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No More POP!

At first glance, this may look like it’s going to be a post about the fact that I found my old pop filter, and am employing it again in home use, thereby aiding in the elimination of extra-poppiness in my recordings.  (Oh, by the way, I found my old pop filter, and I’m again employing it in home use). Ahem. But no, this post is about how I’ve radically changed my eating habits, namely cutting out about 90% of my sugar intake, refined or otherwise. The main way I’ve achieved this is by the cessation of consumption of pop. Or, “coke”. Or, soda. Whatever. The only soda I have any more is, sometimes, one 8 oz. Red Bull in the morning, and that usually comprises most of my sugar intake for the day. (27 grams, for the curious). Why? Well, it was weird… I was a pescetarian… mainly vegan, actually, and I was in terrible shape. My skin looked crappy and dull, my body was starting to get oh-so-pudgy, and may weight was approaching 200 pounds! What the shit?! Granted, I’m 6’3″, so it’s easy for me to kinda “hide” that kinda weight, but still, I wasn’t really fooling anybody. I needed to finally shed some fucking serious weight, and for good. I knew what I had to do, and I didn’t want to face it, because it would be one of the hardest struggles of my life. Why? Because, like so many other people, I’ve grown up on a very sugary diet… except, to be honest, probably much worse. If I could catalog for you what I used to eat in a typical day, you’d be surprised, not by the actual amount of food, but by the number of grams of sugar… Let me put it to you like this: The World Health Organization recommends consumption of about 50 grams of sugar a day… I… was having… I figure… oh… about 200-300 grams of sugar a day. There’s no way I wasn’t on the way to diabetes, unless I have like, Super Liver or something. My vision was extra crappy, I had terrible mood and energy swings, and I was simply listless and unmotivated, more and more so, all the time. Very much unlike me. So, I started, and I mean hardcore, cold turkey. I totally did a flip-flop with my diet. I increased the grams of protein in my diet massively, concurrently obliterating the amount of sugar I took in, massively. Most days, I now have about 50-100 grams of protein in a day, and I hover between about 10-40 grams of sugar.

Is it easy? Hell no. Do I see results? Hell yes. Even without my glasses, my vision has improved, I’ve almost completely stopped getting atphous sores (what many call cankor sores) in my mouth and on my tongue, and my face looks more alert and alive. Also, my energy is way more even, and I never get that “bottoming out” feeling of shakiness and my blood running cold, which is indicative of a sugar crash. And yes, about 13 pounds have fallen off of my frame. So, I feel I’ve made some good decisions, and so far, even over the Christmas holidays, I’ve managed to stick with low sugar consumption. And yes, I do still get some sugar from natural sources, but not much. And I’ve literally cut ALL the refined crap out of my diet. There are many things I miss, for no good reason other than a psychological addiction, but miss them I do. The crazy cravings have fallen away, and so have the headaches, but there’s still that nagging sugar demon in my head trying to get me to eat the wrong stuff. I have a feeling even he’ll be quiet too, eventually. Until then, my Will is strong.

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

It all began with a migraine. Ya know those cloying, creeping kind that are borne of caffeine withdrawal? They start from the back of your head, right where your addict’s neck meet’s your fool’s head, and start to creep over the top, cresting in mild pain and the sense that nausea might not be too far down the road? Luckily, my migraines are very much of a mild variety, and I feel them setting in soon enough to get a hold of them and nip them in the proverbial bud before they can wreak too much misery upon my senses. And so it was last night. I took a combination caffeine/ pain pill, put some Reiki music on on Spotify, and lay in the dark.

Here’s where shit got fun, though.

As my pain started to slowly subside, I started doing a brain drain, a mind-defrag, a bit of a purge of toxins from my thinking space. I do this every so often, especially when I have a room to myself. This time was a bit different, however, mainly because of the palpable nature of the visions I started having.

