Friday, October 31, 2014

Dia(s) de Los Muertos

Catrina II - Photo Credit: Nick Chao
(Click to enlarge.)

"In our tradition, people die three deaths. The first death is when our bodies cease to function; when our hearts no longer beat of their own accord, when our gaze no longer has depth or weight, when the space we occupy slowly loses its meaning.

The second death comes when the body is lowered into the ground, returned to mother earth, out of sight.

The third death, the most definitive death, is when there is no one left alive to remember us."

"The Mexican flatters and woos death, he sings to her, dances with her, lifts his glass to her, he laughs at her. Finally, he challenges her, and in the challenging, death loses her power to intimidate him. Once he knows death intimately, death is no longer wrapped in a cloak of mystery or causes him to fear the darkness.

Once the fear of death has been defeated, the clutch she has on the hearts and minds of the living is lessened once and for all. Death’s morbid side is buried under music and remembrances, while skeletons laugh and dance and sing as Mexico celebrates life in its embrace of death.” 

- Two excerpts from Los Dias de los Muertos (the Days of the Dead), 2003, Judy King

Three Catrinas found here.
(Click to enlarge.)

Five years ago today, I started this blog... while I'm guessing I knew it was Halloween, I think the true irony somehow escaped me. That being said, Halloween remains, to this day, one of my favorite holidays, and one that I usually enjoy from a more or less Celtic perspective... spooky, stark and strange. But, here in New Mexico - where it currently still feels like summer - the day is translated into something entirely different.

Nothing dark or murky about the Mexican Day of the Dead (October 31- November 2). Dia de los Muertos - or, more appropriately, Dias de los Muertos - comes to us in vivid colors, elegant costumes, patterned sugar skulls, and bright golden flowers - specifically the Marigold, the designated flower of the dead.

Oh yeah, there are those skeletons (the Calavera)... but, these aren't the grotesque sort with wormy eyes, etc. In fact, they're often pretty women with frilly dresses, elegant head-dresses and elaborate face-makeup: the Catrinas, a personification of Death itself. The Catrinas harken back to the Aztec Lady of the Dead, Mictecacihuatl. According to legend, Mictecacihuatl was sacrificed as an infant before she became Queen of the Underworld, ruling over the afterlife with her consort, Mictlantecuhtli. They were both depicted as skeletons by the Aztecs, but, for the Aztecs, skeletons were seen as symbols of fertility, health and abundance. On the other hand, there is a darker side to these rulers of the Underworld. For instance, worshipers of the Lord and Lady of the Dead were known to practice ritual cannibalism.

Aztec statues of Mictecacihuatl and Mictlantecuhtli found here.

That Dia de los Muertos should happen to take place at the same time as other holidays devoted to death from around the world is, actually, not a coincidence. Wherever there was a strong Roman Catholic influence, the indigenous culture's Death Day celebrations, such as the Celtic Samhain, were merged into the Roman Catholic holiday of All Saints Day, and/or All Souls' Day - October 31 being All Hallows' Eve (Halloween).

Similarly, Los Dias de los Muertos - in the Roman Catholic tradition - is also celebrated for 3 days, but along different lines. On the first day, a children's altar is prepared to invoke the spirits of dead children. They are then invited to visit their living (corporeal) relations. The second day is when the adult spirits are welcomed. On the third day, families go the cemeteries to decorate the graves and tombs.

Morbid? Or, instead, a beautiful tradition? For sure, It is the antithesis of Halloween as we now know it, in which ghosts are something to fear and avoid. In the end, it comes down to the way in which we view death... is it the last day, or is it the next day?

Incidentally, I saw my first Catrina today... behind the counter at a plant and tree nursery nearby... In full costume and make-up. She was fabulous!

Sugar skulls: (left) traditional, (center) sugar skull art, (right) modern sugar skull

Feliz Dia de los Muertos!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Five Years

Ziggy Stardust (re-imaged)

"While I share many of Burroughs' attitudes and literary inclinations, I'm less certain why I feel a commonality with Bowie. Maybe because of his performance in "The Man Who Fell To Earth"; I feel an instinctual rapport with "aliens" of all sorts. It may be that Bowie is the closest thing to a genuine extraterrestrial that I'm likely to meet in this lifetime."

