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> Without something like this my choices are 1) explicitely garbage collect
the whole system or 2) write my own explicit
> free which frees all the extraneous stuff in the userdata except for the
containing base memory which would be cleaned
> up at garbage collection time.  Is this correct?

It would appear so. There has been lots of talk lately (and, seemingly,
forever) about changing how the garbage collection works, to make it faster,
make it incremental, allow you to explicitely free stuff you want, etc ,etc.
This sort of thing is at the top of a lot of people's wish lists.