it’s all grey to me

April 20, 2007

i was looking around the ‘net for Fortean videos – y’know; UFOs, unexplained phenomena, alternative histories, that sort of thing – when i stumbled across the Grey Lodge.  it doesn’t take a genius (or a Twin Peaks fan) to realise that this place deals with things that can’t be categorized in simple terms of black or white, but come from that fuzzy place in between.  it is divided into two sections – the Grey Lodge Occult Review, and GPod (which is essentially a blog version of the infrequently updated magazine-style Occult Review). 

as the name suggests, the Grey Lodge reviews (and shares) various types of media for those of us with more… eccentric tastes.  they have pretty much everything – documentaries, art films, audio books, podcasts – even the Daily Show.  they don’t host all of the files themselves, so a basic knowledge of using BitTorrent is needed to get some of the best stuff (I had been looking for a copy of Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 9 for months).  the Occult Review side has just been updated for the first time in about two years, but all the original content is still there, so don’t forget to have a browse once you’re done with GPod.  (which will take a while, if you’re anything like me – and my download queue has never been fuller!)

if YouTube and Google Video are more your thing, check out Anomaly Television, which posts numerous videos each day under a variety of themes (such as UFO Monday and Cryptozoology Wednesday).  don’t forget that you can use a website such as KeepVid to download these videos to watch at your leisure.


is there anybody out there?

April 19, 2007

or “moon anomalies for beginners”.

moon base?

when i recently informed my sister that they’ve found structures on the Moon (along with various other unexplained anomalies), she requested some websites where she could see and read for herself.  now, i’m sure she wants to see actual evidence of these structures on the Moon (and Mars), but to be frank, there is no “real evidence” (yet).  what i mean is, there’s nothing that you’d see that would make you go, “oh my god, that’s a building!”  when viewing images of the Moon (or any other astral body), you have to keep in mind that these photographs were taken from very far away, and that many have been censored or doctored by NASA.  in a way, you have to look at these anomalies in context with their surroundings.  for example, take the above picture of a “Moon base” – at first glance, you see a crater on the Moon.  but if you look closer, you’ll notice that although the majority of the Moon (in the image) appears “flat” and “smooth”, the area around the crater in the middle of the image is vastly different.  there are bumps and ridges and lines.  sure, it’s possible that they are natural formations, but then we have to ask ourselves – what caused this “natural formation”?  weather?  a meteor shower?  are these likely options?  and then you have to use your imagination a little – if we took a photograph of a city on Earth from high above, would it still look like a city?  or would we just notice that the terrain looked “bumpy and different from its surroundings”?  that’s often the case with these photographs – they are taken from too great a distance to really represent what they are.  we can’t see the individual streets and buildings and parks.  but we can see that there’s something there, something that’s different from what we might expect.  that’s why these are lunar anomalies, not hard evidence of the existence of extraterrestrials.  we look at these images and say to ourselves, “gee, that sure looks like a photograph of a city taken from a great height”.  the proponents of these lunar structure theories aren’t saying “that’s a Moon base” – they’re saying “that area there looks different and unexpected, and warrants further investigation”.  usually these anomalies are given fanciful names to illustrate what they resemble, or what they could represent.  if we see what looks like streets, we’ll nickname it “the freeway“.  if it’s round, we’ll call it a “dome“.  the important thing to remember is that we don’t really know what extraterrestrial buildings would look like.  we don’t know what materials the architects used, if the structures are above or below ground, if the “streets” are really roads at all.  we could even be looking at the ruins of a city, and not a bustling, thriving metropolis.  a skeptic could look at any of these photographs and state that they see nothing unusual, that the lunar landscape looks exactly as they imagined it would.  but a viewer with an open mind might think, “yeah, that does kinda look like a city from far above – maybe there is something there”.

i’ll admit that i am a “believer” – i think it’s highly unlikely that we are/were the only “intelligent” creatures to ever inhabit this solar system.  i’ll also admit that when i look at some of these images, i can’t see a damn thing.  but then there are photographs that really make me scratch my head and wonder, “what the hell caused/created that?”  as i said earlier, they could all just be amazing natural formations, but i’ll be damned if they don’t look artificial.  so all i ask of you, the viewer, is to keep an open mind, and try to put things into context.  ask yourself the right questions (ie, “how did a triangle get into that crater?”).

a good place to start is the Anomalies Network – specifically, their page on Moon/Mars anomalies.  the links under the “general information” heading contain a wealth of images and information.  the anomalous Moon images page just contains links to images, so is a good place to whet your appetite before plunging ahead.  also be sure to check out the pages about the “tower”, the “shard”, the “castle”, and the “monolith graveyard” on Mars, as these are probably the most “obvious” examples of unexplainable structures.  for a summary and explanation of what you’re seeing, make sure to read the “interpretation of anomalous structures on the Moon” page, where a geologist backs up the claims of the man who originally discovered these bizarre structures, Richard C. Hoagland.

