Hey readers sorry for my extended hiatus. I had to have surgery on my broken wrist, which failed to heal right in the cast, which took some time. Then I transferred jobs to a new location, closer to home. But mostly I have been busy writing in my novel and building my own computer. This is my first time ever building a computer myself and it was a real learning experience, one I am ever grateful to my friends for. It is only thanks to the good graces of my housemate that I figured it all out and put it all together.

If you are like most people, including me, the idea of building your own computer seems daunting. For me the biggest issue was I had no clue what hardware actually was required for a computer, and as a kicker the hardware has changed since I last fuxed with upgrading hardware in my old desktop 8 years ago. You are looking at a man who has been using the same laptop with Windows Vista since before Obama was president. This upgrade has been long overdue.

So what are the core components of a computer that you will need for it to run? There are between eight to ten parts, depending on what you view as necessary.

1. Case - You need something to put all that expensive hardware in.

2. Motherboard - This is what everything in the computer attaches to, it IS the computer, for lack of better words.

3. Power Supply - This part converts the power from your wall socket into power usable by your computer.

4. Central processing unit (CPU) - This is the heart and brain of your computer.

5. Random-access memory (RAM) - RAM is short term memory used for processes, as opposed to longterm memory used for storage.

6. Drives - There are two main categories of drives, Disc Drives and Storage Drives. Disc drives hold CDs, DVDs, Blurays and other media to access the data on those discs. Storage drives provide longterm data storage to hold files on your computer.

7. Graphics Card - While you do not NEED a graphics card if you want to play any sort of video games or use adobe photoshop, or really do much more than word processing and surf the web then you want a graphics card. Motherboards come with a built in graphics card but they pale in the comparison to having an add-on graphics card.

8. Cooling Device - Computers get very hot and they do not like that. Heat will damage your parts and you should strive to keep your PC as cool as possible.

9. PERIPHERALS | Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard - The monitor is what you are currently using to read this text (textception…) I typed this on a keyboard and clicked post with my mouse. None of this would have been possible without peripherals, which is anything that lets you interact with the computer. It is possible to have a computer that runs without any of this, like a server.

10. OPTIONAL | Sound cards, wireless cards, more fans - While you can get a sound card to attach to your motherboard, like a video card, they are utterly superlative and not worth the money. Wireless cards are nice but I prefer to be hardwired into my Internet to avoid disconnects while gaming. I’m not using either of these parts in my build. I am waiting for 3 more LED blue glowing case fans while will both keep my computer cool and keep my computer cool.

 

Now, that doesn’t look so daunting does it? Just nine things really, and some are obvious things like a case, mouse, monitor, etc. You may even have some parts you can reuse from your old computer (monitors, extra hard drives for storage). The next major question is how do I pick the right parts? I used two main websites to figure this out, reddit/buildapc and Tom’s Hardware. These same sites conveniently have links to where you can buy parts. Once I found these sites it became a matter of figuring out my budget and the best configuration of parts I could afford.

Once all your parts arrive it is time to build that computer. I advise buying all your parts on the same day so they arrive around the same time, this will maximize the amount of time you have to trouble shoot and possibly return parts. I had to wait on a second motherboard because I bought an AMD motherboard for my Intel CPU, a totally avoidable newbie mistake that you can prevent by making sure your motherboard is compatible with your CPU. Most returns will be with a refund unless you manage to damage the part; I got a full refund and didn’t even have to pay to ship it back.

Before you build your computer, perhaps even before buying your parts I would recommend watching two videos produced by Newegg. These videos on how to choose your parts and then build your computer are very informative and accessible, as long as you can get past the smug looking tech douchebag with a soul patch. There is a third part on how to install Windows but I am doing my best to remain neutral regarding the OS since there are many valid options. Sure there is Windows and Mac, but there is also Ubuntu, Linux, and Linux’s grandaddy Unix. While Windows kind of dominates the gaming market you can always just run a Windows partition on an Ubuntu or Linux machine.

And that’s how you build a computer.

Hey readers, I’ve got another great cannabis themed blog for you today discussing the various types of cannabis concentrates out there on the market. This isn’t one of my usual cannabinoid profiles but it is just as necessary. Doing a quick Google search I can tell there is a ton of misinformation out there  about concentrates and I hope this post can help clear things up.

A couple notes before we start, pre-empting some questions. While every purity rating given is in THC ever type of concentrate listed here can be made from CBD-rich cannabis making the resultant concentrate also CBD-rich. A method of vaporizing cannabis will be discussed called dabbing, this method is usually done with only super melt hashes but in actuality you can dab anything over 55% THC. Dabbing involves super heating a titanium “nail” with a small blow torch and dropping a hash of sufficient purity onto it, which causes the hash to vaporize.

The Concentrates

Kief.

Kief – Kief is the term for the trichomes of the cannabis plant once they have been removed from the plant. Usually kief is obtained during trimming when it falls off the plant and can be gathered with a mesh screen. Kief can also be made with a machine resulting in exponentially more potent kief, more accurately labelled a kief-melt (a play on full melt hash). Kief generally is between 10-25% THC but at Harborside we’ve had kief test upwards of 55% THC, which makes it potent enough to be dabbed. Kief is always dry sieved cannabis, without any water processing.

Hash.

