Want to join in? Respond to our weekly writing prompts, open to everyone.

from tmo

I found an affordable smart lightbulb (for $25) that was recommended by WireCutter and I think I may get it (two of them, actually) for the standing floor lamp in the bedroom. I just want to have a nice, orange ambiance in there on occasion and considering I already have a Google Home Mini, I may as well get some more use out of it besides playing Black Metal at loud volumes to annoy my neighbors.

But then, then I am going to realllly think long and hard about how I can “re-do” my apartment in terms of layout and what I want to KEEP and what I want to GO. First thing's first; I have to get rid of the cruiser bike that I only rode once and swore to never ride again. I don't ride bikes, and I don't know what the fuck I was thinking in buying one. Second thing's second; I have to replace my chaise chair with a more comfortable one. I am worried the one I have now will eventually hurt my back.

The rest of the apartment (that is only 430 square feet to begin with) will take care of itself. Just a bit of moving stuff around. Of course the chair may come at a much later date, because I am paying for STLCC out-of-pocket, so perhaps I can find cheap chair. idk.


from tmo

I just deep cleaned every inch of my kitchen, as well as re-organized the bathroom, and also straightened up the living room a bit. I figure with a massive pine tree sitting in my living room for the remainder of the month, I should keep the rest of my studio apartment clean as the tree takes up so much space. It is a very FULL tree. While I did this I made a cuppa Boyd's Original Roast coffee and packed a bowl of D&R Vengeur tobaccy, and started the dishwasher. These are all basic chores so I don't know why I am blogging about them, but I did them, so...

I am also thinking bout my (former) friend from high school (many years ago) and how he had a kid when he was 16(!) And me and this former friend are both 36 years old now, so that means he has a 20-year-old son! Me, I have zero kids and I never want to have any. I am simply too selfish to have children. I always put my own priorities and freedom/independence before everything else, and even when I had a dog – the stress of being a dog owner killed me, so I had to get rid of it and I have been relishing in the freedom ever since. I guess this could mark me as a bad guy, but I don't care. I just won't adopt an animal again nor have kids. Ever.

I am not terribly sure why I am so obsessed with personal independence. I suppose the possibility or option of being able to go to Bali for a week/month/year appeals to me. Or more practically speaking, Hawaii. Or really anywhere. I just finished watching a video (that I hadn't watched in six years) on YouTube of a studio apartment tour in Japan, and how I wanted soooooo badly to get a little apartment in Japan in 2013/14. Instead, I got a tiny apartment in the city of St Louis as like “training wheels” to see how I would deal with the isolation, and ultimately decided that I would stay in St Louis, just not the CITY of St Louis. I always wanted to travel more, though. Now that Dad has passed away (RIP Jan. 20, 2019) – I can travel/move about more now. Everyone says that the best thing you can do in life is to travel, and I always said that I would move to Minneapolis, Minnesota should I decide to move out of state again (I briefly lived in Florida in my early-20's). Of course, it depends. Priority #1 right now, of course, is college and what it REALLY comes down to is – when you ask yourself what you want to be doing more than anything else in the world right now, my deep down, SOUL answer is: getting my Associates degree from STLCC. After that, it's wheels off. I will go/do anything, anywhere and may just fuck around and “vagabond” for a bit. Sounds great to me! I know that I can't stay still for too long though, or I go crazy. Not gonna happen.


from the willow tree

note: written 2016.

Don Argus O'Callaghan was one of the few left in the building. His assistant, Mike Teller, was also there. Standing behind him with a book in hand.

“See,” Mike said, “I think it's safe to say that no ghosts are coming through tonight.”

“They ain't ghosts.” Don said with a tone indicating he was beyond tired of correcting the assumption.

“Of course they are,” Mike insisted, “People just didn't understand the physics back when the word was coined.”

“You arguing semantics?” Don asked. “The intellectual concept of an apparition is far different from what we're dealing with.”

“Yes, but...”

“But what?” Don cut him off. “Metaphysics this, superstition that. We practice neither, this, what we do, is science. Pure and simple.”

“Fine. But I'll keep calling them ghosts. How else are we supposed to convey an understanding in layman terms?”

Don shook his head. Useful assistants were hard to find as it was. At least this one was still alive. For now.

“The rift seem to originate from here.” Don said and traced it with his finger. He had discovered—back when he first got into the business—that rifts created small tumbles of air, fragments of atmosphere leaking in from the other side, cooling the room. At the crack of rifts it was especially cold, the classical term would be cold spots.

“This would be much easier with a thermal camera.” Mike said. He was sketching the path of Don's finger as he moved it through the room.

“Good thing I have an assistant who packs the instruments then.” Don said with a snarl.

“You know what, I think I did. Still in the car though.”

Where it's doing a mighty fine job.” He stopped tracing then harshly glared at Mike.

“I'll go get it.”

Don continued to trace the rift with his finger until it overlapped with a wall. He left the room, which was an office room for an IT firm, then entered the next. It was another office. He sighed, then guessed his way to the rift and found it shortly, it traced half across the room.

“An unusually large rift,” Don mumbled to himself. “Something might have gone through here already.”

