Friday, March 18, 2016

second level severity

"we're cool, just don't call me out like that in the meeting again"

oh, i won't call you out in a meeting again. you've got your point - i'm not going to dispute that. it's more important to understand than to be understood. but at the end, i understand this most of all: we're not cool. we never were. and to think that i trusted you enough after a few short weeks to think that we were, well that just shows me that i was being a dumbass.

i know damn well that you can't trust people at work. i'm experienced enough to know better. i know that no matter how cool someone tries to get with you, they will never, ever understand you or where you're coming from. they will certainly never understand your honesty or sense of humour, and you'll sure as hell never be able to adapt to theirs. you are going to put your fucking foot in your mouth and piss off the wrong person eventually so it is best to simply stop trying to fit in, be friends, loosen up, any of that. you are simply too awkward around these people and you fucking know that!

no more mr funny guy. time to be a full on class a mr serious. because the next time they decide to pull a hissy fit it could land you in fucking court. just don't even go there because they are most certainly not worth it.

i write this because, as expected, after a few weeks of remaining on guard and 100% professional around these two oddballs who are obviously bffs, i began to loosen up a little and let my guard down, exposing my sense of humour and playing along a little with their gags. at first, i was afraid to do this, because it is very difficult (read: impossible) to censor myself effectively for strangers/professional environment if i'm allowing brevity.

the problem with not censoring myself effectively is that i have a mean voice inside. it says things through me that sound WAY different than what i actually mean. it comes from my family, from the way we've been raised for generations. there is just some really cutting, awful shit that comes out sometimes, and the saddest thing is, it usually comes out when we are trying, from the heart, to help out and be honest.

this is the curse of my family: to, while trying really hard to offer help or honest advice, completely belittle someone and make them feel inadequate and hopeless. you feel in your chest that you're projecting empathy and sincerity, and what comes out of your mouth ends up being wrong, and you just watch as the other person's face twists up in pain. people almost never want to hear the truth, no matter how you say it. and then you realize afterward that this person just shut down completely and thinks you're an absolute fuckhead for saying whatever it is that you said.

so after you called me out for making you feel icky (by offering a helping hand), and me feeling shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, guilt, shame, shame, shame and guilt, now i'm just pissed. because at the end of the day it's my own fucking fault. i know better. i let my guard down. i hurt someone else by letting my awful self out. and at the end of it all, i feel like that person is a fuckhead for getting hurt over something so trivial.

that's complicated. and i'm not trying to live a complicated life. so here's the news: we are not cool. we will never be cool. it's professional and that's it.

my mouth is shut and will not open again.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

teething on treason

have you ever thought back on the things you used to say and think? do they make you wonder what the fuck you were about with this shit? i know i do.

"i've been reading israeli blogs to get a feel for whats up in the east. i havent gone over to the lebanese blogs yet, but i'm getting there. i managed to start a low grade flamewar with an anonymous commenter on the israeli blog i was checking out. it was quite obvious from his poor grammar and spelling and oddly shallow yet aggressive mindset that he was american. the real giveaway was how he kept quoting michael savage. it was funny to me, because he was talking about the enemy within on an israeli blog, with people who have probably never heard of savage, let alone the enemy within thing. it's a whole book, for peter's sake. this anonymous ameriki was ranting about how in a time of war, if people were protesting against the war, we would (read: should) arrest them for treason. most of the israeli and lebanese commenters pointed out that americans are always too ready to denounce that which our country was founded on. (free speech, for one)

as usual, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. yes, in a time of war (what time isnt a time of war these days, for any people of earth?) we must be vigilant and watch for treasonous and seditious enemies of our states, within our own borders, and protect ourselves. but consider the fact that now, although we are not at war with any specific country, not officially, for what its worth, we have leftist senators and congressman rooting for al qaida and hizballah simply because if the terrorists gain ground, so will bush lose ground, along with his party. no thoughts for the innocents that might die on the road to re-election. consider also the case of the new york times and its lewd and perverse relationship with the CIA, enabling them to come across valuable national security information and then publish it for the american people and those who wish to destroy our way of life to see. these are all people and organizations running free within our "democracy", and i have seen no charges brought against them. at the same time as the left tries to destroy our country under the false flag of diversity and "the common man", the right in this country is busy inviting anyone south of the border to come on in and live off of our taxpayers. nevermind the millions of people waiting impatiently in line to come to our fine country, if you are from mejico, you get a free pass to the front of the line! free tacos, and free healthcare. all you have to do is trudge your sweaty, downtrodden ass across the border. dont worry, there is no fence. just welcoming border patrol agents, and goodwill emissaries with bottles of water.

i raised the point with this fellow, that if we should prosecute simple, peaceful, (although perhaps ignorant and sometimes violent) demonstrators, then why should we not try those at the highest levels of government, and those who sit in their ivory towers of the media establishment, for their treasonous actions? for one, our system has no recourse through which the people can bring down the fools who claim to represent them and shame them in the streets. once in office, you can believe that they will stay in office. for a good, long time. representative republic, my ass!"


an angry young man i was. obviously dissatisfied with the offerings from the talk radio, and not presented with any decent offerings from the nonexistent left media, and saturated by the blogosphere of the times, i really had no fucking idea what i was talking about. sure, i was passionate. but even in this vehement rant, which i look back upon now as being completely ignorant, i notice a constant: a burning anger that the whole thing is a crock of slow cooking bullshit that makes "sides" look like wrinkled little pork rinds. my youthful anger was easily co-opted into some shit that doesn't make a fuck of difference no matter whose side i fell in with. children, youth, young adults in the US - join me in being FUCK ALL pissed off that we don't have shit we can get behind, and are instead distracted by "both sides" and now even with "micro aggressions" and ever-more inane talking points that serve only to further enslave us and every child we birth into a bewilderingly ignorant future. fuck what i've been taught and fuck what i was ever exposed to. this is ridiculous and always has been.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

stifling sensitivity

it takes time to rebuild.

