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Vintage Outlandish!

This Content From 2003 (or earlier) see index

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Nicotine

"The cigarette should not be construed as a product but a package. The product is nicotine. . . Think of a puff of smoke as the vehicle of nicotine."

-- Early 1970s Philip Morris memo

The most addictive...

It's shocking to me how little is known about nicotine given the level to which it is ingraned in our culture. It's been proven time and again to be harder to quit than anything, including heroin.

The strange thing about nicotine is that it's a stimulant and a relaxant, and the combined physical properties seem to have a very specific effect on mental and emotional states. In regular users, nicotine doesn't bring about any sort of a high, but rather seems to give the user the sense that things are under their control. It doesn't deaden or amplify emotions as other drugs do, but rather brings them into a managable state.

This is what I hear, and what I've gotten through research. I've never been a smoker. I've smoked some cigars, a few pipes, and a couple hookahs (a fine treat), but I've never picked up cigarettes. I think it's for the best. I don't want cancer if I can help it.

But I have to say, getting high on nicotine can be fun. There are quite a few resteraunts (middle-eastern joints) that offer Hookah (or Sheesha) with their eidbles. It's a great thing over dinner: fine tasting flavored tobacco and good wine. It makes for a bit of a floating sensation, and if you get on the bus, if you get the drug working for you, it feels a bit like ice skating right after the zamboni has done it's thing. I understand why some writers can really cut loose after a smoke.

My dad had prostate cancer and my uncle recently passed from lung cancer, so I have plenty of reasons not to pick it up. It really does seem to be a very addictive substance, and I'd advise people not to use it regularly. Just for the sake of their own chemical liberty, if not their health.

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Trips

Trips in Space and Time 8/02/03

Big Wheels in Berkeley
I scored a set of west-coast wheels today at the Ashby BART station flea market. It's a very tall schwinn road bike, black, deceptively heavy but smooth-riding. Thirty-five dollars to boot. I oiled and cleaned the works, dialed in the bakes and took it out for a shake-down cruise immediately. Nice riding on a beautiful saturday, realizing how out of shape I am as I wheezed my way though the hilly area behind the Berkeley campus.

After about an hour I started to get the swing of it. Made some minor mechanical adjustments (including a free wheel truing at the bike collective on Shattuck), drank a few liters of water and started finding my groove, cruising up and around and ending up with a beautiful view of the whole bay. The roads here are not kind to the speed inclined -- too many stop signs and crosswalks and lights -- but it was good to get out and proj for a while. This changes my summer dramatically.

...older trips...

...context...



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