Headspace

I’ve been hard at work over the last 2 weeks, revising the novel-in-progress (among other things*) and thought I’d write up a post describing what this looks like to the objective observer, namely, me reading a bunch of weird stuff on the internet:

Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword” is a classic essay by John Whiteside “Jack” Parsons, who was both an acolyte of Aleister Crowley and founder of NASA’s jet Propulsion laboratory.this essay serves as background for the novel but it’s an interesting read on its own, as it pretty handily paints a portrait of the sort of person who doesn’t make a distinction between rocket science and the occult. Parsons hearkens back to the old day, before science and mysticism had completely separated. He was a modern day alchemist. Shame he blew himself up in a lab accident.

Phantom Circuit is in it’s own words:

Phantom Circuit is a programme of strange and wonderful sound waves that you can hear streamed over the internet.

Since October 2008 Phantom Circuit has promoted and supported music that is alien, electronic, exotic, essential.… plus familiar objects viewed from unusual angles… All of it is worth a try, so we hope you will listen in.

They play everything from “coastal slurtronic folk” like Kemper Norton to 96 tears by Question Mark & the Mysterions. I’ve been listening to their mixes for a few days now and they add a nice ambiance of the weird to my dreams at night.

I’ve also ran across this rather exhaustive article on Wikipedia about an old TV show called UFO that is both British and weird and from that bizarre cusp time between the 1960s and 1970s. It was Garry Anderson’s first foray into live action TV, and as he recently passed, his shows are getting some fond remembrances. This one sounds like its right up my alley, with unnamed aliens stealing human organs being fought by the stylish mod heroes of an achronymed agency on the Moon. Besides being a nifty sounding program, click around through the links on the actors and you’ll find that one of the fuchsia wigged, catsuit wearing stars was Benedict Cumberbatch’s mother. Connections are all around, man.

And lastly, for my down time, when I need a bit more grounded and earthly entertainment, I’ve been making my way through all 8 seasons of Magnum PI, now streaming on Netflix. Watching almost 150 episodes strikes me as a bit much, so I did some poking around and found this list of the 40 best episodes. So far, I’m impressed at how edgy and dark a show it actually was, considering it was A) made in the 80s and B) set in Hawaii. Like everybody else, I remember the cheesy jokes and late 70s fashions, the Ferrari and the awesome helicopter shots of the islands, but there’s a surprising bit of existential drama simmering just below the surface. You have an absentee god in the form of Robin masters (a globetrotting novelist who is never there), and a lot of angst centered around the three main characters, Magnum, TC and Rick, who were all special opps vets in Vietnam. The pacing is a bit slow by today’s standards but the stories are surprisingly varied in tone and subject matter. One episode, Magnum will be chasing down the ugliest dog in Hawaii, the next, helping TC save his smack-addled army buddy. Breadth, not necessarily depth but it’s still a surprising find. There are even a few episodes with a bit of weird, supernatural edge to them, like one where a kahuna curses Rick’s club. Definitely worth checking out.

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* Like getting ready for baby. We went to a birthing class last Saturday which was thankfully more informative than we thought it would be.