Looking up from his ledgers and lists, he takes a moment, by accident, to breathe deeply and take in the things going on in the room. The low hum of the fan he keeps on to distract from his tinnitus, the fan which he is beginning to suspect might be causing his tinnitus. the door cracked open because he never bothered to put on a doorknob. beyond it, a room full of unnecessary boxes cast aside in haste to get to their contents. things underneath that should go into place in rooms not yet built. items around them which hold enough meaning to be kept and forgotten rather than rejected and thrown out. it passes through his mind that he ought to do something about these things before it starts to get really cluttered out there, and realizes that it is really fucking cluttered out there. following that thought with the usual analytical zeal he tends to unwittingly summon up when he has something more pressing to do which is just boring or difficult enough to make it worth procrastinating, he begins to count up how long he's been here, how tidy things used to be kept, and what happened between now and then that allowed the mess to get so far out of hand.

Another deep breath, this one intentional, and a smile, he remembers how bad things used to be, and gives honest thanks that his most serious concern at the moment is finding some time to pick up the anteroom.

I happened by here today through a glitch that had someone posting a comment to my last post about something totally unrelated. i started idly scrolling through and caught a glimpse of myself during a very difficult time in my life and immediately felt the urge to take it down. but this is a pre 2010 blog, started in a time when social media was a little more honest, a little less obsessed with polishing a public image. a blog takes effort to go and read, you have to type in an address, click on a bookmark, or add it to your rss. this effort means that your blog will most likely have 0 readers at any given moment, so it's easier to be honest knowing that no one is going to read what you have to say, at least not for a few years or so. compare that with the always-on mobile-centric social media of 2016, where everything you post is viewed by everyone you know, and in many cases, everyone they know and even some people three or four times removed, couple that with the fact that no one really stops to read anything you write unless it makes their brain squirt off some chemicals as they idly scroll by it, unless it pisses them off, makes them horny, jealous, insecure, affectionate, mirthful, etc, well, these days you have to keep it short and sweet and you have to make sure you don't rock the boat. i'm glad to remain detached from that type of media. in this less trafficked milieu the urge to polish the image is weak, often nonexistent if there are no self-pictures on the site.

on the surface, i was writing about my health. hindsight shows me that i was writing and thinking about something else, and in a very fierce denial about it, because denial is so much easier than facing your fears and stepping out into the horror of the world as it is, rather than as we tell ourselves it is, taking a breath and smelling garbage, looking up at the sky and feeling very small. The world outside is a tough place. harder and nastier still is the world we make up in our heads and try to defend even as it ravages our bodies and grinds our hopes under it's spurred heel.

it took time to rebuild, but first i had to look up from my bullshit, take a deep breath, and face the things that were wrong with my life, the piss poor decisions i had made, the cowardice i displayed in hiding from them. to consider fixing it up, i had to realize that the place had gone to shit and fallen apart.

the health problems i was facing in my last post are 95% healed. juicing didn't help, no fad diets helped, and the round after round of medication the clueless doctors were happy to keep prescribing in lieu of actually treating me made things undeniably worse every single day. though i did change a few things regarding nutrition and lifestyle, the main thing that accounts for the bulk of my recovery is the practice of buddhist meditation.

overtime i began to realize that my health and happiness depended on me opening up completely to all of the things in my mind and my experience, especially the things that made me hurt, and the thoughts that made me afraid. i had to stifle my sensitivity and let life beat  me as bad as it wanted, let my feelings be felt fully, in the face of my own horror at what they would do to me. before finding buddhist meditation, if i had attempted to experience life this way, it is likely that i would have become a danger to myself (i already was, but it would have gotten worse). meditation was the tool which allowed me to build a toolbox and put a few useful implements inside. with these in hand, i began the hard work of rebuilding my mind, body, and life.

and it's working much better than a few days with a juicer followed by a plunge back into denial.




Tuesday, April 30, 2013

voracious vertigo

lately i've been dealing with sporadic bouts of extreme vertigo followed by very uncomfortable panic attacks, which happen in a sort of feedback loop that make me feel basically like i'm dying. not fun! It's been going on for some time now, but getting worse and worse. I finally sat down and thought about it and realized that it began when i started using protopic for an annoying skin condition. upon actually reading the indications and possible side effects, i found that "dizziness and increased heart rate" listed among the more uncommon possibilities. looks like i'm uncommon.

anyway, once i realized this it became clear - i needed to quit using this stuff and improve my diet so that i won't need it in the first place. I've been meaning to try juice fasting for several years now and this seemed like the perfect time to take a few days off and do it. Even though i quit using protopic over a week ago, the side effects have not completely left me (although it's much less severe). I figured not eating for a few days would help my body purge the remaining medication from my system. ideally, one eats a raw vegan diet for the two days before and two days after a fast such as this, but i didn't have this luxury for my first two days. we'll see how that affects this process. I have the stuff now to close out this adventure with a few vegan meals, but not all of it will be raw. the three days in between will be all juice, tea and water.

I'm using the 3-day reboot plan from rebootwithjoe.com - this website used to be kind of broken and the sales pitch was pretty hard. you had to really use your web-fu to get the information you needed without paying for it. thankfully they've updated the site and now all of the free information is easily available. the paid services are still offered, but you don't feel quite so much like you're at a mall kiosk getting the old israeli hard sell tactics foisted on you.

this site definitely has the most useful and best organized information for juice fasting. their plans come in pdf form, with simple instructions and a shopping list. here's the obligatory before picture, with me looking overweight, unshaven and miserable:



1pm: day 1 starts with 2 cups of hot lemon ginger tea. I added a little honey because I'm a rebel. i'm looking forward to this experience. right now i'm pretty motivated and feel pretty good. i just hope i can make it through once food cravings start. I haven't practiced much (if any) self control over the past 10 years, and this might get kind of rough. this will also be the first time in 10 years that i voluntarily go more than 6 days without drinking a beer.



