Friday, July 03, 2015

Self Monitoring

God have mercy upon me.
I got the top of the range FitBit surge smart watch for my 40th birthday recently, and I am addicted.  Pedometer, heartrate, distance travelled (by GPS), calories burned. It has inspired me to get out to reach the standard 10,000 steps goal.  Today I walked down Lygon street.  I repurchased Flanagans The Deep Road to the Far North, after selling it to the guy at The Red Wheelbarrow bookshop a while back.  I have forgotten his name.  They had a book launch last night.  A local author’s book about Brunswick.
One of my parents complained I sold a book he wanted to read.  I’ve got to do something special as he is in hospital for a hip replacement.
I went all the way to Tiamo 2, and had a second coffee.

I am going to stop right there.  I don’t want to be one of those bloggers with Loghorea.  It is funny how I am easily influenced by the critics.  Does anyone else modify their behaviour frequently because of relevant messages in the media?  Think strategically.  Communicate strategically.  Not every detail.  It is boring.  Find an angle.

I listened to podcasts as I walked.  On Social work from Griffith University, and Philosopher’s Zone from Radio National ABC.

My fiancĂ© told me the other night I reminded her of a guy she once kissed in first year uni who did arts and read philosophy.  On our first date when I said I read, her pants caught fire.  She assures me there is no old embers smouldering.  He is married with kids now.

Each of my siblings married a divorcee, and now I am engaged to one.  Anything can happen.  Love can heal your life, but it is as ephemeral as the clouds.

The sleep monitor is one of the most interesting aspects of the FitBit.  It tells me how long I was in bed, how long I slept, how many times I woke.  I know exactly what time the catfight outside my window was, because the online dashboard tells me I woke at 1:19am.  It is eerie.

What’s my angle?  I keep having these fantasies about great stories or articals I am going to write, but I haven’t actually been doing much writing lately.  Since semester finished I spent a few weeks handwriting ‘The morning pages’ as per instructed by J.Cameron’s The Artists Way, but I stopped a week ago, because I was getting RSI pain in my shoulder from gripping the pen.  I don’t know of what my creative life consists anyway.  I am not particularly pitching towards any specific artistic project, so the diary style record in the morning pages journalising I have been doing seems self indulgent.

There are moments when I tell my beloved a story about my life and it seems so self contained, themed and nicely rounded, I feel confident it is a great candidate for a short story, but they are all so hard to pin down with actual text.  My mind squirms and warps with aspiration and ambition, and it seems my next big challenge as a human being might be to be more gentle with myself and relinquish some of my hopes, in order to better face reality.  It is not the way the entrepreneurial facebook feeds would suggest as the way forward.  Something I have learnt about the financial services and packages market is that there are real conditions necessary to put a business idea into practice, and those conditions are not really present in my life at the moment.  If I want to make money, and I do, who doesn’t, then my best path at present is to complete my masters of social work, a more vocational degree than a BA in literature, and get a job.  An income, any income, even a low income, is better than government benefits and family gifts.

Too much information.  I always want to explain myself and end up sharing too much information.  Who am I?  Do I have a poor sense of self?  A weak grasp on my identity?  I don’t think so.  My self esteem, or personal value might be a bit low, but I know who I am.  To some extent.  To a greater extent than many others who don’t feel compelled to overshare.  A loose grasp on identity is not the problem.  What is my angle?  What is the thrust of what I am compelled to share?

I was super fit as a youth.  The past ten years have seen a gradual slip in my fitness.  I remain quite healthy, but overweight by about 10 kilo.  As a youth I was right up at the top of fitness for my peer group.  Elite amateur gymnastics.  I had trouble transitioning into adult hood, and maintenance has been a struggle since then.  I have many misgivings about a dystopian future.  Scenarios in which my FitBit is misused by a secret governement agency, a malevolent corporation, or organised crime scare the hell out of me.  But the world is filled with things that are terribly frightening, and we all have to weigh up the risk and the benefits.  This new technological gadget with its intriguing data generating capacity inspires me to leave the house more often.  That in itself is a win.

