About brian

Magical Orangutan.

GNU Terry Pratchett 2018

Terry Pratchett's t-shirt.Today marks the third anniversary of Terry Pratchett’s death from bloody stupid Alzheimer’s disease. I was introduced to Pratchett’s work around 1993(ish) as “the guy who wrote that book with Neil Gaiman”. That book, of course, was Good Burger Good Omens and it was one that I found very enjoyable. However, the person who made this introduction to me possible left out that there was such a thing as the Discworld series, a humorous fantasy universe covering the adventures and misadventures of denizens who live on a flat earth which is set upon four gigantic elephants who are themselves carried throughout space on the back of an even more gigantic turtle.

I did eventually learn of Terry’s Discworld series and arrived in Ankh-Morpork through the book Guards! Guards!, still my favorite book of his to date. Back then, in the early to mid-90’s, his books were hard to find in US book stores and it was only through outlets such as the Science Fiction Book Club or Amazon UK that I was able to find his books. Now, that you can walk into any respectable US bookstore or amazing library and see Pratchett proudly displayed is a sure sign of evolution in my book.

And thanks to people like Gaiman, Rhianna Pratchett, Rob Wilkins, and others, Terry’s legacy is kept alive. There’s a Good Omens mini-series due to air next year while the BBC has announced that a TV series based on Ankh-Morpork’s City Watch characters is in the works.

Seeing such a flurry of new projects centered around Terry’s works is heartening as it will allow many to discover the man anew. Sadly, we do not have that man with us. So let us fire up the clacks and remember our dear friend.

“Death isn’t on line. If he was, there would be a sudden drop in the death rate. Although it’d be interesting to see if he’d post things like: DON’T YOU THINK I SOUND LIKE JAMES EARL JONES?”
(Image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)


Terry Pratchett
1948 – 2015
“One day I’ll be dead and THEN you’ll all be sorry.”


Stolen Time Sunday

It’s 20:00 EDT as I sit down to write this. The D means “Damnit!” as we all tried to figure out whether we Spring Forward or Fall Back asleep. I know I could use that lost hour. I could spend it reading Proust’s À La Recherche du Temps Perdu. I’ve never read it before and I should like to before any further time passes. Regardless, whomever thought Daylight Savings Time was a good idea should be rounded up and shot. Okay, maybe not shot but someone should be outside of their bedroom every night playing “Flight of the Bumblebee” on a tuba. Which reminds me of a bad pun that I just made up…

Q: Can we do this?
A: Of Korsakov

I should stick to limericks.

If Proust is not to your liking, a much easier and quicker read can be found with this Harlan Ellison classic: Paladin of the Lost Hour.

– Doing It –

It’s been noted — by the Author hisself as well as others — that I have fallen off the Happy Wagon, that I am spending too much time in my head and being “too much the artiste, Herr Case”. This is true. I’ve been in a slightly worried state, finances being what they are and external stresses dribbling into existence. I’ve let them run off with my Fun and Creativity. As a result, I’ve slacked off the path and got my wheel stuck in a muddy gulch. No, I’ve not been a happy camper.

To remedy this, I’ve hard started my creativity up again, writing up to 2,000 word per day and working on a few other things like making disturbing doodles like this.

A doodle of some odd things I've created, including a spiderwoman, a zombie face, and a guy on a cross complaining that his foot itches.

Some days, this is where my eyes go. Then I take it into MS Paint and give it a good Paint Bucketing.

Additionally, I’m writing “1,000 shitty stories” (aka finessing my craft) so that I can submit and be published. We’ll see where that road takes me.

– What I’m Listening To –

I recently downloaded the BBC Radio app to my Android. I did it in anticipation of listening to the Hexagonal Phase of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but I’ve wandered off the plains and have been enjoying BBC Radio 3, as well as Radio 4 and 4 Extra. I used to listen to this crap all of the time on my laptop or computer, so it’s nice that I can now carry these stations around with me where ever I roam. Outside of a few very valued and valuable public radio stations here in the Queen City, our radio choices are either weak shit, runny shit, coiled shit, or shit sandwiches. I quite enjoy having intelligent radio.

– Neil Gaiman Is My Funk Daddy –

One of the things that significantly jump started this new bend was going to see the glorious Neil Gaiman speak this past Thursday. I know he’s very popular and tickets run out fast whenever he speaks at a venue but if you do get the opportunity, go see this man. Aside from being an amazing writer, he has a very subtle energy that inspires one to go and do incredible things. Take, for instance, his commencement speech at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in 2012.

As he says, making good art is difficult but when the work is done, the results can be mesmerizing. One piece of art I recently created was a writeup of the evening’s events on the Cincinnati Bloggers page, which you can read here.

