Doctor Who: A Screw-driver gone too far?

All this talk of ultra-sounds and technology got me thinking about that ultimate do-it-yourself  tech device – the Sonic Screwdriver – from TV’s Doctor Who! And about Dr.Who itself.

In the old days it was a novelty tool.  In 1970’s, Jon Pertwee’s 3rd Doctor used various devices from the TARDIS’ tool box..one of which was the sonic screwdriver;  Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor who used it quite a bit in and around the Galaxy..  for opening control panels; It was getting used too much as a fix-all prop, so the then-producers decided to get rid of it. So in one story it actually got blasted by enemy fire (Cybermen?).

But it came back in the new series in 2005 – with the Christopher Eccleston’s 10th Doctor. The show-runner Russel T Davies said he didn’t want silly things like doors to be a problem for the Time Lord. So the Doctor opened doors with it. and did a few extra things..  and it became a few more extra things..  Now, the bloody thing (ah, now you get my feelings on the matter) seems to do pretty much everything!   It scans, it alters frequencies, it collapses clones’ DNA, it opens machines, sets up force fields, keeps someone’s body-imprint in its pattern buffer (erm, Transporters from Star Trek?!)

In one story of the 2005 series, Rose asks the Time Lord, `gimme some Spock. Will it hurt to give me some Spock?’   And now it seems the (T)rusty old sonic screw driver IS more than Spock!  It’s almost a weapon..  the way the Doctor holds it often and points… either in publicity photos or in the stories. It has so many protruding bits.. it’s practically a Claw.  A tool of many trades!!  And even when it gets destroyed, the blooming TARDIS generates a new (improved more bulkier) one and just pops it out for the Doctor!

Can the Exec.Producer/ Directors/ story tellers  please make sure the sonic screw-driver gets blasted out of Time..  put into a Time-lock …never to return? (and another thing- if something is time-locked, I don’t want to see it again. Don’t bring back a whole civilisation and a planet out of time-lock again!!)

And please, write-in a new device for the Doctor – a sonic
stethoscope perhaps (which can double up as a sonic-shower attachment!!)  Now that would be Cool!

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Ultra-Sound: Mouse repellent to muscle warmer

Short post. ..  possibly one for future development..  but I couldn’t resist comparing the wonders of ultra-sound – well, more of the ways in which we now use it.

Only yesterday I was at the Osteopath, and he was using a sort of ultrasound hand-held device to warm up my back-muscles, before the twisting and manipulating  the spinal column . And today while at a diy hardware store, I came across sonic mouse repellent gadget!  Quite amazing how we use sound now in everyday life.

That’s excluding the professional expert use of ultra-sound .. in radars (well, actually sonars in submarines), and ultrasound scans of pregnant women (which is non-evasive and harmless, compared to say an x-ray!).  There are side effects, a sure – in the case of Sonars in deep seas, it must surely affect some marine life that (well, nearly all of them) depend on sound vibrations to detect food or dangers; In the case of a baby- well, although human hearing does not encompass the ultra-sound ranges, no telling if some developing embryos may well `hear’ it?   After all, some people are susceptible to EM waves (electromagnetic) – people who live under power lines, people who are surrounded by electric equipment..  and me!

Oh yes, sometimes I do get a tingle and a kind of head-achy sense, just before a text arrives on y mobile phone..  way before any nearby radio speakers buzz and tweak.  That used to happen with the older mobile phones (not so much now). Okay that’s more radio waves, but still he point I make is..  people may be picking up these things, so unborn embryos might do..

Okay, leaving that debate aside – I am still marveled by the advancement of technology!

Pest control: Killer solutions

Just been to the hardware store to look for better mouse-killing solutions! And there’s a whole shelf full of killing solutions- powders, portions and pellets – to get rid of many pests – from cats (yes Cats), squirrels, ants, snails, mouse, rats to insects, moles and of course weeds! Not just a shelf.. it’s huge – about 6 meters by 3 meters full of these things.

