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Wasting Away — A Love Story Based on Gluten

“Does this have gluten in it?” I once worked for a Starbucks in the immediate San Francisco area and hearing, “I’m on a no gluten diet because gluten is bad for the body.” was nothing new to me. Like the rest of this city, I suffered some kind of gluten intolerance which was, I think, debilitating because I couldn’t experience the whole $5 toast trend when it was all the rage.

It had been five years since I discovered that I had an auto-immune disease – where my body sought to fight the repercussions of consuming cake, cookies, and more cake. Where the internet constantly threatens me with cancer and psoriasis which leads to the extreme anxiety.

The internet wasn’t kidding. These effects were all true for having Celiac Disease.

I suffered knowing I was unable to enjoy anything worth having because most gluten-free grocery products also sport the tag “dairy-free” and “vegan” on them. Gluten-free catered to the sad stereotype that was California – a figure that I respected nonetheless because it allowed me to thrive in the harsh circumstance that was my diet.

But then there was my husband – the one that suffered from Candida due to the most embarrassing and ill-conceived yeast infection that was untreated Athletes Foot. The fungus on his foot, and the poor dieting managed to create an imbalance all because he couldn’t sleep or function without socks on. Somehow when he began to treat it, it sought to fight back and it enveloped him in a week’s worth of anxiety and bowel movements. It was true – life always tried to find its way and when it can’t, it will fight back to try to take reign over its host some other way.

Sugar was the enemy, the perfect food for yeast. The mood swings swung in full force and it chipped away the idea of a stable mind and body. Candida took over your personality, your ability to digest food, and made its host rot away until it reached the center. And, like Celiac Disease, doctors wouldn’t know how to live through it unless they deal with it through experience.

Candida can be treated through diet: starving yourself of everything the infection needs and taking pro-biotics with a little vigilance. While Celiac Disease exists to remind me that there’s nothing my body can do for me but be a pain in the ass at every restaurant we visit. But to both of us? Well, free bread baskets are the devil – up until his time’s up.

What my husband and I possessed was the idea that we were on an island left to fend for ourselves. What caused it? Gluten. What had to be eliminated? Gluten. But unlike him, I knew I had to suffer through this disease for an entire life time while he just had to work around avoiding things that could possibly excite the fungus to coax it to grow.

Our lives without gluten isn’t empty. Even my main motto of, “I’ll die anyway, might as well –“ got replaced with, “We can work around this. We can still  have fun.” And it was true –

While our friends were out drinking their craft beer and enjoying their coffee and doughnuts the morning after, my husband and I are sitting at home, watching horror movies and smoking top shelf pot with our big glass of waters. Because it’s for better or for worse, right?

How Smoking Weed For 3 Months Made Me Understand What It Means to be a Pothead

“Welcome to the wonderful world of weed,” I told myself as I reluctantly entered my credit card information to an online medical cannabis delivery service. I saw its big blue ad on the Muni, I think, while I was on my way to an unpaid internship earlier that day. I was texting my husband about it during my 30 min. lunch break, “I need this for my anxiety.” I was honest about my predicament since working part-time at a Starbucks didn’t give the option of being insured. Companies always find a loophole, I thought, and you either end up sitting there working for scraps until your back broke or just working with no pay at all with the promise of better employment because it was volunteer work.

Either way, after work, I managed to spend some of my money on an 8th of Butter Cookies (Butter Brand) and two State vape cartridges. I found myself thumbing my ID, nervous, as I waited for the driver to arrive.

ETA 10 MINUTES – it said as I sat on my old, worn couch before convincing myself that all of this was legal since a doctor gave me a year’s worth of prescription in the form of a medical marijuana recommendation.

10 MINUTES & A $5 TIP LATER – I was rolling my first joint in America – right there on my old worn couch, at around 6.45 pm dreading the idea that I might not have enough time to sleep because I was opening at 4.30 am the next day with two graduate classes waiting for me after work.

That was my life before CANNABIS DAILY a Project 365 – an endeavor to consume and document different cannabis strains for an entire year. Of course, within that concept, I considered taking tolerance breaks for aftercare and emotional breakdowns to balance myself out.

