Audiobooks: Part 1 – How it all started…

As everyone should know by now, I am something of a reader. At least I try to be. It’s not always easy to find the time, and I am admittedly a slow reader, but the important thing is to somehow schedule enough freedom to carry on the exploration of enough of the world’s fascinating books… and thus certain strategies have evolved with which I can make the most of my limited lifespan and still absorb as much as possible…

Well, on this blog I have thoroughly gone over my love of comics, and occasionally I like to share various reviews. Now the time has come to express my love of yet another literary medium: Audiobooks!

I currently have a special love for the audio format of storytelling, and it’s only been a few years since I have gotten into it. The brilliant thing about it is that you can listen while waiting in line at customs, or squished on a subway car, or jogging, or any number of transit platforms for a life ever on the go.

Personally, I have a rather low attention span and it is still something of a surprise that I have become so into audiobooks. I don’t recommend it for everyone. But if you do grow out of listening to the same songs on your shuffle endlessly, it’s a good method to mix it up and keep the mind active on boring commutes.

My best advice is to simply download a favorite book that you’ve already read–and only the best books are worth rereading–and experience it anew via a talented actor reading you a story.

Besides, isn’t that the purest form of storytelling? Oral traditions are how it all started for humanity, long before the invention of writing. Right?

 

Anyway, a cursory glance at my Goodreads audio shelf shows that I have apparently listened to about 80 separate works. Some shortened, some lengthy—

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/765636?shelf=audio

 

Not bad, or so I should hope. But, you may ask, how did I start upon this path?

I believe it was in that 2012/2013 era, when I thought I had grown up and established all the hobbies I would have in my adult life. Fortunately there was still more to learn, new habits still yet unfounded.

Now, before I even got into the more book-length audio format (after a brief interest in talk radio) I used to listen to a variety of fascinating psychedelic lectures. This was during my mid-to-late twenties, back in California. I was especially interested in Terence McKenna and his take on psilocybin mushrooms as per extraterrestrial intelligence and the like. That sort of thing.

(Somehow I did miss the boat on podcasts. From time to time some good ones are recommended and I listen, such as Hardcore History or a good NPR story, but for the most part I am an audiobooks boy)

So there I was, and I had in my possession a digital library of the complete series by noted author Robert Anton Wilson. I enjoyed listening to his “maybe logic” philosophy, his take on reality tunnels and the mystical secrets of the mind, but eventually I had run out. However, there on the entirety of the set, I noticed that the great Illuminatus! Trilogy was included. Unabridged.

Hmmmm.

Back then, the only audiobook I had ever finished to was a CD of Neil Gaiman’s youthful tale Coraline, which I listened to on a cross-country train trip in my youth. It didn’t work at all; I was constantly distracted and had to rewind. Didn’t seem to be for me.

But surely the legendary epic that is the Illuminatus! Trilogy would be different? The classic conspiratorial farce is a series that I revisit from time to time in my life, gaining new wisdom, and I was about ready for another reread.

And reread, or rather first-listen, I did. The whole thing. And it was awesome. The first installment of the trilogy was best, even after they changed narrators for the final two thirds. The grand appendix was just like a psychedelic lecture anyhow, and from that day on to today I carry with me the memories of productively learning much secret knowledge of the universe while walking around the neighborhood.

 

 

It gave me such an interesting perspective to hear fresh voices which had previously existed only been in my head . The timing, the intonation, such a different interpretation compared to what had come before. I really loved it. My mind was sharp on many a long otherwise boring bicycle ride back in those months. I retained the whole info-space in a new way, and I dare say–at least temporarily–I was as much an expert on RAW as anyone.

Here, you don’t have to listen to the entire piece but a random skim may give an idea here:

 

 

I had discovered a whole new time-consuming hobby. The next step was to I had to figure out what to listen to next. There were a few options. Abridged books or short novels, poetry or radio dramas, so much to choose from.

I decided to go big, and the next major listen was the crucial postcyberpunk novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. At 17 hours I still contend that this is the greatest audiobook of all time, as read by actor Jonathan Davis. Hilarious, entertaining, exciting, and simulteneously shockingly intelligent.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Tattoos

I have six tattoos. It’s a hobby of mine, albeit it’s an expensive hobby that I don’t get to indulge in often enough.

Each one is meaningful to me. I put a lot of thought into them and I have no regrets.

For a while, I was doing one per year. Then I stopped for several years. In anticipation of my big travel plans coming up, I want to get some new ink! What to choose, what to choose…

Let’s discuss. But first, the background on my present state.

I got my first tattoo when I was 21. It was the Disinformation logo:

WP_001088
A little out of order, keep in mind

That’s Disinformation Press, the counter-cultural alternative media publishers. I was very into them at the time. Read all their books, such as EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG and YOU ARE BEING LIED TO among others. See the website Disinfo.com, which is unfortunately not what it used to be. The logo is supposed to be red on white, but I was told black is better and I do think that works.

The only disappointing part was that people would always ask my why I tattooed the Napster logo. So annoying. Thankfully nobody says that anymore, because Napster is no longer a thing. These days, occasionally someone says it looks like a cat not a devil’s head, but I’m still for it.

Next, I got a simple Icthys, otherwise known as the Jesus Fish. Why would I get this, you ask? Well there’s more to this fish than you know. One theory I enjoyed purports that it is a map of three-dimensional holographic reality by superimposing two flat circles which are Gnostic meta-universes (perhaps Heaven and Hell). Thank Grant Morrison’s the Invisibles graphic comics series for that. However, that interesting theory doesn’t hold up to further research. In truth, historical records show that various ancient pre-Christian civilizations used this symbol as a female fertility symbol. Turn it sideways, clockwise. Get it? It’s the most graphic of female parts, right there!

I decided to keep going with that pattern, I wanted to cover my body with various occultic logos from all over. Next stop, that most meditative of endocrine system metaphors, the chakras.

You might think I regret it how it turned out, but I don’t. Yes I’ve been accused of having a tramp stamp.

DSC00193
Damn I was so thin back then

Continue reading