Friday, 31 May 2013

inside the Reach

There is an old saying, out of sight, out of mind. Sometimes there isn't wisdom in this...

I live in an area which is often rainy and humid (I think much of humanity does) and so mold and algae grows where it can (often where you don't want it). I often wonder about what grows inside things which are out of sight.

I have for some time seen small dark areas inside my reach tooth brush head when I bother to look in the small holes at the back. I don't like what I see ....

Today I broke open the toothbrush head to have a good look.

Here it is

As you can see there is quite an amount of stuff which is essentially green in there.

That is most likely mold, but it could be a kind of algae.

I often rinse it in mouthwash just to prevent it from having a perfect environment to live in, but perhaps molds are not effected by mouthwash? If its an algae these things can quickly form biofilms (which resist attacks from nasty chemicals that may kill the organism) so I wonder just how effective that is. Clearly it isn't very effective is it.

I also pathologically dry my toothbrush after use by spin drying it using a tool I made (don't ask). Yet still it harbors this within a month of use.

So while it may be out of sight, its not out of your mouth ;-)

I'm now wondering about leaving it immersed in a mouthwash solution when not in use ...

PS: I am now going back to dropping my toothbrush head into alcohol. I'm using Gin at the moment, but OP Vodka could also do the trick. Metho will work but taste bad.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

the Journey of life

A parable of mites

Dust mites are pretty small little fellas, barely visible (to humans with good vision) as big as the full stop at the end of this sentence.

One day, there were these two blue dust mites.

They were just hanging around on a spot and wondering what was going on. They were in an interesting spot, high on what seemed like a long endless ridge.

It was nice territory but fell off steeply either side. Off in the distance was another ridge, just like the one he was one.

One being a bit more adventurous than the other decided that he'd go walking along the ridge to see where it led. He packed his stuff and promised the other mite that he'd be back.

So off he went on his adventure. Exploring the long and seeming endless ridge-world that lay before him.

On his journey the little blue dust mite met many other interesting mites. He had great conversations and learned many things. When he had time he looked up at the sky and saw that the view was always different, so he knew he was going somewhere.

One day he noticed that the view of the sky was becoming quite similar to what he remembered from years ago, and soon enough he realized that that (based on his ability to navigate by the sky) that he was pretty much back where he started.

"Well bugger me" said the blue mite. "I've come full circle", he said, "but where is the other blue mite".

He looked around and couldn't see him at first. Then he looked across to the other ridge and could see the other blue mite hanging around the same patch of ridge he'd always been on.

This confounded the mite, as he knew that he'd never crossed down into the dark and deep valley to attempt to get to the other ridge. He was even more confused when he thought about how much he'd seen and how far he'd come.

Of course you and I both know they were both living on this bolt ...

which has a ridge that goes round and round in a spiral.

So while it was seeming like the blue mite had gone around in circles, his journey wasn't quite a circle. Instead while he had moved far and come back to almost the same place, he most certainly wasn't in quite the same place as he'd started.

This is pretty much how I've found life myself.

I started out in this small town (well, back when it was a small town) and moved along and done things. I've gone away, and come back a few times. Each time I've gone off and explored the world I've come back (intentionally or otherwise) and found that while I've been journeying in life I have changed enough so as to make it impossible that I can see the place I return to in the same way as when I left.

I feel that while I've completed some sort of orbit of the earth that I can never come back to exactly the same place. So I've come to try to grasp this as a spiral: you're nearly back to where you started but subtly shifted to another place.

It feels strange to be sitting in the house that I grew up in. I feel like I am me, but while everything seems the same as where I left it, nothing really is the same to me anymore ... because I'm not quite the same me.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Hardening up (the mistake of it)

It is often said that women are soft and men are hard. Any man who has problems in dealing with life is mostly told to "deal with it". Classic Australian vernacular is "take some concrete powder and harden up".

Its bullshit.

One of the myths of western culture (perhaps others) is of the tough guy. The self reliant guy who can go through anything, unaffected. It is the stuff of adolescent male comics.

This is of course a fantasy, something which has perhaps infected society as a romantic meme that such a thing as a tough guy exists. A warrior who battles through life, never needing to express emotions.

In reality it only serves to enable (mainly) men to justify thier distance, their disaffection from those that they love. They can pretend to be pillars of strength not needing to (and probably not knowing how to) love. The movie "once were warriors" is in my view an excellent example of this (and its results) in recent cinema.

Yet love is something we all do, feel and to various extents accept. Accepting love is actually not as easy as it might sound. Part of loving is learning to accept anothers care and help. In some ways learning to accept help results in relinquishing ones ability to do that thing for yourself. Like many things in human life when someone does something for you, you stop doing it for yourself.

In some ways this can make one vulnerable. There could be the threat of withdrawal of the love on the part of the other, which can hurt (this is something of a strategy in some cultures actually). There is also the fact that its easy to become dependent on the love of another, again potentially weakening.

Of course for one who truly loved you (rather than just using your affection to gain control) this not something that they would do.

So I can see why some men choose to harden up.

The reality is however that one does not really harden up, but instead puts on an exterior. A suit of armor in some ways. Its a barrier to accepting things and a signal (by behavior) to "keep away".

In accepting the care and comfort of the one that you love you must inevitably soften up, to prevent yourself from being hard towards the one who is trying to share difficulty with you and to offer you comfort. In fact this can help you to grow stronger and more resilient.

Delicate things like love do not grow on rocky soil.

As the love that I had for my wife grew I allowed her into my heart and allowed her to provide support and comfort. Which was something she naturally wanted to do (as I wanted to do for her). Her loss from my life (well, and from the lives of everyone who knew her) has left me with a softness that is now unsupported.

It is a paradox that at a time when I most need the care and support of the woman I loved, the woman who loved me, I am by virtue of her death devoid of that love and that support. In many ways that is one of the hardest parts to this sort of grieving.

But the solution does not lie in hardening up. Putting on the armor over my bleeding wound will not heal the wound nor will it go away. I have discovered that in the time before I had such love as I did, that I did not support myself, instead I actually hardened up, developed coping strategies, denied that things upset me. Now in the absence of the support and love that I once had I can see that difference.

So I guess what I need to do now is to learn how to give support to myself in the way that she did. Of course I can't actually do that, but knowing what she did I can learn to do that for myself in a different way.

No matter how hard it is to loose the one you loved, it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved before.

So I keep climbing ...