A Common Misconception About Marijuana (And Why It May Be True)

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“Non-smokers claim all I talk about is the blunts, if you’ve seen how I smoke, I don’t talk about it enough” – Copywrite

So a few times now I’ve heard the opinion expressed, from non-smokers of course, how annoying it is that all the potheads will get excited every time their substance of choice is mentioned and how even more pathetic it is when they think they’re doing something that’s edgy, rebellious, or transgressive.

I guess my first thought about that opinion was: we don’t really care about the so-called ‘badass’ nature of weed, we just, very simply, fucking love it.

You see, marijuana is truly a special kind of drug. It allows itself to be abused excessively with consequences way less severe than that of any other drug. Drinking all the time? You might be a serious alcoholic! Maybe you’ve gotten into unnecessary fights or crashed your car. Perhaps your liver is being eaten away. Popping Mollys at the club every weekend? Your brain is slowly being digested. Regularly taking acid? How’s that psyche ward looking? Heroin your thing? Well, need I go on?

But weed…oh dear, sweet weed. You can get to the point where you can smoke weed any time, any place, and still be a mostly functioning human being. When people are truly struggling with other drugs, their friends say: we need to get them to rehab! When people are truly struggling with weed, their friends say: Jesus, dude, get off the couch, turn off the sitcom reruns, and see the light of day for once!

I just took a two and a half week break from my beloved Mary and reconfirmed the fact that there are no true addictive qualities. I was fine. The only side effect is what I’d call the ‘Kid at Toys ‘R Us’ effect, where you’re basically just childishly whining about how badly you want to smoke. I’m sure any vomiting-six-times-an-hour detoxing heroin addict would fucking pay to have that experience.

No, marijuana is just one of those things like cult movies or niche bands where people usually hydroplane right past ‘casual enjoyer’ and go straight into ‘fanatic’. We cheer with Pavlovian glee when it appears on screen or in a song because it reminds us of our beloved friend and, most likely, how much smoking weed is what we’d rather be doing at that moment. We talk about it a lot simply because we love it so goddamn much. Oh, what, it’s OK for you to rant endlessly about your kids because it’s a human and not a substance you’re preaching about? I’m being humorous, but it’s just how we, as humans, react to things we truly love, and every pothead truly fucking loves weed.

I’ll spare you the whole tired spiel about how it’s a better drug and how us addicts are the most peaceful folks you can find. The interesting thing to me is that, when you really think about the effect it causes, is not weed perhaps one of the most rebellious things out there?

You’re born into the world and it says to you, ‘Hello! Welcome! Now go out there! Achieve! Do! Interact! Build! Grow!’, and then as a teenager you discover weed, which promptly says to all of that, ‘Um, fuck off?’

My friend Mat always had a brilliant way of explaining the appeal of marijuana: it gives you that feeling of accomplishment without having to actually do anything. Let’s say you wake up, go to work, get off, run some errands, make yourself dinner, finish up some chores around the house, and then, finally get to sit on the couch, flip on the tube, and just go, ‘Ahhhh…’ Well, as soon as you smoke a blunt, you instantly feel that same way.

Weed is the drug (and for the love of god my pothead brothers and sisters, stop making us look fucking stupid by saying it’s not one) that makes the whole rat race of life seem pointless by already giving you the peace and happiness you’re supposed to be so desperately chasing. I always say that weed is the way to world peace, but not necessarily to productivity. Nothing gets done in a super-stoned society, it just turns into Eden, a bunch of dopily-grinning fools lounging about in detached bliss, unable to get up off the ground even if they wanted to.

And so, maybe it is an edgy drug. Maybe some of us do like it because it makes everything else seem so stupid. Maybe…

You know what? Fuck writing this. I want to go smoke some fucking weed! Whooooo!

An Open Letter to the Girl at my Gym’s Juice Bar with the Fantastic Ass

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Oh, hi.

You know, as I work out on the elliptical I’m usually blaring rap music in my ears at a volume that will make me deaf by 35, as I find that the blatantly misogynistic lyrics set to hard hitting beats really helps get my blood pumping and keeping me motivated. The other thing that keeps me on the elliptical (besides the bottomless pit of narcissism that resides inside of me where my soul should be) is the fact that it offers a perfect opportunity to be able to glare over at you in an inconspicuous manner, drooling like the lecherous creep that I am at your beyond perfect ass.

I mean, seriously, that thing is amazing, and the fact that you always seem to be wearing form-fitting work out pants just adds to my dog-like urge to run over and dry hump you until I explode all over the inside of my already DNA-saturated work out shorts. Also, on an aesthetic level, I appreciate the fact that the pants are usually highlighted in specific places by bright neon colors, as if they’re saying to me, ‘How about rubbing your dick on this particular spot?’

I’ve seen girls with bigger asses (I mean, in the age of the internet, how could I not?), but yours has a certain restrained, yet still plump-for-your-body-frame size to it, almost like the Goldilocks porridge, except leaning slightly more towards the ‘too hot’ side. I wish that I could introduce my parents to it, and we could all sit around having discussions with it about its dreams and ambitions in life, making it speak by opening and closing the cheeks like Ace Ventura used to so charmingly do. I wish I could serve my loved ones Christmas dinner on it and we would all slobberingly eat off of it like perverted pigs at a trough in some demented version of ‘Double Dare’.