- Mac Tonnies via a 2006 Posthuman Blues post

"Burroughs occupied a central place in the underground pantheon. Both gay and a drug addict, he explored these aspects of himself through some of the most challenging and disturbing novels written in English. Bowie was his Gemini twin, a wrecker of mores who was reaping fame and fortune as the deranged but beautiful creature of pop music. Burroughs might have been looking for a way into the mainstream, and might have believed rubbing elbows with Bowie would get him closer. During their talk, Bowie describes the full mythos behind Ziggy, describing a race of alien superbeings called the "infinites", living black holes that use Ziggy as a vessel to give themselves a form people could comprehend. Burroughs countered with his own vision to create an institute to help people achieve greater awareness so humanity will be ready when we make eventual contact with alien life forms."

- Excerpt from: Peter Bebergal's Season of the Witch - How the Occult Saved Rock & Roll found, along with an interview with the author, in this (November 12, 2014) Quietus article.
(Hat-tip to Grail-seeker!)

"I heard telephones, opera house, favorite melodies
I saw boys, toys electric irons and T.V.'s
My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there
And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people
And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people
I never thought I'd need so many people"

- Lyrics from "Five Years" - released w/ The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972David Bowie

It was no secret that Mac was a fan of David Bowie (although not necessarily as Ziggy Stardust), and that "The Man Who Fell to Earth" - both the film and the original Walter Tevus novel - made a lasting impression on him. I once posted a clip of the movie on this blog, and another post featuring a fave Bowie tune of Mac's (and mine): Ashes to Ashes (1980). Both videos were swallowed by trolls, however, and the posts removed.

One could argue that the extreme memes planted by David Bowie in the early 1970s - in the persona of Ziggy Stardust, the gender-bending alien rock god with the mismatched set of eyes - didn't merely predict the eventual popularity of UFOs, extraterrestrial life, Mars, and science fiction, but spawned it. Seriously. I could say "you had to be there" but, this isn't actually true. Case in point, Mac wasn't even born until several years after Ziggy first took the stage - and, by 1975 - Bowie had already morphed into the Thin White Duke. It's significant though that while Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, he entered the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame (founded in Kansas City, no less) in 2013, along with J. R. R. Tolkien and H. R. Giger. And, judging by the full list of sci-fi luminaries, Bowie appears to be the only rock musician inducted.

As for the gender-bending... well, I'm not saying that Ziggy spawned the eventual societal acceptance of same-sex marriages, but I'm betting he inspired quite a few boys (and girls) to question which team they were, in fact, really playing for. (And, judging by the pretty thing in the video featured at the end of the post... well, yes, we see.)

Then again, maybe it's just that sort of synchronicity in which a series of oddly-related phenomena tend to arise at the same time, but, I'll let historians work that one out. My goal was to remember Mac on the 5th anniversary of his passing, which is, in fact, today...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Once Upon a Summer's Day (Video updated 8/18/20)

"I wonder if the machinations of an interdimensional intelligence are more likely than ET contact; the closer we look, the weirder the universe gets...

I'm drawn to the possibility that we inhabit one of potentially infinite "nested" cosmologies inhabited by all manner of entities, some of which can project themselves into our own for reasons that remain obscure."

- Mac Tonnies, from this 2005 post.

Remembering Mac on what would've been his 39th birthday. As strange as it may seem, this is the fifth birthday remembered on this blog... the other four - from 2013 to 2010, can be found here.


Update (from six years in the future)!

I had a great video here originally... alas, throughout the course of time, it was replaced by YouTube with something inferior. I've replaced it with a slightly better video - the best I could find - but, yeah, I'm sorry the first disappeared.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

...Then Stardust

An Owl Morpho found on the Kauffman Garden blog.