 245pm: i go orange with carrot apple lemon juice. i forgot to take a picture, but i'm sure i'll make this again. it's pretty good. no food craving so far. i think being home helps a lot since i tend to compulsively eat at work. i've always eaten when i was bored, even when i was a kid. this was never a problem until 9-5 sedentary bullshit began to take over my life.

 333pm: starting to feel a little wierd. not hungry yet, just odd. i think my body is trying to decide whether or not to punish me for this.

 340pm: i just realized that with my normal sleep/wake schedule, i should be consuming something every 1.5 hours according to this plan. I'm comforted by this rather tiny interval. I'm going for a walk now with my roomate's dog.

415pm: according to the plan i should drink some coconut water, but i don't have any so i go green with apple-cucumber-kale-parsley juice. i once again forget to take a picture. it just tastes like apple and cucumber as our juicer doesn't do a very good job with the parsley. i definitely prefer the spicier juices, but this one was big and filling. my roomate's taco bell smells really good, and i don't even like taco bell.

430pm: the trots!

545pm: green again, this time kale-spinach-apple-cucumber-celery-lemon. this is more like it! it's sour, savory, and kind of salty. my kind of juice. something left a bit of grit at the bottom of the juice. guess i should wash this stuff better beforehand. surprisingly, my cravings for food are so far minimal at best. i feel full and satisfied. it's probably a good thing that i'm basically alone without any of my usual eating triggers to deal with, and without having to watch anyone else eat delicious stuff.



610pm: trotsky!

615pm: false alarm. something in that last juice has made my tongue feel really wierd.

645pm: hunger. it is here. i should probably do something, such as my scheduled exercises.

745pm: red! i've been looking forward to this all day. apple-carrot-beet-ginger-beet green-spinach. this is like drinking infant blood, if that were something that would be really awesome. spicy and savory. i just wish there was more! still sandy at the bottom though. I'm starting to think it's the "washed" spinach i'm using.



the cut beet made a heart on the cutting board. a heart beet! awww



755pm: i'm still not "hungry" per se, but i definitely want some of my usual comfort foods. so far i think i can handle saying no.

758pm: had to help my roommate make a reese's chocolate shake. stop testing me damn it! THIS IS NOT THE TEMPTATION OF ST ANTHONY, IT IS A FUCKING JUICE FAST! LET UP A LITTLE!

i tried making a collage with the horse from dali's temptation holding a burrito and a shake, but it was making me hungry.

818pm: actually starting to deal with waves of hunger. might have to make an extra juice if i can't make it to 915.

915: had tea to tide me over. surprisingly it helped a lot. my gf is cooking a pizza of course. this will be difficult. next i'm having kale-cucumber-celery-apple-lime-ginger. pretty good, but surprisingly better with the lemon than with lime. i added the rest of the parsley for the hell of it.



938pm: still not really hungry, but i definitely want some pizza.

1038pm: found two tiny square pepperonis from my gfs pizza. my will broke and i ate them. they were delicious.

1045pm: for "dessert", we're supposed to go purple. i didn't notice that all of the purple recipes call for blueberries, which i bought frozen because they're like $5 a pint fresh.





i was not about to drop $20 on blueberries for this. mint and basil were also needed for a few of these recipes, but the $3-$4 bunches of each were so pathetic that i didn't bother.



i'm having sweet potato-pear-apple-blueberry. hopefully the blueberries have thawed enough to produce some juice. i'll be sure to leave some out so i'm ready tomorrow.

1046: berries frozen solid. substituting watermelon. this was good, but not so great. this is probably because sweet is not one of my favorite things. the recipe for this was also way, way off, as have been a couple of the others. i'd expect about 32 oz of juice per recipe, so i juiced everything but the watermelon and stopped at 32 oz. one of the recipes calls for 1/4 watermelon, which is probably about 64oz of juice by itself! i used less of just about everything for this one. definitely not my favorite - sweet and thick. i just hope it keeps me from waking up in the middle of the night starving.



lastly i'll have some tea and more water and hope this doesn't make me wet the bed.

1209am: getting ready for bed. had some cravings but they've subsided. I expected to feel really hungry and crappy by now, but i feel sated and awake. we'll see what happens tomorrow.


DAY TWO
--------------------

felt pretty good all yesterday and didn't want to jinx it by saying so. I didn't experience any of the typical panicky symptoms until the end of the night when i was trying to sleep. i always get really hot as soon as i close my eyes, so it's even more annoying when i feel like i'm having a mild heart attack and cant breathe very well.

also, what is it with the body triggering the itch response as you fall asleep? why does the body resist sleep in this way? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THE BODY?

i also discovered today that the shopping list on the reboot plan is way, way off. i have too much of some things and ran out of the others by the end of day 1. i guess the intent here is that you'll go shopping every day, which i'd be fine with if the only store that carries all this crap wasn't 4 miles away in 100 degree heat. this necessitates using a car for the shopping, which is something i try to avoid. I have to make a trip to the library anyway, so whatever. but i swear i'm not driving anywhere tomorrow.

115pm: lemon ginger tea again. i skipped the honey this time. i will not skip it again.

137pm: i'm preparing orange-beet-carrot juice for my orange breakfast. today i'll take some pictures of what this stuff looks like after it's been decimated by an electric motor.



this stuff tasted ok at first, but left a bitter, poisonous aftertaste that got worse as it lingered. it coated my tongue and made me feel naseous. i ate a piece of watermelon to help clear it out. guess i should have peeled the oranges - that's the only thing that could make such a vile taste. it would have been more cost effective (and easier) to just add carrot and beet juice to a glass of oj, or just squeeze the oranges into the carrot beet juice.



