The End of Free Will? (Reblogged)

This topic seems to have finally hit the public in anger once again.

Cambridge Analytica has finally become a conversation outside of my echo chamber.

Here are some more recent links:

It sort of feels like locking the door after the horse has bolted…

Armaitus on...

winningI suppose I was kidding myself in thinking I could get away without writing about politics this year.

Last year’s referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union broke me.

I recovered relatively quickly by sticking to my personal philosophy and not dwelling on negativity; a part of doing that has happily led to me distancing myself from an emotional involvement in politics.

I’ve tried to force myself to be ignorant of the broken democracy that the rest of my world appears to be addicted to.

Thankfully this particular post is not loaded with personal politics; this post is more of a warning to the incurious.

TL:DR – There is evidence that big money is using NLP style techniques to control modern-day western politics.  I provide links to relevant stories and so forth.

View original post 725 more words


The Wrong IoT


For over a decade now, I have worked in Telecommunications as a kind of Corporate Technomancer.

Like a wizened proto-mentat before the Butlerian Jihad, I exert my will to keep an operational IT infrastructure functional for money.

I remember several years ago seeing the acronym “IoT” pop up in industry articles and the kind of tech spam that IT guys delete on a regular basis.

It piqued my interest initially as the “IoT” was something I looked into back in the Nineties.

This interest bordered on excitement… was the world finally making the promised transition from a Science/Religion based world view to being more accepting of magical thinking?

No. Disappointingly not; the “IoT” in those tech articles was not the oft-maligned occult organisation founded in the eighties by the burgeoning chaos magical current; instead, the “IoT” in those tech articles referred to a crazy collection of sentient fridges and talking toasters!

Okay, I accept I’m over simplifying the concept and I also accept that there are some “smart” devices that are useful: energy meters for example or home security devices. But in all honesty I really don’t see the need to connect everything in your home to the internet.

This incorrect IoT appeared on my radar again today with a security bulletin warning of an “IoT” botnet;  yet another example of the tech news leading me on with a perceived promise of adepts from the Illuminates of Thanateros waging a technomantic war of well focused egregores and servitors, whilst instead delivering some half-baked scaremongering about a collection of smart meters and WiFi enabled light bulbs being used to distribute spam email over the deep web.

From a corporate point of view, I really don’t see the “amazing potential” of the “Internet of Things” but the technomancer inside me really likes the idea of an international occult body using the concept of insecurely networked devices to propagate/perpetuate their magical will.



Electile Dysfunction – That’s Democracy Folks!


I weighed up the options this evening, I really did.

I umm’d and aah’d over what the best decision was and I’m not convinced I made the right choice.

What to do on the night of what is possibly the most pivotal General Election that I have seen to date.

I could have spent the evening playing a few therapeutic rounds of Starcraft/Starcraft 2, wiping hordes of AI led foes from a digital map with the brutal might if Protoss supremacy.

I could have stuck to a strong yet stable alternative and just sat catching up on Youtubeflix-Prime or something.

I could have indulged in a random act of caring and spent the evening looking after one of my cats, who has damaged his paw and is batting his paw dressing against any hard surface as a means of attention (I’ve recently adopted a stray, against all better advice and so am dictated to by a feline triumvirate of power).

Instead I chose the many over the few and decided to write about politics, even though this isn’t intended as a political blog.

As I write this, the polls have just closed and the temptation to phone my boss and request some leeway in tomorrow’s employment attendance is strong.  I have never stayed up to watch the results come in after a General Election and waking up a year ago to the Brexit result with my 6am alarm clock was genuinely like living some kind of Kafka-cross-Cronenberg nightmare.

I’m pretty sure I’m over my obsessive-lover’s addiction with politics, I truly learnt my lesson last year.  What will be will be and my single voice is unlikely to be heard within this countries half-arsed attempt at democracy.

I am aching to find out how things turn out though.

I also have something of a confession to make… several if I think about it.

Firstly, I didn’t really choose one thing earlier, that was just a cheap allusion to the earlier choice I made in my local polling station – and even that decision was made several days ago.

I’ve broken off writing this post at several points to care for my ailing kitty (Muggle J. Fluffmonster for those in the know); I’ve even spent time with my old girl, Minty J. Blige and even the new guest, “Drifter”.

