Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lighting the Moondoggie

This started as a comment for Penny's blog but quickly sprawled into something too big for there. And too big for here too, ha ha. Still here it is -

Hey Pen,

Just back from six pages of Dave's Moondoggie. First up I gotta say I'm with him in toto. That is, I (and my little dog too!) agree with him that the Apollo missions were bullshit. Humans have never been to the moon and I expect he's right in saying that they never will.

But a couple of his arguments are bullshit and I reckon he'd be better off dropping them. Which is to say, on the subject of shadows, ambient light, and second light sources, he's completely wrong. He declares he knows a lot about photography, but regretfully I'm going to have to trump him with my ten years in 3D. A 3D heavy will understand light to a degree way beyond any photographer. Sorry if that puts any photographers' noses out of joint but it's the cold hard truth.

As an example, I'll ask the question - has anyone got a glass of water with them right now? If you don't, go get one. Now put the glass on the table. Now pick it up. Now put it down. Repeat this a few times and watch the play of light and shadow on the table. In amongst this is refraction, reflection, and shadow. Sure enough, a photographer can play with this: he can have more or less; he can light it from different angles; he can add mood: dramatic, gentle, whatever - and then he shoots it and bills the agency $5000. Lucky him.

What he does not have to do is figure out how to make the light do that thing. The effect as such, is pretty much done for him. In 3D nothing is done for you. If I want those pretty 'caustics' in my glass of water scene, I have to make them myself. Subsequently it is the lot of the 3D operator to spend a great deal of time contemplating the nature of light and how it is passed from object to object. If I don't tell the assorted objects within my scene how I want them to do this, then they ain't gunna - it's as simple as that. There is no default 'just-do-whatever-nature-does' setting. Instead there is 'incandescence', 'diffuse', 'specular roll-off', 'eccentricity', and an endless array of jargonistic concepts that are the lot of someone who has to define the laws of physics for every single shot.

Hmm... it's like re-inventing the wheel every time, except we also have to re-invent the earth, and then explain to both the earth and wheel the existence of the other, and how they should view that. Welcome to 3D.


Now - the behaviour of light: Dave declares that light can only reflect back to where it came from. Oh dear - wrong answer. It is the nature of light that when it hits an object (regardless of what direction it comes from) the light then bounces in all directions. If it didn't we wouldn't see anything. If you see a thing it's because the light that has struck it (from the sun, say) has bounced into your eye. Whilst the light from the sun is effectively parallel, it does not likewise reflect in a single direction, ie. into your eye and your eye alone. It bounces in an infinite number of directions, and thus into everyone's eye. That's why 50,000 people can sit in a cricket ground and regardless of whether the sun is behind them, or in front of them, or wherever, they can all see the action in the middle of the field.

Clearly this reflected light does not go into our eye as some kind of go-nowhere-else one-way trip. Light is a 'lady of easy virtue' that will bounce around and around. Thus the people in the cheap seats on the hill who are in direct sunlight can still see the lah-di-dah sorts in the member's stand who are in shadow. They are lit by ambient light - the light that has bounced into them from the ground, the other stands, and yes, the atmosphere in the sky.

Now, before anyone pipes up with how the moon doesn't have any atmosphere, let me cut you off and say you've grasped the wrong end of the stick. Whilst atmosphere, or more precisely clouds, can produce soft, multidirectional light, in no way is this the be-all-and-end-all of ambient light. A photographer who knows the difference between the hard light that strikes a person on a sunny day and the soft ambient light that strikes them on a cloudy day, and thinks that 'cloud equals ambient' needs to think again. Ambient light is merely light that comes from all directions instead of one. Clouds make this happen, sure, but so do lots of things. When clouds intercede between the sun and the object being lit, the light passes through the clouds and loses its hard parallel nature. The clouds are now the light source and the light it puts out bounces around in every goddamn direction and is thus reduced, diffuse, and 'ambient'.