I guess really what I would like to do is set up a religion based around it, where I and other folks could come and pay tribute, probably showing up with warpaint on our faces and bowing down in tribal ritualistic worship like those natives did before King Kong was summoned on Skull Island. I want to get lost in there for days and then eventually, one day, find this terrible cut in you, tapping you on the shoulder to worriedly exclaim ‘Oh my God! Did someone stab you?!’ before realizing that it was just your vagina, something I’d completely forgotten you had, as your ass was taking up enough of my attention to make me forget about that part of the female anatomy entirely.

I suppose the ultimate dream would be to have masters of Hollywood effects sculpt a synthetic version of you and keep you around the apartment constantly, endlessly rubbing against your fake ass with the pathetic, desperate, yet somehow beautifully fervent addiction of crackheads, therefore fully completing the journey of turning you into  nothing but an object for my enjoyment. Yes, that is what I would really like to do.

I’ll tell you what I don’t want to do: I don’t want to spend even five seconds learning how to actually speak to you as a fellow human and giving myself some sort of chance of any sexual interaction ever happening in real life whatsoever. Sometimes you’re sampling shakes on a tray as I exit the gym, and, flexing the skills I developed in high school, I make sure to keep my eyes down and away from you to avoid any chance of actual communication. Beyond any laziness of not wanting to speak even a simple ‘No thank you’ to the shake samples, I usually have my glasses on, meaning that I feel like the most physically repulsive goblin that ever existed, and not the pillar of repressed sexuality and throbbing attractiveness that I do when they’re off.

No, you’ve already done the only thing I ever need a female to do: serve as a catalyst to make an entertaining piece of writing for my audience to enjoy. And for that, I thank you, heartily, deeply, truly.

Now, please, please, don’t ever stop wearing those pants, unless you’re going to substitute them for a pair of two-sizes-too-small boy shorts that you need three other humans just to help you get on. But if you do, have that maintenance staff ready, as I’ll probably end up leaving more dead kids on the floor than the Columbine killers did (that was a reference to me leaving massive amounts of my ejaculate all over the floor in case I was being too esoteric with my metaphor).

Keep on shining, golden girl!

Your pal, Jason xoxo

Wanna Be Famous? Just Kill Some Kids!

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“Some children died the other day
We fed machines and then we prayed
Puked up and down in morbid faith
You should have seen the ratings that day” – Marilyn Manson ‘The Nobodies

Oh man, here we go again.

Back in 2008 when I was still fresh off the New Jersey boat and loving every sun-soaked moment of my new home here in Los Angeles, I fell into a surprisingly potent bout of productivity and actually ended up writing a novel. I finished it and made five hard copies, which I then passed around to friends in my inner circle. I wasn’t truly happy with it though, so I rewrote it, making it a lot better, but still wasn’t pleased with that version either. Eventually, either through tiring of it or getting caught up in other projects, I abandoned it. Never in a million years did I think it would turn out to be this eerily prophetic.

Stamped with the overly-wordy title of ‘Hollywood High School or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Famecancer’, it was the story of a fame-obsessed high school student who, desperate to become a star without having to put in the grueling, requisite years of paying dues, figures out from studying school shootings that all he has to do is put together a media package painting himself as a sexy, messianic freedom fighter for picked on kids everywhere, shoot up his school, and boom! Instant stardom. The plan works, too well in fact, and soon he’s being busted out of jail by a group of fanatical kids who’ve taken his message way more seriously than even he could have seen, and is treated first hand to what celebrity is like, with his followers eventually organizing a day of mass school shootings in his name. In the end, he comes to loathe and reject the fame he once so badly craved.

I was inspired mainly by two things: the disturbingly open-to-anyone nature of the new cultural craze that was social media, and the even more disturbing habit that the media had of playing into the hands of killers who, as anyone with a brain should be able to see, were gunning for a specific effect that was then handed to them on a silver platter.

I was about halfway through high school when Columbine happened, 11th grade I believe, and my original, blackly comic reaction was, ‘Finally, I have a way to sculpt an image that will make people genuinely scared of quiet white kids!’ Eventually, however, as I studied it, I became obsessed for reasons very congruent to why I became so interested in fame and pick-up artistry: there is an air of the undeniable with all of these things. Bash Kim Kardashian all you want, but at the end of the day your opinion doesn’t change the fact that she’s a huge star who’s savvy enough to know how to play the system; be disgusted by the manipulative tactics of pick-up artists, but in the end, those tactics are still putting them into many ladies’ beds.

And, in the case of Columbine, say what you want, but Eric Harris (the   would-be leader of the two gunmen) was a smart kid with a plan that, disgustingly, worked. That day they propelled themselves into a permanent place in pop culture. Eminem’s ‘Marshall Mathers LP’ and Chris Rock’s ‘Bigger and Blacker’, two undeniable (there’s that word again) classics in the culture of entertainment, both talk about them. Years later, Columbine is not only a name that will forever ring notorious bells a la Monica Lewinsky, but it’s actually become a goddamn verb (I bet that weird motherfucker is going to go Columbine on us!).

Not to mention the fact that their apparel, the now infamous trench coats, seemed media ready enough that a marketing team could have come up with them. Eric, along with his shyer counterpart, Dylan Klebold, were the first to truly make an impact by using their awareness to manipulate a morally questionable media.

The second incident that popped up occurred in 2007, when I was a bit older and a bit wiser and, after the Virginia Tech shooting resulted in pictures of gunman Seung-Hui Cho being plastered on the front page of every newspaper, left my head reeling over this concept of media manipulation enough to want to write a novel about it.

It was Cho who inspired my idea of having my main character mail out a press package, as he had done exactly that, sending his recorded manifesto along with photos of him posing with guns to NBC News. His words and images were everywhere for all to see.