347pm: running errands completely screwed my 1.5 hr schedule. i got some coconut water since i figured it would be easier than making juice, but i think juice would be better.



coco water is great but it's not helping me feel less hungry. being at the grocery store is a terrible idea during this process. i wanted to eat everything in sight. hell, being anywhere except in my room makes me want to do that. even the kitchen is a tough place to be. i just have to stay occupied with other things like dealing with the bureaucracy of my insurance company. so far, day 2 sucks, but i don't feel as bad as i expected.

on insurance: a "free wellness visit/physical" in which the doctor didn't even touch me and sent me to get blood work instead just cost me $73.05. the insurance company could not explain with any sort of clarity why this is. after talking in circles with an associate and a supervisor for 20 minutes i did what any good drone does and gave up. the insurance industry, particularly when it comes to health insurance, is one of the biggest and most obvious rackets in the united states today. will these people be prosecuted for their blatant racketeering, not to mention the suffering they inflict on their fellow countrymen?

not a fucking chance.

437pm: going green again with kale-spinach-apple-cucumber-celery-lemon. this stuff is fucking disgusting. i'm starting to think that the bitter poison taste is me, not the juice. i used a whole lemon in this yesterday and it did not taste this awful. guess i'll peel it next time and see if there's a difference. this recipe made about 32 oz of juice. way too much for how bad it tastes right now.



504pm: choking down the rest of the last juice and hoping i don't vom. i'm officially starting to feel like shit. i think i'm going to lay down.

612: time to go red with apple-beet-ginger-green-carrot. no pictures. i want to die. well, not really. i just want a cheeseburger or something. definitely feeling like crap right about now.

637: just finished juicing and cleaning up. juicing is definitely faster than cooking and eating. one thing i did not expect, and that no one has ever mentioned in any of the research i've done regarding juice fasting, is that on day two, everything tastes like shit. the juice i just had was by far my favorite from yesterday, and today it just tasted like dirt. bitter, nasty dirt. i've also been washing everything really well and there is still a fine grit at the bottom of every juice, leading me to begin dumping the last sip instead of drinking it. my tongue feels like someone glued something to it, and this bitter taste just will not go away.

640: ugh.

815: green. disgusting.

941: laying around feeling awful. it's not really bad, i've had worse hangovers, but i just have no motivation to do anything at all. i'm not really hungry, not really craving anything, but those things are in the back of my mind. i'm sick of the way tv shows start out interesting but then get ruined with romance and conflict. why does everyone like this shit so much? why can't a show just be interesting, and leave it at that?

943: we're supposed to have something purple or orange. the purple recipes all look incredibly vile. hopefully carrot apple ginger won't taste as nasty as everything else today.

956: not terrible, but not as good as it was on day one. at least i didn't feel like i was drinking poison. i also realized that i didn't weigh myself on day one. not a big deal since i'm not doing this for weight loss, but for posterity's sake we'll mention that i've been steady between 185-190 for quite some time now. i don't expect to drop below that permanently until i can start walking more. i've considered the treadmill, as lame as it seems. as much as i enjoy walking to work and back, i just can't do the 100 degree shuffle this summer. the food cravings are much, much easier to resist at the moment, i guess due to the fact that i'm actually taking in nutrients rather than delicious empty macronutrient calories. i haven't had the familiar spike/drop in blood sugar that causes me to shake and go for the nearest thing - flamin hot cheetos, mcdonalds, whatever. i want them, but it's been much easier to say no than i thought it would be. adding juicing to my daily routine should help a lot with this, but it's really more a matter of time than anything else. i don't eat bad food just because i like it, i usually wind up eating it because i don't have time for anything else. i'm always on the fucking road or rushing back to my desk from a break or running some ridiculous errand. this, more than anything, contributes to my poor diet. i'm a step ahead of most because i actually like healthy food. the problem is finding the time and money to eat it.

1157pm: feeling a lot less awful. symptoms that i described from the medication seem to be almost gone. i've gotten a few flashes of anxiety and dizziness but my heart rate has stayed in check. i mostly just want a burger or something. i'm having the end of the day tea now and hope that i'll be able to sleep with this feeling of mild hunger. usually it keeps me up but i'm over halfway there now and can't quit. the skin symptoms i was using the stuff for in the first place (dryness and itching) are there, but not as bad as it used to be. my skin looks really dry in the morning but it lessens throughout the day. i don't expect three days of juice to take care of that but i hope that it helps to begin the process. i'm really hoping that by this time next week the side effects from the medicine will just be a crappy memory.

DAY THREE
----------------------------

221pm: i was wide awake last night since i had been laying in bed all day. The plan recommends stopping all non prescription medication before and during the fast, but i'd rather sleep than lay awake all night feeling crappy and hungry.i had to take a ton of pills to get to sleep.  as a result i slept much later than i intended. i don't feel as crappy, and my tongue doesn't feel mossy anymore. we'll see if that returns when i have juice after this lemon ginger tea. I weighed myself out of curiosity and found that as of 2pm im at 172. that was pretty shocking - that means that i lost between 8-18 pounds in two days, given room for the +/-5 that i'm always fluctuating between anyway. I don't think i look any different, but we'll see with the after photo tomorrow and a final weigh in.

i also had some mild symptoms last night when trying to sleep. my heart rate was normal, but it was beating so hard i could hear it in my ears. breathing felt odd. i attribute this more to the 6 hylands calms forte, 6 hylands insomnia and 3 melatonin i had to take in order to sleep than to side effects from the protopic. my skin looks better than it did yesterday morning, but is still dry in patches.

245: having a lot of trouble focusing. i'm going to make carrot apple lemon juice and hope it doesn't make me want to barf.

301: it was actually really good. I used a lime instead of a lemon and i was sure to fully peel it this time.

330: i started to feel cold and shaky so i had my next serving of swill early. coconut water tastes much better today.



