Proof of Concept: Why Evidence Matters

In a world full of deception and lying, it’s only natural that many people would develop a strong sense of skepticism. It’s a defense against the scams and cons that prevail. This creates a cultural ecosystem of disbelief. The question is, how do you communicate an honest message and promote a cause or brand you believe in without being drowned out by naysayers and a tendency to doubt? 

One answer is to prove your concept repeatedly until it is undeniable. If you believe something to be true, then show it. Show how it works. Show what doesn’t work. Explain why. Doing the work of proving a concept is the best way to build credibility. You must earn people’s trust.

Accountability is the key to credibility. If you believe something to be good for you, then showing how it works only makes sense. This is one of the reasons why we value live performances. Without the ability to edit, the live performance creates the appearance of credibility, it is proof of the performer’s abilities.

The most effective way to prove your concept is with consistency. If you can repeatedly come up with the same results, then you have an art. If you achieve your desired goal, but can’t repeat it, then you might have just been lucky. It is through consistent repetition that we gradually grow to believe that someone is honest and that something they are promoting is true. The proof is in the evidence.

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.

Sex, Drugs and Midsummer Nights

When I study Shakespeare, my goals are more creative than academic. I don’t want to be an expert in Elizabethan England. The plays are starting points for conversations, for creative experiments. I don’t care to get the plays right. What I do care is to know them. I want to know as much as I can about how the plays work and what they contain. 

Midsummer Night’s Dream is not as much about sex as it is about sexual tension and attraction and the madness that can happen when young people have their sexuality policed. Hermia and Lysander want to fuck. They are extremely attracted to each other. Hermia’s father must take them to court to try and intervene. 

In the context of the play, the duke is the judge who will decide Hermia’s fate. It just so happens that this family court case is brought before him in the days before his wedding. So, he is full of sexual tension, too. When Hermia defiantly asks what is going to happen when she disobeys her father’s order to marry Demetrius instead of Lysander. Death or the monastery. 

Even the gods are horny and beefing. Oberon and Titania are feuding over a child and they use humans to act out their desires. This is where the drugs come into play. The drug that Oberon instructs Puck to apply to his victims while they are asleep will cause them to fall in love with whomever they first see when they wake up.

I keep thinking about casting this play and I imagine Joe Rogan as Oberon, Steve Will Do it as Puck, Chelsea Handler as Titania. I’m thinking that Natalie Cuomo would make a good Hermia and Kerryn Feehan would crush it as Helena. The cast of actors in the woods has to be some Gas Digital characters. Zac D’Amico as bottom would be great. The legion of Skanks would make up the other cast members. 

Why It’s Funny When Comedy Fails

Lots of comics enjoy watching comics bomb. The funniest part of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the audience’s response to the awful play performed at the duke’s wedding. This scene is funny because of the irony. We have watched these passionate but unexperienced actors preparing for this night throughout the play and it is exactly how wrong they were that makes it so funny. 

When we first meet these aspiring thespians, they are gathered in the woods to rehearse and from the very first moment they get it wrong. It is a failure of leadership, due to a lack of experience that summons the fearful critic among them to point the ship in the opposite direction. They start out concerned that the subject matter is too disturbing for the women in the audience, showing a double misunderstanding: they don’t get theater and they have a false idea of women.

This concern over the violence leads them to horrible stylistic decisions that then shape the rest of the play. To avoid offending the ladies, they invent a prologue to explain that the violence is only symbolic and that nobody is going to be hurt during the play and that the lion is not a lion, etc. To work, a play must create the tension needed to get people’s full attention so that it can then reverse their expectations and surprise, delight, or otherwise entertain. Afraid that the ladies in the audience would not understand how to suspend their disbelief, these actors choose to violate the 4th wall and bring the audience into the show.

This device makes it impossible for the audience to take it seriously, though, and so they are left to critique the choices and to laugh at their unintended buffoonery. The players lack of understanding how they are perceived causes them to botch their shot, and this flat-footed clumsiness makes it even funnier when Bottom is turned into an ass by Puck at the service of Oberon to trick Titania, queen of the fairies. They turn bottom into an ass and give Titania a potion so that she falls in love with him.

To take the stage, in order to win the affection of a fairy goddess you have to have some belief in self, and it is Bottom wrestling with his insecurities and his delusions of grandeur that is so similar to what the path of an aspiring comic likely entails. Bottom is a phase, a stage that must be overcome grown through.