They had been called in for the job by their contact, Paul Banach, an officer of the local police force. The case had been dismissed as a wackjob hacker guy being overdosed on energy drinks and weed. The hacker guy claimed a large horned devil fell through the air in the middle of the afternoon, trashing the place. After witnessing the creature, he had made an exit accordingly and called the cops. Don didn't like the prospects of the witness, a horned devil could be anything from a fey class to a demon class. If it was fey, this job would already be done as soon as they found it, or even if they didn't. As the fey seldom liked it here in zero realm. Them falling through was more accidental than not, often as an end result of a bad teleportation. The demon class was a different story altogether, their realm and society was not as sophisticated, which made them rare. But each effort of success led to an invasion. They were dumb enough not to know they lack the technological capacity to invade zero realm, yet smart enough to make an effort out of it.

Wood complained from the hallway. Someone was there.

“Mike? I think we might have something here after all, the rift is sizable. Suggesting it's the end result of an explosion rather than teleport accident.”

No answer.

“It could be one of your so-called ghosts, but if so it's probably long gone. Sleeping in the dike a town out.”

That was the problem with ghosts. They were just regular people, who shifted over through natural rifts. This usually happened if a rift had opened inside their home or workplace. Spend too many hours near a rift, and your mass syncs and aligns with the twin world eventually. These people were easy to identify though, always confused, and swear they somehow ended up miles from their home as if through magic or UFO. Geographically speaking, the second realm was identical to zero realm. Evolutionary too. With the only difference being the planetary tilt having a few hours' difference, hence the insistence of ending up a sizable distance from home. Don had a feeling the same type of occurrence was common in the twin world as well.

Don left the office now, concerned that whoever was out in the corridor wasn't Mike. There, it stood. It was no demon he had seen before, and much too big to be an average fey. It was a dark brown, had a beaked mouth, the body similar to a rhino, with five non-symmetrical horns sticking out of its face. Another set of horns along its rib on each side, and a twinned tail which moved like snakes.

“You're not supposed to be here,” Don said. “Do you need help getting back?”

The beast growled and snarled at him. The first thought running through his mind was that this particular beast was some kind if equivalent to another realm's apex predator which had accidentally fallen through an unusually huge natural rift. His second thought was eloquently simple:


Don ran back into the office, slamming the door behind him. He looked out through the window and saw Mike still bent inside the car. This presented a couple of problems. He had to close the rift lest this rhino-demon-thing had a family eagerly awaiting their turn to pass through, yet he also had to lure it back through this rift. He wouldn't be able to send it back where it belonged if he shut it down now, and creatures like this simply could not be allowed to walk about in zero realm. It would create all kinds of collateral and logistical issues, not to mention religious and political. The problem with sending things through was time, something he felt just wasn't going to be applicable to a large and powerful feral beast like this one.

Don pried the window open.

“Mike! Fresh new entity! Very ferocious! Get me Paul from the cops division!”

Mike stopped his rummaging and went for his smartphone.

Don stuck his upper body out of the window and reached for a rusty old rain gutter. Just as his hand got a firm grip, the beast tore down the door behind him. Don swung his body out the window and latched his legs around the gutter not a second before the beast rammed the window. The force was like a charging rhino, and the wall cement cracked. The rain gutter loosened in response, and started to bend downwards, Don hanging on for his life, but not visibly showing fright. He was too weathered and experienced in situations like these, or so he would tell his assistants whenever he found himself in a complicated situation, and he was right to do so, as Mike was now his ninth assistant in little over three years. They tended to die when things got tense. Better leave them with a warning.

Mike snapped a photo of Don hanging from the rain gutter which had allocated his position above the street. Thankfully it was in the middle of the night so they wouldn't have trouble with traffic.

“How about you get me a ladder instead of material for your blog?” Don bellowed.

“Right. On it.”

Mike ran to the back of their vehicle and procured a ten-step ladder. He pulled it at the hinges, making it roughly five meters long, and firmly placed it beneath Don. While he held the ladder in place, he had his ear pressed against his shoulder, talking to Paul.

“As you can hear, we're in a bit of a pinch, I think Don wants some backup with suppressive gear,” Mike said to the phone.

“We need to barricade the building,” Don said, reaching with his toes for the top of the ladder.

A soon as Don made it to the ground, he was bombarded by questions from Mike.

“What did it look like? Was it from the Fey realm? Demon realm? Elf realm? Ghost realm? Spirit realm? Angelic realm? Witch realm? Giant's realm? Was it advanced technologically? Did it have any unique physiology? Any records in the ancient scriptures?”

Don didn't have an answer. This was something different. New. He was sure. As with all supposedly mythological creatures they often came from one of the common realms mentioned. In fact, Valhalla was close to a description of how it worked in practice, but there were more realms out there. Realms that were either primitive, or didn't generate rifts as frequent as the main known realms. Some might never even have been crossed or identified in the archived past. Though, what bothered Don the most about this situation was the size of the rift. It had the model of a fission explosion, a remnant of a nuke. Wherever this beast came from, it either survived the end times, or someone intelligent was behind the whole thing. If the latter, this was just the beginnings of what could be a catastrophic merge between two realms of space.

Twenty minutes later, a tired off duty cop arrived. He had clearly been asleep twenty five minutes earlier as his police vest was inside out.

“Paul,” Don said. “We need to barricade the whole area. Where are the rest of your people?”