411pm: green. kale-spinach-apple-cucumber-celery-lemon. not great, but tolerable. i completely peeled the lemon and made sure to use less cucumber than is recommended. my tongue finally feels normal! thank god.

431: i got to thinking about how inaccurate the shopping list and parts of the recipes are, so i'll share my findings below.

shopping list on 3 day reboot pdf, with my notes next to each ingredient:


Herbs
1 bunch basil (too expensive for such a small amount, i skipped this)
1 bunch mint (same as above)
1 bunch parsley (centrifugal ejection juicers like mine don't make much juice from parsley. it comes out looking much like it went in, and doesn't change the flavor of the juice. I'd skip this next time.)
1 gingeroot (i like ginger, so probably wound up using 3 1"x1" pieces per day.)
cinnamon for your pantry (no idea why they describe it as "for your pantry". it's only used in one recipe, which i didn't like. no need to buy this.)

Fruits
12 apples, green or other (it's tough to buy a dozen apples. they come by the pound for too much money, or in bags of 8 or 9 for about $4. i will wind up using about 18 small apples by the time i'm finished. go for bags of small apples - the big ones make too much juice and aren't worth the money unless you're going to enjoy them on their own.)
3 oranges (I made one of the two recipes calling for oranges and was not impressed. I won't make it again, since as i mentioned you might as well just mix some bottled oj with fresh carrot and apple juice, or simply squeeze the oranges by hand for a cheaper, easier solution.)
3 lemons (again, this amount is purely fictional. you'll need at least 4, i think i'll have used 5 by the time this is done.)
2 limes (only one recipe calls for lime, and it uses basil. i could have skipped the limes altogether, but i like them. they're also going to be great for the jicama watermelon feta salad i'm planning for my first solid food meal tomorrow.)
2 peaches or pears (be sure to get hard, unripe pears. organic peaches were either too expensive or unavailable, and the pears i got were too soft and made kind of a puree. the recipe that used them was gross anyway. i'll skip these next time.)
1 small watermelon, or half a watermelon (i wound up getting a 2 pack of personal seedless watermelons from costco, only to find that two of the same melon would have been 1$ less at the grocer. that's how they get you! I actually only needed one personal watermelon for this whole deal, so 1/4 of a whole watermelon would have been more than enough.)
1 bunch of grapes (i haven't used these at all. also, grapes are sold by the pound in large bags - be careful with this as it's a total rip off. one of those bags costs about $7, so be sure to take some out and stuff them into another bag for the next sucker. no one ever eats a whole bag of grapes anyway. i think i got about $2 worth and the one recipe that calls for them calls for overpriced herbs so i'll just wind up eating them as a snack. i could have skipped these as well).
2 baskets of blueberries (fuck off! I'm comfortable, but not wealthy by any means. fresh, out of season berries are not something i'm willing to pay through the nose for. I got a giant bag of frozen blueberries from costco since i can use them for smoothies and they won't go bad. I didn't even wind up using the ones i thawed out. blueberries are nice, but not necessary to get through this.)

Vegetables
15 large carrots (this is way off. i got a 5lb bag of baby carrots so i wouldnt have to fuck around prepping them. I'll probably have used about 4lbs by the time i'm done, which is equivalent to far more than 15 carrots.)
1 bunch of kale/Australian Tuscan cabbage, or other green (this is also pure fantasy. the bulk of these recipes kall for kale (see what i did there?), and 1 bunch consists of 8-10 leaves. each kale recipe calls for 6-8 leaves, meaning you're using more than half a bunch at a time. make this three bunches and you'll be good to go.)
1 small bunch spinach (don't fuck around with bunched spinach. it's always covered in sand and soaking wet, it rots too quickly and it's a pain. i'll wind up using 2.5-3 half ounce boxes of washed salad spinach, shown below.)




4 cucumbers (jointhereboot.com's idea of a cucumber must be much smaller than the cucumbers i'm used to. each time i used a full sized cucumber, it made too much juice and killed the other flavors a bit. plus, cucumber is in all of the green juice recipes. considering that you drink 3 green juices a day, 4 is once again a completely oddball number to recommend. I bought extra cucumbers on day 2, having already bought a 3 pack of giant english cucumbers from costco. i realized that cutting that three pack into thirds would have given me 9 appropriate size cucumber pieces, plenty for all three days. if you're using the normal cucumbers you find at the store, cut them in half. that will make plenty of juice.)
1 bunch celery (surprisingly accurate! 1 bunch should last all three days with a little bit leftover.)
4 beets (i got a bunch of 4 small beets with tops. i got extra on day 2 since i liked the beet recipe from day 1 so much, but will probably use 5 beets at most for all three days. I'd definitely recommend getting smaller beets with the tops on, since they'll cost less than buying by the pound and the greens have plenty of that crazy red beet stuff in them.)
1 sweet potato (i got two for some reason, and the one recipe that calls for sweet potato sucked. i'll skip this completely next time, since they don't make much juice and don't really add any flavor.)

another note here, this time about refrigeration: every refrigerator i've had in san antonio has the strange ability to freeze veggies while leaving everything else alone. try to get everything into the crisper drawers or keep them at the front of the middle shelf. anytime i forget to do this, veggies like cucumbers, watermelon, tomato, and sometimes even carrots will be frozen solid. not great for juicing, and unfit for eating plain. it's one of the biggest challenges to eating fresh veggies here. i also have to keep my greens in special bags lest they instantly wilt when placed into the fridge.

I'm also curious as to the total cost of this adventure. i tossed my receipts, but looking back over the list, i'd estimate that i spent about $85 on the shopping list above. having gone through it and knowing now what i need and don't need, i could probably do this for around $55. doing it properly and making sure to have raw vegan meals for the 2 days preceding and following would probably bring it back up to about $75. seems like a lot, but not so bad considering the monetary and mental costs of feeling sick all the time. it's likely that i'll be able to add a juice to my daily routine without adding much to my overall weekly grocery budget, and entirely feasible that i could do a 3 day juice fast once a month. so far today i'm feeling pretty good, so if i could do days 1 and 2 on my days off, day 3 could be done at work if i find a few juice recipes that store well in the fridge over the course of the day.