As the surrealist artist Dali once said, something like: I’ll take all the props I can get to hold me up and prevent collapse. 
It’s not so bad though.  At the moment, by beloved has become so integrated into my life, the phenomenon that comes with her of pushing the darkness back has created an extended period of illumination in my life and mood.  Things seem to be improving.  I am able to be optimistic without ignoring…
…without ignoring my deficits…. The worlds contradictions… my terror at my mortality.

Anyway, this is not a romance, nor proto nihilistic philosophy.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Red Back In My Sax.

Taking a few things off the table, I decided last year to sell my saxophone.  I'll keep my flute, at which I am a better player, but I'll never be a musician you would seek out to listen to on the sax, so I think it is time to focus my efforts.
I took it to be valued a couple of days ago.  As I was loading it into the car, i found a red back had spun a web on the roof rack.  The red back can be a deadly spider.  Australia may not have any lions (sea lions), tigers (tiger quolls) or bears (Koala is not really a bear), but we do have many poisonous snakes and spiders.  The fear that red stripe on the tail can arouse is primal.
I drove across the Westgate bridge in a reverie, anxiety stimulating my imagination.
I have owned this sax for some 25 years, taking lessons in Alto in high school, changing to tenor because I felt it was more manly.  At the end of first year Uni I drove to Byron Bay with it in the boot of my valiant.  I aspired to play the Pink Panther Theme song, but the best I could do was a riff out of the sound track of Pulp Fiction.
'94/'95 was a difficult time in my life.  19, 20 years old I trod a path of decline which lead me to rock bottom.  I was lucky to survive.  The red back reminded me of a tale my old neighbour John Hodgson told me.  He had attended my parents home when I was forced to return there in shame, breaking down into incoherence.  I had dread locks then and was sick with the confusion a cocktail of party drugs had on me. John attended as I seriously considered suicide, acting out a japanese Drama i read in the Eric Van Lustbader novel The Ninja, trying to recover my honour like Blackthorn in The Shogun, with ritual suicide.
Thankfully I did not succeed, and John took an interest in me and in mental health after that.  He was a GP and friend of my parents, and years later he told me that he could confirm the urban legend about the young man who went to have his dreadlocks cut off, and went white as the hairdressing process began.  Apparently a nest of red backs had set up in his dreads and they bit him when they were disturbed.  He had to be rushed to hospital.
I don't want to blame anyone other than myself and my poorly established boundaries and wobbly sense of right and wrong, but there were a range of people, figures still sort of sharp in my minds eye twenty years latter, who influenced me and encouraged me to take drugs, especially a couple of women, who I think of now as the red backs.  The drugs were their venom
When I got to the music store in south Melbourne, I stopped first at 7Eleven and bought bug spray and killed that red back dead.
Sharla (Charlotte?), one of the red backs who gave me LSD twice, talked about the 13th astrology sign, the spider.  Things that are hidden.  Mystery, the unknown.
As I walked into The Music Place to get the sax valuation, two men sitting outside were talking.  One said to the other "You're friend is going to jail, and you're worried about the house?!"
I find it hard not to take random comments on the street personally when they resonate with me.  I am struggling with a house renovation at the moment, and my working relationship with my father is under strain.  When I broke down, it was the sense I had that people, these red backs, Sharla in particular were lying about me, making accusations to deflect from their own drug dealing activities, that pushed me over the edge.  Fear and paranoia overwhelmed me.  There are things that going to jail for wouldn't be that bad.  Being a diamond thief for instance.  I imagine prison would be a pretty neutral diminution of liberty for that person.  But there are things for which you really don't want to be wrongly accused.  As my mind resonated with the end of 25 years of music, I took the words of the men on the street next door to the shop, and considered the meaning of my having killed the deadly spider.  I am a buddhist and it is with great reluctance that I kill anything, even a spider.  If it had not been a driving hazard and otherwise difficult to remove, I may not have killed it.  The world works in mysterious ways, and sometimes we cannot know for sure the things we intuit, but an angel of reason whispered in my ear that by inductive magic, killing the spider was the chaos butterfly flapping its wings of causality leading to justice for the liar who falsely accused me.  I lost my marbles and never was charged or went to trial.  Perfect deniability was preserved by interpreting my behaviour as crazy, so, in a kind of likeness, the uncertainty with which I was stigmatised, remains the uncertainty with which I intuit a kind of delayed cosmic justice for my accuser.  Perhaps again, it does not relate to me, except as that for which you might expect of a person who accuses without really knowing the truth, they might make other accusations and be found out, found to be a liar, and that is all the justice possible, a quantum in an uncertain world.
I got what I thought was a fair valuation.  The better angels of my nature become impatient, but as an anonymous unknown in a fairly large city, I can wait for conditions to be right while I work upon my resolve to act decisively when the way becomes clear.
Strike while the iron is hot, my father used to say.
His father said the coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave man dies but once.
To be afraid of dying, you'll see demons tearing your life apart, but if you've made your peace, the demons are really angels, freeing you from this world. (Jacob's Ladder).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Progressive Order