Hoagland actually specialises in mysterious Mars anomalies, so once you’re done perusing the Moon pictures, there is much information to be found on his own website, the Enterprise Mission – and let’s face it: the stuff on Mars is often a hell of a lot weirder.  there’s a lot to wade through, and it’s not particularly well-organised, so good luck.

but back to the Moon – it wasn’t actually the supposed structures that piqued my sister’s interest in the Moon, but my claim that it is a hollow, artificial satellite.  now, i read a hell of a lot of stuff online that i often don’t keep a track of, and unfortunately, i can’t locate the site where i originally read this claim.  however, i did manage to find a number of interesting articles that follow this theme.  Strange Moon facts sums it all up rather nicely, but for further reading, check out the following articles.  if anyone knows of any good hollow moon/artificial satellite pages, please let me know – my inquisitive sister will thank you for it!


down on your luck

February 6, 2007

well.  looks like the Joanna Newsom/Bill Callahan gig at Auckland’s Hopetoun Alpha is sold out.  and guess who hadn’t gotten his ticket yet…  <sniff>  so, while i wallow in self-pity, i thought i’d share some of Bill’s most gloriously depressing songs.


the crowd that wants to see me dead

February 2, 2007

Death of a Presidentzero and i watched Death of a President the other night, a documentary-style film set in late 2007, detailing the assassination of one George W. Bush.  surprisingly well-handled, the film manages not to take sides on the issue of whether Bush and his policies are right or wrong, but instead focusses on the politics of the aftermath.  the build-up to the assassination itself is somewhat tedious (especially having to listen to Bush’s “staff” wax on about what an intelligent and moral man he is/was) but would be a logical place to start has this been an actual documentary about his death.  however, the filmmakers have kept in mind that this is supposed to fiction – and therefore, entertainment – and spend much of the first part of the film building suspense by teasing us with the idea that Bush could be assassinated any second now…  however, it is not ’til after the shooting that the film really starts to pick up, as we see how the US government tries to deal with the assassination.  priority number one: catch a suspect.  priority number two:  connect him to al Qaeda.  evidence?  make it fit the suspect.  a confession?  sweep it under the rug.

it is a clever film, and the message it sends is not that the President must die, but tries to imagine what would happen if he was assassinated – and it’s a bleak prediction.  the world is not necessarily a better place with Bush dead – Cheney has stepped up as President, the Patriot Act is expanded and people lose more of the freedom they are fighting so hard to protect, and at one stage, it seems another war is imminent.

the film was made by Film Four Productions in the UK, and was screened there on local tv after premiering at the Toronto Film Festival in 2006 where it won the International Critics Prize.  due to the controversial nature of the film, it suffered distribution problems in some areas (especially the United States), but is now available on dvd.  if you can’t find a copy anywhere, below is a link to a BitTorrent file.  if you’ve never downloaded a torrent file before, click here for some basic instructions.


i was a teenage smog

January 29, 2007

ah, the new year.  a time for reflection, for resolution, for top ten lists…

well, maybe if it wasn’t already nearly February – i think my vacation went on a bit long…

not to worry – as far as top tens go, Shots Ring Out decided to out-do everybody, and compile the top 56 music videos of 2006.  while they may not be the best songs of the past year, they definitely are (some of) the best videos.  the clips are available in different formats depending on your downloading needs, so you have no excuse not to check out the ones you haven’t seen – your New Favourite Band may be lurking in there somewhere.

as for resolutions…  well, i’m not gonna list them, so i can avoid the inevitable embarrassment come 2008 when i realise i haven’t stuck to any of them.  one resolution i will share, with blog as my witness, is that i will write more this year.  i’m the lamest excuse for a writer, ever (well, maybe apart from Poppy Z. Brite – would you like some cheese with your blood?).  anyway, in order to mark this momentous occasion, this blog has undergone yet another name change.  (it may also have something to do with the fact that there are already two blogs titled the bitter pill – i have no idea how google missed them six months ago when i was checking if the name was already being used).  so, welcome to the new and improved sewn to the sky.  i am humbly borrowing the name from Smog‘s debut album, a noisy lo-fi affair that (along with Forgotten Foundation) is a poor represtation of the genius that is Smog/(smog)/Bill Callahan.  with his dry humour and gravelly voice over acoustic guitar, he is often compared to the equally genius Leonard Cohen.  and the man is finally playing a concert here next month.  okay, it’s technically (his girlfriend) Joanna Newsom‘s gig, but he’s the opening act and will most likely accompany her during her set.  so what better time to try to create some new Smog fans?  over the next few weeks, i’ll be posting some videos and mp3s to try to give you some idea of how dark and beautiful and poetic and funny and heart-wrenchingly depressing this man can be – all in one song, if he so chooses.

to start with, here’s a track that fits a couple of those categories from his 1999 album Knock Knock.  just to clarify, it’s actually the last line from this song that inspired the new blog name – Bill makes a lyrical reference back to his debut album in the track “Teenage Spaceship”.  one of my all-time favourite songs, it’s hard for me to describe it as anything but sublimely beautiful.  Smog manages to capture the loneliness and longing of the awkward teenage years; the feeling that no one understands – or even sees – the ‘real you’…