Sunday, July 8, 2018

Folded Into the Psycloptimogiven. A Salvia Event

Synchronicity crossed my path some years ago, and led me to a most amazing encounter with Salvia Divinorum. I never read the newspaper, but one morning  I just happened to glance at a headline in the Times about the Diviner’s Sage. I knew by the time I’d finished the article that I was going to try the stuff. I flipped on the computer, and a week or so later I had 25 grams of dried Oaxacan leaf.  

     Now, I’ve been getting buzzed for a very long time, and I’ve seen (and tried) more than a few “New Organic Highs”. Mostly I’m skeptical. I figure the good plants are already well known, and those that aren’t well known are obscure for a reason. Usually they either don’t work very well, or the effects are more like being poisoned than getting high. So I was half prepared for disappointment when I took the bag of leaf out into the garage. 

I packed a fat wad of leaf into the shotgun pipe, torched the bowl, let go of the tube, and took down a big hit. The smoke tasted and smelled just like white sage; it was thin and gaseous, and it went down easy. I let out a big white cloud…

It felt like I’d stuck my finger in a light socket. I never had anything hit so hard or so fast. Every skin cell on my body was twisting in a different direction. I just remembered the punch line to the corniest joke in the world. I was euphoric, weightless, floating, drifting in impossible motions. I closed my eyes, and there were no visuals, but I had the sense of looking into infinite depth. Overall, I had the sensation that I was remembering all this rather than experiencing it. Moments later the event faded out and left me standing a little unsteady on my feet and bowled over in utter amazement. I had done magic. I’d discovered gold. I wanted to jump up and down- run out and tell someone! Oddly enough, though, it did not occur to me to sit down and take another hit. Didn’t even enter my mind. But I was excited all day, because I knew this stuff was the real thing.

      As I said before, I’ve been getting high for a long time. Almost everyone I know gave it up decades ago. A few of my old buddies will still take a drink, or a toke, but none of them is interested in hallucinogens. Anyway, my wife’s nephew, Dave and his pals were all in their early twenties, and they loved to party. So I invited them up to Possum Flats, our garage apartment. They showed up some days later with this ridiculous air bong made from a sawed off aluminum baseball bat with a spark plug socket for a bowl. Like I said, they loved to party. Dave left the air bong with me, and went around front to wait for his friends. I was sitting with my wife on the sofa. The bag of dried leaf was open on the coffee table. I was seized by impulse. “I’m going right now,” I said.

   I stuffed a wad of leaf into the sparkplug socket bowl, fired the torch, and drew deep on the mouthpiece to fill the chamber. I exhaled a little smoke, torched again, let go of the carburetor and took down a massive hit. This one smacked me hard. It was exactly the same as the first time, but much bigger. The weightlessness, the twisting skin, the odd sense of remembering some kind of corn-ball humor, and everything- everything is in motion, everything begins lifting, twisting, folding. Somehow, in this symphony of movement I manage to tap out the pipe, stuff a second wad of leaf into the bowl, cover the carburetor, light the torch, fire the bowl, draw deep to fill the chamber, exhale (so many things to remember!) fire again, release the carburetor, and draw down a second huge hit of the pungent gaseous smoke. It knocks me back.
 How long have I been holding this hit? 

 It's 1954.
 I’m two years old and I'm standing in the kitchen of my grandmother's apartment, basking in the love of her smile. Sunshine through the window above the sink. Soft light on the table. It is so warm, so loving. I cannot read the logo of the box up on the shelf, but it sings in pure and perfect notes of color. Orange and yellow concentric rings radiate throughout the room bathing everything...
My eyes open. The vision and all memory of it vanish.

 Did something happen? Is everything OK? This place seems familiar. Everything's OK, isn't it? The room is folding up, and folding up, and folding up... Is a room supposed to do that? Folding up, and folding up?
I see my wife’s face, angelic, floating in the center of this folding, churning vortex. I reach up from a great depth. "Not yet", I whisper.