“Hum,” Paul said. “It's not like I can order something like that, especially if I'd start raving about ghosts as an argument for the efforts.”

“It's not ghosts...”

“See, I told you it's how the laymen will deal.”

Don sighed.

“Anyway,” Don said. “We need to force this thing over to the other side before we sew the rift shut.”

“How are we going to do that?” Mike asked, excitedly.

“We need to widen the rift, it will probably take the entire floor with it, eventually. But it's the only way I can think of, as without barricades, we don't have time to just wait it out.”

“I brought my riot shield, and borrowed a tranq-rifle. Only found the one needle thought. Think it's a horse tranq. Will that do?”

“The beast up there is like a rhino combined with a demon on steroids. No. I don't think it will do.”


“We don't want to kill it. And if its hide is too thick we might just scare it and piss it off even more.”

“Well what would you have me do then!”


“Uh. Isn't that what Teller is for?”


“You're both bait.”

Don went to the vehicle and grabbed the thermal camera. How Mike couldn't find it... Disciplinary issue, he concluded. He handed it over to Mike, and asked him to draw up the rift more precisely in his book. They could then map the detonation radius to widen the rift.

“Why me?” Mike complained.

“You're nimble enough to take the window route.”

Don went back into the vehicle and grabbed a handful of homemade explosives, a detonator, a rope, and a pair of ear pieces. He gave one ear piece to Paul and the rope to Mike, then pointed towards the windows.

“How is the rope supposed to help me?”

“Safety line.”

Mike fastened the rope around his hip, walked towards the windows, then turned around with a meek expression suggesting he really, really, didn't want to do this.

“Get on with it,” Don said. “I'm going to need that drawing as soon as the rooms are clear, there won't be any time standing around taking measures.”

Mike gave a half nod with rejection, as if his good and bad consciousness weighed the odds.

“Paul? Ok, do you remember the third floor design?”

“Sure, way too many private offices for an IT firm.”

“Good, assuming it's still trashing the room with an open window and a door turned into a jigsaw puzzle, I should be able to sneak by. You'll make noise, and then immediately make for the staircase, luring it out. But don't let it see you, we don't want it leaving the third floor.”

“Copy that.”

“You sure you can't call someone? Could've used another pair of hands with this.”

“Not risking my job for a ghost rhino.”

“It's not a gh... Never mind. Oh, and bring the riot shield and a taser. No gun, it'll probably be useless anyway.”


Paul went for his car, grabbed his shield and taser, then put the earpiece on.

Don was slowly walking up the staircase towards the third floor and whispered into the earpiece he kept.

“Making my way up now, I'll take a look at the situation while you get yourself ready. Oh and Paul, your failure is my death. Don't mess it up.”

Paul wearily began making his way up the staircase now. He didn't quite like the prospects of the last words hollered at him. He had known Don for years, and Don often praised him as a great asset, mostly for not getting himself killed. There was a reason for that though, Paul usually went in last, if at all. Which also meant he had little experience with the real deal, despite participation. Kind of like a drone pilot in war times, hand them a real gun and they'll end up shooting themselves before piercing a bullet into the enemy.

The corridor was clear, the beast nowhere to be seen. It was quiet too, which could have any number of implications. Don tip toed through the corridor past the trashed room. It wasn't in there, but he could see Mike's face through the open window. His eyes flicking between the room, thermal scanner and his sketchbook in hand. Good, he was doing his job for once, Don though.

“Paul,” Don whispered. “It's eluding us. I'm going to take cover, on my signal, make a short ruckus.”

He moved to the second room, the door was closed. He carefully opened the door and stepped inside, no beast here either. Well inside, he hid himself behind the computer desk.

Ok now.” Don whispered into the mic.

Moments later, Paul slammed his shield into the staircase handle. A powerful metallic chime echoed throughout the building.

Silence persisted.

Again.” Don said.

The second chime roused. Glass and metal frames made a slight buzzing sound, yet there was no sign of the beast. Don got out of his hiding place and made his way to the corridor.

“Something's not adding up.” He said.

There was scraping from the trashed room, and Don sneaked his way there. Mike had crawled inside, rope still around his waist.

“What are you doing? Get back out, it's dangerous to be in here right now!”

“But the drawing is done,” Mike objected. “Wasn't the plan to draw it out of this room anyway? It's not here. I might as well be inside.”

“You just want to get an eye full of the creature, don't you?”

“Of course,” Mike said as he straightened his back. “Don't want to pass up a chance to witness a ghost that's unknown even to you!”

“It's not... I hate you. Gimme the drawing.”

Mike handed over the drawing. While inspecting it and scratching his chin, Don reluctantly pointed at the far end of the room.

“We should be able to manipulate the rift if we place an explosive at the floor over there, just at the edge of the rift. The fact that it goes through the wall here and into the other office is a bit troublesome. We're going to have to blow a hole in it if we want to widen the rift enough to force the creature back, but then it's going to be wider at the middle and we won't be able to capture a wide enough space to encompass the entire floor as most of the opening will be concentrated at the center.”

“Where is Paul?”


Repeated chimes rang through the building and grew closer. Paul was running up the staircase.

“It noticed me!” Don heard through the earphone. “It's coming up from the second floor! I'm running to you guys, please, please, have a diversion ready!”

