" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

April 9, 2014

Big Brother and My Big Little Brother
I've just finished reading this new book by Lionel Shiver and found lots of food for thought contained within 
(pardon that deliberate pun),
not to mention quite a few personal synchronicities. 
It's funny how personal synchronicities lead to other synchronicites and send you down paths you never would have trod without them.
This book is one of them.
I never would have bought and read this book in a million years,
without attending a talk by Lionel Shiver at Byron Bay,
Lionel Shriver and Matthew Condon at Byron Bay.
that I wrote about in this post -

We Need to Talk About Kevin
And it probably would have still been laying in my "To Read" pile if I had not have seen this quote Lionel placed in the front of the book -
Because that date is my Little Big Brother's birthday (March 24th).
My Little Big Brother, who is even bigger now.
I wrote about a post involving my brother and his birth-date here in this post -
"Mental" Syncs 
He had a nervous breakdown in 2001 and spent about 3 months in a semi-coma until doctors tried a series of shock therapy treatments on him.
Now the quacks have him on a drug that is banned in the USA, because it was causing heart-attacks and blood clots in patients...but over here in Australia the quacks (doctors) have no problem giving this drug to their guinea pigs.
Trouble is when I tried to help him by giving him an article to show his doctor why that drug is banned in the US, his doctor told him that I should mind my own business, because he is the doctor and your brother isn't.
But what Captain Quack ...I mean his doctor failed to realize is that the article was written by far more experienced US doctors than him. 
My parents even told me to mind my own business, as they didn't want him to stop taking his drugs and have a relapse. 
So I feel much like the sister in the book who is facing a dilemma/guilt trip over whether to ram home the message about his health risks and life expectancy, or just mind my own business (?).
One side-effect of the drug is weight gain and that has become obvious to everyone that knew him before.
He's packing on quite a bit of unhealthy weight lately and seems to have a never-ending appetite...another (or same ) side-effect of taking the drug.
Mr Johnstone died on Thursday weighing 66 stone.
 On my brother's birthday ( March 24th) I saw this story about the fattest man in the UK dying of a heart attack at the age of 22.
" Liam Johnston, who weighed 416kg, died at his Scotland home on Thursday morning after suddenly falling ill, reports the Mirror.
Paramedics were unable to resuscitate him and he was pronounced dead. "
'Fattest man' dies of heart attack aged 22  
Now, while Big Brother is a work of fiction, it is based on Lionel Shriver's experiences of her real life brother dying from complications of morbid obesity at the age of 49 and her projecting a "what if" fictitious story to see what may have happened to her life if she could have taken her brother under her wing and helped him to lose weight.
And while the storyline of Big Brother may not be that riveting, the meditations on the addictive habits, from food to work, drink, drugs, fame, exercise, dieting, etc, are well worth considering, and what makes this story tick along.
It's also about depression as well.
I saw the movies Nymphomanic 1 & 2 on the weekend, which is the third film in a series of films about depression according to the writer/director of the films.
(the film was so long it was cut into parts 1 & 2)
This film(s) is about sex addiction
WARNING: There are sex scenes in the trailer below.
Oddly enough, looking at the poster of Nymphomanic with the fishhook reminds me of Matthew Condon's cover for his book  
The Trout Opera.
Matthew Condon is the guy in the above photo interviewing Lionel Shriver about her book Big Brother.
I have a signed copy of Matt's book and hope to read that one next.
Matt wrote a book years ago titled  
A Night at the Pink Poodle,
which I finally got him to sign for me at the Lionel Shriver talk at Byron Bay.
The Pink Poodle was an old cheap hotel on Queensland's Gold Coast, which was a bit of a landmark at the time I was growing up.
I was reminiscing with Matt about drives to the Gold Coast from my hometown of Brisbane as a kid and seeing the Pink Poodle sign, because we knew the drive was just about over, and that we were at the beech.
He told me he had similar memories, as he grew up in Brisbane, too.
"...signature pink plaster pig" Big Brother.
Oddly enough, Lionel Shriver mentions a  

"...signature pink plaster pig" in her book, Big Brother, recounting childhood memories.
Published by Fourth Estate.
On a synchy note, I just realized Big Brother is published by  
Fourth Estate,
which kind of ties in to my post about Big Brother and the 44th president and all the 4's.
Big Brother/Captain America and 44?
And on the subject of numbers, I had to chuckle when I read this passage in the Big Brother book pictured below.
"...a debit of $42 for a taxi."
People who regularly read my dribble here would know that my dad's old cab number was 424 and I often talk about that number in a lot of personal syncs that I have had involving that number.
And let's not forget all the #42 posts I've written about either.
42 being the sync-heads favourite number, just about.
Another passage, or word, I should probably write, caught my eye in the Big Brother book - becalming.

