Friday, May 23, 2008

Lost Time

My old familiar alarm clock died tonight, it seems. The loss was sudden and unexpected. I did not quite realize how much symbolism and meaning was intertwined into it's cheap mass-produced innards, until it was too late.

This particular clock talked. It had a slightly warm, approachable robotic tone that read off the hours and minutes - the fabric of our lives - in crisp and concise increments.

It was a present from my Paternal grandmother, when she got one and loved it. She was blind, you see, and so needed a talking clock.

It was a blessing to start each of my days with the instant reminder that there was someone out there who loved me, and who was blind, and definitely had larger issues than me. It is an order of magnitude harder to get upset about having to go into work an hour early when the voice that lifts yu from sweet reveries also reminds yu that a loved one is blind and cannot enjoy any of the sights I will see that day. No trees, no jokes, no children, no change. So shut up and get into the shower.

It also reminds me that I have the same genes as her, same disposition to bad eyes. It was a reminder that there are elements of my life that I cannot control, although possibly predict, and to bear appropriate humility through all my endeavors. I might go blind as well one day, without the luck of genetics or the mercies of american insured medical techniques. There but for the grace of god, go I.

And today that clock, my internal, digital conscience, ceased it's insightful beeps.

I cannot help but fear it is an omen for the woman whom it represents.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

feb 3 gaming post

I did not expect this to be my first gaming post on this blog, because I have so much mental material (or materielles!) stock-piled like a nerdy Maginot line, but here we are.

When I grew up , a lot of people looked for ways to find self-esteem, and explored them. Jocks played sports, nerds did computer stuff in the nascent industry (I am a 1973, Commodore 64, Lets-play-Oregon-Explorer-on-an-Apple2e-kind of guy), and cute women flirted. Well maybe they did other stuff as well - I certainly wasn't observing them, try as I might.

So we explored this universal human need by focusing our efforts - and hence defining who we are for decades - by choosing between one of a few well-defined paths... frankly, metrics.

Tonight I watched a 7 year-old explain to a 30-something, for hours, how her Nintendo Ds worked, and just one fucking game - something called NintenDOGS, or the like.

I knew this angel well when she was 4 and 5. She was bright and focused on math and puzzle solving (!), but prone to suddenly change rules to her benefit when it suited her.

I listened intently now that she was 7, and her entire seminar was cogent and devoid of exaggerations, egoisms, fabrications. This game sounded really complex and kinda cool!

And just as I was impressed with the game and the tech, she uttered a phrase that prompted and entirely new understanding of the little pink, soft, beeping tool in her young impresionable hands.

With great confidence, when the adult said he didn't think he could handle it without her help, she said:

"Yes it is very detailed and complex, but nothing that I can't handle!"

The point I am trying to make is not that my friends little gal is smart, or that NintenDOGS is neat, but that technology, and most importantly gaming technology, has created a multitude of new paths and methods in which a young kid can find self-esteem, confidence, and ego. And in addition, while computer people of my generation who did well at Oregon Trail automatically defined themselves as 'Nerds', with all the benefits and self-loathing that entails, this little girl who loves pink and magic wands and dancing and being a Princess, could excel at a particular gaming technology and yet not be definied by the technology itself, but still draw all the self-esteem (and my god, ego!) that the successes offered. The technology benefitted her but did not define her, nor limit her.

That to me was Gnosis, a revelation. There is an entirely new world out there, and I am ignorant of it. A 7 year old takes it for granted, and to me it is foreign and magical. If there was middle ground, I am at a loss to find it.

The concept of children and young adults using, mastering, incorporating technology into their little lives but yet not being defined by it as a result is a completely new and foreign concept to me. I can only say I am jealous, even though my C-64 with Telengard and Bruce Lee from tape was way cooler than her crappy NintenDOG.

But yeah, I never went to prom either year, and that C-64 with Telegard and Bruve Lee on tape was a factor. It told me I was wonderful, and special, but we did not mix freely with them. I dream that one day this little girl will read this post I have written about her, and have absolutely no idea what the hell I am talking about.

