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Word - Mise en Place

Written by Laura Brown

A phrase more than a new word for me. But, as read in the Instagram account of Jennifer Garner (US celebrity) of all places. She's been making some cooking video posts and this was a French phrase she used in one of them. I looked it up and found:

The preparations to cook, having the ingredients ready, such as cuts of meat, relishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components that are required for the menu and recipes ingredients measured out, washed, chopped and placed in individual bowls; and equipment such as spatulas and blenders prepared, and oven preheated.

My Mother taught us to cook this way. It makes things much simpler. No finding out you are missing an ingredient at the last minute, for one thing. I use the same idea in process of elimination way as I cook so things are put away and I don't have everything to clean up at the end.

Magic and Science Through history, science and magic, like science and…

Written by Laura Brown

Magic and Science

Through history, science and magic, like science and religion, have at been at best strange bedfellows and at worst bitter enemies. The battle lines have been drawn with the twin swords of rationality and measurability. On one side of the line stand those things scientists claim we understand, like evolution and matter. On the other side lie the things that science does not want to or know how to explain, such as god and magic.

Somewhat ironically, while the majority of scientists do have religions beliefs, a large number of scientists (probably a majority, though we know of no studies on this) vehemently believe there is no such thing as magic. Some scientists (notably Carl Sagan) go so far as to castigate religion as well because of its ties to the mystical, magical, or supposedly inexplicable. This position seems in some ways more consistent, but neither one takes into account one important fact.

Science doesn't have all the answers. Almost every scientist will admit this, when you push them into the unexplored corners of their own specialty. Physicists don't know why they can't find a magnetic monopole. Biologists don't really know what happened in the evolution from apes to humans. Astrophysicists don't know whether the universe will expand forever or collapse back on itself. Psychologists haven't got a clue about how most of the things our brains do for us happen. We personally find it amazing, then, that so many scientists are happy to declare as a fact that there is no such thing as magic or god.

It's not just that everybody's a critic... suddenly everybody's an expert too, in a field that very few people have really spent any time studying. Fortunately, there are some exceptions, or we'd have nothing interesting to present on this page. Among people who consider themselves scientists (rather than philosophers, or theologists, for example), there are two particular groups who are delving into the real questions. And despite one coming from orthodox science and the other often disrespectfully being called "pseudoscience," they seem to be converging on some interesting common questions.

The two fields we're referring to here are cognitive science and parapsychology. An interesting third voice has recently come from the medical community, who often are forced to approach things from a perspective that is more pragmatic than scientific.

Cognitive science is generally interested in understanding how the human mind works, but seems to keep butting up against the question of consciousness. What makes us conscious? How does this perception of consciousness differ (or how is it similar to) our ordinary perceptive modes?

Parapsychology studies powers of the mind that seem to lie outside the normal sphere of physical influence. Telepathy, precognition, and telekinesis are the main areas of study. But lately parapsychologists have been asking questions about consciousness as well. How do states of consciousness affect parapsychological effects? How do consciousnesses interact when multiple individuals combine their efforts or oppose each other.

Medicine, in contrast, is largely interested in mechanisms for healing. Within this there is both a conventional and a mystical track. Conventional medicine accepts that the human mind has a capacity for enhancing the healing process, and even accepts that belief systems including religion and magic can offer a way to convince the mind to help heal the body. However, there is also a small group within the conventional medical community (and a much larger group outside conventional medicine) that believes that there can be direct magical effects by another individual on the healing process. Bill Moyers' book and PBS special Healing and the Mind provides a nice introduction to some of the issues. Dr. Larry Dossey has also written a number of books about the subject.

I'm not sure who originally posted this. The site it came from was among many submitted to the Wiccan Online Book of Shadows category at the Open Directory Project, now Curlie. I'm an editor there, the last standing editor in the Pagan category after all these years.

I really believe in the science of Pagan and Wiccan ideas more than the religion. I even think the religion itself is based on a science, a psychological science about people being part of a group and creating explanations for things and believing in something together. No doubt there are lots of resources for this idea, other than myself. I'm quoting the above post because I don't often find others having much to say about Wicca/ Magic and science. Thank you to whoever posted it.