Call me crazy, but don’t you think when a kid takes the time to pose with guns, let’s repeat that again, pose with guns, that it’s beyond clear what he’s looking for? Shouldn’t anyone with a first grade level education be able to figure out that, before this kid left this world, the one thing he wanted more than anything was his 15 minutes of fame? Congratulations NBC News, by airing them you guys officially became the Make A Wish Foundation for psychos!

I was flabbergasted, truly in shock, over how much the media gave this kid exactly what he wanted! I mean sure, it’s obvious the Columbine kids wanted their moment too, but this fucker actually posed like a teenage girl in the beginning days of myspace and then sent out a press packet! Walking up to a girl and saying ‘I wouldn’t mind sticking my dick in you’ is less blatant than that! To me, writing that book was a way to make an important statement: the media is more evil than these kids could ever be. To rearrange a famous quote from Obi-Wan Kenobi: who’s more evil, the shooter, or the ones who make everyone follow the shooter?

Marilyn Manson received the same kind of I’m-usually-not-a-fan-but-wow adulation that Eminem did with the more mature ‘Lose Yourself’ when he was interviewed for Michael Moore’s ‘Bowling for Columbine’ and came across as self-aware, compassionate, and intelligent for his breakdown of the shootings, coming to the same conclusion as I did: that the media gave those kids exactly what they wanted. The hilarious part of this being, of course, the fact that Manson has been repeatedly vilified for beautifully theatrical yet essentially harmless shock tactics, when in reality, he’s probably always been way more of a decent human being than the so-called upstanding journalists who would willingly put these kids’ images on the air (and don’t talk to me about journalism, as I don’t believe for a second the factor of ratings was never not an issue for these fuckers).

One of my favorite anecdotes involves my own comedic personal Jesus, Andy Kaufman, and the way his oddball, disruptive antics had an effect on his ‘Taxi’ costar, Tony Danza. One day, Danza had had enough of Andy’s standoffish weirdness and sprayed him with a fire extinguisher. What happened next?

“He walked in, and I just shot him. I just shot him. And I shot him. And I shot him. Waiting for some kind of reaction out of him. He just stood there. And I shot him. And he just stood there.”

Andy’s complete lack of reaction to Danza’s anger only served to irk him more. It’s a story I often relate to people as a way to both advocate a kind of strange, Zen mentality, and, more importantly, the ability to get under people’s skin by not giving them a reaction. Were these killers to be able to see the world after they left it, staring down at us from some other dimension, do you not think they’d have a similar reaction if they found out we’d utterly ignored what they did? No media coverage whatsoever? No pictures on the TV or newspapers? Can’t you just picture them ripping their ghostly hair out over the fact it didn’t work? Even worse, can’t you perfectly picture their beyond smug smiles over how we actually did treat it? I see them doing some sort of cliche sports-game-winning fist pump over the whole affair.

Since these two cases inspired me, I’ve sat back and watched with jaw agape as more and more kids take advantage of this can’t-miss manipulation, making my book seem less and less like fiction and more like a palm reading of what was to come. Flattering for me, yes, as I feel like I hit that sweet spot of pounding cultural relevance I was aiming for, but incredibly sad for society.

I’ve only heard a few snippets about what happened with this latest killing spree. I don’t want to know, not even necessarily for the reasons I’ve laid out here, which are the right ones, but because I don’t have the energy to delve back into the obsessive nature of this way-too-appealing-to-me social research. All I know is that once again we have someone running game on the system, playing the media and all of us like idiotic, love-struck teenagers with a crush, while they get the only thing they wanted. It says a ton about the mind-blowing potential for social media opening up the more undesirable parts of our species, but that’s a huge, sprawling topic that I’m saving for a rant unto itself.

To be fair, there is something in all of us that is fascinated by killers. As humans, we don’t only fear what we don’t understand, we are also perversely intrigued by it. They do something we simply can’t imagine, and that gives them an appealing freak show attractiveness on some base level, even if some people would only admit this subconsciously. It is also perhaps a bit naive to assume that tragedies like these would ever or should ever receive absolutely zero media coverage. I’ll admit it can be up for debate. Therefore, I’ll make a different closing point.

The idea of a ‘controversial entertainer’ should be laughable to anyone with a high level of intelligence. A song about killing people leaves no actual people dead. But the media types who will be so quick to do a ‘Parents! Time to Worry!’ piece on someone like Marilyn Manson or Eminem, are the same scumbags who keep feeding so flawlessly into what these fame hungry killers so desperately want. And that my friends, as we’re seeing right fucking now, will actually lead to more killing.

So the next time someone wants to do something that resembles the idiocy of blaming Marilyn Manson for Columbine, remember the real ones who are inspiring death and ruining our youth wear suits and look like clean cut respectable citizens. Yet somehow I feel like I’ll see picket signs once again pop up at a shock rock or rap concert before we see them outside of NBC News.

Because, you know, hearing the word ‘fuck’ and lots of sex talk is really gonna have a negative effect on those poor impressionable kids.

The cycle continues…

PS – 15 years after the massacre, Eric and Dylan have a full on cult of supporters who look at them as heroic martyrs. Google it. Like I said, undeniable. Should probably go finish that book…

Being an Alpha Male is a Snoozefest

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I met my girl when she was still in high school, and still recovering from a break up. That meant that in addition to dealing with the pain of wanting her, I had to deal with the pain of listening to the ups and downs of a teenage relationship.

