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Check out mah internal monologue, it runs at 160bpm - Tactical Ninja

Nov. 10th, 2011

09:45 am - Check out mah internal monologue, it runs at 160bpm

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I seem to be struggling a bit with rice. When you put it in the pot it's so small, but then when it's cooked it's so BIG! Consequently I have a lot of leftover rice. I plan to freeze about half of it, but am looking for suggestions for tasty things to do with leftover rice. I'm thinking throw in some vegies and some yummy thing like bacon or smoked fish and some eggs and fry it all up together - but it'd be neat to have a few more options. I am envisioning some flavoursome savoury thing that holds together and can be sliced. But maybe I'm dreaming.


Last night I went to visit the occupiers. The camp has changed again - the demographic is older and this time there was shouting and laughter and banter and people playing guitars and making up songs using the words out of the Occupied DomPost (issue 3 out now!)

Unfortunately, as part of the effort to maintain the grass in the area, the main gathering place is now back off the path, which makes it less welcoming for a random walking in, and places less people out the front where interaction with passersby is more likely to happen. However, I'm not (all that) shy so I wandered in and sat myself down and shortly, along came an English lady in her 50s who introduced herself as Cass (Kaz?) and asked if I'd like to participate in a mindfulness workshop.

"Yeah orroight."

"This way, 4 minutes."

So I found myself sitting in a tent with her and two young men, cross legged and being asked if I knew anything about mindfulness. Which I don't really - I had the impression it was some sort of cosmic waffle that involved awareness of one's surroundings. And in some respects it is, but if you strip that away I think it might be a useful tool for the kit, if you know what I mean.

So we sat with our eyes shut and focused on awareness of stuff - what can you hear, what thoughts are you having, just paying attention to stuff. Then we reported back. My neighbour had been thinking of pirates. I had been inventorying my body, wondering why that helicopter was circling, and contemplating sheep. Apparently there is a lot of stuff going on in my head!

So next we focused only on hearing. Again, my neighbour heard 'sounds'. I heard seagulls, four different voices talking, the helicopter finally leaving, an evacuation alarm that must have annoyed the people who had to evacuate just before 5pm, traffic on the quays, and a drummer.

This made our teacher do duck lips for a bit - clearly I was not just flowing in the cosmic wonder of the sounds, but instead was categorising and having thoughts about every input. So next we did a body mindfulness thing and this worked quite well for me. It involved sitting and placing one's awareness first in the toes, being aware of just them, then gradually moving the point of awareness through various parts of the body in sequence, feeling each in turn, and casually observing any thought that comes up and allowing it to pass on.

This is kind of different from the state of 'no-mind' that is the aim of transcendental meditation or aikido practice, more a controlled, detached awareness of what is going on in whatever you're choosing to be mindful of.

We finished by doing a 10-minute session of mindfulness in whatever way we chose. At the end, my neighbour said he felt very 'one-pointed' and the teacher said he looked it and I went "Uh.." because I have no idea what that means. But it was quite relaxing.

So what use is this? Well, the bit where you place your awareness where you want it to be and notice when it's straying into thought or another sense - I reckon with a bit of practice this could be really useful for when you want to focus on a particular task like study, or when you're wanting to actively listen to someone, or if like me you're a little bit deaf and are trying to hear someone over background noise. Being able to focus that intently and to notice when it drifts and gently bring it back, is definitely something I would find useful. And also the relaxing part, eh? ;-)

I wasn't very interactive with the teacher and I suspect she thinks I didn't get much out of it, but having put some thought into it I think I'll try to get better at it, and I'll try to find her this evening to thank her for it. I particularly appreciated the minimal amount of cosmic woo-woo that I was subjected to.

Yet again I learn something from the occupiers!


Last night I put a varnish coat on the DIY clothes hanger. On Tuesday I painted it green using some old student acrylic I had, and now it's being coated with a combination of mahogany stain and varnish to protect it from the elements. The green is showing through and I must say, it looks kind of nice. Next project, a cupboard for the patio in which I can put gardening stuff. Possibly also in green.

It's now been three weeks and I'm tired of waiting for my uni result. Why can't they mark it instantly? Meanwhile, revisiting the BZP interviews is proving interesting. I can code 2 or 3 a night and the analysis terms seem to be emerging as I read, which makes life easier because I was a bit at sea for a while there. Not really looking forward to analysing Anita's ones though. That is going to be a bit weird ;-/

Also, I finished Glasshouse. Stross redeemed himself in the last quarter by bringing the mindfuck. I'm going to say nobody does mindfuck quite like Stross* - and I think the reason it works so well is that his worlds are believable and the mindfuck is subtle, until the moment that it's not and then you go "Whoah ok so that's been happening since the start." So yes, I would recommend this book, but women - be prepared to be pissed off at the whinging. Being a woman is not that bad, Charlie, and I wish you wouldn't go on about it as if it is.

* I say this in the hopes that all the geeks will go "Actually, X does and you should read this this and this." Cunning, me.

Comments:

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From:chickenfeet2003
Date:November 9th, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC)
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Fried rice is a great way of using up leftover rice. Kedgeree is good too.
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From:tatjna
Date:November 9th, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC)
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Kedgeree! Of course! Thanks. ;-)
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From:t_c_da
Date:November 9th, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
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A small suggestion for the Occupy Wellington website...

Would it be too hard for a link to the latest The Occupied Dominion Post to be placed on the front page, or somewhere easily findable?

I feel having to Google to find it on scoop.co.nz is making it unnecessarily hard for the Average Joe - or am I being unusually thick today?
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From:tatjna
Date:November 9th, 2011 10:11 pm (UTC)
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On the front page of The OW site if you hover over 'media' on the top bar, the Occupied DomPost is one of the options. Hover over that and you can choose your issue.

