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Confessions of an Ex-Phone Psychic (Part 1 of 2)

Posted 9 August 2003, 4.03 pm by VanGogh

To begin, we must set the scene. It was pre-9/11, but the economy was already headed south. As always, I was working as a self-employed web designer. Business was getting thin, and I was looking for ways to make a few extra bucks. I was discussing my plight with an online friend who was in a similar situation. We were joking about odd jobs we could do when she directed me to an ad on Guru.com. It went something like this:

Tarot Readers, Spiritual Advisors, Astrologers, etc. Work at Home
We are looking for tarot readers, spiritual advisors, astrologers, etc needed for our psychic line. This is a work at home position. Must have psychic ability. Must have good communication skills and the desire to help others. For more information, you can contact me at blah@blah.com

I laughed and surfed on.

Then I thought about what a kick it would be to say I had been a psychic, and I went back. I looked at the ad some more. I focused on the line that read “Must have psychic ability”. Hmmm, definitely a stumbling point. I’ve been called many things, but never psychic. Throwing good sense to the wind, I decided to go ahead and make contact anyway, if for no other reason than to see how they tested that sort of thing.

Though the ad said nothing about it, it turned out I was applying to work for Ms. Cleo’s Psychic Network. That would be the incense-burning, West-Indian-talking lady who slapped down tarot cards and advice at a breakneck pace on infomercials all over late-night TV in the United States, and all over the rest of the world for all I know.

I sent out an email asking some questions and received what may be the fastest personalized response in the history of email. It wasn’t a form letter, but a bunch of specific answers to my questions, and a request for my phone number. Being in a rather playful mood, I sent it to them. Within two minutes I was on the phone with Rachel, the lady who was to become my “Psychic Manager”, a.k.a. my boss.

Rachel was very polite, if in a slightly business-tone sort of way. Very professional, and didn’t give off any of the flaky vibe I had been expecting. It felt more like I was talking to a real-estate agent than a person who traded in spirits and misdirected hope. After some quick questions about my background, my age, and whether or not I wanted to do this full time, she asked me for my fax number. I gave it to her and she faxed me a sheath of papers. Amongst the sheets was a list of rules, (no call-waiting on your phone, no explicit discussion of sex, no putting someone on hold), and a poorly written, grammatically butchered ‘Psychic Manual’. This manual, amongst other things, described a typical call.

According to the good manual, my ultimate goal during any call wasn’t to provide the caller with answers, or psychic insight, but to simply keep them on the line for an average of 19 minutes. (19 minutes x $4.99 per minute = $94.81) This isn't as easy as it might seem, especially since the first three minutes of each reading are free. Knowing that, many callers hope to get a the answers to their questions in those first three minutes, and then hang up. (I had more than my fair share of hang-up clicks as the first three minutes of the calls drew to a close.) And of course, since you looking for an average call length of 19 minutes, those two and three minute calls can really hurt your average. To counter the free three minute thing, we were instructed ask each caller for his or her name, address, and e-mail address, so that Ms. Cleo could continue to communicate with them by mail. I was also required to give out the company's 900 number, together with my personal five-digit ID number, so that the customer could call back "in case we get disconnected." All of that, of course, takes up most of the free three minutes. Not that we were to tell them that. After all, that would almost be fair.

At the heart of each conversation are the 78 cards of the tarot deck. A "psychic" puts a caller at ease, collects their name, number, email, mailing address, and anything else they’ll give us, and then deals out a specific number of cards in varying positions. (There are as many ways to do a tarot card reading as there are people doing them. As you shall see, my personal style varied from orthodox to downright silly.) You then read the cards and try to make some sort of impact on the caller. Above all else, you keep them on the phone. Every minute they keep listening is another minute you get paid for.

The card meanings themselves are insanely generic, monumentally unspecific, and usually hopeful. For example, "The Empress" card carries the following explanation: "A young fertile female. Can also represent material gifts. Maybe a mother having a baby or fertility in your financial situation. Gifts and money in progress. A good money card, or a female influence." A lot of ground covered here, a wealth of possibilities. Easy to adapt it to your life, especially when you’re desperate enough to be paying $4.99 a minute to hear this reading in the first place.

Money and sex are two fairly consistent threads throughout the cards. Either a lack of, or an addiction to. Sometimes both. There is an occasional negative card, but for the most part they are optimistic; wealth and happiness are the most common upshot. According to the cards, we are all a bunch of success stories just waiting to happen.

So with all of this information in hand, I started my life as a part-time phone psychic. I purchased a deck of tarot cards off of Amazon.com ( This Deck, if you’re interested.) I had a 1-800 number to call when I wanted to work. I called it, entered some pin codes, and then I hung up. Pretty soon the phone would do it’s special three chirp ring to let me know I had a call, and that was when the fun really began.

(To Be Concluded)

channel 4 experiment.

Posted 6 August 2003, 11.17 am by TonyChef

Heads up english grinders- Derren Brown, the mind reading nutter from the channel 4 shows has decided to play russian roulette... and you could load the gun!

Click on this link and complete the application (not what you might expect...). I have already, i cant wait to see gray matter!

laughed my ass off!

