Epic Paleo Meat Bars

Epic makes these snack/meal replacement bars composed mostly of dried “non-cured” meat.

The meat is cured using celery powder which has naturally occurring nitrites in it, which are curing agents.  I wish manufacturers would stop the bullshit with this “no nitrites added” claim.

Anyway, it’s cured meat, like jerky.  And each bar has a jerky-like taste and consistency.

Overall, the texture of the meats has been dry and not tender, but not as tough as jerky.  Some of the bars come apart when you bite into them, and you quickly realize that this bar is composed of small, individual pieces of meat which have been compressed together.

The bar that had the best texture was lamb, which was fairly soft.  I enjoyed the texture and taste of the bar.  The worst so far was the turkey, which was dry and obviously particulated.

I got a sampler, and I’ll go through my experiences with each.

Bison: Bacon Cranberry

The bar was a bit dry, and a little tough.  The taste was decent.  The overall taste was sweet and savory, and I enjoyed the cranberries, which were whole and not at all bitter.  You can taste the bacon.  The overall flavor, however, like with most of these bars was very “jerky-ish.”  I don’t think this is one that I would purchase again.  5 out of 10.

Bison: Habanero Cherry

Same texture as above.  The cherry flavor is mostly sweet and mild.  You can barely recognize it as cherry.  I would have preferred more tartness.  The tartness of cherry is almost non-existent.  Also, you can barely perceive the habanero, which to me was very disappointing.  I know habanero is too hot for most people, but I like it.  The concept of the bar is wonderful.  The combination of cherry, habanero, and bison sounds awesome.  The delivery, however, is lackluster.  4 out of 10.

Turkey: Almond Cranberry

Driest texture of any of the bars, a little tough but not really.  It is dry in your mouth, and the inclusion of nuts doesn’t help that.  The flavor isn’t so bad, but it’s really dry and you can barely taste the cranberries.  Unlike the bison bar, this bar had no identifiable cranberry in it.  The moisture of a whole cranberry every so often would have been welcome.  I almost couldn’t eat this bar.  2 out of 10.

Lamb: Currant Mint

Best texture out of all of them.  It was soft and savory, and a little moist.  I could not taste the mint.  The currant offers a sweetness, but not a strong currant flavor.  I think jacking up the mint and currant flavor would have helped a bit.  Despite that, I really liked this bar.  While I was eating it I thought, “Yeah, this is something I could eat everyday, no problem.”  7, maybe 8, out of 10.

More to come as I consume more of the sampler…

Nootropics: NA-Semax Amidate & NA-Selank Update

I’ve used both N-Acetyl Semax Amidate and N-Acetyl Selank since I first posted (January 2016, approximately 7 months).  I might have a few days off, in between uses, now and then.

Selank definitely has a mild sedating and anxiolytic effect.  I do not suffer with much anxiety in general during the day.  In some circumstances, like when I am out at a restaurant or grocery store alone, I get fairly intense feelings of social anxiety and negative self-concept.  I do not think that Selank has helped with this at all.  I think only a very strong drug could combat these feelings when I have them, as they are pervasive and strong within those contexts.

I wouldn’t recommend Selank as an intervention for that kind of anxiety.

It does, however, have a mild mood elevation and relaxation effect.  It also helps clear your head a bit.

N-Acetyl Semax Amidate is mildly stimulating.  It isn’t enough to keep you awake if you are tired.  It won’t prevent you from sleeping (or me, at least) if you need it.  It also clears your head a bit.

The effects of both supplements are what I would consider mild and slightly beneficial.

If you are looking for something that will drastically improve your cognition or help your mood, I don’t think either of these substances are for you.

If, however, you want to experience something that gives you a little boost, then these are for you.  I alway look forward to using them, but I don’t feel like I have to.  I guess it’s a bit like soda although not as addictive.  I don’t feel bad or needy when I don’t take Semax or Selank, although the idea of using them is usually welcome.

