Synchronized Chaos Magazine – Nov 2011: Opposing Concepts

In this November issue, Opposing Concepts, we present to you a mixture of poetry, photography, fiction, book reviews, and more! Many of these works present interesting antagonistic ideas or influences.

Dave Douglas’s poem is a flowing analysis of engrams:  waking life, sleeping life, memory, and reality.

Blanca Jones’ piece represents light and dark in terms of faith. Jones seeks to answer, How Can There Possibly Be a God?

We are excited to publish the work of new contributors Lukas Clark-Memler and Joseph Johnson. Clark-Memler writes about the infamous Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (a.k.a. OFWGKTA) and their new controversial album Goblin. Is this inception of a radical new era of music?  You’ll have to read to find out! Johnson’s fictional work is appealing, and is as diabolical as it is suspenseful.

Liz Caruana’s photo series, She’s Leaving Home, is delicate yet bold in a quietly eager sort of way.

Whose Brain Is It? Presented as a mystery with fictional characters and clues, this is a monthly column with a journalist’s (Leena Prasad’s) perspective on brain research.

Book reviews this month include:

  • Deborah Fruchey on City of Stairways: A Poet’s Field Guide to San Francisco, edited by Milta Ortiz
  • Bruce Roberts on The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story, by Alfred J. Garrotto
  • Christopher Bernard on You Deserve Nothing: A novel, by Alexander Maksik
  • Marla Porter on A Dreamer in Egypt – The Poetry of Jaylan Salman

Bruce Roberts also reviewed the fabric and quilt art show at the Cinema Place Gallery in Hayward, California. Suzanne Birrell reviewed the gaming science lecture by Colin Milburn, which was held on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, in conjunction with the Northern California Science Writers Association.

Last month, we featured an article about Sarah Katherine Lewis’ new book, My Boring-Ass Rehab Diary. This month, Tapati McDaniels’ conversation with Lewis continues in Part II: self-publishing.

We also have a timely piece on the Occupy Wall Street movement, by Christopher Bernard.

Lastly, we recently announced ways that you can help support the flood relief effort in Southeast Asia. We would also like to mention the recent 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Turkey.  It is estimated that the death toll is now over 600 people. Click any of the following links to see how you can help:,,

What Do the Occupiers Want? An Op-Ed Column by Christopher Bernard

[Article by Christopher Bernard]

What Do the Occupiers Want?

The news media seem confused about what the Occupiers of Wall Street, San Francisco and other cities around America, and now the world, have been demanding. The Occupiers are mad – they’re mad at Wall Street, and mad at the rich, and mad at Republicans and Democrats who have coddled the rich for decades. The pundits and reporters say the protests are all wonderful and signs of a vital and energized democracy – but what in the heck do these people really want?

Jeffery Sachs recently published a new book called “The Price of Civilization.”

Well, the answer is simple: They want the top 1% to pay their fair share of the price of civilization.

For the last thirty years the richest Americans, whether individuals or corporations, have taken for themselves everything they can get their hands on. They have not shared the spectacular gains our economy has made either with the people who work for them, or to pay for the collective actions that make up government, the services we all use, including police protection, transportation systems and the military.

This has resulted from the hyper-individualistic Reaganism that has dominated our national life since the 1980s. But Americans are not merely a collection of individuals seeking to maximize their returns. America is a society, not just an economy, and a society functions well only when everyone pitches in to make it work. The middle class has been doing its part from the very beginning, and over the last few decades has borne the brunt of the costs of our deepening economic and political dysfunctions.

Christopher Bernard is a novelist, poet, and co-founder Caveat Lector magazine. He is an active supporter of Occupy San Francisco.

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Poetry by Dave Douglas

Engram (a pantoum)

“A hypothetical change in neural tissue postulated in order to account for persistence of memory-called also memory trace.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

amid the tunnel of yesterday and tomorrow
under pressure from wait and scurry
between sleep and wake, images borrow
and collapse under the weight of memory

under pressure from wait and scurry,
times past; built with a shifting foundation
and collapse under the weight of memory –
an awry mnemonic missing base isolation

times past built with a shifting foundation
face moments of persistent efface;
the mnemonic awry, missing base isolation
within the void – without a trace

face moments of persistent efface
as engrams are stacked to the sky
within the void, without a trace,
which oddly shifts the mnemonic awry

as engrams are stacked to the sky,
with numerous pathways of inception,
which shifts even the mnemonic awry
with levels of change and recollection

with numerous pathways of inception
from room-to-room evanescence,
with levels of change and recollection
who is the builder of reminiscence?

from room-to-room evanescence
between sleep and wake, images borrow;
who then is the builder of reminiscence
amid the tunnel of yesterday and tomorrow?

You can reach Dave Douglas at

Photography by Liz Caruana

She’s Leaving Home

Artist Statement:

Liz Caruana is a San Francisco based fashion, editorial, beauty, and portrait photographer.  Her work draws strongly on themes from cinema and she creates a full story by shooting several images.  Caruana’s work has been depicted as delicate, elegant and melancholic.

This particular photo series, She’s Leaving Home, is based on the 1967 song from The Beatles.

Email for more info.