The price ranges from simple bait-less wooded spring loaded traps worth about £2 to ultrasonic/electromagnetic pulse generators that repel rodent families worth about £30. It’s quite impressive- the little plug-in device emits not just ultra-sound (at a frequency that must sound like roadworks to mice! Yah, drive them insane with a killer-headache. I get that) but the plug-in also emits an electric pulse of some sort that travels through the wires and walls to the whole house!   Yeap, no escape to the rodents even in wall cavities or beneath floor boards!

How far technology has come. I only go the ultrasound repellent plug-in.   I’ll keep ya updated on how the mouse-killing in my room goes ..BUT…

One thing worries me- at this big store, these chemical poisons in plastic bottles – are all stored and displayed on shelves right on the ground..to about 1-2 meters – perfectly reachable by any child who is able to crawl..to walk!!

Come on B&Q  in Sutton- what the hell are you thinking about with regard to Health & Safety?

Winter Rites: Coven Yule Vs Church Service

On the night of 23rd of December, I celebrated the Winter Solstice in a private coven (withchy) Yule ritual in south London.  Then on the night of 24th of December, I attended a small local Church service in north London. Quite a bizarre one for many pagans and Witches, am sure.  Many pagans have woken up to it, and have been previously unfulfilled or unsatisfied Christians. So when they hear about an initiated Wiccan / pagan going to a Christmas service ..it must raise questions such as – has he started to waver? is he going over to the other side?

Unusually for our coven, especially at Yule, we had 5 guys (Priests or male Witches) and 1 gal (High Priestess). Almost 5-6 of the other Priestesses had not turned up due to one or other personal circumstances.  Initially, when I turned up, the other 4 guys were almost at a point of giving the Yule ritual a miss and going straight on to the celebrations, feasting and sipping of the wines!  But after some discussions, we decided to do a rather informal ritual.. (which ended up having almost all the ritual components anyway, albeit in different order at places!).  Yule is about the birth of the Sun-child, so considering the numbers present, I suggested the Priestess holding a Cauldron, and the 5 Priests lighting (in turn) candles inside the Cauldron. That seemed a good symbolic ritual..  where the Cauldron is the birthplace of light!

Following day, I went to be with my partner for the Christmas / festive 3-4 days..  and we went to a local church for a short service.  Some bus-driver talked about Jesus, sin, loving God,  following the rule of the God (people who sinned can;t go to heaven) and Gods’s love and own sacrifice (God sent his only Son into mankind to take on all of our sins, so mankind can be free to enter heaven).    Now this `sin’ part was not something neither my partner nor I ever accept or agree.  Needless to say, we believe we are all born free and pure – no sin – full stop!   It’s what we do there after that creates a sort of `good/ bad’ person.   Sadly, seeing that this sin-issue is at the heart of Christianity makes it impossible for any pagan to digest.

We were not there to infiltrate, nor recruit, spy, disrupt or anything of the sort.  We were looking for a bit of rejoicing..  festive experience. Singing..!

To give it perspective, I must mention –  few weeks back, we had both unexpectedly went to a Service at St.Paul’s Cathedral in Central London, and it had been hea

venly..the ethereal singing that echoed through that Cathedral.  I guess we wanted a re-experience of that.   It could also be that after many years of being practicing Witches/ pagans, we are feeling certain elements to be lacking.  Christianity may have come only 2000 years ago, in contrast to Paganism that has existed for many thousand years, but at least in modern times – pagan celebrations of Yule does not seem to nearly even match the festive atmosphere and celebrations of Christmas, it’s choir and carol singing, the lights and decorations.  And it is that festive element that we seem to miss, and sought in that Church service.

Another factor to add –  one of my friend- a Christian – came to a pagan open ritual recently.. only few days prior to this – to see what it’s like.  So I guess we were just completing the exchange – not that it was some contrived exchange. Truth is – we all seem to have did it for our own personal genuine reasons.

In the case of my partner and me, (despite my bad-back experience which started on Christmas day)..  we had a quiet and personal few days together – sipping wine, watching period dramas on TV, Xmas films on old videos  (Scrooged, Miracle of 34th street..) and having the Christmas meal for 2 evenings in a row – with a X’mas / yule tree and plenty of candles around us. That in the end gave us what we had been searching for – which neither coven nor church seem to provide for us.

