RL315 - The Slow Destruction of Bueno

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

  • Paul McCartney (Music)
  • Putting a price on somebody, driving a car off the lot (Cars)
  • Sub-economy of people taking things off the street (Money)
  • John’s truck fire (Cars)
  • Killing ants (Bugs)
  • John’s landlords and being a bad roommate (Early Days)
  • John getting sober in 1994, doing the whip-it (Drugs)
  • Microdosing (Drugs)
  • Not being able to do just a little bit (Drugs)
  • Merlin trying microdosing (Drugs)
  • Transcendental meditation (Drugs)

The problem: John was a cool sink, referring to John draining the coolness out of his room mate Bueno little by little.

The show title refers to the same thing.

The average age of a combat soldier in Vietnam was 19. John was just reading from Wikipedia.

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

Paul McCartney (RL315)

Christmas is the time to say I love you. Is it? That’s what Billy Squier says! Merlin was looking for good Christmas lists on Spotify and by seeing the title of that song alone it was in his head for 18 hours. Merlin doesn’t love the Paul McCartney song that can't be named but it sure gets in your head! Paul McCartney is famous for songs that get in your head because he got good riffs and his melodies have good bones, but he's got lots of little Flibbidi-jibbidies where you find yourself singing a few notes. John feels so sorry for him, but he is worth $1 billion and there is no reason to feel sorry for him! He got everything he's ever wanted in life, but he's just pathetic, like Alexander, because he has no more lands to conquer.

Putting a price on somebody, driving a car off the lot (RL315)

How do you put a price on someone else? Just give me a minute! With some people Merlin could do that pretty well. A lot of people would be in the mid 4 digits. $3600 is a good amount to pay for most people. Like with stock, a lot is baked into the price, you get what you pay for, and you are looking for growth! $3600 is not the price what you get it insured for, though. There are a lot of things that are worth $3500 that you have a hard time getting $3500 for. That car was worth $3600 to you, but as soon as you drive it off the lot, nobody is going pay $3600 for it.

If you paid $3600 dollars for a car and drove it off the lot, bad on you! Just keep it on the lot! If you only drive the car on the lot, they are legally obligated to pay the same amount. It is called the Posse Comitatus Act: As long as you stay on the lot, they have to give you coffee and anytime you stop they have to put balloons on your car for as long as you stay there. It is a little-known loophole! If you lived on one side of a big car lot and worked on the other side of it, it would be a major life hack! People don't always think this stuff through.

Sometimes you want to think outside the box, but sometimes you just want to get way deeper into the box. How deep into the box can you go? You can get deeper if you get smaller and become Nano John. You go deeper into the center of the box by getting smaller and smaller in the center of the box. There could be a quantum space in the box where you get to live in a car. John has lived in a minivan before. He lived in a couple of cars, let's be honest and not mince words. He lived in cars where you could lay all the way down and he has lived in cars where you couldn't, but he infinitely prefers the first style.

Part of the joy of having a kid is that you get to explain lots of things which they don't care about. Merlin’s daughter is getting older and turning more into a person. They were using the phrase that a car was totaled, but what does that mean? Totaled means: The car is now expendable, which is to say the car would be more costly to repair than to replace. This is back to John’s insurance issue: If you have totaled the car, it means that whatever that car is insured for, you wouldn't be able to fix it.

Sub-economy of people taking things off the street (RL315)

There is an entire sub-economy of people (see RW64, RL164) who are just making money on things that are too expensive to repair. Just because it is too expensive repaired doesn't make it cease to exist, it goes somewhere. Does that include stuff like KQED saying ”Give us your car!” and Merlin donated their old car to KQED. If you have a lawnmower that doesn't work at all and you put it out on the street with a ”Free!” sign on it, it will be gone that day, it will disappear, and it will go into the world of tinkerers.

There are people who can can fix lawnmower engines more easily than Merlin or John. Most of the time lawnmowers that don't work just need to have their carburetor rebuilt or they just have some small problem. Then there is another universe of people who buy lawnmowers from those tinkerers, probably not in Merlin’s immediate neighborhood, but he won’t have to go far before he will drive past a house where they have 10 lawnmowers out front for sale.

On one hand it is incredible what kind of stuff you can put on the street that might be gone in a few minutes or definitely overnight. The second part of what blows Merlin’s mind is what does get picked up and what doesn't. A perfectly good table might sit there, but computer speakers from 1998 get picked up. The sand people sweep in on their Banthas and they pick up all the stuff that they think could be useful, but Merlin just doesn't understand what it's useful for.

