Tuesday, July 30, 2019

[Review] - Caleb's Concentrates: Red Maeng Da & Red Bali Kratom

Vendor:  Caleb's Concentrates
Location:  Jacksonville, FL
Items:  Kratom powder, extracts, enhanced blends.
Rating:  4.9 of 5 stars
Website:  www.calebsconcentrates.com


Back when online kratom vending was at its peak, Caleb was a favorite among Redditors.  His many unique & customized extracts earned him a special place in the hearts of kratom consumers where he remains today for many.  And then the Great Payment Method Attack on kratom vendors happened & I wasn't able to order from him for a few years until I acquired a debit card. 

Back in the day I was more impressed with his concentrates than his plain leaf, though that's changed dramatically.  Now his leaf has moved to 1st place among all my kratom sources in terms of quality, even inching out VLNT in sheer mg for mg potency.  I ordered his only 2 red strains:  Maeng Da & Bali in 250g amounts when I got paid & they were so good I had to pick up more a couple weeks later.  I got 500g split two ways for $60 (including shipping) & the 2nd order of 250g split two ways was $35.  Very fair prices. 

Caleb's is the only kratom that actually makes me itch all over, which is a big deal as a daily user of several years.  Both the MD & Bali are deeply warming & relaxing in their own unique ways...the powders' colors are definitely different under light so you can tell he's not passing off the same strain as two different ones like some shady vendors have been known to do.  It only takes a small dose of each to achieve desired effects.  Reminds me of Canopy's leaf at the height of his popularity.

250g & 125g packs

I haven't tried any of his other strains, as I don't do greens or whites except in minute doses.  And extracts are reserved for when I'm having severe ulcer or gastritis flare ups & can't ingest leaf.  But his red-vein plain leaf is good to go.  Shipping is always prompt & discreet and I've never had any fraudulent charges on my card.  The only drawback is I wish he had a few more reds to choose from, but I really can't complain because the ones he has are so damn good.  If you're into extracts, definitely check out his CO2 Supercritical & Pure Alkaloid (Gold) Extracts.  He also has enhanced leaf blends, capsules & sample packs.

The stuff I've got is plain leaf, but I can't help but wonder if some extract or other "enhancement" hasn't found its way into the bag.  It's just so potent.  But I trust Caleb to label his products honestly, and extracts always make me have horrid withdrawals almost instantly upon ingesting them which this leaf definitely does NOT do.  The smell is like cherry-scented Play-Doh, which I always associate with the best quality leaf.  This is the best time of year to order, for sure.  I'm stocking up now because everything I bought last Winter was weak sauce. 

Bottle of Caleb's Red Bali tea

I give this batch of Caleb's Concentrates Red Maeng Da & Bali a 4.9 of 5 stars for potency, shipping time & overall effectiveness/quality.  While it's cheaper to order in bulk from overseas, Caleb is an awesome domestic option when you need something reliably potent & fast.  He's always been friendly too, which is refreshing.  You can tell he really cares about the product he sells & is very knowledgeable about the various extraction processes. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Darby Crash - The 5-Year Plan That Backfired

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If you've never seen The Decline of Western Civilization Part 1, please do yourself a favor & go watch it now.  It's full of trashed punk rockers in their native habitat during the height of the Hardcore/Punk craze of the late '70s, but one wasted star shines brighter than the rest:  Darby Crash.  His performance is both funny & disturbing--he stumbles around the stage demanding more 'free beer' & drawing on his face with a magic marker while clearly fucked up on multiple classes of narcotics.  One immediately feels for the club owner who has to clean up after him.


Clip from The Decline of Western Civilization


My first thought upon seeing him was, "No way this dude is still living."  And I was right.  Mr. Crash died not long after the film was finished on December 7th, 1980...one day before John Lennon's assassination.  He was not especially poetic or talented as a musician; to say otherwise would be dishonest.  But he did have heart.  And a lot of problems.

Darby Crash (aka Jan Beahm) was born in Venice, CA & raised by a single mother with an alcohol problem who entertained a number of unstable suitors, some of whom were violent.  Darby witnessed his older brother die of an overdose as a child as well as seeing one of his mom's boyfriends pass away.  To put it mildly, his childhood was rough.  In high school he attended a Scientology-based program which he didn't take too seriously.  About this time he & friend 'Pat Smear' began using LSD & developed a small cult of followers who also took the drug, which was forbidden in Scientology.  They were accused of brainwashing their peers & expelled from the school, predictably.  Not long after their dismissal they formed punk rock band The Germs.


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Darby in his element

What makes Crash unique was his "5-year plan" for success.  This consisted of a plan to form a band, record & perform music furiously, gain a following & then commit suicide after 5 years to die a legend.  Today we'd call this 'severe mental illness' but from a career perspective nothing is more effective than dying young in the entertainment business.  If one is suicidal anyway, this might seem like a reasonable way to go.  He certainly did use those years to the best of his ability, manically performing & writing music while abusing every drug he could get his hands on.


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Wasted

Not much is known about his sex life (or if he even had one), but it's widely accepted that Darby was gay.  To what extent this contributed to his depressed mental state it's not known, but homosexuality was not welcome in the late '70s/early '80s punk scene & was openly mocked by bands like Fear.  Crash seemed to substitute drugs for love; by the end he had a serious heroin addiction and was known to inject speed & other drugs.  His behavior was aggravated by the drugs & his performance only got more rowdy, causing the band to get kicked out of every club in L.A.  By the time The Decline of Western Civilization was filmed, The Germs had to rent a room to film their scene in.  They had also taken to performing under the moniker "Germs Incognito" or G.I. so as to trick club owners.

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With a mohawk

On December 3rd they played their final show as The Germs with all the original members.  On the 7th Darby died of an intentional heroin overdose alongside friend Casey Cola, who had planned to kill herself as well but survived.  As luck would have it, Darby's death was largely overshadowed by the murder of John Lennon the following day, which just goes to show you can only plan your own posthumous legacy to a point.

So what IS the legacy of Darby Crash?  He was a troubled young musician who died after a period of hard living...one of many.  It can be hard to see the individuality in dead rock stars when so many die in the same pathetic way, but each is an individual with their own unique story of pain & triumph that should be remembered.  Darby saw too much death too young & lacked a strong support system in his adult life outside his band mates.  He didn't feel comfortable being himself & never found anyone to share his life with sexually or romantically, which can also take a toll.  It's easy to blame drugs but in most cases they're the symptom rather than the primary problem.  He was passively suicidal long before he actively killed himself which is not uncommon among addicts.  Perhaps the saddest thing is none of his friends believed he was serious about his 5-year plan until it was too late.  This highlights the importance of taking ALL suicide threats seriously.