My dose is usually once or twice a day.  Sometimes I will take 600 mcg (two nasal insufflation doses of 300 mcg) of NA Semax Amidate in the morning and 400 mcg (two nasal insufflation doses of 200 mcg) of NA Selank in the evening.  Sometimes I will mix Semax and Selank in the day.  Sometimes one dose of each, sometimes two of each.

I guess I would describe Semax as being like a bit of coffee, not much, without any jitters or anxiety.  Just a little clarity.  My mind doesn’t race, become disconnected, or confused.  I am just a bit more alert, sharper, clear.  Or at least I have that feeling.

I have experienced no noticeable improvements in creativity, productivity, memory, word choice, or any such cognitive skills while on either.

I will continue to use both Semax and Selank, however, because they do make me feel good.  I cannot describe it.  There is no euphoria or anything like that, but they do make you feel a little better.  Like something little but noticeable.  Maybe someone smiles at you or you do a small task you’ve been procrastinating over.  It’s like that.  Not huge, but nice.

Both are mild and subtle.  I think that they are perfect for things like reading for enjoyment or maybe before taking a class.  I don’t think they are good for helping you push yourself or getting you to do some difficult task better or keeping you up to cram or finish a paper or something like that.

I think they are luxuries that may help you live a little better if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford their use.

 

N-Acetyl Semax Amidate and N-Acetyl Selank

I purchased N-Acetyl Semax Amidate and N-Acetyl Selank nasal sprays from Ceretropic around a month ago.  I’ve been using both daily.  Generally, I will use Semax in the day and Selank a few hours before bed.  The dose is 100 mcg per spray.

I have also been using a Noopept nasal spray.

The experience with both of these has been subtle.  I have tried using a variety of dose levels, ranging from 100 mcg of just one to 400 mcg of both.

The anxiolytic effects of Selank are noticeable even at low doses.  Before I got used to it, I decided this was definitely something I would only take near bed-time and not when I had a lot of stuff to do.  It made me tired and even a little drunk at first, but after a some days of use that effect wore off.

I am really at a loss to describe the effects of each.  Semax is definitely a little stimulating.  Selank is more relaxing.  In terms of mental clarity, memory, and other cognition-enhancing effects, I’d have to say that subtle is the key word.  There were no dramatic, noticeable increases.  I never went, “Holy fuck! I’m just ON today!”

I did find myself simply not experiencing the tip of the tongue phenomenon as much as well as being able to remember better.  But this is in retrospect and only because I can recall periods where I had a lack of the emotional reactions which unfortunately attend memory or word lapses on my account.  I feel embarrassed and stupid when it happens.  It is only in retrospect that I have realized, hey, I didn’t feel like that at all for the past day or so.

That is not to say days have gone by without incident, but I would say that the incidences are fewer.

In terms of clarity of thought, increased attention span, and ability to focus, again, I think the effects are very subtle.  They may well enhance these capacities, but not dramatically.

One thing I have noticed is a marked desire and anticipation for taking the doses.  They make me feel better for a while.  So, this leads me to believe that while every website I’ve looked at regarding the two claim that they are non-addictive, I believe that they are psychologically addictive.

I say this, because when I was running out, I got a little bit of an anxious, “Oh no! I want more of this stuff!” feeling.  That is certainly a sign of psychological addiction.

I’ve read that these drugs affect the activity of dopamine and serotonin, and I believe it.

I wish I could be more lucid regarding my experiences with these two substances.  I think what needs to happen is for me to take them alone many hours apart and take care to notice what is going on regarding them.  I may do this.

I re-ordered two more bottles, this time at the higher doses (300 mcg Semax and 200 mcg Selank).  I’ll dedicate a few days to taking them without Noopept or each other.  I’ll space out the doses, and then I’ll report my experiences here.

