No GMOs!

READ: FDA Approves Genetically Engineered Potatoes, Apples as Safe

This is very upsetting news to me. I can’t emphasize enough that GMOs are not meant to be! If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?

This seems like a ploy for agra-business to make a quick buck.

But there are repercussions to these things. Maybe according to the FDA, everything’s up to par with these GMO potatoes and apples, maybe everything is okay according to their standards. But what about long term effects? How can one possibly calculate that in such a short amount of time? What happens when the body digests these potatoes and apples? When I go out to eat am I going to have to ask my waiter or waitress whether the restaurant uses GMOs or not? I’m already lactose-intolerant and wheat-sensitive. What else am I going to have to worry about? (Not to mention, I have a theory this upsurge in lactose and gluten intolerance is due to years of GMO ingestion.)

It frightens me a little. Because now these apples and potatoes will soon be produced on a large scale, made available to millions who don’t know the potentially harmful effects of GMOs.

Food is supposed to go bad. That’s what’s naturally supposed to happen. I want my apples to brown. I want to have to peel and cut bruises off the potatoes I buy!

Founder of a British Columbia-based company participating in this ridiculousness (Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.), Neal Carter said, “‘We know that in a convenience-driven world, a whole apple is too big of a commitment.'” When has a whole apple been to big of a commitment?! If you don’t want the whole thing, throw it away! At least they’re naturally biodegradable!

I hate to say it, but I can’t trust the FDA. As much as they’re a necessary organization within the government and as much good as they’ve done, take a look at all the other things they’ve approved that had to be reversed. What about bad meat or produce that got approved at first, and then had to be recalled?

I applaud McDonalds and ConAgra for their resistance to use these products (And honestly if these two are refusing, it makes one wonder, right?) and I hope at the very least that if the FDA can approve these GMOs, then they can at least label them so we can avoid them.

Involuntary Secondhand Smoke

Smoking is an addicting lifestyle choice. I get it. I have friends who smoke and though it’s not my cup of tea, they’re pretty respectful about it (i.e. won’t blow smoke in my face, open the car windows if they do decide to smoke whilst driving, etc).

I’ve never smoked cigarettes. What can I say? I guess the D.A.R.E. assemblies got to me. And probably because of that, it never seemed worth it.

There’s also the story my dad’s told me a hundred times (that I never get tired of hearing): He and my mom were dating for a while and when he popped the question, she said she would only marry him if he quit smoking. He called over the waiter (they were out to dinner at the time), crumbled up his carton of cigs, and asked him to take them away. She said yes, they married, and I am here in this moment typing to you. The epilogue to that story is when he would get cravings, especially at work, he would leave his office and go for a run. And he would hack and hack, unable to breathe, the wind completely taken from his lungs. His cravings stopped then, when he came face-to-face with what the cigarettes were doing to his body.

He’s hasn’t smoked since.

Every day I try to go for a walk. My schedule doesn’t always allow it; Sometimes it rains, I wake up late, forget, get preoccupied, but I do try. I had a busy morning today, so after dinner I made a shotgun decision to go to the track (which I’m a short walk away from) and just do it (Nike style).

I try to go for about 45 minutes, break a sweat, breathe in some fresh air, take in the sky. The track’s the only place I can really dream and visualize the Cosmos – Earth as a big blue marble spinning and rotating around the Sun and all that. It all makes sense to me there.

So anyway, I’m on my second to last lap when I notice two people (a man and woman who appeared to be younger than me) blowing out smoke while walking around the track. And when I get closer, lo and behold they actually are smoking cigarettes while walking around the track. Really careless about it, disrespectful, making fun of a man in front of them who’s lifting his arms while walking. Also, the track is packed with people, especially elderly people trying to get in some physical fitness to maybe extend their lifespan. There’s also larger people there, trying to be active to maybe decrease that chance of heart attack or stroke. And here are these careless individuals holding hands, smoking cigarettes, and making fun of the nightly regulars while they exercise. It made me really upset.

I hustled past them. I thought about saying something but didn’t. What would I say? What would change? If it became a repeat occurrence, I think I could see myself calling them out…I don’t know. It’s just not right. Go smoke near the swing set, the bleachers, but not the track. People are trying to be healthy there. They could have literally walked anywhere else.

Humans are despicable sometimes. Don’t make us suffer with you. I wanna breathe in the fresh night air, not your pitiful secondhand smoke. Keep it in the car next time.

Joyce Manor vs. Stage Diving

Read: Alt Press – Joyce Manor shame stage-diver at show

Read: Alt Press – Joyce Manor frontman calls out another stage-diver during show

I’m curious what people think about this.

