My colleagues in crime at the Gralien Report have recently launched a new webcomic titled Gray Street, the brain child of the multi-talented Caleb Hanks --musician, trans-humanist & man about town. What the younger sibling of Micah is trying to explore with the comic is his own ideas about the Singularity, the implications of the rise of strong A.I. & how it would impact our society, along with some of the more Fortean themes the guys touch upon on their weekly edition of the Gralien Report podcast. All this & more peppered with elements of what we might as well call the Gralien Mythos, which have slowly emerged as the show progressed & should be familiar to their dedicated fans; it is common knowledge for instance, that the Gralien dudes transmit their pirate signal from a bunker located hundreds of miles beneath the surface --cigarette breaks are a real bitch.
The real live members of the Gralien Report appear as characters on Gray Street, and I'm really stoked to announce that yours truly will also be one of the regular characters! Caleb asked me if I was interested in becoming a part of his comic, and explained to me what he had in mind for the Red Pill Junkie in the story arc --I don't want to give too much away, but you can be certain I'm gonna end up saving everybody's ass, and after that do a triumphal ride toward the sunset ;)
You'll notice Caleb chose to portray me with my luchador mask, the one I chose to wear during my trip to Minneapolis for the Paradigm Symposium last year. I guess it made quite the impression!
Actually, I believe I've never fully explained my motivation to do such a thing, and now it's as good a time as any to do so. I think it was something I came up with more or less spontaneously, during one of my many e-mail exchanges with Micah, fueled by the fact that he really didn't know how I looked like. Not only that, but even here at TDG my friends Greg & co. hadn't a clue about my actual physical appearance. I can't really say it was something deliberate on my part (at least initially) but my natural reservations & shyness eventually helped in the crafting of this virtual persona I've slowly sculpted during all these years. It was a different approach to the usual anonimity favored by online trolls --I use the nickname on all the websites I participate on, and was utterly dismayed when I discovered that Google+ insisted I used my Meatspace name when I subscribed-- and I'd like to think Samuel Clemens would have conducted in a similar fashion, had he enjoyed the existence of the Internet during his career.
Knowing none of my friends, whom I've interacted through the web all these years, would know what to expect once I met them face to face, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass away! So I went out & bought a mask in the store that provides gear & customes to all the actual professional wrestlers here in Mexico; the selection was made based not only on aesthetic considerations, but I tried to find a mask that would be fairly comfortable to wear with my eyeglasses, and that would enable me to speak unhinged --engaging in long chats is probably not in the wish list of many wrestlers, I reckon. And when the time came I packed it with the rest of my clothes --something that made me incredibly nervous, triggering many scenarios in my mind with some irascible TSA inspector lifting the thing out of my suitcase, yelling "WHAT'S THE MEANING OF THIS?!" -- and once I found myself on the hotel lobby, to my dismay I had ran out of air time on my cell phone, with none of my friends on sight.
--"Now what?" I thought.
I stood on the hall leading to the conference room (where the event had already started) for a few minutes, all alone except for a few guests passing by, with the mask in my hand. I felt anxious & out of place, wondering what I was thinking when I came out with the silly idea of storming into a room full of strangers, looking like a character out of an old lucha libre film. My old habits of social ackwardness were starting to kick in.
But then something completely unexpected happen: I stared at the empty holes of the mask, and it was as if the thing was telling me "are we doing this or what, man? I didn't come all this way for nothing!" . Suddenly a rush of boldness coursed through me, I said to myself "fuck it", which was maybe my reply back to the mask. I put it on, and off I went heading to where the registering table was located.
I'll never forget the expression in Cassidy O'Connor's face. She was there helping out with the registering and handling of badges, and after a few seconds of puzzled perplexity she finally uttered a tentative "can I help you?".
The rest is, as they say, history...