So there you go, my advice to you is to make good art.

– Cincinnati Eats –

Unwilling to spend all day today stuck inside making good art, I venture into town for a very late breakfast/late lunch/pretty much on time dinner at Skyline. Forget all of the bad things you’ve heard about Cincinnati chili. The naysayers and detractors simply have no poetry in their heart or love in their soul for a regional dish that warms your body as much as it nourishes your hunger. Yes, Cincinnati chili isn’t traditional chili, which is why it is so misunderstood. It’s a Greek-inspired meat sauce drizzled over spaghetti and topped with cheese. Some get it with beans and/or onions. To me, it is ambrosia. If you’re ever in Cincinnati, allow yourself this delicacy.

Afterwards, I stopped at the nearby Aglamesis Brothers. Say what you will about Cincinnati’s German history, its culinary roots appear to be in Greece. And while Oprah Winfrey has done all she can to promote that other Cincinnati ice cream establishment, many locals rave about this humble little ice cream parlor and candy shop.

With that, I’ll leave you with a photo of my scoop of Chocolate Almond and Pistachio ice cream.

Two scoops of ice cream, chocolate almond and pistachio, from Aglamesis Brothers.

Chocolate Almond and Pistachio. The nuts make it healthy

Yes, it was delicious.

Why am I choosing this path at the moment?

We can look at ourselves as being the beneficiary of random events, that the whorls and waves of our everyday consciousness seemingly mingle with others’ everyday consciousness just by random happenstance. Or perhaps we’re fated to do the things we do in this reality, that our every step has been predetermined and we’re merely playing a role. I prefer the field in the middle, maybe it’s fate, maybe it’s chaos. Coincidences happen and some define that as synchronicity. Fated Chaos?

Nah, that sounds silly. In truth, we do have bodily limitations so there is an aspect of fate involved. However, there are those brilliant chunks of oddness that drop through the ceiling and that’s what we call Life. I’m woolgathering on this, folks, so be patient here.

Lately, I’ve taken the path toward Chaos Magic — as has well been documented already. The downside to this is that I’ve slacked off practice, reading, and writing these things out because, damnit, I lost a job again.

Yep. No employment right now and there’s been this rock on my head, a gigantic granite Should rock, squishing out the good feelings and aspirations for this year of our Lady Discord 3184. I should’ve known Eris might take a whack at my metaphorical shins and I didn’t prepare but, oh well, here we are. There’s an enormous sense of responsibility that I feel to find something, to Pay My Way in this horrible late-stage Capitalism Hell we’re suffering. There’s a lingering Calvinist tumor that hasn’t been scooped out of my head, no matter how many times I’ve tried to carve it out through meditation, exercise, ritual, or dance.

It’s not as if lack of employment has taken off with my sense of identity. I was never My Job. If anything, I’m defined by how I live, not from where I draw a paycheck. What defines me, then, has to come from a deeper concept than that. I write, I have fun, I very much value fun, I love to learn new things, I eat, sleep, masturbate way too much for a man my age, goof around on the Internet, do things that amaze my friends and family, and, for right now, am looking for that happy medium between career and life (however that is defined by me and me alone).

This has to be leading somewhere. My hope, my desire, and my goal is to make it a magical journey in every sense. The tools I need are both within me and without me. Magic and Creativity are the paths I take from this point, then. As ol’ Aleister Crowley put it:

One must find out for oneself, and make sure beyond doubt, who one is, what one is, why one is […] Being thus conscious of the proper course to pursue, the next thing is to understand the conditions necessary to following it out. After that, one must eliminate from oneself every element alien or hostile to success, and develop those parts of oneself which are specially needed to control the aforesaid conditions. (Magick, Liber ABA, Book 4)

What this means is, I cannot fall back on just blazing up and playing Skyrim all day, though that’s not a bad way to spend a day. Nor does it mean that I have to settle for a menial job that keeps me just above broke, unable to pay off debts that I’ve accrued these last few years, and surly at having sold myself for so cheap.

This path requires enormous will and responsibility on my part. I will need strength, conscience, and humor to guide me through this.

Am I going to be that guy? Or am I fated to remain in this life of quiet desperation awaiting in fear of the next pitfall? These are questions that cannot be answered in a single blog post. If I’m honest with myself, there’s a softness to my resolve. That needs to go away. Challenges can’t just slide by with me cowering under a blanket.


Building the Framework

1/14/18 or 16th Chaos, 3184

In terms of date keeping, like data, I think it’s always good to keep a backup just in case things get really weird.