I’ve procrastinated writing this to catalogue spare swapsies in my Sainsbury’s Lego Card collection and I always Youtube whilst writing these things… so the only thing I’m missing out on is Starcraft – and a good Gin and Slimline always fills in for Starcraft.

Secondly, I’ve committed adultery of sorts – politically speaking that is; this is what is weighing on my mind I think.

Earlier today I was challenged with a question from a work colleague (a work colleague who I am diametrically opposed to both politically and ethically but that’s not important right now).

I can predict the future, can you?

The answer to that question is unlikely to please my grounded atheist or science focused readers… Yes, I believe there are means by which I can.

My colleague proposed that by the time this is posted (I’m planning on scheduling for a 7 or 8 am release on the 9th of June 2017 – it is currently half past 10pm on election night) we would see a 65 seat lead for the Conservative party and that the Liberal Democrats (my preferred party) would be a single seat up.

Another colleague predicted a hung parliament.

I was asked by other colleagues to perform a rare Tarot reading to predict the outcome – I’d like to class that as my 3rd confession but I’d like to discuss it now to further procrastinate the discussion of my political infidelity – it’s kind of relevant to that story anyway.

I have a number of Tarot decks at home but don’t usually allow that part of my life to mingle with work life.  I’m a sucker for a good solid Rider Waite deck using a strong and stable Celtic Cross in readings – it’s the way I learnt.

I also have a beautiful Haitian deck, based on Rider Waite, that I’m still experimenting with; the only remotely occult trapping I have at work is a marble pyramid that I use for grounding – like an esoteric lightning rod.

So I often rely on to perform readings when caught without a deck.  It’s easy to read when the interpretations are fed to you the way the site does and you can randomise the layout and deck used – additional factors of randomisation are pretty handy in divination (I’m sure papers have been written about this somewhere).

Under some small pressure, I performed a quick reading on the question “Who will win the current General Election?” and did my best to interpret the results.

In brief the Tarot was adamant that the results would be balanced – hung of you like – but with a weighting towards the current opposition.

Whether that means hung with a coalesced opposition or hung with a Labour opposition, I don’t know BUT the other thing the digitally represented cards told me was that this would only be possible with a degree of political infidelity!

And that’s why I stuck to the decision I made days ago, betrayed my party of choice and for the first time in my life voted Labour.

There, I said it… I voted Labour… the Red Peril – the Opposition.

And here we come to the crux of why I feel the need to get this off my chest and onto the interwebs – I feel that I’ve betrayed my party of choice.

But here’s the thing, I feel I’m justified.  So much so, I may well send this post to my local candidate for his consideration.

After Brexit, I rejoined the Liberal Democrats – I was one of those foolish members who left after the 2015 General Election and the previous “coalition”.

I’m ashamed to say that I fell for press spin and fell out with Nick Clegg during the coalition; only after the fact realising the monumental success that man made of a bad situation.

Nick Clegg made a sow’s purse out of pig’s ear – far more productive and decent than his colleague David Hameron allegedly did.

20170608_230554I rejoined the Liberal Democrats as they are STILL the one party that best represents my interests.  Those policies I disagree with appear to be shifting (I don’t want my Defence working friends to lose their work and am paranoic enough to think we still need nukes) and I’m on an activist upswing – I WANT to make change and the Liberal Democrats are a oarty I can get on board with…

Just a few issues though: The leader, the defeatism and the begging.

I don’t like getting all Ad Hominem but Tim Farron just doesn’t hit my leadership button. He’s presentable and argues a good argument but there’s something about him that I just can’t quite put my finger on.

The good thing is, I vote on policies not personalities and so I got over that pretty much the day after he became party leader.

The defeatism is harder to get over.

ld1Earlier this year Tim Farron emailed the membership to let us know that he had chosen a direction and goal for the party… we were to become the new opposition!

Finally a great goal, albeit the replacing of the Conservatives being secondary to being the opposition but still… a good goal.

This was reinforced with a statement that we would not – under any circumstances – get into bed with any other party in a new coalition (a mistake if you ask me but there you go – strong and stable decision making from the party  leader).

Once the campaigning was under way I even saw emails related to my local candidate, a chap who had already done sterling work in my area as a Councillor.

Shortly after this though other emails started to come through; emails requesting that I abandon my own constituency to assist key seats.


In effect the party was hanging my own candidate out to dry and poaching me to work on other areas that were “close to me”. Close in a “Londoners Patronising the North” sense – Cheadle, North Leeds and Sheffield Hallam obviously being just next door to us Colne Valley yokels.