Would I recommend them?  Yes… if it’s true that they aren’t physically addictive.  I’ve been a few days off of them during this time span, and I did not experience any funk, negativity, unpleasant emotions, or physical symptoms as a result of not taking them.  So I doubt they are physically addictive.  But they are psychologically addictive, at least for me.

That being said, the reason I would recommend them is for that very factor.  They help you feel better, I think, on a daily basis.  I believe they have made me more emotionally even in general, and less reactive.  They also seem to mellow out some compulsive tendencies of mine.

As for the cognitive enhancing effects, they are mild but noticeable, if only in looking back and realizing that I had fewer embarrassing forgetful moments or those times when I mean to say one word and think I’m saying it, but another comes out of my mouth based on what I was just thinking about.

Germinating Difficult Seeds

I have found that the seeds of certain plants are difficult to germinate.

In my experience, cilantro and certain peppers are particularly troublesome.

I googled the issue and have found some promising leads which I will experiment with.  An individual at Monster Gardens created a video regarding germinating very old seeds.

 

Here is a video on seed scarification.

 

The Monster Gardens individual says that he had a solution of oxygen and sugar.  Sugar anyone can manage, right? But what about oxygen?  Well, I just so happen to have an ozone generator.  But ozone is a form of oxygen that is unstable, and it can damage things.  I mean, oxidation is the process by which many things decompose.  What is rust, after all?  It’s oxygenated iron.  Ozone is O3.  It is an unstable molecule.  If I recall correctly, O2 is stable.  O3 is O2 with an extra atom of oxygen.  Three is a crowd, right?  Those two other oxygen atoms want to get rid of the third leg so that they can be free of distractions, so that lonely oxygen atom wants to get together with someone else… but this new union, whatever it is, is usually a bad romance, as the song goes, because it creates decomposition.

I understand that this action is why O3 is so good at deodorizing, because it binds with smelly molecules and breaks them up, thus destroying odors.

Anyway, I needed to discover if ozonating a seed would harm it.  I found this article, which states that ozonated seeds germinate better.

So, this is what I plan to do: I will scarify the seeds moderately using sandpaper.  I will then get some water and put some sugar in it, and make sure the sugar gets really into solution with the water.  I will then put the seeds in the water and run the ozonator for a while (20 minutes?).  I will probably also put some DMSO (which can be found here) into the water to help the oxygen, water, and sugar penetrate deeply into the seed.

If the treatment with DMSO kills the seed, I will then try it without the DMSO.

Please return within a few days for an update if this subject interests you.

Make Your Own Healthy Soda

I am a total soda and cola addict.  I have gotten so used to drinking something sweet and carbonated with a zing that if I spend a day without having one, I will really miss it.

I’ve tried to quit, and I’ve found quitting soda harder than quitting cigarettes.

But, do you really have to quit? I’ve come to find that, no, you do not!

I bought myself a SodaStream a long time ago and have played around with ideas for healthy soda substitutes, and I’ve finally hit on something.

The soda I make is sugar free, healthy, and actually delicious.  It’s something I look forward to drinking.  And it’s easy to make.

All you need is a good brand of stevia (I prefer KAL), some packets of fruit/berry tea you like, and some apple cider vinegar.

I let three packets of tea steep in a cup of hot water until fully cooled and infused with flavor.  I add this to the SodaStream 1 liter bottle and fill the rest of the space up with filtered water.  I charge the water to the desired level of carbonation.  I then add 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 3 little scoops of stevia (the KAL stevia comes with a tiny spoon) to the container, close it, and give it a vigorous shaking.

I’ll either drink it right there with some ice or put it in the fridge to cool.

It really is delicious.  You get the health benefits from the tea (if any) along with the health benefits of pure water (if you’ve filtered it well) and apple cider vinegar… all in a delicious, tangy, excitingly sweet beverage that feels like a total indulgence!

I hope you try it. You’ll get hooked.

Brad Dourif’s Hair

I recently watched a video on youtube in which actor Brad Dourif talks about his hair transplant.