25, 26, 27/9/12

The ultimate corruption once seemed to me, the spiritual abuse by sexual means of children by priests.

Othello, Act 3 Scene 3:
Iago to Othello on Cassio:
“There are a kind of men so loose of soul,
That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs:” (Shakespeare)

In my Year 12 water polo team, Michael Klim was such a good swimmer, that in the grand final, our opponents put two of their best swimmers exclusively on him to try to stop him, and they had no effect.  We finished the season unbeaten. 

My defense of analogue life relies upon a scholarly interest in obscure and forgotten analogue texts, which I imagine possess secrets of meaning that glitter like jewels, treasures the Internet will never contain, because it does not value them.

“Always in debt to your prizes advice.” Kurt Cobain.

Civilizations rise, civilizations fall, and all the great works rot and decay in the crumbling libraries at the edges of the creeping deserts. 

Online comments have a kind of mythical quality to them for me.  The rise of the Internet was embryonic as I entered higher education.  Once, a comment I assumed to be by a lecturer, about the analysis of short stories was approximately:  One student said all stories are one of two types – Borges-ian, or Kafka-esque. 
It might not have been my comment, but it applied to my thinking in this way:  I think I could have attempted to make such absolute binary statements. 
Anonymous online comments opened another stream of insight, knowledge and reflection, into my education, through questioning the truth of words.  This must be a good thing.
The Internet let this happen, so for this reason I was never really committed to the Luddite view of computers.

I believe in symbolic logic - that discrete discipline of reasoning which allows the algebraic exchange of ‘tokens’ of meaning in mathematical formulae. 

My idea of prolific, in volume, is inspired by a concept of automatic writing taken from the spiritualists. 

I want to explain my ‘madness’.
What does it mean: “Some people do not suffer from mental illnesses, no matter what they have been through”?

Put First things First.

I want to believe there is, there are, more in books, than in computers.  The Internet is like a microscopic city, perched upon a spinning, disembodied ‘planetary’ stomach.  There is a little meaning there, but mostly, it just digests.  It is an organ for processing of data and information.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

The name of my blog, The Object Ephemeral, is an indicator of my attitude – this is a moment, not a material artifact like a book.  And what book is lasting anyway?

Le Carre, put words to these effect in the mouth of ‘the spy who came in from the cold’: if it were not for spies, the generals and the priests would have blown it all up long ago.

Put last things last.

“You can write, but you can’t edit.” Regina Spector Edit

In Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, the ‘Creative’s’ commitment reads as a prayer: Great Creator, I’ll take care of the quantity, you take care of the quality.

The diet industry trades upon people’s poor body image.
Compassion is my default setting.

Another flautist in my orchestra, also a librarian, was one of the people who introduced underwater hockey to Australia and knows someone who can hold their breath for 3.5 minutes.  It meant he was impossible to stop.

Michael Klim was in the paper as celebrity promoter of a range of weight loss products called Slim Secrets.  Items in the range have very aggressive names.

The flautist has had all his fingers battered from the underwater hockey.