529: i feel remarkably normal. no cravings, not really hungry, and my mind is working at it's normal state of spacy focus. guess i'll pick up the house a bit.

545: red. apple-beet-carrot-ginger-spinach. better than yesterday, but not as incredibly awesome as on day 1. maybe i need to use more ginger. i peeled the beet this time which reduced the bitterness, but it still tasted kind of like dirt. I can't figure out why it was so good on day 1, but now is just sort of meh. I think i'm going to be using a lot more cilantro and lime next time i do this. cilantro, lime, and ginger usually make veggie juice pretty tasty.



609pm: the cat will not leave me alone. every time i get up he just stands by his food and looks at me.


636: reading weirdcraft issue 3 which can be found here. i feel kind of wierd and vaguely dizzy at times. not nearly as bad as last week, but i'm starting to think that this is related to something other than protopic, which exacerbated it. it could be from taking melatonin every day for a few years. the lame thing is, being able to sleep without it and stay within my designated work and life schedule will require some really difficult changes and a lot of sleepless nights. my sleep cycle is a topic for another day though.

715: green. celery-apple-ginger-lemon-cucumber-kale. peeling the citrus is definitely a must. this still was not very good, but it was tolerable. i'm looking forward to eating regular food tomorrow, but i'm surprised at the vagueness of my cravings. the first things that come to mind are cheeseburgers, chinese food and pizza, although when i think about it, i don't really want any of those things. i'm going to make a watermelon jicama salad, i know that much. probably some russian beet salad with the leftover beets and some potato mushroom saute. I'll probably be out and about so it's anyone's guess what i'll wind up having to eat.

837: roomate returns home with mcdonalds. the thought of eating it is not a pleasant one, but my body is starting to rebel and try to get me to eat. i really can't wait til tomorrow. my mind is reeling with attempts to rationalize breaking the fast tonight rather than tomorrow.

844: orange-carrot-apple-ginger-lemon. i'm going crazy and combining two recipes. what a hoot. this was actually really good. i substituted lime for lemon. slightly less hungry now, but with the end in sight, this tortoise might be stopping off before the finish line for a snack. my body just might win this one.

910: in an effort to stop thinking about delicious food i bend the rules a little and have some camaronazo. hey, it's juice, right?



in case you don't have this fine beverage in your region, it's a tomato shrimp cocktail. it's the shrimpy cousin of the clam version, clamato. both are delicious, especially with beer or vodka.


sadly, no images of people partying on the beach with clamato. but the above recipe looks tasty - i never thought of putting maggi seasoning in a michelada. it might be the most tasty thing ever. sadly, most people i know don't understand the beauty of a salty, tomatoey seafood beverage. this is the look i usually get when i talk about it:

(she's holding a bud light/clamato michelada)


1052pm: at 945 i should have had some tea, so i'm going to have it now. I'm made up my mind to eat something after midnight. i know - it's a pathetic rationalization, but at midnight day three is officially over. I made some beet salad and I'll probably have a sandwich. nothing too extravagant, but it's going to be fucking awesome.

1141pm: day three was by far the worst as far as hunger goes. I'm cooking now so i can eat right at midnight. it's possible that an extra juice could have helped, but in the future i'll be planning to up the juice intake on day 3 by two or three juices. i've been hungry all day and i'm fucking starving right now. i weighed in at 176 today, so i effectively dropped 10 pounds in two days. i don't really look or feel different as far as my physique, and keeping the weight off will require a permanent change in diet and more walking. this experiment has definitely given me the motivation to do both.

12am: dinner! thank god its over.



now for the after shot where i'm tanned, airbrushed, and juiced up for the photo shoot.


ok not really.

sz.sw.out.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

standard deviation

peter bebergal tells a compelling story of what its like when the visions are unbearable. he tells a story i've seen play out in my own friends' lives and, ultimately, deaths. he tells a story i'll never understand, because i was able to bear the things that life and drugs brought me, and came out stronger in the end. he said so many things that make me so sad, because i know, that but for the grace of god, there go I.

i just witnessed a nightmare. a crazed dream of a growth based petro-civilization in which people can drive unimaginable distances to live in large houses for very little money, comparatively to regions near other people, by way of burning large amounts of refined oil in order to make it there and back every day. because god knows, no one would want to live in this place if they were unable to leave. there was no food or water for miles around, and because the owner of the house had no strapping son in law to reign in the surrounding vegetation, the house looked like it had been dropped in the middle of a burgeoning savannah. it had, really, because this particular bit of suburbia was so much worse than the one i type from now. it was in a place so remote that normal folk from the more common suburbs were completely unable to find it save for the direction of someone who lived there. this is one of the places that will become such a bizarre example of industrial growth based civilization: a suburb in the middle of the desert. there was nothing for miles around and then suddenly we were set upon by streetlights and sidewalks, and two story houses set so close to one another as to stifle you even further in the heat of the humid central texas night. an implacable tribute to the housing bubble, i couldnt believe that there were no foreclosures evident in its midst. "how could anyone bring themselves to live here?" i kept saying to my friends. when i met the inhabitants, i was able to conceal my dismay, and only asked vague questions about the location. only someone who was completely blind to the peak of our civilisational curve, those who were not in denial, but totally ignorant of the collapse happening all around them. the closest food source being a shell gas station, conveniently located next to an even larger, redundant shell gas station containing a church's chicken only a city block away in a place where the city was the furthest thing from the imagination. it was here that i fully realized the extent of the ignorance of our culture to the realities of petrocollapse and economic stagnation. it was pretty astounding. its so easy to dismiss the total ignorance of the people in your culture until you're face to face with it. all along the neatly curbed suburban streets were weeds so tall they looked like trees, and the scorpions flitted in and out of the shadows of the "lawn" in my friends' backyard, which held thistle as high as I and weeds i didnt recognize flourishing far better than the lawnmower-less single mother who lived there, suffering from liver disease as her children resided with her and smoked pot thoughtless of the fact that the place they lay was a vast savannah being slowly reclaimed by a merciless earth ready to take back what had been so exactingly cut away by developers promising green lawns and a happier life.