It was while reading Jessica Watson's book True Spirit that I pondered the sailing term becalm/becalmed/becalming, which led me to making the above poster using the term.
Becalmed: A Little Sailing Humour
be·calm [bih-kahm] 

verb (used with object)
to deprive (a sailing vessel) of the wind necessary to move it; subject to a calm: The schooner was becalmed in the horse latitudes for two weeks.
Archaic. to calm; pacify.
 I'm sure this is the first time since  I made that poster, or read the word in Jessica's book that I have come across the word in a book I was reading.
Now I've just seen this news story on the ABC News web, oddly enough.
 "A care home for sufferers of a rare and potentially fatal genetic disorder that causes insatiable hunger is sitting largely unused, just north of Sydney.
People with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) feel desperately hungry all the time, no matter how much food they eat...
Carer and advocate Cate Fogarty, whose son Jack has PWS, says the drive for food is so strong, sufferers will literally eat themselves to obesity and death, unless they are under constant supervision.
"They're constantly, 24 hours a day, thinking about food," Ms Fogarty told Lateline.
"It's like telling you to stop breathing. You can't tell them not to feel hungry."
Carers say the need for food is so strong that patients can become aggressive and difficult to care for, especially once they reach adolescence.
Ms Fogarty says her family was pushed to breaking point trying to care for her son, who had constant issues at school. "
Carers plead for funding to help sufferers of insatiable hunger disorder Prader-Willi syndrome
Addictions of course are like being hooked, either mentally, physically, or both.
So the fishhook is a very appropriate symbol for an addiction.
Oddly enough, in the book Big Brother, BB is started on his way by a "garlic-butter stuffed crust pizza" from Pizza Hut.
As soon as I finished reading the book, I go out and check the mailbox and find among the junk mail inside it the flyer below from 
Pizza Hut.
Now that is food porn, if I ever saw it.
In my current job I pick orders all day long for a wholesale group who sell to retail stores, chemists, health food stores, gyms and various other stores and individuals.
The picture above is a shot of the Sandra Cabot books we sell and the pages below are some of the supplements and slimming products we sell.
Although, I've noticed that one of the most popular products we sell is a packet mix of Chocolate Mud Cake.
If you happen to read the book Big Brother, you might want to bear this point about the Chocolate Mud Cake in mind?-)
So, you can see that the food/supplement/diet industry is as lucrative as the drug industry...almost.
And what Lionel is writing about in her book Big Brother is a big problem that looks like it is here to stay...just like her brother in the book.
After the movie screening of Nymphomaniac on Sunday, I grabbed the above free magazine from the cinema, as it's one of my favorite Brisbane magazines.
It usually has a theme for each month such as fashion, vacations, entertainment, etc.
This month guess what the focus of the magazine is?
As I said at the beginning of this post,
there is a lot of food for thought in this book (Big Brother)
and it's not all centered on food.
 It's about life, love and identity, and what that all means.
I recommend this book to anyone for a thought provoking read,
not just because I can see parallels in my own brother's story,
but because I can see how it could become anyone's story 
in this day and age, including mine. 
If you don't get something out of this story,
then you are just not thinking about life too hard, I guess.
Good and timely book for today's world.


  1. What a fascinating string of synchros! That's sad about your brother, Daz. So many doctors are arrogant know it alls.

  2. Doctors are similar the world over - they feel they know best (and sometimes they do). Their answer is usually 'take these tablets' without bothering with a proper consultation on life style and things like obesity - or listening to alternative views.

    Ultimately we have to decide ourselves what feels right for our own health. It gets more difficult when it's about someone else, as in your case. Hopefully the right decision will come to you.

  3. Re: "Hopefully the right decision will come to you."

    That's the whole point of the book Big Brother and my point as well Mike.
    No matter how much you would like to see a horse drink the water,you can only lead the horse to it.
    It's the horse that's got to want to do the drinking in the end,not me.
    I made my decision a long time ago.If he wants my help I'm here,otherwise Que Sera,Sera,as sad as that may be.