Since my New Year’s Day Initiation Ritual, I’ve seen quite a lot of synchronicity, patterns, or otherwise signposts along the way. I’ve seen cats appear and disappear. Hell, I even mused that in the Charlie Daniels Band song, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”, Johnny loses the challenge the moment that he accepts it, because the Devil appeals to Johnny’s pride as the best fiddler in these here part. A fiddle of gold as a prize for beating the Devil? Haha, no sir. The Devil always has an out and he has Johnny’s soul. But then, mere days later, this tweet pops up on my timeline:


I don’t know about you but I can see Charlie Daniels accepting a fight against the Illuminati and not coming out with the Golden Apple, let alone the Golden Fiddle.

As the days continued, so did the sense of synchronicity. And the artifacts kept coming. As attentive as I have always been to making patterns and seeing connections, even these were getting quite unnerving, and it reached a point to where I actually confessed to a friend, “I’m responsible for manifesting Charlie Daniels in the common unconscious.”

The trick is to discern that which is a Profound Truth and that which is a Hot Take. This game needs a streaker to disrupt the play on the field.

It’s odd when you  contact the universe and it decides to take the call. Now, I feel like we’re back to playing phone tag but that’s okay because what I’ve learned so far is enough to keep me busy until we chat again.

What I’ve learned so far is this:

    • I am a writer and I was put here to write. I have stories to tell, real ones and mythic ones and fables and technical support and all that it entails.
    • I want to tell the story of the Orangutan family, the connections I’ve felt with these intelligent, yet severely endangered entities: Bornean, Sumatran, and the recently discovered Tapanuli. Arboreal wizards.
    • That we are all experience the same moment but in different subjective viewpoints.
    • That when you need to make the change, you will either get the Nudge, the Shove, or the Boot to the Ass. Sometimes, you have to jump off that ledge and know that you’ll fly.
    • That my mythic essence is for real and that I have to be both the Gentleman and the Beast, not parcel it out when its convenient for others.
    • That I am loving myself now, that I’m not perfect and I’m not expected to be by the people who have my better interests at heart. I can have that torrid love affair and know that I’m really not alone.
    • That I am.
    • That if you put it out there, it will get noticed.
    • That we’re all in this together and that I have a need for compassion and empathy, you have the same needs, and even They have the same needs. The goal is to make this second nature.
    • That maybe the half-orc barbarian I have always been doesn’t mean that I also can’t be a half-orc wizard, ranger, or bard.
    • That OOK means many things, but it’s not an excuse to be rude or intolerable.
      • What does OOK mean? I’ll tell you another time, but there’s a hint in my last post.

There’s more but I don’t want to get bogged down in list making right now. Suffice to say, what I am to do is this…

To write, to create interesting brain pictures for the reader. To learn to do something with all of the apples in my fridge. Oh, what snarky Gen X patois can I put on this to make it palatable? I don’t even remember anything so far as speech or slang. I remember at the time being caught up in the ideas of Shoulds and Should Nots, which is why I’ve been doing the things I’m doing now. Making up for lost time? Fitting all the fun I missed out on and jamming it in with the fun I’m having now? Is that even measurable? Who knows.

For now, there are books to read and rites to perform and gratitudes to be noted. This is scary, it is challenging, and it is humbling. But it’s also gratifying, warm, and positive. There are lessons to be learned.

In the meantime, as my friend David says, have all the fun you can.

There’s a Lot of Work to Be Done

Last Monday, otherwise known in Western Culture as New Year’s Day of 2018/3184, was a rather substantial day for me filled with profound and profoundly positive insights. While I won’t go into the exact details, initiation rites, inciting events, art, monologues, music, etc., it has left me distinctly changed and with a sense of identity.

Such as it is, I have aligned myself with the BeaST, the Magical Orangutan. See below.

One. Our. Kind. A work in progress

Okay, that’s more of a sigil than anything, but it’s my branding and I’m digging it. Oh, and more on the Magical Orangutan idea when I get around to figuring it out myself.

Towards the tail end of 2017, I put in work towards becoming a Chaos Magician. That link will take you to Gordon White, not a definition of CM but it’s as good a place as any to get a looksee. My intent through all of this was to Just Do It, Now or Never, Git’er Done. The years that I’ve spent refusing My True Self, denying doing what I’m doing here in this reality now because it’s all entropy, right? was a belligerent refusal to put in work, or being around people/environments who were receptive to what I wanted to achieve.

I feel a profound sense of freedom from that past as well as a muffling of the Trickster negative voice who always wants to cry Skeptic! Bullshit! Materialism! For long time readers, this is a significant threshold.


I’m not totally solved now, and there is so much more to do. I have rituals to perform, love to make, books to read, minds to peace. But what I do know is this… I write. I write well. I have an nigh endless supply of notebooks, but not infinite. Sitting here writing, journaling to Balinese Gamelan music is what I like doing.

Profoundly positive and profound.