Who knows if lowly gaming can one day be a bridge between races, classes, sexes? Is it possible that one day the jocks will not beat up nerds, but instead ask them for help with the final boss on level 7 of 'Waffle Thieves of Antiquity, and Other Baked Goods Nere-Do-Wells'? Or better yet, is it possible that gaming can unite people to such a degree that terms such as nerd and jock all blend into one happy, homogeneous guilt-free geekdom?

M. Frank

feb 3

gnostic football -

0 Ive fought this so long, but Joe Buck is just terrible. He is so likeable, I hate to admit it - but he is brutal. I cannot even fully explain why.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


OK, until i figure out how to make separate pages and links, this will be four chunks on one page instead of a main page, and 3 side pages.

Gnosis: esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth held by the ancient Gnostics to be essential to salvation.

In other words, a mystery - and one relevant to the understanding of one's own life, or that of others, or the world in which we live.

Let's face it - this complex majesty, this living Earth, holds very few surprises or mysteries for those with even a moderate IQ or basic observational skills. Macro-environmental physics are mostly deterministic, and therefore predictable. People follow basic societally encouraged patterns to encourage success and propogation of the 'species' (wasn't Species the movie where you got to see Natasha Henstride's bosom covered in blood? That's hot. But I digress.), and also therefore are relatively predictable; any good author will tell you to analyze a character's motives to determine future acts right off the bat.

For those who pay attention, the world can be an incredibly dull and magically-neutral environ.

These 'Gnostic' searches are an attempt to delve deeper. Admittedly, with no way of knowing if we are simply confusing and obfuscating simplicities in a vain attempt to delude ourselves into feeling self-important in discovery and exploration. We really have no objective way of determining what is a mystery, and what is bullshit. But we search in the hopes of the former, frankly because of ego, and of having really very little else to do once the whole food-shelter dynamic was solved about 500 years ago. Is mental masturbation a Sin or Illumination? And really, does it matter or do we care?

On that ambiguous, self-aggrandizing note, we explore in this blog three topics in no particular order:

0 Gnostic Christianity (should be a link)

-- There are like 200 different versions of Gnostic Christianity or Zoastrianism on Wikipedia - why are you creating another?

--> Because I am right and they are wrong.

Listen, here is the low down, without fancy labels or predictions:

To the brilliant observer (i.e Me, hereafter referred to as TBO), the world seems to be chaotic, painful, random, and about as far from fair, just, linear, family-friendly, team-oriented as it can be. Tropical storms, puppies choking on nylons. Babies dying in their sleep. Everything breaks, everything sucks, and the Newtonian law about objects in motion remaining in motion is wrong - objects in motion, left un-observed, will mysteriously fuck up at the worst possible moment for no apparent reason.

Order decreases as chaos, entropy, increases.

To paraphrase the (apparently) correct Second Law of Thermodynamics, shit that is not fucked up will fuck up at a later date. Things will never get better or more orderly... either give the illusory appearance of temporary stability, or disintegrate before your eyes (usually at some form of family holiday function)

So, one asks after noting all this, "What the fuck?"

Here is where I disagree (or ignore) other Gnostics, because I admit I don't know enough objectively to label or define anything other than in the most basic terms:

This fragile Earth, this universe of molecules and space-heaters-in-mobile-homes and Starbucks with sullen, depressed brunette wait-staff, is what we roughly could describe as 'white noise' to a radio operator.

God - maybe the creator of this physical realm, but maybe not ( I wasn't there! ), is off doing his Divine bowling league in Heaven (for lack of a better term), and we are stuck - trapped, if you will bear with me - in a physical realm of disorder and pain and chaos. Were we trapped here by an insane creator god who thinks he is the 'real' God, but isn't? Was this physical plane created by God the real deal as some form of test or staging ground to act as a barrier between inspiration and enlightenment? My answer is simple - I have no friggin clue. Not even a guess. I really don't think it matters.