“Shit.” Don said. “Uhh...”

Mike snagged the explosives belt from Don, he threw one to the edge of the rift in their room. Placed one at the floor near the wall of where it went through. Then, before Don could stop him, he threw himself out the window and over to the next room. There was the sound of glass shattering, and a few thuds of explosives being distributed across the room.

Dumbfounded, Don made his way to the window, looking for something to hold onto. “Can't believe I'm going out this way again.”

“Explosives up! What do I do with the leftover?!” Mike yelled from the other room.

“Drop them at the wall! Should be enough to make a hole!”

Paul ran through the broken opening of the room, gasping for air.

“It's on this floor!” He yelled.

“Get your ass here! We're taking the fast lane down! Mike!”


“Get back here, we need that rope!”

Right as Don finished the sentence, the beast broke through the broken door, flaring its nostrils and growling.

“Jesus, what a beaut.” Mike said as his head peered from the side of the window.

Don reached for the rope which Mike had conveniently bound around the nearby metal spikes left behind by the now ruined rain gutter. Paul reached his hand for Don, but it was too late. The beast was already in charge towards the window. Before he could get a grip on Don, he had defenestrated himself through the window. A piece of cloth ripped, and Paul was left half way out as the beast crushed against his behind.

Mike had already climbed down to the second floor. Don swung in the rope, letting it burn in his hand as he descended downwards. He looked up at the still, but barely alive Paul bled from the bottom half of his body, blood making its way down the window frame.

“Paul!” Don yelled.

His eyes flared awake, if only for a moment. The beast had backed off from his body, making itself ready for a second impact.

“You'll be fine Paul! Just reach for the rope on my next pass! Reach for the rope! Pull yourself out!”

Paul shook his head, trying to stay awake and ignore the agony of pain. He reached a weak hand for the rope as Don came on a pass near his body.

“Now, Paul!”

Another jolt of wakefulness brushed him by, and he managed to snag one of his hands to the rope. It pulled away from him as Don swung back, yet miraculously he had enough strength in his hand to let his body yank out of the window. He did not have enough strength to hold on, however. He plummeted in a near straight line. Mike had made his way to the first floor window, still two meters from the ground. He stretched out a hand and braced himself, gripping as hard as he could with his other hand on the windowsill. As Paul reached him, Mike managed to grab hold of his inside-out-vest, giving him some elasticity from the otherwise dangerous impact.

“I got you bud.” Mike said to Paul, knowing he wouldn't hear him. He was out cold.

“Get down fast and lay Paul to the ground!” Don yelled as he reached into his pocket. He procured the detonator and then let himself slide down the rope further. Bleeding from his hand by the rope burn. “Let's hope it's enough!”

Six pops sounded followed by an explosion. The windows on all floors shattered out from the shockwave, and a riot shield came sailing down to the ground.

Don let himself go, there was still three meters left to the ground, but the shockwave had been too much to continue holding onto the painful rope. He landed next to Paul and Mike, bending his legs as he fell and rolling.

“Think we hurt it?” Mike asked, looking up at the smoke and fire seeping out from the third floor.

Hope not.” Don whispered. He knew the center of the room would break open into the realm of the beast. Just because one widened a rift more didn't mean nothing else will come through. He held his breath.

Nothing happened. They remained motionless for a good five minutes. Still nothing.

“Keep looking for signs,” Don said. “Don't let your eyes waver.”

“Not for the end of the world.” Mike said.

Don walked over to the riot shield, picked it up, and then carried it over to Mike and Paul. He rolled Paul onto the shield, then pulled him along to the car. He opened the car trunk and brought out an adrenaline syringe. It wasn't much, probably wouldn't do anything good, but it was all he had. He jammed it into Paul and hit the injection.

Paul immediately woke up, delirious.

“Paul! You with me?”

“Eh, ...huh?” His eyelids fought to move, they had no sync.

“Can you move your legs?”

“Haa?” He mumbled, and his face morphed into anguish.

“Shit,” Don said. “I'm going to move you into the back of the car and drive you to the hospital.”

Mike had started to back towards their car yet he kept focused on the third floor. Something should have happened by now, shouldn't it? He wondered.

“Hey Don.” He said.

“We need to get moving. I don't know how much blood Paul has lost, but it ain't good.”

“What about the ghost rhino? What about the rift?”

Don cursed under his breath. He couldn't leave in case something worse happened. Nor could he leave Mike here. He wouldn't be able to handle any of the potential catastrophes that could follow an attempt such as this. Nor would he be able to get Mike to drive away from this, even if Paul's life dependent on it. His obsession was on the silver lining of realization.

They waited. They stared towards the third floor. Paul had even regained enough consciousness to peak a look with an eye half open.

Then it came.

Mike brought up his smartphone and pointed it towards the building. A red light burst from the mid-section of the building as the whole floor was swallowed by the widened rift. Any matter will seep both ways through a rift. Usually there's just air there, but sometimes, there are denser matters. Such as the beast, such as the building. A large rift will have greater potential than one of the natural or smaller ones. A rift large enough to encompass the entire floor of a building would accordingly swallow said building if there was nothing on the other end to block it.

The floor disappeared along with parts of the floor above and below. The building crumbled onto itself for a time, and then there was stillness.