In July 2009, David Gillespie, the author of Sweet Poison, an anti-sugar (fructose) book, appeared on RN.  Last week, someone who read it and put it into practice praised it in a news article.  It makes sense that it is like tobacco.  The rush and the cravings fit the unhealthy dynamic pattern.  It is controversial, because we don’t want the state interfering too much in our lives, the nanny state.  Free choice, that old chestnut!  The booster, Rachael Oakes-Ash is the author of a body image book. And says she doesn’t miss the sugar.

I rarely edit my work. Speed dating last Saturday night, I met a Writer who would draft, edit and revise her work over and over, until she felt it was something she could share. 

I love the format architecture of the “My Day On a Plate” break out in the weekend magazines – what great advice this nutritionist gives.  The ideas within the article are simple enough, but we seem to need to be told these things another 1000 times. 

First there is thought, then speech, then, there is writing.  Doubt in the first, effects all levels of communication.  Education, like spiritual development, involves practicing what you have learned.  Learning is not necessarily an end in itself.  Writing is an artifact, but speech is like an artifact, to thought.  Editing out doubt is the key to a more timeless durability.  The word is both the ‘symptom’ of doubt, and the gateway into the more refined, less material realm of thought.  With the edit, the way is opened to fearless thought.

I accept my poor dietary discipline as the state of things, yet still I aspire to change.

It feels as if I am writing to myself.  What a madman I must seem; I really write to angels.

Mick Gatto is on trial for fraud or extortion, relating to a SensaSlim protein shakes and diet system franchise. 

There was an article last weekend on the Australian Major General John Cantwell suffering PTSD.  He broke down.
Do not dwell on other’s misfortune, try to understand your own.  Do not dwell on past misfortunes.  Be grateful for your current health.

The sexual integrity of those interfered with speaks to my heart.  Church reservation of principles higher than justice appears to undermine the inquest.

Love is the Law.

Practice: the archeological type linguistic excavation of texts, the net can never fully include.  The anemic net misses the meat of manuscripts with analogue biology imbedded in the flow of ink on dead tree artifact.

Geologic, geographic, typographic, cartographic metaphors cascade through my mind Immovable in other fields.  I seem to lack the heavy equipment to relocate them into fields of relevance, skill and interest.

Here’s to front end loaders.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Some days you just don’t want to do your scales.

661 words
Do you ever get that?
One of my old housemates is in jail.  I read a letter from him today.  I wrote a response, which was hard.  Sending him a book.  He stirs up all kinds of archetypal anxieties in me.  Sometimes the ‘Mind Only’ school of Buddhism makes perfect sense to me.  Everyone and everything is only an emanation of my own mind.  There is a part of my self I cannot own up to?  Send it to jail.  Lock it away, put it out of sight out of mind.
I want to be, I am a kind and gentle person.  But I can get on my high horse sometimes.  Is not the truth about reality a brutish and cruel world we live in?  People who say no, it is all ‘just in your mind’ – what you think is what you get from the world.  They are ignoring the wars and violence that go on, usually in their names, so that they can continue to live in blissful ignorance.
Anyway, I don’t want to preach.
I have done another thing today.  I squirm at the thought.  No confessions.  I’ll leave you in suspended animation eh?  Sufficed to say I may not be managing my newfound enthusiasm for loving everyone.  People are so unpredictable.  My brother advised me that women see a man who is interesting to other women and want him.  Rather than chasing unattainable women, I have been socializing with women I am not interesting in 'that' kind of relationship with.  I have enjoyed it, and until tonight, I thought I had managed any flirting and innuendo with subtlety and kindness.  But after orchestra, I asked the conductor, who teaches piano, if she would give me some lessons.  I was in love with her five years ago, but she is married now.  Another unattainable woman.  And my new found friend in social life, an older woman whose confidence I was keen to support, lingered as I was waiting to make my request.  I can’t control how she feels, but I am aware that I am trying to grow out of inappropriate desire.

