And here we are. the pod and direct download are both still a bit prone to go 404, but if you try either a few times in succession it should work.

  I will polish the rough edges off this system in short order, but I’m sure you’re all clever enough to find your way around it for now.

  As to content, well, you’ll perhaps find  me faltering in my speech, awkward with the mic, and painfully earnest, but i think I get the point across. In retrospect, perhaps I shouldn’t have tried to compose my thoughts in real-time.  

  This is not truly the end of the series mind you, merely a change of form and substance. In fact, new material should come with even greater regularity, as it’s much easier for me to rant for half an hour than hunch over a keyboard pecking away for two days.

  But enough for now, I’m already thinking of the next one. For simplicity’s sake keep the comments here if you can.

   Having come to the end, change. Having changed, pass through

13 thoughts on “Alchemy for the Braindamaged XX: To Stand at the Edge of the World

  1. hey zac,

    Just listened to your post. Good stuff. Definitely more rambling than your written posts. Might help to have an outline in front of you, or just a list of points to hit…or not, whatever. Will definitely listen to it a couple of more times. It might be easier for you to get your thoughts out there in audio, but it’s definitely more difficult for me not being able to go back and reread something I thought was insightful. I’ll deal.

    Also, wondering if you had a public email or something. The latter part of the…post?,,,talk?…podcast?…whatever it’s called…reminded me of something I wrote a few years ago. Nothing much, just a couple of paragraphs…not something I really want to post in a comment section, though. It would be cool to get your take on it. You got my email if you have one.

    Be Good,


  2. oh, i’m well aware i lost the plot in a couple places. i did have a few points in front of me to hit, but i expect i’ll get better with practice. I’ve already thought of a few ways to tighten things up.

    I actually considered redoing some or all of it, it but the in-the-moment flow is hard to replicate when you’re looking at fourty five minutes of talking. I decided to go with it as is and document the learning process instead. I want to build confidence in my ability to improvise speech, so what you hear is what i’ve done.

    it should be relatively easy to jump around in the track if you’re using the standard players, if you need to relisten to something.

    and inevitably, it’s a different kind of experience. that’s part of the point. I’m seeing what translates better across media or not. i’m also curious to see how people process it differently or not. i strongly suspect that I’ll be getting a much different audience from this type of thing. I’ll be mixing the text and audio from time to time as well. you can’t read mcluhan without become more conscious of how streaming audio, electronic text, and pasted visuals each affect the mind.

  3. Hi Zac,

    Great stuff! I just checked out the Power Hour on your recommendation–also excellent, but I enjoyed yr talk every bit as much.

    Listening, I thought about the significance of time for groups of people, then and now.

    Since people are able to conceptualize things like Past and Future, the role of a storyteller becomes especially important; they help manage all the attendant anxieties and hopes that come with the understanding that something ELSE (or maybe the exact same thing) is gonna happen tomorrow, and the day after, etc.

    Just helping people deal with this (kinda awful) human ability to project past Right Now
    would be enough to keep a good storyteller around.

    Applying your idea, I can see history and prophecy stories as processes of going “there” (past, future) and bringing something (narrative) back for everyone else.

    1 quick recording tip:
    acquire a nylon stocking/knee-high/whatever. stretch it over a wire coathanger and set the contraption up between you and the mic (closer to the mike than to you). this’ll keep those boomy “p” and “b” sounds from being so loud and give you that Studio Pro sound for cheap!

  4. I actually just listened to show 50 by the vikings and it touches on some of the same shamanic type stuff i mentioned as well.

    thanks for the mic tip. i think i was holding it a bit to close to my nose mostly, but i’ll try it.

  5. Yea, i agree. No need to redo anything. It doesn’t have to be perfect right out the gate…hell, it isn’t even suppposed to be perfect right out the gate. If you don’t walk before you run you end up breaking a leg.

    I’m also curious as to how I’ll take audio rather than text. In the first case it seemed more…informal, like we’re sitt’n around having a beer. In the second case it seemed more…trash sci-fi/cyberpunk underground radio (not the talk itself, the experience of listening). I need to download it onto a player and go listen under a damn overpass or someth’n. Psst. Someone’s spill’n the secrets all over the Net…you gotta hear this…


  6. it’s definitely more difficult for me not being able to go back and reread something I thought was insightful. I’ll deal.