 My eyes close. The vision resumes. It had never been interrupted. It's 1954. I’m two years old and I'm standing in the kitchen of my grandmother's apartment basking in the love of her smile. Sunshine through the window above the sink. Soft light on the table. It is so warm, so loving. It has always been so and always will be. I was here before time. I cannot read the logo of the box up on the shelf, but it is sings in pure and perfect notes of color. Orange and yellow concentric rings radiate throughout the room bathing everything in warm harmonic light, dissolving the room, dissolving time, dissolving me. I am disembodied awareness. I am pure observation. 
THE POLES! Two poles of light, rods of infinite length and perfect straightness orbit one another- turning, twisting, tumbling- always changing, yet always maintaining the same everchanging relation to one another. This is the Engine of Creation generating Existence into Being. This is Psycloptimogiven. 

It began washing out. My eyes open. HOLY COW! The room was still doing this weird folding thing, but now I had a vague idea of where I was, but not what was happening to me. The word! What was the word? I closed my eyes, and dove back into the rapidly fading vortex. Reaching with my mind like a swimmer in murky water I seize the word, and hold onto it like a treasure. Psycloptimogiven, psycloptimogiven, psy-clop-ti-mo-given…there will be more given… I open my eyes. "HOLY COW!" I shouted out, "IT WAS THE PSYCLOPTIMOGIVEN!"

 It was washing out very fast now. Only now was I aware of where I was and what had just happened to me. It was the sage! Tidal waves of astonishment broke over me- as if I’d fallen from an airplane and landed on my feet unhurt.  "Holy Cow!" I shouteded again, and burst out in deep convulsive laughter. Suddenly I was bathed in sweat. I stood up, wobbly, and unsteady on my feet. I had been cleansed, purged, healed. Every negative thought and feeling that I ever had was purged, I was healed of every wound, newly born, cleansed from within by the sacred smoke, and ready to begin my life anew. I walked around the room in circles laughing and saying, “Holy Cow!” over and over again, even though it was an expression I hadn't used in years. The whole thing, from packing the first bowl to re-entry was over and done within fifteen minutes. I was elated- even a little giddy for days after the event. 

The session with my wife’s nephew and friends took much less time than I expected, and was not all that successful. (more on this later) I got tired pretty early, went to bed, and slept well. The afterglow lingered for weeks. I was unusually clear headed, at peace, optimistic. The ultimate anti-depressant.

My thoughts on the matter:
1) If the sage likes you, it is a fantastic experience. No matter how you rate a high, Salvia gets 11 out of 10 on the scale. And the afterglow is even better than the event. I had been in a funk- bordering on a depression when I hit the sage, and the event snapped me out of that in a flash. I was in a great, very positive frame of mind for weeks after the event. Paradoxically, however, after I had the experience I felt a powerful reluctance to repeat it. In fact, the next time I tried it I was actually shaking in fear as I went to light up.
2) It's hard to describe this, but what happens to you when you go into a salvia event is real. You’ll remember it all, but when it happens you won’t know where you are, or what is happening to you. It's not like mushrooms, or acid where you’re aware that you’re high, and experiencing the effects of a substance.
3) Unfortunately, not everyone responds to the sage. The trip I described resulted from two big hits (maybe a couple of grams worth) of untreated leaf. That same night I saw two people smoke it till they were blue in the face, and not get a reaction at all. One guy got a mild to moderate event- (wasn’t impressed), and one of the others took down five or more big tokes before getting a reaction which he found distinctly unpleasant. One other guy went deep like I did. He was blown away, but I spoke to him only once after that night.

 I’ve read many unpleasant stories as well. Most of the bad trips I’ve read about come from the use of concentrates. My opinion (and it is just that- an opinion) is that the sage is not for everyone. For those who are receptive, it is wonderful. Start with untreated leaf. If you don’t respond to the untreated leaf, it’s probably a good bet that you won’t enjoy forcing the experience with a concentrate. If you are receptive enough that the untreated leaf works for you, then a concentrate could be much too intense.