I can’t say it.  I cannot say what I mean clearly, and I suspect I cannot, because it is not a kind thing to say, and the meanness of it confuses me.  So I will stop trying to say it.  I want to be a better person.  Sometimes these spiritual teachers we come across, be it Chogyam Trungpa (set up the community that created Windhorse in Colorado), or Da Free John or what every he calls himself, become ‘good’ people only to take advantage of their position to sleep with the people who love them.  Does being good mean not sleeping with people?  People don’t love them for not sleeping with anyone.  But they sleep with married women (and men) and in some way betray their own partners.  Should we discount their teachings because of this?  Or only take the teachings we do respect and leave the teachings we don’t?  But what if being good means being constantly tormented by unattainable desires, and all small progress in social skills is marred by cruelty?
I wish I could back myself on this.  I feel really uncertain about what I am saying.  I want to believe I am pointing at something important and am about to make a breakthrough, but I suspect my reasoning is third rate.  Damn this illness and its lacerating effects on my confidence.  Even if I do reach a correct conclusion I would not commit to it out of doubt.  And I don’t know whether to trust feelings or thoughts.  Train my will to govern my feelings yes.  Don’t rely on chains of reasoning, in which one small error in any step can cascade down to major distortions.
I so want to be a writer.  To make sense of my world through words seems reasonable.  It is all in a jumble.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cooking suits me.

501 words
I cooked another meal for a friend.  I try not to regret things in my life.  Casual observations can come across as hurtful.  I must be more careful.  The newspaper is a great resource.  Someone publishing a new cook book, printed a selection of recipes in the weekend paper.  I cooked up a tomato soup and stewed pears.  It turned out very good, if I do say so myself.  The news often has articles about food.  Recently there was one about ‘Sweet Poison’ an anti sugar book.  It seems true, and life affirming, but cutting out sugar is just too hard for me right now.  There was 330 grams of castor sugar in the syrup the pears were stewed in.  Another article talks about Frugavores.  With its concentration on omnivorous and frugal eating, whole foods and local, organic and home grown vegetables, it all makes sense and it seems a combination of practices and attitudes could contribute to healthy eating.  I need to dispel doubt, but I am sure some of these practices must be approached with caution, and assessed critically.

The Herbalife products do seem to have kicked me off on a new energetic path.  The inner circle, from which my sponsor was too distant for him to ever make real good money in the company, talked flatteringly of the Tea Party woman Bachmann.  Mainly in praise of her wealth, which they seemed to assume trumped her need to engage in politics.  They imply she doesn’t beat Obama at election because she is much happier just being rich.  Fair enough, being rich must be quite nice, but it indicates a pretty shallow and self-interested view of politics.

Today was good and quiet.  Meditation – improving, music – the half hour past in the blink of an eye, reading x 3 Chatwin, on music, and Charlie Chaplin’s Biographies.  Anthony Robins, the public speaker and positive thinking guru, recommends reading an hour of inspiring biography per day.  I guess it is to remind us of what a successful life can be like.  I also did some reflection and danced.  Oh, and my nephew and my dad visited. 
Too much information?

I did register for the City to Sea run.  And I did buy a ticket to a speed dating night.  I don’t think I am going to find a satisfying relationship until I have a job.  But what does ‘a job’ mean?  6 hours a week?  15, 20, or full time?  Am I ever going to be happy?  The Dharma talks I listen to explain it all, over and over again.  This wanting is about me feeling I am not right as I am, and it is that feeling which continues to make me unhappy.  I should be this, or I should have that.  The alarm bells ring with shoulds.  The key is accepting myself with an open heart.  Trying to change, to improve myself, but not making myself miserable in the mean time with unfulfilled desires.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bonjour. If not now, then when?

17/9/12 962 words. Hello Eileen, another new reader – my legion of fans are growing. I took a trial French class tonight. The plan is to go to Gheel in Belgium and do an intensive French cooking class – and I need to be able to speak the language. It was good. I was surprised both by how much was coming back to me, and how much I had forgotten. 3 years high school French 20 years ago.

 Does anyone want to learn French with me? I am aiming to go into level 3, and it starts in a couple of weeks. I am not sure if I am going to study in Fitzroy North or the City. Maree was a lovely patient and intelligent teacher with sensitive, expressive eyes and a stylish mane of dark brown hair.

