The Magic Plaster

19 Aug 2018
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I had precious moments with three of my five grandchildren, yesterday. Each one being a 'work in progress', they are learning about balance and awareness... and, in the process, getting a fair few bumps and blisters.

This reminded me of when their Dad and his two brothers were little. They, too, went through the bumps and blisters, cuts and bruises. One of the most effective ways to help them through those moments of pain was to apply not just any old plaster, but a 'magic plaster'!

Magic plasters have far more power than ordinary plasters. They can take away the pain far more rapidly, and bring speedy comfort and healing.

I wanted to let you into a little secret: the magic was in their minds, and it's called neuro-plasticity. Let's imagine there is something called a 'neuro-plaster' – a comfort and cure which, when applied, works like magic.

Neuro-plasticity is the power of the brain to heal itself – or to self-harm. It is morally neutral, merely amplifying and making more permanent those patterns of thought, belief, and action that we rehearse.

I know I speak for many of us when I assert that we are masters and mistresses of rehearsing the worst-case scenario. That's the most effective way to stay depressed! Like an obedient servant, and brain makes it easier and easier to think that way when we give it attention.

So how can we have a 'magic plaster' instead – one that makes us feel better and takes away the pain? The Magic Plaster is the present – focusing on sensory information in the here and now. Our pain is often associated with reliving the past, or rehearsing a fear-filled future. Giving these thoughts – our cuts and bruises – attention just makes them stronger. Trying not to think about them makes them stronger too – so the Magic Plaster is applied by thinking about something else - something right here, right now.

When the children could see and feel the magic plaster, and hear the soothing magic words that went with the application of it, they were momentarily distracted from the very real pain. Their minds, just like ours, could not hold those two points of attention. It is one or the other. It's a choice.

So what will your Magic Plaster be? What will bring your attention pleasantly back to the present so that you can get through the next few moments? Is it a magic cup of tea? Is it the attention of a pet? Is it the flowers or the birds in the garden? Feel free to share your Magic Plaster so we might apply one just like it.

Lex

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

Email us at support@moodscope.com to submit your own blog post!

Comments

Molly

Aug. 20, 2018, 1:45 a.m.

A glass of wine Lex - that is my magic plaster :-) xx

Reply

Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 4:43 a.m.

Works for me too, Molly! xx

Sally

Aug. 20, 2018, 4:43 a.m.

Super blog, Lex. Really enjoyed reading it. Your comparisons were good, and I hope you had a lovely time with your grandchildren. I have a little toddler granddaughter, so sweet and keen and smiley . A joy just to watch, pure balm to interact with at this age. Magic : cup of tea ( just had one), flowers and birds ( l have a posy of sweetpeas from the garden by my bedside. Lovely perfume!) and the birds are regrouping in the sky ready to eventually fly off to other climes) daughter’s cat ( on loan for a few months, house being done up) snuggling up and purring wildly. And the thought that today is another day “with no mistakes in it yet” ( quote from Anne of Green Gables which I’ve always liked) Thanks, Lex, for helping me pinpoint some of my favourite things (that don’t cost the earth either!) xx

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Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 4:46 a.m.

Oh Sally, you added 'layers of delight' to my day. Your list was eliciting a 'yes' upon 'yes' upon 'yes' (building up to Molly's glass of wine later on in the day, I'm sure!) Cat purrs and Anne of Green Gables, Tea and Sweet Peas, Birds and Grandchildren - feels uplifting just to write them down. Magic! xx

Sally

Aug. 20, 2018, 4:59 a.m.

Yes, it DID feeluplifting just to write them down, so win- win, Lex. You were a catalyst for me waking up “ to smell the flowers” literally and metaphorically!! Magic !

Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 5:10 a.m.

I shall pop out into the garden and sniff one of our Alpine Sunset blooms in your honour!

Sally

Aug. 20, 2018, 6:30 a.m.

Alpine Sunset is..? Funnily enough Alps is where we are heading in e actly 2 weeks’ time, Lex. Lovely Switzerland. Thank you for kind thought, Lex!

The Gardener

Aug. 20, 2018, 10:06 a.m.

