s Hat.  I vaguely remember knowing it was a constructed game but nonetheless it pulled me in.  The original website is gone, and the game declared dead and annoying by one of its main creators.

 The story started long before.  The quantum physicist/mystic/out-there genius Nick Herbert had started hinting at the Ong’s Hat story back in the days of online bulletin boards. Then friends of his, including Joseph Metheny and Peter Lamborn Wilson, started uploading and linking to the Incunabula

The Incunabula was presented as a rare book catalog.  Some of the books were real, others were fake (“unpublished”) books by real authors, and others were made up whole cloth. The striking thing was that once you started reading the book descriptions and annotations, you learned a story about a secret ashram of mad scientists, religious splinter groups, and reality hackers who were in a race against shadowy government forces to… well those clues came slower.

So you pulled up your trusty search engine and went exploring.  You followed clues that lead to Moorish Science, Church of the SubGenius, Mondo 2000, Robert Anton Wilson, and more. You could find fake websites that had a phone number to call for more recorded clues.  You could stumble onto forums with cool people talking about mind-shattering ideas or fall into a pit of lame conspiracy theorists.  You could discover the email address for Emory Cranston, the ‘made-up’ author of the catalog, and someone would answer your email with more cryptic clues.  Joseph Metheny even appeared on a few episodes of the conspiracy radio show Coast-to-Coast.

It was fun, it was smart, playful, and intersected media in a way that really hadn’t been explored before.   And in these days of weaponized conspiracy theories like that mess QAnon, it can never be repeated.

Kinsella, Michael (2011). Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat. Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi

Joseph Matheny : Ong’s Hat & ARG Auteur. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://josephmatheny.com/

Monaghan, P. (2011, July 31). Retrieved March 10, 2019, from https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/pageview/the-surprising-online-life-of-legends/29221

Oelbaum, J., & Oelbaum, J. (2019, February 21). Ong’s Hat: The Early Internet Conspiracy Game That Got Too Real. Retrieved March 10, 2019, from https://gizmodo.com/ongs-hat-the-early-internet-conspiracy-game-that-got-t-1832229488

Reflections on Game Theory

{All posts under the New Media Class category are for a History and Theory of New Media class I am taking during the 2019 Spring Semester at SUNY Empire. Please be aware that all comments must be approved before they are posted}

  Reflections on Game Theory:

            In 1933, Johan Huzinga released a book called Homo Ludens, whose title roughly translated as “Man the Game Player” or “Man who Plays”.  His concept was simple, that the notion and practice of play is important within and to build culture.    

            Hip Hop often refers to “The Game”.  As with most vague analogies, one can take it to mean several things depending on context.  For instance, “the Rap Game”:  Learn how to produce engaging content, usually music.  Retain rights to this content while procuring distribution and promotion.  Promote and establish a brand.  Capitalize with paid appearances, performances and sell associated product.  Diversify and elevate your portfolio. 

            Simple enough in theory.  Some play this as a zero-sum game, which means that in order for me to win, my opponent has to lose.  This never works out that well for that long.  Some, like Jay-Z, play an advanced form of non-zero-sum game wherein a rising tide lifts all ships.  The trick here is to engage other players who understand that the brand is set and can be added to but never diminished.  It is necessary for all players to ‘know their lane’ and work hard in their role for the co-operative pay-off.  The Game is sequential mixed strategy in that one must adjust or change completely their strategy at each stage or series of actions in order to continue to participate in the ever-evolving Game. 

            It is this sense of play and gamesmanship that advances Hip Hop culture, in fact that advances civilization at all.  In this greater Game of Civilization, many agree that non-zero-sum strategies are best. However, it is imperative to remember that many advanced players have switched to versions that are zero-sum. They are willing to declare as sacrificial large groups of people, races, countries, and even planets in order to feel that they are winning. 

 

Time After Time (1979)

[NOTE:  Books and other media are discussed on this blog from my private viewpoint. These are not reviews and will probably contain spoilers.  For pure reviews, please consult my Goodreads profile. The discussions will be updated as I feel apropos.]

My man Herbert George Wells and Jack the Ripper.  The best and the worst of the 19th century.  Throw them in an easy co-option of H.G.’s Time Machine and make them run around the 20th century in some sort of wacky chase. With a love interest so we can hire a pretty chick.

I first watched this on a lazy Saturday afternoon in a bar sometime in the mid-00s.  Watching it again in 2018 while puttering in the book shop was about the same.  Nice time, dumb plot. H.G. deserves better.

Reflections on a Glossary entry.

{All posts under the New Media Class category are for a History and Theory of New Media class I am taking during the 2019 Spring Semester at SUNY Empire. Please be aware that all comments must be approved before they are posted}

My Glossary post: 

Deconstruction

dē-kən-ˈstrək-shən  Originally a literary theory by Jacques Derrida, deconstruction is a philosophy which explores the idea that meaning is only possible within arbitrary context.  It is often pitched as in opposition to analytical theories, especially those based in structuralism.  Although Derrida’s ideas were about literary analysis, deconstruction has been applied to various other branches, including architecture, music, social theories, law, and linguistics.     