i also listened to stories told by a man who, as said in the episode, was just as bad as i, there but for the grace of god. we lived through so many of the same stories but came out so differently, he scarred and nigh schizophrenic, having entered the vulnerable state of ego-melt acid-opolis in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people (but at the same time, what an incredible experience it was! i could feel his ecstasy as he described it, only as someone who has taken lsd can). i always wonder at how i was able to come through the perils of drug addiction, both physical and mental; as he describes, just searching for the next "peak experience", not necessarily an actual altered state, but something which was different from everyday conciousness. i wandered through most of my adolescent life and mid 20s searching desperately for something, not really knowing what it was, but knowing that i wasnt going to find it by staying sober. by a freak chance of luck, or perhaps by the guidance of the deities that had become apparent to me, i shook away the things that were destructive even as i watched, and continue to watch, those things destroy my best friends, family, and peers. how, but for the grace of the god i was so luckily introduced to in the throes of prayer, and of psychedelic ecstasy, and of blind fate, could i have survived and almost thrived, when so many of my friends have met grisly fates, or worse, continue down aimless paths of dalliance and addiction? i never had an allergic reaction to a drug, as olga described, nor did i feel a need to control every aspect of my experiences. on the contrary, i reveled in the ecstatic states i discovered, and even now, in my more mature and experienced conciousness, value the total dissolution of my ego in the form of the blissful acceptance of death during an ecstatic state, more than the security and love of the people who care about me. i have never been so happy as the times that i have seen the end of my life and accepted it happily as the obvious continuance of an infinite existence; while at the same time, others who achieve the same state perceive it as a doomsday clock and fall into a paranoid fear state where everything produces terror.

everyday, i live with the things i have seen while in altered states, both with and without psychedelic substances. they have become a part of me and the way i view the world. i see auras and make wierd connections about events, though not to the point of circular fear paranoia. i accept the glows and events as they come, and i am a better person because of my perceptions. i look up at the sky and see flying lights and streaming colors, and yet i am unafraid, and not under the influence of any drug; although i hear other people complain of this as a side effect of their usage, and wonder why it is that now that they see all that they wanted to; that they want it to just go away. i am clearly aware of the interconnectedness of our existence, so much so that for a long time it was hard for me to eat, or watch people eat, because all i could see was organisms consuming to survive. it disturbed me, as it does so many people, to realize how much we are just like the animals all around us, fighting for morsels and fucking like there's no tomorrow while we consider, no, KNOW ourselves to be something more.

the problems i face seem to come from the broad consensus of denial of what we are, the duality of a conscious animal seeking to deny its own limits until the consequences force us to face reality. the vast suburban savannah of a culture obsessed with itself; unable to see past its own reflection and spiraling closer to an end that it knows and dreads, yet seems to embrace through the arms of plausible deniability.

peter bebergal tells a compelling story of what its like when the visions are unbearable. he tells a story i've seen play out in my own friends' lives and, ultimately, deaths. he tells a story i'll never understand, because i was able to bear the things that life and drugs brought me, and came out stronger in the end. he said so many things that make me so sad, because i know, that but for the grace of god, there go I.

Friday, April 20, 2012

melancholy manatee

how do you make someone understand something that is so plain the grasslands see it coming? how can you make clear something that is as fundamental as staring clearly through crystal? apparently that crystal is a prism, and there is more than one way to look at a problem. what angle can you see this problem from in order to solve it? further, when the prism slowly rotates, casting light at different angles, how do you illuminate permanently the shadows that are revealed?

if i want something, i make it real first in my mind. i then put it to paper, and assess the obstacles in my way. i overcome them, one by one, until the conclusion is reached. at times, the end is only the beginning of another problem, which requires more thought and application of will until the solution is found. but there is always a careful, measured approach, which results in a certain predetermined resolution regardless of other inputs. the end result may be different from the one envisioned at the start, but the result is inevevitably the same: success. absolute victory. how can this be imparted to someone who doesnt know how to solve a problem?

this could be looked at as its own equation. in basic algebra, it would probably look something like:

solution=(problem)/((steps to resolution)*(temporal variables)^(effort))

it certainly wouldnt look like

solution=((nebulous ideas)+(meandering to other subjects)*(expectations of success based purely upon fleeting daydreams))

to be honest, i used to think that the latter formula would work for me. i thought, for example, however subconsciously, that by buying band shirts and going to concerts, that i would become a musician. i figured that if i had enough albums i could be a dj. what it took me 26 years to figure out is that just hoping for something on occasion would not make it a reality. you cant just dial down the heavens and order up the life you want. you have to realize at some point that you have no idea where to begin, and START THERE. if you can take a moment to realize that all the things you want that are obviously within your grasp are escaping you because you dont know how to achieve them, you have a good beginning.

at that point you have to come to terms with a few things. you have to realize, painfully, that all the time you have had up until now has been an unfortunate waste. if only you had figured out how to begin a little sooner, you wouldnt be having this conversation with yourself now. you would have had it long ago, an you'd be well on your way to being l337. you have to understand that the only thing that can save you now and make your hopes and dreams a reality is a clear and strategic effort to achieve them.

but now that you know all this, how do you tell someone who still hasnt figured it out? how can you tell them that their time and potential is being completely wasted while they dodder around with beginning even a single solitary idea?