First, there was what I’ve come to think of as a “great severing” or “great banishing”. All this nastiness from my past, everything I’d ever regretted, felt ashamed of, felt stupid about, been afraid of, etc. would pop up, and then a voice would say “it’s gone”. As in “I fucked up that audition horribly that one time”… “yeah? well that’s gone.” And it would disappear, poof. And one by one, I’d cut and cut and cut away at shit from my past, leaving a cleaner slate in front of me.

Then, further, I began to cut away at sugary-sweet nostalgia. I began to think of all the memories of my past that I used as a crutch, as small mental dope fixes, former glories, highs, and “achievements” I’d pat myself on the back with when I was feeling pathetic, instead of willful. I made up my mind that I’d keep everything lovely from the past on reserve, for reference or in times of dire need, but that otherwise, the past was gone and good riddance. The beautiful parts of my past, just as the horrific ones, had to be purged and forgotten for me to have a truly clean slate ahead of me. How could I move forward willfully and effectively if I always either fretted over or reveled in the past?

When the Great Severing was finished, I then just began to let my mind wander and start doing its thing. I allowed my mind to start conjuring whatever visions it would, and I would “sit back and watch the show”, as it were, without judgement or hyper-analysis.

Once I gave my mind this permission, all sorts of facial patterns began to appear before me, projecting themselves on the screens of my eyelids as they lay closed for the receiving of the healing and calm I’d achieve from my respite. The faces ranged from demonic, to hyper-artistic, to cliche’s of what “this face” or “that face” should look like,  to just very plain, ordinary faces. They would morph, one face into another, into another, in fairly smooth, but rapid sequence.

From there, the visions started to disassemble a bit, to come apart like molecules experiencing degeneration.

But along with all this came about 95% relief from the migraine, and a much clearer head about how to move forward with my life.

So… lesson?

Yeah, I should mediate more often.

 

 

At The Closing Of The Year

I know, it’s been ages since I’ve written here. I’m not proud of that. I believe regular writing is one of the hallmarks of an active, healthy mind. And while I could make many excuses as to why I haven’t written, I won’t, as such words would waste my time and the time of anybody reading this blog.

-end ultra-seriousness-

I feel like I have to summarize, to look back and to reminisce a bit about 2011, not because I so much believe in the human invention of “time”, but because I feel it is good to take stock of what one has or hasn’t been doing with one’s life from time to time, and why not use a made up “end of the year” for just such a taking of stock?

A few really huge things happened to/ for/ around me in 2011. First, the continuation of the most sane, healthy loving relationship I’ve been in should be mentioned. Richard and I entered our second year of partnership together, and while that term may sound a bit “business-like”, I believe it’s one of the ultimate compliments that can be bestowed upon a relationship, for what better thing for a relationship to be than a true partnership? Richard started graduate school, advanced his career at Montrose Counseling Center, and now has progressed as a Thelemite and as a member of the EGC, or Eclessia Gnostica Catholica, and is in fact officiating his first Thelemic Wedding in but eight days.

Richard and I (along with newly-acquired roommate Anthony) said goodbye to the shithole that was 712 Columbia, and moved into a lovely, contemporary three-bedroom Archstone property right on the dividing line between the Heights and Montrose. Such a fantastic change! Central air, free gym, two giant pools, go figure!

Artistically, 2011 has been an incredibly busy year with some of the most extreme ups and downs my life in the arts has ever taken. First, in addition to the regular voice work I am fortunate and blessed enough to keep scoring, I started off the year in a production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as Leaf Coneybear. Maybe due to the shows surprisingly complex score, and the fact that it was light fare tinged with just the right amount of cynicism, this experience really ended up touching me and leaving a large impression on my psyche, that would actually play out through the coming months of the year. Also, in the spring, I played the lead in the most difficult live piece I’ve ever tackled in my life, called Asylum. This was a three-hour show, in which my character never left the stage, except transitionally, and had a line-load that could possibly make Hamlet’s head spin. It was one of the few times in my life where the cliche’ question “how did you learn ALL THOSE LINES?” actually sounded rational. It was an exhausting ordeal, a trial, an initiation, and an amazing experience. I was also given accolades in the form of great reviews and even a local award for either best actor or best performance or some such… Anyway, it was an important milestone for me, as I’ve tackled large, difficult roles, but nothing like Gary in Asylum. I also gained new voiceover clients, and even voiced a couple of leads in Anime again, as dubbing has picked up again over at Aesir Media.