There are several uncomplimentary, undignified cuts to a closeup of his hairline during the interview.  The piece was obviously concocted as an advertisement for the doctor or clinic which performed the procedure.

I have mixed feelings about cosmetic surgery. On the one hand, I think it is pure vanity. Ideally, it would be better for us to accept the indignities and problems of old age, as these make us more human and, to use a cliché, “build character.”  On the other hand, even at age 44, I can see how frail our egos are and how hard it can be to deal with the realities of aging.

As I watched the video, I felt bad.  I like Brad Dourif.  I admire him.  He is a talented actor and an intelligent man.  While his performances can be over the top,  they can also be sublime.  It is too bad that he has been typecast.

I like him.  And it made me a little sad and disappointed to see his reaction to his implant. I would like to think he was above such things, but he is not.

The video made me ask myself, “Well, who is?”

You can see, if you watch it, that he is happy and proud of his results.  He was ashamed of his receding hairline, and now he is not, because it is gone.  He repeated lines which I suspect were fed to him by the clinic.  He claims that he thinks he is getting more roles and that appearance is important for an actor.  I am sure those considerations are true, but those reasons, I think, serve to hide the real reason he had the procedure: ego and vanity.

I think I am too idealistic, and in being too idealistic I am judgmental.  They are both bad things.

So, we are human.  Because we are human we are imperfect.  We are vain.  We have fragile egos.  We care more about superficial things in daily life than the deeper values which should really matter.  We take action to improve our appearances, while we do little to fundamentally improve ourselves and our world.  Trivialities preoccupy us.

So, that is the way it is.  Perhaps it is a mistake to think by having one we deny ourselves the other.  Perhaps it is possible to be flawed and noble at the same time? Perhaps a preoccupation with our petty human flaws (ego, vanity, jealousy, gossip, etc.) is just as bad as (or maybe worse than) a preoccupation with our appearance?

I guess I never considered it that way, but it’s true.  I think being too idealistic is a way of being petty.

Surprise Therapy

Recently, I had an opportunity to talk candidly with someone who greatly resembled an authority figure who was prominent during many years of my early childhood. She was curious and asked me about my childhood, what kind of child I was, if I was philosophical as a child or not.

I found myself spilling the beans on many issues I had as a child, which I would never have disclosed to such a person when I was young. I talked about how I related—rather how I did not relate—to social groups and how I was generally treated by other children.

I spoke about it easily, a-matter-of-factly, and she listened and nodded. She commiserated with me on a few points.

I enjoyed the conversation, but thought nothing of it for a while.

That evening, while at home, I found myself going through various memories and issues I had, processing them, talking to myself about them, thinking about things I wish I had said and to whom and how I wish I had said them.

I realized that my younger self needed a good talking to that he never got. He needed to have what he was going through discussed and explained to him from an adult perspective. He needed to learn about understanding people, opinions, biases, and the reactions people have to various phenomena and why they have the reactions they do.

I needed to understand that people often react out of ignorance, social conditioning, or out of something base, animal. The fact that person or even a whole group of people is/are being ugly to you doesn’t mean that you are ugly. What it certainly means, however, is that they are being ugly. A person should understand these issues in a way that enables  him or her to realize that another person’s ugliness does not reflect on oneself. It reflects on the other person.

I also needed to learn about values, social values, and how they work—that different cultures have different values, different beliefs about what is good, bad, ugly, beautiful, worthwhile, worthless, and so forth. These things are not cut into stone. They are often arbitrary. There is something of value to be found in every human being as he or she is. No one should have to feel like he or she has to put on an act to be worthwhile, accepted, or lovable. It does not matter what a group thinks or communicates about their opinions about your worth. It is what you realize about yourself that matters.

I went to sleep and had some unusual dreams in which I started to take charge of events. There was one part of the dream where I took a gun and fired it at bandits. Usually in my dreams guns misfire or something else happens that makes the gun useless. In this dream, however, I fired the shots confidently and scared the hell out of the bandits and made them think twice about their shenanigans, letting them know that if they were violent, then I’d be violent too and that they’d have to pay for it—maybe more than they were willing to.

