Sunday, 20 April 2014

Not Cross Brownies

Read on or listen instead - click on the hidden gems too.

Good Friday – again – not the same day every year but the same motif, white crosses on a field of baked grains... all in the fine interests of dogmatic tradition and delectation. Yet in the preamble to this year’s joys I stumbled onto something that is truly the Devil’s work... The kind of thing that’d get those god-bothering anti-stemcell, it-goes-against-nature-and-god’s-will sorts in all manner of a pantie-twist... Hot Cross Brownies! Genius at first sight... And I thought aha – I have a humorous new angle for my Easter blog post. I can understand a need to increase sales and cash in on any vaguely marketable ploy… so add a white cross onto your brownies and be done with it. BUT these fiends would not stick to that. Oh no, they messed with the medium… they cross-bred a bun with a brownie resulting in something that looks like a brownie but tastes of Xmas at the wrong time of year and makes a train-wreck of the chocolate decadence one wants from a brownie – currants and cinnamon in a brownie? Like condensed milk on a sardine! If its not broken don’t break it... as the saying doesn’t go. If you’ve only got a thumb every tool looks like a hammer, right? 

Anyway these culinary horrors were uncovered in East London a week prior to Easter so I was able to forage for the more traditional fare... which is good as it is unclear what the Vatican’s stance is on Hot Cross Bun substitutes... and if those Brownies had been good many might’ve been tempted off the path of righteousness... This year I stalked and snared a brace of buns in the fields of Villandry, a restaurant that lies beneath the bastion of my gainful employment - Double Negative - stalwart in the VFX industry to which I owe so much. For the last 3 months, I have lived like a Prince of London in their Ivory Tower penthouse while serving on Avengers 2. So this morning, appropriately, I shared a bun with Rapunzel herself before leaving these fair and generous shores for a transatlantic ambush of my Canadian pals Katie and Skez who are about to leave Victoria, BC for Grand Cayman... en route I devoured the 2nd bun and can state that these buns have been about the best I’ve had in many years though I did doubt their integrity at first as they had but the slightest hint of a cross but a deceptively delicious glazing of sugar. Mmmm. 

 In the last 12months I have had a freewheeling wander across many parts of this beautiful planet. Along the way I have been to all ‘my places’ and seen ‘all my people’ except Slacktoria in Canada. And now I head there, to rectify that, not out of duty but out of delight!  I’ve seen the value of community and stability. London, Kas, Cape Town, Johannesburg, New York, LA, Black Rock City and Victoria – all places I would be welcomed to as if at home. Yet my life, my job and my choices, exciting at times have me shifting a lot... spreading me quite thinly over this magnificent globe so I miss out on the rewards community brings, building, growth, consistency which can translate to family, pets, learning from a master and for a 2nd year in a row Deirdre's homemade buns pictured . I fear it’s also cost me a prize more dear.

This last year has been extraordinary. It’s contained phenomenal loss and phenomenal gain. One aspect of it has been coming to terms with Love. What a delicate thing it seems to be but how ferocious and strong it can bind. There has been storm after storm and numerous occasions on which it has seemed to be snuffed out only for it to spring back to life stronger than ever. Yes, I cried and yes I have fed on my pain, beat my chest, rent my clothes and wanted it all to end. Certainly with bitter resolution I could’ve ensured its end. But, taking a leaf from pure impressionism I once made the choice to never paint with black. I am glad I didn’t. Instead I took some fat from the marrow of the bones of life I’ve been gnawing on and made a candle to burn in honour of what Miss Sparrow has been for me for the last 6 years.