The torrent if pressure to abandon my local area as “lost” and move my efforts to “winnable” areas didn’t let up and every single email drove a wedge between me and the party.

The party was right, the chances of my candidate winning compared to the strong (and stable) Tory incumbent or the “Who’s that you say?” Labour option were slim but I felt the Liberal Democrats had hung us out to dry as a constituency.

Even that would have been tolerable.

jb1I’m used to being the underdog; it’s when I’m at my strongest.

Huddersfield’s football team aren’t called the Terriers without reason; us Huddersfuddlians are the kind who fight hardest when the odds are stacked against us.

But the party sold us out – they effectively told me what I’ve always feared, that my vote is irrelevant in my constituency.

Add to this the news that pretty soon my ward (Lindley) is one of those being shifted to a new constituency so as to reduce the number of MPs (or something).  My ward is eventually going to move into the Labour safe seat of Huddersfield – and I mean “Safe” in a “Liberal Democrats ain’t ever winning here” kind of way not a “Starcraft family catch-all term” one.

And then… then… the begging started.

Daily, sometimes multiple time s a day “The other parties have big sponsors… please give us £25” – Shit The Fucking Bed!

I barely have £25 spare to fix the cat let alone pay for Facebook adverts or leaflets to campaign for the Liberal Democrats – Age. Of. Austerity people… sheesh.

I’m not a public sector worker who gets a regular – albeit measly – annual pay rise based on inflation.  My expendable income drops every year – regardless of which set of puppets are in power.  Seriously, Red, Blue or Yellow makes no difference to my “middle-income” ass.

Even with a pay rise, I doubt I could justify spending money on the funds expected of the membership, shit son!

So yes, by polling day itself I was pretty set on a “Save the NHS at all costs” course of action and that meant betraying my party of choice and voting for a woman that lives round the corner from the house I grew up in.

I woman I know nothing about.

A woman who couldn’t even be bothered to put my council ward on her campaign leaflet’s map.

A woman who I doubt will stand up for one single local issue that I give a damn about.

But a woman who’s position as my MP may mean that I continue to enjoy NHS treatments that are free at the point of use.  A woman, who’s potential success may mean that my best friend doesn’t die from lack of treatment, a lack of funding or his own hands.  A woman who is soon going to be familiar with my name if she gets into power… I voted for her and if she wins she’d better represent my interests!

That’s all assuming the tinfoil hats aren’t correct and the outcome was already decided by Vladimir Putin and Cambridge Analytica months before we went to poll.

Oh… and we wouldn’t have these issues if we embraced proportional representation and at least UKIP didn’t stand in my constituency… small mercies eh?

I guess I’ll have to make it up to the party somehow; I’m still a Liberal Democrat at heart. That being said, if it all goes Pete Tong I’m fairly sure I’ll stand for election myself next time… as an independent or a Loony, maybe even as a Liberal.

Ten past midnight, I’m off to bed… if my Tarot reading was right, yay… otherwise… Vive La Revolution and so long Human Rights.

Peace out!

The End of Free Will?

winningI suppose I was kidding myself in thinking I could get away without writing about politics this year.

Last year’s referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union broke me.

I recovered relatively quickly by sticking to my personal philosophy and not dwelling on negativity; a part of doing that has happily led to me distancing myself from an emotional involvement in politics.

I’ve tried to force myself to be ignorant of the broken democracy that the rest of my world appears to be addicted to.

Thankfully this particular post is not loaded with personal politics; this post is more of a warning to the incurious.

TL:DR – There is evidence that big money is using NLP style techniques to control modern-day western politics.  I provide links to relevant stories and so forth.

Continue reading

Swimming Against the Dark Currents

There is so much negativity on Facebook today … It’s got me quite wound up.

I love it when I see people try to bring positivity to their audience with kind words and gestures.

I call this Swimming Against the Dark Currents it’s something I try to do every day.

For example, a Facebook friend carried out her annual “Compliment Day”, whereby she compliments people she knows to promote positivity.  

Other people join in and spread the positivity further.

I love it when people try to engage in discourse about how their opinion differs but that that’s ok, even though their upset, they understand that people are trying to spread positivity.

For example, another Facebook friend pointed out that not being listed in the mass taggings of #ComplimentDay can have the opposite effect; those without compliments feeling left out.