This all reminds me of the old pagan principle –  “If that which you seek you do not find within, you will never find it without!”

Poison under Altar (aka Return of the Mouse)

Exactly 2 years 1 month and 2 day ago..  I woke up on my 40th birthday, with the running of a small mouse over my naked back!  There had been the odd sounds..but until that very moment, I had had no actual proof that a rodent had infested my room.. and I sleep on the floor on a futon-mattress (due to my bad back).   For the next few weeks it was a disturbed time..  sleeping downstairs in the sitting room, on the sofa etc.   Eventually the mouse went away (probably due to the ..ahem poison we carefully placed in corners of my bedroom).

Until the day before Christmas eve..  5 days ago, that is!

Yeap, while I was doing this very blog (one about neighbours?) I heard scratching sounds by the wall..near the room’s fireplace (where my pagan altar is).   I was disturbed several times that night…and around 5am while I watched in full room light, a mouse peeped out from just behind a potted plant next to the altar!    Needless to say, irritably, I packed my beddings and went to sleep on the single bed in the spare room.   Next day I went to stay with my partner for Christmas of course…(followed by the events of bad back injury etc).   Today I returned, and while checking …the same mouse  ran out from under one cupboard ..across the floor (2 meters) and under my altar!

There were 3 sets of plastic containers on various parts of the room floor..  with mouse-poison (you know the stuff..   greenish coloured grains)..  which had been placed there few days ago by my mother and sister..   But obviously, it hadn’t worked! The mouse was still there, having left evidence of chewing bits of news paper and carpet in corners!

Am in the small room tonight..  nursing a bad back that’s been through the hands of an osteopath and quite raw..   but I’ve taken care to mix grated cheddar cheese with each of the poisoned grain-packs in my room floor.   Hopefully it will entice the rodent forward.  It’s some sort of anti-coagulant. (Interestingly, on the box it came from..there are clear instructions on what sort of treatment medical doctors should give a human.. if a human accidentally ingests the poison!)

The thing is.. I have had discussions with people…. They ask of me- how could a nature loving pagan like me think of killing a mouse?!   Such an argument can only come from a person who never had a mouse run over their back in the early hours of the morning!    My childhood was in an ordinary urban household near crowded capital in Sri Lanka- where I’ve seen dangerous snakes fall from the roof into the house (once into my sister’s cot), or very large rats run about the house (and some get entombed into the walls by my grandmother who seals their burrows!). Some keep mice as pets, yes.  But I don’t have to- and I don’t have to let them run about my back either.

Even in Hindu mythology, the mouse / rat is a demon in disguise who attacked the elephant headed god Ganesh..who promptly tamed the demon and made it his personal `vehicle’!   (That’s why you always see Lord Ganesh seated on a large mouse!)

2 years ago I had the problem, and it has returned- demon strikes back?!   But then I have poisoned grains just under the altar. Now that one is weird even for me..  an actual tool of death, right under my sacred place.  But that’s the fireplace…through which the mouse is coming out.  In some ways, I see it as my sacred space being invaded by a demon… or rather, the mouse is a symbol of an alien unwanted energy trying to permeate my inner sanctum.   So I will fight it..  in the way  best can..  and I’ll tell you when I have won!

A slithering crawling Christmas

Here’s something that ha changed me for good.. it’s almost unbelievable.. ordinary and agnonizing and insightful.

I often suffer bad back.. have done for 2 years, on and off, visit to the Osteopath for treatment with ultrasound that heats up my back joins & muscles, followed by deep-massage..followed by some contorted leg/arm/back twisting that results in several clicks of the spine that gives release!  And I’ve learnt to do some of that twisting-clicking at home.. I have to do it every day..at night before bed or as soon as I get up in the mornings..  to have a normal day.  Long walks, climbing hills, dancing…any of those things (even love making) leaves my lower back locked in agony.

Those of you who have similar afflictions will know what am talking about.

On X’mas day, 3 days ago, all was well, save for a mild back-ache. It was just me and my partner April in her house.. We were looking forward to a few day of personal time..   And just after a late breakfast …early afternoon, while pushing the coffee table forward slightly..  it struck!