But the fact is, we don't need clouds to do this. Let's go into deep space, way beyond the moon, way beyond anything. It's just me and my camera and a white volleyball (um, which I've filled with black sticky rice and egg custard to, a) stop it exploding with differential pressure, and b) give me a delish last meal before I die of the radiation). Anyway, under Dave's photographer-logic of atmosphere-equals-ambient, the ball will be dazzling on the side lit by the sun and in perfect darkness on the side not lit. Or it would be if I wasn't floating next to it. Bugger! It seems like the light bounces off me and acts as a 'fill'. Sure enough, my white space-suit acts as a variety of mirror that reflects light back at the volleyball. In precisely the same way that light strikes the ball and bounces in all directions (one of which is into my eye), the light will also strike me and my white space-suit, and bounce in all directions (one of which is into the volleyball). The Dark Side of the Volleyball will be lit, and atmosphere ain't got nothin' to do with it. (Nor Pink Floyd, ha ha).

I will reflect light into the ball and the ball will reflect light into me. This would be vaguely directional sure, rather than truly ambient, but... if we had enough astronauts and enough volleyballs, and all floating in the middle of nowhere like some mad, drug-fuelled outer space sticky rice and egg custard wig-out... deep breath... in the centre of that would be true ambient light bounced in from all directions. And all without atmosphere.

And so! There we are on the moon, and we're shooting the other astronaut who happens to be standing in complete shadow. Beyond him in the background we can see the surface of the moon. Which is to say, direct light is striking it and bouncing in every direction, one of which is into our eye. If we see it, it must be so. Okay, and since it's bouncing in every direction it must bounce at him also. And of course, from him this weakened light must likewise bounce in all directions, one of which will be into our eye. It cannot be any other way. And yes, there is no atmosphere but it doesn't make any difference. Light does not need atmosphere to bounce around and behave in an ambient fashion.

With the surface of the moon acting as an ambient light generator, a matt black object will bounce (reflect, same-same) very little ambient light back at us, but a white object will reflect quite a lot. And of course a fully reflective metallic foil object will bounce nearly all of it back at us. And sure enough, it's all right there in the photo just as it should be. And whether we're on the moon, in the studio, whatever, it doesn't make any difference. The ambience is no proof of anything one way or t'other.


And then there's the shadows, particularly those in the photo of the two landing pads on the 'lunar' surface. I'll happily concede that it isn't the lunar surface, and is in all likelihood cement dust sprinkled on the floor of the Lookout Mountain Studio in Laurel Canyon. But what I will absolutely not concede is that there are two light sources in this picture. Believe it or not, there is only a single light source and all the shadows accord with it. As head of 3D my job was precisely to look for errors of this nature and this picture hasn't got any. The foreground grey stick is square to us and about twenty degrees from the ground. The background leg is not quite square to us and maybe 75 degrees to the ground. Their shadows, along with those of the bumps in the extreme foreground are exactly right for a single light source, camera-right, and elevated at approximately 45 degrees.

I swear to God - professional reputation, the whole thing - this photo is halal. Without a shadow of a doubt (ha ha), I could build this scene in 3D and prove it utterly. It'd be the big don't-argue from hell. But to be honest, I couldn't be fagged. And besides what would I be proving? That the guys who faked these photos were smart enough to do the sensible and obvious thing and use a single light source? Shake my head - what a waste of time...

Besides that, if there were two light sources, we'd see one of two things: a) some of the objects would be lit from two directions and cast two shadows; or b) with the foreground objects and the background objects having each their own separate hard lighting, between them in the mid-ground there would be either a double lit area or a band of shadow - pick one. Blending two lights in this fashion is murderously difficult. I've tried to do it and it's a fool's errand. No one would waste their time.

And besides, take a look at this shot - what's the fucking point? Two landing pads occupying a small area of ground? Big deal. It's hardly a hero shot, and it could easily be lit by one light source, and so... why wouldn't you? Why bother with two lights? Sure enough, it is lit by a single light source. Me, I haven't got any kids but I'd be perfectly happy to swear on the lives of someone else's. Or is that too ghoulish? Hell, just take my word for it.