While The Germs were largely considered a "joke band," they did have some talent & ambition:  guitarist Pat Smear went on to play in Nirvana & The Foo Fighters.  And Darby himself probably would've made good on his few promising moments if only he'd buckled down & focused more on the music & less on the legend-making.  There are glimmers of brilliance in his songwriting & he was an inspiration to many '90s rockers who cut their teeth on Punk.  In 2007 a biopic about The Germs called "What We Do Is Secret" featuring Shane West as Darby debuted to critical acclaim.

R.I.P.

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

[Harm Reduction] - Can Meth Be Used Casually?

Yes.  The answer is yes for some people.  But.* 

*It's only 'yes' if you go into it knowing the risks & holding no illusions that you're immune to addiction.  All meth users begin as 'occasional' or weekend users whose weekends begin to get longer until they're using every day.  Rather than becoming "addicted after the first hit," they start off in control but gradually find excuses to use on "off" days & justify adding other drugs like benzos to the mix to help them come down.  Eventually it's an all day, every day thing.  They're using just to function & prevent crashing.  Nobody intends to become a toothless tweaker with holes in their skin & tin foil over their windows in the beginning.  So how do you avoid this fate? 

The only way to completely avoid it is to never try meth.  But since this is a harm reduction post, we'll focus on some other techniques.  What most meth addicts have in common is the route by which they take the drug.  This is usually via smoking or injecting, which provides an insanely addictive rush followed by a harsh & depressing crash.  If you want to lessen your risk of becoming addicted, don't smoke or inject meth.  Try eating or snorting a low dose of it instead.  The difference between snorting & smoking meth is equivalent to the difference between snorting & smoking cocaine.  People who snort coke can often use it socially while those who smoke it tend to become almost instant addicts.  Not always, but the chances are higher. 

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Avoid the glass dick if you don't want addiction
Another thing addicts have in common is having a steady supply of meth & a group of peers who use the drug.  If you have the ability to walk down the street or make a phone call & score meth, you will do so 10 times out of 10.  The one time I used meth, I bought it on the dark net with Bitcoins that were a gift from someone...a scenario that I knew was a one-time thing.  I knew I couldn't get more even if I loved it (which I did). 

That was 7 years ago & I haven't touched it since.  I also have other stimulants that I use on a daily basis that aren't as potent or addictive, which helps scratch that itch.  If your options are "meth or nothing," you may end up choosing meth.  Benzedrex or Adderall would be a safer alternative if used in moderation.  Not hanging out with tweakers is also a big help.  The temptation would likely be too big if I did.  Just avoiding exposure to the drug is huge. 

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Ditch the tweaker friends
Knowing that frequent meth use would impair my ability to enjoy ALL other stimulants & empathogens was a big deterrent.  Obviously it does a lot worse things, such as causing neurotoxicity & damage to the teeth, but as someone who loves substances the former was a big factor in my decision not to use it again.  Using the most potent drug in a class, whether it's fentanyl (opiates) or meth (stimulants) makes all their weaker counterparts ineffective & lackluster.  Eventually your drug of choice itself stops being euphoric, then what?  You're left with nothing in the pharmacopoeia that makes you feel good.  The only way to go from there is down.  Always opt for weaker drugs in a given class if you have the option. 

The way I see it:  You can either have a short, wild & chaotic drug run or a long-term responsible relationship with drugs that improves rather than complicates your life.  If you want your mind & body to hold up in the long term, you have to treat it well.  Drugs like meth, heroin & crack take more than they give.  They leave you broken & depleted, never fully satisfied & always seeking more while your body struggles to achieve homeostasis.  Once tried, you can never put the genie back in the bottle...you can't "un-try" meth, so make damn sure you want to try it before you do. 

I could see it being useful for long treks across the country by car or other multi-day gatherings (Burning Man, Rainbow Gathering, etc), but beyond that there's just no need to have that much dopamine flooding your neurotransmitters.  Winning the lottery would feel bland by comparison, and that is very telling.  No substance should feel that good.  We're not wired to deal with it.  Our rewards should come from active things like exercise, a good meal or sex...not passive drug use.  Meth makes you stop caring about ALL those little things in life that used to matter, whether it's appreciating a beautiful day or spending time with your kids.  Eventually you stop enjoying meth as well when your dopamine supply is used up; then it's just a dysphoric ride to Hell with you stuck chasing the dragon and getting nowhere.  This sad cartoon sums it up perfectly:






Friday, July 26, 2019

[Review] - ExpatShop.co.za: Empacod

Vendor:  Expat Shop
Location:  South Africa
Items:  Medicines, candy, toiletries
Rating:  1 of 5 stars
Website:  www.Expatshop.co.za


Expat Shop



I ordered two boxes of Empacod (codeine 20mg + 500mg acetaminophen) tablets in March from this South African store only to never receive them.  They did their part & shipped them--I know because I got the tracking number--but they never arrived & the tracking number didn't track the package beyond S. Africa.  This was a big loss for me since the two boxes cost $58.

I contacted them in late July--4 full months after ordering--via email to let them know it never arrived & I hadn't received a letter from customs to say it was seized, but they never responded.  Bummer.  I don't know their policy on lost/stolen items that go missing in transit, but they could've at least taken the time to email me back.  Even if they don't refund or reship, I would've appreciated an email telling me as much.  I certainly wasn't asking for anything for free.  I had another similar order go missing around the same time after clearing customs, so it's quite possible that's what happened here too.  But it's all speculation since they didn't get back to me or look into it.  IF customs is seizing these orders, they're doing so without sending any love letters which is unusual. 

If you're thinking of ordering from this store, don't.  Their tracking numbers don't work outside South Africa & they don't respond if your order goes missing en route.  Empacod is a great product so I was stoked to find a potential source only to be let down in the end.  I give them 1 of 5 stars for their selection & quick response to initial messages...none of which does much good if you don't receive your order.

Stop Choking People During Sex

I haven't been on the dating scene in many years & don't do casual hook-ups, thus I don't know what passes for 'normal' in the bedrooms of single young folks.  So I was shocked at a recent article in The Guardian about the trend of men choking women during sex & how common it's become.  By choking I mean cutting off the airflow to the brain via the windpipe by compressing the neck, either with hands or a device like a rope.  Just to be clear.

From an article on how to "safely" choke your partner.  Nope.

What might've once been considered a fringe kink enjoyed by Ted Bundy types with violent tendencies has now gone completely mainstream thanks in large part to porn, which sends the message to men that it's exciting & tells women they should want it or else be considered "vanilla" and boring.  It's even been re-branded as "breath play" to soften the image of what's otherwise a highly dangerous activity.  (That's like calling stabbing "blood play," but okay).  What's more, you're likely to be shouted down for voicing concern or disapproval of this behavior in many circles where "kink-shaming" is the cardinal sin.  Any activity no matter how extreme or demeaning is not to be questioned lest it yuck someone's yum.

