Sunday, October 11, 2020

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Please stop leaving bullshit spam links & comments on this here blog, k?  They will just be marked as spam & deleted.  You're not achieving anything subversive.  Nobody's visiting your site or buying what you're selling.  This isn't the place to hawk your supplements, illegal drugs or whatever else.  This is a review site; I don't sell anything & am not going to buy any of the crap you're selling... at least not when you leave endless spam links in the comment section like a tech illiterate bot.

If you're a legit, serious vendor of legal highs or supplements & would like me to sample & review your product, DM me on Twitter @BannedintheUSSA or leave a non-spammy comment under this article with your email attached & I'll get back to you when I see it.  Otherwise, bugger off.   


The Management

Saturday, October 3, 2020

That Time I Tried: LSD

It was scorching hot--May in Nevada--I was with some friends I didn't really like much at an event that was already overwhelming & decided this would be the best time to try that acid I'd been saving.  Yeah.  Not brilliant.  I got it from an online friend who was very nice but I never spoke to him again after our single hours-long chat.  Nonetheless, it was legit quality LSD & I was glad for the chance to try it, more out of curiosity than as a highly coveted drug.  

Psychedelics don't tend to agree with my biochemistry & I knew that going in but wanted to be able to say I'd tried it, sort of like how I tried meth just to compare it to other stimulants.  By now I'd tried a ton of weird psychedelic research chemicals & plants, from San Pedro cactus & shrooms to 4-HO-MET, 4-AcO-DMT & 6-Apb.  So it seemed like a logical progression to try one of the classics.    

LSD blotter paper

I dosed in the late morning & went on a walk through the festival grounds.  Within 45 minutes I was feeling that wavy weirdness that lets you know the psychedelia is setting in.  It was so strong I had to go sit down in the shade at our camp where I spent the entire day.  Most of the trip I actually spent in our dusty tent which was WAY too hot but I couldn't bear being around human beings at that point.  Loud, drunk humans at that.  My usual social discomfort was turned up to 11 as was my low mood.  The dusty heat didn't help.

For hours I lay there contemplating "the point" of social interaction & life in general while spritzing my body with a bottle of hot water.  Misery.  My mind swirled with overly analytical thoughts of my place in the world & other depressing topics as I lay in the fetal position wishing it would wear off.  I may have taken an etizolam at some point to hasten the comedown but it didn't really work.  I was in the midst of my etiz abuse during this period which was the absolute low point of my adult life.  (Until etizolam withdrawal the following year, that is).  

LSD microdots, a less common form

By about 4 p.m. I got a serious craving for junk food so I downed a bunch of greasy potato chips & sour candy which is not out of the norm for me.  A few hours later as the trip was mercifully wearing off, the bowel cramping started.  I was hit with diarrhea & nausea that eclipsed the worst IBS flareup imaginable, causing me to make about 8 desperate runs across the playa to the Port-O-Potties until a friend gave me an Imodium.  Is acid known for triggering diarrhea?  The food had not had time to make it to my lower intestine, that's for sure.  Awful.  Shitty end to a shitty day.  Pun definitely intended.

The afterglow was nice.  We watched fireworks & I counted my lucky stars that the shitshow was over.  That was my last psychedelic trip to this day--2012.  At no point did I feel panicked or anxious:  just depressed & bummed out.  And physically miserable.  This is how all my psychedelic trips go so at some point I decided to stop trying to cram a square peg into a round hole & leave that class of drugs be.  I might microdose on shrooms or something again in the future but there will be no more LSD or desert tripping.  

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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Bill Hicks: Dark Poet for the Ages

What can be said about Bill Hicks that hasn't already been said a hundred times?  He's frequently included in "Top 5 Comedians of All Time" lists, and for good reason.  Those things are subjective, obviously, but his rebellious & brutally honest style of social commentary combined with a uniquely cynical wit are unmatched by anyone save for maybe George Carlin.  Hicks was an even edgier version of that.