Lovely lot of remarks - 'my favourite things' with a vengeance. I need a mechanic, my starter motor is not good. Big ideas this morning, only energy for routine and an hour gardening. I am collecting people who are vrtual 'leeches' tapping into my ideas and enthusiasm.

Isabella

Aug. 20, 2018, 5:03 a.m.

Morning Lex, my magic is homeopathic remedies. I get an hour to talk to my homeopath and she gives me a magic potion. It works - I don’t care if it’s not ‘proven’ - it’s like the children and their magic plasters! Good friends are my other magic plasters.... thank you for the blog. Xx

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Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 5:10 a.m.

Lovely to hear this, Isabella... and you inspired my imagination to add 'laughter' to our rather empowering list! xx

the room above the garage

Aug. 20, 2018, 8:46 a.m.

Homeopathic supporter here too Isabella. I too don’t give a **** if science hasn’t married it. I like custard and I like fish. Still wouldn’t put them together.

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 20, 2018, 10:05 a.m.

Can’t do custard and fish together either...but have you tried treacle and cheese sandwiches?? Lol Ratg. Bear xx

Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 11:42 a.m.

Ha ha... wonderful memory of Matt whatever in his first episode as Dr Who - fishfinger dipped in custard! xx Words have such power to provoke memories!

Maggie May

Aug. 20, 2018, 5:57 a.m.

Morning, Loved the hope that was contained in your blog. The very real hope that by believing in a happier now, today , this week , will help reprogram the neural pathways to a happy ever after. That’s what I got from your blog. My magic plaster is to be grateful for the good things in my life. My close relationship with my children. The joy I too get from te spent giggling with my grandchildren. My lovely house and garden with views of surrounding countryside. My physical health that allows me to walk my dogs . My mental health today . Wishing everyone finds at least one manic plaster to start this new day with a smile.

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Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 6:21 a.m.

Hi Jen. I think you've put it more eloquently than I have: "The very real hope that by believing in a happier now, today, this week, will help reprogram the neural pathways to a happy ever after." That, dear Jen, is a powerful summary of what I was trying to say - so, thank you!

Sally

Aug. 20, 2018, 6:32 a.m.

Nice one, Jen. Did you mean manic though?

Sally

Aug. 20, 2018, 6:34 a.m.

As in manic plaster, cos I don’t like the sound of one of those ! I’m manic enough as it is!!! Xx ( your last line)

Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 8:17 a.m.

I did, smile!

Orangeblossom

Aug. 20, 2018, 6:21 a.m.

Hi Lex thanks for this great blog. Isn’t learning awareness & balance in the physical, mental & emotional areas of our lives something we all need to grapple with. Training in mindfulness practise with Andy Puddicombe through the Headspace website, has gone some way towards helping me to practise mindfulness. I find it beneficial. I registered on it in 2014, in the same year that I became a member of Moodscope. About a 6 week time difference.

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Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 6:23 a.m.

Hi Orangeblossom... yes, I think we still are learning awareness and balance throughout life, aren't we? I like Andy Puddicombe's Headspace. What I lack is the discipline to keep doing it, so today's blog is a very fast acting magic plaster! However, I'd recommend to all reading that they check out Orangeblossom's suggestion for Headspace - a far more enduring kind of magic.

Valerie

Aug. 20, 2018, 6:49 a.m.

This sounds awful,so I hope you'll understand...My magic plaster,works every time,is thinking of the people I know who are going through terrible hardships In one week-An acquaintance,doctor,late 40's,married one young child.Wife just had the all-clear from cancer when the child was a baby.Husband was born with one kidney,but fine.Just had kidney urgently removed,tumour.In hospital on dialysis. Young friends,eagerly awaiting birth.Baby had to be induced,mother and baby in ICU both with menigitis.Responding well to drugs,but just confirmed the little boy has Downs.Dad is still determined he will teach him to play Rugger. The mantra going through my head is "I am so lucky today,whatever tomorrow holds in store"

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Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 6:58 a.m.

Oh Valerie, magic plasters are for little cuts and grazes... not for major life traumas like these. I'm so sorry to hear all these terrible trials those you know are facing. If I had wise words I'd share them. I understand your comment.