Even in places where we perceive the cost of living to be too great for this sub-economy to be operating, it does still operate all the more. There is a thing called a salvage title, which is declaring a vehicle as unsalvageable and it means that this car that is no longer usable now belongs to you. You can make it usable, title it and put it back on the road. You take nothing to make something. You can get a car for free or for the price of parts and then make it work as a car again. Car collectors are a little wary of a car with a salvage title because it can conceal a multitude of sins.

A lot of people who live where the storm surges have nice cars in their garage and all of a sudden the car is underwater. Once a car has been underwater even for a little while, it is kind of screwed up, like if you shoot a fire extinguisher into the dashboard of your 1979 suburban (see story of John’s truck fire in RL270) and later on in the year your windshield wipers won't go off. It is hard to dry a car out, but you can do it and people do it all the time! You just got to want it enough. Merlin tells his daughter that everything is food if you are hungry enough. John says that as well as he hands his daughter her half of the sole of a shoe and he will tell her that if she is still hungry she can also have the other half.

John’s truck fire (RL315)

When John’s suburban caught on fire, there were no visible flames but there was an electrical fire in an alternator, an electromechanical device that is breaking some power down, taking some hot power and turning it into some less power (The motion of the ocean is translated into electric that is eclectic), some lower power that you can use on things. The size of the electricity that the motor generates is bigger than the size of the electricity that will fit in the battery and the alternator stands in between them and changes the size of the electricity.

That is not how an electrician would say it or how anyone would say it. They definitely have electricians listening to the show and they will hear from them and they will explain about Amps, Watts and Megawatts. 99 out of 100 times when an alternator fails, it gradually stops working, stops breaking down electricity and stops transmitting it, but in a very rare instance John’s alternator just started passing electricity through it at the amplitude that was coming from the motor.

If your house is wired 110 it has to break it down from 220 when it is coming from the city and if you just put 220 right into your house it would be too hot which is why most electric sockets in your house have two little pig faces on it. It is taking the 220 and splits it into two different 110s on a per outlet basis. You always have to turn on two lamps, and it pulls two amps but you draw two lamps. So you got to keep both lamps on all the time, otherwise you dryer will stop working. They are definitely going to get letters.

In this instance you got pure energy, as Spock would say, you got uncut product going straight to your dashboard. Everything gets hot, you get that hot smell and a lot of things around the hot things can catch on fire. Modern cars are almost entirely made of plastic, but they have figured out ways in which you can put plastic against hot things without it catching on fire. In the olden times they used to stuff the back of the dashboard with cotton and oil-soaked rags to keep the wind from blowing in through the cracks. This is from the factory of General Motors in 1979.

Smoke was certainly involved and it was not just coming from the plastic, but from hot electrical wires. That’s what the phrase is: Where there is smoke there is hot electrical wire. John did not need to throw a huge amount of fire extinguisher on it but that was still the thing that ended up being bad because John got the wrong kind of extinguisher, the old kind. So often with these things the old kind is the wrong kind, although John spent a lot of his life thinking that the old kind was the good kind. These days the new kind is not the good kind.

Killing ants (RL315)

Yesterday Merlin tried to buy his classic ant bait, but it was not available anymore and he had to buy a different kind which turned out to be better and he killed the shit out of some ants last night. What they did to John’s ant bait is that they watered it down from one year to the next. He got the good old ant bait and went to spooge it out but it didn't spooge the same way and was much more watery. John is using ant gel while Merlin is a Grants Ants man. They made a great Grants Ants stake for a long time, it has a little elongated metal dingus disc with a hole in it and a grey plastic thing that ends in a pointy thing. You stick them around your house or you stick them in your house.

John uses Advione ant killer which is a delightful little gel. You squeeze it out, a little dab will do, and the ants will come along and see it and think that this delicious gel is just sitting here unattended, like it fell out of your picnic basket. Merlin’s is clear so you can see them struggling inside of it. John’s is not a struggle-based apocalypse, but a neurological toxin. The ants eat it and take it back to their nest where it starts to work on them neurologically. Ants that have had Advione come back out, they are ready to party, they start to get a little twitchy, their legs start to twitch and they start not being able to walk in a straight line. Ted Bundy said that if you want to collect serial killers, just give them ant killer and see who really gets down on their hands and knees and gets into it.

One time John had an exterminator come out because he had a possum in the wall and as the exterminator was walking through John’s house he saw a little tube of Advione because John used to keep it just on the window sill and in a couple of different places where the ants normally would come in, ready to be deployed. The exterminator asked John where he got that, because that stuff is special to the trade and you only get that if you work in the business. John replied ”Or if you go on Amazon” - ”Ohhhhh” He felt burned that you could just get that on Amazon now (see story in RW44).