The problem is that there is no safe method of choking someone despite what BDSM advocates may have told you.  Compressing someone's airway puts them at risk for death, period.  You may have heard of the odd death due to autoerotic asphyxiation when a man (almost always a man) accidentally dies while cutting off his air supply during masturbation.  These deaths are tragic in that they are unintentional & leave behind confused & heartbroken loved ones.  No high or orgasm is worth dying over.  That's not kink-shaming...it's just reality.  If you believe otherwise you don't value your life enough.  But that's YOUR life to value (or not).  If you want to hang by your neck while whacking it, that's ultimately your call.

These six boys are among the many children and teenagers in the U.S. who have died from playing the Choking Game. Clockwise from top left: Erik Robinson was 12 when he died in California in 2010; Carson Steele was 14 when he died in South Carolina in 2016; Mack Jensen was 17 when he died in Wisconsin in 2009; Garrett Pope was 11 when he died in South Carolina in 2016; Tristan Farnsworth was 13 when he died in Utah in 2012; Evan Ziemniak was 12 when he died in Pennsylvania in 2016.
Kids who have died while playing the "choking game".

What you don't have the right to do is put your hands around your partner's neck during sexual activities & put their life at risk.  The number of cases in which this has happened with casual hookups between virtual strangers--sometimes drunk--is staggering.  Women are being choked without giving consent on first dates!  I don't care what your previous girlfriend claimed to like...or what porn stars pretend to enjoy...you simply don't do that.  It's terrifying, disrespectful & a major boundary violation.  The fact this even needs to be said is disheartening.

The issue of consenting to be choked is equally shaky.  If your partner asked you to stab, concuss or pour acid on her head because it "turned her on," would you do it?  Or would you sit her down & ask her what on Earth has made her confuse degradation & violence with love & sexual arousal?  Just because someone claims to be turned on by something doesn't mean you should do it without question.  The blurring of lines between sex & violence is extremely troubling & comes with very real risks.  Women have been killed during "rough sex" (the defendant's words, not mine) so it's not a harmless 'what if' scenario.  Even with consent, you don't have the right to murder someone.  If you doubt me test your luck with that defense in court.  You won't get very far.

Death of Eric Garner during a choke hold by police.

I could go on & on about the role of violent porn in these disturbing sexual practices, but I know people aren't going to stop watching porn.  That ship has sailed.  However, if you find yourself seeking out increasingly violent material to achieve orgasm, it is probably time to take a "tolerance break" like you would with a drug.  Porn addiction is a very real thing & can interfere with your ability to perform sexually (not to mention skewing your beliefs about what's healthy vs. unhealthy behavior).  You wouldn't let your kids get their sexual education from pornography, so don't let yourself fall into the false belief that what you're seeing is real.

Porn actors are just that--actors.  They get paid to pretend to enjoy the scenes they shoot--universally concocted by male writers & directors--but are often forced into the field by traffickers or a drug habit they need to support.  Some of the more extreme scenes are filmed without consent while actresses cry & plead to stop between takes; a number of porn actresses report developing PTSD as a result of 'Gonzo' scenes & actual rapes on porn shoots.  They will not tell you this while they're still in the business because it will get them blackballed from future work, but ex-porn stars are full of horror stories about being forced to work while sick, being raped, physical abuse on set & more.

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Ex-porn star recounts experiences on FighttheNewDrug.org

My point:  what you see on screen is not real enthusiasm for things like being choked, slapped, spat on or otherwise treated poorly.  Actual women do not enjoy these things either.  If they do, it's generally a result of prior trauma & massive self-esteem issues or the toxic cultural messages that tell women they should go along with these acts to please their man.  Even if they're genuinely turned on by violence with no history of trauma, that doesn't make it okay to hurt someone in the context of sex.  Do what you want with your own body; you have no right to harm another person's.

I feel for young girls trying to navigate the dating world in this age of free online porn.  Boys too.  Minds are being warped from an extremely young age not by basic human sexuality but by the combining of sex & violence so common in porn.  If you want to change your habits, check out /r/nofap on Reddit.  There's also some great non-religious, non-legislative information on the harms of porn at fightthenewdrug.org

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Uncomfortable Truth: Drinking While Pregnant

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No, wine is not fine.

Everyone knows it's not good to drink alcohol while pregnant, but just how "not good" is it?  It's estimated that 1 in 10 American & 4 in 10 UK women consumes alcohol during pregnancy, though those estimates are likely to be lower than the reality.  Sometimes drinking while pregnant happens by accident--a woman has no idea she's pregnant & goes out to drink like normal early in the first trimester.  Other times she's under the impression that an occasional glass of wine or a beer is harmless.  In rarer instances, she's a full-blown alcoholic who can't stop drinking large amounts.

The fact remains:  There is no safe amount or kind of alcohol during pregnancy.  Ethanol readily crosses through the placenta into the baby's developing body where it causes all kinds of havoc.  Different fetuses have different susceptibilities to the effects so there's no universal threshold above which teratogenic effects will occur.  Alcohol is actually one of the most dangerous intoxicants to consume while pregnant due to the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  While other substances can cause problems of their own, there is no equivalent "Fetal Marijuana/Cocaine/Ketamine Syndrome" or the like.  Alcohol is uniquely dangerous & happens to be the most commonly used intoxicant around the globe due to its social acceptance & legality, which makes for a bad combination.  Yet when the CDC came out in 2016 with the recommendation that all women of child-bearing age not drink unless they were on birth control, there was an outcry from people who felt the guidelines were an attempt at "mom-shaming" or an overly prudish scare tactic.

As someone who identifies as a feminist & supports a woman's right to choose, I disagree.

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Children with varying degrees of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
It's far less cruel to abort your fetus than to expose it to a teratogen like alcohol in utero, which could potentially sentence it to a lifetime of immense mental & physical suffering.  FASD is a spectrum disorder; just because a child doesn't show all (or any) of the facial signs doesn't mean they're not affected.  A few of the psychological effects of milder FASD include:

- Difficulty socializing
- Behavioral problems (anxiety, hyperactivity, poor concentration & impulsivity)
- Learning disabilities--particularly in math--as well as poor memory & lack of problem-solving skills
- Impaired motor skills & lack of coordination

...look familiar, teachers?  One has to wonder how many cases of ADHD, ODD, autism spectrum disorder & other behavioral/developmental disorders are actually a result of prenatal alcohol exposure.  The problem could be more widespread than we ever imagined.  Sadly, the majority of these kids are being treated solely with (more) drugs without the benefit of other adjunct therapies like counseling.