One night, on the way back from one of my stand-up shows in New York, we spent the train ride discussing said topic. I wasn’t the master of romantic and sexual sociology that I am now (well, analytically at least, I know I lack the ever-important field experience), but I still knew enough to want to attempt to break the spell that was cast over her. I broke down how guys like to leave girls strung out and wanting them, but, more importantly, how the girls can actually enjoy it.

‘Being in control is boring’, I said. She paused, took it in for a moment, and asked me to say it again. Afterwards she texted me saying I ‘changed her life forever’ and I still to this day have a ripped-out journal entry from her saying as much that I carry around with me.

In addition to committing the cardinal sins of both still being a little boy and not being aggressive enough (and usually being the polar opposite of it, preferring to gaze into space and be left alone), I’ve realized that my biggest problem with woman is that I WANT to be a little shy, obsessed weirdo. I WANT the girl to be in a position of having more power. Basically, I unfortunately want the same thing you girls do, to avoid being in control because, really, there’s nothing more boring.

Seriously, if a guy just lays all his cards on the table and tells you how much he really, really likes you, aren’t you already halfway to catatonic? While it seems stupid to say girls full on want to be strung out over someone, it’s definitely better, or should I say, more appealing to the slave master, our DNA, when you feel like you have to work for someone’s attention. Basic, I mean really basic, human stuff here.

Guys will fuck you if you’re easy, but there’s always a disdain that goes along with it. They won’t respect you, and no matter how much a guy can study and become good at game, I think we can all agree that  the girl who doesn’t respond to those little tricks is truly the one who will make a guy flip shit.

I just have different vision now, and I can’t help but wonder how many of you that I so badly want I could have/already have had, if I would just pull the fucking trigger. Sometimes all I can do is look at a girl with a smirk on my face like, ‘Yeah, OK, you don’t want me. Let me walk in here with a swagger and a hot girl on my arm and watch all the little doggies obediently wag their tails.’ Yeah, it sounds nasty and dismissive, but that doesn’t make it not true.

So now that I’ve learned all the rules, I’m really struck by how much being more a of man, or an asshole, or the one in the driver’s seat, just isn’t that appealing. I’ve been there in the past, a few moments where I hit that sweet spot, and it’s fun, sure, ego boosting, definitely, but have you ever looked at a girl through rose-colored glasses? I’m sorry, you girls are just way hotter with the smoke of self-imposed illusions dancing around you.

To be honest, I find it all a bit predictable and boring. Do you really need me to be the aggressor that badly? Does it really always have to be like that? Is there no girl out there willing to take a chance and try out the experience of having a slightly shy weirdo go all gaga over them? Would that not be a welcome deviation, a nice novelty, from a bunch of typical alpha males?

Look, here’s an example in the form of one of my favorite memories: the first day I’d meet up with my girl after we toiled in long distance hell was always nuts. I couldn’t even control the lust begging to just fire out of me. Combined with the fact that I thought her body was truly proportionate, curvy perfection, this made for some rather intense sessions.

One time, in my bedroom back in New Jersey, as my hands roamed all over her with a restless energy, I sputtered out, with genuine exasperation, ‘You’re so hot that I don’t even know what to do!’ Her response, very sincere and said in an extremely sexy, girly voice was, ‘You’re adorable.’

And really, outside of finding a meaningful relationship one day, that’s all I ever wanted -to fawn idiotically over a girl and have her love every second of it.

But no, I always sense, not that it’s not understandable, that my boyish vibes of intense interest are too much for females whose DNA and society have groomed them to go for the males who play by the rules. How come none of you will let me do this? Do I really have to wait for fame to kick in before I can override the rules of the feminine system, before I can find a girl willing to indulge in goddess worship, to see what it’s like when you let that geek boy all over you?

I mean, fuck, it’s not like I’m ugly. It’s not like I’m the old, chubby, bespectacled version of myself. And while that sounds shallow, if all we’re talking about is some fun, fantasy-drenched hook-ups, should it not also ring true?

Don’t you think I, so childish, handsome and passionate, could make you feel more flattered, more hot, more special, than some guy who simply knows how to flip your evolutionary switches ever could? Don’t you want to know what it’s like to get with the guy who thinks, even under obviously false pretenses, that you’re more than a human being?

The answer, it seems, is no. And I get it. I really do. Hell, I even freak myself out sometimes. But I won’t change, because I’ve always preferred the weird, and, I’m sorry, but being alpha is fucking boring.

If you need me, I’ll be over here, writing shitty poetry about how your face looks like it’s been sculpted by the hands of God himself. When you’re ready for something different, give me a call.

I’ll probably be too scared to answer.

Why Does Religion Get Special Privileges?

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The other day at the gym I noticed something on TV that I found beyond disturbing. Apparently they discovered that some priests had been having sex and now there was a debate going on as to whether or not they should be able to.

Let that sink in for a moment. A debate over whether or not priests should be able to have sex.

Oh, I’m sorry, were those thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of utterly destroyed altar boys’ lives not enough to immediately make the answer to this a resounding yes? Don’t you think the overwhelmingly shocking nature of all these supposed men of God molesting children (not to mention the fact that they were all boys, birthing, of course, the most breathtaking hypocrisy ever, seeing as they preach against homosexual behavior) would be enough to instantly, without giving it even one iota of thought, say yes, we should stop denying them one of, if not the most, basic human desires? I mean, for fuck’s sake, you brain-dead morons, at least make it OK to masturbate. I’ve been almost four years without sex now and you don’t see me rubbing on young boys with a pathetic desperation. It’s called maintenance you idiots. What’s next, denying priests the right to shit?