I was thinking about my last entry. I held a long series of dialogues inside my head debating the various merits of discussing assorted issues, and the cant I could put on things that would allow me to express myself more clearly. All these intelligent conversations are lost in the marsh of my memory, but I have come to publish again, because I feel it important to stay engaged with the process. If I call myself a writer I better do some writing.

Years ago, Living with Beth in a share house, I started running at night. Beth suggested it was too active for the evening. I was in a mode where it was then or not at all. I feel the same now about my writing. I keep an analogue journal, but it is more a workbook and wholesale vomiting of emotion and impulse as a kind of cleansing. My meditation practice has been a little interrupted and jittery when it happens. It happened today, but no music practice. Flute or Piano.

James Rhodes in Piano Man, talks about Beethoven always falling for unattainable women, resulting in him dying a bachelor. Kierkegaard sabotaged his engagement for what must have seemed grand spiritual reasons, but his low esteem for women generally and the changing of fashions and styles, leaves him looking a bit foolish. Early he praised coupling as essential for personal development, but later poured vitriol on all church institutions, including marriage, baptism and funeral rites. I am trying to change.

I proposed to the lovely Tinuviel, an almost complete stranger, who very reasonably refused my febrile romanticism. In the ensuing internal dialogues I reasoned that a better way to approach it would be to find out her father’s address in Cairns, fly up and ask him for his permission. The conversation went something like this:

Stan: I would like to ask for your blessings in proposing to your daughter.
T’s Dad: That’s the last thing that you need. She is her own woman – she is the one you have to convince.
Stan: All the same. It may seem overly formal and but it seems best to do things traditionally, to satisfy superstitions if nothing else. Would you bless my asking for her hand?
T’s Dad: I don’t know you from a bar of soap. How’s this. If you become a brick layer, I’ll know you suit her well. I mean, you don’t even have a job.
Stan: ok, I’ll become a brick layer.

I called NMIT today to do a $476 nine week basic brick laying course (one evening a week). I haven’t seen nor heard from Tinuviel in two years. The course has been cancelled due to lack of interest. It was going to start tomorrow. No more leaving things til the last minute. Little decisions. Big resolutions are so easy to break. Recommendation: slowly incorporate good habits.

I think the moral of this story is to put the past behind you. Learn from, but let go of Tinuviel, Frances, and all the other unattainable women in your life, Stan (I am talking to myself). Juliet – it was just that the timing was wrong. Forgive Jana, whose betrayal was no more than willful ignorance on my part.

Tonight. Tonight. If not now, then when, as Tracy Chapman sang. Announcement of intention: I am going to register for the City to sea run in eight weeks time. People sometimes ask if I am still doing circus. I am learning to balance a broom stick on my foot and my chin.

When I first acknowledged I was hearing voices and engaged with the process of trying to befriend them, i wrote letters to an imaginary friend named Dave. I gave myself a pseudonym and replied to the letters. It was a good way of reconciling thoughts that I was having trouble 'owning' with 'my-self'. Delusions about my psychic powers had snowballed into a failure to recognize some thoughts as my own, and a correspondence with a posited 'other person', was helpful. I imagined Dave was just like me, with similar rare psychic powers, which operated on a similar 'wavelength'. The 'correspondence' was helpful in allowing me to reflect upon the thoughts I was having, the thoughts I felt I couldn't own, and the practice of fleshing out a 'character' who might be responsible for these insertions, far from cultivating a split personality or any other dysfunction (schizophrenia is popularly mistaken for a split personality, when literally the term means "divided against oneself") it helped quieten the 'voices'. The charge of fragments of 'self' disowned can be a terrible and debilitating thing.

Confession doesn't really suit my style, sufficed to say I hope those who know me don't abuse any disclosure I make. Once it is out there...

Here is to recovery, and the working man's life. 'Work is man's dignity and man's reward' (quote from the financial times)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Food, books, psychology, buddhism, (music).