Give Yourself a Break

Written by Laura Brown

For those who can't see the image: "Do at least one stupid thing today. Even if it isn't on purpose. Don't be too good, or too correct or too perfect. Crack at least one joke too."

Wrote this for my niece today.

Facebook is Cracking Up

Written by Laura Brown

I posted this to Facebook a few minutes ago. Almost instantly it was pulled off the site as spam. The bot claims I'm being misleading, etc.

More than anything else... This may explain how my Mother's posts don't appear when she's sure she sent them to me. Thanks for protecting me from my 80 year old Mother, Facebook.

I think this is a clear sign that its time for me to stop using Facebook. My Mother just isn't that dangerous any more. I didn't think long dead silent movie stars were either.

Ruined Diaries by Rain

Written by Laura Brown

I began writing my own journals/ diaries as a kid in the early 1970's. There are at least eight books, most of them full of my thoughts, blabs, and so on. As I have moved from place to place along my life the books became collected in a plastic container with a lot of photos I'd taken from trips to BC, visiting my Aunt Emma and wandering around Vancouver, staying at hostels and hotels. Travelling on the Greyhound bus, which doesn't have that cross Canada route any longer. Family and cat photos too. the odd hand written page about this and that. Ephemera collected from my adventures.

I had seen the box, less than a year ago, stuck in the garage where my brother had put it. I didn't move it into the house, mostly because I live in one room and didn't have space for it. Of course, not every decision made due to laziness, indecision, etc. is not always the best choice. Earlier this year my brother began clearing out everything from the garage. He found the garage was infested with mice and rats from the past tenants leaving a lot of garbage in it, outside of the garbage put out in the regular pick up. I noticed the lid of my container was cracked, it wasn't before. But, again I put off doing much about it because I didn't want to figure out what to do with it. I looked at getting a new container for it, but didn't get one. So it sat outside in rain and I thought it was safe with another box on top of it to block water and it was under the roof of the garage, outside.

Today, my Mom opened it and found the water has gotten in. Mostly everything is damaged, some of it is ruined and it really stinks! I can see fungus/ mold on it. I can still smell it, even though I've washed my hands several times, changed clothes and left all of it out in the laundry room.

The plan is to sort through the photos and pick out what to keep. Most are ruined, all the ink/colour washed away from the paper. Some of them still have an image left in the centre. So, a few I have saved so far. Some (not many) are untouched by water. Ironically, most of them are from my wedding and I don't really care about them as much. There are a lot of them which were dripping wet still and hugely stink. I will try to sort them today. But, I have little hope for them.

I think I will bring my scanner out, hook it up to my laptop and scan all the old journals. Better than retyping them, I would have my original hand written pages, just made digital and less mildew and moldy. Then, sadly, I will throw away all those pages and books I've kept for so long.

The next thing is what to do with all those scanned pages. I guess I can post them here, as images with dates. That will make this a really long/ old blog. I think the earlies pages are from before the 1970's. One nice thing about scanning them is being able to see my penmanship over the years too. Retyping them can't do that. Plus, retyping them would mean guessing what some of them are. Instead of leaving it as original to figure out more than just once. Handwriting isn't as reliable as type, but its far more personal and artsy.

Anyway, that's what I will be doing over the next few weeks. I think it will be sad to dispose of the old journals themselves. All those originals. Some of them I still remember who gave me the blank journal or where I bought them from. I guess I can add that to the notes as I scan and post them.

Dragon Psychology "Hoarding"

Written by Laura Brown

I wish my family could understand this but I think there is a disconnect with people who keep saying "nothing really matters" when its about what someone else values. Anyway, its dragon psychology, now I understand.

Wind Like an Ocean in the Trees

Written by Laura Brown

The wind is like the ocean blowing in the trees. The green waves bend, and sway back again.

Wrote that on a receipt while in the car watching the trees on a windy day. Later there were tornado warnings.

Writing Prompt: What would you write about a windy day, or a snowy, rainy day, some kind of weather other than hot and sunny.