Thoroughly Southern, William Melvin Hicks was born in 1961 in Georgia and died in Little Rock, Arkansas, residing in Texas for most of the years in between.  But Jeff Foxworthy he was not.  He spent much of his stage time taking down the rampant ignorance & rot plaguing rural America.  He worked extremely hard, putting on around 270 shows a year & was more popular in the UK than the U.S.  It was only near the end of his life that he was starting to gain traction here.

Bill began his comedy career in earnest at the tender age of 13, sneaking out to perform at clubs in Houston with the Texas Outlaw Comics group that included Sam Kinison & Ron Shock among others.  The demanding lifestyle eventually led to the abuse of alcohol, drugs and especially cigarettes (Bill jokingly said he went through "two lighters a day").  It was this vice that would later come back to haunt him.  Much of his act centered on recounted stories of his psychedelic experiences & the absurdity of the drug war.  By 1991 he claimed to have stopped drinking & abusing drugs, citing an inability to control his drinking though his views on the drug war never wavered.  He also played in a band & did some comedy writing for TV on the side but was adamantly opposed to "selling out" by doing commercials or other things that compromised his artistic vision.

A Dark(er) Side

While Hicks is lionized today by fans who view him as a prophet, he was not without his faults.  Some of his bits came off as elitist, and his misogyny was on full display during this meltdown when hecklers in Chicago--2 male and one female--rudely interrupted his set.  But he only singled out the woman with an unholy tirade I won't repeat here.  Listen yourself:

I don't support censorship & abhor today's hypersensitive climate where people sit around on Twitter waiting to be "offended".  But some things truly ARE offensive.  Even when a comedian says them.  This outburst brought to mind Michael Richards' infamous hurling of the N-word at hecklers.  The fact that society doesn't view misogyny on par with racism speaks to how far we haven't come.  They often go hand-in-hand and sure enough, Hicks can be heard in this clip joking that Reginald Denny should have floored it and run over the "gang" of protesters during the LA riots.  Even by 1993 standards that's harsh.  (I won't even get into his Goat Boy act where he goes into graphic detail about a sex fantasy with a 16-year-old).

Still, the rawness of his act could be brilliant at times, like when he critiqued the Iraq war, advertisement/marketing, Christianity or the Republican party.  (In other words, when he was punching UP instead of DOWN).  This happened more frequently toward the end of his life, which came on February 26, 1994.  He died of pancreatic cancer at age 32 which was diagnosed in mid 1993 after he developed searing pain in his side.  This type of cancer is rare in people that young so it's assumed that his heavy smoking contributed greatly.  Smoking is one of the few known causes of pancreatic cancer.  This makes all his smoking jokes a bit uncomfortable to watch in retrospect.  Bill performed right up until the end, never letting on that he was sick to his audience though he did say "this is my last performance" a couple times.

Perhaps his most depressing end-of-life performance was his 12th appearance on David Letterman which was pulled at the last minute due to being "too controversial".  This was a betrayal that hurt him deeply.  He went on public access TV & spoke about it, citing "pro-life advertisers" as the likely reason for the appearance being pulled (though producers never told him why).  Dave had no idea he was sick but that's beside the point.  In 2009, Letterman had Bill's mom on the show & apologized, airing the piece in its entirety for the first time.  Nice gesture but too little too late for Bill himself.

