Robitussin High – another true story

I just posted another one of my true stories that happened back around 1998 when I was drinking a lot of Robitussin to get high. A Wes Craven Romance, about seeing Scream 2 while ridiculously high on Robitussin and pot. Robitussin was one of my favorite drugs, though only when mixed with weed. I’d tried mushrooms numerous times and done acid a few times as well, but there was something magical and enlightening about a good, strong Robitussin high. For about a year I would drink a bottle almost once a week on my day off, or I would alternate, taking mushrooms one saturday and then Robitussin the next week. It helped me to see numerous revelations about life and love and peace and helped me to find myself as a person. The thoughts that ran through my mind, at the time, were some of the deepest and most complex I had ever experienced, though mixed with the occasional ludicrous delusion.

But every time I drank a bottle, it became more and more disgusting. I read somewhere that Robitussin, mushrooms and acid are all self-limiting, as in they are the opposite of addictive. The more you take them, the less you desire to do them again. I’m not sure about others, but that was certainly the case with me. Now I haven’t gotten a Robitussin high in almost ten years, and the same is true for acid. I still do mushrooms every couple years, but I have to talk myself into it every time, even though I almost always have a good trip and usually feel re-invigorated and motivated for days after.

I should give a disclaimer, however. I’m not trying to imply that Robitussin and other highs are all fun and games. I’ve seen people projectile vomit from Robitussin, temporarily lose their ability to communicate, and one friend who even convinced himself he was dead. It definately hinders your ability to operate machinery. If you do Robitussin to get high, be sure to do your research first. There are websites where people describe their trips and the dangers. Like most drugs, don’t go to the mall. Get out into nature instead, though be certain you are safe. No rock climbing for example :) Make sure you have a non-buzz-kill sober guy for your first time and remember to listen to him. Also heed the warnings about mixing with maoi inhibitors, don’t buy the cough-medicine that has ingredients other than dextromethorphan-hydrobromide (dxm) and never forget that you’re high and not thinking clearly.

Now, for your viewing enjoyment, some random people tripping on Robo… ah this brings back happy memories.

 

 

Getting high on Robitussin on a road trip
Robitussin Road trip.
Kalin on a Robitussin high
Me during a Robitussin high

These images are of me and another buddy, over ten years ago, chugging our 4 oz bottles of Robitussin to get high during a long road trip. Don’t worry; the driver is totally sober. I posted this on my old website and blurred out my friend’s face because I figured he wouldn’t want it on the internet, and he got kind of mad at me for thinking he would be ashamed of it.






“If you don’t believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a favor. Go home tonight; take all your albums, all your tapes and all your CDs and burn ‘em. Cuz you know what? The musicians who made all that great music that’s enhanced your lives throughout the years: Real fucking high on drugs.” – Bill Hicks

What is a web browser? What is a car?

Some time ago I received an email sent to the development team in my office linking to a highly disturbing YouTube video created by Google. This is it below:

“Less than 8% of people who were interviewed today knew what a browser was.” This is in Times Square, and most of the people in the video seemed to be internet users.

This is equivalent to 92% of the people driving down the freeway not knowing what a car is.

Many of these people have kids on the internet, or are banking on the internet or are voting on technology related issues. Our computer systems are being designed around the 92% of the population who are wandering blindly. Imagine how efficiently things could run if users were expected to have the same basic education we expect from automobile drivers.

Imagine being a 16 year old going on your first drive with your dad and he sits down in the passenger seat and says “Okay, now put your windshield wiper in the gas tank and your foot on the motor oil,” and have him expect you to understand what he means.

If you know the difference between a web browser and search engine and the difference between a CPU, a hard drive and a computer, do me a favor. Next time someone asks you what kind of car you drive, tell them AM/PM or Chevron and make them explain the difference between a gas station and a car. Maybe then they will understand our pain. :)

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about here’s a basic explanation of the difference between a search engine and web browser.

Gone corporate – anarchist in corporate america

Well, I actually went corporate years ago, but now I’m moving up again in the corporate world. I got hired on full-time at the agency where I’ve been working the last six months. Before this I was making more money than I felt I deserved, and now I’m making even more, plus a whole complex package of benefits.