Posted 6 August 2003, 11.09 am by TonyChef

http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/stripordie.php

Seize the day.

Posted 5 August 2003, 10.02 pm by Jake

Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Seize the fucking day.

This little adage rattles around in everyone’s head, whether there’s vacant space there or not. Everyone chooses to take a chance every once in a while. Whether for good or for bad, you can always rest assured that there’s some gung-ho hero out there busting ass trying to make their own difference…but in what sense? How much of a difference can be made nowadays? Personally, I like the statement. But I’m selfish, you see. I take a leap of faith when I think it’s a good time to do so, for me (and sometimes for others). Self-improvement is the big thing nowadays, it seems. But everyone has their own perception of self-improvement. Bigger dicks, bigger tits, a facelift, more muscles…all of these are people’s goals. Many think that self-improvement only exists in the physical aspect, and that’s where they fail.

We’re all so busy trying to impress others with what we can readily present to them, that nobody’s willing to take the chance to get to know someone or get into a situation that, while a little scary, might actually do them some good. Maybe self-improvement should become a term that’s almost readily interchangeable with the concept of self-sacrifice. People piss and moan about changing things, about making life better, but they fail to realize everyone has to improve before everything else does. You have to take the incentive. You have to be the voice of protest, the voice of reason. We have to become better people before we can readily judge others. Experience is a must. Too many people try to be the hero, yet they are ill-equipped to do so. They fling themselves headlong into whatever they can in order to be a martyr, to prove their self-worth. Observation is key. A sense of understanding is a must. You can read all of the books in the world, you can propose philosophical theories until your head spins like Linda Blair, and you can stand on your soapbox and scream bloody murder until God’s wrath rains down upon us all in a veritable hailstorm of judgment, but you can’t really say shit until you’ve been there. Until you’ve taken a chance. Until you’ve proved what you’re made of. And why do I take it upon myself to say all this?

Because I’m totally fucking flawless. The rest of you, however, have a lot of room to improve.
(And before anyone wants to get anal and piss and moan about my last line, IT’S A JOKE. Take a deep breath, remove the stick from your ass, and enjoy it while you can.)

Don't buy CDs

Posted 4 August 2003, 7.58 am by Alexander

Although fairly clumsily written, this site gathers together some of the more convincing arguments against the mainstream recording industry.

This is why my band is eschewing major label pursuit for an independent approach.

Non-existent books in existent books

Posted 3 August 2003, 6.16 pm by berly

Resource of fictional titles pulled out of real ones.

http://www.invisiblelibrary.com/

Uh, my browser won't allow the help window to come up. I know this isn't in proper format. It's been so long that I've forgotten the codes. Can you guys fix the link for me?

Alexander: "Sure thing, lady"

Are you listening?

Posted 21 July 2003, 6.50 pm by Jake

I have returned.

I took some time off from writing in order to let my creative juices stew. Unsurprisingly, I'm dissatisfied with the results. I'm sure that personal reasons factor in here somewhere, but I'm not going to bore you with my life, as I'm sure you have much better things to do, such as write an epic novel-form pseudo-philosophical analysis of life, death, and perception as we know it, or maybe to record your own scarred little emotions (that fluctuate like the size of Oprah Winfrey's ass) in your livejournal. Maybe you're going to trip out on some hallucinogenics and write some psychedelia-inspired piece about existence that nobody will understand, or, maybe, nobody will care to understand. Or maybe you'll just sit there, wallowing in your own angst and misery, because it really IS everybody else's fault that you're misunderstood.

When you've got nothing but time on your hands, keeping yourself busy is harder than you think. I could be working out. I could be getting a tan. I could be masturbating. Instead of all of that, I've decided to devote my time to sitting inside, being rather pasty, and working on a cathartic act of self-expression. Sure, self-expression is becoming a run-of-the-mill thing on the Internet, but it's all we've got left. Sadly enough, the Internet could very well be the last bastion of honest, visceral, emotional connections between people. Sure, it's not as good as real life, but we're all too inhibited to talk to each other like this on a streetcorner, or in a restaurant. We're afraid of what others might think. We're afraid of others. But, I'm going to just not care about other people. So, you guys can do as you wish. Whether it's trying desperately to fit in with another ethnic group, losing yourself in online MMORPGs, or pretending to be a ripe teenage girl so that you can prey on young boys in a chatroom, I'll be busy not caring.

In the meantime, I'll be cranking out another one of my patented violent, unimpressive, sub-par attempts at a short story, or maybe some clichéd piece of cultural commentary that's supposed to actually change people's perceptions of events as we know it. I could be out modifying cars and citing my incredibly self-absorbed ability to fuck everything that walks (only if it would sit still for just one second), but no. I'm going to write something, and prove my worth. I'm going to make someone think. I can make a difference. I can make one person think. And, that person is me. After all, I'm the only one who matters. Right?

.....Right? Oh, that figures. I'm wrong.