Geographical dislocation, divergent life-patterns and encumbering baggage suggest the situation is round peg and square hole. Like learning the hard truth that friendship is not necessarily forever, so - I’ll quote the Byrds rather than the bible - I’m understanding 'There is a time for everything'. And now is not the time for Us. Now is instead the time to walk our own paths so that we may know the joys of our individual dreams. When we try to be together the Universe seems to pull us apart and when we make no effort it pulls us close. So off we bound into the woods, looking to live before we die, knowing that if we encounter one another again we will be absolutely fresh, renewed and reinvigorated. I understand this as living in Grace. This is not a regret, this is an opportunity and a joy. It’s an interesting journey and an even more interesting difference to separate from a love for the wrong reason compared to doing it for the right reason. I’ve had both with the same person for the first time. Separating now because we love each other rather than last year over mistrust. An angel-friend pointed out the possible reading of that song “You only know your lover when you let her go” to be that you have to let go of all ownership, all objectification within love to allow them to come to a full fruition and in so doing they may grow in absolute abundance and give many gifts in time. The future is a very big, promising and mysterious place but for now we each have to deal with our individual ‘presents’. I am calm within. I also understand that you don’t need religion to have faith. I have faith in the integrity and love with which we've made this choice. Taking a step away from the lowest common denominator trap and towards the possibility of a brighter future. We remain available to and for each other nonetheless. 

When I wake from this beautiful dream I call my life I hope to be at peace and in perfect harmony. I wish this for all. And in the meantime I plan to find out just how big this lobster can grow.

Super much love

Doctor Lobster

PS – I completed a bi-continental, mid-ocean, hat trick of HCB’s this year care of these slightly Cajungrilled-buns provided – seen in Champers McSpankypants’s garden of delight.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Clippety Clop

Neptune's Horse might've come second to Athena's Olive Tree in the race to name Athens but it does represent the Year ahead beginning on Friday 31 Jan. Listen here if you like.

There is much about life that is linked to Destiny. Yet this year – that of The Horse is one of freedom and allows for the most self-determination. Which is not to say one need choose that course. One may simply drift letting the Horse pick your path through bramble, rock or lush green grass, either side of any fence.

It’s a great year to dream, drift or knuckle down to some solid task. It’s a great year in general, so fresh and wild. Its dangers lie in driving you and yours too hard. If you pick a path too difficult you may well founder your mount by being too hasty. And for the want of a horse (and a few other things major and minor) a kingdom was lost. This is a year to strategically reposition yourself for victory in the next. Lead if you like, take your people to places but let them choose what to do once there. Self-determination is for all.

Whether by gallop, canter, trot, walk, plod or plough a fresh and positive life-perspective is available. Connect with the invigorating aspects of the natural world to understand your own strength and the value of community. There are many roads. All of them have delicious views. All of them lead to the Dark Heart of the Woods in which you can know your every dream but where you have to sacrifice one in order to live the rest. This will be the hardest item of the year, what will you relinquish from your stubborn grasp in order that the Trail of your Life leads through the Valley of Delight?

Much love

Doctor Lobster

This year gets a small additional note... last year (The Snake) was about internal growth through external change. This means shedding those things that no longer serve you (internal or external). You have until the Full Moon on 15 Feb to continue this process. By doing so you will relish the ride a lot more.

Apologies if that dead horse scared you... it comes from an art project I did based around the premise that Death might as well shout itself hoarse for all the attention we pay it until its oft untimely arrival... so I do like to think about... in sunshine and gloom. And that makes me love life that much more! 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Thursday, 2 January 2014


The story normally runs that the products of your childhood decline rather than get better.
Often measured by how closely the product matches the photo on the package. Back in your youth it invariably seemed a better fit. This was never more evident than in the case of the Iced Zoo biscuit whose reality of obscure white sugary animal-blobs on fields of green, pink, orange or (yum) blue never matched the crystal-clear packaging pictures.

Yet something pretty strange yet rewardingly positive appears to have happened. I spent New Years day at a braai (BBQ) at Jem and Megans pad in Fish Hoek Cape Town – of all my friends houses – this is my favourite. A nostalgic purchase of a pack of Iced Zoos (for the children of course) revealed that the animal on the biscuit does in fact resemble the packaging in far more recognizable form than any of us ever recalled! Somebody got a new biscuit factory

Some of my friends felt this removed some of the charm of the iced zoo but I think there is such merit in starting 2014 with something that has in fact got better!!!

