04/11/15

Unexpected side-effect of meditation

Late last year I decided to make a proper go of a daily meditation practice, in order to try and cure or reduce an already fairly mild case of OCD that I’d had for a while. I had tried meditation before, but always got bored and gave up quickly. This time I stuck with it: half an hour every morning of concentrating on my breathing and bringing my mind back to my breath when it wandered – which was a lot.

It didn’t do much for the OCD. It did, however, do something else: it took away my appetite for chocolate. At some point, I can’t remember when, I not only stopped wanting to eat chocolate but felt vaguely queasy at the thought of it. Ditto all other candy. I hasten to add that I didn’t lose my appetite for cookies, cake (including chocolate cake), or desserts in general; just the highly concentrated sugar hits of chocolate and candy.

This effect was entirely unexpected. I wasn’t a chocoholic beforehand, but I certainly liked chocolate and had some most days – usually a couple of mini bars. I didn’t see this as a good habit, and I’m not complaining about losing it, but as I said, I was looking to change something else.

I gave up the meditation after two or three months, but my appetite for chocolate hasn’t come back. I’m currently staying with my parents, with access to the chocolates in their pantry. I haven’t even felt tempted.

I have no idea what actually happened. I figure something must have altered in my brain – but what, I don’t know.

Anyway, just putting this out there as an anecdote. Would be interested to know if others have had similar experiences. I know that meditation and spiritual practices can cause people to lose interest in meat, but I haven’t heard of it happening with chocolate!

04/1/15

The Burp of the Dodo

The Burp of the Dodo

A poem for 1st April, not by T.S. Eliot

April is the foolest month, biting
Lice out of the dark lord, missing
Mum and Dad, slapping
Doomed rogues with sting rays.
Walter kept us white, clouding
Eeyore in Fortean science, finding
A lost legion with diamond tiaras.
Superman surveyed us, clawing over the shingle
With a surge of regret; we spat in the chamberpot,
And waddled on in slippers, into the Hellmouth,
And developed culture, and twerked for a hoot.
Bingo killer robot, something like, echt dummkopf.
And when we were crazy, staying at the asylum,
My cat’s, he took me out on a spaceship,
And I was flattered. He said, Merde,
Merde, high on treason. And did we wonder.
In the mud, there you find fingers.
I rattle, mender of the nets, and go sleep in the water.

04/1/15

“Beach Rubble” review at The Black Letters

Emera at The Black Letters recently reviewed Beach Rubble, a story reprinted in my collection That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote. It’s a lovely review, and it makes points that send me into reflection on my own work. It’s always a treat when a review shows me things I hadn’t noticed about my writing — in this case, amongst other things, how much I use the element of water. I haven’t been writing much lately, but perhaps I should try mentally slipping into some kind of wet environment and see if I can’t find something there…oddly, what I see first at the bottom of the pond or river I dive into are a pair of embroidered satin shoes, tea rose pink, laid neatly side by side and even stuffed with paper as if they were in a wardrobe. The paper is quickly gone and replaced with a fleshy interior, a foot with a waving turret of tentacles, a nudibranch, shoedibranch – imagery, not narrative, but thank you water – I will draw them of course!

04/1/15

Gary to caster

Or, the last remake of Gary…

I gave the Bauta ring to the jewellery caster today, and also gave them Gary. He’s a small, fiddly piece more suited to the jeweller’s equipment than a foundry’s, and while it will be more expensive I think the result will be worth it. He’ll be bronze, and I’ll do the patina myself. I’m heading back to Australia soon, so they should be waiting for me when I come back.

In other news, I’m now the proud owner of a mini trampoline. It’s better exercise than I expected, and of course less jarring than working out on a hard surface. And it’s fun. Probably the closest I’ll ever get to having my own bouncy castle.

03/23/15

Pan Returns

Today I did the bulk of the work on Gary – leaving the fiddly work, which, I know from having done it before, will take a few hours.

As well as the jewellery caster, I’ve found a new foundry to cast Pan. I poured wax in the mould, and found that the figure’s position is quite a bit different from the resin model (which was taken from my original), and also different, I think, from the one that was cast. Between him breaking, wax melting and bending, and possibly some welding of the metal cast, I can see how all kinds of things could get changed at that skinny point of his ankle, but I want him to look like the original – which means using the resin model, which has none of the fixes I made to the wax model that the mould was taken from.

So, I’ve taken the rotary tool to the resin to carve it a bit, but I probably won’t change it as much as I changed the wax – I’ll let a bit more roughness and expressive inaccuracy stay, just ’cause I can’t help liking the way it looks.

In other news, today I broke a marble stool just by sitting on it, by which I can only conclude that MY ARSE HAS SUPERPOWERS.

03/21/15

Native animals as pets

http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2015/03/19/4200500.htm

Good idea or not? I don’t know. But it seems like something worth investigating, both as a means of preserving species and of offering an alternative to cats and dogs which, wonderful though they are, are a terrible menace to native animals when they go feral.

Put it this way: human beings keep pets. That isn’t going to change. You can talk about depriving an animal of its natural life, but that goes for cats and dogs, too. Not to mention horses. So perhaps making pets of quolls would be the lesser evil — or not an evil at all, at least from the quoll’s point of view. We don’t know that an animal in the wild, exposed to predators, disease and the elements, is happier than an animal with a warm bed, meals and health care.

Making pets of wildlife shouldn’t take the place of habitat conservation. But I can see the argument that if we get to know these animals we might care more about preserving them.

03/19/15

Today’s adventure

Poured molten wax over my bare foot (too hot for shoes). My foot seems fine, although I did scream like… someone who poured molten wax over their foot.

This happened because of a good thing: I’ve got in touch with a jewellery caster who also does small sculptures, which means I can get Gary recast. However, his mould got damaged in the floods and no longer fits together properly. I’ll have to cast him, repair the cast, and then give it to the jeweller. I’m trying different waxes to see which one gives the best result. Aaaaaand one cast leaked and I lifted it up to try and close the leak, without thinking of where my foot was.

I’ve been doing this all day. Did I mention it’s hot? I’m a bit buggered. I’d only got one usable cast where the wax even went into his nose. It’s a local wax – doesn’t pick as much detail as others I’ve got, but it’s strong enough to manage without armature, which is a plus in this case. I think I’ll use that cast, and maybe swap it with a head from another if I can get one with a nose…

ETA: Finally scored, at the end of the day. Poured wax into his nose first, then closed the mould and poured the rest. Face and fingers are as good as I could hope for, and feet aren’t too bad. Still a lot of cleanup and fixing, but doable. This one’s in a better wax, too. So yay!

ETA 2: 23 knee pushups! And 60 in three sets, with plenty of rest between. 6 weeks to get this far…

03/9/15

Gym in my street!

I haven’t been going for any morning jogs here, as the main drag has bad pavements and stray dogs that I don’t like meeting in the early morning gloom, and the side streets are stocked with guard dogs that bark like crazy when you go past – not nice for me or the residents. There are people here who just jog up and down our own side street, but I always feel a bit odd doing that.

Anyway, a small gym has opened literally 5 mins walk away. It’s clean and nice and the membership rates are fine. Lucky!

Also, I’ve made it to 20 knee pushups and can do 5 real ones now. Slow and steady…