Oh! I tell you what - if anyone feels really confident on this shadow caper, like really, really confident, like 50oz of gold confident (all the money I have in the world), and wants to put their money where their mouth is, I'll take that bet! I'll dig up my 3D Maya license, clock up a day's labour, and Baby, I'm a Rich Man, Yeah!


Mind you, I wouldn't feel good about taking that money. I'm not that cruel and besides, in the big discussion I agree with Dave. Previously I'd never had much time for the Apollo Hoax crowd and that was mostly due to the chronic nature of the wrong-shadow/ambient-light argument. Happily Dave attacked the whole Apollo question in his usual brilliant holistic fashion and I'm now on board. But as I progressed through his moondoggie piece, the head of steam that had built up (of the 'Go Dave Go!' variety) all came to a grinding halt once the dreary specifics of the lighting kicked in. Bugger! We were rocking and rolling and now it's all fallen flat!

Dave! Ditch those two photes mate! They ain't doing you any favours!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Obama Obama Obama

Those whacky Scandinavians! What a laugh - Barak Obama as winner of the Nobel Peace Prize! Ha ha ha ha, champagne comedy! Actually knowing what I know of those Nordic midnight sunbathers as being the hardest drinkers on the planet, perhaps we'll call it 'vodka comedy'. That works doesn't it? Absolut-ly. And it's not as if you can blame them - what with the sun disappearing for months on end, and nothing for it but to go mad or get drunk, they not unreasonably choose the latter. And with drunks, all you can ever hope for is that they be funny drunks. Well, those Nobel guys crack me up. Skol!

Obama, Obama, Obama - what are we to make of this cove? He's a weird cat and no mistake. Whilst it's slowly wearing off now, the greatest part of the voter's image of him was less about who he was, than who he wasn't. Clearly he wasn't George Bush. Or to put it another way, he wasn't a smirking snuff-movie aficionado, and obvious with it. He also wasn't a Southern good ol' boy, and nor was he an uneducated git who could barely string two sentences together. Unlike the ex-cokehead Bush, Obama can deliver his platitudes unmangled - which really helps, because platitudes are a tough gig at the best of times.

And then there's the fact that Bush is American royalty, which is to say he comes from a long line of criminals, war-profiteers, spooks, and paedophiles. He is connected up the wazoo, ha ha ha. Obama on the other hand, ain't. He has no connections, he hasn't got the goods on anyone, he has no one's balls in his pocket, no one owes him, and to put it bluntly, he has no power base. Okay so how did he get to be president? Seriously? Well, he got to be president because other truly powerful people decided he was a sock puppet whose time had come. And as we all know, the best damn sock puppets are mind-control sock-puppets.

Was Bush a mind-control drone? He was royalty sure, but somehow I wonder if that would mean a lot amongst the satanist/mind-control/paedophocracy crowd. These people will sacrifice their own children you know. They're so hell bent and vicious they don't really require a child to be red-headed, or a stepchild, to treat them that way. And yep, their own kids included.

From what I've read of the mind-control world, there were those who were complete slaves and there were those who were complete masters. And then there's the idiot son. Was he slave or master? Frankly I can see a case for both. He was certainly cruel enough: I'm thinking he'd have made a great torturer. And given that every other president from Kennedy onwards was on the receiving end of 'presidential models', a la Brice Taylor (Susan Ford), I doubt that Dubya was any different.

But he was different. Did we ever see another president do this? Or this? Am I the only person who wanted to rap on his skull and ask if anyone's home? Somehow I suspect that people tinkered with the idiot son's brain, and not particularly successfully either. Not that you can blame them with his ten years spent wandering in a cocaine wilderness and his brain fried to a walnut.