Merlin continues to talk about his Terra Liquid Ampoules and how great they work. He clarifies that he is not basically a cruel person and he doesn’t like harming animals. He is the person in the house who is charged with capturing a flying insect and releasing it because nobody else wants to do it and everybody feels sympathy for the thing, but Merlin got no problem with that. There are a couple of things he doesn’t love: He doesn’t love an ant and he doesn’t love a mosquito and he takes the gloves off for those guys. Both Merlin and John live in old houses with lots of cracks. Merlin can see them come up through the fireplace through an 1/8” hole that he stuffed with with aluminum foil, which is also John’s mom’s trick. In Florida they would use steel wool, which is a good way to keep out a cockroach. If they can fit their head in, their bodies will come in.

Steel wool will rust in the wet, John has seen that happen. Apparently ants don't like cinnamon. John is not trying to get inside the head of the ants anymore, it is too inscrutable. He just loves the idea of them taking the food back to their queen and gradually poisoning her. John is also not cruel and does not want bad things or hurt things, he does not relish it, but if you turn your back on the ants and forget about them for one second, they will overrun your home and be everywhere. John could put a tiny little sugar candy, like a wet Starlight Mint inside of a pill box inside of a tied condom inside of a leather glove inside of a locked box inside of a gun safe and the ants would find it. Merlin thinks a lot of people would watch that video! Over time you get bruised and you kick yourself a little bit, almost like letting a possum take you off a burglar (see The Burglary).

Besides ants and mosquitos, stinkbugs also do not get any quarter around John’s house. There is an invasion of stinkbugs happening right now in our country and it is too late for us to build the wall. They were first introduced in Pennsylvania and now they are all over. They are voracious and they like to overwinter in your house. There is a New Yorker article about brown marmorated stinkbug and John highly recommend everyone read it (see also OM108). The article is written by John’s friend Kathryn Schulz whom he met one time at a party in New York City back when she was still just a junior reporter. They had a nice conversation, John liked her very much and after that John started noticing her byline under those brilliant long fun New Yorker articles that you just wish you could write.

Merlin admires that John is that he is not trying to get in the head of the ant which is smart because there is nothing in an ant’s head but machinery. He read this E.O. Wilson book about ants a long time ago (this one) and it was chilling. The way ants work is magical and Merlin feels bad killing such a magical ritual. The way they work is almost completely chaotic. They are seeking machines who are walking around all the time and leave a little bit of a trail. If they pick up a trail where another ant has been around, that trail gets stronger. Through purely chaotic means they surprisingly quickly discover where food is, just by dumb luck walking around were other guys have gone.

One of the great things about killing ants is watching ants. John wishes he had an ant farm on a shelf and could just sit and watch them. John often cheers them on while trying to kill them, like ”Now go tell your friends!” It is one of the ways in which John is connected to the natural world. A lot of people online have a lot of theories about killing ants. Ants drown! You can kill them with water! John failed to appreciate that they were so vulnerable and as he realized it he went out into the yard, found one of those giant anthills, took a bucket and poured a bunch of water down. They continue to talk about ants. The Ant Man credit sequence that Merlin loved did not impress his daughter. There is a fella who compiles the opening credits to every new TV show from 1983 or 1978. They all look real old to a kid, but it was state of the art for the time (see RL304).

John’s landlords and being a bad roommate (RL315)

One time John had a rat under his refrigerator and his landlord said: ”I did not make the rat. God made the rat!” (see story in RW44) He was from India and he was a good landlord in the sense that he was fun to talk to, but he was a bad landlord in every other respect.They got along famously until there was a rat in John’s kitchen and when he said ”I did not make the rat. God made the rat”, John felt that they had arrived at an impasse. Merlin has never had any tenants and can't put himself in their position, but two distinguishing characteristics about most landlords is that they don't like fixing stuff and they love to talk about their problems with the other tenants, like: ”Three gals from the community college are living here and they flush all their clothes down the toilet. Some people got a meth lab in their sink, its not my problem!”

John did not interact directly with a lot of the landlords he has had over the years because he was often the person who came into the housing situation later. He was not on the lease, but he was the third roommate. He would give his roommate the rent and he never knew anything more. Every once in a while the responsible roommate would say that the landlord was coming by and they had to get out of here. John didn’t know most of the landlords, but only interacted with them through an intermediary, which was the person who imagined they had always been a really cool chill person and had now gotten into this apartment situation where they were living with John Roderick and all of a sudden they weren't cool anymore, but they were a nagging awful roommate and they didn't know what had happened to them and they felt awful.