Derrida himself fought against the idea of deconstruction as a school of thought, only framing the definition of deconstruction in terms of negatives, saying “Deconstruction is not a method, and cannot be transformed into one” (Wood).  His refutations of deconstruction as a critique, method, analysis, or even as post-structuralist are because Derrida uses deconstruction thought in these negations.

Deconstruction is important in the Age of Information as way of understanding how and why communications, especially on the internet, are wholly dependent on the assumed arbitrary context of the content creator and content consumer.  Meme culture is a good example of this.   

Wood, David; Bernasconi, Robert (1988). Derrida and Sifférance (Reprinted ed.). Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press

 

My Reflections:

Ultimately my paper is going the relationship between Hip Hop culture and New Media technology.  An important part of my understanding of this, and life itself, is the concept of Deconstruction, which was originally presented as a literary theory by Jacques Derrida. 

                To present Deconstruction in as simple a form as I can manage: “Meaning is dependent on context”.   This is of course an oversimplification that, while making the concept accessible to more people, misrepresents Deconstruction. This is where we start the enter the woods.

                By explaining Deconstruction, I will start to use words, terms, and phrases that will assume unspoken agreements of truth and context.  Many of these are cultural. For instance, my phrase above about ‘entering the woods’.  This assumes an understanding of swiftly dwindling upper Northern Hemisphere environments predominately European and American. In 50-100 years from now this phrase will be archaic, or even fantastical like ‘slaying dragons’.

                Much of our communication depends on these contextual, cultural clues.  The more complex the subject, the more reliant we are on context.  One could argue that at some points all we are doing is communicating context without any substance or meaning whatsoever.  In fact, Deconstruction has a bit of a dirty reputation for being used to expose the lack of actual communication that is going on.  Many a lazy philosophy student I’m sure has used it to declare their classes meaningless.

                Hip Hop is a syncretic culture and artform that has often taken cultural pieces and created new meaning from them by changing the context.  Let us take, for instance, the vinyl record.  A technological advancement to preserve sound so that we can share it across time and space.  A way of archiving a musical performance.  Now let us take two copies of the same record and use them to repeat a certain passage.  I play the 16 bars on record player #1 and at the end start playing the same 16 bars on player #2.  While playing on #2, I reset player #1 so that when player #2 is done, I’m playing the passage on #1 again and resetting #2.  Viola, a breakbeat.  I have manually created a loop. The records and players are now a loop machine.

                Let us go further and manually manipulate a record, pulling it back and forth, to keep playing a few seconds worth of sound.  I manipulate the ‘scratch’ with a fader and artistically add the sounds to a piece and I have made the record and player into a musical instrument. 

                Now the deeper use of deconstruction is when I take samples and scratches of sound and layer them in a different context than their original.  Do you need to know the original piece referenced to enjoy the new?  No.  In some instances that knowledge might help you understand the artist’s deep meaning.  In others it was just a cool sound.

                Hip Hop does this non-musically as well.  The Culture has always taken technology and used it innovatively, New Media being no exception.

Path of Inquiry

{All posts under the New Media Class category are for a History and Theory of New Media class I am taking during the 2019 Spring Semester at SUNY Empire. Please be aware that all comments must be approved before they are posted}

      For this post we are going to starting the task of the slow assembling of our final paper for the History and Theory of New Media class. The topics given for this paper are broad.  Granted that the final paper is to be 10-12 pages in Arial 10 font, we have plenty of room to meander and be general, but I think we can benefit from narrowing it down a bit.

      I am looking to talk about Hip Hop culture as a syncretic, organic, post-modern phenomenon that has uniquely 20th century American urban roots but has, through its relationship to media and technology, transformed itself into a still evolving world-wide cultural force. 

     I had a long debate with myself about whether this fit into the “media and society” category or “media ecology”.  It seemed cheap to use “media and society” and rather inauthentic.  We are not talking about general society here but a culture that risen almost despite its people’s forced disassociation from society.

     I decided on “media ecology” due to a phrase I found about media being a “traffic” between nature and culture (Durham).  While McLuhan’s and Postman’s original ideas of media ecology seem a bit dated and naïve, Hip Hop grew up within the cracks of infrastructure and has created a communication between previously disparate parts of society.  I am confident that I can tie this in using the ideas of media ecology.

      Why Hip Hop? What are my credentials?  I have been a huge Hip Hop fan for decades and a good 85% of my media consumption is Hip Hop related.  This includes my spiritual explorations. I make no pretense to be an expert or even a representative of the culture.  I am a student and a fan, whose life has been illuminated and made better by Hip Hop. Most importantly, I have nothing but respect for my subject.

Reference

Durham Peters, J. (2015). Infrastructuralism: Media as Traffic between Nature and Culture. At the Interface / Probing the Boundaries, 88, 31–49. https://doi-org.library.esc.edu/10.1163/9789004298774pass:[_]003