Later it dawned on me that what had started as a goofy practical joke, had turned into something much more interesting & powerful. Without realizing it I had performed a feat of what Alejandro Jodorowsky would call Psychomagic. His theory is that through the mixing of art, symbology & psychology --with humor being also a key ingredient-- a person can let go of its nasty habits & mental vices. Putting myself through the test of overcoming my shyness through theatricality, I was able to embody the character of the Red Pill Junkie; to bring into physical reality this avatar that until then had only existed as texts disseminated all over the blogosphere.
People discover that nasty trolls turn into sheeple individuals, once they are ripped of their veil of anonimity, With me it's exactly the opposite: I've always strived to follow a high standard of Netiquette with all of my online comments --which is probably the reason I got the job of news admin here-- and have tried to be careful in never writing something that would directly offend the person I'm dialoguing with, on any particular subject; at least that's been my goal, though if I have hurt you in the past I offer my sincere apologies. In fact I happen to be a more cordial individual online than when I interact with people on Meatspace --that's when I often turn into a real SOB ;)
Because the thing is that I happen to like myself more as the Red Pill Junkie, than as Miguel Romero. I'm nicer to people, funnier, & far more socially engaged. RPJ is the man I always wanted to become.
So now I face before me a very interesting challenge: to try to transform myself completely into this imaginary creation of mine, and remain that way 24/7. During Paradigm Symposium I managed to stay 'in character' during the whole weekend, but once I was back in Mexico I started to revert into my old dull self. Perhaps this is what Carlos Castañeda was referring to, when he wrote about 'erasing your personal history.'
And of course this wouldn't mean wearing the damn mask all day long! I imagine it would make the act of shaving in the morning even more of a chore. If I manage to pull this off, the teathricality won't be necesary anymore. The Red Pill Junkie will finally hack into my mental server, and take control of my hardware indefinitely --eat your heart out, Agent Smith!
This is the artwork for the new podcast of the Grimerica website, commissioned by my good friends up north Darren Grimes & Graham Dunlop.
You'll notice I left something of an 'Easter egg' *ba-dum tss* for seasoned UFO buffs ;)
The 1st episode of The Grimerica Show is now available on their website (the podcast will soon be offered via iTunes). It features amateur astronomer Efrain Palermo, who has spent several years carefully studying the pictures of Mars taken by NASA, and found some pretty interesting anomalies. We're not talking about petrified Bigfoots or Martian sand ships here, but the kind of thing that one day is considered total lunacy & 10 years later is considered common knowledge --i.e. the presence of liquid water on the surface of Mars.
I know there's plenty of 'paranormal podcasts' on the market out there, but if you decide to give TGS a chance, you'll notice the easy-going & laid-back approach of Darren & Graham makes for a very entertaining experience --unless you're uncomfortable with a few profanities uttered here & there during your work hours, in which case I suggest putting your headphones on.
Plus Mr. Palermo is a fascinating individual, one who proves a layperson can make an important contribution to Science, even if initially said contribution finds resistance among the more sclerotic levels of the Academic apparatus. His website is Palermo Project.
And finally, some disclosure: I will be appearing as one of the guests in some future episode of The Grimerica Show --my first genuine podcast interview baybeh!
Not only that, but the guys asked me to become something of a regular contributor to their show. I'll let you know more details in the future.
Click here & let Darren & Graham turn your world upside down!
[UPDATE]: The Grimerica Show is now available on iTunes. You can subscribe by clicking here, and if you like it please be sure to write a nice review on the Apple store.
Also, Darren tells me the episode with my interview will be posted next Friday --so maybe this will be the day when I finally break the Internet :P
For my latest contribution to the Intrepid blog, I tackle on what I think is the most serious malady in the XXIst century: the scarcity of Trust.
Jump in, you'll like it --Trust me!
Disney has withdrawn their intentions to trademark Día de Muertos. Good job, everyone!
Criticism exploded on social media in recent days as word spread of Disney’s efforts to trademark the name associated with the November holiday. Although the studio still is moving forward on its Pixar project inspired by Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations, it has withdrawn its application to trademark “Dia de los Muertos” for various merchandising applications.