And of course, I must speak of one of the great heartbreaking debacles of my life, Aeon Theatrix. A… I suppose I should say former friend of mine and I tried… to start a theatre company… ( god it feels weird writing about this )…  It really ended up being three of us, two of which ( myself included ) were strictly involved with the Artistic side of the operation. Almost everything was in place. We had great buzz, had very successful auditions, had assembled some of the strongest casts that could be imagined for the shows we’d chosen, and I was set to direct two of these shows, both of which I knew, KNEW I was going to hit out of the park, especially with the talent we had. But, due to… what? I don’t know, in the end, exactly what happened, still… There are certain words I can’t use because they are too accusatory, or inflammatory, and I don’t keep this blog to bad mouth anyone, but… I’ll just say that money was mismanaged and not properly raised. Not nearly enough was raised, that’s for sure. So much happened so fast, and so much of it was good, that we the artists either did not or could not see the financial shitstorm that was brewing, and before our first production could even make it past week one of rehearsals, the entire thing crumbled, fell to the ground, shattered, and dissolved, taking with it the hearts, hopes and dreams of about thirty individuals. For my part, I was near catatonia for about a week. I shut myself in my bedroom and didn’t speak to anybody except Richard. Everything felt like effort, even getting out of bed. I felt as if a part of me had been ripped from my body and thrown into a grinder. It was like the worst breakup of my life. I was emotionally and mildly physically sick with the whole turn of events.

But

from these ashes must rise a Phoenix, and it seems that everybody involved, as far as I know, has moved on to something else, and I hope to something greater and more fulfilling than the failure we drug them, and ourselves, through.

My voice work has picked up, and there are great theatrical opportunities on the rise. I’m excited. Aeon is behind me, but remains a scar on my psyche that may never fully disappear.

As the year turned darker and cooler, things intensified for me spiritually, as well. I’ve had some great times with the OTO, including one very special Jupiterian ritual that  amounted to a fantastic night with Brothers and Sisters in Austin.  Lest I forget… I also, in 2011, became an Honored Guest of the OTO, taking my Minerval this past summer. An amazing experience that I unfortunately cannot write about, except to say that it left an indelible mark on me, and whether or not I go ahead with the Order itself, I feel a little more touched by Magick and the 93 Current, and I know I’m a better, more whole person because of the experience.

And now, as 2011 is but hours away from ending, I’m in the middle of a full career revivification, I’ve completely changed my diet to one of low sugar and high protein, things with Richard are fantastic, and even though I totaled our car but a week ago, we already have a new (and arguably better) one, so I say goodbye to, and make my peace with, the Ford, and move forward into 2012 with the Kia as my conveyance.

I sense in 2012 a great amount of manifesting, discovery, happiness and joy unparalleled. And I wish this for all, even if you’re a supporter of Ron Paul and watch Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory show!

93s and big love!

Coldspired

Make me a temple to bow in, to work in, with pentagrams and all the richest colours of the earth. Let it be adorned with bells and candleholders of brass, with wall sconces to inspire the senses. Let its windows be festooned with yellow, the colour of air. Let from its center water flow, in a font, and above this font let there hang a bowl-shaped candle which burns, always during ritual, representing fire. Let the scents therein be rose, sandalwood, sage and citrus. Let all rituals be modern and fresh, always with a nod of respect to the Ancients. Let the temple be always cold, thereby better stimulating the brain, enlivening the skin, bracing the face, sharpening the eyes for scrying, seeing, or crying. Let there be laughter, tears, joy and power emanating from this temple, and may it serve Will and Love as long as it stands.