THE INEVITABILITY OF CHANGE (Conclusion – continued from Heaven & Hell)

Posted 18 July 2003, 10.07 am by The Green Mamba

Because Alexander requested it, so blame him - haha

I wasn’t going to write any sort of conclusion to my series of posts on The Holographic-Shamanistic-Quantum-Animistic Model of The Universe, but there appears to be some confusion about the whole basis for these articles. I think the main reason for these misinterpretations is because in Quantum Physics and spiritualism conventional logic falls away. In order for it to make sense you have to look beyond the commonly accepted scientific laws governing the possibility or impossibility of the data presented.
Our biggest mistake was using conventional words like “mind”, “soul” and “consciousness” for things that we simply didn’t have any other words for yet. In our own minds we were able to distinguish the various “alternative” meanings of these terms, but we never realised that other people wouldn’t pick up on that.

In light of this, let me clarify the following about our discussions:
Firstly, they weren’t written as any sort of final truth. They were written as an analysis of newly acquired scientific data in comparison with documented metaphysical experiences.
Secondly, the theories that we discussed are not new (even though I would have liked to claim that they are). After our discussion we furthered our search into what is called Quantum Animism (sometimes called Quantum Tantra) eventually discovered that many of our theories are already documented by Quantum founding father Werner Heisenberg.
Thirdly. Simply because we wrote a certain phrase doesn’t mean that we actually believe it. It simply means that we included into our discussion because we thought at the time that it warranted further investigation.

The end result of our discussion was an affirmation of The Beast, one of our core beliefs in the monster called Modern Culture and a possible basis for its existence within the group/cultural mind - Substantiated by all the source documents, independently.
That everything within the Universe is connected - Substantiated by all the source documents through the Zero-point Field Theory.
That what we eventually referred to as The Mind is physical matter interacting with energy, whereas Consciousness is most likely Quantum Energy (also known as Dark Energy) – Indirectly substantiated by a combination of The Holographic Universe, Edgar Mitchell and The Path.
That there is a higher probability for an omnipresent (but not necessarily omnipotent) consciousness (although not a sentient being) to exist throughout the universe than against it – Indirectly substantiated by all the source documents combined
That we are spiritual beings (energy) first and thereafter physical - our Minds may govern our bodies, but Consciousness (Quantum/Dark Energy) governs the mind – Indirectly substantiated all the source documents combined.
That our physical sensory capabilities dominate and limit us to our perception of reality –Substantiated by The Holographic Universe, Edgar Mitchell and The Path.
That metaphysical experiences appears to be directly linked to Quantum Physics and what religion calls “heaven” could just be an expansion of human awareness beyond the limitations of our physical reality – Indirectly substantiated by all the source documents combined, but particularly Edgar Mitchell and The Path
That “prophets” are most likely people who were/are able to expand their awareness beyond physical reality and that our elevation of their stature within society is because of our inability to explain it through our “logical” model of reality – Indirectly substantiated by all the source documents combined.

Following that, here are the most prominent changes to my own belief structure:

From being Agnostic to believing that the universe arises from a blueprint, which is “god” (a Consciousness without personality - it is not “wrathful” nor “loving” except as how we interpret the way in which it behaves), and we are a part of this blueprint. Not a separate part, but an indivisible part of a whole.
That prophets like Mohamed, Buddha and particularly Jesus were actual people and that Jesus truly was the “son of god” (within the context of the above definition of god) i.e. The Jesus I believe in is not the sacrificial saviour of mankind, but the potential example of what we could become.
From believing that consciousness (sometimes referred to as soul for simplicity’s sake) resides within our physical minds to believing that it exists separately and independently from our perception of reality.
That all ancient myths, legends and religious writings are sources to a truth that we, as humans, have forgottenlost. Not any one of them contains the ultimate truth, but each of them is part of a great jigsaw puzzle that makes up the whole truth.
That religious institutes like the church does not teach us to search for the truth (as the various prophets intended), but instead only tries to force its opinions onto us. It is a narrow-minded, self righteous institute that only cares about preserving it own social (and sometimes economical) interests under the pretence of salvation.
In addition to that I believe that the truth is not something that is “out there” or bigger than anything that we can comprehend. It is within each of us, but not just that … it is within everything around us, from a single grain of sand to the Universe as a whole, independently or as a whole. We see it every day and yet we are blind to it, because we are governed by our own pre-conditioned, personal beliefs. Only when we dare to look beyond what we have been conditioned to see by modern culture through religion, traditional science and conventional logic … can we break free from the prison that we built around ourselves.

From the time we wrote these articles to date, we continue to find new, previously inexplicable, documented mystical and scientific phenomena that fit perfectly into The Holographic-Shamanistic-Quantum-Animistic Model of The Universe. No other model based on actual scientific data has ever managed to accomplish that.

In the same breath, need I remind you that our definition of existence is only as relevant as the information we have on hand at the time of defining it.
New information leads to new truths … reaffirming the inevitability of change.

FIN

NOTE: I didn’t run this conclusion/summary past Dragonfly, so he might have a few things to add/amend/clarify.

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Doggybag/baggy_dog is an artist living and working in Barga, Italy. Click here to read about this piece in his own words.


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Hmph

80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

Yo ! Does this work ?

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