After I woke up, I was beset by a series of ideas.

It occurred to me that understanding alone isn’t enough. One must have the courage to face that of which one is afraid. It is ok to have fear. You will never rid yourself of it. What is important is that you learn to be yourself even though you have fear—to somehow become comfortable with it and be able to be yourself and respond as yourself while within its presence.  Live your own truth. Give testimony to your truth when others try to squelch it.

Then you can try to lessen or rid yourself of fear. If you try to do it before then, you will simply still be afraid of fear. You will be avoiding fear. Fear must be faced, and it must ultimately be faced down.

So, no, fear. Not today. Not now. I’m willing to take the risk and pay the price for being myself.

I would like to somehow make it easier to be courageous and to face my fear. I know that this is trying to avoid fear, but I would seriously like to have a little something in my corner helping me out in times of trouble.

I think I am going to make a list of many times I have been courageous in various ways and go through those experiences in my mind until I learn something that might help me when the proverbial shit hits the fan or it looks like it will.

Long story short, it was a wonderful thing to have serendipitously told an authority figure something I wish I had said, and said and discussed often, over 35 years ago. It was very therapeutic. I had no idea that doing so would have such an effect.

Statement by Jimmy Carter on the Voyager Probe

Among other media and information, the Voyager Probe contains this statement by Jimmy Carter:

“This Voyager spacecraft was constructed by the United States of America. We are a community of 240 million human beings among the more than 4 billion who inhabit the planet Earth. We human beings are still divided into nation states, but these states are rapidly becoming a single global civilization.

We cast this message into the cosmos. It is likely to survive a billion years into our future, when our civilization is profoundly altered and the surface of the Earth may be vastly changed. Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some–perhaps many–may have inhabited planets and spacefaring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message:

This is a present from a small distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts, and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination, and our good will in a vast and awesome universe.”

It was among several images I found on an imgur page from a link on reddit.  I had seen some of the images before, but do not remember having ever read his statement.

I think it’s beautiful.

For much of of my adult life, I have found myself jaded–especially within the past 10 or so years.  But seeing the images of human life and knowledge contained on Voyager as well as the president’s statement, it re-acquainted me with the friendliness and innocence of mankind.  It also filled me with a sense of hope.

There are those among us who are intelligent and friendly, those who want to greet, cooperate, and share.  This, I think, is the essential human spirit.  It is what makes us who we are, and it is the hope for our species.  Our hope does not lie in provincialism, anger, greed, or smugness–things of which I have seen a lot in people lately.

I think that looking at the content of Voyager is important.  It gives us a particular view of mankind.  We are children in a big universe.  We have to cooperate if we, as a species, are going to reach adulthood.

No More FB for Me, I Choose to Disconnect

A nice guy somehow acquires psychic powers. He finds he can telepathically receive the thoughts of those around him. At first he is fascinated, surprised, and disturbed by a new voice in his head. He’s waiting in the subway for the train to arrive and looking at another guy. He hears, “Why is that weirdo looking at me?” He realizes that he either must be going crazy or he’s actually hearing another person’s voice in his mind. Afraid, he looks around. As his gaze frantically shifts from person to person, he hears the voice of each. The number of voices and a growing sense of pressure both mount. He freaks out and runs away, hearing the echoes of thoughts like, “Jesus, crazy freak!” and “What the hell is wrong with him?” and “Fucking crazies …”

Sooner or later, he meets a mentor. Some person catches his eye and projects, “I know you can hear me. It’s ok.” Suddenly, the other voices vanish. The mentor continues, telepathically, “You need to learn how to control it. Otherwise, you’ll lose yourself and won’t know which thoughts are yours.”