;-)
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From:t_c_da
Date:November 9th, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC)
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Right!

I hadn't caught up with the new site - I was still using the coactivate.org/projects/occupywellington site.

Obviously, I'm not following things closely enough - I shall have to improve!
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From:tatjna
Date:November 9th, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
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Don't be too worried - it's only this week that the site has really got going. ;-)
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From:pythia
Date:November 9th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
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We often make salmon patties with left over rice - basically, rie, some onion, a few tins of salmon, some parsley and eggs. Plus anyhting else you might desire. mix it all up until it's kind of a sticky wet ricy good, and then plop spoonfuls into a frying pan.
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From:rivet
Date:November 9th, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC)
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i actually had a similar experience with glasshouse, which is why I have been quiet on the topic :)
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From:eipi10
Date:November 10th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
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I was reading Glasshouse at the same time as Tats's first posting about it. I think I was about 20 pages behind, as I hadn't got to "ZOMG I'm bleeding" yet :-) All the 50s housewife I'm so weak stuff was boring/annoying me to tears and I just about took Tats's report as advice to give up on it, but I'm glad I persevered. Not too convinced by the insta-wrapup in the last five pages though...

Not the same essence of mindfuck, and probably y'all have long since read it, but: my next most recent reading was Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl. Fairly excellent, though the 200 pages of setup was a struggle as it was all so depressingly plausible. Also a nice surprise in the acknowledgements :-)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 10th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I was glad I persevered too. ;-)

Also, noted on the recommendation.
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From:rivet
Date:November 9th, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
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leftover rice is the main ingredient in fried rice!
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:November 10th, 2011 01:14 am (UTC)
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Oh god - you're going to turn into my last boss...

...

;-)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 10th, 2011 02:03 am (UTC)
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Your last boss was a kedgeree-making toe-focuser that moaned about sexist tropes in scifi novels?
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:November 10th, 2011 03:04 am (UTC)
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The resemblance is uncanny!

(except not really, thankfully)
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From:tatjna
Date:November 10th, 2011 03:15 am (UTC)
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I thought of you while the teacher was talking about her theory of mind. She reckons the mind is another sense that is used to process other input, but is not you.

To which I was going "I wonder what Dr Wheel would think of that?" (when i probably should have been focusing on my toes)
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:November 10th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
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Depends on how they define "you" I think. One could easily make the case that the identity of "you" is equally defined be the relationships and environment we've built up around ourselves (since they all influence our senses!).
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From:tatjna
Date:November 10th, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
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So in that sense, she's probably right. What she was getting at is that most people's idea of 'I' resides in their head, therefore folks tend to think of their mind as themselves and in her opinion this isn't the case. I guess if you wanted to use her parlance, being mindful of the relationships and environment we have around ourselves and noticing how they influence our senses is what her teaching is aimed towards.
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From:heartofawarrior
Date:November 10th, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)
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I've never read anything by Stross, but the last major mindfuck stuff I read was Empire Of The Ants by Bernard Werber. It was originally published in French as Les Fourmis, and I'm PISSED that I can't find the other 2 books in the series in English. It seems they were never translated, which is a huge mystery, given the epic popularity of the first book, and how many languages it's been translated into. :-(

And, while not strictly a mindfuck, some of Ray Bradbury's stuff is downright trippy and thought-provoking. I've gotten back into reading his stuff, and it's great fun :-D
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From:tatjna
Date:November 10th, 2011 02:05 am (UTC)
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My next read is space opera by Alastair Reynolds, an author that's new to me. But I'll definitely add Werber to the list!
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From:heartofawarrior
Date:November 10th, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)
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Sweeeeeeeeeet! I owe one of my racer guys for the inadvertant recommendation - I found the old Newman-Haas Racing website, from when Sebastien Bourdais raced for them in ChampCar, and in his bio, he listed that book as his favorite. I was short on reading material and decided "hm, let's see if his taste in books is better than his taste in music" (I still can't grasp the appeal of Radiohead, beyond "Electioneering"). Turns out he's got fantastic taste in literature. lol
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From:pombagira
Date:November 10th, 2011 04:30 am (UTC)

mindfulness

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sounds like it was a pretty good workshop, Kaz is pretty awsome and was the lady who's croning i went to, that also had less woowoo and more awsome!! *grins*

anyhoo, i kinda teach mindfulness when i teach about the elements, what i generally hope to achieve is that people 1/learn to be more observant, and 2/ that when you are present in the now it is easier to be mindful and more observant.. or something like that.. *ponders this*.. then often by being more mindful, observant and more aware of what is going on around you, your understanding becomes clearer, and for that bit of woowhoo you can more easily catch the messages.. *nods*
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From:explicitreality
Date:November 10th, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)

So much to explore!

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Recipe ideas:

1) Chicken and Rice soup
2) A different stir fry every day of the week
3) SUSHI - specifically hand rolls
4) chilli goes awesome over rice.
5) risotto
6) Ooh and Savory RICE Cakes:
a la
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Savory-Rice-Cakes-109222

rice is really universal. I <3 rice.

Okay, okay,

Woo-woo hippy stuff:
You're right on in that "awareness" can only help you be more successful. I think we really drown our sense in the day to day. This helps rest and "re-tune" them.
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From:helianthas
Date:November 11th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
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Nasi goreng. Which is essentially Indonesian fried rice except uses a premade paste from chillis and spices and is delicious!

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From:wildilocks
Date:November 18th, 2011 07:10 am (UTC)
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If you haven't read any Greg Egan, I highly recommend him. Harder science than Stross, but if You Like That Sort of Thing, he's AMAZING. I am moderate Stross fan: became less so when he was rather rude and stand-offish in person at a con. I can never feel that way about Egan because he refuses to meet people. Ever. :P

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