Pain in my lower back as I’d never before felt it. I literally crumpled to the floor, unable to stand or sit.  I could not move at all. I was flat on my back for 3-4 hrs in absolute agony.. watched 2 cartoon films on TV upside down. My head almost where the dog usually sits …so floor smelling a bit of the dog..

Much later, unable to hold, I had to literally slither like a snake.. on my belly..with just my arms and elbows.. for propelling my body forward – from the sitting room to the bathroom/ toilet.  By this time, thoughts of all sorts of possible despairing and disabled futures had gone through my mind so many times amidst tears..  that I could not hide or brave in front of my partner.  Everything from bionics, Six million dollar man, back surgeries I had seen on TV where they snap some of the tips of vertebrates and clamp some and fuse rest together had gone through my mind.

Once I got to the toilet, standing up was agony.  My jogging trousers were already dragged and sliding off..after crawling.  I could support my body with arms, but that meant my hands cold not do anything else. How to pull it down, release myself and pee? From there on..everything was not just agony – but incredibly insightful.

How do disabled people do this every minute, every hour, every day..after day..for ever for the rest of their lives?

Day 2 was a bit better.. I wasn’t slithering..flat on belly…but crawling.  Could not put body weight on lower back.. but could crawl on knees and arms..as long as mid-body was held rigid.

Today…day 3..  I can walk…like a stiff Robot..still holding mid-body rigid, as if I am one of those Victorian Ladies learning the art of poise and glide, while holding a book on my head and not moving it.

My partner has been incredibly supportive.  My sister & mother are in their home, suffering flu and chest infections, coughing blood, waiting in Hospital Accidents & Emergency lounges for hours, texting me with their progress, and getting my texts on my progress.

In just about 3 days, my perspective has changed.   How can it not, when one slithers, crawls, cries, despairs, feels helpless, becomes afraid of a nightmarish future of wheel chairs and paralysis and more?

Yes, many able-bodied people go through injuries and have these thoughts, am sure, and most- when they get better, tend to get sucked in my day to day struggles..and forget.

My lab partner in University for 3 years was a friend who had a wheel chair; My 2nd High Priestess had a 40 yr old daughter in wheel chair, who joined us for doing magic sometimes in coven.  My partner, my mother, and my younger sister- have all had jobs working with people who are disabled and needed care – school kids to elderly.  I’ve worked as Equal-Opportunities officer in the Home Office for 2 years ages ago, and in a school of 140 kids with learning difficulties.   But this experience is different..  it’s gone deep and excavated all the other experiences to the surface..

I’m not going to forget!

Gaian Trinity (art)

  It was 14th March 1996- when I first did the sketch work for a painting called `Gaian Trinity’.

It featured the Horned God in a cloak in the back, Earth Goddess seated naked on a small hill, with a child on her lap..   There have been many other manifestations of that energy…  3 annual `Gaia conventions’ which I created for PF London in 2007,08,09…a new e-magazine Gaian Times launched earlier this year.

But the art work still awaits painting..  until late last night!

I did this `pin hole/ paper-cut’ mini-version of the Gaian Trinity..   scanned it and coloured it  (animated it with colours, but that’s only for my beloved wife’s eyes only.. it’s her special Yule card..online..:-)

Here’s one of the frames from that animation..

I’ll let you know when the actual art work is done..

Engagement Ring

How many rings can a wedding finger take?  Interesting question.

On 21st December, we celebrated (privately) our second year of the engagement!

Wow, that was one snow filled Yule day in London in 2009..!   Not sure what happened last year, but I wanted to mark it  this time.

Though I’d proposed to her in later part of November’09,   we didn’t get the diamond ring till 21st December 2009..   (yes, it did take up a whole month+ of my wages, as is tradition!!).    I slightly panicked when someone had suggested to April that the place neat Farringdon is the place to go…(all those upmarket ring shops!!)   After 2 days of shopping we finally got it..   (in the middle of a London lock down with snow).