I also get to do something I love, which is sitting in front of a computer coding fancy little user interfaces and dynamic animations for websites and banner ads.

I used to tell myself that I would never work for a major corporation, and it might seem odd that a devoted anarchist would have his own phone extension and company business card. As much as I complain about how society works I’ve found that making the best of it can build a pretty comfortable life.

I’ve realized in the last half-decade that anarchism isn’t about fighting back against the way the world works. Sometimes you need to deal with it and make the best of it. I don’t believe I’m going to change anyone’s minds by working in a kitchen the rest of my life or make any notable difference by going off the grid though I used to believe that I could.

The more corporate I become and the farther I climb up through the middle-class, the more confident I become that the whole system is skewed and unfair. I see people in the drive-through’s, working twice as hard as I do for a fraction of the pay, doing something that isn’t nearly as fun. I feel bad about that sometimes, like I’m just exploiting society and giving less back than someone who washes dishes… though I suppose you could argue that I am building things that people use and in my own tiny way, I’m pushing the bounds and expectations of technology, but the people making the WordPress plugins that do so much for this site are doing the same thing to a greater degree, and they’re not paid anything.

Most people in the corporate world are not programmers who actually build something. Instead, their jobs involve pushing money around in one form or another. In an anarchist society, all that time and energy would either be going toward making the world a better place, or toward leisure activities like spending time with family.

I still love the corporate world for my own selfish reasons. Without it I wouldn’t be able to order sushi or fancy espresso whenever I wanted. I suppose that as an anarchist that does make me a hypocrite, but I’ve decided that it’s better to be a hypocrite than to not care. As an anarchist, I would like to see a world where everyone on the planet could order sushi and fancy espresso whenever they want.

Guilty without Evidence – Modern witch hunt

The other day I heard someone talking about a time when he was on a jury. He said, “It was one of those cases where we all knew he was guilty but just couldn’t find the evidence.”

This frightened me because everyone else seemed to nod as though they know the situation… but I’m wondering how is that even possible? If you don’t have evidence, isn’t that just a modern witch hunt? During the real witch hunts, the persecutors felt every bit as strongly that they were right.

Do people just look at someone and see their cold-hearted expression and simply decide that they’re guilty?

I can think of a lot of situations growing up where a teacher or babysitter would think I did something and decide I was guilty based on my facial expressions or inability to defend myself verbally; and they were wrong every time.

The problem is that there are certain people that just look guilty, who have that guilty persona about them… quite frequently they are guilty of something, but not of what you think they are. I think I may have been one of those people growing up. I always felt as though I was doing something wrong, but I didn’t know what. I wanted to be a good person; I wanted to follow the rules, but every once in a while I would get in trouble for something I didn’t understand, or something I flat out didn’t do, and it made me bitter, angry and scared, which showed up in my face and body language, confirming for everyone that I was guilty.

My experience near death

The nooksack river where I had my experience near death
The Nooksack river

Yesterday I posted a new true story called The River (my near death experience). Well… I actually wrote this back in 1996 or ’97 for creative writing class, but for some reason had forgotten to include it on KalinBooks.com for the last eight years or so.

My experience near death, as I word it to test my SEO strategies was one of the most powerful seven seconds of my life, and there’s a few things I find interesting about it.

First is the fact that the thought of God never even occurred to me until ten years later when a Jehovah’s Witness told me that there’s no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole. I’d never heard that before so I couldn’t call him on it, but found out later that there are numerous cases of people coming face-to-face with death without God or prayer ever crossing their mind, such as the classic survival story Touching The Void. Perhaps what they mean is that atheists don’t like going to war.

This is certainly not to say that my experience near death wasn’t deeply spiritual.

Another thing I think about regarding this is the strangeness of fearing death. Before this I had always worried about death, I suppose the way normal people do. It sits in the back of your mind, reminding you it could happen at any time.

However, when I was actually there and accepting that I would never take another breath, I realized it wasn’t so awful. The world would go on. The trees would still be green, the water would still be fresh and clean, people would still live and love and have amazing adventures. I would still be a part of all that, somehow, even if just as a memory. Even in that moment I didn’t have a shred of regret about taking risks that day.