“Good riddance.” Don said.

“That was friggen awesome!” Mike proclaimed.

They carried Paul on his shield into the backseats of their car, took their seats, started the engine, and then drove off to the hospital.

#TheSpectralInvestigators : #scifi #supernatural


from The White Magician

Malakh - מלאך


The word that I, Juan Mirieth Auriel, am addressing today is catholic. The word “catholic” will not be used in association for the Roman Catholic Church. The word “catholic” has the phonetic origins in Greek, and it means universal. Unless I do speak of the Roman/Holy Catholic Church, I will only write these words: Roman Catholic or Holy Catholic Church.

We, the Gnostic Movement, are not Roman Catholics. This exemplifies with the modern Apostle's Creed where “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church...” The Roman/Holy Catholic Church originated as a fallen sect from the Gnostic Church. In order to dissociate from the Holy Catholic Church, we replace the “Holy Catholic Church” with the “Holy Gnostic Church” (see the Apostle's Creed below).

The antithesis of universal is narrow-minded or limited. The Gnostic Movement/Church is not narrow-minded or limited; it is broad and catholic (universal). The Gnostic Church is polytheistic; it is not monotheistic nor atheistic. By polytheism, we accept and experience the existence of the Elohim (gods and goddesses). The original church, which is Gnostic Catholicism, was founded by Christ Jesus.

All limited sects of Christianity include not merely Roman Catholicism; they also include Protestantism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Baptist Movements, Jehovah's Witnesses, Methodist Movements, Mormonism, etc. All of these movements are monotheistic. When these movements degenerate, out of animalistic reaction will atheism be born. Atheism is the core of communism.

The Apostle's Creed in English (recited out of memory as I type):

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary (RAM-IO), suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence, he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Gnostic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

The Apostle's Creed in Latin (copied and pasted from while making a small adjustment):

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae, et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam gnosticam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam aeternam. Amen.

Reference: – Latin form is used (CC BY-SA 3.0)


from tmo

I just had a 3+ hour nap in the early-evening, so I will definitely be up late tonight. This more than OK so long as I can keep myself occupied. I cannot guarantee this.


from Chris Remus' Personal Blog

I wake every day between 5-5:15AM. It's my grounding time, before my wife and son wake.

I usually alternate between exercising and meditating during that time, depending on the day.

In a past life, I used to get home on weekends at 5AM, after being out at a club, listening to house music. This was when I was drinking too, so I'd usually still be pretty buzzed.

I'm reminded of this when I walk our dog in the early morning hours. I'll sometimes encounter people stumbling home, having a few come-down beers on the pier or smoking some weed to wind the previous evening down.

Seeing this makes me feel grateful for the changes and shifts in my life that allow me to start the new day, rather than wind down the night before, at 5am 🙏


from Dino’s Journal

The title of this video is kinda misleading. It almost sounds like the blame is being placed on millennials. It is not. It actually is a great video talking about smartphone addiction and how this is wreaking havoc on the younger generation. This was a really good watch. I even learned a thing or two about alcoholics.

There were so many good points that Simon discussed in this video. I'm kind of annoyed at myself at not having found this video sooner. If you have any interest in trying to get your attention back or have an interest in digital minimalism, you should definitely watch this video.

Some great quotes from the video:

Dopamine is the exact same chemical that makes us feel good when we smoke, when we drink, and when we gamble. In other words, It’s highly, highly addictive. Right? we have age restrictions on smoking, gambling and alcohol. And we have no age restrictions on social media and cell phones. ... You have an entire generation that has access to an addictive numbing chemical, called dopamine, through social media and cell phones as they’re going through the high stress of adolescence. ... So when significant stress starts to show up in their lives they’re not turning to a person, they’re turning to a device, they’re turning to social media, they’re turning to these things which offer temporary relief. We know, the science is clear, we know that people who spend more time on Facebook suffer higher rates of depression than people spend less time on Facebook. These things balanced. Alcohol is not bad, too much alcohol is bad. Gambling is fun, too much gambling is dangerous. There’s nothing wrong with social media and cell phones. It’s the imbalance.

At this point I'm almost tempted to quote everything that was said in the video. So here is a link to the video transcript instead.

#Technology #SmartphoneAddiction #SocialMedia


from : História(s) do Cinema :

O terceiro filme do realizador Billy Wilder é um dos melhores exemplos do film noir, onde se pode encontrar todas as características que definem o género e o primeiro a transformar os vilões em protagonistas românticos.

Pagos a Dobrar é baseado no romance policial de James M. Cain, que por sua vez tem por base um caso verídico ocorrido em 1927. Embora o livro só tenha sido publicado em 1943 (a história surgiu pela primeira vez em “episódios” numa revista), a história foi submetida à administração do Código de Produção para possível adaptação cinematográfica em 1935. A resposta foi que a história violava diversas regras do Código e a possível produção cinematográfica seria, muito provavelmente, censurada. A resposta foi enviada a diversos estúdios, entre eles a Warner Bros., a Columbia Pictures e a Paramount Pictures, mas um posterior argumento recebeu a aprovação do Código e a Paramount avançou com a produção de Pagos a Dobrar.

