A Question of Me, Myself and I

January 11, 2023

You speak to me, I answer from I. You see a shape that is bone, muscle, skin and hair. I see through a fish eye lens this global tissue ‘man’. I see rags and leathers, suits and socks, bags and sacks that you carry.

I see me changing his tie.

I answer from the beach head I. I watch the light house flash across distant boats. I feed gulls knife gliding over grass hills. I feel Hellenic curves in the open air. I stretch my bow, my ancestor voice and call it I.

I answer from within and without which was, is and will be. My tongue is fire coursing through veins. My hands were taught by Sophie the Cleaner. Look carefully and you may see my thumb. It appears like a man. Ignore the smirk swerving at the thumbnail bottom. Doubly ignore it when it appears like me smiling.

I gently part the folds of grey matter. My instinct leads to pulsing points that lie between synaptic arcs deep within the brain. Neither here nor there, neither in nor out. Just between all and everything.

I answer from I. I walk through corridors of mortality and eavesdrop on midnight conversations behind closed doors. I seek a passage through flesh and blood, marrow and bone. From the heel of God to tumbleweed desires my longing cries out. I clap my hands in rhythm to the stars. I play solar tunes careful not to disturb the wispy boundary of lace spider webs.

I answer from I. I watch lone smudge cloud scuff across sunrise. The quickened spindly net stretches over the skin horizon. I flick a twig of humanity’s tree. Is it I or is it me?

The Van Goghic Crop Pictures

December 14, 2022

On my daily walks I pass a field that has been planted with an unknown crop. It’s unknown because I don’t know the farmer and haven’t asked anyone what it is. I’m assuming it is potatoes but that’s only a guess.

For some reason when I look at this field Vincent Van Gogh hovers over my mind. I call it the Goghic Crop because it has that Vincent vibe. Anyway, I thought I’d post the pictures of this crop in a somewhat chronological order from the time the field was plowed, then sown until today where it looks in healthy growth.

Today is Wednesday 14 December 2022. I will post more photos as the days and weeks go by until it is time for harvest. Hopefully by that time I will know what the crop is.

I found out today, Monday, 23 January, 2023 that the farmer is growing pumpkins.

Clear Mind, Calm Heart

December 9, 2022

Why Reactionaries Hate Progressives

November 24, 2022

I’ve been thinking about why hard right conservatives or reactionaries, hate liberals & progressives so much. This is my take.

Reactionaries hate the attempt of an equal level world that democracy, multiculturalism and technology at the outset of the twenty-first century is bringing. They hate globalism & the apparent stripping of their sovereignty (Brexit). The changing world gives rise to their acute sense of cultural chaos while the once over arching power of White Supremacy is being destroyed by demographic realities.

The old social caste of their male superiority & natural inequalities are targeted by progressives for reform or abolition. Trumpists, Qanons & RWNJs hate progressives for it.

The truth is that reactionaries are anti-egalitarian, anti-democracy, anti-liberalism, anti-women, anti-Semitic, anti-Black & anti-People of Colour. They are scared that the power & status, white males once had are disappearing right before their eyes.

#RWNJs #Trump #Qanon #Reactionaries #Brexit #Democracy #AntiSemitism #Multiculturalism #misogyny

The Palm Reader

October 24, 2022

Joe walked to Mal’s place in Redfern. Full moon tilt over tenement rooves and day’s heat still radiated from the footpath. From a distance he saw a man walking quickly towards him. Marching, he came closer carrying a book in one hand and a fireman’s helmet with the other.

He stopped in front of Joe. Joe looked him up and down – he was wearing a black suit and tie. “Why does anyone do anything? Does decision separate us from apes?” he asked looking above Joe’s head. He placed the fireman’s helmet near his shoe and the book in his coat pocket.

Leaning, he cupped one of his hands and put it near Joe’s ear, whispering, “I read palms young man. My mother taught me and I read them for people I bump into on this street.” He could have been an undertaker with his owl eyes. He raised his hands chest high adding, “For a few minutes of your time, we will see what Fate has in store for you….if you let me read your palm. You have nothing to lose.”