i guess you just fucking cant. you just have to sit there and painfully watch as they waste their time just like you did and rely on outside inputs to change what they think is a variable but is actually a constant: themselves. it sucks, and it hurts, and theres nothing you can do about it as far as i can tell. let a metaphor know that it could stray from the idiom to become a pun and it probably will stay as a metaphor. you cant teach a duck to be an eagle just by telling it how to sharpen its beak.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

what winding ways wend where

for some reason, this year has been marred so far with constant flux. i'm currently dealing with uncertainty in my employment for the near future, compounded by events i set in motion months ago that have now passed beyond my control.

i'm taking a trip back east in the coming month, and i have three job opportunities to sort through in the next two weeks. i absolutely must have a decision made by the friday after next because i'm being forced to purchase liability insurance to continue to work at the place i'm at now, which is one of the reasons i'm looking elsewhere for income.

thats probably a good place to start. within the past two weeks i've found the perfect job, seen it for what it was and realized it was a perfect mess, and kicked myself every day for agreeing to this and not turning back and running the other way when i saw all the red flags. flag one: employer requires purchasing uniforms to work for them. not so bad on the surface, but if you stop to think about it, they probably got sick of buying uniforms for people who quit right away and decided to start making the staff buy their own. which brings me to red flag number two: people quit this job RIGHT AWAY. i personally witnessed, in my first week, two people quitting without notice, a steady stream of applicants for their positions, and heard the owner recounting stories of people constantly quitting after a few days of work. had i been in the right mindset during the interview, i would have thought that through and realized that i would probably quit too. there had to be a good reason no one stayed. all i could think about however was the shitty job situation i was in that i couldnt stand the thought of going back to. i thought, "hey, i've worked practically all my life for egomaniacal, scatterbrained, obsessive compulsive small business owners. i can handle this." this last one, however, has made me realize that i dont want to do that anymore. just because i can put up with these personality types and their horseshit doesnt mean i have to.

flag 3: during my interview, i discovered that new hires pay for training in the form of $50 taken out of each check up to the amount of $400, which upon working there for a year and giving notice before leaving would be refunded in full. this flew in one ear and out the other and i agreed to it before i really thought about the consequences. that was stupid. i've even talked on this very blog about the fact that you should never work somewhere that charges you for training or requires you to sign a contract to work there. how quickly we forget! continuing education and supplementary education in this industry are not only grossly overpriced, they are in my experience not worth the shit i step on walking home from work. it takes five minutes to show someone a technique, and they master it by repetition. the amount that employers and "educators" in this industry will charge for this five minutes is absolutely unbelievable and would make your rabbi's accountant excrete his yarmulke. the fourth and final flag was that employees at this place were required to buy their own liability insurance, which i unfortunately wasnt informed of until i had already quit my other job and started working for this person. so to sum up the financial toll of taking this job, we have:

~$75 for a specific type of embroidered uniform
$25 a week for "training" which i would only get back by sacrificing a year of my life for this company
$188 to be covered by the owners liability insurance or $250 to purchase a portable policy of my own
(this doesnt take into account another cleverly hidden red flag, that all employees must contribute 10% of their tips for "supplies". maddening! also consider that we never actually see our tips, they go into a box to be counted up (by our owner, without our supervision) and added to our checks. so who knows how much i made in tips this week? i sure as hell dont!)

which adds up to $263 at the bare minimum for uniforms and insurance, plus another $50 taken out of each check for 8 weeks. thats $263 - $663 just to start working there! if that had been on my application in plain terms, i would have walked out right then and gone back to my shitty job that i hated. no matter how much indignity i had to suffer while finding something else, it was not worth a net loss of that much money. couple that with with fact that after ~105 hours of backbreaking labor over a two week period that only netted me about $550, and i was downright pissed off when she expected me to plunk down half of that for insurance, not taking into account for a moment that i work so that i can pay my bills and live a comfortable and decent life, not to pay the hidden costs of working at some disorganized day spa. i couldnt believe it when she had the audacity to impugn my integrity during that conversation and and accuse me of trying to "avoid" the insurance issue hoping she would forget. worse yet, since she is a typical tyrannical small business owner, i couldnt get a word in edgewise during our conversation, and what would i fucking say anyway to someone who holds so much power over me except "ok yes maam"?

this week the OCD has really come out. it took my old boss and his family over 90 days to show me their true colors, with this woman it only took two weeks to see beneath the thin veneer of happiness and the glowing smile and behold someone who was impatient, disorganized, frustrated and sick of it all and didnt have the first clue how to fix it or where the problems were really coming from. if you insist on being so exacting in the methods you use to do things as minute as clean a floor or dust a picture then you should either do it yourself or painstakingly hire and train someone who you know will do it the way you want and pay them enough so that they stick around.

now, i can understand the need to keep a place clean, and i know that the bigger a place is, the more work it takes to get it done. but when my commissions plus tips average out to an hourly wage of about $5 an hour, i expect to be paid at least the federal minimum wage for my manual labor. the final red flag that should have sent me packing was when i came in on tuesday and learned that "you dont clock in to clean. everyone pitches in and we just get it done." i'm ill equipped to sue anyone, but this absolutely must be illegal. if you want illegal labor, hire an illegal immigrant, not someone who put a lot of time and money into getting a certification and a license that allows them to perform beauty services as well as clean toilets and mop floors. i have never been so frustrated trying to clean a place in my life. i feel like fucking cinderella at this place, always on my knees fucking scrubbing something and when i walk back by five minutes later its dirty again. when she notices this, she tells me she doesnt believe that i did it and that i have to do it again. there are pictures on the wall that i have cleaned four times in a 24 hour period. i had to reclean an outdoor area that she said i didnt clean the day before because there was stuff on it. well if i could control the fucking wind and tell it not to blow grass on your threshold then i would, but i fucking cant. whoops.

so now i have to continue to deal with things being up in the air, all the way up until i take a trip i probably cant afford and come back to not having enough money to get by. what a way to end the first quarter.