What if I said the idiot son was a sort of 'hybrid model' filling in until a truly superior class of mind control slave was arrived at? Given the reality of mind-control, and given the ambition of those behind it, I figure it's just a matter of time until every president, indeed every world leader, is a mind-control zero who does whatever the fuck they're told.

And really well, of course. They'll be brilliant! They'll be as handsome as Butch and Sundance rolled into one. They'll have the wit of Noel Coward, the everyman appeal of Bruce Willis, and the gravitas of Dr Kildare. They'll play the guitar like Segovia, sing like Caruso, and dance like Gene Kelly. They will be gods of love that women will all desire and men will all turn gay for. They will be bigger than Jesus Christ.

And they'll do...
the fuck...
they're told.

Okay, so Obama ain't quite that shining all-things-to-all-men, but he's a pretty fair approximation of it. And I haven't the least doubt that he fulfils that last little prosaic quatrain. Honestly, is there anything the owners of Israel want that he won't give to them? I can't think of anything. So far he's bombed Pakistan I forget how many times, and last time I checked that was considered the 'supreme war crime'. Sure enough everything underneath that - letting the AIPAC trial die unmourned, rolling over on Israel's illegal settlements, and otherwise handing trillions to the bankers and bankrupting the US - qualifies as nothing special. Otherwise what will he stick up for? Gays in the military! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha... oh man... between the drunken Swedes and the death cult, it's harder to know who's funnier.

Between the impossibility of Obama as a no power-base, come-from-nowhere wunderkind (who in his brief climb to power somehow became completely corrupted), and the inevitability of someone just like him as a mind-control drone, I figure the latter makes waaay more sense. And rather than laboriously go through everything he's ever done looking for examples of him as mind-controllee, why not just do the Dutch Auction thing and ask, When has he ever departed from the Rothschild line? (And citing the settlements shadow-play is not permitted - pretending to stand up to Israel has been going on since Truman). And so! Under the timeless rubric of 'if you've got the game you may as well have the name' I'm going to call him.

And here's a question: Does Obama know? And further: If he's a zombie, wouldn't his wife be too? And then there's the kids...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Gods, Les Visible, and Pascal's Wager

What's a bloke to do? Here I am with a desktop overflowing with unfinished pieces - 'World Death Organisation', 'Satanism and the Self', 'Bonuses for the Most Expensive Fuckwits in History', 'The Daily Global Fear and Desire Index' etc. etc. - and all of them knocked back.

I knocked them back because... who gives a shit? Or to put it another way, we're at the town meeting, called because a thirty metre tsunami is due in an hour, and a voice pipes up asking what the council's going to do about the cracks in the footpath that the tremor caused. And the guy's got a point: the cracks are so bad that you could fall and break your hip. But in the face of the tsunami... who gives a shit?

Actually that's just our little world. Truth is, back in the real world everyone is rolling their eyes, catcalling, and otherwise laughing their heads off. Broken footpaths, the collapsed bus shelter, and what-about-the-insurance, is all they want to talk about - and who is this dickhead blathering about a tsunami? What tsunami? Doesn't he watch the news that guy? Sheesh! If there was a tsunami, they'd tell us. The worst is over - they said so on the news!

Yeah well, we'll leave them to it. We're having a whole other conversation, and there, between 30m waves; and bits and pieces of broken infrastructure, one of them is a topic worth discussing and the other is a mere series of clues pointing to it. Can you dig it?


Still, a little nagging voice says that maybe it won't be so. What with the death cult following the Fabian creed of gradualism, perhaps there won't be a tsunami at all - just more run-of-the-mill rollers wearing away, wearing away. Dig it - it's the condemned man keeping his fingers crossed that he won't go before the firing squad and will instead be sentenced to hard sodomy for the term of his natural life. "Oh thank God, it's only daily rape." Whew!

But really, as if the death cult would be so rigidly doctrinaire. If gradualism suits, they'll use it. And if a world war is what's required, then dandy, cue the fire bombing. Or whatever! - they're nothing if not versatile. As if the people who control our education, media, and government are going to leave any bases uncovered or otherwise resile from anything because, well, "That's just going too far..." Besides, there's just too much now and it's there for anyone with an ounce of curiosity to see.

Just to be precise, I figure we're in for an unholy trinity - Economic Collapse: 426 trillion imaginary dollars. Never mind the 'recovery' - is everyone familiar with a 'head and shoulders' curve? Okay, so we're at the shoulder and now comes the long drop, all the way down. Cue the, um... 'Great Recession' is it? Ha ha ha. I guess that's like a Great Depression but with more hype. And more deaths - six million in the US alone last time around. Global Pandemic: A fake virus treated with a vaccine that's no such thing. Will this be the greatest act of mass murder in history? Sure, why not? The CFR/Bilderberger mob has already declared that five billion dead would be just dandy. World War: Iraq, Afghanistan, even the coming smashing of Iran - all sideshows. The big game? Russia v Nato. And are Ladbrokes offering odds on Israel nuking someone? If evens is the best you can get, it'd be worth laying a hundred bucks on.

Any one of these would qualify as an event of unparalleled wickedness. And we're going to get three! Yay - fans of history, rejoice! And sure enough we, who ordinarily prefer history at a bit of a remove, ask the question - What's to be done?


Well, we must oppose it! Fight Fight Fight! Well... there will be fighting and no mistake. We'll meet the enemy and he'll be us - the streets will run with blood and the death cult (looking down from their corporate boxes) will roar with laughter. Who said there's East and there's West and never the twain shall meet? He didn't own an Armalite obviously. East/West - North/South - Muslim/Christian - white/coloured - rich/poor - military/civilian - It's time to do the us-and-them cha-cha, and all to a rat-a-tat beat. Buddha was bullshit and his so-called "middle way" nothing more than an excuse for Hegelians to smash two opposites together. Bring on the Revolution! And cue the impossible voice-over guy - "This revolution has been proudly brought to you by International Banking."

If people want to pile in on that, good luck to them. I'm sure the death cult won't have seen them coming. Meanwhile where I live, in this cardboard cut-out town, in a cardboard cut-out state, in a cardboard cut-out country - with Rupert Murdoch in charge of the paper, scissors, and Perkin's paste - ain't nothin' gonna happen. Between the bang and the whimper (with no third option), it'll be "A whimper for me please. And how much is that? Ten trillion dollars? Um... okay, just one then, and not so big thanks." What nice manners we have, even for our rapists.


"Hey nobody, what's that in the title, about Les and Pascal having a bet or something?" Oh yes, I do thank that imagined fellow for reminding me. It seems that in setting the mood in the first couple of paras, I've done my usual trick and written a thousand words already. But rather than quit and come back, I'll just plough on.

I have Les pegged as today's Hunter S. All he lacks is an editor to sort out his possessives, contractions, and plurals, ha ha. Sorry Les! (He also lacks Thompson's uncannily accurate descriptions of the paedophocracy, which until Jeff Wells laid them out, I'd always taken as a variety of metaphor. Those stories about Thompson? Well, if Operation Mockingbird and Laurel Canyon got funky together, and the result was a natural child, what would that offspring look like?)

The above is not me dropping any dark hints about Les. I have as good an ear for falsity as anyone, and I've yet to hear Les strike a false note. There are real people in this world and Les is one of them. Or to put it another way - I wouldn't bother discussing Les if I thought he was bullshit, or insubstantial, or any other epithet. I come here not to bury Les, but to praise him (backhanded, of course...)


That being said, let's carry on - the point of the exercise here is merely a continuation of me turning Les' discussions of the coming tsunami in deus ex machina terms around in my head and wondering at them from different angles. And that's when Renaissance man, Blaise Pascal, stuck his tuppence in. Primarily Pascal was a mathematician who, amongst other things, built one of the world's first calculating machines, invented the science of hydraulics (and the syringe specifically), and was otherwise the founder of the modern theory of probability.