Thoughts on the matter some years down the pike:
I still have a good stash of salvia. After the night I described above I bought another 100 grams. This was over ten years ago. I’ve kept it in an airtight container with some desiccants. It’s still just as good as the day I got it. I’ve done it only a handful of times after that one night. In subsequent trips I’ve reached the dream vision, but not broken through into that deeper realm. As I said, there is a powerful reluctance to repeat the experience.

What I’ve found recently is that a sort of micro-dosing with salvia has some very positive benefits. I am given to funks and depressions and I have, several times, used the sage as a treatment. I took a few small (~.2 gram) tokes, smoked just enough to feel the tingle, and stopped right there. Each time, for many days after, the anti-depressant effect was profound, and I did not rebound into a funk afterwards. It leaves me unusually clear-headed, optimistic, and generally in that ‘psychedelic’ mindset wherein I’m acutely aware of the beauty that surrounds me, the good things, and many blessings I have in this life.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

On Getting High

On Getting High.

So why does a 65 year old man want to start fuckin' around with psychedelics?
Good question. Maybe it’s a case of post-middle age crazy. Maybe I’m trying to prove what a wild and crazy guy I am. Maybe I’m just lookin’ for kicks. Maybe on a search for cozmic truth? Maybe before we’re done here I’ll have an answer.

I first read about LSD, mushrooms, and mescaline in the Time Life Science Book, The Mind, when I was a 14 year old kid. The vivid descriptions of the hallucinogenic experience were as fascinating as anything I had ever read. I really wanted to see those visions myself. It just sounded like the most wonderful thing in the world. But actually getting a chance to try it? That seemed pretty much impossible. I was kind of a nerdy kid. My way of fitting in my first couple years of high school was to join the track and cross country teams, even though I was a late mature and a terrible athlete. I had no idea that there was anything like a black market.

 Then 1967, and the Summer of Love happened. Spring of ’68 put weed, hash, reds, whites, and acid within reach of the cool kids at my high school. The rest of us quickly found our way.

I got wired on Dexedrine, and soon after smoked dirt weed reefer.  Then I tried Bali Hai wine and did my first acid trip that summer on my 16th birthday. I went on to do more than my share of acid, some (what passed for) mescaline, and even some peyote until some unpleasant experiences (and the real world) intruded, and I fell away from doing it sometime in the late 70’s.

I had a chance encounter with psilocybin mushrooms in the spring of ’96. In 2003 another odd encounter introduced me to Salvia Divinorum. We’ll talk about that later.

It is summer of 2018 as I sit here at the keyboard, a little over fifty years since that first buzz. I had my last taste of alcohol twenty eight years ago, and my last pipe of weed about twenty minutes ago. Sometime last Fall, just before I retired in December, I got it into my head to revisit the psychedelic experience.
It isn’t easy finding acid, or shrooms when you’re 65 years old.  I managed. I even found the elusive mescaline. 

So I’m starting up the old WFB with a recount of some of my experiences with these strange and wonderful substances. I’ll throw in a few “days of yore” tales as well. After all, I did some crazy ass stuff back then, too.
First post in this series coming soon…


Monday, July 2, 2018

Dusting off the Blog

It has been a while.
Much has changed since I left things hanging here at the World Famous Blog. My mother has passed away. Mary’s mother is gone as well. I am not sure quite how it happened, but I managed to find myself retired, and in reasonable comfort.
So maybe it’s time to reflect on a few things, tell a story or two. No parents to embarrass, no boss’ office to get called into, no one to say, “You shouldn’t talk about that…”
So we’ll BS about bikes, chat about cats, (I got a great cat story), assiduously avoid politics, and generally endeavor keep things irrelevant. Somebody might even stop by and look at some of this stuff, who knows? First post will be up in a few days.  Maybe with pictures and everything.
Eventually, I’ll have new lists of links, and stuff, too. When I checked in to the blog it was infested with spam comments, so I enabled comment moderation, at least for now. Thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Back on Line

On the odd chance that someone stops by...
jwm's world famous blog will be back very soon.
I'm workin' on some stuff here...