Smoke-a-thon started last September 10, 2017 and I haven’t stopped at all. The story was that I accumulated an astonishing amount of strains from Eaze and eventually, after renewing my medical marijuana recommendation, I found interest in visiting dispensaries after Purple Star MD – in San Francisco – replied to a tweet I posted regarding a Bloom Farms cartridge I’d been smoking a month before.

I was keen on using, mostly, vape pods especially made for Pax Era devices since I was always pressed for time. But after quitting my job and deciding to finally smoke my accumulated collection of strains, I have to say that the journey wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. And from taking that first puff of Green Crack from Emerald City Collective up till now I’m still learning a lot –

TYPES OF STRAINS

The first thing I discovered that there were three names for types of cannabis ready to smoke: 1) Sativa 2) Hybrid and 3) Indica.

Sativas were head highs and that meant that it was easier to trip with these. Indicas gave body highs and this provided relaxation – it also carried a lot more CBD. Hybrids were somewhere in between and bounced its effects from hallucinogenic to TKO-ing.

Wait! There’s a fourth one – 4) CBD, which doesn’t really possess any high traces of THC and is mainly used for wellness.

What about C. Ruderalis? Well, there’s much debate to what it is as a type because some people think it’s a form of Sativa but others claim actually say it’s another species of cannabis which falls into the in-depth scientific study of the plant. It’s something I like reading about but have no expertise in.

KINDS OF STRAINS AND THEIR NAMES

Because there are different kinds of strains, most of them come from feral strains mostly known as landraces. When these landraces are cultivated and made to grow in a different country or environment over a period of time they begin to be recognized as heirloom strains.

From this general idea of location Hazes, OGs, Kushs, Skunks, etc. arise and the list goes on from there.

Personally, I’m fond of OGs and from experience, Los Angeles knows how to grow them.

DIFFERENT WAYS TO CONSUME WEED

Given the variety of strains there are also different forms to use weed –

Vaping, dabbing, and ingesting.

Out of these three options, I’m fond of smoking plain flower. I realized that after all these years, I like to consume my drugs in its natural state where I break it up with a grinder and then use a bong, a bowl, or just roll it up to make my own joints.

THE BAD TRIP

There are obvious consequences to being high all the time. When given the opportunity to vibe with a strain the experience is often incendiary – or in layman’s terms, “This shit is fire!” – but when something goes wrong there’s usually a bad trip that follows.

And when this happens the state of your emotions transfers from calm or creative towards anxious with a headache. These lows usually last from a few hours to a few days depending on the state of your body.

The best way to heal, for me, is to take a tolerance break to regain that vigor in smoking or to decide if it’s the best time to quit.

But what I discovered is that different strains affect different people in different ways depending on their state of mind at the time.

When people say, “I quit smoking weed because it made me really anxious.” it could mean that they’d been smoking the same strains that causes the anxiety. But it’s also interesting to consider that the anxiety and their reason for quitting could also stem from financial causes.

BRANDS, DISPENSARIES, & DELIVERY SERVICES

There are different ways to discover strains. One would be looking it up on the internet and going to Leafly and seeing the ratings. The second one would be to go to a dispensary and let the bud tender lead the way.

I usually like the second option since most of the time weed tracking websites aren’t as consistent or as updated as Yelp –

My first time at a dispensary was kind of frightening. This was before Prop 64 and the need for a medical marijuana recommendation was mandatory. Luckily, I went to Buddy’s Cannabis in San Jose and their place is designed like a lounge which makes the layout more accommodating since it allows the budtenders to interact and chat more with their patients.

Most of the dispensaries I’ve frequented have had accommodating budtenders. Although, depending on the dispensary’s set up, the atmosphere changes. But, if somebody already knows what they want, or if interaction doesn’t seem necessary in purchasing bud – delivery services are a way to go.

Often enough, a delivery service will have the description of the products they sell on their menus. This makes it easier for the customer to decide what to buy. The downside is the customer is on their own since there’s no way to interact with the products – luckily online review websites like Rootery act like Yelp! and customers who’ve tried some products review it there.