Personal story time:  My mother smoked 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day while pregnant with me & drank one beer during a night of stress.  I have Asperger's, depression & multiple anxiety disorders including OCD.  I struggled greatly with math, almost flunking out of high school due to a learning disability & ending up taking remedial math in college twice.  My physical health is generally poor.  I have NO idea if the two are related but it certainly didn't help being exposed pre-natally to those substances.  Maybe I was one of the fetuses who was more sensitive to alcohol's effect due to genetics or the combined effects of tobacco exposure?  Or perhaps these conditions would've affected me anyway.  It's impossible to know.  My mom did the best she knew how at the time & I harbor no resentment.  Still, it would've been nice to have started life without those extra biological challenges. 

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Parkland shooter Nicholas Cruz may have had FAS
Parenting is about sacrifice & putting your kids first.  If a person can't abstain from drinking for a measly 9 months, are they really mature enough to be a parent...a job that requires immense, sustained self-sacrifice?  Children already face a number of obstacles in our society that can affect their health & development, from poor nutrition & variable schooling quality to lack of medical access under our privatized healthcare system.  Do they really deserve to start life with yet ANOTHER setback that happens before they've even left the womb?

Don't misunderstand.  Substance abuse should not be a crime as long as it only involves the individual.  There should be no stigma attached whatsoever, but as soon as innocent beings are brought into the picture, that's when it becomes a moral issue.  That goes for drunk driving, child neglect while high, stealing to support a drug habit and, yes, drinking while pregnant.  Irresponsible reproduction is the real crime.  If you KNOW you have a drinking or drug problem & aren't financially, emotionally or physically equipped to give a child the best life, having a baby anyway is an immoral act deserving of punishment.  There are too many contraception options to excuse this behavior.

Oh, and statistics say that half--yes, HALF--of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned.  So that proves just how little thought goes into family planning to begin with.  The claim that birth control fails, while occasionally true, is not the over-arching reason for this & we all know it.  Statistics on contraceptive failure bear this out; it's a rare occurrence when used correctly & consistently.  Likewise for pregnancies resulting from rape--they're absolutely atrocious but only account for a fraction of all unplanned pregnancies. 

None of this should trigger feelings of defensiveness in you, dear reader.  Sometimes people just don't act responsibly.  That goes equally for men & women.  It takes 2 to produce a pregnancy but only one to cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, unfortunately.  Like most reproductive responsibilities, this one falls on women.  If you don't like the recommendation, get on birth control & continue drinking until your heart's content.  Or abstain from drinking & have all the unprotected sex you like.  But you really shouldn't do both if you care at all about the health of your future fetus (assuming you're going to carry the pregnancy to term if one happens).  Like drinking & driving, drinking & pregnancy don't mix.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

VLNT Kratom: Red Coffee & Red Maeng Da

Vendor:  VLNT Herb
Location:  Indonesia
Products:  Kratom (bulk)
Rating:  4.8 of 5 stars
Website:  www.facebook.com/VLNTHERBKRATOM/


I've written a review on this amazing Indonesian vendor's wares before, so this will be a quick one.  VLNT is one of a handful of Indo vendors I trust to consistently ship orders quickly & package them professionally so they make it through customs without issue.  And the quality is, without exception, on point.

This time I decided to branch out & try the only red strain I hadn't tried from him thus far:  Red Coffee.  I already have some of his Red Maeng Da on hand but it's running low.  Its effects are in line with what you'd expect from a Red MD:  uplifting, more on the stimulating side but still a true "red" in terms of warmth & pain relieving effects.  And very potent.  It's one of my favorites from VLNT along with his Red Sunda & Borneo.  I'm discovering that the time of year really makes a difference in terms of quality.  For future reference, Summer is when the fire kratom is around! 🔥

Red Maeng Da kilo
As for the Red Coffee--it's just plain kratom with a fancy name...no actual coffee or caffeine added.  (I asked lol).  The taste is pretty unique to the point I suspected it might have gotten too hot during shipping or something, so I made sure to boil my first batch just in case it's high in bacteria.  The effects are very nice: great pain relief, mood lift & moderate energy boost on top of that classic red-vein warmth & relaxation.  I was badly in need of a new & different strain so this is a welcome addition.  Definitely in my top 4 from VLNT along with the other 3 already mentioned.

Overall I give this order a 4.8 of 5 stars for shipping time, quality & packaging.  I paid $150 for 2 kilos of bomb kratom.  With rumors of Indonesia possibly banning kratom farming & export, I plan to stock up some more as soon as I'm able.  And donate to the American Kratom Association, of course.  Already did once but another donation is in order to stop this madness.  Our Indo growers would be in trouble economically if this miraculous plant gets banned & it'll be back to farming destructive Palm Oil & rubber, which is neither as lucrative for them or any good for the environment.  Our government has no business going overseas & twisting the arm of other peaceful people for the purpose of protecting pharma's profits.  To donate to the AKA, click here.

To check out what VLNT has in stock, email him at:  valentsatoshi@gmail.comHe is a bulk supplier who only accepts orders of 2 kilos & up...preferably 5 kg.  He also has a Facebook page linked at the top of this review.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Drugs & Mental Illness: It's Complicated

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As long as humans have existed, we've sought to alter our minds with an array of substances & activities.  There's never been a drug-free society in the history of the world.  Likewise for mental illness, unfortunately.  While many people associate drugs with causing mental illness, the relationship is actually more complex.  Sometimes the chicken comes before the egg:  mental illness has been shown to highly predispose toward drug abuse & addiction.  Sometimes, the egg comes first--in rare cases, drug abuse can appear to trigger a first episode of mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

And then we've got the seemingly contradictory situation of once-demonized drugs like psychedelics, MDMA & ketamine being integrated into psychiatry as potential new treatments for mental illness.  How does that work?


Unique Physiology, Unique Effects


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It can't be overstated that drugs affect people differently.  Wildly differently.  While alcohol is the single most popular intoxicant in American society (and many others around the world), it makes a good chunk of its users aggressive & hostile, hence the "mean drunk vs. happy drunk" stereotypes.
I happen to be a very mean drunk.  Even if I'm in a wonderful mood when the evening begins, after a shot or a couple small glasses of wine/champagne I'm ready to pick a fight over literally nothing.  My face gets hot, my mood tanks & I want to take my rage out on whoever I feel most comfortable around...usually my partner.  Knowing this, I avoid drinking at all costs.

But many people choose to keep consuming the substances that make them feel terrible which is a recipe for injury, legal troubles or even suicide.  The question is, why?  Why continue trying to fit a square peg in an octagonal hole...especially if it's making your life worse?  Wouldn't it be smarter to try & understand what's missing from your life & find a better way to fill the void...even if it's just a different drug?