One time John had a roommate called Bueno who imagined that he was probably the coolest dude and always had been the coolest dude. He had a waterbed and handcuffs hanging from the rearview mirror of his Scirocco. He had a personalized license plate from Montana that said ”BUENO” and he was the coolest cat, but when John started living with Bueno and he would say ”Rent’s due!” John would go ”What is rent, really?” A few months later Bueno said: ”This kitchen has gotten out of control!” - ”Is that bad or good?” A couple of months later Bueno was like: ”When I come back to my room, all of my records are all upside down and put away wrong.” - ”Did you think that maybe there were other systems besides the narrow system that you are using?” He just pointed out facts in the world, but those were not actionable statements to John.

Little by little Bueno became very uncool in the sense that he was always nagging, leaving notes, laying in wait for things to happen, and staying up all night peeking out of windows. He became the landlord proxy because things were happening in the house that somebody needed to do something about. John remembers watching the slow destruction of Bueno during this period. John was usually the person in the roommate relationship who ruined everything. When John left, he had no scars on him, he didn't even get pain on him, but Bueno was just curled up in a corner and realized he didn't need John as a roommate, that was the thing. John was a cool sink, he drained all of Bueno’s cool.

John met Bueno after getting kicked out of where he had been living before, back when he would meet somebody at a party and then live in their house the next day. There is a reason John stopped doing drugs, there are a lot of reasons actually, and some of them have to do with the fact that he would get kicked out of places, go to a ”party” that night, any event that he could make into a party, and by the end of that event he would usually have found somebody who would agree to let him go to a third location with them. Do not ever take a hippie to a second location or take John to a third location!

Once John was at that third location, he would put his very small bag down and say ”It's nice here! What if I were your roommate?” and they would say it was a three bedroom apartment and they already got three people living there, but there were so many places you could have a fourth person living in this apartment, you wouldn't even notice! Then John became a cool sink! ”Why is this record put away with the dishes?” - ”Think about it! Doesn't it belong with the dishes?” It was really bad and John always kept moving like sharks always keep moving. Bueno now owns the record store in Bozeman Montana. For a long time it was a head shop and as record sales declined it started selling tapestries and carved soapstone things.

John getting sober in 1994, doing the whip-it (RL315)

John went to a Christmas party and when he was ready to go home the hostess asked: ”Did you have any pumpkin pie? I made pumpkin pie specifically because I know that you like pumpkin pie!” - ”I didn't have any pumpkin pie!” - ”There is only one piece left. Why don't you take this pumpkin pie home with you?” - "Thank you so much!” John looked around, it was the end of the party and the house was in shambles. ”Do you think if I put whipped cream on this pumpkin pie right now and then put it in the refrigerator it will survive until tomorrow?” John was not going to eat this pie tonight, but he wanted it tomorrow and he doesn’t want pumpkin pie without whipped cream and he doesn’t have any whipped cream. She said: ”This canister of whipped cream is almost empty, we are not going to use it for anything else. Why don't you just take the canister?”, and John took the whipped cream and the one piece of pie.

This morning when John made his cup of coffee he realized he also was out of Half and Half and he put a little whipped cream on top of it, which worked great as Half and Half until he could get to the store. He did not eat the pie in the evening, but at 11:30pm he made noodles with goulash over the top of it like a dingeling. He should have just had the pie instead of this big plate of goulash, but pumpkin pie for breakfast is the best. As he was putting the whipped cream on the coffee cup, he realized that he quit doing drugs in December of 1994 and since that time he has been a real stickler and there are some lines upon which he does not cross.

John got sober when he decided he was going to stop drinking because he was an alcoholic, but he was still going to keep doing drugs. On the last night when he was ever intoxicated he took a bunch of drugs instead of drinking. The last time he drank was probably December 1st 1994, but he doesn’t mark his sober day until December 10th 1994 because he was still doing drugs for the last 10 days.

John never abused LSD although you certainly can abuse it. Merlin never understood people who could take it that much, it is as weird as being addicted to going to the DMV. John always put it in a separate class. He couldn’t do drugs, he couldn’t drink, and he had to renew that pledge every day because he knew what the result will be, but one day there may come a time when he would be presented with the opportunity to do LSD or some form of hallucinogens and he just needed to carve out a little space for that possibility because he believed it is a different category. When he left that door open he knew he was putting himself at risk, because if you leave a door open anywhere, the ants can get in.