For whatever reasons, we have been thrust into the crappy, mundane, physical world. We are Arnold in 'The Running Man', which I might add, featured a svelt Richard Dawson; I think you can already seem the wisdom in what I am saying.

So whoever did it to us, and whyever they did it, we mortal coils are stuck in a rat race where the walls keep moving, and more unsettlingly, taunting back at us, as we try to find some cheese. Or Gnosis. Or Salvation. Or low fat non-dairy half cafe lattes with a twist of lime, some sweet and low.

Basically, we are trapped in a physical prison. By whom? For what purpose? I have no idea and can't sell you one, try as I might. I don't drink coffee but I'd love to be able to buy some of those lattes for friends, family, brunettes.

I'd like to share a revelation (or Gnosis, if you've been stealing my lingo as I encourage) that proved to be wildly false, but still very useful. Which is the best kind really, as there is no such thing as a bad gnosis, just like (sadly) there can be no final, definitive one.

I was a devout Catholic Christian, and was blown away - BLOWN AWAY I SAID! - when I heard that there was at least sketchy circumstantial evidence that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Mary and a Greek mercenary. To this day, I have absolutely no idea if it is true or even a credible rumor; at the time, it didn't matter. Now it doesn't matter, but for very different reasons.

At the time, I was blown away. My solid foundation was rocked because it had been based on a FACT and now this FACT was in question.

It took a disturbingly long time for me to realize I did not care. Yep, I did not care about such a seemingly earth-shattering detail - was Jesus the Divine, Immaculately conceived, Son of God? Or Joseph? Or Bubba the pool boy? What were the implications one way or the other?

And BAM, Gnosis - It didn't matter to me. Whether Jesus was the Son of God, or a god, or Joseph, or Bubba, his message was Divine. Of that, from reading it, experiencing it, LIVING it, I was certain. Did it matter how I got it, whether he was wearing wool or a cotton-poly blend on the Cross? No, of course not.

The unfortunate Human prediliction to argue semantics is based on ego and the need to be (irrevocably falsely) unique. Over and over and over again, in religion, in gaming, in politics. Welcome to my Blog.

We live in a world we like to pretend is orderly, and therefore just and therefore (possibly!) Divine; it is none of those. We live in a relatively slow-moving, mostly benign, shitstorm. Suck it up and agree.

The *message* of Jesus, however the heck we were lucky enough to get it, is a lifeline that God the Father sent down (sacrificing Jesus in the process) into the Chaos of our world, so we might grab onto it and not be Lost. We were not doing all that well metaphysically, so he sent in a Lifeguard to slap some floaty arm balloons on us - but only those willing to accept them.

The good part of this theory - we can stop trying to pretend this physical world is the perfect design of a perfect god. We can admit that, most days, it is kind of noisy and smelly, and not that spiritual, and rarely inspiring or implying Divine thoughts unto the viewer. Basically, it is a large ball of dirt that has just barely cooled, but might be hit by an asteroid at any minute, and while we are not being destroyed by random galactic debris, there are still puppies crying, babies dying, and my Buffalo Bills can't win a fucking Superbowl; in a nutshell, it is an injust crapshoot run by Pete Rose and Roman Polanski, but minus the cash payouts or young scented muff. Hyperbole aside, certainly NO ONE can look around and decry, "This is Heaven".

The bad part - we can never know if we are right, we can never be 'done', our search will never be 'complete'. Worse than that, the world will continue to get worse and worse, descending into Chaos irrevocably. All we can hope is that our 'individual' time-lines are so insignificantly small on the scale of Said Bitch Universe that we are long dead before there is some Cosmic 'Phase 2'; She may build an Intergalactic Highway right across our palms, our hopes, our planet.

So we grasp that lifeline, that message of Christ, and tug as hard as we can, hoping that God will yank us out of the Bushwood Estates Pool before Karl Spackler bites into the Mars bar as we shockingly look Unto Him. Gunga... gunga galunga.


0 Gnostic Gaming (should be a link)

0 Gnostic Politics (should be a link)

-- Is it as pre-determined as it appears to be?