This all ties in to one of the most unnerving facts about religion: that it gets special privileges far beyond what I thought was capable in this society.

Look, I could get all indignant over the fact of how many people in this world place an imaginary man in the sky on a high level of importance, but the mature side of me knows in my heart there’s nothing wrong with someone having a personal relationship with God and getting something positive out of it as long as they don’t force it upon others, or commit insane acts in the name of it. I have cherished friends who embody this, the positive, non-destructive side of religion (Hi, Matteo).

No, what is truly, unforgivably bothersome about this is that, after all those endless reports of sexual child abuse, something that, for Christ’s sake, even convicted murderers in prison find appalling and deserving of physical punishment, the Catholic Church is still in operation! There is absolutely no other institution or business that could withstand that many reports of pedophilia and still have their doors open! Imagine any of your favorite places to eat or shop having these same allegations come down upon them! Would anyone still be patronizing them?

But no, religion is hopelessly surrounded by fervent mysticism, because, after all, we’re talking about a magical, all-powerful man in the sky who created all of us! The level of importance placed upon it is too great by those who believe, so these idiots continue to support the Catholic Church, even after finding out the people giving the sermons have been having young boys play with them after all those beautifully passionate speeches about morality and homosexuals burning in hell (hey, let me repeat that again, because it should be enough to make you want to go burn down churches: they condemn homosexual behavior and then go molest little boys!!!)

Why do we give the church this special treatment? Why were these priests transferred and not, oh, I don’t know, put in a prison where they would hopefully be viciously anally raped for eternity, something that, after years and years of it, might just start to atone for their astronomically evil hypocrisy?

Why, for the love of the fictitious Lord in the sky, why, are so many humans still slaves, fucking slaves, to these idiotic traditions enough that there has to be a debate, fucking energy wasted actually arguing about it, over whether or not priests should be able to have sex? How can humans show such a pathetic lack of forward thinking vision? I hate to play the elitist card, but c’mon! You guys can’t be that far behind me! Let them fuck!

I really, truly, do support people being able to have religion in their lives. If I want to be able to have the freedom to ingest whatever I want into my body, then you should be able to pray to whomever you like. It’s when you put religion on this untouchable pedestal, making it some holy institution that needs to be preserved against all fucking logic, that I have a problem with it.

So, I’m sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, any Catholic who willingly walks through those doors to show support after finding out about all those reports of abuse is tacitly supporting pedophilia. Prove to me you guys have a brain. Keep your relationship with God (see? I’m even capitalizing it for you) alive in your heart and boycott the corrupt manmade institution soiling His name.

And, for the love of everything we consider to be right in this world, let these old bastards bust a nut before they call another helpless altar boy into the back room for a rousing game of ‘What’s Under My Robe?’ and destroy his life forever.

Is upholding some antiquated religious rules really worth that? If you think so, please, do us all a favor and make an appointment to meet the big guy in the sky that you worship enough to blind you to human suffering.

To quote Trent Reznor: ‘If there is a hell, I’ll see you there.’

My 31st Birthday Part One – Trial of the Psilocybin

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As the years tick by in a cloud of weed smoke it gets harder and harder to recall my pre-California life, but ever since moving out here I’ve had a birthday tradition that I uphold with the highest reverence: an annual mushroom trip.

While preaching the wonders of psychedelic mushrooms makes for a wonderful gimmick that I can get a lot of mileage out of (and one, as I discovered after some research, had already been done by Dr. Timothy Leary, with much more of an emphasis on LSD, decades ago), the benefits of taking a mushroom trip every once in a while is something I truly believe in.

Although generally a happy guy, I don’t believe I’ve ever felt anything close to the sense of radiating self-love, acceptance and confidence that comes from looking at yourself in the mirror during one of these psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms for the lay person) journeys. Throw in a dissolution of the ever-problematic ego and a feeling of un-paralleled connection that makes you realize we’re all one, and you’ve got an experience that no human should ever go without trying at least once in their lifetime.

Usually, my personal preferences and the advice I give to anyone inquiring about the experience is that you should narrow it down to one of two locales: a natural setting, such as the woods or a beach, or a comfortable, safe, cozy apartment/house where there will be no distractions. Purists will tell you that nature is the way to go, the one true way to feel the message (and yes, it is amazing) but through my escapades I’ve learned to not underestimate the power of creating a homey environment that is both familiar and non-threatening (bonus points for covering the floor in soft blankets) to get the desired effect. Remember: setting is everything.

I’ve had some of the greatest times of my life spending an entire day shrooming at the beach, but I wanted to keep it simple for this trip, and retire to my apartment’s living room with some close friends, taking the mushrooms just before the stroke of midnight (the start of my birthday), and continuing on into the early hours of the morning.

This year I was lucky enough to have mushroom chocolates, little foil-wrapped goodies that resembled peanut butter cups and, to anyone familiar with the taste and smell of mushrooms (they bear a striking resemblance in both areas to dirty feet), treats that were blissfully free of tasting like anything but slightly sub-par chocolate.

Usually the most effective method is taking them down with gobs of raw peanut butter (which masks the taste incredibly well but does nothing to distract you from the fact that you’re shoving massive blobs of peanut butter into your mouth) or simply just manning up and eating them raw, but here the process is reduced to a deceptively simple one, something that will play a part in our story a little later on.

