I love Anthony Bourdain

from Notes from the Road:

It's possible to hurt my feelings. For instance:

I admit I'm genuinely annoyed by the occasional internet poster who suggests that whatever I might have to say about food, about travel--about anything--is somehow gravely diminished by the fact that I'm no longer working in a professional kitchen. That proximity to the line, the actual job of cooking dinner for the public enhances one's powers of perception, focuses the mind and builds vocabulary and that "keeping it real" necessitates dying behind the stove, a broken, broken kneed and broke-ass geezer in his mid-fifties, long past it as a cook - finally succumbed to stroke or liver disease. It's a point of view popular among internet nerds and cubicle geeks who've never done a minute's physical labor in their lives, the same people who take photographs of every course at their favorite restaurants, convinced that it's Jean Georges himself in there, personally boning out their squab.

My instinctive reaction to this kind of inverse snobbery is normally a raised middle finger and a "I had twenty-eight years of standing behind a stove - while you were arguing over bundt cake recipes in a chat room, motherfucker! Now, kiss my ass!!"
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"The energy currents that MDMA releases through the body could be compared to theories of a life force that have been promulgated by various 'vitalist' philosophers, mystics, poets, and physicians from the eighteenth century to the present: Mesmer's 'magnetic fluid,' Whitman's 'body electric,' Reich's orgone. These simultaneously spiritual and materialist theories of an "Elan vital" (elan coming from eslan, an arcaic french word for 'rush') may actually be talking about the same neurological 'joy juice' - seratonin. Flooding the nervous system with serotonin and dopamine, Ecstasy starts out as a "vitalyst": you feel more alive, more sensitized, more human. On the macro level, rave scenes in their early days buzz with creativity and we're-gonna-change-the-world idealism. But with regular, rampant use, Ecstasy can become just another 'obliviate', like alcohol and narcotics: something that numbs the soul and transforms rave scenes into retreats from reality. This shift from paradise regained to pleasure prison is a recurring narrative expeerienced by successive Ecstasy Generations across the world. For seemingly programmed into the chemical structure of MDMA is the instruction use me, don't abuse me."

from the essay "Everything Starts with an E: Ecstasy and Rave Music" in the book Generation Ecstasy by Simon Reynolds

Your brain on drugs? Maybe not...

It is generally agreed by scientists that the brain oscillates at various frequencies that are divided into 4 main bands, connected to 4 different modes of mental activity.

12hz and above - BETA WAVES - Everyday activity, hustle and bustle.
7hz to 12 hz - ALPHA WAVES - Dreams, creativity, the start of sleep, trance.
4hz to 7hz - THETA WAVES - Deep meditation, sleep.
4hz and below - DELTA WAVES - Deep sleep, profound states.
All these bandwidths are active all the time, but the strength of the waves varies with the mode of activity.

From this, researchers have theorised that by presenting an external pulse stimulation at a certain frequency we can boost the strength of those frequencies in the brain.

Thus by sending an Alpha Pulse at, say, 10hz we can stimulate Alpha Waves and thus an Alpha state of mind - ie. a creative dream-like state.

In the 70s this was called "Biofeedback".

This is the basis if the "Brain Machine".

Have you ever thought why techno, which is often hard and aggressive, has a dreamlike, trancelike quality? This must be partly because the 16th note pulsations of hi-hats or sequencers are all in the Alpha pulse band.

Taken from http://www.a-wave.com/system7/pages/archive/alphawave/alphaw.htm


Transformation, letting go of the past. Shedding old in preparation for renewal. Release, motion, change. The mysterious rider carries no weapon. Rather, he holds in his hand the banner of life, the mystic rose. At his feet lies the dead king while other human figures are shown dying. Behind and beyond the sun rises between the two pillars of duality signifying eternal life. This card signifies fundamental change, transformation and the triumph of the spirit.