Above is a photo of an Owl Morpho, an exotic moth-like butterfly found at Kauffman Garden. That is, the same Kauffman Memorial Garden where Mac's ashes were scattered to the winds four years ago. I suppose if one has to have a final resting place, Kauffman Gardens would be an excellent choice - prime real estate, for sure - but then, I imagine human ashes only rest for awhile... before spiraling off into space, the home of their ancestors.

Kind of like the stones which were intended to guide you here, to Post-Mac Blues' official new home.

Which didn't happen.

PMB hasn't budged, and, as of this writing, is unlikely to. Not only is too much entailed, but it appears there are, to my knowledge, two mirror "araqinta" blogs that (seemingly) appeared overnight. Each has "araqinta" in the URL, but they originate from different countries.*

About those stones... my latest graphic image (and parting shot) "Stones in Space" (below), was inspired by an old Jewish custom of leaving "visitation stones" at the burial sites of those who were once cherished in life. As per usual, I just ran with it, re-envisoning the strange corrugated fragment floating in the background image of this blog as a type of cyberspace monument... and the perfect place for a collection of visitation and/or "memory" stones (Note: not to be confused with the "smarter" variety, and/or robot pebbles Mac may have preferred!) When I started imagining them spiraling off into the stars, however, the metaphor for moving this blog didn't even occur to me. Incidentally, the image (below the jump) was to appear on the redirection page. Well, it was a nice idea anyway.

Friday, February 14, 2014


"That's right -- I didn't blog at all yesterday. That's because Valentine's Day is a time of mourning."

- Mac Tonnies, Posthuman Blues, February, 2007

Ah, that Mac... always a man after my own, uh, heart... appropriately, I'm wearing black for the festivities.

And, somewhat like a Failed Romantic's "hopes" for a Happy Valentine's Day, my hopes for changing the URL on PMB (anytime too soon) were dashed upon the rocky shores of reality. (Or, in this case, drowned within the virtual quagmire of depressingly undecipherable geek-speak that constitutes the Blogger "Help" section.)

So, I had this rather tantalizing "Welcome to our new home" scenario all cooked up, only to have to shift gears at the zero hour - or, more to the point, "ground zero" hour - and head for plan B. Only there wasn't a plan B.

That being said, in preparation for the memorial's move - and my extended absence - I've been busily restructuring the sidebar and closing down comment sections. As I want to keep a few comment sections open, however, this entailed going through all 300 posts, one at a time (!). Really.

(BTW, pardon that "comments are not allowed" line. It was not my choice. My choice would've been the less matriarchal: "Comment section closed.").

Meanwhile, you'll note a lot of new stuff on the sidebar. I figured out how to get tiny videos up using the HTML gadget: the first is a music video featuring Mac's last "Blip" - Byrne and Eno's "Everything that Happens" (uploaded on his last corporeal day) - and a clip of Mac's hero, George Carlin. These may be changed periodically. I've also restructured two old posts into two new areas which are open to "comments"... (though not necessarily comments directed to me). These posts, or, rather rooms, have new doors on the sidebar. If you're familiar with PMB, you've probably already found them. I'm also considering adding a third room. We'll see. As of now, the comment sections in the designated "rooms" are open, as is the comment section of this post. I will always keep the last post's comment section open... and, I'm going to assume whatever arrives there is intended for me.

Anyway, I've added some new quotes, new links, and I'm trying to get a small gallery of Aliens - those appearing elsewhere on PMB, for the most part - at the bottom of the sidebar. (Blogger is not cooperating with this last effort. The colors of my images are looking positively contaminated.)

So, you are now reading what is not the last post. This is surely progress.

And, it's Valentine's Day (heretofore known as V-Day for us fringe-dwellers) and it's snowing again... for the third time this week.

I don't know which is worse.

(Posthuman Blues "Valentines" from 2004 & 2005.)