So we gobbled them down, the entire process taking under ten seconds, and headed outside to watch the skies, for, in a strange, beautiful twist of coincidence, that night just happened to be the night the Blood Moon was to appear. While it wasn’t the psychedelic level mind fuck a non-user might expect, glaring up at a purely red moon as the psilocybin creeped up on you was definitely a nice novelty.

The mushrooms began to kick in accompanied by the usual, brief, anticipatory feeling of anxiousness, but before long I was bouncing around the room, looking at objects ‘breathe’, watching the pattern on the ceiling of my apartment look like scattering pebbles, and, in a gesture appropriate of showing the childlike joy and enthusiasm this fine substance can bring on, pulled myself around on the carpet with just my forearms, dragging my knees behind me like some weird, tailed creature, and having a simplistic blast until I realized I’d immediately rug-burned the fuck out of my knees, leaving two perfect matching scabs on each cap.

None of that is really the meat of this story. As I mentioned, the chocolate version of mushrooms makes them incredibly easy to take, and so, in the midst of this fun trip, I decided to eat another little piece, and then another (and possibly another? It starts to blur). I remember a specific moment of my brother saying ‘That’s a lot of mushrooms, man’ and there was something genuine about the concern in his voice, something that belonged to the real world, not the one we were currently in, a sentence that made me feel subtly sad over the reality of how my brother would feel were his brother ever to go too far to the other side and fuck himself up over these kind of recreational activities. That sentiment is really at the heart of this story.

You see, as I mentioned, I do preach the use of these fungi quite often, believing in their potential for whomever may have the guts to try them. I’m the guy who’s never, ever had a bad trip (OK, once, but it was only after conjoining it with too much marijuana), the guy who can’t understand the knee-jerk trepidation that seems to fire out of human beings upon even name dropping mushrooms, and the one who turns into an enthusiastic golden retriever upon taking them. I embrace the role of the Pied Piper of psilocybin as gleefully as Dr. Leary did with acid back in the 60′s. So when my brother uttered his concern, I was left with a mashing of worlds, the one where I spout the gospel about these ‘harmless’ substances, and the one where my brother has to witness his sibling going all catatonic over delving too  deep into his experience. An odd, sobering moment that was perhaps foreshadowing.

Now, for those you who don’t dabble in drugs, one of the interesting things about them is how different substances react in different ways. Let’s say, for example, you’ve just been dumped by your girlfriend and  taken a bunch of pain killers, Oxycontin or Vicodin or some similar substance. When the thought of her enters your brain, it’s not going to fuck with your high. The pills bring on a pulsating body high, throbbing waves of pleasure, that will not be influenced by any bad thoughts. Sure you might not fully enjoy it because of how you feel, but that thought won’t tamper with the actual high. The ones you need to watch out for are drugs like LSD, mushrooms and ecstasy.

On these drugs, a single thought can snare your mentality like a fish hook and carry it off into another realm, a place you don’t want to be, and, because of the substance dancing through your system, now can’t escape from if you’re not properly experienced enough. One wrong moment of thinking about something unpleasant can completely redirect your trip.

I don’t remember if there was something specific that brought it on, but sometime after I ingested the second round, I started getting that effect: the insidious sensation that something was creeping around the corner that I didn’t want to see. I laid down on the floor, trying to relax, continued to joke with my friends in an attempt to stay normal and connected, rubbed various parts of my body in a stab at a self-massage, but none of these seemed to stand up against the inevitability of this feeling.

To make an attempt to explain: I have often enjoyed talking long walks while smoking a blunt, either listening to music or chatting with a friend along for the stroll. Because of the movement, and/or music and conversation, the high that the weed brings on is relegated to the background for the moment. When I stop walking for the first time, usually when I get back home, which is accompanied by me shutting off the music or stopping the conversation, the high that has been subdued washes over me like a tidal wave, suddenly increasing in intensity, and bringing on a feeling that is quite pleasant.

What I started to feel that night on the shrooms was that same impending tidal wave of increasing intensity, but, instead of being something pleasant, it felt like something that would be way too intense, something that I had to recreate an activity akin to walking or talking to distract myself from.

Any close friend knows of my odd predilection towards going into the bathroom while I’m high. Sometimes I take my headphones in there and make rap gestures to myself in the mirror, sometimes I bathe in detached, stoned vanity in the mirror, and sometimes I simply need to do some damage control in an environment that, for whatever reason, I feel truly comfortable in.

So into the bathroom I went, feeling like I needed isolation, a controlled environment, and a distance between myself and my friends. On that weed-mushroom combo platter bad trip I mentioned earlier, I ended up laying in bed next to my brother, repressing a desperate urge to ask him to hold his hand, as I felt I needed an anchor before I, like a balloon, started to float away farther and farther until I couldn’t be reached. When I told him of this later, he said I should have just been vocal about how bad it was getting, but I would’ve  been appalled at myself for ruining someone else’s good trip, and had similar feelings here. Better to be alone in the bathroom, despite the fact that I felt a natural urge to ask someone to hold me.

I felt hot, overheated in fact, so I started splashing cold water all over my neck and arms. It helped, albeit it in a very momentary kind of way, and the overall feeling of something peculiar creeping up on me that I had to use cold water or anything else I could think of lest it overtake me left me wondering, with much curiosity, what it actually feels like to lose yourself on mushrooms. Had I given up and just let the tidal wave overcome me, what would that have been like (the pulsating instincts in my body told me it would be an undesirable effect, but perhaps succumbing to it over fighting it would cause some relaxation?)?