Most people can see the trainwreck coming long before their lives fall apart, but what about those who appear to "lose it" after trying a new drug only once?  The vast majority of healthy people can use drugs safely without having to worry about permanent complications from a single use.  However, abusing potent or long-acting drugs like meth or the DOx series when you've got a history of mental illness can end in disaster.  There are several high-profile cases of previously functional folks triggering severe & persistent mental illnesses in this way.  Many of them are famous & considered creative geniuses so we have the privilege of knowing about their stories via celebrity.  The link between mental illness & creativity has long been noted... problem is, nobody's figured out exactly what it is or how to get one without triggering the other.

One of these infamous cases is Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett, who apparently became schizophrenic after taking too much LSD with the band.  The song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" was written about him.  Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters is quoted as saying: “It felt to me at the time that Syd was kind of drifting off the rails, and when you’re drifting off the rails the worst thing you can do is start messing around with hallucinogens … It definitely exacerbated the symptoms that, loosely strung together, you and I might call schizophrenia. He heard voices. He became incommunicative. He turned into a different person; [his eyes] were black holes in the sky.”


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Syd Barrett in 1975
Jaco Pastorius, widely considered the best bass player in the world, went down a similar path after trying alcohol at age 25.  He'd always tended towards mania but became unable to manage his erratic moods after he started drinking & abusing cocaine.  He was involuntarily committed to Bellevue psychiatric ward & diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly before his death.   While they were able to stabilize him in the hospital, he failed to comply with treatment once he returned home--something many bipolar patients struggle with.  Pastorius was murdered by a bouncer after kicking in the door of a nightclub in a drunken rage.  He had previously stated to police that he was a Catholic & couldn't kill himself so he wanted a cop to do it.  While we can only speculate, it's unlikely he would've died so young if he had taken his medication instead of choosing to drink & live an unstructured life.  


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News blurb on Jaco's murder
And then there's H.R. (aka "Joseph I") from punk rock group Bad Brains, who slipped into schizophrenia after smoking tons of weed while immersing himself in the Rastafarian lifestyle.  The documentary Finding Joseph I documents his slide into mental illness & the things that precipitated it.  In his case, it appears that heavy weed use really did trigger his descent into un-wellness along with general life stress.  None of his bandmates--who smoked equally gargantuan amounts of ganja during that time--became mentally ill, which strongly suggests a genetic component.  But it's still worth noting that he appeared functional before the weed abuse & disorganized, confused & paranoid after.  


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H.R. getting high w/ a young Brooke Shields.  Irie.

Other suspected casualties of drug-induced mental illness include Roky Erikson of the 13th Floor Elevators & Daniel Johnston of the Butthole Surfers, who became obsessed with the end times after taking LSD at a concert.  You may even know somebody in your own life who has gone down this path.  It can be quite jarring.  


Hidden Factors

That said, mental illness doesn't occur in a vacuum.  It's generally the result of an interplay between genetic & environmental factors...some of which we can't always see.  It's rare for a single use of a single drug to cause permanent disability or mental illness.  Usually the person has been over-using one or more substances & not taking care of themselves by eating or sleeping properly when the onset occurs.  They may even be under the drug's influence at the time you see them behaving strangely.  In that case, simply discontinuing it would likely be enough to improve the symptoms.  

Stress of any kind is often a trigger for mental illnesses like depression or schizophrenia--at least the first few episodes.  That stress can include personal loss, worry or even the stress caused by a bad trip.  But the correct genes must be present for drugs to trigger mental illness in the first place (hence why I use the word "trigger" rather than "cause").  Said genes often run in families, which is why it can be useful to check your family tree--first degree relatives like parents & siblings especially--for mental illness before indulging in heady drugs like LSD or cocaine.  

Some of the second-hand effects of drug abuse, such as sleep deprivation, social isolation & poor nutrition can also contribute to the onset of mental illness--particularly for those on the bipolar spectrum whose circadian rhythms are more easily disturbed.  If you're using on a regular basis it's vital to make sure you're keeping a good balance of work, fun & sleep to avoid sliding into unhealthy patterns.  Lack of structure leads to complications which can snowball into bigger problems as we've seen with countless overworked, over-partied celebrities.  


Cause Or Cure? 


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As for why so many once-forbidden/illegal drugs are being explored as potential psychiatric medicines, the simple answer is that they hold the potential to help people when used in the right setting.  Before it was christened as the club drug "Ecstasy," MDMA was originally used in psychotherapy as a tool to help married couples & terminally ill people dealing with difficult emotions.  LSD has been shown in studies to curb alcoholism, while iboga is a promising alternative for treating opiate addiction.  Even opioids themselves can be therapeutic when used in patients with severe treatment-resistant depression.  ALKS-5461 is being studied for this purpose.  It contains the opioid buprenorphine & a blocker called samidorphan, making it somewhat similar to the addiction drug Suboxone.  Many users of kratom--another partial opioid agonist--take it to self-medicate depression with great success.  Just because something can be abused doesn't negate its medical potential (contrary to what the DEA & FDA tell us).  

That said, there are situations in which these drugs would NOT be indicated, such as in patients with acute psychosis, delusions or mania.  There's a world of difference between using these meds in a therapeutic setting with a professional & ingesting them at a party or by yourself.  And NO drug is going to 'cure' a serious illness like depression or panic disorder without the patient putting in the ongoing effort to heal.  That effort usually comes in the form of talk therapy (CBT, DBT, counseling) as well as healthy habits like journaling, meditation, support groups & physical activity.  


SELF-ASSESSMENT

Want to know whether your drug use is helping or hurting your mental health?*  Ask yourself the following questions & answer them...honestly:

- Is the drug causing me to gain/lose too much weight or sleep too little/much?

- Have I been neglecting my job, relationships, personal health or hygiene due to drug use?

- Am I having more confrontations with the people in my life since I've been using this drug?

- Am I having more mood swings, nightmares or paranoia since I started using? 

- Am I taking the drug to escape boredom & other negative feelings rather than enhance fun activities?

- Do I use drugs socially, or am I isolating & using them while alone?  

- Has anyone voiced concern about my behavior since I started using this drug?

- Am I putting the high before other hobbies & social activities I once enjoyed?  


...if you answered 'yes' to more than one of these, you should probably cut back on your drug use ASAP.  Recreational substances should be enjoyable & make you feel good (at least in the moment).  If they're making things more complicated, it's time to either replace them with something that's a better fit or quit altogether.

(That goes for weed & heroin equally, by the way.  Any substance can be used responsibly or abused).



*Disclaimer:  Self-assessment tool is not a substitute for professional psychiatric care.  Duh.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Kratom: The New Demon Weed

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The new "Assassin of Youth"?

..in the government's eyes, that is.

Now that cannabis laws have been softened across the country, the pharmaceutical companies have begrudgingly accepted the loss to their bottom line that the incredibly benign, multi-use (but un-patentable) plant has caused.  It only took 80+ years (and weed is still Schedule I federally).  Sure, they still have Marinol & Epidiolex, but they're ungodly expensive and--in the case of Marinol--nowhere near as safe as the real thing. 