Note: despite the fact that this post - "V-Day" - is appearing as the last post on external blog-rolls, the most recent, and actual final post is "...Then Stardust". So, if you've reached this post from an external source, consider yourself informed. :-)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Triptych #23: Taking Flight

"Taking Flight" - photo by Mac Tonnies - uploaded to Fllckr, January, 2008

"One of the reasons I like packing a camera is that it engages the part of my brain that processes "random," acausal events. I literally see things I've never noticed before; a sort of secret world opens up, if fleetingly, bringing to mind multiple transparencies stacked atop one another and brought to life by a projector. (Rudy Rucker, who's written on similar themes, thinks the universe is filled with "paracomputations" that take the form of natural processes. His trained awareness of relevant phenomena, such as the intricate geometric patterns on seashells and the interplay of wave-fronts in a pool of water, might help account for some of his acutely observant photographs.)

In my case, after seeing the "23" limo, I found myself inside a bus-stop with brown-tinted plastic windows. Someone had written "23" there, bedecking the number with a halo as if to memorialize it. (The recurring trumpet design from Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49" came to mind . . . as well as the sense of inhabiting a rather smug and mocking paracomputation.)

Later on the same walk I recalled a dream I had last night, in which I was playing with a sheet of aluminum foil that returned to its uncrumpled original state whenever I unballed my fist (the "memory metal" described by witnesses to the Roswell debris.) Moments later I found a sheet of foil on the sidewalk -- nothing remotely dramatic, but nonetheless a bit like some sort of retrocognitive memento. It's becoming steadily easier for me to imagine reality as a composite of overlapping possibilities -- a VR-like realm that creates itself from moment to moment rather than patiently awaiting discovery."

- Mac Tonnies, via this April, 2005 Posthuman Blues post

"It's intriguing how common 23 is among UFO sighting reports. (Reading Jacques Vallee's landmark "Anatomy of a Phenomenon," I was actually startled by the apparent correspondences, although Vallee seems not to have noticed.) One idea I've played with is that we're seeing a form of "compression artifact" that undermines the informational structure of spacetime. If so, who did the compressing? Do we live in a vast computer simulation?
Maybe unraveling the 23 Enigma is a way to alert -- or even communicate with -- the intelligence responsible for creating the universe; they/it might be interested in our deductive prowess . . . or maybe just looking for company."

- Mac Tonnies, via this February. 2007 Posthuman Blues post

(Note: for a previous PMB post about #23, featuring Robert Anton Wilson, try here.)

"Snowy Nude" - photo by Mac Tonnies - Uploaded to Flickr January, 2008

 I had reason to go into Mac's Flickr pages the other day, in the process of creating the little slide-show of his portraits that now appears on the side-bar. (Had I a size option with the Google gadget, the slide-show would've appeared much larger, and replaced the first photo. Not the case; but, I've uploaded the actual-size photos I used, onto this older post.)

It's weird, but whenever I go over to Mac's Flickr pages I seem to find something new... Then again, the mind is a strange thing; it focuses where it will without rhyme or reason, and tends to overlook loads of data that doesn't fit its criterion of the moment. There's hundreds of photos on Mac's photo-stream; tunnel vision might be a mental adaption we've designed to prevent ourselves from being overwhelmed.

I wasn't looking for it consciously, but Mac's photo, "Taking Flight" (above) just happened to fit a recent underlying agenda of mine. That is, I'm about to take an extended hiatus from the blogosphere. Not that I haven't put Post-Mac Blues into archival mode before - I have, a few times. But, I know well enough now, that it isn't over till it's over, and some shred of news will coax me back.

Then again, this blog is both a memorial and a time-capsule, so my continued presence has been hard-wired into place, but, the reality is, in the four years since Mac's passing, very little has really changed. It's as if the same news is being recycled over and over again. Whether the subject is Mars, the Singularity, UFOs, etc., one could go back into the Posthuman Blues back pages and find the same "news" five, six, or even seven years ago. "Global warming", for instance... or the theory of reality as a computer simulation (see this recent Aeon article), or better even, the "news" that Stephen Hawking is denouncing "black holes"*. Well, as it happens, Mac mentions just the same thing here and here on Posthuman Blues. No news (that is, speculation) is news again. And so it goes.