WHO FUNDS FOR MY WEED?

Who? Me, of course. I’m not sponsored by any company and if someone asks me to try their products, I do it because something about it interested me to buy it. But sometimes, thanks to a website I’m a member of, I get to try new things without paying for it.

 

In conclusion– smoking weed for three months and trying to advocate for its medicinal properties is hard. I’ve undergone a lot of emotional breakdowns from some of the flowers I’ve tried or just from stress in general.

I’m not going to sugarcoat any of my experiences. I felt like Julie from that book turned movie called Julie and Julia – there were good days and there were bad days that made me want to quit smoking and trying. Sometimes I found myself sobbing in a corner and asking myself, “Why did I eat all those macarons?!” Since I’m not a quitter, I promised myself I was going to make this work out — I was going to smoke weed everyday and try to get as healthy as possible even if it means I need to scour for different Sativa strains.

It’s been a solid 4 months of smoking weed every single day and so far, I have no plan on quitting – I’m just tweaking the material I wish to publish… and I plan on doing it as high as possible.

 

 

 

Making it Work | A Snippet About Struggling

I took a chance at being an adult and thought that finishing my MFA would grant a better life — or at least it would seem like it after being disillusioned for the first time. But I was wrong since the anxiety kicked in and I found myself in limbo the next six months after quitting my job.

The stress took its toll and I was in hell for a few weeks trying my best to look for a job that could make me pay my bills. The MFA was a costly excuse that I took a chance on just to put on my resume so I could impress my future employers. I wanted to tell them that I was a part of the system now. I wanted people to see I was worth something although the truth was being a writer meant having a practical portfolio with paragraphs and not poems in it.

So here I am, in the middle of a move, penniless and struggling with myself to make a makeshift portfolio full of copy.

They don’t teach you anything practical in school. You only have you, your niche, and the internet to give in to the hustle.

This is the Future| Prop 64

A few days into the new year and the era of recreational marijuana already took root in California. People from all walks of life can now smoke higher taxed weed thanks to the implementation of Prop 64.

I got the full experience – excited and dazed as I stood there looking at the big green building that was Harborside, San Jose. “We’re fully recreational,” a budtender exclaimed, cheerful as usual while my husband and I presented our medical marijuana recommendations before showing our IDs. It was a familiar feeling having to walk past the tinted doors that held the dispensary from the rest of the world.

Since they were still cash only, I took some money from ATM machine and proceeded to examine Harborside’s layout. It smelled of roses more than weed and I found that funny, to be honest because it the universe telling me that California wasn’t done celebrating the ban on contraband yet – the legalization of a controversial plant that could topple a billion dollars’ worth of pharmaceutical monopoly.

This was why I was relentless in my support for the legal use of cannabis. It’s addictive but it was a habit that was an easier habit to kick off. “No money? Stop buying weed.” But then, “Why don’t we grow it?”

Consequently, my reason for wanting to buy clones from Harborside was actually a preemptive move against the coming taxes. The thing I noticed with most Bay Area collectives is that most of their inventory is consigned from other farms; which is understandable as part of being a collective. With a few clicks here and there, I told my husband that we should, perhaps, purchase some plants to use for our own medical needs.

Some recreational dispensaries do not give discounts to those with medical marijuana recommendations.

After Harborside, we decided to visit Buddy’s Cannabis to see how Prop 64 was treating them. The wait was longer than previously experienced, but I was excited. Either way, I’d been religiously following a personal rule: whenever I’m in the immediate San Jose area, I will collect my medication from Buddy’s.

Upon entering, they told us that we didn’t need our recs anymore – but I took the liberty to re-sign up to be a medical patient just in case I wanted to resort to edibles to conquer my severe anxiety.

What do I do with my medical marijuana recommendation?” that’s a good question. According to their receptionist, having an MMR doesn’t give anyone discounts on any of their items, in fact, Harborside doesn’t even consider it as long as you have a valid ID — it just gives the person with a card the ability to buy edibles with higher amounts of THC.