While the turning tide regarding cannabis is an incredibly positive thing, we're now seeing the propaganda shift toward other healing plants--namely kratom.  As more Americans are turning to kratom for pain relief, mood brightening, addiction treatment & recreation, the government now has its sights set on this plant as their next demon drug.  Like cannabis, kratom can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments & is being taken as a substitute for everything from prescription antidepressants & pain medications to addiction drugs like Suboxone, benzodiazepines & even alcohol.  The real magic is that, unlike prescription opioids, kratom doesn't cause respiratory depression even in large doses.  Pharma has never been able to concoct a drug that has these benefits without the attending risks.  That's significant. 

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Kratom tea fiend getting his "fix"

And just how much are they losing to kratom?  As of 2017, the annual revenue for OxyContin® was $3 billion.  With a "B".  And that's only one of many prescription drugs kratom is being used in place of.  The real problem is that there's a revolving door between our regulatory agencies & pharmaceutical companies.  The FDA is not a neutral agency out to protect the public from dangerous food & drugs but a board comprised of past pharmaceutical employees & current stockholders who directly profit from pharmaceutical drugs.  Scott Gottlieb is but one example--there are many more.  The ultimate plan is to place whole kratom in Schedule I (i.e. totally illegal, no medicinal value, same class as heroin & DMT) while making one alkaloid of the plant a prescription medication.  That alkaloid would most likely be mitragynine or 7-hydroxymitraginine which are responsible largely for the plant's pain relieving & mood-boosting properties.  A patent already exists for the kratom alkaloid speciofoline although it has expired.

One problem with that plan is, we already know what happens when we isolate a single compound & throw the rest away:  You end up with a less effective & often less safe substance.  Such is the case with pharmaceutical morphine, which is much easier to overdose on as a single drug than the morphine found in opium poppies, which comes with hundreds of other natural alkaloids like thebaine that discourage excessive dosing by causing vomiting or other side effects.  If you take one kratom alkaloid out of the whole plant, will it remain as safe & effective?  Not likely.

Kratom contains a treasure trove of substances that all perform important functions, some we don't fully understand yet.  What we do know is the whole leaf has been used for millennia with relatively few health problems which, while anecdotal, is better evidence than a lot of the new medications on the market that will inevitably cause deadly effects due to a lack of long-term studies in humans.  As we learned during the AIDS crisis, sometimes the FDA's lengthy approval process takes too long to reach the people who need help now.  Kratom is already allowing people to live pain-free, addiction-free lives.  Taking it away without offering an alternative will lead to tragedy.

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Pharma vs. kratom?
Another problem with making the plant illegal is not everyone has access to a doctor who will prescribe the alkaloid they need to treat their condition.  (Or access to a doctor period).  People use kratom because it's cheap & available without a prescription.  I don't need to tell you how broken our healthcare system is in America; if they remove every option we have to keep ourselves pain-free & leading productive lives, there will be hell to pay in the form of suicides, overdoses, increased reliance on social welfare programs & much more.  We shouldn't have to indulge in their "pay to play" system for every little bump, bruise & sniffle.  People should have the right to treat their own symptoms at home using herbs & other supplements like we have since the beginning of time.  Plants are natural resources that belong to all of us.  Banning them goes against the very principles this country was founded on.


Dirty Tricks

Since 2016, the DEA & FDA have taken turns attempting to ban kratom using every trick in the book.  After emergency scheduling failed due to massive public push back, they resorted to a flood of media scare stories & a trickle of state-by-state bans, followed by a trumped-up salmonella scare.  There have also been a number of import alerts at customs every few months that make it hard for Indonesian kratom to make it to U.S. vendors.  At every step of the way, kratom users have made their voices heard & refused to take their attacks quietly.

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The late Gene Haislip of the DEA
Now they're going directly to the source & trying to twist Indonesia's arm to get kratom growing shut down completely.  If you think this is impossible, you haven't been paying attention.  In 2015 we got communist China to ban 116 research chemicals, effectively ending the U.S. market for drugs ranging from stimulants to psychedelics to cannabinoids & dissociatives.  Going back even further, Gene Haislip of the DEA managed to make methaqualone (Quaaludes) obsolete using a tactic he called "chemical control".  This involved pressuring overseas governments to change their laws & ban the drug's ingredients illegal to make the DEA's job easier.  To this day you won't find genuine Quaaludes for sale from even the most specialized dealer.  Here's a snippet of the article from The Fix:

"Haislip followed the paper trail through Hungary, to Austria and Germany. Each time he found a legal source (of precursor chemicals) he shut it down with local government cooperation and pressure from the U.S. Gradually, the DEA hacked at the heads of the Hydra until Colombians had no drug powder to make their counterfeit [Quaaludes], and they simply gave up." 

They used a similar tactic to get ephedrine tablets off the market when meth labs started popping up in the late '80s & early '90s, though pseudoephedrine was still available for many years over-the-counter.  This is the same backdoor trick they're now using with kratom, and it's never failed them before. 

Indonesia produces 95% of the world's kratom supply.  It's not realistic to think another country could simply pick up where they left off...not this late in the game.  The kratom market in America alone is enormous & growing every year.  There's no way domestic growers or farmers in Thailand or Malaysia or Vietnam (can you say 'Agent Orange'?) could step in & supply the demand.  If Indonesia bans kratom, it will become scarce, expensive & unsafe just like every other illicit drug on the black market.  This cannot be allowed to happen.  It puts kratom users in grave danger & threatens the livelihood of peaceful Indonesian farmers who rely on kratom for their livelihood.  (A livelihood which doesn't destroy the environment like palm oil or rubber production, incidentally).


Get Involved

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Kratom rally :)
What can kratom users do to protect their rights?  You don't have to be "political" or an activist to help with this fight.  Instead of worrying aimlessly about kratom's legal status, put that energy toward something productive by doing one or more of the following:

- Donate to the American Kratom Association (AKA) whenever you can.  Even a small $5 donation helps.  This lobbying organization is the only reason kratom is still legal federally today.  Many safe & promising substances have been banned in the time that kratom's been on the market--the only difference is they didn't have a lobbying presence to protect them in Washington.

- Reach out to sympathetic news outlets like Vice, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, ForbesPain News Network & media personalities like Joe Rogan & Trae Crowder about what's going on with the FDA & kratom.  Highlight their motivations ($$$), shady methods & the danger they're causing by trying to ban this plant.  Point out the conflict of interest between pharma & regulatory agencies and don't be afraid to name names.

- Only order from vendors who donate to the AKA or Botanical Education Alliance (BEA).  If they don't advertise it on their website or in their store, don't be shy about asking.  Vendors make a killing importing cheap kratom & selling it at inflated prices, so it's only right that they do their part to keep it legal.  Vote with your dollars.  This is our most vital source of power as customers. 