This scene or one very much like it appears in a number of movies in which a character learns he has somehow developed the power to read minds. In doing so, the person, usually a nice guy who has miraculously peachy keen, nonjudgmental thoughts, will say something like, “They are so ugly … I never knew people had such ugly thoughts.” I guess he’s the hero, and we have to identify with him. And, of course we don’t have those nasty kinds of thoughts running through our heads most of the time, so we feel that, hey, here’s a guy I can relate to.

In The Matrix, a friend of Neo’s named Choi drops by to pick up some illicit software or data. He sees that Neo looks pretty worn-down and tells him, “It just sounds to me like you need to unplug, man.”

For me, both scenes relate very strongly to the reality of Facebook.

The term “connection” is now ubiquitous. You cannot escape it. It seems a thing valued in and of itself. To be connected is good. To be disconnected is bad.

Decades ago, when I saw that cellphones were becoming pervasive (and invasive), I questioned the wisdom of it. I avoided owning a cellphone for as long as I could. I viewed them as electronic tethers.

I saw how, once you had a cellphone, people felt entitled to a connection with you, anytime and anyplace, regardless of any concerns or boundaries you might have. The old “ball and chain” is no longer a nagging, controlling wife, it’s any fucking wireless device.

Whether you see it or not, it’s a major issue now: boundaries. Our boundaries have been dissolving at an increasing rate for decades.

Way back in the day, before the internet, people with computers and modems connected with each other in a serial fashion. Hobbyists ran BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems) on home computers with dedicated phone lines. You would call them (only when the previous user had disconnected, it was a one-at-a-time thing) with your modem and your computer would connect. The connection speed by today’s standards would be considered hideously slow. Text at 300 baud would literally crawl across your screen.

I actually liked 300 baud. It gave me time to read the text.

And that’s what you did. You read the text that other people wrote. You had time. And those who authored what you read had time to write something that they had thought about. People who spouted the verbal diarrhea now accepted as the norm were viciously ridiculed. Their posts were literally a waste of time (text scrolled by slowly, remember), and regarding them the spacebar or n key was your friend. The spacebar aborted the post, the n key skipped directly to the next post.

You called a BBS because you wanted to read (which meant really consider and enjoy or revile) the content other people wrote, and, by-and-large (depending on which BBS you called), it was stuff worth reading. Collaborative fiction, interesting discussions, humor… it was a gold mine.

Not saying the internet now is not filled with all kinds of awesome. It is. And I do love it. But things were a bit different back then, and I miss it.

There was a wisdom to things back then that is now lost. Back then, there was an understood distinction between what came to be known as “cyberspace” (now an outdated and clumsy term) and “meat space” or IRL (in real life). We often used aliases and realized that there was a real difference between our online personas and our offline personas and our lives. “In real life” pretty much says it all. You were not to take what occurred online too seriously, and taking squabbles from BBSs into “real life” was taboo. You could get banned from a large number of local BBSs for it.

Now there is no separation. But the fact remains, people are somewhat different online. The boundaries, I think, are dwindling. The two worlds are conflating if not totally conflated already. I don’t think this is a good thing. People really don’t appreciate the difference anymore, and our behaviors have not caught up with this fact.

Although there is much less of a sense of anonymity, the feeling of freedom that anonymity gives you–which used to be a really good thing IMO–is still there. People say things online that they would never say in a face-to-face interaction. And they say it a lot. I would wager a large percentage of what people post willy nilly on their fb timelines are things they would never say to others face-to-face. (I’m including myself here and in much of what I have been saying people think and do online.)

We just don’t broach certain topics in social gatherings. The person who brings up politics, religion, or gender issues at a dinner with friends or at a party is considered a boor and is penalized with social pressure. Not so on fb. In fact, quite the opposite. Boorish behavior is often rewarded.

We have developed unspoken rules of etiquette for face-to-face social interactions which have evolved for thousands of years. We have netiquette for online interactions, but netiquette in its current form is dreadfully insufficient. Online behavior is often rude.  It’s negative effects on me have forced me to quit fb.