But continue to fight I did, choosing to indulge in one of my other old friends of a tactic: my blessed capacity for narcissism. At first I tore my shirt off so I could splash the same cold water all over my chest, and ditto for me letting my long hair out of its ties in all its glorious, unwashed magnificence, but soon all of these elements combined led to something else entirely: a new level of acceptance about my looks.

Staring at myself, my long, dark mane of hair let down and framing a handsome boyish face that looked magazine cover ready, combined with a body that definitely wasn’t fuck-me status yet, but, through regular gym trips, close enough to see the vision of it, I found myself admitting how gorgeous and fuckable I really was. I couldn’t deny it – I looked goddamn fantastic. Somewhere in the midst of this madness I told myself, ‘Just admit once and for all that this I-don’t-get-girls shtick is just that, shtick’ and something about that stuck with a new sense of finality.

A few times during my bathroom retreat my friends called me out and cracked up at the disheveled sight they saw before them. There I was, half naked and wet, with a look on my face desperately trying to indicate I was OK. I dared not speak a word of the fear to them.

Eventually, I brought myself back down to an acceptable place and felt calm enough to rejoin the guys for some holy-fuck-were-these-made-just-for-us eye candy visuals they found on the internet. Much more relaxed but not fully there yet, I allowed myself to rest my head on my friend’s shoulder so I had some form of human contact.

When I was sure I was back to an acceptable place, we rolled up blunts and put on old 70′s Batman cartoons in the wee hours of the morning, an activity that I love with the same blinding passion that those of you who are parents probably feel for your kids. I was able to enjoy myself again, but it seemed I’d been sent a message: respect the goddamn psilocybin, for even YOU, Mr. Shrooms-are-fantastic-for-everyone, are not exempt from its wondrous, and sometimes disturbing, powers.

I slept through most of the morning and woke up to a birthday where the biggest thought on my mind was going to the strip club at night and getting some mutually exploitative fun. That too would prove to be a breeding ground for a supremely deep analysis of my life…

Face Hunting

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The other day at work I re-experienced something that has happened many times in my life, and yet feels fresh every time. A girl came into my line with a face that I soon recognized as not only beautiful but…The Face.

Ah yes, The Face. It seems like ever since I was a young child sending painful vibes of lust reverberating off the walls of my middle school, I’ve had some sort of beacon that guides me directly to a certain type of face that, well, makes me go ape shit.

In general, I’m a sucker for a pretty face. But I can look at a girl that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is ‘pretty’, fitting into our cultural model of that word, acknowledge that fact, and still not be personally attracted to her. There’s some kind of face that immediately drives me wild that, even with my strengthened writing muscles, I really have no hope in accurately describing to you. I can pick it out in a second though, my own, shallow, face-centric version of ‘gaydar’.

Even with my stockpiled buckets of lust for the female form, the gently rolling hills and valleys of a curvy woman, the comic book-like proportions that inspire the type of throbbing pain known only to males, it still doesn’t hold a candle to the type of hormonal madness The Face will inspire. I’m talking about the kind of face that turns a make-out session into a higher-up-on-the-body form of intercourse; the kind where every facial expression she makes is a different masterpiece, a swoon-inspiring work of art with every turn of the eyes or smile across the lips.

The thing that really gets me is how it cuts through my indifference to trying with females. Beyond any awful cocktail of fear and laziness that might get in the way, most times, as with a ton of other things in my life considered important by others, I just don’t care, hate to be bothered in fact. But when I saw that girl in my line, and The Face siren started ringing anew, I was left with that internal throbbing, that distinctly male feeling of failure, over not having tried to talk to her more. It tore through my current peace-inspiring apathy towards women with the vengeance of nature itself.

The effect of a face getting me to want to apply myself is not the real kicker here though. The thing that fucked with me as I thought about this girl was contemplating just how shallow I might really be. I have, although admittedly a rarity, lost my shit over a girl because of her personality, but, as I look back through the years, I feel like I have mostly gone all bug-eyed and love-struck because of how a girl looked, again, particularly the face.

What if I were to talk to this girl and ask her out? Would the joy I feel be similar to a rich art collector bidding on a priceless painting? Would any boyish ecstasy spawned from this simply be because of how she looked? Would any knowledge learned about her during our date be exciting only because it’s essentially extras on top of what really matters to me (i.e. ‘I really only needed the face, but wow, you read, too?! Unbelievable!)? Worst of all, would I decide to make her my girl, to date her for an extended period of time, just because of The Face, making any problems or shortcomings seem extraneous?

My lack of experience leaves me with no answers to these questions. I’d like to think I’m the type of guy who looks for more than that, but I also never want to make the mistake of underestimating the almighty Curse of the Penis. I don’t know how far I would have taken it had I actually gotten her number, nor do I know how much of this is me being a piece of shit or if it’s just a normal part of being a guy (after all, wouldn’t most guys have just gone for it, fucked her, and been done with it, as opposed to bathing in over-analyzation about the affair?).

The only thing I do know is that I have a Face Hunter in me, some tribal warrior of aesthetic pleasure, and that fucker was left shaking, having to wait an hour to come down from the high just seeing that girl for but a minute installed in him. Jesus Christ, what a rush.

Critics Are Pussies

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After I started writing some pieces on different aspects of entertainment, people began telling me I should submit my work to magazines. It was, as always, a pleasant feeling. The thing that really gets me however, is now, when I pick up my favorite magazines to read, I see no difference between their writing and mine. I believe you guys were right – I’m already on that level. Oh, don’t get me wrong,  a writer can, obviously, always continually improve upon their craft, and I intend to, but when I read reviews of movies or music now, I just think , ‘Yeah, I could do that.’