Here are some comparisons

Yesterdays beautiful Polar Bear and a Gibbon with a child or a melon compared with some archival footage shot as it happens on super8 – thats how old this material is (ok shot in 2002 but that is over a decade ago! See the stop-frame demonstration on how to eat them here). 

I also sent a pack of these biscuits to Nicey to review on his 'nice cup of tea and a sit-down' site back in 2003 – read it here:

It might also be a decent corroboration of the belief many of my friends (Topangans in particular) have that the world is shifting. The warmongers and con artist politicians have suffered reverses and are in retreat. Yes, they are not routed. Their starvation-economy, fear-driven inability to do-the-right-thing-and-allow-the-world-to-become-a-better-place means theyll cling to power like the devils they are. So long as we fire flowers of light and lovebombs of peace this shift will prevail. The improvement of the Iced Zoos is all the indicator I need

This is the positive message

But wait this is sadly not all The Light that is Monsieur Polo has slipped this mortal coil. His was a super charged and enviable existence. His life-pattern was broad and varied, delighting others and drawing to him numerous equally wonderful folk from so many walks of life. The feeling is that we are robbed of great riches with his early departure. Many will suffer much more than I from having been far closer to him than myself (sweet Livia, my heart aches for you).

Death might as well shout itself hoarse for all the attention we tend to give it until its oft-untimely arrival. His passage reminded me that there are many ways to prepare for death but all of them involve living. Polo Lived Deeply. It was why he was so fun to be around. He inspired me to find ways to live in community but free from the constraints and taboos of society. Polos journey continues somehow, somewhere, free now from Earthly constraint.

Many may criticize my writing of biscuits and a departed friend in the same article but I loved them both and was surprised by both. One thing as inconsequential as anything yet that did, in its moment, delight and the other whose import has yet to be fathomed – if it ever will. And as I also owe God a death, I will also owe you a Life. And in my attempt to part with my socially-imposed self-consciousness I will continue to share slight slices from it. No matter how inappropriately combined. Juxtaposition has its place in reminding us of the importance of life.

How to eat an Iced Zoo biscuit


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

More Extinction Please

Read it here or listen to it here

My travels have taken me past a two recurring themes - Dinosaurs and Octopi. I’ve seen lots of both in lots of places. I suppose when you travel with one you tend to notice the others around too. And that’s Hairy the Eighth - my orange travel pal – I am talking about not the Gherkmobile my old green Subaru. Which as you can see here, has acquired a lot of “Houding”* but is still of this century so NOT a dinosau. 

* Houding – Afrikaans word meaning (by my definition) the act of ‘being wood’. Sort of what wood does. But it refers to having cool character, a bit like Jeff Bridges’ The Dude and not like Keanu Reeves’s acting.

I did feel a little Jurassic in my ways when I stayed at the Earthships ( in Taos, New Mexico – super extraordinary. Why am I (and the rest of the planet) still so reliant on fossil fuels? It was incredible to see an alternative way of living. These houses are the embodiment of my visions for my own fantasy home. Not only are they superb for the planet by way of sustainability, off the grid but still on the web, they’re houses with sexy curves, a colour pallet I appreciate and in a climate that gives me so much energy. I came for 2 nights and stayed 5. Many thanks to Mme Jedellicious for ensuring my journey included these inspirations.   

Anyway along the way I also encountered these old dinosaurs. And found myself wishing that all of their kind were extinct. And that wasn’t a ‘real’ wish – that is, my telling you that doesn’t mean it won’t come true! Because one day it will, all the world’s tanks will be as fossilized as these.  

Near the Earthships, I met a young man (Shann) on the bridge over the Rio Grande (scene of previous adventures on the film Paul in 2009) selling crystals. We had a very nice connection and I had dinner with him and his girlfriend Rio at their house in the middle of nowhere yet randomly near a beautiful Buddhist Stupa… some of his final words to me was suggesting that one might increase one’s fuel efficiency by strapping a double-terminated crystal to one’s fuel line. Given that I have just driven 7000 miles and have another 1000 miles to go it seems a super appropriate moment (in the interests of Science) to test such a theory and get a side-by-side comparison. Consequently I really do remain In Pursuit of Magic. Crystal Magic!

