Finding the Right Flowers: Cannabis Brands and Strains

The different experiences you can have with cannabis are supremely vast. As a lover of cannabis and an advocate for its use, I want to explain this fact to people who might be canna-curious, so they don’t give up if they don’t find the right fit at first. You can smoke cannabis and feel horrible if it is not good or a good match for you. In the same dispensary you can find other flowers that will make you feel so much better it is hard to believe they are on the same shelf. 

How do you know what will work for you? When you are newer to cannabis, you have several factors to consider, but the first one is your sense of smell. The nose knows. Both when you break open a bud and expose the resinous trichomes and when you light it on fire your nose anticipates the feeling. The taste is greatly associated with how it is going to feel. For this reason, the experience of smoking should be enjoyable from beginning to end and if it becomes harsh or unpleasant than you are either doing it wrong or consuming the wrong flower.

When you find high quality cannabis grown by someone who has gone through the learning curve of experimentation and has a workflow that produces a reliably high-quality product you are in luck. I suggest looking for farms, for cannabis flower brands, and for genetics specialists to find the best bud for you. Then, experiment with the different strains that they produce. I love the flowers grown over at Caring Kind and so for me, I know that I can choose any of their flowers and have a good experience. Stony and co. are producing an array of delicious flavors and every one of them I’ve tried has carried the same level of care and craft. For me, connecting with a grower is key. There is so much to growing cannabis, and when you find someone who loves the craft, you are in luck.

Is there a difference between Indica and Sativa? Oh yes there is. The variety of effects even among the highest quality flowers from the best growers varies greatly. Some people get bad anxiety when they smoke high THC sativa flowers. Other people get knocked flat by a heavy indica. That’s the second thing you must figure out. Sativa, the active “functional” high; or indica, the sedated and mellowed out feeling. What are you going to do when you smoke? Different activities might ask for different flowers. Heavy indicas might reach some pain you are experiencing better and help you to sleep, and you might get inspired with some great ideas from a heady sativa. There is a difference, and it matters, a lot. 

Cannabis consumption for adult use can be a safe and productive set of therapeutic tools to use in your arsenal of work and self-care. To receive the benefits of this amazing plant and to minimize the negative side effects, you want to choose wisely. When it comes to cannabis flowers, you are better off spending more on quality flowers and consuming less. Ultimately, you have to experiment to figure out what is going to work for you in the different ways you might choose to consume cannabis. 

Learning which flowers work best for you is a very fun experimental process. Just go slow and take notes on how it feels. Spend the first five minutes of consuming cannabis focusing on how it is making you feel and then go jump into that work out or go on that hike or whatever you like to use cannabis to enhance. That way, you will know how to make the smartest choice when buying cannabis flowers for your personal use.

Mooniversal: Our Time Together

As soon as the world closed down I knew that I wanted to photograph the moon. Anything to speak a common language in a time of global discord.

This was the last moon of California’s shutdown. With the next full moon, things are supposed to be fully back open.

I for one am happy that things are opening back up and I look forward to exploring our new future together.

In the Fun Zone with Gillian Young Barkalow

I met up with the great Gillian Young Barkalow and we shot some looks for Xandra Swimwear in the Capitola Village

Summer is here, Capitola is alive with tourism and the fun energy of people on vacation. This dress really expresses that fun vibrant feeling you get when you go on vacation.

Work is fine, work is good, but you should never underestimate the power of the Fun Zone.

Always fun to work with Gillian. Stay tuned for more looks!

Funner Summer

Progression is fun. Creating is fun. Earning the respect of your peers is fun. Playing in a well-matched game is fun. Fun is one of those subjective words that is only known through experience. We know when something was or wasn’t fun. Fuzzy Wuzzy was a fun one. Wasn’t he?

What is the nature of fun? How do we “have” it? Is it related to happiness? Is it a byproduct of an activity or a goal? Is it meaningful? Am I a robot? Fun is so central to being human that it is hard to see. From your perspective, fun is natural.

Fun is the using your imagination to play a game. We pretend that we are something else. The surfer rises above the wave. The painter is coated in layers of color. The baker adds the perfect frosting lettering. In the process of doing the thing we become the action and that feeling of flow is fun.

Stoners Only: Jakespeare’s Rule

I am studying Shakespeare to become a better writer. Being a writer is great because you get to make your own rules. You can process your own thoughts and feelings and share what you want and edit out the rest. The better you are at writing, the more control you have over how you tell your story.

The point of humor is to make people laugh, to release some tension, and to lighten the mood and to inspire hope. The point of tragedy is to provide us with an outlet for our tears. If you want to help people, if you want to entertain or inspire them, then you must learn how to do that.

When I become Jakespeare, I’m going to have one rule: you must be a stoner. If you want to be a part of what I dream up, you must consume cannabis daily. I will not tolerate failure in this department. This is a cannabis fueled operation and non-stoniness will not be permitted. 

Cannabis only makes you paranoid if you’re being a jerk. If you aren’t smoking often enough, you might have developed some real POS habits and then when you do finally smoke it will all come crashing in on you. It’s not the cannabis, though; it’s the stupid things you did when you weren’t stoned. 

Smoking weed regularly ensures that you won’t walk around unaware of your bad vibes. If you don’t consume cannabis and you don’t think that you are a real jerk, then smoke a little cannabis and see what you think. Cannabis reveals us to ourselves. It points to the work we have to do. 

Strain Review: SC Breath by Caring Kind

We are in an insanely good place for cannabis right now. There are still big challenges and histories of injustice to overcome, but there are some seriously vital signs of improvement. We seem to be on a path to federal legalization or decriminalization at least. In California, the nation’s largest legal cannabis market, there are some great pockets of progress.

Here in Santa Cruz, we have a legacy of world class cannabis, and so when a brand puts that message on their packaging you should pay attention. Caring Kind World Class Cannabis Flowers are a Clean Green Certified cannabis farm growing some of the best flowers you could ever imagine.

I recently had a chance to try their SC Breath and ya boy is impressed. It seems like everyone is racing to chase the highest THC strains, and I love a good strong heavy hitter myself, but there are so many times during the day when something less devastating would be nice. Coming in at 21.15% THC, this strain is an Indica Hybrid, but is less likely to have you going to sleep ahead of plans. The overall impact is just a perfectly balanced mind/ body high. It feels clear and bright and just the right amount of stony. This is a flower I could puff on all day.

SC Breath is loud. Let me repeat. This bud bumps. It has the dankest tangiest smell imaginable and when you put it in the air it’s an outdoor concert of kind. It’s the type of bud you can smell being smoked a mile away and it makes your mouth water. 

The cure on these flowers is perfect. They are sticky little rocks of stoniness. They are resinous and you can feel the trichomes pop as you break apart the bud. The genetics are a OGKB crossed with Stony Cookies and they are bred by Mantra seeds. This is an outstanding flower great for being active, for creativity and for everyday all day use.

Why Write? Separating Facts from Feeling through Composition

Does writing improve when the writer has a thesis? Is the point of writing to stake a claim and to defend that point of view with evidence? In school, we learn to write a certain way without really questioning why. What is better about this method? What if you don’t have an argument to make? What if you are better at asking questions?

What can writing do? Everything must have a context to get clear answers. Writing can perform so many different functions. The rules for journalism are different than for creative writing or political rhetoric. Each use of writing has a set of options that makes the most sense for the purpose trying to be achieved. Writing can educate, it can inspire, it can influence. 

One of the things that we need to work on culturally if we are to have a more harmonious and prosperous future is to learn to separate facts from feelings in our decision-making process. Writing can help us to advance in this direction through making the contours of a problem visible and able to be discussed.

Once you set out a problem in writing, it becomes clearer what you don’t know. The other thing is to take accountability. This is the problem. What is my part in it? We must find ways to work around our blind spots to see what can and needs to be improved. Writing is a kind of psychic mirror we use to navigate and to see how we look to others. 

It is not an automatic process, however. You must be deliberate in your intention to be as objective as possible. If you were to write about a situation that is troubling you as though it were written by a stranger, what would it look like? Then, what do you do with it? If you look in the mirror and see you have spinach caught in your teeth, what do you do? You fix it.

Writing is different than talking but they are obviously closely related. The advantage that writing has is to take something that occurs in time and to freeze it in place through the choice of words. If you talk about a subject, you might say something important that you forget and don’t have the opportunity to build on, but if you write it down, then you have a paper trail of ideas that you can draw from in your work. 

Do we know better what we feel or what we think, and which instinct leads us to better outcomes? Again, this is context specific. More important than some set of skills is the overall intention and that is where separating feelings from facts becomes evident. Fictional portrayals of human relations give us examples of how this works. We can analyze these stories to see why situations fail and what to do about it.

In Shakespeare, we have characters who are overwhelmed by their feelings a lot of times. They are spurred into action by a feeling inside of unworthiness or envy. They orchestrate horrible events with deadly outcomes for the people they feel resentful towards. They are motivated by feeling and feeling can be contagious and unreliable. When feeling becomes alienated from thought it leads to violent outcomes. Thoughtful writing seeks to discern between facts and feelings precisely to avoid or mitigate such events. It serves to govern our instincts that are out of line with the spectrum of safe and legal options for action in any given situation. 

To be thoughtful, we need to try and separate what can be verified independently with what we personally feel. Writing can be a way to come to terms with our feelings, too. By giving expression to our desires, we can see how reasonable they are. This creates the possibility of revising our thinking. It is an effective method of recognizing bias. Writing out our thoughts and feelings is the first step to separating them and to gaining control over our decision-making process.

We must understand our weaknesses to improve them. If we are blind to our own susceptibilities, then we are vulnerable to people who seek to manipulate us.

Transparency, Privacy and Competition

The way we live now is wild. Reality television has mushroomed into a massive social media explosion. What people show on Instagram is sometimes as fake and scripted as what happens on produced reality television programming. At the same time, people are also sharing too much real information online a lot of the time in ways that professional media outlets wouldn’t, and for good reasons. When does transparency go too far and become a total lack of privacy? What guidelines should we be establishing to safely and effectively use social media? How is this dynamic driven by competition?

Is there any chance that we can work our way out of this mess and back into simpler times? Are we hunters, farmers, doctors, soldiers, influencers, cyborgs or what? People have taken on varied roles in different periods of history. Right now, we are in a period of historical transition and it is especially important to experiment and to envision new ways of doing things. Sometimes, those experiments and periods of growth might best be done in privacy for the sake of going through the process of trial and error without an audience. 

Is it possible to grow and change for the better in a world dominated by social media culture? Or do we just have to change our attitude about cultural productions and the value of making mistakes in public. This might sound strange, but it happens all the time with podcasts. Sometimes a certain amount of dysfunction makes it more relatable to listen to. It’s more like real life. Some podcasts are so polished and produced you feel like you should brush your hair and put on some nicer clothes before you listen. Oftentimes we want something a little more relaxed.

Maybe competition is a normal human response, and the way it’s happening online is simply an extension of how we compare and debate the merits of each other’s lifestyle points in analog life. Martha Stewart was an influencer before there were lifestyle blogs. The number of people who are now able to create content and connect with an online audience is radically and exponentially increased. The Internet adds scale to lifestyle marketing in a completely new way. When it becomes interactive, it becomes much bigger and more differentiated. There is a lifestyle influencer for any imaginable cultural niche. 

While this new media has also created a new economy, we are still working out how all these new forces function. We are in the infancy stages of social media and haven’t developed enough best practices to know what we are doing. It can be a wild and dangerous combination when businesses experience massive scaling through the internet and people are suddenly thrust into positions of immense power and responsibility. Since these massive fortunes have been created within our lifetimes, there is a learning curve like never before. We have new money, oh boy do we have new money.

Bezos, in talking about the infrastructure bill said that he hopes the initiative will help to keep a competitive advantage for the US. His official statement reads: “We look forward to Congress and the Administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution that maintains or enhances U.S. competitiveness.” In that statement you can grasp something of our reality. We don’t live in isolation; we exist in competition. We have to remain aware of external threats to our security. If we don’t do this, they might do that. Businesses may be multinational, but they have national roots. Lifestyle might be the focus of a majority of social media, but it is made possible by macroeconomic and geopolitical concerns.

The policy of the US has historically been isolationist, but in a world with internet and nuclear weapons that is absurd. We are interconnected, and we have to figure out how to make that reality work best for the common good. With the Internet, that means business and social networking opportunities. While we strive to grow and connect to more people, the sense of our identity comes into play.

As long as our interconnectedness comes with the threat of violence, with an attempt at domination, then we will continue to make decisions that give us a competitive advantage. There are some situations, even in a world with hostile threats, where being competitive is counterproductive. If we want to enhance our competitive advantage, then we should be working on creating a stronger sense of team spirit and camaraderie, but we should also look for opportunities for cultural exchange. We most likely have more to gain from transacting with each other than we have to fear from losing our competitive advantage.

Why the Future Belongs to Stoners part 1

There’s nothing wrong with cannabis. It’s a beautiful plant with amazing flowers and effects. As with the pineapple, the pomegranate and the papaya, Cannabis is a naturally occurring living organism with many properties beneficial to health and wellness for humans and even for other animals. 

Sometimes people complain of feeling anxiety or sleepiness when they consume THC. This could be for a number of reasons. Different strains can have different effects, but also farmers are not equally good at growing weed. Cannabis is not like apples. It is a boutique crop, a difficult flower to grow well. The difference in the experience of consumption between top shelf flower and run of the mill boof is night and day and the pricing in dispensaries reflects this reality.

The quality of the crop is what matters most about cannabis, and one way cannabis brands are marketing the quality of their flowers is through high THC numbers in their testing. While the cannabinoid percentages do matter, they are no clear indication of the quality of the flower or of your experience if you were to consume it. In order to really use cannabis effectively, you have to find a farm that grows flowers that you enjoy. It’s really that simple. You have to just experiment until you find the right farm and usually that will keep you connected to the best benefits that cannabis can offer.

Besides the quality of the flowers, though, there is a big reason why people feel tired or anxious when they consume cannabis. This is because it is pointing out the problems they are not dealing with. When people get stoned, it often causes introspection and analysis over the problems, especially social situations, that are on your mind. It brings those things you are worrying about to the front of your attention. This is one of the reasons why stoners will win in the end. It causes self-reflection and that is the gateway to self-improvement and that is the gateway to being a better member of a community and that is the gateway to security and happiness. So yes, it is a gateway drug.

Why We Shouldn’t Hate Hippies

Hippies get a bad name, man. In order to understand why this group is so reviled, you don’t have to look at history. You only need to go to your local farmer’s market and not be suffering from Covid. The nose knows. These people don’t care what you think at all. But are they really hippies, or are they stinky fakes?

That’s like seeing someone in line at the liquor store wearing a wetsuit and then thinking that all surfers are idiots. That’s not a surfer; it’s a kook! Kooks are notorious for glomming onto the limelight, since they are interested in surfing not for how it makes them feel or how it challenges them to grow, but because they want to be cool. It’s the same with hippies, brah. The funk is real, but the character is not.

Now we all know wanting to be cool immediately makes you uncool. Some clever marketers, clever but not wise, have seen how widespread this tendency to be unreal is and have started marketing to kooks, blatantly. Instead of taking surfing seriously, they fully embrace the flail and celebrate this ineptitude with puns and ironic hairstyles. For some people, surfing is a religion. For others, a way to try and get laid.

Surfing attracts people from all walks of life, but most of the surfers I have known who really deserve respect are nothing like the stereotype. Surfing is a magical activity, but one that is full of ironies. When a human synchronizes their movements with the natural energy of a breaking wave, it is truly something astounding. To be good at surfing requires a lot of time studying the water and taking it seriously, like any other art form. But you can get a wetsuit and a soft-top and someone somewhere will mistake you for a surfer.

It’s the same with hippies. There are fake hippies galore, and they are the ones replicating the negative stereotypes. There are real hippies, too. There are sincerely optimistic folks out there working to make another way of living a reality. They are too busy doing the hard work of regenerative farming to be clowning around downtown. 

Every lifestyle has its serious practitioners and its superficial fakes. Since these lifestyles are not mainstream, the public is easily misled about them. They see the fakes and don’t know better. How would you? It takes time to understand the authentic article hiding among the counterfeit. 

Who gets to say who is real and who is fake in any particular lifestyle? We don’t have the hippy Olympics. Maybe we should, though. Professional surfing puts any doubts to rest about the levels that people can take that activity. If you could watch the dude who wears his wetsuit to buy his craft beer you would see his inexperience within about two minutes of being in the water. Meanwhile, any of the pros or even just competitive surfers in this region are able to milk the last drop of potential out of every swell that rolls through town. The difference between their performances is unmistakable.

Same goes with hippies. We aren’t really seeing the awesome ones. They are cross breeding landrace heritage cannabis cultivars with regional genetics that have been tried and true somewhere rad up in the mountains. They are planning psychedelic voyages and growing their own food. They are making advances in sustainable development. We don’t hate hippies; we don’t know them. We only see their imitators.

Who are these people who invade a lifestyle and make it so lame? Let’s be honest. They are techies who have enough fuck-you money to not care that they are being absolute douche canoes in the water or at a health food store. Horrible insecurities that are buttressed by financial success is a recipe for the fake hippy, the kook or the wannabe artist. How many people buy a dream for a couple of years, but never put the work in to make it a reality?

The truth to life is that anything you want to do well is going to take a lot of hard work for most people. But the people who are doing the hard work are not usually looking for attention. They may want to do business, but they are fulfilled by the life they lead and aren’t hungry souls siphoning attention from curious tourists eager to see a real Santa Cruz hippy. They will be tending to their work, helping their families, being valued members of their community.

We are only seeing the surface of things and in this state of oversimplification we are not only seeing a caricature of reality, but we are seeing a fake caricature. The connection between the stereotype and the reality is ingenuous. It is only when we begin to realize what a horrible version of subcultures we have received that we will start to see the world for what it really is. The good parts are oftentimes not going to be the most obvious.

We shouldn’t hate hippies for their followers.