Somehow no ant has ever slipped in through that door over the last 24 years. John has never taken mushrooms on a weekend or done any kind of intoxicant except for one, which is that at the end of a whipped cream he has always done the whip-it for all of the 24 years. John gets a can of whipped cream once a year at pumpkin pie season, he will eat whipped cream on top of his pumpkin pies and right about the time when nobody is eating pumpkin pie anymore you run out of whipped cream and he made an exception with that last bit of nitrous oxide. It was the first drug John ever saw being used while he was in 8th grade because although there were kids who smoked pot in 7th grade, John wasn't at those parties.

In 8th grade John was at a party at Brent Lakshas’ house. Brent was the first kid John ever knew with a carphone, he lived a very unusual life, he was an unusual character, and he had whip-its. All of the cool girls were going into Brent's room doing whip-its and coming out giggling. John was sure it would be the most decadent thing in there and he was appalled. Only because he had the tiniest modicum of cool did he not forever brand himself as a mega-nerd by freaking out and ”What's going on in here!” He didn't understand what it was and was like: ”You guys are doing drugs!”

John did whit-its all the way through college because doing nitrous oxide in conjunction with marijuana is a wonderful journey! Amyl nitrite (Poppers) give you a super-bad whanging headache while Merlin never had that experience with whip-its. They industrialized doing whip-its by buying a tank of nitrous oxide at the party supply store and get really big balloons on rubber bands. It is like going from a BB-gun to an AR15, it was fantastic! They would fill one up, take it in, and just when you exhaled it you would take another one and exhaled back into the balloon. Half of your buzz was from oxygen deprivation and a quadruple dosing on nitrous oxide. They would fly and it felt like passing out, although John never saw anybody lose consciousness. You certainly lost contact with the world for a little bit.

Whip-its are the one vice in the drug world that John has allowed himself. He will do it sometimes even when there are a bunch of people in the kitchen. He will go around the corner, the end of the can is never enough to get a full hit, he doesn’t laugh or anything, but he just gets a little head rush. It is the one drug in 24 years John has allowed.

Microdosing (RL315)

The other day John was at a party talking to a guy. He asked him how long he had been a hippie and he said that people think of him as a hippie, but he is not. John insisted, but he said he was just hippie adjacent and got into it through a back door. He was a normal who didn't know anything about this stuff until he met this person and that person and all of a sudden he was considered a hippie, but he is not a hippie! He is not into the hippie spirituality, but he was just in it for the money, which John can totally admire. If you can get money out of hippies, do it! He is not pretending to be a hippie, he is just being himself, but he is standing around with a bunch of hippies and you think ”Hippie!” because it gets hippie all over him. He is not wearing beads or anything.

John asked him if he was a stoner, but he was not, neither did he hacky sack. He will throw a Frisbee, but Frisbee is not hippie, it is fully cool. There was one thing, thought: Recently he got turned on to microdosing and he has been microdosing a little bit which is really great. John talked to somebody else about it and they had also been doing it and John had suspected as much. The first guy did not have a ton of drug history, but microdosing was his new thing, while the other person was a drug experienced person who wasn't doing drugs anymore, but had started microdosing. Both people reported the same thing: You are not hallucinating, but you are just having this heightened buzz that you get when you are coming on: Your mind feels active, you feel energized, you feel capable. The wonderful thing about hallucinogens is that you just see a little bit better through the hypocrisy of life, but you see through it with good humor, you ”don't sweat the small stuff” when you are first coming on, and then you just stay there.

Merlin and John have spent a long time in their friendship trying to figure out how you could possibly take the perfect small amount of non-addictive amphetamine every day, just a cross top that never got addictive. Merlin wants just a little bit of Coffee+ or Coffee S every day 22 minutes after taking his Adderall. He wants that 22 minute feeling, but not 3.5 hours later, not 9 hours later and certainly not 12 hours later.

John was quizzing these people about microdosing and they said that you are just puddling along all day and forget that you ever did it. Everything is just a little brighter. You don't start talking to a dog or start playing with somebody’s hair or any of that shit. Still, you have to calibrate it. If you are hippie-adjacent, it is not going to matter. John is not hippie-adjacent and also Merlin spent a lot of energy staying non-adjacent to hippies.

John doesn’t think there is any way he can microdose for his own reasons. Merlin sees it as concentric circles: very far out is John having had a ready supply of whatever his favorite brand of alcohol was in the fridge all the time. He was moving the stroganoff to make room for the Molsons. That's way far out. Now John wouldn’t even take cold medicine from him, no Theraflu, no trucker speed, he was not even interested.