The process of finding out just how funny you are, of seeing an audience respond to you in real time makes for some vicious therapy and it is no wonder that actors and comics have a hard time sometimes making sense of where their act begins and ends. You must love anyone who attempts the feat and give thanks to those who succeed, because it makes our world a much more pleasant place to live. Long live the failure of comedy.

Good Headlines Save Lives: The Importance of Powerful Titles

Every day, people publish thoughtful and creative articles, and they dream up some amazingly artful headlines to grab a reader’s attention. Grab is the right word, too. It’s almost an assault. Some of these click bait listicles are so offensively tantalizing they practically give you an unrequested massage. What is a listicle you might ask? It is a title that states: 4 Ways Listicles Will Help You to Win. 

Titles have more importance than ever in a world so noisy with content. We need a way to navigate the chaos, and titles are convenient rafts of easy meaning. If we take the role that titles play in our culture seriously, then we will be able to counter the click bait watering down of journalistic credibility. Making it easy for your readers to recognize that your essay is the kind of writing they want to read is best achieved through creative titling.

The art of writing titles depends upon an ear for tone. How can we make this story pop out in a list of potential search results? How can we entice or excite a reader to engage with an article? The title should match the tone of the essay, but in a distilled and potent manner. It is a shot of espresso, a dab of concentrate.

Without a great title, you are standing naked facing the mighty wind coming off the Pacific Ocean. Unprotected, you expose yourself to becoming chapped and sore at the world. The fog bites at you. Spending time to craft a winning title is putting on your favorite clothes and pair of shoes, of stepping out in the world feeling good about how you look.

Writing is like a boombox without batteries until someone picks it up and reads. It is useless, meaningless inert exhausted energy expired and out of date. The second someone begins to read it; it turns back on. Alive and active in a reader’s mind, the writing blooms into being, has form and substance that morph inside someone’s mind. The words become a copper cable for ideas to follow like electrical current.

For the alchemy of reading to occur, the reader must choose the article. Until this engagement begins, the words are dead and dumb. This simple fact of reading and writing makes the title hold so much weight. The title is the on switch of the reading machine. It is a neon open sign. It is a red lightbulb.

Be Your Own Favorite Writer

I believe in working at something until you are so invested in it that you can no longer see if it is good or not. This lack of judgment can lead you into some interesting territory. If you stop judging your own writing as good or bad, then how do you know if you are on the right path? The sign to look for is in the pleasure you get from the process of writing.

If you don’t love writing, then you might want to try experimenting and practicing until something clicks. If you can remain patient with the process, then you might stick with it long enough to actually get into the groove of writing. This can lead you to some epiphanies you never would have imagined without that enthusiasm for your own work.

Being a fan of your own writing doesn’t mean that you won’t improve. You can still be critical, but you want to be much much more energetic and aggressively forward moving in your writing. Generate ideas and digest language. Conjure up memories, harness emotions like electricity. Keep moving forward and you will improve. When you feel what it is like to write with more focus and direction, it will become funner, dude.

When I get up in the morning I go and write before I check my phone. This gives me time to process my thoughts without all of the noise of the internet interrupting my ideas. This has been super fundamental to me growing to love the process of writing and to enjoy my own writing even more than Shakespeare.

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!

Such Stuff As Dreams is Cap

The greatest lines in Shakespeare’s The Tempest happen after the worst part of the play. You have to understand the context to get why this is a funny line to quote. Prospero has just entertained his daughter’s future husband with a supernatural show. It’s the play’s Fantasia moment. Prospero has been orchestrating this whole scam perfectly up until this moment when he remembers that Caliban has bribed the sailors to try and kill him and he stops the show suddenly.

I had forgot that foul conspiracy of the beast Caliban and his confederates against my life.

This is strange. Your Father’s in some passion that works him strongly.

Never till this day saw I him touched with anger, so distempered.

You do look, my son, in a moved sort, as if you were dismayed. Be cheerful, sir.

This is the exchange that happens before the strange rant Prospero deliver about the temporary nature of things. He is trying to distract Ferdinand from the red flag of his weird mood change. It is within this context that he says the famous quote.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

Prospero’s anger leads to a dramatic speech he used to try and hide his rage. It isn’t a philosophical reflection delivered in a soliloquy. It is a performative speech designed to hide his true intention. Such stuff as dreams is cap.