I’ll write a full report, as unscientifically as I can, and submit in the days to come.

Much love

Doctor Lobster

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Magical Note of Compassion and other news

Listen to it here

While cycling the streets of cool East Village in the boiling New York City summer, I had to make way for a surly, growly, muttering, hard-nosed junky-nutter making his belligerent way across the street like some hell-bent alcoholic Taliban, determined on unpleasantness. Alarmed by his negativity I gave him a wide berth. 

Beyond him on the far side of the street were 4 emo NYU students, 3 girls and a guy. Only recently of this world and young enough to still know everything - just kids, just hanging. As I passed them I heard the girl closest the street, slightly separated from the herd, declare, tearfully, “He’s ruined my day”. Something about wanting to right an injustice popped in me. I looped around and cycled straight back to them. She backed away from me as I came closer, very cautious she was, once bitten twice shy for sure.

I halted and asked “I could not but overhear, did you say he ruined your day?” pointing at the Nutjob, who was at this point ruining a cyclist’s day further down the street.

“Yes” she said
“Totally” the rest exclaimed.

To which I cheerfully replied - “Well I am here to change that and reverse your unfortunate fortune. I have here a thing almost unique.”

And pulled from my pocket my wallet, and from my wallet a folded bill.

“I have here a –“ -  “2-dollar bill!” finished the lone male in the pack.

“Yes – it is and legal tender too. But see here, on it is stenciled the words ‘In Pursuit of Magic’. And you can have it. Hopefully it will make your day”

She, with dropping jaw, “Can I keep it?”

“Of course”, I said as I cycled off, “Changing the world one smile at a time…” and on my way I went. I’ve done this sort of gifting thing a few times and feel its best to give the gift and begone so the gift remains just exactly that, free from any other expectation or conversation. That they may just marvel at the arbitrary and funny nature of life’s vagaries and what comes from hanging on the streets of New York.
As I left they stared and laughed and I felt good for being a random act of kindness. Until I remembered what compassion is really about and that while my time was well spent with these few it would’ve been better spent had I given that magically transformed note and charitable action to the grumbler who is clearly in a far worse way and knoweth not the harm he does himself by harming others.

Yes of course such an attempt may’ve ended badly for me but this brings to mind the decisions we make in life. What we choose to do, the meaning we bring into our lives. The things we find worthwhile. One of the hardest things in life is not to be seen. To be ignored. Living in solitary confinement on the streets of the city. It is a brutal thing. Aside from execution, solitary confinement is the worst punishment our society can think up. So giving a person on the fringes of society time and attention serves us well in our own attempt to find equanimity with everything. Helping yourself by helping others...

 And on a completely different note here is some news... 

That all happened in NYC recently after my many weeks in Montauk. All of which were very well spent giving attention to words, waves and the steady stream of amazing folks that wander through one’s life.

But now, dear Reader – you find me in holed up bandit-like in Spearfish, South Dakota en route across the USA to LA via Burning Man. I have already aided in the digging up of a dinosaur bone, suffered a front differential leak, covered 2000 miles through 10 states (minor brushes with the law in 4 of them), broken ribs instead of bread with an old friend and her family, written love in light, run around Devil’s Tower and as soon as I send this I am off on a hike to who knows where but I bet I’ll see something exquisite in this pleasant land!

Devil's Tower (seen in Paul!)

Devil's Tower Up-close

Devil's Tower Close-up

Plastered up for transportation

Yes it’s been a dream of mine to drive across the States. And that’s the thing about dreams. If you have ‘em, it’s a great idea at some time to turn them into a reality. Then the Universe can do things to you far beyond your wildest imagination! 

Hey ho, let’s go… me, my Gherkmobile and an Octopus, In Pursuit of Magic! Go West Young Man. Go West. And a bit South…

Love and light

Octopus trying to get attention