But, this is not to say that nothing new ever happens... new scientific inquiries continue to emerge quietly in the background, which may someday jump-start new paradigms. I'll leave you with this parting-shot: Do you feel immortal? Chances are you did when you were born. And, if this sort of thing interests you - and, if it doesn't, you're a fool - check out the Daily Grail's own Greg Taylor's latest: Stop Worrying! There Probably Is an Afterlife; chock-full of pertinent case-studies. Or, perhaps this article, sent to me via the Windbridge Institute yesterday.

"Far Above" - photo by Mac Tonnies - uploaded to Flickr August, 2008

In any case, if you want news, there are plenty of places online to find it; you can start at some places in the PMB links section. Speaking of which, as I've been tidying things up a bit before taking flight, I've been adding new links to the sidebar. Notably, in the aforementioned link section, a link from PMB reader, Joel, who informed me (via email) that a link on the PMB sidebar was broken. His site is Alien-UFO-Research, and if you haven't seen it before, check it out. I have another link, too; one that Mac sent me in an email shortly before his death, but I'd only rediscovered yesterday. As it's art-related it's going to appear on Trans-D (the other blog) (which, incidentally I'm archiving, too... and will, eventually, be dismantling altogether) but, I'll post it here as well. It's Synaptic Stimuli, the brainchild of Michael Chichi who apparently followed Mac on Twitter. He is also connected with this site. For an interview, see: Discussing Art and Aliens with Synaptic Stimuli's Michael Chichi.

Oh, and here's another bit of news, this blog is about to have a new URL. That is, "Araqinta" is a word which I may soon have use for in another capacity, so Post-Mac Blues is about to acquire the address it should've had from the beginning: Post-MacBlues.blogspot. This will happen shortly, but, don't worry, the current blog address will redirect you to the correct one for awhile. The only difference will be that I'm disabling the comment section. However, if there's a need to reach me, with Mac-related news, online material, or a heads-up on sidebar links that may be broken, feel free to contact me via the Araqinta email address at the bottom of the sidebar.

As for any future incarnation of Araqinta, well, I'm considering an actual .com with a venue for distribution of some of my work. If and when this occurs, I'll keep you posted. (Just in case you want your very own Crypto print on a vacant wall.)

Anyway, we live in interesting times. The trick is to not let "time" grind us down into so many disconnected kilobytes of virtual - and virtually - homeless, heartless particles.

Cheer up - this winter is coming to an end!

Peace out,

* Well, gee, but if there are no black holes, then WTF is this? I'm confused. But, I think I'll leave it to the cosmologists, physicists, and what have you, to duke it out. (Hat-tip to David Darling.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Loving the Alien

An alien to love... Pitajia - photo by "Tauart".
(click to enlarge)

"To my surprise, all of the aliens were human-looking. Moreover, all were female and quite beautiful. They told me, via telepathy, that they reproduced through parthogenesis and that their typical lifespan was 5,000 years. Then they lectured me about global warming and stuck a suction cup-like device into my left nostril.

What a great time. Maybe they'll come back."

- Mac Tonnies via this September, 2005 Posthuman Blues post

"As I had suspected (and described in my account of my previous experience with the spacewomen), these space travelers adopt the anatomy of desirable female celebrities selected from television transmissions. In my case, the entire crew of aliens resembled either Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba or Natalie Portman. Interestingly, this distinction isn't frivolous or motivated by aesthetic sensibilities; the different personae are used both to help delegate responsibilities on board the ship (duties ranging from navigation to xenoforming) and to assist in their contacts with Earthlings (or "Terrans," as we're known among the spacewomen)."

- Mac Tonnies via this February, 2006 Posthuman Blues post
(For a footnote to the above article, see this 2006 PHB post)

"Before Boas was escorted off the "spaceship," the woman pointed significantly to her abdomen and in the direction of the sky. Advocates of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis have interpreted this as a reference to the woman's ET heritage, but at the same time they've effectively ignored the troublesome prospect of genetic compatibility. Granted that Boas had intercourse with an extraterrestrial, what are the chances that two independently evolved humanoid species could "mate" in any viable sense?