Joe felt light headed, a little out of control. “What, you want to hold my hand? Don’t think so mate!”

“Yes, so I can read it. Everyday I have to do this for at least 3 people. You’re my third.”

“You’ve got a quota like cops with traffic fines? A quota of fates? Wow! 3 per day, you say!”

To Joe the guy in the suit looked like a man on a mission, maybe an escaped Mason or a weird scientologist without a folder, trying to make amends. The impression was fleeting, but he was curious. And what was all that about the fireman’s helmet at his feet? Joe’s mind returned to a distant memory. He was 8 years old playing with two small magnets his father gave him. He loved the way the magnets snapped together and when he reversed the ends he loved the repulsion, the tiny push in space against themselves. He loved that it was invisible yet his fingers felt it.

“OK – how long is this gonna take?”

The stranger reached for Joe’s hands. He said, “Not long.” Turning his head, sniffing the air, he took both of Joe’s palms facing them upwards, he stared at each in turn. He let go of Joe’s left hand and took the right. His right hand hovered over Joe’s palm. Joe  felt the same kind of magnetic force he felt as a kid. This time it was moving over his palm opposing the hovering fingertip.

The stranger said, “Every human hand has a landscape with rivers and mountains, deserts and plains. Right here in the middle of your palm is the Plain of Mars,” he pointed. “And here to the north east is Mount Jupiter. The River of Life, runs in a south easterly direction beneath Mount of Venus.” His finger moved across his palm. “Saturn is here,” his finger hovered over the mounds beneath Joe’s fingers. “Beneath the hills are the Head and Heart lines.”

“So, what does it say?” Joe asked, now curious as hell. He didn’t know he held the whole solar system in the palm of his hand. He smiled.

The man sniffed, reached for his coat pocket , pulled out a small cube. It was a dice. He placed it in the centre of Joe’s hand. “Here on the Plain of Mars you now have a compass.” A singular dot on ivory stood out amongst plains, rivers and mountains of one’s life scape. How long had he been standing there? Joe watched and asked him, “Well, what is my fate?”

The guy in the black suit and tie laughed and said in a whisper, “You roll the dice in your hand, look at the number.”

Joe rolled it around in his closed palm. Opening his palm he saw 2 dots. The dots looked like eyes. Joe stared at them. He slowly straightened his back, like a cobra hearing its tune, he looked up at the palm reader.  His whole body was ablaze with thought. “This must be what religious sighs are about,” said a voice. Did it come from his own head or did the palm reader say it? He no longer was sure what was inner and what was outer. The posture of his body, the whole ambience of the situation had its own echo that reverberated through his nervous system. His body tingled all over, a new sense of expectation rose at the base of his spine. Like a neon curl it coiled upwards sparking off into his chest a shock of recognition.

‘Well, this cannot be real,” Joe said as he faced a replica of himself.  The palm reader was no where to be seen. The dice was no longer in his hand. All he had before him was himself and even this image began to disappear.

As he began to walk his foot struck the fireman’s helmet. He left it on the ground and continued walking to Mal’s place.

Photos – Journey to Nauru & Solomon Islands

October 23, 2022

Recently I tweeted a whole pile of photos from my Flotillas of Hope archive. The thought crossed my mind that it will be good to put a whole lot of them on one post. I won’t give captions of each. Assume when you see photos of boats they are either of Eureka or One Off.

When you see photos of stuff on boats they are on one of the boats. The flags were ALL made by community members as were all the pieces of material with messages from Australians. There are also pictures of toys which were gifts from Aussies for the kids at Nauru. We didn’t get to give them the gifts because we were chased out by Nauru Government. The more hazy pics of beaches or buildings in the distance are the photos I took of Nauru when we approached the island. I sent these via satellite phone to our Australian ground crew who then uploaded them on the website. In 2004 social media wasn’t around and yet we got the message out & brought some hope to the asylum seekers. John Howard, Prime Minister at the time released 77 refugees because of our journey.

