The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…

Posts Tagged ‘Geek

Why I Love Comic Book Conventions

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I love conventions because they bring the myths of out times alive. They are like modern rituals. Here is a quote and a video that represent what I am trying to say. First the quote:

A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life. I think ritual is terribly important.

Joseph Campbell, “The Wisdom of Joseph Campbell,” New Dimensions Radio Interview with Michael Toms, Tape I, Side 2*

Now the video:

*You can find more quotes like this one by liking the Joseph Campbell Foundation on Facebook. I found the quote in their page. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/JosephCampbellFoundation/posts/10151367311751722

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Written by Hector

July 25, 2013 at 6:04 pm

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The Hugos

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I don’t know exactly when, but at some point during my career as a geek, I became aware that there was a thing called the Hugo Award, and that it looked like a rocket. The award list saved me from the endless tedium of bad science fiction. Most of my Science Fiction and fantasy reading habits are Hugo derived–I even had the opportunity to attend the Hugo Award ceremony in 2006, when Spin, by Robert Charles Willson, was the best novel. I am not going to make the ceremony this year, but I am going to read all the nominees for best novel, and for best short story. I am also going to enjoy all the dramatic presentations, in fact, I’ve already enjoyed four of them, but I’ll re-watch them, just because they were all awesome.

You can check out this year’s nominations for yourself if you want to, or go to the list itself, where you will find every novel to ever be nominated or to win a Hugo. So there, if you are looking for a good read, you can’t go astray anymore.

Written by Hector

April 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Buddha

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My brand of Buddhism is personal. I do not practice in a meditation center nor call myself a Buddhist often. I do not feel the need to have “faith in Buddha” and couldn’t care less is Gutama was a real person or a metaphor for peace of mind. I am not only willing, but actually happy to dismiss unscientific Buddhist ideas. My goal in life has very little to do with enlightenment, and more with service and enjoyment. I find that zen Buddhist ways of looking at the world have, very slowly, but very decidedly, helped me to break away from injurious emotions. I study zen as much as I can. I enjoy Brad Warner, Natalie Goldberg, and the recordings from the San Francisco Zen Center. Some day, I might get around to reading Zen and the Brain, buy in the mean time I’m happy with what I’m learning.

The four noble truths ring true in my biology, and so does the eightfold path. We are all mildly hysterical beings who could use some love and help. 

I know that zazen would really help, but I also know how to honor where I’m at. I do not meditate a lot, and I do not feel guilty about it. Instead, I try to write and to walk every day. I pay attention to my breath. I often stop my activity for a few seconds to breathe in and to enjoy being alive. I don’t drink often, but not because I feel it is wrong, I simply do not enjoy the consequences. If I ever wear prayer beads, it is because I enjoy them, not because they mean anything. I am not serious enough to wear robes, though I respect those who do it out of conviction and in service. I don’t like to associate myself with self important monks. I think wearing robes may sometimes be a form of mid life rebellion, and I think it is usually a sad one at that. My love of Japanese culture is more aesthetic and geeky than spiritual. I love Buddha figurines as much as I love my chicken piggy bank. I love people much more than both.

I hope that my mind will continue to grow, and that as long as I am patient and true, and continue to put the right effort in the right things my life will be okay–not safe or bland, but worthwile. I know that the symbols of religion are just what they are, and that practice is everything and everywhere, and it has little to do with what you call yourself. I take refuge in knowing that people can be satisfied, and loving. My life is about finding both states of mind as I exist. Grapefruits are amazing. That is why I call myself, some times, a Buddhist.

Written by Hector

December 17, 2008 at 9:47 am

The Great Escape

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Escapist fiction helps us to deal with the ennui. People read mystery, horror, science fiction, and fantasy for the same reasons. They want to forget about the world for a little while. It is almost as if fiction allowed us to dream while we are awake. I spent must of my childhood reading it, but later, as a young literature major, I despised escapist fiction, and sought the more “intellectual” and literary sort of stuff. It wasn’t until much later that I let go of my pretentiousness and rediscovered that a great world of otherworldly delights and thrills awaited me at the turn of a paperback page. The great thing about escapist stuff is that some of it goes on and on in series. To be honest, I couldn’t bring myself to read though stuff like the Wheel of Time, or Shannara. I picked these series–when I originally read them–because they all have a Hugo or a Nebula in their midst.Some of them have more than one.

There are a lot of bad series out there. I think these are the best of the best. If you want details about their respective universes just click on the links provided.  

David Brin’s Uplift Saga

This series is about human resourcefulness and about Earth pride. Brin’s work makes you proud to be a human who evolved on Earth. He deals with a lot of issues about intelligence and evolution. His stories are smart and action packed, and not without a sense of humor. Brin’s books made space operas cool again. 

The Vorkosigan Saga

Lois McMaster Bujold is the Jane Austin of science fiction and fantasy. Her science fiction universe is richly detailed. She focuses on a multi-generational adventure filled with likable characters who grow and change. 