Is this not similar to what Kathleen Hanna did calling girls to the front?

I happen to think it is.

A lot of people are giving Joyce Manor a lot of shit for being “anti-stage diving” saying things like, “it’s part of the scene and you can’t take it out”, “don’t be in a band if you don’t want this shit to happen” and “JM sucks anyway” – Blah, blah, blah.

But you know what? They’re the band. And they make the rules when they’re on stage. It is a matter of respect (to the band and your fellow concert mates) and personal responsibility. People get hurt and it’s not pretty.

A few years ago, I saw Bayside at Irving Plaza. My friend and I were talking to a girl before their set. She might’ve been 4″10′ and a 100 lbs wet. But she was a huge fan of the band and wanted to see them up close. Once they began, we lost her in the pit and didn’t see her again. That is, until after the show by the stage door. Turns out she dislocated her knee and had to call an ambulance because she couldn’t fucking walk.

Even though it’s unpopular, I give Joyce Manor a lot of credit because not only is it about time someone said something about this, but they’re sticking up for something they believe it despite the status quo or giving in to what everyone else thinks. 9 times out of 10, I guarantee a lot of fans who end up getting hurt in the pit are women – which then discourages them to get up close and be involved in the show. I know because it’s happened to me.

I almost died in a pit about 4 years ago. And this is no exaggeration. I really thought I was going to die. I was probably in the middle of the crowd (not even up close – which now I come to realize that’s probably the safest place you can be: either all the way in the back or all the way up front, on the barricade), I had just turned 20, and I’m short. I think I’m about 5″1′. But my favorite band (Saves The Day) was playing and I felt absolutely compelled to get in there with a bunch of other die-hard fans and be a part of it – so I jumped in. I was fine until a couple songs in and the band picked up the tempo to an older track of theirs that everybody loved. I was pushed back with such force I couldn’t stop it, or get out. I immediately fell backwards and it was worse than a rip current. It wasn’t water I was in, it was people, and my limbs were flailing everywhere beyond my control, bending; I was being crushed. Over the music I screamed for help and held up my hands, hoping someone would pull me out. Lucky for me, someone did. I profusely thanked this angel for saving me, took a deep breath, and after the song ended, I squeezed my way out. I didn’t go in a pit for about 3 years after that happened – out of fear.

I’ve also seen people get hurt crowd surfing. I saw a show at Six Flags my freshman year of high school. Some guy was crowd surfing towards the front and there must have been some miscommunication or something, and he got dropped – hard. Probably from about 5 feet up. It was a hard fall. And I watched him just lay there, unable to do anything. Because what do you do? You can’t reach him, you can’t talk to him or help him get out. I’ve been kicked in the face, pushed and shoved at shows. And yeah, you can say it’s part of the scene and that this shit happens all the time – because it does. But what about the women (and non-“macho” guys) that want to get up close and see their favorite bands? What happens to them? Should they just not come? Sit out and feel non-included their whole life just because of their size? What kind of scene is that where the community you’re part of doesn’t give a shit about your well-being? We should be more friendly, supportive, check on each other and make sure we’re okay.

I’ve also been to shows where the pit/crowd surfing/stage diving experience has been great and not a problem namely, Motion City Soundtrack and The Julie Ruin. The vibe was different. I didn’t feel like I was fighting for air just to stand.

Joyce Manor isn’t even a band I would imagine stage-diving to (at least when it comes to Never Hungover Again). They’re a great band with good music, but the vibe is just not there for that kind of thing. This is a conversation that needs to be had and admire Joyce Manor for sticking to their guns and addressing this issue.

When the band you’re seeing is asking you to do something, whether it’s clapping your hands or requesting you not stage-dive, you should oblige – Especially when it’s something positive and potentially helpful to the show and/or the rest of the audience.

But what do I know? You be the judge.


01109818.interactive.aI’m calling it. Well, I’ve been calling it. Probably close to 4 years now.

Mark my words, EDM will soon go the way of Disco. And thus is the cyclical nature of the music beast.

Don’t worry, it’s normal. Death and rebirth – A absolute truth in the foundation of all things.

Like Rock n’ Roll, what was once an underground phenomenon emerged into the mainstream becoming Pop, fell subject to assimilation from just about every Top40 act not associated with the movement at all, and sold out – as everything/everyone often does.

There’s a rainstorm coming; A cleansing of the pop culture landscape, if you will. And the first few drops have already begun to fall.