We were told after we returned to Australia by the refugees released by Howard due to our journey that there were Australian police waiting for us with guns on beaches of Nauru.

There’s also a photo of the Tarot Spread that Starhawk made for the Flotillas of Hope when we met.

When you see photos of islanders they are all from Solomon Islands. When you see buildings and landscapes they are again on Solomon Islands.

How I reversed Type 2 Diabetes in a Year

September 20, 2022

The other day I had a chat with my GP and he told me my blood sugar levels were normal. He also said that about six months ago. So, what’s the big deal? I was diagnosed as a Type 2 Diabetic one year ago, yes, September, 2021 so to find that I have normal blood sugar levels without meds is amazing! In fact, the GP was amazed too. He asked me what I did to have this happen. I told him I changed my diet and was walking 7 to 8 kilometres a day.

When I tweeted this result I was surprised by the response. I promised I’d write about my experience and hope that it may help others.

Just as there is diversity in our body shape, skin colour, eye shape, facial features – there is diversity amongst people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. So, what may work for one person may not work for another. What I tell you about my experience is just that – MY experience. There should be no feelings of failure if you try what I describe and the results aren’t the same for you. Maybe something else will work for you.

My GP asked me to get a fasting blood test last year. He said I may be diabetic and a blood test will show if I am. I wasn’t surprised he’d suggest this because there is diabetes in my family. I didn’t eat takeaway food like Maccas or pizzas. I didn’t eat cakes nor lollies because I haven’t got a sweet tooth and I was careful not to eat fatty foods. I also ate only home cooked meals. I love fresh fruit and vegetables and I didn’t drink alcohol. So, how could I be diabetic? Well the results came back and I was diabetic – just crossed the indicator line. 

Freak out time! Shock….what to do? The GP suggested I see a dietitian & a physiotherapist specialising in exercise. This was in Covid times so I didn’t see them face to face – just phone. The info the dietitian gave me I also found online & the exercise guy when he found out I was 69 asked me what did I want to do. I said walking would be great. So that was the end of that consultation. 

I then researched diabetes and found the biggest myth about diet was that fat was the enemy. I found that my love of fruit was also contributing to my diabetes because of the sugar content. I thought I was a good little vegemite with my soups. I’d have an instant soup with noodles and add garlic, peas, cauliflower, spring onion, olive oil & a dash of lemon juice. The noodles are carbs and contribute to diabetes.  

I took on board what the dietician said. I also read Michael Mosley on diabetes. Everything pointed to me losing weight and changing my diet along with some fasting. 

I was brought up in a Greek Orthodox home with my mother ensuring we all followed the strict Orthodox fasting and dietary rules pertaining to holy days. I did this until I left home when I was 18. So the idea of fasting or eating particular foods on certain days wasn’t a big lifestyle program reset.

I’m telling you this so that you may get a glimpse as to why changing my diet wasn’t such a big deal for me because of my previous life experiences.

I need support to watch my diet and ensure that my exercise routine is beneficial to my aims. My aims? To lose weight and to bring my blood sugar levels down. My support comes from today’s incredible technology. I use a smart watch, a smart phone and the apps that go with them. The use of this technology helps me maintain the new routine by providing me with on time feedback concerning what I eat and what I physically do.

Technological Support

The 2 apps I use are Samsung Health and Lifesum. Both of these are connected to my smart watch through bluetooth. I can set my watch to automatically monitor my heart rate, speed of walking, number of steps and blood oxygen. 

Samsung Health app helps me set goals and tracks my physical activity, sleep, weight, heart rate, and other vitals throughout the day. 

Report on the app of my daily walk

Body Composition

The other amazing thing about the Samsung Watch is that it measures your body composition. This means that you can see how much is body fat and how much is muscle. Some say that the induction technology used is not very accurate. I don’t care. It’s better than nothing and all it needs for me to do is to place two fingers on the side of the watch  and I see an estimation of what’s happening to my insides. I have noticed over the year the progressive loss of fat and increase in muscle.