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chopadero Doo Dah

So What owns your brain time? What fills your head in that rare hour alone with your thoughts? Like when you're driving, for example. Long list of movies? Long list of books? The TV networks? The newspapers? The internet? The War? The End of the World as We Know It? Lots of foolishness masquerades as serious stuff out there, and if you pay too much attention it can just make you sick. What is important? What are you going to- well, do?
Sometimes the best choice is to allow yourself to relinquish your hold on the events of the world. If the Apocalypse comes on our watch, we won't be able to postpone it. We may as well enjoy the last days of the finest thing that ever happened on Planet Earth-

The miracle of Western Civilization.
Which is- slack.

That is- time on your hands, and the means to enjoy it.

Slack well done is a power plant that generates joy. It charges up the spirit, lightens the soul, and fills you with enough silly to laugh for days afterward. It heals you up from the abrasions caused by the media's daily assault on your sanity. Having fun makes you a happier person, and I believe that God wants us to be happy. But we still have to choose.

Small gestures are the seeds of great trends in our lives. The most casual decision spins out events in a vast web of coincidence that catches us up and connects us with others in ways we never dreamed possible.
But, once again-you have to choose. You have to make that casual decision, and extend the small gesture. Waiting for life to find you means sitting around and waiting forever. Television is dying to devour your slack.

In the meantime- what kind of stuff are you going to fold into your resume? When you see your life flash before your eyes in that last few seconds before The End- what kind of stuff will be on the screen? Your choice.
There is always the choice of either doing some thing, or doing no thing: Always choose Life, right? Even when it means asking yourself- just how much fun do I want to have here? It's like surfing- sometimes you don't realize how big the waves are until you paddle out to sea. And once you're out there, "I don't want to deal with this" is not an option. But I'm past the rash behaviors of my youth. Mostly. I mean, risking life and limb is out, but that still leaves a lot of cool stuff to do.

I'm on the Freeway heading for Pasadena.
And I can't shake the odd feeling that I'm paddling out into some big swell.
It's just a parade.
Yeah, but...

I've been hearing about the Doo-Dah Parade for years. It was originally a send up of the Rose Parade, but now any connection between the two events is a total accident. Still, it's a chance to put on a yearly freak show, and who in California can resist the opportunity? It's one of those events that gives Southern California its well-deserved reputation for kookiness. It's also one of those things like the Renaissance Faire- You say to yourself, "Yeah- some day I'll have to go see it," and then you never really go. But, as I noted earlier-Small gestures are often the seeds...

Browse around on the computer. Hit the 'gotta' have it' button.
And I'm getting off the 210 Freeway on Sierra Madre Boulevard heading south- hooking a left on Colorado Boulevard, East Pasadena. I pull off Colorado on Altadena, and there's a free parking place less than a block down. I pull the truck over, and I've got that deep water feeling again. I start unloading the Spoiler. I'm not just going to the Doo-Dah Parade. I'm gonna' ride in it with The Chopaderos.
And as always, I'm early.
The first truck of bikes pulls into the parking lot of the Comfort Inn right around when they said they would. Chuck, from Cyclone Coasters pulls around the corner. Here we go. The morning comes alive as bikes are unloaded, wrenches twisted, tires checked, greetings exchanged. Tada and his film crew are back. They rode along on the Cyclavia trip, and will be filming us again today. I got acquainted with a few of the Chopaderos from the Cyclavia ride, and a few other 'Deros come out for the monthly Cyclone Coasters ride in Long Beach. So I'm feeling less like a total stranger, which helps ease this recurring case of the willies- Just how much fun do you want to have? I've already paddled out.

Below- Bikes in the truck. All pictures click to enlarge

Below-Make unloading a brand new chrome plated cruiser

Just like Christmas

Everyone is saddled up. We get the signal, and a moment later the bikes in front of me are rolling. The Chopaderos get ready to make the plunge into the Do Dah. My feet are on the pedals, and there are no second thoughts. Just pay attention, and go. The pack rolls out of the parking lot, down Colorado, left at a side street, right at another, and we're there. Sort of. That is, we're in the staging area- the alleys, and small parking lots behind the storefronts on Colorado Boulevard. We jostle the dozens of choppers into our spot in line.