Let me paint you a timeline of how these events have already started to unfold:

  • September 3, 2013 – A lengthy article entitled, Finding Molly: Drugs, dancing, and death is published on the dangers of MDMA or “Molly” and the behind-the-scenes goings on of the EDM Festival world. It goes viral.

mollyThis was a eye-opening read to me, to hear the unabashed perspective of someone who witnessed full-on the shadiness of the MDMA/Molly scene and its connection with the EDM culture: Molly could be any drug and you’d have no way of knowing, easy to sneak, smuggle, and deal; risk of overdose always imminent, venues and security in cahoots with the promoters receiving cuts as incentives for their silence:

The agents win because their shows have…inflated attendance numbers, due to the false attendance reporting. This allows them to command higher guarantees. The promoters win because they collect…a percentage of the Molly sold in the venue. The extra money they get allows them to buy better talent in the future and boost their profit margins. The security wins because any “non-promoter-approved” Molly dealer is thrown out and/or arrested, so they keep appearances…The drug dealers win because their product is sold in a monopolized environment, free of competition, where they are free to set the price. The venue wins because they can…feign ignorance. The artists win because they’re playing to packed houses full of young people losing their minds and dancing on drugs.

Of course I was aware of that this all was potentially happening but to hear it confirmed in such grave detail put a shock to my system. We oftentimes forget of how prevalent death is within EDM culture, which is naturally connected to the MDMA/Molly culture. How long must one go through the ritual to suddenly grow tired of it and reconsider the mere temporary escape it has to offer?Outkast: Big Boi and Andre 3000

  • April 16, 2014 – Tim Hirsch publishes an article on entitled, Why It’s EDM’s Fault Outkast Flopped [at Coachella] and gets a shout out from Bob Lefsetz.

I did a little writeup myself on this one. Hirsch basically explains the obvious: Our senses have been practically blow to smithereens by light shows, pyrotechnics, drugs, and big beats we can practically reach out and touch that lyrical Hip-hop just doesn’t have the same appeal it once used to; It doesn’t fufill the need anymore! The audience feels bored and expects to be taken on a mind-altering experience, expects the 3 sense assault. By now we expect:

stratospheric production values, insane light shows, and flawless control of crowd energy: in summary, an opportunity to lose your fucking mind. You can plop down hundreds of dollars without knowing a single artist and still know you’re going to have a blast. The needle has slowly shifted away from “music,” towards “party”.

The artists on the bill used to determine the success of a festival. Now no one cares. A festival like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra; They have a reputation of a good time. It doesn’t matter who’s playing anymore. Your face will get melted off no matter what so you buy tickets and go – for the experience.

  •  June 2, 2014 – The lovingly-termed ‘Grandfather of ecstasy’, Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin dies.

shulgin_alexander9_medDeveloping a new synthesis method for MDMA in 1976, this was the man who devoted his life to scientific research solely within the psychedelic realm. The former Dow Chemical employee, “synthesized and self-tested hundreds of psychoactive chemicals, including MDMA”. Shulgin made the exploration and scientific documentation of psychedelics his life’s work. Based on the article linked above and a 20 minute interview I watched (also included in the link), Shulgin seemed respectable, brave, and intelligent man. Not a scientist-turned-hippie trying to get high, but rather a curious individual privileged enough to have studied MDMA, LSD, and amphetamines (along with several other drugs) up close having himself serve as guinea pig to subjectively document their effects. Shulgin even admitted that once he was done studying a drug, he never went back to it. Meaning, he was not a recreational user. When asked how many times he had used MDMA in this lifetime Shulgin responded:

Not that many…Once I find the activity of a drug, [I] go on to something else. So I’ve pretty much avoided…repeated experiments once I know the activity.

MDMA has always been a huge part of club/dance culture, reaching its first high point (pun not intended) during the 80s and has made a huge comeback within the past few years with the rise of EDM in the mainstream, accompanied by a barrage of festivals promising mind-blowing assaults of the ears, eyes, and senses. We can interpret Shulgin’s death as a real-life metaphor, signaling the beginning of the end of EDM and its surrounding drug culture. To his fanbase and community, he is considered very much a genius of incredible stature and an irreplaceable mind in the field of psychedelic science.

  • June 13, 2014 – Deadmau5 announces EDM is dying and denounces music festivals and assures his involvement in them has come to an end…Not counting his own independent production for his solo tour, of course.AN_45604789-(Read-Only)

Deadmau5 is notoriously known for being outspoken and brazen. Some might even say honest to a fault. I think Joel Zimmerman calls ’em like he sees ’em. In his exclusive interview with the London Evening Standard, he spats at his disdain for what these huge EDM festivals have become, similarly in the same vein as what Tim Hirsch described:

It’s another thing I can’t fuckin’ stand, you know? Festivals are being branded bigger than the acts, which is totally backwards in my head. It’s ’cause of those acts that you’re a festival! Who wins? The promoter. The guy who’s throwing this festival that’s branded bigger than you, that you think you’re awesome for headlining. It’s a shame, so that’s why I’m pulling out.