16/9/12 1900 words. Start. Just start. A blog is like musical scales. So said someone reviewed in the paper after a gig talking about literature at the Wheeler centre. Like scales. I have just started watching Piano Man, a series by James Rhodes about his longstanding desire to become a concert pianist, and his eventual success. In the first episode he plays beautifully Beethoven.
 I call myself a writer, I tell people I keep a blog, yet it has been so long since I have written in it. What do I tell people I blog about? Food, books, psychology, Buddhism. Is any of this true? Sort of.
I have a new reader in Russia. Hi Alexi. I think that is your name. Actually my sister in law said your name tonight and I don’t think that was it. I look forward to seeing you over here for some diving next march. So you know who you are, but I don’t know.

I am scared, scared of doing the wrong thing, scared of saying, of writing the wrong thing. My tendency is to criticize everything, badly, but what I write on here, stays on here, for the foreseeable eternity.
Food. I blogged about my liver cleanse diet. My latest endeavor is Herbalife. After five years not working, I am looking for ways of making money and interacting with people. I hate the sound of it, “making money”, but I have to remind myself ‘remuneration’ = love. It does not equal hate. But the main thing is getting a job so I will be mixing with people. Isolation is one of my biggest enemies. I have had some troubles in my life and overcoming isolation is a key aspect of overcoming them. Work. I called someone who left a flier in my letter box with the invitation to join Herbalife as a distributer. I went away for a month, and he kept calling me. I could not think of a good reason to keep putting him off. I like herbs. I am on medication – there it is, the thing I would rather not put on my blog, but it is what it is. I need that shit for my health. I would rather it if my health was good enough not to need it, but I am not going to get there by neglecting myself and good advice. So taking herbal supplements makes sense. I keep trying to come off my medication and there is a grand chasm between what I want and what I am capable of. I fail and get sick again. So I try to build a bridge with these powders and pills. Not medicine – food.
So I went to this Herbalife marketing meeting. I loathed it, but also found it strangely compelling. I bought some protein powder – a meal replacement, and a bottle of multi vitamins and an instant tea. It took me a while to get the hang of the protein shake, and a huge can of it only lasts two or three weeks. I bought a cheaper version from the supermarket. Off the shelf. But I get ahead of myself. I have lost two kilo, skipping meals. But strangely, my cravings have been less. Perhaps not strangely. It is scientifically formulated by doctors and food scientists. Over two weeks, I decided that the best meal to skip was breakfast. It is the least nutritiously balanced with no vegetables in it.
History: my entire life I have been eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast. When I suffer food cravings, it is usually for a bowl of cereal. I eat them, much to my detriment, at night, sometimes multiple bowls, sometimes with added sugar. I try not to by the common cereals, but my digestive problems and my weight problem(s) are such and so entrenched, I am looking at long standing habits, and using compulsions as pointers toward what I am doing wrong in my diet.
The main thing I could improve, which was such a success in the first two weeks of my LCD, was an increase in fresh fruit and vegetables. This herbalife program, had me skipping lunch, which is ok, because I never know what to eat at lunch anyway. I usually have a sandwich, but often I eat additional toast, usually with peanut butter, sometimes also honey, or else tahini and honey. Giving up this, would be key to weight loss, this and cheese. My brother is my nutritional consultant on this. My new project in this vein is to consult a scientific nutritionist, rather than give blood for a liver function test.
I am so isolated. I could be saying something horribly embarrassing and not know it. Scales.
We make mistakes in scales, and we increase accuracy and speed through repetition, then we build complexity.
I have been walking fairly regularly. 4 times a week for a couple of weeks. I could just about get a dog and it would be happy. My brother has just bought a foxy terrier. Luci. It is super cute. It fell asleep in my arms after dinner tonight. If I could lose 3-6kg by the end of the year, I would be happy. I am trying to use the bench press a little more. My brother in Law’s half brother gave it to my brother in Law and he left it here for me when he moved out. David to Grant to me. I am concerned a lot with my body image. My sister and mother are both badly over weight. I have made a date with a woman from Dance who is lovely, but overweight. She likes me. Somehow she has let me know, and I have no good reason not to spend time with her. It hasn’t happened yet. I want to learn how to be helpful to a persons health and body image. Love. Love, as Viktor Frankl (Jewish psychiatrist, survived the Nazi death camps) puts it, is the only way to help others realize their potential, and to make enemies into friends. Don’t quote me on that, but it was something like it.