Lifesum helps me track calorie intake and informs me of the nutritional content of the food I eat. I have chosen automatic tracking that’s connected to Samsung Health. This means that the calorie count is accurate because it subtracts the calories burnt during exercise from the amount eaten. It is still only based on what an average person burns during the day but it’s good enough for me to gauge what’s happening with my goals.

Brisk Walking

I found out it is best to walk briskly. Just to walk at an easy pace may be pleasant and familiar because that’s the everyday speed but it won’t help with burning calories. Then there is the moderate pace, the one we use when we’re late. 

Brisk pace should feel like you’re just about to break into a jog. A brisk pace is relative to your fitness level and your level of exertion. For your pace to be considered brisk you need to raise your heart and breathing rate. You may feel slightly out of breath or sweaty when walking briskly.  Just by picking up your pace you can burn 50 percent more calories! It gets your heart rate going and makes you breathe harder and faster and supports healthy blood flow. My watch informs me the speed I am walking at and a brisk pace is about 4.8 – 5.6 kph.

Best Time for Walking

I also walk in the afternoons just after 3.00PM because research has shown that this is the best time to exercise for both performance and building muscle. Research has also shown that lung function is best from 4.00PM – 5.00PM. This may help to reach a more vigorous intensity.

Other Exercise

Before I leave home for the walk I do one set of dumb bell exercises that I found on YouTube. When I reach the first kilometre I stop and meditate for about 15 minutes. During the walk there is a 1 km stretch that’s a walkway with fence posts on either side of the path. To increase my heart rate I do press ups against the larger posts. Since they are lean to press ups they are far easier than horizontal on the ground. I do 100 on the way out and 100 on the way back.

Now for the numbers

Walking about 8kms per day means you are walking just over 10,000 steps. This means that you are burning between 2 – 3,500 extra calories  per week. One kilo of body fat is about 7,000 calories. So depending on your weight,  goals and exercise intensity you could lose about 500 grams a week. 

Walking 8 kms a day at a brisk speed means you can lose half a kilo per week. 

I drink between 2.5 – 3 litres of water per day. It’s been found that drinking 500ml before a meal can help with losing weight.

Lifesum gives a variety of diets to follow and the one I use is the Mediterranean diet because it’s familiar to me. The app gives the approximate calories you need to eat each day. When you enter the foods the app calculates the numbers and during the day subtracts the calories burnt. 

Meal entry on Lifesum

Another wonderful feature of Lifesum app is that you can scan the ID number of foods with your phone in the supermarket and it tells you if it’s OK according to the nutritional properties. I’ve found that even so called health foods, protein bars etc when scanned reveal that the attributes are not what the packaging claims.

The Scanner using your phone camera
Detailed analysis of food scanned
Detailed analysis of food scanned

When I started using the Lifesum app I weighed every bit of food I ate and entered the weight in the app. I did this for every meal. It became a ritual for me and it showed me the amounts of food and the calories associated with the food and the amount. I was also incredibly surprised that bacon and eggs was very good food as was peanut butter. I cut back on the amount of fruit with lots of sucrose and started eating more raw cauliflower and carrots. 

Now, after one year and having lost 14 kgs with my blood sugar levels normal I have decided to not weigh and enter all my meal details into the Lifesum app. I am now doing a daily intermittent fast  of 14 hours and 10 hour eating window. Since I have changed my diet I now just eat the appropriate food only during the eating window. 

The daily walk has become a habit as has my new diet and intermittent fasting.

During my daily walk I take photos of the beautiful scenes I walk through and share these on twitter. I have uploaded most of these here on this blog.

It is possible to have a remission of diabetes using exercise and diet. I also believe that it is possible to reverse diabetes and heal the pancreas after a couple of years doing what I am doing now. When this happens I have no plans to change my diet and exercise routine because I feel so much better doing it.

I hope this post helps you achieve your health aims. By the way I am NOT getting any commissions for citing the apps and the wearable technology. I cite them so that you know what I used. There are brands that can do the same as what I have shown here.