When the Air Smells This Good

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

 

Awaking to a rainstorm, all fat and puffy with low-hanging, wet clouds, dumping their glory on the too-dry ground, I smile. I know that the rain is a sign, an omen. Indeed, it has proven so. The air is fresh and cool, and smells like nostalgia and ecstasy. I have been so, so very buys as of late, and Thanksgiving will provide me with a bit of a respite. I have been basically ignoring this blog for how busy I’ve been. Quite amazing. I do believe I’ve narrated three audiobooks in the past three weeks. Quite a feat, I say, without being modest. Modesty is for jerks…. okay, not really. Modesty has its place. I’m also reading about seven books right now, and I’ll give updates on all of them as I actually progress through them. May all of you have a glorious holiday weekend!

 

93, 93/93

I begin recording a new book tomorrow, Nikolski, about three Quebecois coming of age in Canada, and whose lives, somehow, all end up intermingling. I haven’t yet read the whole manuscript, so I’m not sure the exact secret yet. Anyway, the thing I’m loving about this book, so far, is the fact that it’s that kind of prose that reads like poetry. Like Victor Hugo, or Pat Conroy. That kind of prose that sweeps you away into an airy ocean of ecstasy, and before you know it you’ve damn near missed the story for all the beautiful words, so perfectly strung together. Hopefully I’ll get a lot done tomorrow, for then I’m taking two days off to go have fun and be spiritual in Austin.

May you all have a good night.

 

 I believe that the reason I narrate the way I do, is my willingness to believe in altered states.

What do I mean by “the way I do” ? Well,  I have a reputation of being a beast of a narrator. I’m fast, efficient, and if most of my own press it to be believed, fairly good. I chalk this up to two things: using the gift the Universe saw fit to bestow upon me, and treating acting ritualistically. On a good day, when I’m really ready to rock, I literally approach the text on the screen in front of me, the story that must be told, and the characters who need a voice, all as a part of a great ritual that I’m participating in for as long as I’m working.When I enter this state, I can narrate pages at a time without a flub, the characters’ voices come to me with no difficulty, and I can see the text far before my mouth needs to speak it. It is, to me, an altered state. The storytelling pours forth from me, naturally as walking or exercising. Is it still work? Yes, but barely. Does it still tire me out? Yes, but the reward is great, and the process of reaching that reward is eased by the altered state I’m in. This could all be some giant game or trick I play with/ on myself. But, it works.

To learn more about this approach to acting, or at least the core of where I got this idea from, check out this awesome book.

 

I’ve been a bad, bad naughty blogger! Ignoring my blog, not blogging enough, not putting my all into it, and such.

Okay, actually I’ve just been working a lot, though I don’t really find that a fair excuse, as I believe blogging should be done daily, like a discipline, a routine that routinely tunes, fine-tunes, re-tunes and hones the mind. The way we put words together can be the difference between sheer beauty and abject ugliness. At least, I think so, sometimes. Sound confused? Yeah, I am. I mean, I’m not always sure that things just aren’t in a constant state of flux on this plane of existence, and if that is the case, what are the constants? Love, Spirit, Identity, Magick, Ego, and most importantly Will. But even all those nouns are not nouns I’m absolutely sure of. Identity, for example, seems a bit of a malleable thing, really. And many occultniks would tell me that “Ego” is a big “no-no” in the first place, much less something we should consider a constant in our lives. To that I say two things: One, that I think myself and many of the armchair occultniks are speaking of different things when we use the word Ego, and that second, even if we are agreeing on the noun, I believe it is next-to-impossible to shed oneself of the go in this incarnation, especially with the distractions of our hyper-technolyzed society. I’m not saying it’s impossible to cross the Abyss in this life time… I’m just not even sure we’re meant to. No, I’m not “questioning” or “refuting” the Golden Dawn, or Crowley, or any other branch of initiatory Occultism. I just think that we possibly live in such a time now that crossing the abyss in a single incarnation may not be possible. May not even be a necessity. Why? Why do I think this? I don’t really know. It’s on the tip of my brain, but I can’t really bring it to fruition in verbage right now. I think, beyond everything being so immediate and electronic, there are other issues, as it were. Perhaps one of them being the fact that we are different beings right now. Is it even possible, maybe, that the climbing of the Tree of Life, that Magical journey from Malkuth to Kether, should not always be the aim of Magick? Probably not, but I’m allowed to ask, right? I mean, maybe there are entirely different constructs to consider. Maybe. But who am I? An actor. I’m not a great occultist. I do not devote my life to Ceremonial Magick and occultism, to spirituality. I am a Thelemite, but not a full-time magician, so perhaps my queries are irrelevant, even almost to myself. But still, I think if one has questions, one must ask them, and must seek answers. There’s a reason questions arise.