The third thing I find interesting is just how similar this experience was to a mushroom trip. Someone once told me that acid and mushrooms affect the same parts of the brain that fire when a person is in sudden, tremendous danger. I haven’t researched this, but it would make sense, explaining why in this experience and my mushroom trips, colors seem more vibrant and it feels like I can see and hear in far more detail and my thoughts seem to get far more focused on my physical surroundings. Also the uncontrollable laughter, deep spiritual connection with the universe and the sense of the moment are all similarities between shrooms and near death experiences.

More WordPress theme stuff

I’m just going over my whole WordPress setup for this site in case anyone is interested or wants to give advice. If you know anything about WordPress and see me doing something stupid, please go ahead and write a “Hey dumbass” response to this post or my previous post about the wordpress plugins I use.

I use the Inanis Glass theme, basically because I couldn’t find anything better. Most of the free themes look like crap. I’m not a designer by any means, but I know enough to say that most of the wordpress themes I could find just don’t look good, especially for a science-fiction themed website. I did a search for “best SEO wordpress themes” and came up with this site: http://wphacks.com/best-search-engine-optimized-seo-wordpress-themes/ and this one: http://www.seohosting.com/blog/blogging-tips/5-free-seo-wordpress-themes/. Both sites list a bunch of wordpress themes that they claimed were well-optimized for search engine optimization (SEO), but only one or two of the ones listed actually existed when I searched for them in the theme listing in my dashboard.

However, based on their lists of criteria for a good SEO theme, Inanis Glass seemed decent. It’s got the content at the top and seems to come close to validating for properly formatted HTML, though I’m not sure why that’s relevant. I did make a couple changes though, like changing the <H1> tag at the top to show the name of the post instead of the blog title, since I’ve read that’s really important to SEO to have your keyword rich title at the top instead of the site title. I still need to figure out my tagline.

I also almost completely removed the footer where it had a little windows style start menu with search and login features and stuff, as well as some popup menus that didn’t look very good. The pages seem to load a little faster since getting rid of that.

If you have any suggestions for a better theme or other theme-alterations I could make (particularly SEO related), I would greatly appreciate it.

My WordPress SEO Plugins and stuff

I’ve been spending my evenings lately just working through all the ins and outs of this WordPress thing, studying Search Engine Optimization (SEO), link sharing and pouring through a multitude of WordPress plugins. I thought I would list off the plugins I have mostly decided on and describe some of my SEO strategies for this site in case anyone wanted to make some comments or give me advice, or if I happen to hire a WordPress SEO consultant to point out all the mistakes I’m making.

These are the plugins I use.

Add RSS – not totally sure what this does. I think it gives certain browsers some kind of access to my site’s RSS feeds, like if someone has their feed reader turned on within the browser.

AddToAny: Share/Bookmark/Email Button – the button in the upper right of the sidebar that gives the sharing menu

All in One SEO Pack – I use this to write my own descriptions, keywords and title tags, and because it has the feature of changing the link names in the sidebar because I don’t like multi-lined links but the real titles often need to be slightly longer than what will fit on  a line. SEO Ultimate, which I use for a few other things, doesn’t have this feature.

AWS Easy Page Link – adds a list of pages in the add link tool in the editor so I can easily make table of contents pages. I wish it added blog posts and scheduled pages/posts as well.

Breadcrumb NavXT – adds the breadcrumbs at the top of the posts, which is supposedly good if my content gets scraped (automatically plagairized) and suppedly helps search engines figure out my site architecture. I wonder if I should add them to the bottom of pages too, since some of my pages can be quite long.

cbnet Ping Optimizer – I tend to edit posts a lot so I needed a plugin that would make it only ping on the first post, so I don’t get marked as a spam. Also for the ping log so I can make sure they aren’t blocking me for whatever reason.

Contact Form 7 – just a simple email form on my contact page.

Contextual Related Posts – supposedly good for getting people back from scraped pages – adds a list of ‘related’ posts at the bottom of my posts and pages. Sometimes they don’t seem quite so ‘related’ so I named them ‘random pages’.