Anarchy in the USA: Tyler, The Creator’s New Brand of Punk

[Article by Lukas Clark-Memler]

Anarchy in the USA:
Tyler, The Creator’s New Brand of Punk

On November 6th, 1975, Johnny Rotten walked onto the stage of London’s St. Martin’s College and changed the world. Although the Sex Pistols’ debut performance was cut short by the College’s dean, who ostensibly called the music “extremely loud,” Rotten still had time to spit at the audience, destroy his amplifier and fight the soundman. It truly was one for the history books.

Fast forward 36 years, and we find a similar occurrence at the Majestic Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA) had to cut their concert short after one of their more provocative numbers caused mass rioting. And when a broken glass bottle was thrown at a doorman, it was decided the ten-member hip hop collective must vacate the premises. Three days earlier, at an album signing in Boston, hundreds of youth congregated outside Newbury Comics eager for a glimpse of the already-infamous crew. A few members of Odd Future scaled neighboring roofs and reportedly riled up the crowd with pugilistic cries of revolution, and anti-police taunts. The teenage crowd responded in kind, with anarchic rioting that resulted in the hospitalization of a police officer and the incarceration of a 13-year old schoolgirl.

Welcome to the strange and frightening world of the Wolf Gang.

The parallels between Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All and the Sex Pistols are surprisingly many considering their reversed polarities. Both embody the punk ethos of anti-status quo, and strive for the upheaval of regularity. And Odd Future’s oft-masked quixotic leader Tyler, The Creator (birth name: Tyler Okonma) is remarkably Rotten-like in character.

Lukas likes to write about music. He is vaguely respected as a critic. His musings have found their way into a wide range of international magazines and a variety of credible websites. He tends to err on the side of the quixotic and has an insatiable thirst for good music. You can reach Lukas at

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Short story by Joseph Johnson

Blind Redemption

By Joseph Johnson

Adam Price woke once again from a fitful night of sleep. He looked over at the clock by his bedside and saw it was two o’clock in the morning. His head ached mercilessly, a throb that pounded on his temple, so he got up to wash his face. A picture of his wife caught his eye, the moonlight streamed in a single ray that rested on her picture. Adam was by no means a romantic, but he couldn’t help feeling butterflies in his stomach when he saw her with that gleaming smile on her face. He could even remember the first time he met her; Adam was a volcano of passion and Tiffany was a cyclone of emotion. The event that ensued afterward cannot be seen as anything less than disastrous. They were a true terror of nature; although on the outside they were a normal couple, inside they were writhing in a beautiful pain. Life, however, would never be worth living without that pain.

His house was quiet other than the heavy rain that pelted the roof, and he still found that calming and serene. He could barely open his eyes when he climbed into bed and felt for his wife Tiffany. His hand sliced through the air and Adam came back to consciousness. He found the light switch and turned it on. The room was empty besides him and two bedside tables with lamps and a book on each. Immediately he began calling her name, but heard nothing in return. Adam ran to the window and saw Tiffany’s car sitting on the street corner beside their apartment.

As he looked out into the darkness a figure appeared on the roof of the building across the street, and just as quickly it vanished. He played it off as a trick of the darkness and resumed his search. The only place left for her to be was in her office. When he entered the room he fell to his knees. Papers were scattered about the room and her work lamp lit up a symbol on the wall; a massive beast sat within a circle that bore a language Adam had never seen, it was a grotesque sight. He saw this symbol once before in an installment of five articles Tiffany was writing on a very violent and aggressive satanic cult. She was in the process of writing her last article the night before. In previous articles she explained in detail the victims, place, and consistency of the rituals. As Adam picked up the only paper left on her desk he discovered a rough draft of the final installment, where she actually pinpointed the time and place of the next ritual by using her other installments as a formula. The place was a catholic church just outside of the city roughly fifteen miles away, the time was five o’clock this morning. A knot filled his throat and tears formed in his eyes.

Joseph Johnson is currently attending Georgia Southern University, majoring in English with a minor in writing. He previously attended East Georgia College, where he published works for a literary journal called the Wiregrass. You can contact Johnson at

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Gaming Science Lecture by Colin Milburn, in Conjunction with the Northern California Science Writers Association

[Article by Suzanne Birrell]

Who is Colin Milburn?

Down deep he is appears happy kid-at-heart who gets paid for playing video games.   How exactly does one get a job playing video games? First go to school and get lots and lots of education.  Colin’s education (for example) includes a Ph.D. /Ph.D. from Harvard University, 2005; M.A. from Stanford University, 1999; B.S. from Stanford University, 1999; and B.A. from Stanford University, 1998.

Sounds like the penultimate nerd?  Let’s add: Colin Milburn joined the UC Davis faculty in 2005 as an Associate Professor of English.  His research focuses on the cultural relations between literature, science, and technology. His interests include science fiction; gothic horror; the history of biology; the history of physics; nanotechnology; video games; and post humanism.

Wow, what a guy.   And I was lucky enough to be able to catch his lecture on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, before the NCSWA.  (That’s Northern California Science Writers Association–I didn’t know before now either).

The subject of the lecture promised to be fascinating:  Does science fiction feed on the outer edges of scientific discovery, or does it actually lead the way – pointing the direction for researchers to follow?

You can reach Suzanne Birrell at

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