According to Stitch Kingdom, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has filed several trademark applications in attempt to secure ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ across multiple areas. Dia de Muertos, or ‘Day of the Dead, is a traditional Mexican festivity with roots going back to pre-hispanic times.
This move is apparently related to a new Pixar project inspired by Día de Muertos.
The move could indicate that Disney is simply hedging its bets or that Pixar has indeed settled on simply calling its film Dia de Los Muertos, though they have yet to file for films that will precede it, such as Inside Out (2015), though trademarks have been filed for The Good Dinosaur (2014).
As a Mexican, I find this completely outrageous. What gives Disney the right to appropriate our culture & put their stamp on it? What would Walt think of this when, back in the day, he was involved in a good-will mission to strengthen the relationship with the United States' neighbors south of the border, the fruit of which were classic films like 'The Three Caballeros' & 'Saludos Amigos.'
It's not nice stealing from your friends, señor :(
[UPDATE]This is the legal document Disney submitted to the US Patent Office to register Día de Muertos: http://es.scribd.com/doc/139984449/Disne...
(h/t Pájaro Político)
Here's an interesting new viral video for the upcoming Man of Steel movie, with general Zod —played by Michael Shannon— giving a message to the people of Earth:
To any seasoned UFO buff, this should immediately remind you of the infamous Vrillon transmission, broadcast on the Hannington transmitter of Southern Television in the United Kingdom for six minutes at 5:10 PM on Saturday November 26, 1977. Vrillon claimed to be a representative of the Ashtar Command, and his message is consistent with the typical 'space-brotherly' tone of peace & a call to disarmament.
Although many people consider it to be nothing but a hoax, to this day the identity of the perpetrator —who at that would have needed considerable technical expertise to hijack the signal of a TV station— has never been discovered.
A rather interesting plot element, which helps to enhance the tone of 'authenticity' to this new installment of the Superman story —although I don't think Zod will show the same benevolent intentions than his buddy Vrillon had 35 years ago...
Man of Steel comes to theaters in June 2013.
(via I Watch Stuff)
Leave it to yours truly to start a personal rant about a Mexican prohibition against salt shakers, to end up combining Mahatma Gandhi with V for Vendetta! ;)
Continuing on where I left on the last post, I know that I should've written more about the UMMO mythos, given how it's not a particularly popular topic among the English-speaking UFO enthusiasts.
To anyone really interested in the subject, finding information on UMMO online won't be difficult. Suffice it to say the 'corpus' of the case relies mostly on a number of letters that were sent to several recipients accross mainly Spain & France, and a famous b/w series of photographs of an alleged flying saucer taken in San José de Valderas (Spain) in 1967.
The authenticity of the San José de Valderas photos has also been put into questions by several researchers. In the 1990s a Spanish UFOlogists by the name of José Luis Jordán Peña came out & claimed to have orchestrated the fraud, and that he wrote & sent the letters, yet even prior to that many UFOlogists didn't take the UMMO affair seriously.
But even Jacques Vallee was schocked by the famous UFO landing case of Voronezh (Russia) in 1989, because the witnesses reported & drew the same UMMO symbol, which was already associated with a fraud in the mind of most serious researchers. Vallee alluded it to the self-negating nature of the phenomenon, but it's important to point out that the giant humanoids witnessed in that Russian park 24 years ago were completely unlike the 'Nordic' appearance ascribed to the 'Ummites' in the 1960s.
My interest in UMMO was rekindled by a book written by Juan José Benítez in 2007. In it, Benítez made the compelling case that the symbol has been observed in many independent sightings all around the world --and BEFORE the UMMO case became famous in the 1960s. Also, the symbol can be found in different ancient cultures --like the astrological symbol of Uranus, which I mentioned on my previous post.
So my current position is that, although the typewritten letters are likely hoaxes --and Jordán Peña may or may not have received help from some intelligence agency to carry out the deception for them-- I still think the UMMO symbol is authentic, and might become relevant once again in the future.