As if that wasn't enough, he was also a religious philosopher who spent the whole latter half of his life cloistered in the Jansenist convent of Port Royal. Cloistered or no, he never forgot the libertine friends he'd made during his 'worldly period', and with them in mind (and as you might expect from a mathematical expert in probabilities) Pascal sought to appeal to their scepticism by way of a simple bet with what's now known as Pascal's Wager. Here's Encyclopaedia Brittanica -

Pascal assumed, in disagreement with Thomas Aquinas but in agreement with much modern thinking, that divine existence can neither be proved nor disproved; and he reasoned that if one decides to believe in God and to act on this basis, one gains eternal life if right but loses little if wrong, whereas if one decides not to believe, one gains little if right but may lose eternal life if wrong. In these circumstances, he concluded, the rational course is to believe.

It's hard to believe I know, but I'm not the only fellow who turns things around and comes at them from different angles. Brittanica again -

The argument has been criticized theologically for presupposing an unacceptable image of God as rewarding such calculating worship and also on the philosophical ground that it is too permissive in that it could justify belief in the claims, however fantastic, of any person or group who threatened nonbelievers with damnation or other dangerous consequences.

Good point. But you've got to love this - " could justify belief in the claims, however fantastic, of any person or group who threatened nonbelievers with damnation or other dangerous consequences." Ha ha ha, that sounds like every religion ever invented doesn't it? It certainly sounds like the Christian church.

Unsurprisingly, with Pascal effectively an adherent of a Jewish sect (er... that would be Christianity), the whole discussion is one of what's-in-it-for-me, driven by the twin carrot-and-stick prospects of the fear of damnation versus the promise of a glorious eternity. And me, I have to ask the question: What sort of insecure God is this?

If a fellow was an incarnation of Francis of Assisi (say), leading a life of perfect virtue devoted to the well-being of all living things, would Pascal's God get angry with him if he didn't know who He was? Absolutely! The Christian God (besides being a slavish adherent to the old bullshit maxim of 'ignorance of the law is no excuse') is a jealous one who visits the iniquity of the father upon his children to the fourth generation merely for failing to acknowledge him. Jesus Christ! As if a God who's every kind of 'omni' wouldn't be above such petty concerns? Where's the serenity?

Bugger it. Why don't we turn Pascal's wager on its head - and plug it into Les' deus ex machina while we're at it? And so: given that Les' manifestations of supernature are not insecure and do not demand we tip our hat every time we sneeze; given that a shit-storm tsunami to end all shit-storm tsunamis is definitely coming, and if anything was ever going to warrant a deus ex machina response, this is it; given the rightness of Epictetus' discussions of 'what is in our power' (thanx Kikx), with stopping a tsunami not being one of them; and not forgetting yours truly being a Buddhist of his own description, attempting to embody the right end of the continuum (at the top of the page), we arrive at the following 'thus' -

Supernature or no, if one sheds fear and desire, and acts with reverence for all things as if they were possessed of supernature, if right, one gains all that might be hoped for, but loses little if wrong, whereas if one embraces fear and desire, and effectively reveres the self, if right, one gains little beyond the ephemeral, but if wrong... "Hey, the ocean's just gone out. Let's go down and look."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Farewell to Aergia

Not that she gives a shit, but I've been a devotee of the goddess of idleness, Aergia, for many years now. Was there ever a goddess more demanding? Kali perhaps, ha ha ha. Aergia of course is the un-Kali. The only death Aergia ever demanded was that of one's sense of duty (to any but herself, that is). The inscription over the door of her temple reads 'Abandon all ambition, Ye who enter here.' Not that that ever deterred those whose heads echoed with her siren song. Here lay a refuge from that world of care, stress, and anxiety.

Genocidal man-made pandemics? Contrived global economic collapse? World War and a fascistic one-world government? Ha! Nothing more than shifting transient patterns in the golden brown smoke of the temple incense. I lie back and with red-rimmed eyes observe the hypnotic sinuous shapes as they lead me down assorted trails, and all of them to somewhere balmy and untroubled.