Bill on Austin TX Public Access


In his last year on this earth, Bill Hicks was voted "Hot Standup Comic" by Rolling Stone magazine, opened a number of shows for rock band Tool at Lollapalooza, recorded his album Arizona Bay with friend & director Kevin Booth & was working on a talk show with comedian Fallon Woodland called Counts of the Netherworld.  Plus maintaining his regular busy touring schedule.  His albums Arizona Bay & Rant in E-Minor were released posthumously.  It's clear that his star was finally rising in America, which made his passing all the more tragic.  This timing was not lost on him.  He left us this final heart wrenching letter a week before dying:
"I was born William Melvin Hicks on December 16, 1961 in Valdosta, Georgia. Ugh. Melvin Hicks from Georgia. Yee Har! I already had gotten off to life on the wrong foot. I was always "awake," I guess you'd say. Some part of me clamoring for new insights and new ways to make the world a better place. All of this came out years down the line, in my multitude of creative interests that are the tools I now bring to the Party. Writing, acting, music, comedy. A deep love of literature and books. Thank God for all the artists who've helped me. I'd read these words and off I went—dreaming my own imaginative dreams. Exercising them at will, eventually to form bands, comedy, more bands, movies, anything creative. This is the coin of the realm I use in my words—Vision. On June 16, 1993 I was diagnosed with having "liver cancer that had spread from the pancreas." One of life's weirdest and worst jokes imaginable. I'd been making such progress recently in my attitude, my career and realizing my dreams that it just stood me on my head for a while. "Why me!?" I would cry out, and "Why now!?" Well, I know now there may never be any answers to those particular questions, but maybe in telling a little about myself, we can find some other answers to other questions. That might help our way down our own particular paths, towards realizing my dream of New Hope and New Happiness. Amen. I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit."
One of the weirder (and more obnoxious) theories to pop up since Bill's passing is the assertion that he's actually conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in disguise.  This is disrespectful not only because the man died tragically young of a horrific disease but because his worldviews were 180 degrees from the bile-spewing Jones.  While Hicks did hold some unconventional views on events like the JFK assassination & Waco, he was a far cry from Jones' brand of dumbed-down proselytizing.  It's like claiming Carlin is actually Breitbart.  Blasphemy.

Bill's real legacy is a mixed bag of genius & darkness peppered with a healthy serving of sarcasm, crassness, bravery, adoration of music/intellectualism and a sense of urgency to speak some elusive truth.  We now see why:  his time on Earth was short.  Maybe he sensed this on some level.  It's impossible not to wonder what Bill would say about today's insane political & social climate.  What would he think of social media, reality TV...a reality TV president?  Would he have "sold out" & done commercials or stayed true to his '90s scruples?  It's almost certain he would've been a 9/11 truther & worked that into his act.  Beyond that, who knows?

It's a shame he was taken so soon but perhaps, as with Kurt Cobain, his early death allows us to hold him in an even higher regard because he was not allowed to make all the mistakes a person with a long career makes.  He was never offered the big bucks so we can't know for certain if he would've sold out at some point, such as when he had a family to support or became too old to put on 300 shows a year.  And there's no way he could've "gotten away" with 70% of the material he did today, at least not without being blackballed by the industry & critics.  That notwithstanding, he would've had to come up with far more material in general due to the advent of cell phone cameras that allow everyone to share things instantly with the world.  (His bits were often recycled because back then, it was all new to every new audience).

There's no one today that even resembles Hicks and maybe there's a reason for that?  Trying to watch Louis CK after a Hicks set just highlights the whole "dick joke" tone of today's comedy.  People really are a product of their time to a great extent.  Bill was borne of that disaffected Generation X cohort raised on Punk rock, MTV, Watergate & Quaaludes while the world he left behind was one of Hip-Hop, Grunge, AIDS, crack cocaine & personal computers.  It was a different time & he was one of the important voices of it.  The fact that much of his material stands the test of time is a testament to his talent.

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Friday, September 25, 2020

[Review] - Cannabis Edibles: Dixie Elixirs - Sour Smash Gummies (Hybrid)

Y'all know I love my Dixie brand candies.  I've already reviewed their tangy Tarts & 5-star Berry Blast gummies so I had to pick up some more on this trip.  I opted for a different flavor just for the sake of this review (you're welcome).  Could've easily got the same amazing berry ones as last time.  Apparently the flavors are coordinated to the strains, i.e. "Berry Blast" only comes in Sativa, Sour Smash only in Hybrid, etc.  I prefer Indica edibles as Sativa are way too panic-inducing in edible form, though I tend to prefer Sativa leaning flower.  

Anyway, the Sour Smash candies did not disappoint.  They're potent & tasty as usual, though not quite AS tasty as the Berry Blast flavor in my opinion.  But a very close second.  I think they're cherry & green apple flavor--the candies themselves are red & green and those are the fruits featured on the bag.  (I checked the website & they're Sour Cherry, Sour Apple & Berry Lemonade).  They're indeed sour but not as much as the Tarts.  I'm tempted to overindulge based on the yummy taste but know better by now, lol.  The high is powerful...more so than the Tarts for some reason despite being the same 10 mg per unit.  Each bag contains 100 mg with 10 candies; each serving contains 20 calories.  (Correction:  The independent analysis sticker says each bag actually contains 130.3 mg THC, with each candy containing 13 mg THC).