...Or, I may be just full of shit. It's up to you to decide ;)
[WARNING: Crazy rambling below]
By now everyone & his dog has watched or heard the news that a new Pope has been elected by a rather expeditious conclave. And contrary to the expectations of many, the cardinals elected a man from Latin America who chose --rather fittingly in light of the circumstances-- to be known as Francis I.
The fact that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a member of the Jesuit order, is something that I'm sure will keep the students of St. Malachy's prophecies in overdrive in the days to come --The Superior General of the Society of Jesus is unkindly known as the 'Black Pope'.
Even the new 'vicar of Christ' during his 1st speech jokingly said that the cardinals had gone to the "end of the world" to choose a bishop --geographically speaking, of course...
But as I was following the news delivered at Twitterspeed, the 1st thing that came to my head was "is there some numerological/astrological significance that the new Pontiff was chosen on 13/03/13?"
Turns out there is (I think).
Thanks also to Twitter I learned that on a day like this, 232 years ago, the planet Uranus was discovered by astronomer William Herschel. Compelled by a discussion started at my friend Mike Clelland's blog --in which Woody Allen's film The Sleeper was mentioned, which prompted me to write the famous quote from Frank Herbert's Dune "the sleeper must awaken" (hold that in mind)-- I googled the astrological significance of the planet Uranus:
"Uranus is known in astrology as the "Awakener," [emphasis mine] since its aspects and transits bring sudden changes and shocks. It rules Aquarius, the quirky innovator, and sometimes these upheavals are a necessary break from restrictions in favor of a more liberated path."
But there's more: Turns out Bergoglio became a priest on December 13th, 1969. Another 13 in this man's life.
Yet the thing that made MY head go into overdrive is because somehow --don't ask me why-- I feel this is all connected to the controversial UMMO affair.
Perhaps it's just the similarities between the UMMO symbol & the astrological sibil of Uranus. But I think it's also the fact that the 1st book I ever read about UMMO --way before it was 'debunked'-- had been written by an Argentinian. The author's name escapes my mind though...
From a semiological point of view, my own personal interpretation of the UMMO symbol is of two separate worlds or realities --represented by the 2 curves or hyperbola-- which are somehow able to 'touch' through a threshold thanks to a third connecting element. The way interpret it --again, don't ask me why-- is that this represents a future event.
Other interesting synchro of the day: the ALMA radio telescope array --the largest in the world-- was unveiled in the Atacama desert, in Chile --Chile & Argentina are neighboring countries.
Oh, and 'Alma' literally means 'soul' in Spanish ;)
So what does this all mean? I haven't the foggiest, but I had to write this down anyway :P
[END OF CRAZY RAMBLING]
[UPDATE]: Pheew! the MU guys went easy on me during ep. 910 *relieved*
In the meantime, check out Loren Coleman's thoughts re. the Ultimate Black Pope. Turns out jokers --that would be me-- can get predictions right once in a while ;)
When it developed that the first Pope was a Jesuit, I (@CryptoLoren) then tweeted this: "Before #Pope named @red_pill_junkie's humorous comment ab #GuyFawkes mask was prophetic. Jesuits were associated with the Gunpowder Plot. #V"
[UPDATE II]: Tim Boucher proposed yet another interesting link between Bergoglio & the UMMO affair: the wolf.
In their infamous typewritten letters, the Ummites told their recipients that their planet orbitted a star our astronomers know as Wolf 424, part of a binary system approximately 14.2 light years away.
One of the most famous stories about St. Francis of Assisi --the saint in whose honor Bergoglio chose his papal name-- is that of the wolf of Gubbio, a terrible man-killer that was peacefully tamed by the grace of the future leader of the Franciscan order.
And of course, there's also the famous Capitoline Wolf (Lupa Capitolina), or she-wolf of Rome, which nursed the twin brothers Romulus & Remus and later became the symbol of the city.
What do these inter-species unions mean?