Southern California earns it's reputation for craziness. And I'm here with the Chopaderos getting ready to add to that reputation. We're right behind the Whistling Diva in her unrestored convertible 1970-something Volkswagen Thing, and right in front of a rock band dressed as Mormon missionaries- white shirts, ties, blacks slacks, bicycle helmets, and electric guitars. A spot or two behind them the Hare Krishnas are drumming, and chanting (with loudspeakers) while pulling along their circus colored juggernaut. There are women floating around in all manner of curious costume. There are folks in dog suits, stilt walkers, mask wearers, clowns, and queens of all genre and gender. And the Chopaderos outlaw bicycle club. Everyone waiting in the warm April sun.
Below- Welcome to RidiculousBelow- Mask wearers

Below- Women floating around in all sorts of curious costume

Below-And the Chopaderos Outlaw Bicycle Club

Below- Smog beast of the Whistling Diva

Below- Tada (plaid shirt) and crew never stop

Below-Queens of all genres

Compare and Contrast

Below- And Queens of all genders

Below- Last minute adjustment
And soon enough we hear air horns. The show is starting; the entries roll slowly forward. Remember the Whistling Diva, and her 1970-something Volkswagen? The last tune-up on that car called for new breaker points, spark plugs, and condenser. My guess is that the car was still under warranty when they did it. We inch forward engulfed in the cloud of toxic yellow exhaust belching out of those ancient pipes. This ain't good. The shirt and tie and helmet kids are rocking out behind us. We're getting close to Colorado. T hands out tortillas, and announces a quick change of plan. We're going to ride circles around the rock and roll helmet kids. Genius. This will extend our street time, and get us out from behind the smoggy Diva. Suddenly we're rolling, hooking a right on Colorado Boulevard, springing forward so we can heel a hard tight U-turn and loop back behind the rock band. I've done parade riding. It's a little tricky to ride a circle that progresses along a straight line, even with a regular bike, and the full width of a four lane street. Here all we get are the right two lanes. Some of these bikes (like mine) have a turning radius larger than a car's. Easy Rider this is not. This route is half a block down the right side of the street, a U-turn, a straight ride for a block before U-turning again, half a block more, then turn right to exit by the same street we enter from. The crowd spots the chopper gang on their bad ass bicycles. At this point everything sort of compresses into a blur. Tortillas and marshmallows are flying everywhere. We're crankin' on it, then going slow, coming to a full stop frequently, reach down and gather a couple stray tortillas, a marshmallow beans me back of the head, I'm riding again trying to get the Spoiler heeled around, zinging the tortillas Frisbee style, taking hits from marshmallows, getting all the way back to where the Hare Krishnas are pulling their float, and there's T off his bike leading the crowd in shouts to the laborers HEAVE HO, HEAVE, HO...,

Below- In the middle of the Madness
Below- Cutting back in front of the Hare Krishnas

Below- T off his bike directing the crowd. "HEAVE HO"

... and we're around the last U turn, stop to toss marshmallows at some kid, sling another tortilla, and the next thing, we're going right off of Colorado, back up the side street, around to the parking lot, and it's over.
Holy cow, what was that?

I have absolutely no sense of time right now- How long were we out there? What the hell just happened? Everyone's tires are full of marshmallows; how did we end up here? There is still a long line of parade entries inching toward the starting point. One by one they dive into the mosh pit. So when you see your life flash before your eyes in that last few seconds before The End- what kind of stuff will be on the screen?

The bike gang regroups. We pause for some picture taking, and then hit the street for a cruise down to a local watering hole. All the way down Colorado, people drive by honking their horns, shouting, giving the Chopaderos a thumb's up. We decompress for about an hour, and then head to the Dog Haus gourmet hot dog place for lunch.

Slack well done. It was all very good.