AnnewithanE

Aug. 20, 2018, 8 a.m.

What a fantastic attitude that young dad has to the rocky post-partum period - never easy to initially have a sick partner and baby - good to hear they are both responding and improving. The Down syndrome is an extra chromosome in each cell which will have a variable effect on this little champion - he may have cardiac, haematological, hearing, sight, GI tract or endocrine challenges or none of these - its 'the luck of the draw'. He will certainly have learning challenges but with a dad like that, he has someone on his side to keep repeating things and learning with patience and fun. He will almost certainly have a compromised immune system. These are the medical things. We all know that a person is far more than a diagnosis or a collection of problems. Right now, and forever, this baby needs love and acceptance, care and support - as do his parents. I pray they will all be surrounded by loving, sensitive support which is sustained, appropriate and measured - in short, a loving family, an army of buddies, skilled healthcare staff and volunteer supporters.

Reply

Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 8:17 a.m.

AnnewithanE - wise words

Valerie

Aug. 20, 2018, 8:53 a.m.

Mother is a paediatric nurse,so she is less optimistic,having nursed those on the worse end of the spectrum. We go to a restaurant where one of the waitresses has Downs.She has coped well with support from Mum (Dad decamped when she was born) She is now in her late 40's,and belongs to a theatre group,and appeared on a T.V drama.I know many are less capable in mind and body. I have looked on the internet and spotted some rugger sweatshirts for babies,so sending off for one.His Dad wants him to live in a bubble of love and fun-I pray it can be like that.They are only in their late 20's,and this is the first child.

The Gardener

Aug. 20, 2018, 10:22 a.m.

Valerie, just had an hour with a 'lost' lady of 57 looking for something to do. Suggested the enormous need for people to read to the housebound/handicapped. Children with learning difficulties - such need. But I think she herself needs help, ma

Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 11:24 a.m.

I know we sometimes find solace in helping others - as long as it doesn't become too draining. Loneliness and isolation are not going to become smaller issues without many of us expressing deep and practical compassion.

Sally

Aug. 20, 2018, 7:15 p.m.

Agree, Anne. Super Dad. What a sensible and informed comment you have contributed. Surely you must have some personal or professional experience here? Our son, 33, whilst not Downs, has complex learning disabilities and profound autism and some problems with his heart. At 1 metre 97, and able bodied ,he is a force to be reckoned with , if he puts his mind to it / is non compliant... BUT having said all that : we coped! Little by little the extent of his disabilities was revealed! thank goodness not all in one go! There are pros and cons to Downs/ other disabilities such as our son’s : with Downs, it is picked up and hopefully help given immediately. Because of the external appearance of a Downs baby/ child, there is no need to “justify” to others, professionals or the general public . In a case such as our son’s, we had a heck of a job getting help, having his condition recognised, receiving benefits etc. BUT there was love and dedication in our home, a fantastic sister, his sister. We just carried on...We are proud of our son, who has come so far with so many still unresolved challenges, and necessitating 24 hour care. Love conquers all, at the risk of sounding righteous. And my wonderful husband supported to the hilt, like this young Dad sounds as if he will. Let’s hope their baby achieves his full potential and makes his parents proud too.

LP

Aug. 20, 2018, 8:40 a.m.

Morning Lex, Your blog in itself is a magic plaster. I have woken up feeling a wreck and will have to apply all those plasters I can think of! Lemon and honey tea. A walk. Being mindful. Focussing on the breath, a coffee, some reading, a few jobs and an imaginary worry box to tidy those into for now until I settle down. LPxx

Reply

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 20, 2018, 10:10 a.m.

Agree with you LP....Lex's blogs are a comfy magic plaster. Hope you are finding this afternoon a liddle bit better than earlier LP. Nice walk taken and breathing deeply....calm....bliss. Hope you find peace today. Bear ***

Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 11:33 a.m.