Full Text Feed – no idea what this does. I read that I need it to prevent the ‘more text’ thing coming up. I’ve never liked having to click on a more link when I go to blogs. Do I actually need this?

Global Translator – plugs into google translator and gives me the flag cloud in the sidebar – I wonder if the translated pages get indexed by search engines like my english pages do… I also wonder how accurate the translation is. Suppose I will never know since I only speak English :)

Google XML Sitemaps – supposedly helps search engines find their way around the site. I think I just turn this on and leave it. Don’t need to link to it or submit it or anything… at least, that’s my understanding.

JR_Compression – Apparantly pages can be zipped, then sent to the client and the browser automatically unzips and shows them, which decreases load times. I think I understand this correctly.

RSS Includes Pages – adds my pages (since the pages are the most important part of my site) into my RSS feeds.

SEO Ultimate – I use this for some of its peripheral features (canonicalizer, slug optimizer, 404 monitor) but use All In One SEO for the actual keyword/description stuff. Thankfully I can disable individual features of SEO Ultimate.

SexyBookmarks – creates the sharing functionity – similar to AddToAny button – to the bottom of every page and post. They claim that the pretty, animated nature encourages more interaction.

Simple Tags – I still need to figure out a good tagging strategy. Still need to explore this plugin a bit more. But since pages are more important on this site, I need pages to be included in the whole tagging system. Would like to be able to put pages into categories as well.

Ultimate Google Analytics – for my site statistics. Is this a good plugin for this? There sure are a lot to choose from.

WordPress Database Backup – absolutely necessary for those times when I do something stupid and overwrite my database.

WP Smush.it – to optimize my images without losing any quality. Not sure if this is necessary since most of my images I do myself through Photoshop or Gimp.

WP Super Cache – for server-side caching . How can I tell if this is working? Not all of my pages seem to be listed in the cached files and I always get a new file whenever I hit refresh.

My latest Action-Adventure book: Against A Rock

Art by Areille (a character in EVE Online)

I recently moved my latest action adventure book from AgainstARock.com to this website to consolidate things. KalinBooks.com was in pretty shoddy shape before I did this whole WordPress thing, so I gave my book it’s own website, but that doesn’t make sense anymore.

I wrote this in 2008, after a five year hiatus. Writing an action adventure book was kind of a new thing for me, but I found myself falling in love with the genre, and now I think much of my strongest writing is in action, adventure and violence. The story is based on the video game, EVE Online, which I started playing back in 2006.

Writing this changed my life, though I suppose I could say that about numerous other things that have happened to me throughout the years.

I found myself getting in touch with parts of my mind that I had never explored before, most notably my love of war, violence and destruction. Years ago, I wanted to write about nothing but utopian societies without war or violence, because I so firmly believe that a society like this is completely possible, but unfortunately, it didn’t make for exciting literature.

So with this book, I decided to go full-on Action Adventure and violence, basically Die-Hard in space, but with a female lead, and I found myself exploring that sense of glory and satisfaction that we get from action, adventure and violence, and how it affects our society. One of the main themes of the novel is how human beings love violence and drama–we crave it; we can’t help ourselves–and how that drives our desire for war, criminal justice and discipline, and how we invent logical excuses and  pretend that it’s not our animal instincts that are driving these things that we, as a society are so convinced are completely necessary.

I also explored some other concepts…

So far my mom is the only person who has recognized that the relationship between the protagonist and her personal slave is a metaphor for how many people raise their children.

One of my favorite parts is when her slave recognizes that she has always loved him, but points out that she has never cared about him. I found that a fascinating concept, that people can deeply love someone, but ultimately not care if they’re happy or healthy. Part of the parenting metaphor.

I also explore religion, and how it affects our ability to commit violence. Our protagonist is deeply spiritual and uses God as a guiding light in the course of her mutiny. See if you can you find the Bible quotes.

And finally, I explore the concept of being half human and half machine. All my life I’ve wondered what it would be like, and have always wanted to write something like this, but never thought it possible. But now, possibly since scientists have already begun experimenting with connecting computers directly into people’s brains, sometimes with shocking success, I think I have a clear idea of what it would feel like to be half human and half computer.