Sour apple Dixie gummy

I give Dixie Sour Smash Hybrid Gummies a 4.9 of 5 stars for taste, potency & price.  Flavor is bangin' but I wish all their flavors came in Indica.  Hybrid isn't too far off though.  The price is right and so is the tartness.  These didn't seem to have as much of the powdery coating as the Berry Blast but no matter--the flavor wasn't affected.  The blue & green candies look so similar I didn't notice there were 3 colors so I look forward to trying the Berry Lemonade one.  Really wish my tolerance was high enough to eat a whole bag like a normal person but that will never happen.  I suppose it saves money this way.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

[Review] - Cannabis Flower: Apollo 13

Designed by the Colorado-based Brothers Grimm, Apollo 13 is an 85% Sativa cross between Princess 75 and Genius.  (Two strains I've never heard of).  According to Leafly, Apollo 13 is "extremely rare" as only 500 seeds came from the original cuttings.  Fittingly, there are only 151 reviews on the site.  It clocks in at an average of 19% THC and leans HEAVILY toward the energizing end of the spectrum.  

My cut contains 23.3% THC and 0.81% CBD.  The most prominent terps are linalool, myrcene & caryophyllene.  It was sold at a discount so I picked up 2 grams for $7.  The smell is light & inoffensive--very similar to my Lifter hemp buds, actually.  Mild citrus & herbal notes.  The dry job is moderate to poor & bag appeal is non-existent.  The hemp actually looks better than the Apollo.  Nugs are compact & tiny with giant stems.  I'm surprised there aren't seeds.  But as with the Maui Wowie, I'm not judging this book by its cover as I've learned looks don't mean shit when it comes to effects.  

Apollo 13

I chose blueberry papers for this strain because why not?  Seemed fitting.  Headed out to the usual field to find my smoking partner (orange kitty) and lit her up.  The taste was bland & so was the high.  Potent but nothing to write home about in the effects department.  I felt a bit agitated, more so than when I started.  One thing I did feel was extreme hunger.  Ended up devouring 3/4ths of a pizza meant for a whole family.  Was disgusted with myself for that.  Some people don't mind munchies but I'm not one of those people.  All the while, my focus was sharp... on shoving the pizza down my piehole.  Not very useful lol.  
Overall I'm giving Apollo 13 a 4.5 of 5 stars for bag appeal, effects & flavor.  The only real positive was the price which is why I picked up 2 grams.  Kinda kicking myself for that now.  It's a great strain if you want to pack on a few pounds & don't mind feeling tightly wound for several hours.  In all seriousness, it was probably the quality (or lack thereof) of the grow that was the problem rather than the strain itself.  It has good reviews on Wikileaf with some users saying it's their fave strain of all time so if you're a Sativa fan, give it a try.  Just make sure it doesn't look like mid-grade hemp flower like mine.  

Apollo 13 container

Apollo 13 is said to be useful for ADHD & nausea which I can definitely see in retrospect.  My focus was sharp but not in a way that was comfortable.  I already take a stimulant so maybe that's the issue.  The rarity of the strain also makes it a novelty so any true connoisseur (of Sativas especially) should pick it up if they see it.  

Sunday, September 20, 2020

[Review] - Cannabis Flower: Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookies, better known now as GSC, was created by Cookie Family around 2012 & has been a West Coast phenom ever since.  It's an Indica-dominant cross between the narcotic OG Kush & its polar opposite, Durban Poison, that contains the best traits of both parents.  The result is a potent stone that hits like a sledgehammer.  THC levels fall anywhere between 18-28% while CBD clocks in at 1% on average.  GSC won 1st Place for Best Hybrid at the 2013 Southern California Cannabis Cup.