This led to a micro flame war that descalated to a typhoon of negativity. 

Comments were made in support of either point of view and quickly became abusive.

And now, I see other people jumping in with passive aggressive snipes at the situation.

Hey, I get it! It’s the interwebs…

Never read the comments


I hate it when people start getting negative over perceived negativity… fighting fire with fire.

Don’t you see it? 

You’ve been pulled into that downward spiral and you’re perpetuating the negativity… 

Hell, in some cases you’re creating negativity where there was none before.

And here I am, the hypocrite… 
Diving in with a positive opener and a picture of a swan… blooming with a flourish of negativity like some kind of dark empathy grenade.

I was having a good morning until I read some of the responses to the responses to an attempt to spread positivity yesterday.  

I didn’t take part in #ComplimentsDay for exactly the same reason voiced by the Facebook friend I mentioned earlier.

I felt I would be neglecting worthy people by complimenting only a few – and I avoid meme-trends these days due to time constraints and other priorities – but I loved reading all the kind things that people had to say about each other.

Very positivity, much love – wow!

All that good feeling is now twisted and knotted inside my gut like an emotional ulcer as the negativity washes back in.

I’m not even involved and it has me wound this tightly.

Yes, I get that bigger, badder things are happening in the world today… 

That’s why we should embrace the positive in all things, even if it’s a stretch to push out the petty negative niggles scratching at us for attention.

I failed today… 

The needy kitten of negativity has scratched enough to claw my attention to its pitiful mewling and I’ve anguished over posting this but catharsis and a need to get back to bad Netflix originals (on my day off) led to this verbal enema being poured out here, rather than straight onto a medium that craves negativity.

Facebook promotes negativity, it thrives on it.  In no small part due to the fact that we thrive on it – it’s our natural state.

Well screw that.  

Screw negativity.  

There are so many positive things going on right now. Let’s concentrate on the good – that’s what Christmas is all about right?

A former colleague used to say this to me daily,

Keep on swimming

And it’s only recently I came to understand him.

Fight the tide, resist the urge to meet negativity with negativity.

Surround yourself with the positive and give it freely to those around you… Swim hard against the dark currents.

Be excellent to each other… And don’t be a dick.

Star Wars Theory – Sarlacc and the Backwards Krang

forcerageI recently became enraged by an article cribbed from The Guardian; an article speculating about future Star Wars movies that are outside the standard “trilogy”.

My rage begins when it says:


And then goes on to add

Pasted image at 2016_09_26 04_30 PM.png

The article is talking about your favourite bounty hunter and mine, rocket-loving Mandalorian clone, Boba Fett.

bobafettThe article angered me in the first because Boba Fett has been seen without his helmet… he’s a clone for Cliff’s sake!

As part payment for using his genetic make-up to create clone-troopers in the prequel movies, Jango Fett is gifted a clone of his own to raise as his own son.

Boba Fett is Jango Fett, genetically at least.

He may not get the benefit of being raised in Mandalorian society like his Father but genetically he is all but identical!

As for the comments of Boba Fett’s personality… upon what basis are they founded?

We’ve seen Boba as both a traumatised child, holding his father’s decapitated helmet, and ruthlessly effective bounty hunter of very few words… to liken him to the likes of Nute Gunray is insulting.

I doubt the author of that article has actually paid any attention to Star Wars outside of its existence as a franchise.

The article did act as food for thought however, with office discussions quickly moving to the subject of whether Boba Fett was alive or dead at the end of Return of the Jedi.

As any fool knows, our intrepid rocketeer was cruelly cast into the belly of the Sarlacc, where – so we are told – he will find a new definition of pain and suffering as he is slowly digested over a 1000 year period.

There has been much speculation as to what this actually means.

When Jabba tells us, via C3PO, that the Sarlacc digests its prey, causing them a 1000 years of torment we could easily surmise that Boba Fett – or any victim in fact – would be kept alive for that period of time.

Granted, internet sources accept that the Sarlacc’s prey would be immobilised through that period of time but Boba Fett is, pardon my French, fucking awesome and is highly likely to evade the Sarlaac’s juices and rocket his way out.

But why stop there?

The fate of our darling Fettling to one side for a moment, if the Sarlacc can keep people alive for such a long period of time, why are people not making use (or abuse) of that biological quirk?

Emperor Palpatine is a prime candidate for Sarlacc abuse.