Mesmo com a “autorização” do Código de Produção, Charles Brackett, habitual colaborador de Wilder, preferiu abandonar o projecto por considerar a história demasiado dura e, assim, o realizador viu-se obrigado a arranjar outro argumentista. A escolha recaiu em Raymond Chandler, escritor de policiais, que tinha Cain em má consideração e não tinha qualquer experiência em escrita de argumentos. A colaboração entre Chandler e Wilder foi atribulada, a ponto de o primeiro a considerar agonizante, mas o resultado é um argumento genial, com personagens bem definidos e diálogos rápidos e acutilantes.

O argumento final difere um pouco da história original e é graças às alterações introduzidas por Wilder e Chandler, com a devida concordância de Cain, que o resultado final é um sucesso. Uma das principais alterações foi a introdução de flashbacks e de um narrador (Chandler via este como alguém distanciado da história, enquanto Wilder acreditava que ser o personagem principal a narrar a sua própria confissão dava maior força à história). Outra grande alteração deu-se já na fase de teste do filme: Wilder decidiu alterar o final, deixando de fora a cena (da qual só existem alguns fotogramas) da personagem principal a ser executado na câmara de gás, seguindo a recomendação do Código de Produção, que a considerava de mau gosto e que muito provavelmente seria censurada.

Barbara Stanwyck, que tinha trabalhado no filme Bola de Fogo co-escrito por Billy Wilder, foi a primeira escolha para interpretar a atrevida assassina Phyllis Dietrichson. A actriz, habituada a papeis de heroína, ficou pouco à vontade em interpretar uma assassina impiedosa e conversou com Wilder sobre os seus receios, tendo este lhe perguntado: “És um rato ou uma actriz?”. Stanwyck, conhecida por nunca recusar um desafio no que diz respeito à sua carreira, aceitou o repto do realizador e transformou a vilã num dos personagens mais memoráveis da sua carreira e da história do cinema (que resiste, inclusive, à terrível peruca loira que Wilder obrigou a actriz a usar, de forma a realçar a personagem, e que levou um dos executivos da Paramount a comentar que a actriz parecia o antigo presidente norte-americano George Washington).

Ao contrário de Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray não foi a primeira escolha para interpretar o papel de vendedor de seguros Walter Neff. Alan Ladd, George Raff e Dick Powell foram alguns dos nomes sondados, mas por razões várias acabaram por não participar em Pagos a Dobrar. Wilder lembrou-se, então, de MacMurray, mais conhecido como actor de comédias e romances. Ao ler o argumento, o actor teve os mesmos receios que Stanwyck, mas Wilder convenceu-o a aceitar o papel e o actor, anos mais tarde, revelou que Walter Neff foi o personagem que mais gostou de interpretar.

Para o terceiro vértice do triângulo que compõe a história, Wilder voltou a confiar num actor mais conhecido noutro tipo de papéis: Edward G. Robinson foi o escolhido para interpretar o papel de Barton Keyes, o investigador de seguros que averigua uma possivel fraude na morte do marido de Dietrichson. Robison era, na altura, mais conhecido por interpretar personagens que viviam à margem da lei, nomeadamente os assassinos que interpretou nos filmes de gangsters da Warner Bros. e que teve o ponto alto em O Pequeno César. Uma vez mais, Wilder tinha razão e Robinson provou que podia interpretar personagens mais dramáticos (a cena final de Pagos a Dobrar, onde Keyes e Neff mais parecem pai e filho, é bem prova disso).

As filmagens de Pagos a Dobrar demoraram apenas 4 semanas (entre 27 de Setembro e 24 de Novembro de 1943), repartidas entre Los Angeles (interiores e exteriores) e a cidade de Phoenix, no Arizona, devido a restrições de electricidade em L.A. O filme foi filmado como se de um newsreel se trata-se, de forma a manter o realismo, que é realçado pelo excelente trabalho do director de fotografia John Seitz, que com o uso de luz de baixa densidade e fumo consegue transmitir um ambiente realístico, que encaixa nas necessidades maléficas dos dois protagonistas.

O filme estreou apenas em 7 de Setembro de 1944 e revelou-se um verdadeiro sucesso comercial e de crítica, tendo sido nomeado para sete Óscares: melhor filme, melhor realizador, melhor actriz principal, melhor argumento, melhor fotografia (para filmes a preto e branco), melhores efeitos sonoros e melhor música (para um filme dramático). Em 1950, Stanwyck e MacMurray voltam a interpretar os mesmos personagens, na encenação radiofónica de Pagos a Dobrar e em 1954 a estação de televisão NBC produz um telefilme baseado na história de Cain, tal como aconteceu em 1973 num novo telefilme exibido na ABC. Em 1981, Noites Escaldantes, realizado por Lawrence Kasdan e interpretado por William Hurt e Kathleen Turner, utiliza uma história muito semelhante a Pagos a Dobrar, mas sem a qualidade deste e em 1986 John Cassavetes realiza uma paródia ao filme, intitulada A Grande Burla, interpretado por Peter Falk e Beverly D’Angelo.

Embora Pagos a Dobrar não seja o primeiro film-noir da história do cinema, o seu estilo frio, estilizado e o seu sentido de humor negro, marcaram definitivamente o género e o filme contribuiu para o surgimento, no pós-guerra, de um ambiente cinematográfico urbano, cheio de sombras, reflexo de um mundo de decepção e traição, onde vivem personagens corruptos e onde a femme fatale tem um lugar obrigatório.