The Chalion Saga

Once again, Lois McMster Bujold creates a world that feels real, but this time in a semi medieval fantasy setting. There are no space ships here, but the level of intrigue and spiritual search present in her universe will keep you interested though and though. 

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

Urban, vulgar, and disturbing. These books contain some of the most interesting anti heroes ever. These stories originate sword and sorcery as we know it. They have never been matched by anyone. They are complex, and exiting, but not for kids.

Dark Tower

My favorite Stephen King books. I’ve never gotten around to to finish it. Perhaps the world will end when I do. The story is in par with Leiber’s for it’s darkness and characterization. awesome! 

Mythago Wood

I’m surprised at how few people know this series. This is the one that made me fall in love with speculative fiction. 

Old Man’s War

Scazi is a pioneer of awesomeness. His stuff has been compared to Heinlein, perhaps not unfairly, but so much bad stuff is compared to Heinlein in reviews, and  so few things deserve it, that I’ll save you the comparison, but if I were to make it, I’d tell you that Scalzi can stand on his own, and that Heinlein would have been as flattered as Scalzi is by the comparison. 

So that’s that for today. No, I’m not going to include Harry Potter, or Narnia, or Ender. You all know those. I wanted to introduce new stuff. Let me know what you think if you’ve read any of these, or after you do.

Written by Hector

October 10, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Music to read Charles De Lint

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Music is one of the most awesome things in the world. It can transform you, destroy you, and inspire you. Here are some of my favorites. They take me in to a world where there is still a degree of magic behind the veil, and where there are hidden legends around every corner, or maybe just another day to walk around the block. As I wrote this list, I realized that this is the kind of music I’d like to listen to while I read good urban fantasy, like the stuff Charles De Lint writes. So burn some candles, lay back, and relax.

These are, by no means all the artists I love, but they have a folksy magic quality to them I really enjoy. I hope that you will enjoy it too.

Old Crow Medicine Show

Bluegrassy and honest, this band has an awesome “down home” feeling that reminds me of the beauty of this country. I especially like “Wagon Wheel,” and “James River Blues.” I love “I Hear them All.”

The Decemberists

Intellectual, old school, and political. This band is very poetic and literary in their selection of lyrics. They are a very nice juxtaposition to the previous band. Their instrumentation is much more European–almost British. I love “The Crane Wife” and “16 Military Wives.”

Deadman

Deep ambiance Texan music. Southwest and desert. Deadman is all of these things. They can raise your soul when it i s crushed. Their style is full of nostalgia and hope for a better tomorrow. They are a little twangy, but in a sweet way. It can be metallic too. Like everyone in this list, you have to listen to understand. I love “Mankind,” and “When the Music’s not Forgotten.”

The Paperboys

Tom Landa’s band is one of those very multicultural bands that you can tell love to perform. He does a lot of covers, but he brings his own sensitivities to them. Although I have a hard time relating to some of his lyrics, there are some, like “California,” that really, really speak to me about home. The paperboys remind me why I love life.

Jeff Ball

Deeply ceremonial and uplifting. Jeff Ball creates southwestern landscapes with every note. Although he is classified as a New Age musician he manages to overcome the saccharine tendencies of the genre by enriching his creations with acoustic instruments and performable compositions. My favorite song is “Out of the Darkness.”

Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer

They are the countriest on this list. I love them because their lyrics are intelligent and evocative. “Lancelot,” for example, combines masterful references to Arthurian lore with sad country music motifs. They are masterful folk musicians who play with words and songs with the ease of Tennyson, and the charm of Twain. “Gentle Arms of Eden” explains my spirituality. Dave Carter passed away in 2002. I’m sure the Earth will hold him forever as it moves along in the Universe.

Beirut

Different from all of the above, Beirut is what indie music would have sounded like in the twenties. Soaring voices mixed with almost humorous counterpoints and anachronistic instruments fill the heart with longing. My favorite song is “Scenic World.”

Moonshine Willy

I just discovered these guys, but I’m having a lot of fun with them. Rockabilly meet They Might Be Giants. So far I like “Eatin’ Crow.” Their album, Pecadores, is pretty cool.

Tish Hinojosa

Tish’s music is varied. Her best songs are ethereal, but not airy or cheesy. They have that southwest feeling I like so much, but her voice grounds them. I like “Beyond the Battle of Man.” I also like the classic “Eres Tu” and “Llorona”

The Wailin’ Jennys

Harmonic and uplifting. Heavily acoustic and crisp with strings. Their songd are the kind of stuff that can make you feel better about life when things are not going well. Sweet voices, and beautiful harmonies. My favorite song is “Heaven When We’re Home.”


Written by Hector

October 10, 2008 at 3:21 am

I’m Back

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After a long time of postlesness I’m coming back to my blog. I missed it and I think I’m really going to enjoy posting new stuff. I just came back from the San Diego ComiCon, and as usual, my geeky spirit is lifted in to new heights of dorkdom and possibility. Enjoy!

Written by Hector

August 1, 2008 at 10:55 pm

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