I think you've just had a bear hug, LP! You can have a Lex hug too. I'm definitely seeing the Moodscope-love in these comments as Magic Plasters galore - especially when reaching out to Valerie too (and we are all feeling for Another Sally). I do find compassion and kindness two of the most attractive qualities about what a friend calls "Fully Paid Up Members of the Human Race," and it is clear that Moodscopers are just that: compassionate and caring. *** And so I'm going to pick up one of the things you said LP and reflect Caroline's choice of quote today because Caroline is so brilliant at choosing the right words: “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” Amit Ray - breath consciously dear LP, breath! xx

LP

Aug. 25, 2018, 9:25 p.m.

Thank you lovely Bear ! ***

LP

Aug. 25, 2018, 9:27 p.m.

And thank you too Lex! Xx

the room above the garage

Aug. 20, 2018, 8:41 a.m.

Hello Lex, I don’t know if you are aware but I think your writing has changed slightly and you sound even more like you. Does this run with feeling slightly better than your blog of a few weeks ago? I hope so. You are a wonderful Monday cornerstone and I really, really enjoyed this today. My son had a big problem this weekend in a competition. He was broken. And it sorely crumbled us all for him. Big girl is exhausted with her little job. Little girl anxious in a teenage way. So yesterday I set up ‘Sunshine Corner’ in the kitchen. Set up around the couch, and beside a big window, it is made up of a soft tartan picnic rug, deckchairs and cushions and optional fleece blankets. And some leftover bunting from my daughter’s birthday. It’s somewhere safe for us to gather and recharge. I might keep it!!! It’s our magic plaster at the moment. I’m enjoying reading everyone’s replies and thank you for giving us this to start the week. Love to you from me xx.

Reply

Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 11:20 a.m.

Dear RATG, these words are like nectar (and I've been watching the bees enjoying the buddleia, so I mean it!) All along, I've followed a belief that, if I just keep writing, I'll find my own voice - and perhaps you've picked up something I wasn't aware of. I may even write my way out of the current dramas - which outwardly have done anything but improve!!! Anyway, I wanted to say that your Sunshine Corner - which really does sound like a whole box of magic plasters! I hope you do keep it, and that it grows and changes organically as you all pour loving associations into the area. May your family find peace and comfort in your kitchen. Love to you all from me too xx

Dragonfly

Aug. 20, 2018, 11:33 a.m.

Hello Lex. I have to agree with Ratg and must say that my mind flicked back to your previous blogs whilst I was reading this one, which I'd definitely say feels more comfortable. I love the idea of a magic plaster and would definitely have to say my 5 grandchildren are in my emotional first aid kit. Sadly I'm still resistant to the idea that my brain has any neuroplasticity. It reverts to the same old same old whatever I try. Still enjoyed the blog though and the hope it brings x

Dragonfly

Aug. 20, 2018, 11:33 a.m.

Dear Ratg, I love the idea of your sunshine corner x

Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 11:41 a.m.

Thank you, Dragonfly! The grandchildren pulled out some powerful memories of when the children were so much younger - and there's an authenticity to that which is so much more personal. Everything they do is magic... x And, yes, RATG's Sunshine Corner is a winner, isn't it?!

Sally

Aug. 20, 2018, 7:38 p.m.

Dear RATG, I think you’re brilliant, thinking up your Sunshine Corner! So creative. Proof that things don’t have to cost a fortune either. Life in your house sounds interesting and full of love and care.

The Gardener

Aug. 20, 2018, 10:11 a.m.

Lex, what a joy grand-children are. 57 year old in, tapping my brain for something to do, but she does not really WANT to do anything. I really need to close my Samaritans department, wearing. My bandage (as well as G & T) was a week-end when the two blogs came together. Endless smiles, super concert violin and viola last evening, party afterwards, hate mailer there, but somehow, by telepathy, I was always surrounded by smiling, chattering friends, old and new. Also complimented on how I look, efforts worth it. Thanks Lex XX

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Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 11:23 a.m.

Violin and Viola are so 'human' in their expressiveness - like a voice - so I'm glad you had your bandage to help. My hope is that those smiling friends that surrounded you will give regular inputs to keep you from harm from those who are unkind and hateful. Great to be complimented on how you look too - that's really encouraging xx

The Gardener

Aug. 20, 2018, 10:16 a.m.