Writing has become an amazing passion but there’s something that nags at me about committing myself to that and only that. It’s not just the lust I have to be a lightning rod of an entertainer and the years I’ve spent studying said ridiculous occupation, but something that I read in Miley Cyrus’ ‘Rolling Stone’ interview that appeared right after the VMA’s. All obsessive rants and jokes about my love for Miley aside, I found something in that interview that should be the holy grail for anyone who considers themselves an entertainer. She has a tattoo that reads:

‘…so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.’

Taken from a Teddy Roosevelt speech (the rest of which is pretty awesome if you want to look it up), her explanation of the tattoo was simply: ‘it’s about critics.’

In the post-VMA wake of endless discussion, but mostly, endless harsh criticism (which always seems to glow brighter than the supportive comments), it seemed incredibly relevant and revelatory. How many of the people who were so quick to cut into her could handle, even for a day, the torrent of media hatred and attention that was thrown at her?

All the people gleefully making comments on the internet, the  most ripe breeding ground for anonymous vehemence ever, would probably crumble in a pile of tears were they to ever Google their own name and find a seemingly perpetual flow of vitriol aimed exclusively at them. It takes no guts, no bravery, hell, no effort even, to make a comment about someone on the internet. And while I can respect the craft of writing behind critic’s articles, this one little tattoo inscribed on the skin of an ex-Disney starlet made me realize just how gutless the act of criticizing someone who’s put themselves out there really is.

There’s a nice reworking of the classic ‘Those who can’t do, teach’ from a favorite underground rapper of mine, Copywrite, that goes, ‘Those who can’t do, review’ and I believe that sums it up nicely. How many movie critics tearing into the latest blockbuster with joyful, articulate, smirking adolescent glee have even attempted to pick up a video camera and film a short, let alone bore witness to the process of something as challenging as trying to assemble a feature film? How many snide music bloggers could ever make a hit song themselves? And, of course, how many Americans who were so quick to fire insults at the latest media punching bag could withstand the tsunami of attention that comes with twerking all over giant teddy bears in an outfit to which ‘revealing’ is a crippled understatement of a description?

Don’t get me wrong, I love reading reviews. My devotion to the movie  review site Rotten Tomatoes borders on the deranged. But I can’t help seeing these people as benchwarmers, observers, wallflowers watching the action who will never know ‘victory nor defeat’, and there’s something hopelessly pathetic about that.

So while I will continue to write about pop culture, my gorgeous obsession, becoming purely a critic is something I would never want to do. I want to be up there on the stage, exposing myself to the world and feeling the corresponding heat. I want to throw myself into the terror and see exactly what happens. I want to put myself out there on a dinner plate for the world and smile with pride as I’m assaulted by a bunch of people who would never have the nerve to get out from behind the laptop and do an open mic at a dive bar, let alone attempt to be a famous entertainer.

And that’s really the lesson here for anyone who aspires to this crazy, bug-nutty pipe dream of a career: just do your thing, because for every spineless hater who could never bring themselves to do what you do, there’ll be a fan ready to embrace you for the very same reason.

After all, who the fuck wants to read a book about war from someone who’s never even been a soldier, let alone stuck in a foxhole, shaking with fear for their life?

Intelligence in the Mainstream

Rejoice, my friends, for we have gotten back what we so sorely missed when Dave Chappelle hopped on that plane to Africa and abruptly pulled the plug on his show. It wasn’t that Chappelle was funny (though, my God, he was, exhibiting the electric cartoonish energy of Bugs Bunny, whom he called an influence on his ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’ appearance), it was that he was a thinking man with a working brain who actually put it to use. Watching ‘Chappelle’s Show’, one could expect a skit purely based on puerile potty humor, or one that cut into the racial tension still lurking in America with a machete, carrying the torch for legendary acts like Richard Pryor. To have someone work his way this deep into the mainstream, earning the coveted ‘It’ comedian spot, the worshipful respect of the all important kids and getting offers to be on the MTV Movie Awards, all the while attempting to actually provoke meaningful and intellectual discussion through comedy, was truly something to be grateful for.

You see, finding passion and truth and rawness in the underground, while still exhilarating, is no big deal. You will always find it there if you look deep enough. What makes things truly special and culturally resonant is when that type of mentality makes it to the big time. Just look at the demon-from-hell scream of Kurt Cobain going top ten to see what a powerful effect the mixing of both worlds can have.

Now, finally, we have this again with the glorious example of Louis CK. Having now indisputably claimed the spot of America’s Best Comic, Louis is everything we could ask for in a mainstream built on sickening materialism and sleek, artificial shine. Vulnerable and exposed to a fault, Louis is as adamant about digging into himself as he is about the bullshit of society. He takes the time honored tradition of comedian as truth teller and puts it in a strangle hold until it cries uncle.

To watch the surrealistic brilliance of his show, ‘Louie’, is to see an artist, not creatively-bankrupt studio heads, in complete control of their work. Louis serves as star, writer, director, editor, and producer, and, just like in an excellent movie with the same person writing and directing, you can feel the overflow of passion that comes when no powers that be get in the way. At times oddly jarring enough to be considered akin to an ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’ episode, ‘Louie’ is a show willing to take chances, and it shines all the brighter for it.

As pop culture provides an endless parade of ridiculously digestible, mindless drivel, it’s comforting, reassuring, and exhilarating to see someone who actually cares, who actually uses the organ between their ears, burst onto the mainstream.

All hail King Louis! I hope he’s here to stay for a very long time.