    Zac, I don’t know if you’re familiar with this advice commonly given regarding public speaking?

    1)Tell them what you’re going to tell them
    2) Tell them
    3) Tell them what you told them

    This might help aid retention. Anyway, I feel sort of bad about giving advice since I thought the podcast was quite good, but I thought this might help if you’re interested in making the information more easily retained.

  7. Oh, and speaking of audio v. text… it was odd how intimate the podcast experience was. I listened to it on my headphones just lying back relaxing in my room. It gives the feeling of you talking right in my ears… very strange.

  8. Exactly Saak! isn't it interesting how the undercurrent of all cyberpunk fiction is the resurgence of tribalism ala mcluhan. ie; how the cyber environment recreates all this shamanic depth involvement resonance. this is exactly the sort of thing i was curious to see. same with kylark too.

    speaking of whom, no harm in the advice, thank you. In some sense devices like that are meant to impose print-related conventions on speech, so that print heads can assimilate the spoken word. awfully back-asswards in some ways innit? I'm sort of consciously going the opposite way with this cycle of doings. It'll be more clear after the next one, i think.

    …no reason why it ought not to be done by saturday, btw.

    and isn't it odd how only one person has mentioned anything about the content, yet? mute agreement or speech-text translation chasm?

  9. Ok, ok, you fuck’n sold me. I’m gonna go out and buy some Mcluhan tomorrow. Just need to look over your old posts and see which is a good primer/intro.

    And your dead-on about the content/medium gap. I had never thought about it before, but when I hear something I instinctually want to reply verbally, immediately. A written reply tends to be more analyzed and thought-out, a step removed. It feels odd, for me anyway, replying a step-removed to the immediate.

    “it gives the feeling of you talking right in my ears…”

    Ha! I don’t think I know zac well enough to have him whispering sweet nothings in my ear…maybe I’ll stick with my computer speakers for now…

  10. Honestly, I expected there to be more blood coming out of my speakers, not a soft-spoken gentleman. Good job. I have been toying with a mic and found that it takes me much in the way of rehearsal and sound-editing to get pleased with something, then fall asleep, wake up, listen again, and kick myself for the errors and oversights.

    It is difficult to text-comment on audio, however, I’d actually have to grab the headphones again.

    As an unrelated aside, wasn’t it rumored that Hitler used occult techniques during his speeches personally, and not just through use of the spectacle? “Magick” is performance art that points the mind at something, after all.

  11. the blood comes later. i promise.

    and it is a bit of a gut check. i have years and years of public speaking under my belt, but in cases like that you can pace the crowd and meander a bit. when it’s just you and the mic you have to suck it up and compose your thoughts cold

    i dunno if hitler was much of an ‘occultist’ per se, so much as charismatic puppet of archetypal forces. however, mcluhan felt quite strongly that the hitler phenomena was a result of radio and the explosive tribalistic energy it evokes. there was, of course, much borrowing of older pagan motifs and whatnot.

    and thank you for the hitler comparison, much sooner than i was expecting. well done.

  12. Zac: You’ve been Godwinized!

    I’d be interested to hear about your experience in public speaking. Was it in a former life? For a job? As a teacher?

    Saaket – for McLuhan I can unreservedly recommend “Culture is our Business.” A good read that will re-wire your mind almost without you noticing. For fun goodness, read back-to-front!

  13. I’ve sort-of been teaching martial arts for about six years, for groups of various sizes, although i’ve been backing away from that lately. I only started in the first place cause my teacher at the time had a nervous breakdown and left me holdign the bag. but it’s hard enough to learn yourself without trying to teach somebody else.
    but in any event that’s where i get my practice from: shouting at a bunch of guys who want to hit me with sticks, for a couple hours every week.
    It also comes up rather a lot in my buddhist classes, which i don’t teach, but almost did. it’s amazing how poorly most people compose their thoughts and articulate them verbally. must have been all the years i spent on role playing games.
    outed as a nerd!!! and a nazi!!!

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