- Sign up for the American Kratom Association's newsletter.  Sign petitions or complete surveys when they hit your inbox.  Wait for their cue to call your representative or participate in other organized efforts to flood our government with personal testimonies about kratom.  These calls & letters work best when sent in large numbers, so follow their directions on how & when to make contact.  The AKA has saved us with these coordinated efforts before.  They may not be perfect but they know how to get things done. 

- Post about kratom on social media using the hashtags #keepkratomlegal, #kratomsaveslives & #iamkratom.  If you don't feel comfortable posting as yourself, create a separate account for kratom & related posts.  Blogging, videos other methods of getting your voice & story out to the world are all helpful too.

- Be aware of astroturfing & other attempts to cause false dissent in kratom groups.  The government has unlimited time & resources to influence online opinions about kratom.  They would be silly NOT to.  If someone starts making false claims about kratom, the AKA or kratom users without any evidence to back it up, check their post history & see how long they've been registered on the site.  In general, older users with a more varied post history tend to be more trustworthy.


#WeAreKratom!

This plant has saved & improved many lives.  The only way it can continue to do so is if every kratom user does their part to keep it legal.  It gets tiring fighting these battles against big corporations & shady government officials every few months, but the opposition is counting on us giving up or turning on each other. 

Even if you aren't a kratom user, I implore you to stand up for this cause with the same fervor you'd support the right to use cannabis or engage in any other consensual adult activity.  It's not about whether you personally enjoy it--it's a matter of individual liberties & saving lives.  What kind of world do you want to live in?  If they ban kratom today, it may be something you enjoy tomorrow.  In a free society, apathy is the most dangerous opiate of all. 


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Entering the Void: A Propofol Trip Report

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PRE-LAUNCH

Am feeling exceedingly nervous about my first time under anesthesia so I figured I'd write a trip report to try & make it as normal as any other drug experience, heh.  I'm having a routine procedure that should last about 20 minutes, during which I'll be knocked out with propofol: the drug famous for killing the King of Pop & Joan Rivers

I don't know how I've managed to get to my mid-30s without ever being under general anesthesia.  Most folks have had their wisdom teeth out by now at the very least.  I had eye surgery a few years back but only got a Valium tablet for it (that was fun...not).  My mother has woken up TWICE under anesthesia--once during a C-section & once at the tail end of an eye lift surgery.  The second time was with propofol.  I'm hoping that will not be an issue for me.  They've given me permission to take a benzo the night before coming in, which I plan to take full advantage of.  I've gotta quit taking my daily kratom & Benzedrex a couple days in advance which is gonna suck, but hopefully it will reduce the risk of waking up (or dying) during the procedure.

On the big morning, I wake up at 6:30 a.m.   It's the first time in 17 years I haven't started my day with a stimulant of some kind & the first time in 15 years I haven't ingested a mu-agonist (opioid) so my mood isn't the brightest.  But the worst part is no food or drink until after the procedure, and my nerves are already shot which only makes things worse. 

It's a 45-minute drive to the surgery center with my mom & I'm not stoked.  She's a morning person & with coffee in her system it's like nails on a chalkboard.  I try to keep calm & stuff my earplugs in, repeating relaxing affirmations quietly to myself.  Good thing I took some Imodium before bed or my bowels would be going crazy due to nerves.  Yes, I'm being dramatic because I have anxiety & am going through double withdrawals (kratom & stimulant), am starving & have a dry mouth.  Forgive me.

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Check in time is at 8 a.m. sharp but the show doesn't start until 9-frickin'-thirty which means an hour & a half of waiting & worrying.  I was hoping they'd give me an infusion of benzos to calm my nerves while waiting, but no dice.  This hour crawls by with my poor stomach growling from a combo of nervousness & hunger.  I'm here FOR a stomach ailment which just makes this all the worse.  I keep imagining what happy place I'll be transported to once the IV is in, picturing a black hole of nothingness sucking me in as I drift lightly between worlds...trying hard not to think about waking up with a scope jammed in my esophagus & attempting to rip it out.

I've used a lot of downers in my day:  benzos, barbiturates (butalbital), Soma, Ambien, alcohol, thienodiazepines (etizolam), amitriptyline, kava...even crazy phenazepam which was somewhat like a dissociative & sent me into a 3-day blackout.  Speaking of which, I dissociated completely at the dentist as a child on a high dose of nitrous & even tried MXE once in my 20s.  But this is my first time with propofol.  Really hoping my brain receives it well.


BLAST-OFF

After wheeling me back, they joke around & start the infusion, which burns my entire arm like a mofo as it crawls up my vein.  I mean it really hurts.  But along with the pain comes an instant fog of drowsiness & my head hits the pillow.  The procedure itself is a complete blackout but upon waking I was seeing double--literally--and feeling a combo of drunkenness & utter exhaustion.  I felt rushed to wake up but could've slept all afternoon (which I did upon returning home).  Definitely not as alert as I'd like to be.  However I was able to converse with the doctors & nurses who came in & didn't say anything humiliating like "NICE TITS!" though my voice was audibly slurred. 

Propofol feels more like alcohol than any other downer I've taken, but minus the nausea & low mood/aggression.  At no point did my body feel "light" like some of the reports I've seen.  There was no euphoria or dysphoria to speak of--just a heavy feeling of sleepiness & memory impairment total amnesia.  A little vertigo & double vision as I came to, but no nausea at all.  I did giggle over silly things as I was coming out of the fog but it wasn't something I'd classify as "fun" or a real high.  I slept all the way home on the car ride, which flew by like I was in a time warp. 


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My takeaway?  Don't be scared of going under anesthesia if you haven't before.  I'm no longer as scared of having surgery after seeing how well I responded to propofol.  This stuff really is a marvel of modern medicine.  Whoever discovered it deserves a Nobel Prize.  I can't imagine life before it.  In my mom's day, they used ether-soaked rags over the nose/mouth to knock you out.  Really.  I can't emphasize enough that you won't remember a thing from the actual procedure (unless it's a situation where they need you to be somewhat alert, which they'll inform you about).  I'm now sipping on kratom tea & have taken my daily stimulant with no side effects other than a little lingering mental fog. 

I give propofol a 5/10 for recreational effects & a 9/10 for its medical utility.  I could see it being a highly humane & effective method of execution for death row inmates compared to the triple-drug injection they currently use.  Once it goes in, your consciousness ceases for all intents.  No dreams, worries or physical sensations.  Death would be quite peaceful this way, especially if they threw some fentanyl in the mix.  Aside from that there's not much potential use as a street drug but I'm sure glad it exists in hospital settings. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

PSA: We'll All Die Alone

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Today I was talking to a dental assistant while waiting for an X-ray.  I'd never met this woman before in my life (and never hope to again).  While discussing kids I told her casually I didn't have any & wasn't going to.  She looked shocked & said:  "Why would you not want kids?  What are you going to do when you're 80 & in a nursing home?  You're going to die alone.  You're young & pretty now but...somethin' to think about."