Home Grown Songs from a 1980’s Lounge Room

September 12, 2022

In the 1980’s, as a hobby, I’d write poems & then transform them into lyrics with music making songs. Most of the music was written by a friend, Henry, and there are some I wrote the music. I wasn’t a great guitarist, just knew a few chords & made do with them for my music to the lyrics. Apart from Henry there was also Dennis who played lead guitar and Willie, my brother, who also played guitar.

I scored a cheap Casio player and there are some jams we recorded with me playing the Casio. It was one of the first players that had programmed polyphonic auto accompaniment. “Playing” implies I knew what I was doing. I didn’t. I just pressed some keys in rhythm hoping it’d make some semblance of a tune. It provided the “metronome” drum beat & the programmed beats/notes. These acted as “guard rails” to the jam.

The Casiotone we used was like this. It was the first to have programmed polyphonic auto accompaniment

It was a great way to spend a Friday or Saturday night. We didn’t have any plans to perform, we just liked hanging together making music for ourselves. I’m so glad we took out the microphones to record them on cassette.

It all is SO long ago.

I’m uploading these recordings for posterity sake. No, I’m not putting them up on YouTube or SoundCloud because this blog is good enough for my purpose. My purpose? Why do I bother? Simple – for my kids & grand kids to have easy access to what I was up to, musically. It’s also a part of my Journey in this World Within Worlds.

I have already posted some of the songs’ lyrics so I thought, once I overcame my cringe factor, to complete the outing by posting some of the songs – complete with my singing & mates’ music. Writing a poem is very different to writing a song lyric. Transforming a poem into a song lyric is an interesting exercise, especially if someone else writes the music.

So, step back in time – come into my lounge room & get a taste of some home grown songs from Sydney in 1980’s.

By the way – if there’s anybody interested in updating these songs to 2022 let me know by messaging me at dodona777@yahoo.com.au

I think some of these may work with right mixing even 40 years later.

This is the simple & cheap transformer from cassette tape to mp3 I used to digitise tapes about 40 years old!
“Julia” Words by Stavros, Music by Henry. Recorded on cassette in lounge room.
Stavros – singing, Dennis – Lead Guitar , Henry – Rhythm Guitar
“Prison of Time” Words by Stavros, Music by Henry. Recorded on cassette in lounge room.
Stavros – singing, Dennis – Lead Guitar, Henry – Rhythm Guitar
“Games of Solitaire” Instrumental jam Stavros – Casiotone, Dennis – Lead Guitar, Willie – Rhythm Guitar
“One Son of a Gun” Words & Music by Stavros,
Dennis – Lead Guitar, Stavros – Singing & Rhythm Guitar
“Pilgrimage of Minutes” Words & Music by Stavros,
Dennis – Lead Guitar, Stavros – Singing & Rhythm Guitar
“Lines of Crazy Fortune” Words by Stavros, Music by Henry,
Stavros – singing, Henry – Guitar
“Once” Words & Music by Stavros
Dennis – Lead Guitar, Stavros – Singing & Rhythm Guitar
“Magdalene” Words by Stavros, Music by Henry,
Stavros – singing, Dennis – Lead Guitar, Henry – Rhythm Guitar
“Forgotten Madonna On the Run” Words & Music by Stavros
Dennis – Lead Guitar, Stavros – Singing & Rhythm Guitar
“Do You Remember” Words & Music by Stavros
Dennis – Lead Guitar, Stavros – Singing & Rhythm Guitar
“Fortune of Unloaded Hips” Words by Stavros, Music by Henry,
Henry Singing & Guitar

Some cloud pictures

August 19, 2022

I live near a river that has a large flood plain to the north. We are very lucky because our home is on high ground so when the river floods we have “water views” but we don’t suffer the effects of a flood. The flood plain is quite large and consequently the views are expansive. This makes the sky and the clouds a prominent feature of the landscape.

Below are some photos of the sky above the flood plain with one picture reflecting the sky on the glass top of the river.

Backyard Photos with Night Mode

August 19, 2022

I tried using the Night Mode on my Samsung Ultra 21 recently and was amazed at what it does to simple backyard scenes. The pictures below are from that experiment.

%d bloggers like this: