Heaven & Hell Are in the Mind

An Essay on Psychological Integration From Within a Fractured Culture

As some of you know, I’ve had my battles with addiction and personal demons. We share the struggles of life, though they take on different forms.

Where substances of abuse are concerned, the last decade of my life has been lived in tension, twisting between states of attachment and avoidance. When I give myself fully to self-indulgence, I become controlled by my passions. When I completely negate my cravings and avoid the triggers, I am still being controlled by my addiction from the opposite side: aversion.

A guitar string is tuned to make music; I feel as though this tension pulls my soul taught, creating sound that gives meaning to suffering. I am no longer addicted to the substances, it’s the tension and cycle of inner conflict I have begun to crave. I fear that if I lose it, I will lose myself, my ambitions, my inspiration. Losing the tension between personal Heaven and personal Hell, I feel as though the world will simply dissolve.

To become free of this cycle, I address the underlying cause, starting by questioning the culture I identify with.

The general western mythos is one of heroism: the knight slays the dragon. Hercules removes a Hydra head and two appear in its place. In battle, our hero learns that he can stop new heads from sprouting by cauterizing the stump. He cuts off each head, one-by-one, burning the stumps until one remains. This final head is the root demon. It is immortal.

Since Hercules cannot kill the final head, he removes and buries it, banishing it into an Earthly prison, where it still lives to this day.

Christian mythology approaches the devil in a similar way: you go to keep the Devil down in the hole. If you remember the story, God creates the Angels. His favorite one, the most perfect, is guilty of a cardinal sin: spiritual pride. This Angel goes astray, much like the mind of a man driven to greed by material excess. He forgets his place in the whole, rejects the natural order, and creates for himself (and all others who follow his example, including a good many who don’t) a world of suffering.

Our culture is born from this mythology and as much as we try to separate from it, it has laid the foundation for our cultural understanding. By way of cause and effect, our history shapes the world we see today. We can choose science & atheism, but we cannot deny that our roots play a large part in our overall cultural behavior.

In the mind of a schizophrenic patient, there can be multiple personalities dissociated from one-another, yet they are all operating inside one mind. Analogously, Angels and Demons are all aspects in the mind of God.

Just as our conscious, subconscious, and unconscious states are operating from the same mind, the Angels and Demons are no more separate from God than a drop of water is from the ocean.

I am not giving fault to God. I am simply advocating for us to respond to the conflict with empathic action. Consider that God requires our help as much as we require His. Consider that it is our duty to feed the Devil not what he wants, but what God needs of Him, and what the Devil needs of himself. We are able to be transform our demons and integrate these fragments of ourselves into one complete, harmonious mind.

This separation of Lucifer from God causes the duality of Heaven and Hell. God banishes His faulty components to lower realms, the realm of subconscious & unconscious, where destructive behavior and primordial impulses wreak havoc.

In this same way, we cast our demons away when we encounter them. We repress and suppress our darkest impulses. From this darkness, they can wreak havoc upon our lives.

Ever wonder why you get triggered randomly? Why lose your temper? Why you ruin promising relationships? Why you seek to numb your feelings just so you can get through your shift at work?

It’s simply because we choose not to be conscious of our darkness. We turn the lights off, pull the shades, and numb ourselves.

When we become aware of our darkness, our demons & dragons, we can begin to heal & reintegrate them, resolving their conflict, forgiving them, transforming them, and placing them back into Heaven’s kingdom (into the realm of conscious understanding.)

If Hercules had resolved to tame the Hydra, he could’ve put it to much better use. If God chooses to look empathically inside Lucifer, to see himself suffering in a world of hellfire, and then resolve the conflict and welcome Lucifer back home, the fracture between worlds can be healed. The Devil wants to be better than God, but what he needs is trust and humility. How would the Devil feel if he were trusting/trusted and humble? Understood & loved, at peace & whole, and at last, dissolved.

Hell’s Canyon would no longer be filled with cries of agony; it will be embalmed in a calm & cool silence, like a soft desert wind. In this same way, our own peace of mind can be initiated.

The world as we know it rests upon this tension. This unifying of conscious and unconscious will mark the end of life as we know it. It’s a step toward power, but also a step into the vast unknown.

This fear of the unknown keeps most of here, cycling between states of addiction and aversion, depression and elation, war and peace. I often fail to transcend my own force of habit for fear I will dissolve completely without the tension. No sound will be heard, no world will exist without this suffering I cling to. Both Heaven and Hell must renounce their bitter feud; it’s not enough to consider only one side.

When we can resolve our own inner opposition, we can resolve our inner conflict en masse. I expect the outer results would show themselves as a much different world than the one we know today.


Categories: Ailments & Cures, Essays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love’s Divorce

If you were a worm

I’d give you the plow

I would forgive you

If I knew how


My hands are sweaty

From a loving disease 

I’m writing you letters

That you’ll never read


I clutch in my hand

This arrow of spite

I’ll rip through your heart

With vengeful delight


Blood tastes bitter

When spilled for love

I am the snake

And you are the dove


I hunt in the hollow

Your scent makes me ill

I need your confession

Before I can kill


With fervor, I follow

Your sweet siren sound

As you pluck out my soul

Like a rose from the ground


The snake will starve

Cut off from the source

The dove will wither

From love’s divorce

Snow falls upon seeds

Come spring they’ll start

A sweet flower blooms

From a wound in the heart

Categories: poetry | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Talkin’ Lazy Sunday Orwellian Blues

I heard there were riots in France over expensive petrol

Meanwhile in America, old dinosaurs still got soul

Frack those titties, twerk that cigarette, dab that motor oil

Gas is cheap, what a sign of relief!

We’re on a MOTHER-FUCKING winning streak

(Cowardly lions eating the meek)

dreamers, cast your wishes

And let’s treat the world as our sink

Leave it full’a dirty dishes!

Hakuna Matata, you peasants & bitches!

Here, in the Center of the Universe,

Old-timers be talkin’ fear, uncertainty, retraction

Young folk talkin’ apathy, depression, distraction

World leaders spittin’ discord, division, abstraction

While some no-good, low-down transient heathen bums

Still believin’ that bangin’ that old revolution drum

Is gonna make change come, (like Don on Stormy’s face)

Talkin’ wrenches, talkin’ sparks,

Talkin’ starve the mule, tame the ox in the dark,

Eat the elephant with a silver spoon

Talkin’ some day soon, we’ll get ‘em soon

Talkin’ light, talkin’ passion, talkin’ silent disco passes

Talkin’ awakening, talkin’ social justice, talkin’ action

Dear God, please don’t bother me with tomorrow

It’s Sunday.

We ain’t got time for all this worldly sorrow.

I work all week

There’s football

And beer

And shopping malls

8-balls and cue balls

Nacho cheese fountains

Spray tan booties and shaved balls

And dorito cheetoh frito chex-mix mountains,

I wanna climb ‘em all

Let’s drive

Let’s burn

Feast, feast, and feast

‘til we eat ourselves alive

The whole buffet, even the doctors ‘n priests


What is it for?

What else could I be here for?

Why, on God’s green earth

Is all this money waiting in the dirt?

In America, even if you’re poor

You’re still rich,

richer than most of the world

So give thanks, you son of a bitch

‘Cus Uncle Sam needs help diggin’ this ditch.

Categories: poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mock & Awe (Or Instant Gratifuckation For a Facebook Generation)

(Rough cut)


If misery loves company

Suffering deserves a parade

Can you believe your life isn’t butter?

Mine’s fuckin’ marmalade


Got food, got water, got clothes, got ends

Got words, got time, bad jokes, good friends

Holdin’ our hats straight into the winds-

We’re sellin’ fame to the nameless and faith to the faceless


Cus blood is raceless like

New-Agers are baseless

Run my tongue through empty places

In teeth, pockets, ear-holes, & faces


Want true religion? Buy my book, forget thyself!

You’re sick, you’re battered, you need my help!

Trust no words & pursue true wealth

Keep reading more for a ladder into Hell


People won’t like you forever

And Deepak Chopra can’t make you better

Positive thoughts will change with the weather

Hang tough, remember: pain beget pleasure


Follow the threads, unravel the sweater

Religion aims to negate sense pleasure

While ad execs tryin’ to get to know you better

I’ll be knittin’ a shield if the weather gets wetter


A million ways to get paid and slain,

Punished by time, fines, and canes

Whipped in the gallows and tricked on the plains

Illusion makes slaves from both the sick and sane


Loss found himself cheated by Gain

Just as Abel was murdered by Cain

Praise was accosted and accused by Blame

While Infamy slandered Fame’s good name


Follow the muff, and swallow the bluff,

They say, “death is emptiness, life is hollow ‘n stuff

Fuck for a thrill, better live & shoot to kill

Life is a boot made for walkin’, footed by a physical bill!”


Advertisements wherever we go

Coulda traded bitcoin for a house in Oswego

I put all my savings on a Hail Mary free throw

While a little distracted from TV static free flows


How many likes to get to the center of an ego?

One, two, three, leggo my eggo & pass the chorizo

Blame chemtrails, chemfood, chemdrugs & tv shows

Cheap Neanderthal thrills for the man from Encino

Before we go, some questions burning up my loins:

How does a nation under God divorce its coin?

How come the news makes everyone paranoid?

Why does post-industry man seem to destroy?

How many dimes dropped before a banker’s fined?

How much vegan coke gets a burner high?

How much acid turns your problems wise?

How much medicine heals a sick twisted mind?


Tighten up the space and loosen the form

Our peasant hopes and dreams seem to feed worms

Persistently, our ideas spread like seeds on fallow farms

Resilient and firm, our love carries no harm.

Categories: poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Opiate Detox Recipe (At Home With the Blinders Up)

Disclaimer: This detox protocol is for informational and literary purposes only.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

I assume no responsibility for what you do with this information.

Let’s go.


-Akuamma Seeds- Picralima Nitida

Akuammine is an opioid antagonist with low affinity, selective for the mu-opioid receptor, when tested in vitro.

-Syrian Rue- Peganum Harmala

Known to interact with opioid receptors & reduce w/d symptoms in lab rats. This is an MAOI so don’t combine with certain medications.

-Kanna- Sceletium Tortuosum

Known to function as a natural SSRI, mild euphoria, mood stabilizer.

-Kra Thum Khok- Mitragnya Hirsuta

Close relative to mitragnya speciosa. Milder in effect but similar presence of alkaloids. Great alternative to kratom (should it become unavailable), and useful for tapering off kratom (similar to stem & vein kratom).

-Chuchuhuasi- Maytenus Krukovii

Natural pain reliever.



Before I get into this, here’s a basic rundown of my detox protocol:

1.) Start taking adaptogenic herbs two weeks before your kick. Use them on through the next two months, as needed.

2.) Start taking kratom when you’re ready to kick.

3.) Take kratom for the duration of your w/d (5-7 days for heroin, 2-4 weeks for suboxone, etc.)

4.) After opiate w/d is complete, begin detoxing from the kratom. Order “stem & vein” kratom

Dear Opiate addict friends,

I know some of you want to get off your habit. Maybe you don’t want to go to rehab because they’ll forever banish you from the glorious kingdom of doctor prescribed painkillers.

I mean, what if you get really fucked up? Like, shanked in a bar fight and staph starts creeping up your pelvis. Your asshole is throbbing in the ER, and the doctor looks at your chart and sez,

“Aw, another junkie. Give him some naproxen and a salt tablet. He’ll walk it off.”

You better have a good bedside manner with them doctors or they won’t give you much.

So I get it. You wanna kick at home. Maybe get high on weekends still? Go on a quick spin dry cycle to get your tolerance down so you can actually afford and enjoy your habit again. No? That doesn’t sound good? You actually want to be clean? Cool.

You’re pretty gangster when you’re high but you’re not thug enough to kick cold turkey. That’s fine. I have a way out that’s not as painful as some. Only thing is, this involves the use of multiple other addictive drugs. So, remember the cross-tolerance factor and don’t be a train jumpin’ junkie hobo, hoppin’ cabooses from smack to crack to booze, shopping, coffee GOD & cigarettes.

Use these drugs for your kick and drop ‘em when you’re done. You’ll figure your life out if you can ride out the detox and the herbs will put a good bounce in your step. Sound good?

Step One:

Get money. Go shopping.

Here’s my list:




Hydroxyzine (or Diphenhydramine)

Phenibut HCL






Comfort food

Herbal meds:





St. John’s Wort

Medicine Rundown

-Kratom (leaf)-

It’s very affordable. Reddit has a kratom vendor list. Google that shit. I like white vein for energy, green vein for pain. Don’t pay more than $120 for a kilo. Depending on your habit, you may need to take more frequent amounts. Mix it with grapefruit juice (enzyme potentiates the effect and duration).

Combined with ginger, this will eliminate the sea-sickness. Too much kratom sucks. You will get sick, dizzy, vomit.

Now, this next one is very important to getting off kratom painlessly:

-Kratom (stem & vein)-

Has a low presence of alkaloids and is used to cut tolerance and (reasonably) painlessly engage withdrawal. You can start by cutting your usual kratom dose with stem & vein, gradually moving to taking only stem & vein. You should be able to stop completely without any major symptoms.
Research it. Reddit has some good intel on this.

-Akuamma Seeds-

Contains similar opioids-agonist alkaloids as kratom, in lower concentrations. Can be used to disrupt a kratom habit but will cause dependence.

-Gabapentin, Clonidine, Hydroxyzine-

These are available by prescription only. Your doctor ought to fork these over if you tell him about what’s goin’ on. But yeah, you don’t wanna get blacklisted off narcotic prescriptions so maybe tell him you’re kicking a booze or a cannabis dependency. Gabapentin for restless legs & anxiety. Clonidine for overall withdrawal symptoms (blood pressure medication). Hydroxyzine for anxiety and sleep (anxiolytic anti-histamine).

(If your doctor can’t deliver those, I recommend getting the following substitutes OTC:

-Diphenhydramine [Benadryl]-

Dextromethorphan Hbr (Robitussin… make sure DXM is the ONLY ingredient on the label. The pills are a tad easier to stomach than the liquid.)


Your mom or grandma probably have some layin’ around. Or your favorite corner boi, if you still have any money left.

You know how it says “Don’t mix this medication with Grapefruit Juice” on the benzo bottle label? Do that. Grapefruit contains an enzyme that potentiates the effect of a wide array of drugs, benzos included. I once got the nickname “Grapefruit” at a rehab center because I was on a heavy benzo taper and hoarded all the grapefruits from the fruit bowl, every fuckin’ morning, sure as the shits. I kept it a secret ‘cus I didn’t want anyone tapping my supply. My peers were confused at my affinity for the bitter fruit. That’s Doctor Grapefruit to you, buddy.

Benzos are habit forming so don’t take for more than a week. Be VERY careful mixing these with the other medications. Go sparingly. Dissolve small doses under your tongue until you feel more… not like a plant that’s turning into a lizard. Y’know? Don’t need to get high. Just need to get… kindasorta normal…ish.

-Phenibut HCL or FAA-

If you can’t get benzos, these are legally available online. They are a nootropic drug developed by the Russians and used on astronauts to help their anxiety. It works similar to benzos, best taken on an empty stomach. The HCL version is highly acidic and harsh on the stomach. The FAA version is neutral PH and easy to stomach although a bit more expensive and slightly less effective. You’ll need a 0.01 scale to measure the powder, a hearty dose of 2000mgs (2 grams) seems sufficient to alleviate detox anxiety. Do not take more than 3000mgs at one time. This stuff is habit forming. Do not take for more than a week.


Also sold as Imodium. Not to be underestimated. This is a fentanyl analogue. It can be potentiated with quinine (found in tonic water). Figure out your own dosage; likely you’ll need to take 3-4x the recommended amount for the first 3 days. Don’t take high doses for more than a week.

-Multivitamins & Comfort food-

Self-explanatory. I like whole food (not the store) vitamins and lukewarm soup.

-Psychedelic Micro-dosing-

Works well for immediate symptoms and post-acute. Seems to have adaptogenic properties. I’ve known folks to microdose with any psychedelics available, with moderate to excellent results. Be careful combining Syrian Rue with psychedelics, it will potentiate the drug (especially fungus and vine medicines).

There is plenty of information available on this subject elsewhere (Bluelight & Reddit for anecdotal evidence.)

Step Two:

Prepare for post acute withdrawal by taking herbs immediately (you should’ve been on them already, but that’s ok if you ain’t):

-Ashwagandha, Ginseng, Kava, Scullcap, St. John’s Wort, Turmeric, Rhodiola-

These herbs will help with the post acute withdrawal symptoms. Without any dope in your veins, your brain will be learning to regulate natural production of neurotransmitters. With these tonics we are targeting your nervous and endocrine systems. Ashwagandha and Ginseng are powerful adaptogenic herbs. They’ll help regulate your endocrine system. The Kava and Scullcap are gentler nervine tonics. Helps with anxiety. St. John’s Wort, also gentle, for depression. Rhodiola is powerful and helps immensely with energy and clarity, cannot be understated. Turmeric, gentle, for pains and mood (best taken with hot water, heavy cream, and black pepper).

Combine your doses with a pinch of crushed black pepper to increase overall bioavailability (or just order piperine).
Take as directed, multiple times a day. Take for at least two weeks up to three months. Most of these need at least a week of daily consumption to start working well.

Pick the herbs that work best for you (will require experimentation), take notes, pay attention. Don’t take more than three different herbs at each dosing. Herbs are powerful; they can have adverse effects. Pay close attention to how your body reacts. Take them between meals or dissolve the tincture under your tongue with water.

Step Three:

Engage Withdrawal

The basic rigamarole is- STOP DOING DOPE. No more. Embrace the suck. You’ll be okay. Gotta earn your life back and stop being a goddamn puppet slave.

Try to exercise, get some yoga in, go to a sauna and sweat… or build your own sauna steam bath at home in the shower. Get that shit outta you. Drink lots of water. Hit some Gatorade. Smoke a lotta weed. Read a book. Rant in your journal or blast something on a canvas. Cry a whole bunch. You’re supposed to be purging. Break down… and then you’ll be treated to a break through. You’re rebuilding on a cellular level. You are turning from a plant back into a mammal. Fucking hurts.

You should be able to transition off the dope and onto the kratom without a whole lot of discomfort. You may have to take a lot (depending on your habit) and it won’t be easy to stomach at first. Use ginger and psyllium husk (or Metamucil) to aid your digestion.

Use benzos/phenibut to help with your anxiety and sleep. Do not take more than 3000mg in one go. A safe and effective dose for w/d anxiety is 1000mg – 2000mg.

After you’ve taken kratom for at least four days straight, you should have effectively disrupted your dope habit. Now you can taper off the kratom slowly, cut it with stem & vein, or just jump straight off and get it over with. Your call.

In the event you get stuck on kratom for a month or two, don’t worry. Progress, not perfection. But I can tell you from personal experience, your intestines get mighty backed up swallowing all that green powder. It starts to make you physically ill and your body rejects it. It’s best to kick it when it’s your decision. A kratom kick lasts anywhere from 3-6 days.

If you haven’t gotten addicted to kratom, congratulations! You’re ready to get through a few shitty days of your asshole falling out and your face dripping onto the floor. It’s okay. You’re gonna get through this and what doesn’t kill ya, doesn’t kill ya.

Now you can begin to really reap the benefit of the herbs. Take plenty of showers, walk when your legs get restless, and overall THUG IT OUT! Get through it. You are tough. You will make it and you will earn balance through perseverance! Also, I love you. I’m here to help. Ask questions if you have any.

By the end of the first ten days, you should be good. Stop taking all the auxiliary drugs, even if they seemed fun. Keep taking the herbs. Start eating healthy. Brush your teeth. Take showers. Go to an NA meeting if that’s your thing. Don’t hang around with your junkie friends. Hang tough.

If ya can’t seem to kick it still, there are Ibogaine clinics in Canada and Mexico. They last about a week and run between $3,000 – $8,000. They seem to have great results if you’ve got the coin. Ayahuasca also has reported abilities to pull your head out of your ass and put the fear of God into you. The same with most other psychedelics. Yoga & Vipassana work wonders as well but they’re slower. Consider these approaches if you need a psycho-somatic reboot. Don’t go it alone if you’re not experienced and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Reddit, Erowid, and Bluelight have great forums for addiction support.

Lovin’ you,

Dr. Grapefruit Fuckoff, PhD NFA

Categories: Ailments & Cures, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sour Mash Doubts

Doubts and guilt, doubts and will

I want a bout with honesty, but still

It ain’t right that I write only to share,

so I walk ‘til I’m naked, alone, and scared


Working on a world made up of lines

a jagged sawtooth, I am dusty hammer tines

aging slowly, rusting like nails in the times

relevance buried in the “who, what, where, why?”


I watch you succeed, I watch you spiral and fail

I watch you unbridled, through a window unveiled

This whole time, we thought our calling had sailed

It was tomorrow we were following, on road & on trail


Yesterdays poem becomes todays advice,

biting me in the ass, these words I read twice,

You counted the cards ‘n I loaded the dice

Who could expect an asshole to play nice?


Every bee stung me, walking to the hive

I can tell you that I’m lucky to be alive

Back on battlegrounds we strive to survive

Us crossing lines, so quick to chance lives


I chamber a round, ‘cus death shoots hollows

Most men just want a war drum to follow

To give them some honor, sacrifice, and bravado

warping the story ‘til each man is Picasso


The drones are marching through sweltering heat

While others dodge illusion and deceit

They see a carpet crawling, rats up to their knees

Fighting for a feast while spreading disease


One beer at a time, one breath at a time,

Wasting money, it’s peace I can’t buy-

Could you spare a little peace of mind?

Or else cut a line and pour me some wine


If you accept my conditions of suffering,

I’ll accept myself and everyone else

I am my own hostage, couldn’t you tell

Pay my ransom or throw me in the well!


Envious of those who grow rich beyond riches

knees grow weary, digging penniless ditches

Rolling the bowl, inhale both genie & wishes

Life is joke between three laughing witches


Mash in the chamber, I am the changer

my experiences distilled be the only remainder,

Gulping and splashing drops upon strange anger

sharing libation and handshakes with strangers


I walk in the woods to stalk a truth I can kill

I’ll beat it and twist ‘til it lies naked & still-

kill or be killed, fulfilling a beast of will

We’ve got a full bottle and I’m a-cooking still


My song is a fly humming through wide open blue

My darling is a harp, playing faithfully and true

My heart is a snake, made of flesh and sinew

We left the apple on the limb, and a new tree grew.

Categories: poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oregon Hitchhike Trek Loop: Medford to North Umpqua Trail & Back!

With a few days of hang-time in Southern Oregon, I decide it’s high time I head for the hills. I’m ready for a break from all the fuss and bustle of the town & city. Dupree drops me off just north of Medford in Eagle Point.

It’s around 4pm when I get my thumb out there. Heading up small country highways, I stand for an hour with the sun in my face. Most of the drivers are behind big trucks and SUVs, some towing fishing boats, others hauling construction equipment. Most of ‘em ignore me. A few pass with a gentle wave or a disapproving glare.

I get antsy standing there so I start walking. In my experience, the deeper you get into the country the better it is to hitch while walking than hitch while standing. They see ya standing, they think you’re lazy.

Sure enough, a kid stops for me and takes me up to Shady Cove. He tells me it’s illegal to hitch within city limits, so he drops me on the outskirts of town.

With the sun tucked away behind the mountains, I pop a beer and level my thumb. I hail a ride from a guy named Taz. He grows herb up on one of the local hills and offers me a job and a line of coke. The coke looks clean but the job sounds bad: no facilities, no electricity, and his truck is falling apart.

Not that I mind rustic living conditions, but if my boss can afford powdered drugs but can’t afford solar panels, he probably can’t pay me on time. I take his number out of politeness and thank him for the pick-me-up.

Taz drops me at a day camp near Lost Creek Reservoir. Now I’m drinking some wine and watching the daylight fade. A few rides blast past and I’m feeling downright chipper. If there were more daylight, I’d surely catch a ride.

Dark & chilly, I set up my hammock and go to sleep in the day park. It’s peaceful beside the Rogue River.

The morning brings bird songs and rowboat fishermen landing huge salmon.

I have a quick bagel breakfast and wave to the fishermen before getting to the highway. It’s a bit frosty still so I find a patch of sun on the bridge and wait for well over an hour before I catch my first ride.

He tells me to watch out for his fly rod as I load my pack into the back seat of his Subaru hatchback. His name’s Drew. He’s going up to Bend and on into Washington.

Drew is in his fifties with long hair. He has eleven children by eight women. He shows me pictures of his Haitian and Dominican girlfriends down south. He grows cannabis in Washington state and earns a decent living investing in rental properties. He is full of humor and stories. 

He also teaches survival courses and invites me up to Spokane to take a course in exchange for labor. I take his number before he lets me off near Diamond Lake. He asks me if I brought some hooks and line, then tells me I ought to make a few dead falls after noticing all the squirrels running around piles of melting snow. We’re up in the mountains now.

Rides are slim up here so I hoof it to the Diamond Lake camp store and pick up a couple cold beers and some fishing line and hooks. I can stake the lines into the ground with hooks and worms overnight.

Only a fourteen mile roadside walk until I’m by the section of trail I want. I catch a short ride from a tweaker with an obnoxious laugh. Her baby is hollering in the back seat as she rants about her deadbeat baby daddy. She stops to let me off at an intersection and panics for a moment as a white ford pulls up near us. She’s pretty sure it’s a cop but I assure her it is not.

Walking onward with an outstretched thumb, I hail one more ride, this time from a friendly woman who confides that I’m her first hitchhiker. I smile bashfully and load my pack in and thank her for stopping. Her name is Layla and she lives in LA.

She just spent the night camping in the snow on the rim of Crater Lake. She’s headed up to Portland, stopping to see the sights of Umpqua along the way. I find myself as an absent-minded tour guide as we whimsically explore some of the North Umpqua sights. We hike a few waterfalls together, most notably, the locally famous Toketee Falls. 

The parking lot is swarming with visitors and we are among them.

We hike the short trail to the observation deck, also crowded. I notice a steep, narrow trail going down to the falls. Layla asks if I want to climb down to the falls. We descend, grabbing root, rope, and rock to get down gently.

The water is roaring like a frigid lion, spraying mist all over alien mosaic rock-formations and mossy caves. 

We spend awhile down here, talking with other hikers and admiring the view.

Layla and I ramble about our past, present, and future lives. Passions, careers, and reality. We agree that it’s nice to find spontaneous friends like this. After the hike, she drives me up to the hot springs trailhead and sends me off with warm wishes and a big hug.

Now in the middle of the afternoon, I have a choice to make. Which way to go? I can go east on the Dread and Terror segment. Twelve miles. Very difficult. My other option is continue onward west via the Deer Leap Segment. Nine miles. Moderate Difficulty. 

The decision is obvious: continue onward west, go with the flow and follow the river. Deer leap it is.

Out of shape with a heavy pack, I begin walking trail. The weather forecast called for warm days in the seventies and cold nights in the thirties. I think I brought enough layers.
On the trail, the mosquitoes are thick and hungry. I have a few miles of intersecting roads before I begin my segment. The terrain is downhill and gentle, following Toketee lake. A couple of mountain bikers ride past me.
I cross a road and hop onto my segment, finding a nice bubbling creek to fill my bottle. After a nice long drink, I march onward through the evening air. The trail climbs high into the mountains, challenging my body and rewarding my head with views of the rivers, smells of conifers & cedar, and sounds of the whirling valley below.

I hike until dusk, nearly out of water. I have no choice but to keep moving forward ‘til I find a creek but there hasn’t been one in a few hours. I try to move slow and steady, but end up half-jogging, covered in mosquitoes.

Around a bend I hear a steady, heavy breeze. Getting closer, there’s a slapping splash on a rock. My heart sighs in relief. I get a fill up and round the next bend to find an alpine meadow full of golden-green grass and yellow spring flowers. Almost no mosquitoes here.

I scramble over the rocky meadow toward a small hollow flat with four trees: two cedar, one oak, and a madrone. I hang my hammock here and get a fire going. I counted seven miles today.

I eat a feast of eggs, onions, and peppers and fall asleep to the calm and quiet pulse of crickets and soft wind.
I wake feeling rested beneath overcast skies. I start a small fire and get some tea and breakfast in me. I stretch and warm up, hit the creek to brush my teeth and wash my face.
The morning sun burns through the clouds to give a delightful view of Crater Lake and snowy mountains nearby. 

The sun dances on the flowers as I saunter down the trail to find overlooks galore.

I ditch a stick of butter along the way, deeming it as excess weight. Maybe a bear needs it to bake some cookies.

The trail descends toward some beautiful creek, full of pools. I stop off by a particular picturesque creek, swollen clear and blue with the winter melt. I strip my sweaty layers off and climb down to the edge of a pool. Wading over to a small waterfall, I shriek in cold shock and dip my head under to take a brief rinse off. I chicken-walk back to shore and lay out in the sun feeling very refreshed.

I enjoy a light lunch of bagel and sunflower seed butter before continuing onward. The trail descends back into the valley, following the North Umpqua river again. 

I finish the Deer Leap Segment with plenty of daylight left. It’s hot in the valley so I take a siesta in some shade near a dam.
A bit cooler now, I walk onto the Jessie Wright segment. Four miles of easy trail. I hike a few miles and find a nice creek to rest at. I suspect it’s called Boulder Creek but since I have no map, I’m not sure. I explore up the trail and can’t find a better place to camp so I return to the creek. The water tastes amazing.

I put my only beer in the cold creek and start a large fire on a small sandy beach. I cook up a whole can of beans with some sautéed onion and pepper to fill my belly. I sway peacefully in my hammock by the waterside. Another seven mile day.

The next morning, I fry up some eggs and potatoes and get on the trail after stretching a bit. I stop to climb some boulders to catch a view. I explore some old logging trails and find a power line clearing. The poison oak is dense up here so I tread carefully.

The trail twists along the river for a few miles and catches back up with Highway 138. I start walking down the highway and find a light waterfall trickling into a roadside ditch. 

I decide to wash up here and get the poison oak oils off my skin with soap and cold water. I must look funny taking a shower on the side of the road. I try to ignore the cars buzzing past. I can’t help but laugh.

I dry in the sun awhile and continue down the road a few more miles, looking for the next trailhead. I haven’t seen any signs for it. I realize the trail connects in the opposite direction. 

After pondering awhile, I take the hint from the road and conclude my trail time for this trip.

Walking west down the highway, I hold out my thumb ‘til I catch a ride. First one takes me up a couple miles, near the next trailhead. I debate whether I want to hike the next segment but I have no idea how long it goes ‘til it comes back to the highway. I have one more day ‘til I have to be back in Gold Hill.

I hold my thumb out and let the road make the choice. I’ll give it an hour.

Before long, an old hippie driving a beater sedan pulls up laughing,

“Hey kid, you Rainbow Family?”

“Naw, I’m-”

“Well you were touchin’ ‘em up there at the hot springs! Get in!” He cackles.

I hop into the bucket of a car he’s driving. There’s a big daddy long-leg crack across the windshield but it rides all right.

“How far you goin’ man?” I ask him.

“Oh, I’m goin’ all the way to the coast, down through Grant’s Ass… ha ha! I call it Grant’s Ass because ol’ Grant was a real bastard, him and his buddies went through the west drinkin’, raping, pillaging and having a good ol’ time killing and robbing. The town ain’t too bad but Grant’s a real Ass.

“You know, the Rainbows got a free kitchen near the coast if ya need a bite to eat. They got one near Bend and another outside Eugene. There’s food all over, if ya know who to ask and where to look. They’re good kids. A few of ‘em are misguided but we try to keep ‘em in line.

He goes on,

“My name’s Falcon. I’m Bird-of-Prey tribe, sixty-six years old but I’ll live forever. I can take this body with me after I go. Everybody wants you to believe in death but you can take your body with you.”

I interject,

“Yeah, your astral body-”

“No, your physical body, you can take it with you after you go, man. I astral travel in meditation but I take my physical form with me now. It took a lot of practice.”

“But why would you want the body along for the ride? It’ll just fall apart eventually, all physical things come apart with time.”

“That’s what they want you to think.”

He pauses awhile and is intercepted with another idea,

“You know man, these mountains here look kinda freaky, right? They’re not mountains, these are ancient pyramids under these mountains here. They built ‘em and they got covered during one of the last floods and now they look like mountains. 

I saw a train last night come right up to the mountain and go under it. I saw the headlight and then it was gone, plain as day. The government is building underground cities here for when the water rises, they wanna kill all of us off so they can have the world to themselves. Yep, some fifty million people survive after their next manufactured war and they inherent the world but we’re not in their club. We don’t have enough money to be in their club.”

“Yeah, but even if we did…”

“Yeah man, we ain’t no reptile-brained fools, God’s children ain’t cut from the same cloth. We live with the land, you know, I’m a trained shaman. I go out and touch a mushroom and I get high, I don’t even have to eat it.”

He offers me a hit from his hash oil vaporizer. I decline in favor of the half-smoked spliff in my shirt pocket. 

Falcon keeps rambling,

“So they’re gonna nuke us and the planet is gonna go to shit. I’m goin’ down to New Mexico to take part in a time-travelin’ ceremony. You know the Hopi and Navajo learned how to split themselves off from this time frame and hop off into another fold. Only problem is once you go off you can’t come back. So if I go, I’ll be gone from this time for good.”

I listen awhile but it keeps coming back to “us & them” and “apocalypse”. I’m getting sick of all the doom & gloom prophecy. Looking out the window into the bright green hills, hearing the birds and bugs dance along to a swollen river song tells a much different story. Amidst decay, life springs forth.

I tell him,

“That sounds pretty far out, but why don’t you navigate this reality like a ship, help us drive now to the place that isn’t getting raped or blown up? We gotta pilot this thing together, man, and if people keep buying into the whole apocalypse ending, that’s where we’re gonna go and that’s how the book’ll end. I sure as shit ain’t buying it.”

“Right on, brother.”

We sit in silence for a few moments, winding down the riverside and on through Roseburg. We jump onto I-5 south and Falcon keeps talkin’ at me. He rambles between coherent and incoherent ideas for a while and I just “um”, “ah”, “yeah”, and “hmm” accordingly.

We make it safe and sound into Grants Pass. I pitch him some gas money and we share a meal together at a Chinese restaurant. The portions are huge and we eat in silence, grateful to have hot food, clean air, fresh water, and good weird company. After dinner, we share a shot of the Vietnamese wine I’ve been carrying around all weekend.

Falcon drops me off by the old Highway 99, on the edge of Grants Pass. He gives me a big hug and tells me,

“You’ll get where you’re goin’ kid, all the way. You’re livin’ right and we’re all takin’ care of each other. You got the good energy on ya and you just see- tonight your third eye will be blazin’! You’re Family. Bless you brother!”

I wish him well and thank him again for the lift.

It’s six miles to Gold Hill. I pick up a cold six pack to carry home, just in case Dupree is thirsty. I pop a can and walk down the road along the Rogue River in the evening heat. Nobody is stopping so I keep walking.

Somewhere I see a sign by the side of the road, “Support our Teachers” obscured by some weeds. I hop over the ditch to stamp the weeds down so I can see the sign better.

On the way back over, I find a twenty dollar bill on the ground. I grab it and look down the road to find another twenty, and then one more. Sixty dollars on the side of the road more than pays the weekend expenses.

Just then, a ride stops and takes me a couple miles up the road. The sun is setting golden on the Rogue Valley and I’m all jolly smiles, cradling the six-pack under my arm like a baby.

The sun gone down, I catch a ride for the last mile to Gold Hill. Nice kid from Oregon, said he’s been on a road trip to Vermont. Rare thing to hear on the west coast. Most folks I meet from here don’t make it out east. He says he wants to hitch across the country someday and I agree. I give him some encouragement and he drops me in front of my road.
I hoof it up the long driveway and on down past the gate to say howdy to Dupree and drop my stuff off. A few cans of beer and some belly laughs are shared between us.

Categories: Short Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alpha Beta Questions

Extroverted pick-up artists: have you found a lasting satisfaction? 
Introverted closet-freaks: does self-imposed monogamy have you wondering “what if?” 
Alpha-humans: are there enough notches on your bedpost? have you found a peak that is high enough? Do you cherish the memories of past triumph and mourn their passing? Are you living a legacy or leaving it?
Beta-humans: Do you accept your current conditions? Do you feel that quality overrides quantity? Do you find yourself settling for any vista the mountain has to offer while others climb to the peak? Does competition leave you feeling defeated? How do you compensate?
Free-thinkers: do you feel that these concepts undermine your innate liberated state? Recognizing that something small can only exist beside something tall & someone loses only when another wins, how do you maintain your detached balance?

(Warning: mundane philosophical observations ahead)
There is no virtue in demonstrating competition. 

Practice is akin to a sharpening stone.

True competition is born from necessity. 

Only the resilient & adaptable will endure true competition.
Whether you fuck for sport or fondle for love, fight for glory or kill to survive, we all experience victory and defeat. 
In this way, our experiences are uniquely bonded: the predator and the victim are one as “all life feeds on life to live.” 
As physical beings, we fuck & fight our way through time ’til death while a weird starry-eyed serpent chokes down its own tail.

Categories: Rants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Passion Fruit Lemongrass Wine

Woodstock Wine #1
Passion Fruit Lemongrass Wine (experimental) Recipe:

Makes ~20 liters
-1.5 kilos sugar

-quart-sized pot of rice

-1.5 kilos passion fruit

-1 kilo lemongrass

-1 tsp honey

-1 strong pot of green tea

-1 packet of Emergen-C (or Ascorbic Acid Pills. / Vitamin C supplements)

-A good book

Sterilize your jug with hot water and a capful of bleach. Rinse and dry.

Cook the rice with plenty of water until it’s pure mush. Cool off and throw into the jug to start your wort.

Cook the sugar until it dissolves in water. Cool and add to the wort.

Cut open the passion fruit, empty into a pot. Add some green tea (just because) and boil the mixture to sterilize it. Cool and add to the wort.

Cut the lemongrass down so it will fit into a pot with water. Boil it down for half an hour. Let cool and add to the jug.

Top the jug off with clean water. Most bottled water contains chlorine, an enemy of fermentation. Ascorbic Acid helps to break chlorine and chloramine down. I experiment by using half a packet of Emergen-C to the jug & mixing it. 

Add a pot of cooled green tea to the jug for yeast nutrition.

Stir a glob of honey into a quafter cup of hot water. Let the water cool and add your yeast packet when the temp is around 38°C/105°F. Cover the cup and let the yeast activate for twenty minutes.

Add the yeast to the jug and cover the lid with a paper towel (or clean rag) for 3-5 days.

After the major fermentation is completed (3-5 days), cover the mouth of the jug with a vaporlock (I’m using a balloon with a pinhole in the top.)

Wait ~20 days. Taste & enjoy. Decide if it should be bottled as wine or made into hard cider instead!

Categories: Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Travel Blog (Family Friendly)

Hey folks, my girlfriend Sierra & I are sharing a run-of-the-mill travel blog with occasional absurdist episodes from Southeast Asia. So far, we’ve experienced the tourist side of Thailand and all it’s multi-faceted scams & schemes. Next up: The Golden Triangle, Laos, & Burma.

Stay tuned!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.