So, Food, Books, Psychology, Buddhism.
I am reading Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines. I quite like his writing, but he is such a queer. I don’t know that I would even have noticed it I didn’t know beforehand. But you can see in the way he describes the green eyed tribal lad as “glistening”. I picked it up for one reason only. I am interested in the culture of indigenous Australians, but that’s not my reason. It is much more negative. I want to intelligently criticize my Croatian friend Jana, a consummate critic herself, most cuttingly of Australian Culture. A line in a documentary about Indigenous culture put it that Chatwin had flown into central Australia and taken all these stories of people who had been living and working with the locals for 10 years or 20 years or more. He took their stories, threw a spanner of disclosure in the works and then flew out to fame and acclaim. There were some who where bitterly glad when he contracted HIV and said he deserved it, when he died.
This is extreme, and I would not wish HIV on my worst enemy, let alone a lovely lass like Jana, but I feel used by her. My tentative efforts to enter the theatre world via the back stage seemed doomed to futility when her criticisms so eloquently explained the immaturity and dullness of the Australian theatre (and whole arts) scene. So it is revenge. I want to understand how Chatwin did what he did, so I can gauge its ethical deplorability. I want to be able to articulate why I am so conflicted about jana. Charming opportunist. Critic who hides her polemic amidst high academic ideas. But if truth be told, much of her criticism is just so valid and compelling, simple and hits the nail on the head. Hence she is such an attractive figure, but not invested in Australian culture. She is a citizen of the world and should be respected for this, but dominantly a citizen of Europe, Eurocentric in ways she refuses to acknowledge and hides among intellectualizations. I am not anti-intellectual. I might be a frustrated intellectual, which might be a source of some of my resentment, but I can appreciate and admire her for her intellect. It is just that she ruthlessly will not forgive the problems and foibles of our little antipodean kingdom. She is hard working and left leaning, but refuses to see the depth of engagement of the mere ‘rest of us’ with problems that are specifically here, and not just conceptual problems for the global socialist revolution, led of course by the cultural elite of which she is a nonchalant member. Gen Y. It is with mixed feelings I watch as China rises with India burgeoning, while Europe staggers financially and threatens to bog in the mire of social problems that come with widespread poverty and unrest. Australia; so dependent on the minerals boom. Not really much to be proud of. But Global politics – that is not what this blog is about.
Books. The Songlines. About Aboriginal culture in Australia. Beautiful in it’s way. I am also reading about Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher. While recently in Russia, I learned that the aggression of nazi germany against Russia, actually began with Denmark in the far north. I wan’t aware Denmark allied with Germany. 160 years ago, Denmark was deemed “an intellectual dependency of Germany”. Kierkegaard was so determined to convince people they were not really Christians, and that being a christian was much more difficult than people generally recognized. As a public figure, he was not all that popular. Interesting how time can change the reception of a man’s ideas. There was much to not like about him, but existentially, his ideas are powerful.
Speaking of existentialism, when I mentioned studying the existentialist philosophers at Herbalife, my sponsor turned really nasty. It is so obviously a right wing organization. They have an Australian flag near the door, they all wear badges of the company logo, have neat little stories about how the product helped their health and made them money, and Chris, my sponsor, seemed to be defending nuclear power and calling Bertrand Russell a complete dictator. Maybe he was, I don’t know. Interesting both Germany and Japan are phasing out nuclear power. But this is not about global politics.
Food. Books. Psychology. Buddhism.
I have become the organizer of a self help group in Carlton. When I described it to my sister she couldn’t suppress a snickering laugh. She apologized, saying it was just a funny image. Hilarious. I think she is a big part of my problem. Don’t blame others.
Psychology and Buddhism. I’ve got nothing to say right now. Yes I read Viktor Frankl recently. I try to meditate daily. I want to go on a 10 day silent retreat. I don’t know if I will cope. Anyway, like scales. My entry is petering out. Hi to Patch, who also sometimes reads, and Denny, who gave me a half days work 10 days ago and is encouraging me to make a book. I am going to ‘hang up’ now, publish and download iBooks editor, a free app to make my jottings into a eBook.