Of course, just giving it would have been not good enough.. So I took her to the park opposite Buckingham Palace..  It was already dusk..  but plenty of scattered light by ground snow..  And finally I found the spot..   And being magical and all, I wanted to `cleanse’ the diamond ring..   what better way that to get a handful of snow…embed the ring in it…roll it up in a nice snow ball..and drop it to the ground ..for earth to bless it!

I didn’t quite expect the panick when I looked down to pick it up again..   a small snow ball in amongst all that snow on the ground..  at night!

It was lucky I found it..  and gave it to April..(while kneeling in the snow of course!!).

We got `Handfasted’ the following June (2010)..    in a special camping event in Epping Forest (hired out a section of the site)..with 60+ guests, in a Pagan wedding ceremony..     The `legal’ wedding is probably highly likely definitely ..in 2012 🙂

April already has the engagement ring..and a gold Handfasting ring..   and now would `like’ a wedding ring..

Just how many rings can one wedding finger take?  Answer…3!

Neighbours from hell

My first proper rant..and it’s about my Neighbours!

Gotta say, the next door house and garden were quite for many years..   lovely elderly coupled lived there before.   They had a nice big apple tree which the gy used to trim …little bit weekly.. with a very long pruner mounted on a long stick-device.    Anyway the old guy  died, and his lovely wife was settled in a nursing home..

Section cut by Neighbour

So the house got sold..and the current young couple bought it.. some 5-6 years ago..     They’ve been a noisy irritating bunch.   Apart from the regular domestic arguments, shouts and tantrums..(and resulting loud radio music the woman plays..) they also now have 2 young kids…4-5 year olds..  who also shout and cry all the time!!   They run and make noises like packs of animals!    Now I like kids..and get on very well..  I’m a regular Piped Piper when it comes to kids in family circles..   but these ones… constant screams and shouts!  So much so I haven’t been able to get into my own garden in daylight..  for 5 years.

No peace!!   Only late at nights I get to go and sit and do some meditative work etc.

Few weeks ago the woman came to ask about cutting our Willow Tree that’s been leaning a few branches  (high above) into their garden.   Only few days prior to that, I had climbed up and cut a huge branch!!  I told the woman that,  I will trim a bit more when I am ready.  Well, today I woke up to heavy machine / grinding sounds..  and lo and behold, our door bell rang- the guy dropped into ask us about the tree (As hey happen to have a tree surgeon with them?!  They don;t have any trees…They cut that apple tree years ago!!).   We told them- no!  And later, I went to the garden, and realised…they had reached a good 2 foot in to our garden..7-8 metrs high..somehow..and cut many of the branches..and dumped the stuff back in (and I have all my outdoor candles and ceramic stuff..statues..right under there!).

I am just outraged!  Rage is not even a word that can describe my rage..if  that makes sense?!  There are 2 ways forward – for me that is!    Write a formal letter of protest to them..   And the other option.. summon up the devil, offer my soul in return for some peace, quiet and protection …from these neighbours from Hell..    ??

Excuse me while I make a private phone call ..

Happy Yule

Birth of the Sun-Child

Winter Solstice – when the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn..  shortest day..longest night..!

This year it’s happening on Thursday 22nd December 2011.. at 5.30am (GMT). That’s the astrology.
Pagans, Wiccans, Druids and New-Agers  celebrate this – and have done so for thousands of years – and consider the Sun-child being born.  Makes sense as after this, the days get longer…Sun gets stronger ..growing   its full force by Summer Solstice.
Of course this has been somewhat  `acquired’ by Christianity, and repackaged as celebration fo the birth of Christ (baby Jesus!).   Any decent effort at historical research will show that Christ was not born in December, but in earlier part of the year (if we can even consider the birth of Christ as `real’).
I have no problems with Christianity.  Brought up as a Hindu, I also went to the nearby Church with family – once in a  back in Ceylone in the early 70’s.   No one would deny the `magic of this time’..
These days I look forward to the annual special show of Doctor Who on Christmas day..   and yes, I have a Yule tree in my home, and it has lights…and I think about those Christmassy feelings of childhood gone by..

Mani Navasothy : Author, Teacher, Ritual Magician

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