According to Stereogum, Deadmau5 has also, “developed contempt for the build-drop model he helped pioneer and is moving away from the genre”. If EDM isn’t on its way to the grave, there is most definitely a transformation underway. But who’s to say that’s not death in disguise? We must follow the breadcrumbs to see where it all leads.

Like anything else, EDM has become an enormous money-making business; A cash cow for drug dealers, promoters, even electronic gear and software companies: Digital turntables, DJ and music production software, speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, keyboards, samplers, etc. Think of all the kids who aspire to be like Girl Talk, David Guetta, Deadmau5, Daft Punk, Zedd, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris, Avicii. You get the picture.

To those questioning my somewhat eager writing tone, I suppose I don’t have anything against EDM personally. It just never struck me much to begin with. And I’m not a fan of sheep; Blind followers who are the first to volunteer themselves to be consumed by the tendrils of assimilation without a shred of resistance or questioning. I’ll be glad when it goes.

On Molly-fueled, music-filled journeys to the Promised Land of unauthentic bliss, with eyes wide and pupils dilated, fans writhe and shout to the 4-on-the-floor stomp of electric static, rhythmically moving to the buildup and beat drop, to the minor key to be reused (albeit, with a different timbre) at their own forgotten funerals. Whether of the mind, body, or of the Self is no object. A death will occur – Perhaps fully permanent, with no phoenix tears shed to resurrect the mere possibility of its return.

So stomp upon the fresh earth of the almost filled grave and the mirror that lay atop it. Stick the largest shard in the soil as a makeshift headstone and in blood you will see the words painted:

EDM Lived Here


baby_bottleI recently read a surprising article on The Daily Dot about Facebook finally allowing breastfeeding photos to be displayed and posted online. It is, shall I say, an interesting read but one that has left me slightly baffled. I was never aware that there was a significant anti-censorship movement and that showing breastfeeding or mastectomy photos was in such high demand.

From being friends with/following new mothers on social media, I am aware of the “baby spam” that often gets posted. And FYI, when I use “baby spam” it is in no way derogatory. It’s all adorable (except when a parent decides it’s a good idea to post the results of a successful potty training day. That is completely unnecessary. Keep that one for the private, physical album at home). And I guess that’s the new norm. Of course you want all your friends and connections to see your kid. You made that little human. You’re documenting their growth and sharing all their cuteness with the world. How cool is that?!

Now granted, I am not a mother (yet?). So I don’t know if what I’m about to say will be considered “ignorant” because I have not had the maternal experience, but why do many feel compelled to take selfies of their breastfeeding sessions? Is it absolutely necessary to have such a huge part of your private life be made public? People who you don’t know could be looking at that! When the baby turns 18 is he or she going to be embarrassed with that picture of his/her mother on the Internet? What if someone copies and pastes it and puts in on their site? Technically, I could do that now; I could easily look up pro-lactavists with a simple hashtag search, find a photo of them breastfeeding and integrate it into this post, all without their permission – without their knowing.

Isn’t that slightly terrifying? A little creepy?

It’s the 21st century. It’s so easy to cut and paste! Are these new mothers (and mastectomy patients) okay with that kind of fluidity? Do they realize that nothing is private anymore? It’s a gamble, that’s for sure. Because one that photo is posted, you don’t know who could potentially be saving it to their hard drive. What if the new mother begins looking for a job after maternity leave and their potential employer sees that photo? Couldn’t that be a little awkward?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for freedom and sharing online. But do not get duped – What you pacifier_blue_greenmay regard as freedom now may have a way of enslaving you later, and you will find yourself trapped in a hasty decision made years prior that can never be taken back. And that doesn’t just go for breast photos, but all photos and everything posted on social media. It may be fun and games now but we must stay vigilant and aware within a system landscape that is rapidly changing before our eyes. It is one that we have only a superficial knowledge of. Remember that. We are pacified with the control we think we have when in reality we have none.

It’s in Facebook’s interest to allow the photos because that means more time spent on the site posting and/or viewing, which then means more ad revenue, etc. And the nudity is not pornographic or vulgar. It is simply life. It is the conceptual need to share that nudity publicly that I am struggling with.

I think motherhood is a beautiful thing and I think it’s wonderful that so many mothers are open to sharing their lives and new journeys with the world. But what is happening to privacy? It seems with everyday that passes we are giving it away. Well, you know what they say:

You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.