Today

I woke up, very early, after not a great night of sleep. Something “disagreed” with my lower intestinal system. Ah, well. I took Richard to UH for Grad School, then came back and did some ritual work. Not long after, my engineer Cesar, he of Watermark Audio, told me he was ready to begin work on the audiobook (Switchback) for the day, and thus we began. We knocked out about two hours’ worth of work, equaling about 45 pages of narration. Really good read. Having a fun time with this one, as I don’t often get to do sort of “adult thriller” stuff. I think, however, today is a day of writing, and I need to get plugging away on Blood Scene, if I’m going to finish it any time before 2012. Please, Kyle Ryan fans, be patient. I’m a buuuusy dude! Kyle is not forgotten, rest assured.

later!

Anybody who knows the least little bit about my interests on the pop culture spectrum knows that I love the horror genre, in almost all its permutations. For most of my life, I’ve even been a pretty vocal fan of Stephen King. I don’t know the exact count, but I think I can safely say that I’ve read, at the very least, forty of his titles. This, of course, includes the King classics Pet Sematary, The Shining, and The Stand, but also some of his more obscure, not-so-popular titles such as Duma Key, Cell, Under the Dome, and my favorite, Bag of Bones. I think King is probably one of the stronger, if not the strongest, of the modern, prolific storytellers. I add the “prolific” qualifier because there are some very fine authors out there who have written but a handful of books, but each one stands as a sort of testament to genius and gorgeously seductive prose. But, as has been said before, King may very-well be the 20th and 21st century Dickens, or Poe, or Mark Twain. His writing is varied, his characters are some of the most relate-able in modern fiction, and the guy, like him or not, can make you turn some pages… fast!

Sometimes, though, his darkness discourages me. It’s not that I’m chiding his darkness, for we all have our shadow selves, and Mr. King has been a master at invoking his Shadow Stephen to great effect throughout his career, but the four tales that make up Full Dark, No Stars are specifically meant to be explorations into the dark side of the animal human. And boy does it get rough. I can’t say this is an actual review, because I haven’t yet finished the fourth story, though I’m nearing the end game. How it will play out, I’m not really sure. One thing these stories haven’t been is predictable. I will say, though, that in true King fashion, the guy is not the greatest closer around. I mean, he can write an ending, but for me, he rarely makes an ending SING. And, oddly enough to some, I guess, I’m okay with that. For me, the great joy in reading is all about the build-up, and the getting to know the characters, and watching everything coalesce. It is not, however, all about the resolving actions directly after what may or may not properly be called “the climax”. So, again, King gets a pass there.

What I can’t forgive about this collection is how unrelentingly dark it is. How pessimistic, how very ugly and almost nihilistic in tone. The pop psychology theorists would probably state that this is a book of novellas that properly reflects the psyche of the American and Western European mind right now, what with the fair amount of civil and monetary unrest we are collectively experiencing. Call me a pussy, but, sometimes in “hard times”, I’d just rather read something entertaining, even if it is a bit on the side of fluff. And please don’t misunderstand, I LOVE a good scare. But this goes below and beyond that. This is true, murky, dirty darkness. This is grotesqueness on parade, like a drag show comprised of talentless trannies on heroin. And ya wanna know what the real kicker is? It’s WELL-WRITTEN and compulsively readable. GRRR!

Stephen, I love you and I hate you… but mostly I love you. 🙂

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