John keeps a gram or two of weed and a bunch of pot candy. He has still cigarettes in the cupboard and used to put them above the doors. He has four or five bottles of liquor and a couple of Cuban cigars because somebody brought them to his house. None of those things pull on him.

CBD brought this all to the fore a couple of years ago when everybody was like: ”CBD doesn't get you high, bro! It just chills out your fingernails!” Merlin and John have a mutual friend who is on record numerous times saying that there is no bad dose of CBD. John has an alcoholic group, like in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure when Clarence Clemons and George Carlin have their little tribunal, or when Billy Batson talks to the Shazam guys in the cave, a little American Idol group, his Blue Ribbon alcohol committee. These are people who have been in the shit, they made it out of the shit and they are all super solid. John consults them sometimes when he needs a fucking council of elders. He went to the council with CBD and asked what their ruling was.

The consensus of the tribunal was: ”No! You can't do CBD!” The reason is not whether or not CBD gets you high, but the problem is that CBD is pot and if you kick that door open, the one that John has a little crack open that lets whip-its and potentially the notion of microdosing in, if you kick it open a little bit wider to let in some kind of pot that doesn't get you high, you have kicked the door open wide enough for pot to get through. There are a lot of things out there that have pot in them, but are not pot, like a little candy, and when you get one of those in you, you are like ”Have I ever told you that your hair is beautiful?” and then you are a fucking stoner and then: Whatever! It is a mental game as much as it is a physical one.

Not being able to do just a little bit (RL315)

John would survive if somebody dosed him at a party or if somebody came in right now with a bottle of Jim Beam and said: ”Let's go to Spokane!” The problem is that most people are sympathetic to drug addicts who are struggling to get over drugs, but they will never understand why you can't just have a little once you are over drugs, or why you can't have a drink on New Year's Eve. They are not trying to be dicks, they just can't understand the slippery slope problem. A lot of people struggle with drugs and alcohol their whole lives because they can not ever really get a handle on the fact that they just can't and it is not worth it.

Regardless of your feelings about a higher power and faith in whatever, you do have to accept on some level that there is some stuff that is no longer for you. Making that line is a very personal decision that has an impact on people's relationships, just like not having those ramifications before, but you shouldn't hassle anybody when they say they can't have any of that. Most people who have been sober for very long are super-not-worried about other people hassling them because they got used to that. None of John’s close friends are ever like: ”Just one!” because if they would, they wouldn’t be John’s friends.

In our culture we devote a lot of energy to alleviating pain, which is not only a major billion-dollar industry in terms of medicine, but we also spend a lot of time thinking and talking about it. There are different kinds of pain. John has personally known several people who had stage 4 pain, the worst kind of pain and it was fatal, but because they were sober people the psychic pain of being on drugs would have been worse to them than the physical pain of dying without pain medicine.

John has a friend who got hit by a car when he was on a motorcycle, he went through the windshield of the car that hit him and came out the back window. When they pulled his helmet off there were shards of the helmet in his eyes. They took him to the hospital and rebuilt him and in the process they put him on a pain drip. He pulled it out of his arm and said he wants all of this done without morphine because the only thing worse than dying is for him to be a junkie again. John has seen that a bunch including his own dad who was in the hospital dying but refused all pain medication the entire time. He did it with no complication or doubt in his eye, because there are things worse than death and there are things worse than pain.

Chris Cornell ostensibly hung himself, but he was addicted to Ativan that was prescribed to him because he was suffering from some anxiety pain. John has been suffering from anxiety pain lately and for the first time in his life he realized that anxiety pain is real pain, it is not just that you are a scaredy cat. It is awful but there are worse things and one of those is being a drug addict. All that is very personal and every person has to find their own path. If you are looking for an escape, there are millions of routes where people will say that this isn't a drug, but it is CBD, or that these aren't Quaaludes, bro, this is Ativan, it is good for you!

That guy who was having shards of glass picked out of his eye without anesthesia had been through the shit enough times to know that there were worse things than the pain he was feeling. He didn't get sober when he was 24 and then never drank again, but he was in and out, he was up and down, he tried and failed and tried and failed and finally had his fucking feet on the ground and was not going to lose it. John’s dad, too! Are you kidding me? I'm going to be sober for 50 years and spend the last two months of my life gacked out? No I'm not! I'm in pain and that's how I know I'm alive. He was in real pain, he wasn't just surfing it.