Got a grand-daughter coming, hope she can help me sort out what seems to be a 'time out' on Moodscope. I was terribly upset last night by Another Sally, really felt for her. It's odd, others may be in the same quandary, that since Mr G went into the care home I have a job not feeling guilty when I've had a good time, like this week-end, or somebody who I know is in trouble. By shutting myself up in gloom I can't help anybody, and when things go well for me, seems to transmit to others, very puzzling.

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Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 11:36 a.m.

Dear Gardener, you are not alone in finding it all puzzling. If I ever get to understand 'Life' to any sensible degree, there'll be a thousand blogs, a book, and a movie! One of the most valuable aspects of our community is the way we seek to find purpose, meaning, and sense in all the challenges we all face. We may feel alone at times, but we most certainly are not alone in facing the paradoxical nature of health, relationships, luck, love, and what may be fate...

Another Sally

Aug. 20, 2018, 7:03 p.m.

Dear TG, I'm sorry that what I wrote was upsetting for you, and anyone else. The Moodscope support is ine of my magic plasters. The comments today have been great, thanks Lex for a great blog. Today has been a little better. I've seen my GP and husband took daughter to see psych consultant, who has adjusted her meds, so hopefully we will get a better night tonight. Thanks for all the love.AS xx

Sally

Aug. 20, 2018, 7:45 p.m.

Another Sally, great to see you here today. So glad to hear today has been a bit better. Long may it continue , & let’s hope yesterday/ previous days were the height of your daughter’s troubled mind, and that she will unwind and get more comfortable with her thoughts and feelings, and that will relieve pressure in you all, I think. I sincerely hope so. Go easy, take care and be kind to yourself. Treats needed. Smiley face. Xx

Molly

Aug. 20, 2018, 8:46 p.m.

No apology needed on here Another Sally, I ditto what Sally has said. Hope this is a way forward to help make things right xx

Lex

Aug. 21, 2018, 8:50 a.m.

I'm with Molly and all of us here, Another Sally - absolutely no apology needed. The strength of compassionate response to what you are facing is one of the main reasons for having this opportunity to share... please keep sharing. xx

The Gardener

Aug. 21, 2018, 9:16 a.m.

Dear AS, I will write to you in case you don't see this. Of course no apology, I was so upset FOR you, knowing what you had already been through, and having lived through a like situation with a son.

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 20, 2018, 10:18 a.m.

Thank you Lex, for your comfy magic plaster - I will mark this as another of the good blogs to keep. Love the thought of you playing with your grandchildren...always makes me smile because I never think of you as old enough to be a granddad!! The Bookmark on Moodscope is where I go some days, to find the magic plaster, to keep me going and support myself. I also lurve Ratg's magic comfy corner including the bunting, the blankets, cushions and being surrounded by loved ones who can all speak their truth and get help from a wonderful Mum and each other. I also try to do my own version of Mindfulness....and breathe! Look at the beauty in the simplest of things in the home and garden. Great blog....you’re on top form! Bear hugs x x x

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Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 11:39 a.m.

Your stock is rising, oh Bearofliddlebrain! "Never think of you as old enough to be a granddad!" - what a kind thing to say (and you know how much I value kindness - my top value in Life!) It seems clear to me from what you've said and the other kind comments that the Moodscope blog is a Magic Plaster for so many of us - and that will be an enormous encouragement to Caroline and Adrian, along with all who write and comment. Together we are more than the sum of our members - there's something magical here emerging. x x x

Jul

Aug. 20, 2018, 1:37 p.m.

Lex. This surely must be one of, if not your best blog ever!! The 7th paragraph is wonderful. It should be included in the ebook if it's not too late. We were on our way back to France from Spain earlier and I read your blog in the hotel room. I have been wanting to tell you all the way back; now I am in front of my laptop I can! Go well Lex. And thank you. Jules ***

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Lex

Aug. 20, 2018, 3:31 p.m.

Ah Jules, that's SO lovely, thank you! Travel well and enjoy the magic of the present moment (with or without a plaster!) ***

Sally

Aug. 20, 2018, 7:46 p.m.

Jul, I second that! Lex at his best. A blog to keep.

Lex

Aug. 21, 2018, 8:50 a.m.