Double Indemnity. Paramount Pictures. EUA, 1944, 107 min., film noir. Realizador: Billy Wilder. Argumento: Billy Wilder e Raymond Chandler, baseado na história de James M. Cain. Actores: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Byron Barr, Porter Hall, John Philliber.

Um vendedor de seguros envolve-se com uma mulher casada e os dois planeiam matar o marido desta para receberem o seu seguro de vida.


The End

© Rui Chambel. cinema[@]

#artigo #filmes

Leia mais...

from tmo

And I am looking forward to it. Supposed to start at 11AM tomorrow (Sunday) and I am all stocked up on food and beverages and tobacco and everything else should I be snowed-in for a few days. Good times, indeed.


from tmo

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I recently re-enrolled at STLCC and I am going to get my Associates In Arts degree. And because I am “back on the radar” in terms of the Dept of Education, they decided to send me a very intimidating letter in the mail saying they are now responsible for $1,200 (one thousand, two hundred dollars) of my old student loan debt that was previously handled by the loan company (sharks) I borrowed it from in my mid-20's at Jefferson College. I don't know what amount was paid to the loan company in order for the DOE to absorb (become responsible) for this debt, but there was money involved, I am sure, and I hope whatever paperwork / stamps / man-hours put into the attempt(s) to collect this debt are worth it – because it is $1,200!

It isn't that they (the loan sharks) are “evil” people, and it isn't that I didn't legitimately enter into this loan agreement with full knowledge of the fact that I have to pay it back – but it is true, that I currently do not have the funds ($1,200 (+change)) to make any type of payment to the DOE. When I have the money, I'll pay it. But I am not going to sweat the issue for the time being.

Nothing else to add to this. Just wanted to vent a little.


from Resenha de Livros

Bowl de comida vegetariana

Você já parou para pensar por que há tantas mortes por doenças coronárias, a causa número 1 no Brasil e no mundo (também conhecidas como cardiopatias isquêmicas)?

Eu também nunca tinha parado para pensar! Até que, por indicação do instagram da Morena Bertuzzi, uma vegana nutricionista sensacional, assisti um curto vídeo sobre o porque dele ter feito medicina no youtube dele, que pode ser visto aqui.

Basicamente, ele prega uma dieta 100% whole food plant-based, ou seja, uma dieta baseada em plantas (vegetariana estrita), na sua maioria frutas, grãos, sementes, legumes, verduras e oleaginosas como nozes e castanhas.

E o mais interessante: por que ele prega esse estilo de alimentação? Porque a avó dele (Frances Greger) estava em uma cadeira de rodas e tinha passado por diversas cirurgias, quando tentou um método experimental com Nathan Pritikin. Ele mesmo diagnosticado com doença coronária, buscou na literatura e descobriu que culturas primitivas baseadas em vegetais apresentavam menos casos de câncer e doenças do coração.

O adjetivo whole food faz toda a diferença: alimentos, em sua maioria integrais, não processados ou com o mínimo de processamento.

Link para comprar:

#7 Nome: Comer Para não Morrer: Conheça o poder dos alimentos capazes de prevenir e até reverter doenças Autor: Michael Greger e Gene Stone Ano de lançamento: 2018

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from inquiry

> One way this plays out is in our “frenetic pursuit of > wholeness and satisfaction,” as Peter phrases it. We're > always seeking out that thing (especially this time of > year!) that will make us whole and satisfied, or at least > more whole and satisfied.

Standard issue external compensation for internal emptiness.

> What does the media want?

There is no such thing. But those who believe there is and believe they're in it likely want what egos always want: “the world, chico.. and everything in it...”

> The ultimate product of the media is not the content but > us, it lulls us into comfortable anger, confuses us with > information overload, distracts us and in the end makes us > be what it intended in the first place, docile humans who > will work and live, maintaining the status quo. The media > makes us complacent in having voice, making sure that we > have just the right amount, not more and not less. When > we choose to vote with our eyeballs and keystrokes we are > pandering to this opinion forming machine. So what does the > media really want? In short, nothing less than your soul.

No wonder I've felt so good since letting it go!

> And a Christmas tree has officially been purchased. Not > a Snoopy Tree, though.

You know, I sometimes wonder how deeply olderish tropes penetrate newerish minds.

Super satisfying day, here on this end: replaced a shower head, wrote several emails, a couple posts here, dealt with a lot of leaves that should have been dealt with a month ago, house de-entropizing, showered, got me a load of laundry making swishy wet progress, revisiting some incredible soup I vacuum froze (I can't tell you how much I love that device..) even as I type.

Of course, I'm probably going to be in serious pain tomorrow. But for all I know I don't even live that long, so why worry about that?


from Roscoe's Journal

I hope it will be.

Last night's 3-hour sleep by itself doesn't give me enough rest to make it through this long day confidently.

Watching old Westerns on TV early in the morning was calming, mid-morning yardwork was relaxing, and sewing a button on the black suit coat I intend to wear this evening gave me a boost in confidence. And this short nap I was able to squeeze in between the afternoon basketball and football games may be all I need to make it through lectoring at this evening's 5:00 Mass and the Council Christmas party immediately afterward. Hope so.