When John talked to the tribunal they asked him what his sobriety is worth. What does CBD do? Relaxing you? Do you have muscle pain at the end of the day and need something to take the edge off? Put everything it could possibly do to you in one column and in the other column put what your table stakes are. Is it worth it? No! Jesus! When you put it that way! Putting a little bit on his top lip in order to walk through a graveyard without being scared? No! John’s fucking sobriety isn’t worth it!

Merlin trying microdosing (RL315)

There is some buzz about microdosing in Silicon Valley for a while and there was a podcast episode about it where one of the guys actually tried it. CBD oil seems right up the alley for Merlin. All he heard from everybody was that it is good for what ails you, in particular it is good for helping you sleep and for reducing anxiety. There is not a surpassing amount of large study information about it and everything we know so far is that this stuff is great. Merlin tried it starting with very very very small amounts, and it would be difficult for him to quantify the positive effects of this in a way that he couldn't write down to having a good day or a bad day, too much coffee too little coffee. Merlin tried it 3 or 4 different times, thinking he must be missing something.

Merlin felt like his dreams and his REM-sleep were kind of weird and not what they used to be. He was having less REM sleep according to the app that tracks that stuff and he read that it's not unusual for marijuana to disrupt your REM sleep. There was one Saturday morning when he was very unhappy. He took his usual regular amount of the stuff that literally has no psychotropic effects, it literally can't do anything to you. He woke up in the middle of the night and felt kind of weird, he went to have his evening gentlemen time, suddenly felt a black tunnel and really thought he was going to pass out, but he made it back to bed and thought that was kind of strange. He woke up the next morning and felt very unwell.

At first Merlin thought maybe he slept weird, but he was tripping half balls. He was having trouble holding onto any thought for more than a second or two. He started to feel crazy, basically like having a bad trip, and he didn’t want to freak out his family and scare them. He had a really fucking bad morning and into the afternoon nothing made sense. Eventually it occurred to him that he had taken that totally harmless CBD oil that maybe had some impact on this. There was nothing else that could have caused him to feel like he had been tripping, he had not taken anything hallucinogenic in 25 years. That should have been the only warning he ever needed to stay the hell away from this. Almost every time he had pot in food he passed out, regardless of the dose, but he can drink all day long.

Merlin is somewhat sensitive to smoking marijuana and he is extremely sensitive to eating marijuana. Maybe he is the weirdo, the only person in the entire hemisphere who's gotten some kind of THC-like effects out of something that supposedly doesn't have THC in it? It was really fucking jarring and scary and he is surprised that he kept trying to experiment. He got a better dropper, trying smaller amounts, thinking it was going to be this great thing. Then he started hearing the news that you should be careful because even with the premium stuff the quality control on it is not as it should be. Do your own fucking due diligence! Merlin does not believe for a second that you are getting the same thing with the same properties from all the places.

We can surely find somebody to blame about this, but this stuff is not harmless! It was not harmless for Merlin! He is not trying to scare anybody off doing it, but everybody is different and that stuff kind of fucked him up a few times in a way that should be a pseudo cautionary tale about being careful with it. Maybe you do have sensitivities or don't have sensitivities, but holy shit is that ever true for acid! Merlin doesn’t want to show up for a Silicon Valley job and start tripping balls, however micro the dose is.

John will not do any kind of microdosing with 99% certainty. He has not taken it to the tribunal, but he knows what they are going to say. It is going to be an even tougher sell than the CBD oil for sure, although within the world of drug people there is an acknowledgement that there is a lot of ground between taking a tiny bit of LSD and taking morphine. They are surely going to say: What are you risking? What do you seek to gain? What are you looking for? A little bit more tingle on your day? What's up on the table? Your sobriety?

Merlin has seen people who say that it does help with some of the things that he and John both suffer from, that it can be a useful mood stabilizer in some ways. People say lots of things about what it's good for. There could be a time when this new free-floating anxiety would be causing John so much pain that he would be willing to look deeper inside the box, but he doesn’t hope so.

Transcendental meditation (RL315)

Recently John was at a party with Maria Semple and her partner George Meyer from the Simpsons. John enjoys them very much because they are wonderful people. John and George agreed that neither of them likes superheroes. Maria and John talked a little bit and she was like: ”Listen! What do you know about TM?” - ”I know it stands for transcendental meditation.” - ”But what else?” John knows a lot about it actually because his friend hookersandpopcorn grew up in a transcendental meditation community in Iowa, which was not what Maria expected John to say.

