27 July 2007

Happy Birthday Christopher Dean

Jayne Torville and Christopher Dean's Gold medal winning performance in 1984 at the Winter Olympics in Ottawa Canada continues to be the most exquisite ice skating performance I've ever witnessed and which has yet to be matched or surpassed; truly one of the most exciting and passionate works of art ever performed. The music is Ravel's Bolero, one of my favourite pieces. It is no surprise to me that is occurred on Valentine's Day. Just watching it puts me in the mood for love.

Christopher Dean turns 49 today.

Peering Into the Future

26 July 2007

Electra Hawaii

Saw this at REI this past weekend.

Electra Hawaii internal 3-speed Red $350, even the fat tires have flower print tread. So cool.

25 July 2007

Om Mahavatar Babaji



1952 Vincent Black Lightning


"Oh," says Red Molly to James, "That's a fine motorbike.
A girl could feel special on any such like"
Says James to Red Molly, "My hat's off to you
It's a Vincent Black Lightning, 1952.
And I've seen you at the corners and cafes it seems
Red hair and black leather, my favourite colour scheme."
And he pulled her on behind and down to Boxhill they did ride

"Oh," says James to Red Molly, "Here's a ring for your right hand
But I'll tell you in earnest I'm a dangerous man.
For I've fought with the law since I was seventeen,
I robbed many a man to get my Vincent machine.
Now I'm 21 years, I might make 22
And I don't mind dying, but for the love of you.
And if fate should break my stride
Then I'll give you my Vincent to ride."

"Come down, come down, Red Molly," called Sergeant McRae
"For they've taken young James Adie for armed robbery.
Shotgun blast hit his chest, left nothing inside.
Oh come down, Red Molly to his dying bedside."
When she came to the hospital, there wasn't much left
He was running out of road, he was running out of breath
But he smiled to see her cry
He said, "I'll give you my Vincent to ride."

Says James, "In my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a '52 Vincent and a red headed girl.
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeves won't do,
Ah, they don't have a soul like a Vincent 52."
Oh he reached for her hand and he slipped her the keys
Said, "I've got no further use for these.
I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome,
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home."
And he gave her one last kiss and died
And he gave her his Vincent to ride.

© 1996 Richard Thompson

Kitchen stuff

These would compliment by other cobalt blue kitchen wares nicely.

Le Crueset Stoneware
Le Creuset® Cobalt Oval Enameled Cast Iron French Oven

Le Creuset Cast Iron Cobalt Oblong Skillet Grill

20 July 2007

Brain Scans Reveal Why Meditation Works

By Melinda Wenner, Special to LiveScience
29 June 2007

If you name your emotions, you can tame them, according to new research that suggests why meditation works.

Brain scans show that putting negative emotions into words calms the brain's emotion center. That could explain meditation’s purported emotional benefits, because people who meditate often label their negative emotions in an effort to “let them go.”

Psychologists have long believed that people who talk about their feelings have more control over them, but they don't know why it works.

UCLA psychologist Matthew Lieberman and his colleagues hooked 30 people up to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machines, which scan the brain to reveal which parts are active and inactive at any given moment.

They asked the subjects to look at pictures of male or female faces making emotional expressions. Below some of the photos was a choice of words describing the emotion—such as “angry” or “fearful”—or two possible names for the people in the pictures, one male name and one female name.

When presented with these choices, the subjects were asked to pick the most appropriate emotion or gender-appropriate name to fit the face they saw.

When the participants chose labels for the negative emotions, activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex region—an area associated with thinking in words about emotional experiences—became more active, whereas activity in the amygdala, a brain region involved in emotional processing, was calmed.

By contrast, when the subjects picked appropriate names for the faces, the brain scans revealed none of these changes—indicating that only emotional labeling makes a difference.

“In the same way you hit the brake when you’re driving when you see a yellow light, when you put feelings into words, you seem to be hitting the brakes on your emotional responses,” Lieberman said of his study, which is detailed in the current issue of Psychological Science.

In a second experiment, 27 of the same subjects completed questionnaires to determine how “mindful” they are.

Meditation and other “mindfulness” techniques are designed to help people pay more attention to their present emotions, thoughts and sensations without reacting strongly to them. Meditators often acknowledge and name their negative emotions in order to “let them go.”

When the team compared brain scans from subjects who had more mindful dispositions to those from subjects who were less mindful, they found a stark difference—the mindful subjects experienced greater activation in the right ventrolateral prefrontral cortex and a greater calming effect in the amygdala after labeling their emotions.

“These findings may help explain the beneficial health effects of mindfulness meditation, and suggest, for the first time, an underlying reason why mindfulness meditation programs improve mood and health,” said David Creswell, a UCLA psychologist who led the second part of the study, which will be detailed in Psychosomatic Medicine.

17 July 2007

Latest edition to my garden

Amaranth. It's an herb.

Sometimes called Love Lies Bleeding. We've named ours "Tosh".
Olympic Training Facility in my old home town of Chula Vista, California. My how things change.

Encinitas SRF Mediation Gardens

San Diego public television station KPBS recently did a segment on one of my favourite places in the world. It's been far too long since I've been back and I can't wait to be there again.

This is actually one of my two favourite spots to be at the Gardens.

This picture was borrowed from this site here which offers several pictures of Encinitas and of Lake Shrine.

My other favourite meditation spot shall remain secret. Don't miss this lovely treasure if you're ever in Southern California.

04 July 2007

Expect Nothing

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
Become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny a human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.

~ Alice Walker