#SeniorLiving #personal


from a.nihil

Our time and our attention and hopefully in the well oiled gearboxes of capitalism, our money.

I have a very short attention span when it comes to passively immersing myself into advertisements but sometimes, it is inevitable. I have all the blocks to keep myself from constant programming, I have de-googled and de-facebooked my life to a large extent, I have an employ of privacy features on my devices and I even pay for services that we have otherwise taken for granted but still, I am being advertised to and I am influenced by media propaganda just as much as anyone else.

I walk down the streets and see advertisements for hipster brands on bus stops and on buses, there advertisements for things I don't care about on walls, doors, hanging from supermarket ceilings and worse still, embedded into media pretending to be genuine content but nudging me to do something I do not want nonetheless. Though I have become insulated against this general messaging what I am not insulated against is in feeling one with the others, being a part of the herd even when I am not thinking the same things as the herd. I might hear about a stabbing on the London bridge or a rape in Hyderabad, I might or might not have feelings for these incidents but still, my mind is hijacked by these subjects in a way I do not have any control over them, or do I?

At what point does it become obvious that a particular news story is not worth my attention or when do I know that a certain subject needs my complete focus and thought, so that I can apply my knowledge and make the world 'a better place'? Making the world a better place is not why I think of things. I think of things because it is almost an ambient, natural response to events, my frame of reference to the things that happen around and inside me. In this sense there is no objective truth I am essentially pursuing even though I know that there are facts, but those facts exists because I understand them. Otherwise I could be a flat-earther talking about how vaccines are bad and how the Jews are the Illuminati and the Nazis are playing football on the moon.

Making the world a better place is not the objective but thinking about the world I live in is. Being human also puts me square in the hive mind of things, eventually I consume what all the others do, no matter how high and snooty I wish to be. In some analyst's computer right now I am a blip who has spent the same amount on average on a Coke product than the nose-picking Joe Guy sitting next to me on the Metro and I do not even know it. Saying which, does talking about an issue that is the center of focus of media attention mean that I am swayed by the media machine that demands my eye balls and my brain cells? Mass media tells me things without me even paying for them, social media is just like this essay, throwing words about topics I did not even subscribe to but being human I am held sway by what people talk and since I want to belong, I participate first by listening and then by talking. The in-between stages is by the meta-talking and meta-listening I do by injecting ideas in interpersonal conversations, which are again narratives over which I have no control over after the initial ignition.

This personal stages of opinion forming is what the media does for me, it is thinking outsourced to a well branded agency that I am told I must trust. The media talks about itself in a self-flagellating sense of entitlement, projecting itself as the upholder of value, virtue and the truth. The truth it is, as the media sees it or the people holding control of the cameras and the people holding control of the people holding the cameras. The media also has the responsibility to be relevant and keep its business model alive so each moment there is a new ping of information, bread crumbs for the wagging dog.

What the media does for reporting is what we do for our lives itself. We are confronted with a complex world where there are thousands of narratives building themselves around us in a single moment but we do not have the necessary brain power to process and make sense of what is unfolding in the immediate reality before us, so we have to satisfy ourselves with simplistic narratives that help us focus on other aspects of living – mainly work. This is also a deliberate function of a highly industrialized and capitalistic world where people are mere economic actors and their role in the political process is reduced to a number that votes to their particular smidgen of colour.

There was a time a decade ago with the nascency of the internet was taking over the world there was a talk of decentralized citizen journalists revolutionizing media itself. What these commentators in newspapers and other traditional media did not expect was social media and the subsequent boom. What they imagined as a decentralized reporting apparatus has instead become a walled garden of algorithms deciding who hears what without telling why such a conclusion has been made in the first place. This obfuscation of the rules underlying communication puts consumers in a space of not understanding the bias of the media they are consuming. As it happens, most media ownership is now controlled by a few handful of people across the planet and that is not a good sign, to have the future of the world shaped by the gentle nudge of a few.

The ultimate product of the media is not the content but us, it lulls us into comfortable anger, confuses us with information overload, distracts us and in the end makes us be what it intended in the first place, docile humans who will work and live, maintaining the status quo. The media makes us complacent in having voice, making sure that we have just the right amount, not more and not less. When we choose to vote with our eyeballs and keystrokes we are pandering to this opinion forming machine. So what does the media really want? In short, nothing less than your soul.

#media #democracy #dissent


from f e e d . g a n z e e r

A little while ago, Anna Iltnere of the Sea Library blog asked a number of cultural operators, including myself, what the word “cosmopolitan” meant to us. This was for The Sultan’s Seal, an online literary journal started by writer Youssef Rakha (author of THE CROCODILES and THE BOOK OF THE SULTAN'S SEAL).

Below is my answer:

A person can be described as cosmopolitan, and so can a place. A cosmopolitan person is likely a polyglot with an excellent command of multiple languages. This allows him or her to become equally immersed in an array of cultures by way of literature, music, art, food, cinema, fashion and all manner of a people’s being.

A cosmopolitan place on the other hand is a location that allows for the convergence of cultures on an equal footing, without a single culture imposing itself as the hegemonic umbrella for it all.

You should absolutely check out The Sultan’s Seal link though to see what the other authors said, all of who are far smarter and far more eloquent than myself.



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