Geez, is that enough of that? "Stop the metaphor, I want to get off!" Okay, I admit it - I'm actually talking about marijuana. God, the marvellous times I've had smoking grass and the brilliant people I've met - I wouldn't swap it for anything. But. For every reason I might offer as to why dope is good, the obvious falsity of the argument becomes ever clearer the longer one persists: all drugs obey the law of diminishing returns.

Biochemical inevitabilities are one thing and Les Visible is another, ha ha. I have no idea what percentage of the people who visit here read Les as well. There was a time when my entire readership (all ten of 'em, ha ha) was actually Les', lured sideways from his temporal blog, Smoking Mirrors (where I spent all my time hanging out). For those who don't read him, you should - he's a hell of a writer. However, somewhere along the line I found myself being more and more taken with his spiritual blog, Visible Origami. I don't know if this is a personal irony but it's at the origami blog that Les holds up a mirror in which my hypocrisies are cast in stark relief.

In the origami mirror I see a fellow extolling the virtues of selflessness in one breath, and... dragging on a scoob with the next, ha ha. Cue the descent into self-indulgence! Never mind me cleverly dispensing with everything in the Reckitt-Benckiser/Colgate-Palmolive aisle of the supermarket: for every dollar I didn't spend there, I'd spend two in the Cadbury's chocolate and Arnott's biscuit aisle. Pathetic.

I'll concede that that's not so very dreadful really - penny-ante stuff - but that's not the point. Les' words of advice over at Origami are not those of an allopathic doctor discussing a minor symptom in isolation. Les' ain't that guy. His view is holistic and addresses what ails us in the widest terms imaginable. And I'm so there!

Ha ha ha ha... fucking hypocrite! I'm not there at all, nor anywhere close.

Truth is, I'm a fucking mess - cigarettes, coffee, and grass rule my life. Without I shed these, I'm going nowhere. Whatever I want to achieve, or to become, all is subordinated to the fact that I have to have a cigarette every forty minutes or so. Subsequently, there's nothing for it but to bid them farewell and the one which must go first is also the easiest - marijuana. And what with Aergia being such a sexy goddess I thought the least she deserved was a big send-off. Frankly a quarter of an ounce of the sacrificial incense would have sufficed but as it turned out I ended up with an entire ounce of organic North Coast hippy buds. Ayah! I've encountered a few heroic dope smokers in my time and after this brook-no-resistance effort, I declare myself one of them, ha ha. (BTW - Did anyone suss me out? The six pieces preceding the last one were all written stoned. It was obvious if you think about it).

Me and the goddess aside, here we are, each of us on our own journey. And we know full well that this trip ain't going to be any kind of business-class as usual - no comfy seats, no free glass of champagne, no forty kilos of luggage. Never mind economy, in case you missed it, we never got on the plane! We remain the ant-like nobodies ten clicks below, doing the whole thing on foot. And down here, it's travel light or forget about it.

And me? I haven't even started, ha ha. Hell, I'm still ditching suitcases! God knows how many I've tossed so far. But I'm getting somewhere and I've only a few left to go. And then, whatever's coming, I'll be as prepared as I can be.

Not forgetting of course that this runs in both directions. There's us and where we wish to go, and there's the death cult with their own fucked up thoughts on the matter. In terms of the relationship between these two things, Les gets it, and the people in his comment section rudely demanding some kind of battle plan, don't. Anyone expecting some variety of Iwo Jima flag-raising over a pile of Savile Row clad corpses is going to be disappointed. Not forgetting the falsity of the original event anyway...

Hold that image of victory in your head if you want to, but you'll merely be that monkey who won't let go of the banana in the trap. T'ain't nothin' can be done for that monkey without he lets go. Okay, so time to let go.

Seeya Aergia, it was fun while it lasted mate.