My sample contains 14.6% THC with 0.07% CBD, which is low in today's medical cannabis world.  But numbers mean little in the grand scheme from my experience.  The aroma is probably one of the most repugnant I've ever smelled, right up there with Bruce Banner & Trident.  It smells almost rotten in a way, though I think it's just really dank & sour/skunky.  These tightly sealed containers hold the stench in REALLY well.  The buds are fat & dark green; nothing much to look at.  I paid $5 for a gram so I can't complain.  It's a reliable strain I've always enjoyed so I wanted to grab some for the winter ahead.  

Girl Scout Cookies

I roll her up in a "Vanilla Ice" flavored thin paper & head to my usual smoking spot on a perch outside. It's actually chilly tonight which is a welcome change.  Thankfully this strain doesn't taste anything like it smells.  It doesn't take long before the joint begins to clog... by the end, it's so clogged with goo I have to snuff it out a bit early.  And I'm really stoned when I make my way inside.  The body high is much more noticeable than with any of the other strains so far which is the norm with GSC.  It always brings about a sort of quietness in my head which I enjoy.  I don't feel too hungry either which is nice.  I hate the munchies--they must be a Sativa thing.  I eat a salad but stop there.  

The comedown is nothing to write home about.  A bit foggy-headed but pretty mild.  The GSC high is a well-balanced one but definitely leans Indica.  In conclusion I give her a 4.7 of 5 stars for potency, price & duration of high.  The smell is disgusting, bag appeal could be better & the joint plugged up so I'm docking a couple points.  Plus the high is not in my Top 5 but the strain is reliably good no matter where I get it.  If you're looking for a pain or anxiety reliever or something to take the edge off after a stressful day, GSC is the one.  Maybe not the best for sleep due to the Durban Poison genetics but a great choice for slowing things down nonetheless.  

GSC Container

Oh yeah, my cut's dominant terpenes are myrcene, pinene & ocimene.  GSC has a 4.4 of 5 star rating with 7,132 reviews on Leafly.  Definitely one of the 2010's must-try strains.  So many offshoots have come from it, including Thin Mint GSC, Platinum GSC, Animal Cookies, White Tahoe Cookies and Goo Cookies.  

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Friday, September 18, 2020

[Review] - Cannabis Edibles: Pot Pops

"Red" Pot Pop

After reviewing a ton of Dixie & Simple Cure products, I thought I'd branch out simply for the sake of having some new material for my loyal readers (that's you).  So I picked up a Pot Pop, which is a lollipop containing 50 mg of THC.  The flavor isn't listed on the bag so I didn't know what I was getting but I ended up with "red" which was my second choice.  This is the highest milligram THC edible I've ever purchased, at least as a single-piece unit.  Everything else has been 10 mg candies.  So it's harder to gauge how much is enough for a single dose.

My first attempt with the Pot Pop was in the evening after coming down from the Strawberry Cough high.  I popped it in my mouth for about 20 minutes & turned it over a bunch, probably reducing it by about 1/5th of its original size.  I didn't take any bites.  And thank god I didn't.  It tasted pretty good for an edible so I was tempted to keep sucking on it longer than I probably should have.  And this time the effects didn't kick in instantly like they do for me with gummies, so I had no idea how high I would be later.  A real "this edible ain't shit" situation. 

I ended up right on the border of 'too high' and 'panic attack/need a Xanax'.  Luckily I was able to calm myself & just get by on my normal sleep aids (Valerian root, Unisom & melatonin) but it was a close call.  I still feel somewhat out of it the next morning but not too bad.  On the bright side, my tolerance has gone up as a result of this and I'll probably be able to smoke more comfortably to complete these reviews of the flower.  But I won't be mindlessly sucking on Pot Pops anymore. 

Overall rating:  4.8 of 5 stars.  Getting too high was my fault.  It's a good deal for the money ($12.50 for one pop) & tastes better than many edibles, plus it's convenient and discreet.  And it WORKS.  Boy, does it ever work.  Pot Pops come in Red, Blue & Yellow from what I can gather, though the flavors aren't listed on the bag for some reason.  That's the only thing I'd really deduct points for.  But it's not a huge deal.  It seems that hard edibles take longer to kick in for me than soft gummies & the like which is interesting.  Will keep that in mind going forward.  


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