A few days later we visited Purple Star MD, which is located in San Francisco’s Mission District. We decided to see how Prop 64 affected their prices. Immediately, we noticed that the counter dedicated to edibles was being arranged in one corner – separated from their flower and other products intended to be smoked.

After making my purchase, I immediately noticed the 20 to 30 percent increase in prices for tax. It was mind blowing and I felt a certain type of remorse that the medical aspect of the plant was somehow being rendered useless.

Some articles state that prices would possibly level out – like what happened to Colorado – and that some dispensaries will remain medical for the sake of the holistic nature of the plant. Although, since the legalization of pot is still fresh in California and the excitement of changing from medical to recreational is still the immediate response, I highly doubt medical patients would actually find reprieve in knowing which dispensary to go or if we should still renew our MMRs just for higher doses of edibles.

As a smoker of flower, this issue piqued my interest and made me question if I should renew mine if CBD products were going to be sold with the same taxes as high THC cannabis –

Medical is recreational to an extent.

Recreational dispensaries acknowledge the medical marijuana recommendations for higher doses of edibles for patients – but what else would the benefits be?

Magnolia Wellness in Oakland are a pretty vocal proponent of the medical use of cannabis and they spoke about awareness and rights for medical marijuana patients.

Why should I keep and renew my medical marijuana recommendation?” – it’s simple, you shouldn’t. Or at least you should and look into the system. Medi-Cal makes it possible to “eat”, or lower the taxes for patients. There will be a fee, but if you spend more than $160 worth of product a month the card will basically deny the increase in prices.

Perhaps there was an easier way to solve this given the correct means. Just grow your own cannabis plants. According to California state law medical patients are allowed to grow 24 plants and keep about 8 ounces of flower under Prop 64 – which is a good leap from 6 plants and keeping an ounce of it.

Change isn’t really bad as long as the ability to keep an open mind is there.

I think, for people like me, growing your own cannabis as a medical patient is the immediate future. Over time, it’s more profitable. But buying here and there wouldn’t hurt.

As a country, we still have a long way to go concerning the use of this plant. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for other states when they go recreational.

Cheers?

 

Typography & Design | Wormwood

To obsess about the death of one’s father is to find recovery in it–

1953, New York – Frank Olson fell out the window of his hotel room. Had he been pushed? Or had it been suicide? This led to his son, Eric’s obsession with details that led to the documentation of his father’s demise.

It was a crazy preoccupation – a hobby – and a lifelong attempt at uncovering government secrets — stuff people go to movies for just to feel they have some sense of understanding and control over a body that presides over them.

Eric Olson’s research draws commendable effort for the amount of time dedicated to discovering, “What really happened in that room.” And perhaps this is what attracted Errol Morris to pursue this as a project – to air it out as a union between cinematographic narration and the documentary.

Wormwood was the perfect story to translate because it had already been figured out and all it needed was a vehicle to tell that narrative. But there was also  art to what Eric Olson did due to it being well researched, succinct, with visually overwhelming facts compiled into a smorgasbord of information chronicling the CIA’s attempts at experimenting with LSD. His was a type of visual obsession familiar to Joseph Cornell’s surreal endeavors at scrap booking and collaging made accessible by Errol Morris’ vision.

Wormwood serves as a montage of gathered records arranged together to perform a visual piece that persists to tell a story through typography.

Where [type] is used as a medium to trigger the emotional landscape of the narrative — blurring the lines between the sterile makeup of an official report to display something personal, something familiar to us.

Errol Morris’ goal was to show Eric Olson’s truth – his perspective – in the events that happened prior and post 1953.

What really happened? Did he jump? Or was he pushed?

All of these remain as assumptions that were backed with interviews and information that hold as facts – showing a side to an unsolved mystery through various techniques found in film.

 

The use of type in Wormwood interlaced the theme of Eric Olson’s life project. Words – all of his life sorting through documents and reading through piles of papers – permits us to see a panoramic view of a man’s suffering and catharsis as he sorts through what caused the death of his father.

When Eric Olson was a child he made a collage out of some cutups. It was later revealed that a particular piece hinted to his father’s impending death. Perhaps, my curiosity lies in assuming that he had blamed himself for it and to atone he made more collages to let his father live.