Netiquette has a lot of catching up to do. It’s more important that you do not type in all caps than to not get up on a soapbox or simply be ugly, complain, or whatever on fb. But they are essentially the same things! To spill whatever ugly thoughts or feelings you have on an issue. To pontificate. To complain. To say whatever you feel like whenever you feel like to an audience that sometimes numbers in the hundreds. Not everyone wants to see that shit. You go to a blog for rants, complaints, opinion pieces, or whatever. I don’t think they belong on something like fb. I am totally guilty of doing it myself, I know. I have learned from consideration that it is a mistake to do so.

People are learning about online consequences with regard to work and the law, but we don’t seem to be even near the clue train when it comes to the social and psychological effects our words have on our fellow human beings and ourselves when we post on fb.

So many people use fb as a soap box for various political or religious issues. Some people use it to condemn and ridicule others willy nilly. Some use it to simply be a spoiled brat and say things that more befit a rotten child than a mature adult. Sadly, these people are often lauded, told “OMG, You are so awesome! I love you!” People love it when a grown adult acts like a shitty 5 year old instead of the mature individual he or she should be? WTF? This demonstrates a fucked up value system.

I don’t want to read that shit. It disgusts me.

So, back to the scene in that movie about the psychic guy. Having quit fb, I have learned in retrospect that many of those thoughts which were being conveyed via so many lines of text, images with captions, links to articles, etc., here, there, and everywhere, were going straight into my head and affecting me emotionally.

Despite what I’d like to think and the admonition that, “You shouldn’t care what other people think,” I realize that I do care what other people think. Probably too much. And I cannot help it.

If I read a ton of filthy crap–and a lot of what people say is pretty much filthy crap–then I feel like filthy crap. I feel hurt, sad, angry, and somehow insecure, as if a number of things I had read were aimed at me. And, by way of an author’s use of generalizations, it kind of is aimed at me. People talk about this kind or that kind of person. Sometimes I am that person. White people. Men. People who do this or that. People who believe this or that.

So many fb posts = <bitch, rant, moan, complain, pontificate, blame, claim victimhood with no agency or personal causation in regard to the problem>.

A lot of shitty fb posts begin with or contain the words, “I wish.”  Well, I wish they would shut the fuck up. But I am not going to get my wish any time soon. Neither are they, conceptual posters of fb horeshit. So maybe we should do something mutually beneficial concerning this?

Personally, I hate it when people play the victim and do nothing about it except complain and drain energy. There is a metric fuck-ton of that on Facebook.

Regarding Facebook, I realized that, holy fuck, I feel victimized. Well? What am I doing about it? Just bitch? Claim victimhood on fb while demonstrating a fucked-up sense of entitlement like I find in so many posts that I hate?

No. I did the only thing I felt I could do. I quit Facebook.

Persevering

I guess the purpose of falling is to get back up, and it’s nice when we can. I think we often can, even when we feel like we can’t.

But the picture produced by the sentiment is usually a nice one. You just stagger up, wipe the dust off of your ass with a cowboy hat as you smile and laugh, and an audience laughs back and nods approvingly. And that’s that.

But it often isn’t like that. When it’s really important, those are the times when you’re like someone who has had the shit knocked out of him, and you go to get up, but fall again, and do it again and again and each time it really hurts and feels like a full-on failure. But you eventually get to a place where you can sit for a while. Then you try to take a step, and you might make a few, but then you fall again. And again.

But the thing is, it’s at that point that the sentiment is most important. That you just have to gather your strength and get back up, again, and again, and again, until you have a steady gait again and can go where you want to go.

And it might take a bunch of shenanigans to get yourself to do something like that… and a whole lot of your energy. So I guess we have to pick our wolves and let go of some stuff that is sapping our energy, and maybe some stuff we like… but that’s a matter of priorities.

None of us has an infinite amount of time here or an infinite amount of energy.