Thanks, Sally. And thank you for your other comments above too.

Oli

Aug. 20, 2018, 4:08 p.m.

Lovely blog Lex. It’s a skill to be able to contact the present moment in a non-judgemental way. I am not a virtuoso; I have to practice. I’ve written of it many times but this is because it’s one of the most useful tools in my toolbox. Unhook; defuse; be-here-now. It has been the biggest help to gain perspective on anxiety and/ or rumination. I also get a lot of mileage from the practises which are on the flip side of present moment awareness skills. These are connected with creating dissociation and distraction. As it happens I reckon that’s how the magic plasters of suggestion work: with our ability to distort, distract, and dissociate from experience. I don’t find it matters much if the stimuli driving experience are external and physical, or if they are internally generated. Thanks again for the blog! :-)

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Lex

Aug. 21, 2018, 8:47 a.m.

Thanks, Oli. Are you very familiar with Neuro-Linguistic Programming? If so, your comments have led to me wondering if there is value in deliberately harnessing deletions, distortions, and generalisations? That could well help with dissociation and distraction. Be well, buddy!

Oli

Aug. 21, 2018, 3:07 p.m.

Yes, pretty familiar with NLP. (Several trainings; lots of clinical use of it.) I have a bit of an uneasy relationship with it: its claims which have been well-researched don't stand up (e.g. VAK preferences and learning styles; eye movements); and the massive absence of robust academic research into NLP suggests it was quickly found wanting. NLP appeared to hit a dead end quickly. I do, however, still like the original NLP attitude and I have much of this in the way I work. // The bits of NLP which hold up were, I believe, adopted from more mainstream psychology. // I'll see if I can put together a blog about what I was referring to with distortion, dissociation, and distraction because I realise I compressed it so much it was kind of unclear! Thanks!

Nicco

Aug. 21, 2018, 10:28 a.m.

A lovely blog, Lex. I have a few magic plasters in my emotional first aid box. One, of course, is Mood Scope. Molly's glass of (low alcohol) wine is in there, too, along with my various craft projects - knitting just now - I hav to take care they don't get too overwhelming but remain a fun activity to settle down to with my feet up wth my fav tv progs. Playing piano & guitar are definitelying in there too - I had neglected them for so long I had forgotten what balm they are & an outlet for sadness too sometimes - a recent blog prompted me to pick them up again. I've also just started daily guided meditation before I get out of bed each morning - something I participated in at a workshop last weekend & which proved to be of great benefit as I realised meditation isn't over-indulgent me time it's actually good medicine as it puts the body into a state where it can start healing & regenerating - find I have to do it before getting out of bed or I don't get round to it during the day. Also I can only do short walks due to mobility issues but there is a particular walk I do on Wednesdays after lunch at a special place - it is definitely magical & balm for the soul as part of it involves walking through a tunnel of beautiful lime trees. - getting out into nature is definitely another one for me (have just come across the term 'forest bathing' which sounds wonderful), along with my beautiful cat who doesn't sit on my lap but loves to sit as close to me as is felinely possible! Swimming & exercising are ones i use when i have energy (which isnt often when in a down phase). I like the idea of LP's worry box so will add that one to my own, & oli's 'unhook, defuse & be here in the now', & 'distract & dissociate' sound good so I will add those too - thanks LP & Oli! And thank you, Lex, for such a lovely thought-provoking blog, & thanks also to others who shared their own magic plasters here as I really enjoyed reading about them all. Nicco x Ps - sorry this is late as usual! Pps-Hows - I'm not familiar with NLP - perhaps you could enlighten?

Reply

Lex

Aug. 21, 2018, 7:07 p.m.

Hi Nicco... what a wonderful set of thoughts you have bathed us in! Such power in a simple combination as 'lime trees'... because that resonates with me. I have a great many positive experiences with lime trees - especially where someone has had the vision to plant an avenue of them. As for NLP, Oli is talking wisely. I've used some of the techniques of Neuro Linguistic Programming for years, but have not gone deeply into research to validate it. Due diligence is always wise with these things and I deeply respect Oli's more serious approach to verifying the value of various techniques.

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