The end of man (as a factual anthropological limit) is announced to thought from the vantage of the end of man (as a determined opening or the infinity of a telos ). Man is that which is in relation to his end, in the fundamentally equivocal sense of the word. Since always.  – Jacques Derrida

Relearning How to Write the Best Words in their Best Order| Deception

Haven’t I already admitted that I buried myself in debt for studying something I grew to dislike? Well, I’m admitting it again – sitting here, huddled inside a soft white blanket as I typed away, while Netflix streamed in the background.

I had given up on writing – I wanted to give up on writing – because, honestly, I didn’t learn anything. Or at least I didn’t enjoy any of my classes because I wasn’t emotionally abused by my mentors.

Don’t get me wrong, workshops in America are forgiving and I loved every bit of forgiveness I got. But I craved for the abuse of another school system. A system I was programmed to love – blunt, polite, and addicted to revisions.

So, like I said, there I was typing away as Netflix streamed in the background – deciding which book to reread from the non-required, ‘How to Write’ pile I bought, with my Amazon Prime account.

BEST WORDS BEST ORDER 2nd Ed. By Stephen Dobyns – there’s something alluring about a writer letting us read about their writing process. It’s the most sadomasochistic act ever. I love it because it comes from a place of experience versus hearing a workshop classmates reason, “Well, I wrote this on the BART. Took me 10 mins.,”

Why am I reading this again? Ugh. I know, right?

If this happened in a writers workshop in the Philippines it would have been thrown across the room or the writer would have been scolded for disrespecting their readers.

So begins lesson number one, in the first chapter of Stephen Dobyn’s Essays on Poetry –

DECEPTIONS

“— but that I am creating a fictional world that I want the reader to believe in. I am creating a verbal illusion.” And this is what the entire chapter about deception wanted to let its readers recognize. That “ – a poem creates a metaphor for an aspect of the existing world.” And that it should always transcend past the writer.

At 17 yrs. old I found reasons to defend myself but my mentor, Nerisa del Carmen Guevara, taught me never answer back, never reason. Because I always can’t be there to condescendingly tell my readers that they don’t get it and here’s what the work means.

This chapter doesn’t solely focus on the purpose of the work and how to be understood by the audience. It tells you about creating lies that revolve around a single truth. What is it? The existing world. The writer must convince the reader that the fabricated instance is truth and the writer must convince him or herself that this is also the truth even if, “I will always lie to myself – that is the nature of the beast – but I don’t want to forget I am doing it.”

Rootery | An Online Cannabis Brand Review Website

SEPT. 10, 2017 — I started my Cannabis Instagram with good intentions. I had a lot of weed and by a lot, I mean three shoeboxes full of 8ths. It was a time when Eaze was practically giving credit away like it was nothing because I reached the pinnacle of greatness – the VIP status.

The legalization of medical marijuana – California’s Prop 215 – was something of a holistic carnival for me. Coming from a country whose concern for drug abuse mutated into “government-sanctioned” killings, I was happy that I could actually smoke it here.

Here’s why – I have been diagnosed with crippling anxiety after learning I had Celiac Disease. The medication I was taking was not in tune with my body and I felt like I needed something different, something I couldn’t overdose on, or be addicted to. So, I tried medical cannabis.

Eaze provided a service that was comfortable but didn’t really offer a way to try the products they sold because it was online. I tried the vape pens first and then moved on with flowers – of which I bulk bought just in case I had the time to smoke them.

After receiving my MFA and quitting my job at the Starbucks I was working for I decided to make smoking weed a daily project –

That was when Rootery found me. They sent me a DM and urged me to join their website. Later on, after singing up, that for every five [5] reviews you get a free item. So here we are, with my free items from Papa & Barkley and Lucky 420.

What I like about Rootery’s vision is that it provides pictures and feedback assigned to brands primarily sold through online dispensaries. Purchasing items that you haven’t tried yet could be daunting but websites like these gives the consumer a buffer and an option to try a certain brand listed on their website.

Check out my Rootery profile here.