Quitting and Succeeding

Sometimes I think things are just not worth the effort or just not in the cards for me. But other times I think about the fact that I have quit smoking and just what that means.

I used to think that quitting smoking was impossible for me, and it really made me feel like shit. It made me feel like a weakling and a loser. I suspected that I could, at some point and in some way, manage to do it, but I was more convinced that the addiction had grown stronger than me, and at this point I could not do it.

But I could. And I did.

I did it in a very strange way. I did it by trying and failing several times. I did it by biding my time, by smoking while I wanted to smoke, getting all that smoking in while I still wanted to do it. I did it by being lazy. I did it by striking while the iron was hot. And I did it by kinda lying to myself… but in a way that was still kinda true.

Quitting smoking is not something you automatically get right the first time. It isn’t simply a matter of willpower. It is something you have to figure out how to do, because cigarettes are tricky. The addiction makes your mind and heart do all kinds of fucking things to keep you smoking cigarettes.

Besides the health benefits, the big thing that quitting smoking has done for me is this: I know now that losing at something and feeling like a total loser is not the same as being a total loser. Just because you think you don’t have it in you doesn’t mean that you don’t have it in you.

This may be obvious, intellectually, that, of course, we think shit about ourselves that isn’t true. Learned helplessness is not valid, of course. It’s a learned perception that is almost categorically false. And it is easy to think these thoughts. It is quite another, however, to believe that in your gut. Quitting smoking has helped me get that a little bit into my gut.

I can now look at things and go, hey, you know, maybe I think that this or that isn’t in the cards for me, that I don’t have what it takes… but you know what? I also believed that about quitting smoking. And I fucking quit smoking. So guess what? Maybe I just need to keep failing and taking time off and failing and taking time off until during one of those periods in which I take time off I actually learn something and start making successes instead of failing.

Some people take to things like fish take to water. Others have a great deal of trouble with getting things off the ground. In some areas, I am definitely one of the latter. But that is ok. Just because you fail and fail and fail does not mean you aren’t cut out for something. It just means that there is something important for you to learn.

In terms of smoking it was this:

Smoking is not a freedom. Freedom is doing what I want and not doing what I don’t want. If I don’t want to smoke, I should be able to not smoke as long as I don’t want to smoke.

Smoking is a lie. The good things that smoking supposedly did for me was bullshit. I was getting little to nothing out of smoking, and the pleasure of smoking was mainly due to the fact that I was relieving sensations which were discomforts and senses of need created *by* smoking.

Smoking makes you sick. Straight up. Not just with cancer or emphysema or some other disease years down the line, but now. It affects your health in a negative way pretty much fucking immediately. It fucks with your immune system and fucks with your brain and overall health.

I cannot smoke in moderation. I cannot control the habit. I must destroy the habit and simply never smoke.

I thought this last thing was impossible. NEVER smoke? Yes. Never smoke. NEVER. Just don’t fucking do it. So long as you don’t smoke, it isn’t a problem. And what are you losing when you don’t smoke? Not much. You’re basically losing a toxic lie.

These are the basic things I learned that helped me quit. I also got sick (a cold basically) and wouldn’t heal if I smoked. Every time I smoked a cigarette, the congestion would get worse and remain that way for a while. One cigarette could influence how I felt for 6 or more hours. So, I had immediate feedback here to help me think about smoking.

So, I am thinking, hmmm, what other areas in my life did I feel this way about? What else am I still doing or not doing because I feel there is no other choice for me? Could I be wrong about this stuff too? Is there stuff to learn in these areas as well?

Yes. I think so.

It is sad, but sometimes you’ve got to beat your head against a wall until you learn something. But you’ve got to do it mindfully, not mindlessly. You’ve got to be looking for answers, seeking and thinking, and you’ve got to give yourself a chance. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Vote for yourself. Be your own #1 fan and believer. It’s easier said than done, but it can be done. And even a little bit helps.