Merlin would have said David Lynch and Something Like Flying (lyrics of Breathing Underwater by Emeli Sandé). David Lynch seems to present it in a very wholesome way. Merlin thinks of David Lynch and of Supposedly Fine. John thinks about the White Album and Sexy Sadie and believes it was TM. Maria's goto was Mia Farrow, but John does not follow Mia Farrow on Twitter and he doesn’t follow Ronan (Farrow) either. Maria was like: ”TM is really the way to go, and the other thing: Stoics!”

Nine months ago, John’s psychiatrist told him to read Epictetus. John is not sure if he followed all the way through with it, but he went to his Harvard Five Foot Shelf of Books collection, of which he has six or seven different versions, and he found Epictetus, which turned out to be just aphorisms, but John can't live according to aphorisms. He loves aphorisms, he will write aphorisms all day, but these are just Greek aphorisms and John is not in the mood to go digging into Heraclitus.

Maria was saying that transcendental meditation and the Stoics combined would form a new matrix of mental ectoplasm which is a different level of ”Solve your problem” - ”All right!” John is open to everything, he is a seeker and he is seeking all the time! He thinks she is fairly recent to this and she is experimenting. It might be a Venn diagram thing where they offer complimentary things. You do a little this, you do a little that, you do a little dance, you make a little love (lyrics of Get Down Tonight by KC and the Sunshine Band).

John didn't realize that you have to pay transcendental meditation $1000 to get your mantra, which reminded Merlin of a pretty good podcast about revealing the problems with multilevel marketing. In their latest episode they highlighted who is really affected by MLMs and it is not rich people. The people who are affected by Get Rich Quick schemes are people with not so much money, like single moms, retirees, people who have had a sudden like economic hardship, and people who can afford it least.

Those people are vulnerable to find themselves in these systems and they are told that the reason they are not doing well is because they don't believe it enough, which makes them even more vulnerable. They are moving from one thing to the other and pretty soon they can be hundreds or thousands of dollars in debt. That is probably not true for TM, but Merlin doesn’t know. The stoicism is probably not in the Five foot books. John does have a friend who grew up in the TM community which he didn't even know was a thing. All of this is a lot to chew on.

John does not think he is going to microdose and he is 100% close to sure that he is not going to give $1000 to transcendental meditation to get his mantra. There are a bunch of mantras but only one is yours. One time John got a membership at the Seattle University health club, back when Seattle University would let non-students use their gym. They gave John an ID card and he walked around with it for an entire year and never went once. It was not a cheap membership, like $100 for a year or even $300, and this was back when he didn't have a ton of money.

He walked around with this thing in his pocket for a year and it throbbed like a sore. It was a polyp in his wallet reminding him everyday of what he was failing to do. John was never so relieved as when New Year's Day arrived and his membership expired. He doesn’t think he is going to pay $1000 to feel bad about not having done his meditation. Everything is online, John looked up yogic flying not very long ago just because he delights in it, but you have to be a lot more flexible than John and you have to have a bouncy mattress.

John would like to have some of the stuff that people talk about when they say they made a list of all the things that were in their power and they no longer worry about the things that weren't in their power. The other day somebody was asking John about his anxiety and they told him to make a list and then he just has to stop worrying about what other people think. John is not worried about what other people think, but he is worried about being buried alive. They were trying to connect it to being a metaphor for being worried about what other people think, but it is not!

Being buried alive is John’s greatest fear and if you leave him alone in a room and give him enough time, like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, he can take any six degrees of buried alive. This conversation did get a little weird because they were touting whatever their system was and John wanted to hear all about it, but can it stop him worrying about being buried alive? They arrived at a place where they felt like maybe it couldn't and what John had was something that needed more help.

John does feel that being buried alive is something that he can have some effect over, like he won't go out into a cornfield with Joe Pesci. There are choices he could make in life that would lead him closer toward being buried alive, like he could start right now if he had it as a goal. It is a fear thing and you could start out by just making a hole, but then not doing anything with it. If you are scared of snakes, first hold a string, that kind of thing. What if John just buried himself a little bit, just buried his feet?

G. Gordon Liddy was afraid of lightning and tied himself into a tree in a lightning storm. Then the birds will pick out your liver every day and you will eat a rat. What if John had a friend bury his feet? He could go to the beach and get his feet buried, but nobody has got a bag over his head. Just the bag, being buried and handcuffs. There are people out there who are so into bag and handcuffs, it is a whole genre!

John is not going to microdose, he is not going to take any CBD, he is not going to give $1000 to a transcendental meditation and he is probably not going to read Heraclitus, although Heraclitus had many great things to say. Epictetus also had many great things to say, it is not like this is the first time John ever read these guys. The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about! Losing one parent is a shame, losing two seems like carelessness (Oscar Wilde).

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