In "Revelations," Jacques Vallee compares the feasibility of conceiving a human-alien hybrid to that of a human attempting to breed with an insect. Certainly, if Boas encountered a genuine ET, then "they" have achieved a most remarkable degree of impersonation -- not an altogether impossible achievement for a civilization capable of traveling between stars but one that arouses substantial skepticism. The law of parsimony begs the speculation that the beings who abducted Boas were human in at least some essential respects."

- Mac Tonnies, via this January, 2009 Posthuman Blues post

Well, okay, the beautiful alien above does not resemble an insect - although something tells me that Mac would've preferred the wistful Pitajia anyway - but, if you insist upon seeing female insect hybrids - and Mac would've for sure - mysterious Russian photographer "Tau"
has an image of those as well... and several more gorgeous, unearthly girls, (including another shot of the lovely Pitajia).

While it's true that alien lovers are not a new development in pop culture, they do seem to have gained a lot of ground in recent years. I mean, it's not like one can go into a retail store, step up to the cosmetic counter and request a bottle of "Eau de Alien" or anything like that, but... oh, wait a minute, yes, you can!

A "Nordic" alien wench, surely...

Actually, that's how this post evolved. My star reporter, Dana Tonnies, wandered into a retail store recently - the kind where babes, armed with perfume bottles, spritz you to death as you walk by - and was offered a shot of something called "Alien Essence". So, I got on the case and, turns out, the full name of this little gem is "Alien Essence Absolue," one in a series of Alien scents designed by Thierry Mugler. Apparently, the bottle of this one was deliberately designed to resemble a woman's buttocks. So, I'm guessing this is a subliminal prompt for men to buy their GFs an expensive gift... (mostly 'cause something tells me that few women would grab a perfume bottle off the shelf because it looks like her, uh, hindquarters... except, maybe, Jennifer Lopez... who probably has hers insured).

These "intergalactic" purple bottles (an earlier version) are kind of cool though... 

Anyway, so, while on the case, I kept coming up with all these other aliens - a whole page of contemporary "alien" confections that I somehow missed the past few years... such as  "alien" Katie Perry from her 2011 ET video. (Oh, and before I forget, this just in from the Daily GrailKaty Perry Believes In Aliens, Plans To Ask Obama About Them.)

And, here's another trendy page with a special bonus... and, trust me, boys, if you're feeling lonely, have they got a "love doll" for you: the "Area 51" edition! (Girls, take note: this makes a great "parting-shot" gift for the ex-BF you now despise.) (And, then again, let's not forget about "sexbots"!)

Yo Katie, take me to your hairdresser... seriously!

Speaking of love dolls, emphasis on the latter, you may be familiar with the name, Valeria Lukyanova, that Ukrainian model who, with the help of nature - and a surgeon - has managed to become a living doll. But, wait, it seems that Lukyanova has a higher purpose in life than you might expect. In fact, she has come to this planet to promote her alien spiritual values, and is spreading the word with a documentary: "Space Barbie"!  Apart from surreal, it's almost indescribable... where's Mac's interpretation when we need it?

(News flash: Space Barbie has a counterpart, Space Ken!)

Lastly, coming to a theater near you this year, is a film designed to get under your skin, in more ways than one... with an alien temptress who looks a lot like Scarlett Johansson in a black wig. Why, I'll be damned...

Beware, beware... your "nether regions" might be the preferred entry point for her form of brain surgery.
(Correction: make that "brain extraction"...)

...It is Scarlett Johansson in a black wig!

"Under the Skin," a film by noted filmmaker, Jonathan Glazer, and based on the novel by Michel Faber, already has its detractors, but, you be the judge: here's the trailer.

Then again, I'm nothing if not thorough, so allow me to leave you with "alien love" from a feminine perspective:

Now there's an attention grabber... but, really, Octopus men?

PS  Hmmm... but, how about a hug from this Alien Girl?