He wants to gain power and to cheat death, well why not make use of the Sarlacc?

krangpatineAll he needs to do is force lightning his way in there, use the dark side to shield himself from the more debilitating elements of the Sarlacc’s juices and force control the Sarlacc into leaving its pit…

Palpers could then dominate the universe from within a massive, tentacular shell – safe from harm and rocking a bad-ass biological power armour like a cross between a cthonian Guyver unit and Shai-Hulud… like some kind of backwards Krang.

I Want to Break Free – A Posthumous Analysis

freddiewinkWhen I was a boy – and by that I mean a younger version of myself.

I don’t mean to imply that I’ve ever identified otherwise…

I was a massive Queen fan – and by that I mean I really enjoyed the music of Queen, I wasn’t the overweight monarchist I was in my early thirties…

In fact I was unhealthily underweight… but that’s not the point.

As a preteen Yorkshire-boy I enjoyed the works of Queen more than any other artist (except maybe Kate Bush or Adam Ant but nobody can really choose a single favourite can they?)

Too young to really understand the politics of sexuality that were breaking into popular culture and too young to appreciate some of the other wonders of my parents record collection, I would listen (much as I do now) to the same tracks over and over and over again.

Now that I’ve passed my 4th full decade on this plane, I realise I don’t listen to Queen nearly so much… hell, I don’t listen to them at all unless they pop up on the radio or a movie or television soundtrack.

But why?

I still enjoy their music; I still respect the lyrics and I still find relevance in their songs… I just don’t listen to them any more.

queen_news_of_the_worldI can cheer a dour or humourless day by singing along to King’s of the Wild Frontier or This Woman’s Work but hardly ever consider News of the World, with it’s thought provoking and melancholy murderous mecha-cover.

I don’t even own any of their albums (outside of A Kind of Magic – which I’m listening to as I type this – and their 3rd greatest hits album)… which is a crying shame considering the joy that Queen brought me in my youth.

With that as a backdrop and the scene set, I would like to narrate thoughts that arose following a brief workplace discussion regarding one of Queen’s actual “greatest” hits – “I Want to Break Free“…

A week ago, one of my web developers took it upon themselves to tidy our corner of the open plan office; the usual cleaner was off sick and this chap enjoys a tidy environment.

As my colleague set about looking for the office vacuum cleaner, another colleague remarked upon the how good the cleanliness-obsessed colleague would look dressed as Freddie Mercury in the music video of the song in question.

Our tidy-colleague (at the tender age of 21 and not being a fan of western music) had not heard the song… cue the whole team trying to explain the song, the video and their own interpretation of the song’s meaning.

It is well known that the video is influenced by the allegedly popular mancunian soap opera, Coronation Street, but the lyrics belie a potentially darker meaning.

The music video implies a need to break away from the tedium of domestic drudgery but the song itself appears to detail the death of a relationship and the potential rebirth of a new sexual adventure.

As colleagues argued that video was a possible allegory for domestic abuse, my own thoughts were drawn to the demonisation of Freddie’s sexuality in the press.

Granted, Freddie’s homosexuality was not the village-bell that it became more and more hammered in the months preceding his death but it was something of a stigma that he carried and it must have influenced his music, even then.

In the retrospective light of 2016, the song seems to me to be a heartfelt musing over the dichotomy faced by the lovers of the 1980s gay scene… Freddie, the protagonist of our song, falls in love with the love his life but at the same time feels trapped and yearns for the freedom offered by a promiscuous lifestyle or polyamorous relationship.

But then, having contemplated moving on and away from his love, our protagonist contemplates a reality without any love and so settles for what he has… still yearning for to break away to grass that appears greener and yet seems so barren at the same time.

Quite a sad song really.

Freddie died 25 years ago; in my memory his death became a media circus and a baton beaten in the war against AIDS; I often wonder what the world would be like had Freddie not died.

25 years on and the world is a very different place.

Wider societies opinions on sexuality and gender have progressed for the most part and the music industry has undergone numerous revolutions.

I’d like to think that Freddie would still be recording now, if not alone, in collaboration with his peers and the younger generation.

divinetrioCan you imagine the frenzy surrounding a boy-band collaboration between Freddie, Bowie and Jagger in the 21st century? Throw in Elton John and I think you would probably be able to call it a day – no need for any further pop music shenanigans…

Or maybe Freddie Mercury and Justin Timberlake?

Erm… I think I need the bathroom… Nurse?