But ultimately, this is an Action-Adventure novel, full of explosions, gunshots, laser fire, deadly drones, fist-fights, broken bones, screaming, crying, and of course, blood.

Bus Tunnel Beating – Yet Another Reason to Embrace Anarchism

The other day in my post about the IRS I mentioned that sometimes it seems like every day I find another reason, piled on top of my already endless list of reasons, to be an anarchist. Today was no exception.

I noticed a couple times a headline about a Seattle bus tunnel beating. Normally when I hear the word ‘beating’ I think police brutality, but the front page didn’t mention that, so I thought, “Well, gee maybe this will be the one time where the authority figures are not the bad guys.”

Reading on, however, I discovered that the authorities had been present at the beatings, in fact three of them stood and watched as a fifteen year old girl was violently beaten. They called 911, but did little else to help her because of their policy of non-interferance. They were following the rules, the same rules that are supposedly designed to protect us.

We rely psychologically on the security guards in the bus tunnels for our safety. We wander around the tunnel without worrying about things like this because we think that security is there to protect us, and we choose not to intervene in things like this because as a society, we have placed the responsibility for that onto the authority figures. If not for the security guards and their rules and regulations, that girl could have found someone more reliable to protect her, like a random stranger.

The video reminds me of the time the police tried to convince an acquantance of mine to kill me by telling him a bunch of lies–and a few truths they promised to keep secret. He recruited a friend who attacked and beat me in a manner very similar to what you see on that video, with the multiple, full-force kicks to the head. Fortunately my beating occurred in a shady biker-bar with no authority figures. Instead, a couple drunk college students intervened and possibly saved my life.

My Definition of Anarchism

I’ve been wanting to write an outline of what anarchism means to me and why I think it’s the right choice for humanity, because I know it can be scary for people to hear that I’m an anarchist, that I think police are the bad guys, without a deeper explanation. I was fifteen when I learned there were people who wanted marijuana legalized, and it scared the crap out of me, so I totally understand the fear people may show toward this concept. The problem is that anarchism is a bit more complex than most political beliefs… or maybe it just seems that way because I never hear people talking about it. It’s always been difficult for me to find the right words.

I came up with something I thought was a decent start, and was going to post it here, but then I decided to pop the word ‘anarchism’ into Twitter and found @AnarchistNews, which led me to Are you an anarchist? by Anthropologist David Graeber, which is a definition of anarchism that almost perfectly mirrors my own.

I still wanted to post my own little explanation, though it’s not nearly as well-worded or as in-depth as the one above.

When people think of anarchism, they think of Mad Max and Timothy McVeigh, because that’s the vision that’s been drilled into them. But putting an end to people like Timothy McVeigh is exactly the reason I chose anarchism, because ultimately McVeigh was out for the same justice that our government taught us to seek, and saw the horrible things the government has done in support of its systems, and felt justified in doing something similar. He may have read some anti-government literature, but he was nothing close to an anarchist by my definition. He was still acting under the same core concepts as our government. As hopefully you will read in the article above, anarchism is about focusing our attention on solving problems as a community and not on worrying about concepts like justice, ownership, national superiority, or anything else that doesn’t support the populous.

And Mad Max… well, Mad Max was fiction. Admittedly entertaining fiction, but full of evil characters with no clear motivation for the horrible things they did, probably because the writers could not think of any. Star Trek depicts a system far closer to our vision.

When I think of anarchism, I think o f pirate radio stations and streaking. I think of the way the Native Americans used to live, thinking seven generations ahead, and caring about their environment. I think of the moonshiners during prohibition who fought for our right to drink alcohol. I think of the mob during the 70’s making and distributing porn, helping to force our government to give us the right to look at the human body. I think of the medical marijuana that helps patients deal with a wide variety of ailments. I think o f the illegal gay bars in the 70’s that sparked the modern gay-rights movement. I think of Rosa Parks. I think of The Boston Tea party and the beginnings of the American Revolution, and finally, I think of The Underground Railroad and the Germans during the second world war who risked their lives to stash fugitives in their attics, and of course, Jesus.

These are just a few examples. There are countless more that go all the way back through Roman times. So if there was any one thing I could point to that made me an anarchist, I think I’d say history class.