...the fuck?  😧

Here's the thing.  We're all going to die & 100% of us are going to die alone.  You can't take any of this earthly stuff with you when you go, and that includes loved ones.  Even if there are 25 people huddled at your bedside & 1,000 mourners with candles in the streets when you pass, you're still making that final journey completely alone.  They'll be attending to the shell you leave behind--aka your body.  But your consciousness will no longer be occupying it.  Whatever happens (or doesn't) at the moment of death is something only you can experience.

Death only happens once & is a momentary occurrence.  To arrange your entire life around this singular event seems like a waste.  People who have children for fear of ending up in a nursing home are also making a huge mistake.  Ask any rest home worker how many of the patients have children & you'll get the same answer:  "Most or all of them".  Ask how often the kids come to visit & you're likely to get a really depressing answer.  It's not that anyone WANTS to put their ailing elderly parent in a nursing home--it's that these "kids" grow up to have their own jobs, families & responsibilities.  Unless they have a nursing degree & lots of free time, they aren't qualified to provide round-the-clock care for someone with advanced dementia, Parkinson's or some of the other debilitating diseases that land people in nursing homes.

I'm not bashing parents who put thought into their decision to have kids.  I'm just sayin'.  Fear is not a good reason to reproduce.  Nor is having kids in the hopes (or expectation) that they'll stick around & care for you 24/7 when you're elderly.  In a perfect world things might work that way, but there are no guarantees in this one.  And honestly, your kids don't ask to be born in the first place...let alone to be cast in the role of elderly caregiver.  That's a big expectation.  What's more, you may not even live to be that old; your kids might not make it to adulthood themselves.  This isn't doom-and-gloom but reality.  There are simply too many unknowns to make this a viable premise to base your reproductive choices on.  And frankly, it's a tad bit egotistical to create a life from the ether just so they can hopefully wipe your ass one day when you're 90.

Never mind the absolute social retardation & downright rudeness of saying such a thing to a perfect stranger.  I would never inquire about someone's personal marriage/reproductive choices, let alone criticize them for it!  It reeks of buyer's remorse or wanting to drag others down into your hell of a life.  If you're truly happy with your decision, you won't CARE what some stranger chooses to do with her hoo-ha.  You've made your bed & I'm making mine.  If I regret it later, that's my problem.  Better to regret not having kids than to have them for the wrong reasons & regret THAT.  Because the latter scenario involves another innocent being.

Carbon footprint graph

Quick humble brag:  Childfree people are doing more to reduce their carbon footprint by not having kids than any other group or activity.  We're not relying on welfare to support kids we can't afford or risking passing down mental/physical illnesses that run in our families & would cost taxpayers millions each year.  And because we KNOW we wouldn't make good parents, we're preventing the abuse, neglect & endangerment of countless children who would otherwise be at risk for these things.  We are the cool aunts/uncles who dote on our nieces & nephews; the cat & dog-lovers who rescue needy animals.  The teachers, nurses & other "helpers" who influence your kids every day despite not having biological ties to them.  Bottom line:  We're hurting no one & actually easing the burden on an overcrowded, overpopulated planet.  We're not perfect but we just want to be left alone to carve out our own paths without scrutiny from self-righteous breeders.

(And yes, there's a world of difference between "parents" & "breeders".  Parents plan their families, carefully weigh all the pros & cons and have kids for reasons other than selfish "legacy-preservation" ones.  Mindless breeders don't even stop to realize that reproducing is a choice & a most important one at that.  They treat kids as an inevitability or a souvenir of a relationship rather than a thinking, feeling individual who will one day have to fend for themselves in this world.  It's all about them.  They are notorious for wanting society to help parent their badly behaved children & act entitled to things like special parking places & free school lunches that other parents have paid for.  We all know a couple).

Just a quick PSA from a childfree 30-something who regrets nothing.  Live & let live and think before you speak.   🙈🙉🙊



~~~ Forbidden Fruit

Thursday, July 4, 2019

[Opinion] - Holiday Whine & Cheer

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Can we have just ONE holiday where nobody bitches or makes it about them?  It seems everybody on both sides of the political spectrum has at least one holiday they make a big deal about protesting (read: whining about on social media) every year.  It's getting old already.

We know pets & vets are startled by fireworks on the 4th.  We're aware of the terrible things Columbus did & why Columbus Day is "problematic".  We know many of you spend Halloween looking for costumes that offend you so you can raise a stink--that some of you think there's a War on CHRISTmas & the evil non-believers are trying to take over with their "Happy Holidays" inclusiveness agenda (🙄).  And we've all seen how racists act about MLK Day & throw a whole month-long tantrum during Black History Month.  Ditto for Pride Month.

The question is: why do you have to piss on other people's Cheerios?

Why can't you just personally--and quietly--not celebrate these holidays on your own time while letting others do as they wish?  You know, like a mature adult would do?  If you don't like it, don't participate.  That's as far as your rights extend.  And if for some twisted reason you're mad about having the day off for ANY national holiday...there's something wrong with you.  Seriously.  Days off are a precious commodity in a country that neither guarantees paid sick days nor parental leave for workers.  ('Merica).  So stop trying to screw it up for the rest of us, K?  Nobody likes a Debbie Downer.

Righteous indignation doesn't make you right.  It almost seems like a competition between liberals & conservatives to see who can be most offended by the most holidays.  Telling people how to dress, celebrate or greet each other on these holidays is fascist regardless of your political affiliation.  I get that you think your cause is worthwhile (in many cases I agree) & you're just "educating" people, but it comes off as condescending & bitter.  The world doesn't bow to your whims & desires (or mine).  Remember that the next time you're posting a tired meme about how "__x__ holiday" is soooo offensive/problematic/hurtful.  We've heard it all before anyway.

Fly your flag high, salute it or burn it.  Set up your nativity scene using any color Jesus you choose...or don't.  Spin your dreidel, bang your drum on Indigenous Peoples Day, raise awareness for whatever cause you hold dear... Just don't weaponize it & put a guilt trip on people who celebrate differently than you do.  Those differences are what make America what it is.  We have enough legitimate problems facing our country.  The last thing we need is our few designated holidays being turned into pissing contests.


Lighten up, America!
🎃🎄🎑🎎👹🎆🌈🔯﷽👬👳🙏💝  


~~~ Forbidden Fruit

Getting a Stimulant Prescription

Stimulant Summer couldn't be off to a better start for this little blogger.  My psych doctor gave me the green light to ask my physicia...