Hash – Hash can be made through many different methods, the simplest being pressing kief and resin together with ones fingers to make so-called “finger hash,” perhaps the oldest form of concentrated cannabis known. Hash tests a little more potent than most kiefs but not quite as strong as bubble hash, usually between 15-35% THC. Aside from the method of creation, hash is distinguished from bubble hash by the fact that it burns rather than bubbling up.

Bubble Hash.

Bubble Hash - Bubble hash is a water-based hash that is made using a series of bubble bags filled with freezing cold water and ice cubes. Bubble bags are a series of increasingly finer mesh bags that trichomes pass through creating various qualities of bubble hash in each bag level. The trichomes are dislodged from the plant by being frozen then smashed off by the ice. This type of hash gets its name because it bubbles rather than burning, but it doesn’t melt like a full melt hash. These hashes range in the 20-45% THC range.

Full melt hash. Not always this color but always this consistency.

Full Melt Hash - Full melt hash is the highest quality of bubble hash, it is what you find in the bottom bag that has passed through every purity grade. These hashes while still being cold water derived more resemble the oily super melt concentrates I will discuss below. These hashes get their name because unlike bubble hash they do more than just bubble, they melt fully into a liquid form. These hashes range in purity from around 45-70% THC. Here is one method to make full melt hashes that can test nearly 70% THC, without any sort of a chemical solvent used.

BHO/Super melt, this one looks like melted shatter.

Before melting, shatter can be sculpted to look like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Melt Hash - Super melt hashes are not made with bubble bags and usually use some sort of a chemical solvent, though so-called solvent free varieties exist. They are called super melts because they  melti super-fast from a solid form into a vapor form, sublimating without fully being a liquid. This is a result of the purity of the product and method of use, not a result of the chemical solvents. Commonly used solvents are butane, isopropyl alcohol, and CO2. Common slang names are ISO hash, Butane Honey Oil (BHO), shatter, wax, oil, dabs, and numerous more.

These hashes contain between 55% THC on the low end to over 90% THC on the high end, most are between 55-80% THC. While these hashes can be made by anyone in their garage the best ones are coming out of scientific grade laboratories; you won’t find someone making 90% pure hash in their bathroom. The most common method of use is dabbing, effectively freebasing cannabis. Many in the medical community have expressed concerns over people getting over-medicated and more serious health concerns, such as lung collapse, resulting from dabbing.

A Note on Super Melt Hash Legality: IT IS ILLEGAL TO MANUFACTURE ANY CONCENTRATE THAT USES A CHEMICAL SOLVENT. Unfortunately state law on this issue lags behind medical cannabis as a whole and the creation of super melt concentrates is regulated under the same law as meth labs. As you probably know making meth is very illegal, a felony; in the eyes of the law making super melt concentrates is also a felony. Be very careful if you are making BHO or any other concentrate, especially is traveling through local areas that are tough on medical cannabis rights. Individual state laws may be different but this is written with California laws in mind.

To quote directly from California state law: “Section 11379.6(a) states: Except as otherwise provided by law, every person who compounds, converts, produces, derives, processes, or prepares, either directly or indirectly by chemical extraction or independently by means of chemical synthesis, any controlled substance – shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or seven years and by a fine up to $50,000

I just finished reworking this story from my novel, Wasted Nights and Wasted Youth, I hope you enjoy it. It references another story/location within the book, Golden, that one is still being touched up and will be posted soon.

Have you ever felt the fear? That base fear that every child knows when they are alone at night, embraced by darkness from all sides. The fear of what is lurking just off the periphery, lingering in the murky gloom, waiting for you to grow brave enough to venture into its domain. It is that fear that causes you to jump at the slightest sound, to avoid large windows after dark, and to corner yourself, back to the wall, just to make sure nothing can sneak up behind you.

I felt the fear the other day. Though I am no longer a child and it was broad daylight I felt the fear. It started as a faint tickling in the middle of my back, just below the shoulder blades along the spine. The tickling grew to an uncomfortable pressure, like the feeling of a finger jabbing me without release, pressing hard against my vertebrae. I felt that I was being watched. No, I knew that I was being watched. I could feel eyes on me, observing and cataloging my every move, waiting for their opportunity to pounce as a lion waits for a gazelle. I felt the fear strongly, for the first time in many years.

I first noticed my ethereal stalkers on my way to the bus station in the morning while heading to work. I was not doing my best that day, my situational awareness was dulled. I was distracted by the feeling of being watched that was slowly consuming me as it overpowered my thought process. As a result of this, I missed the call from my boss that work was canceled for the day, due to massive protests near our office downtown. Most people would be happy to hear they had a day off, paid on salary; I was morose. I would have been safe at work, with the others, but now I was going home alone with my spirits. The feeling of being watched had progressed with certainty to the feeling of being hunted. I was the quarry. I felt paralyzed like a deer caught in the headlights of the incorporeal oculi that plagued my existence. And the fear grew.

I got back onto the same bus I had just exited, to turn around and go back home. The social awkwardness which accompanied this would normally have driven me to the point of mincing my words and blushing, not today. Today I had bigger concerns than awkwardness; I was being hunted by an invisible tiger, haunted by a ghost with no name. I got on the bus without saying a word, just a nod to the driver. With the exchange of nods complete I progressed to a seat and tried to calm down.

The pressure along my spine had peaked and crystallized into a tangible form. The eyes I felt staring at my back had now become daggers, piercing through my flesh and bones, delving deep into my heart and dwelling there causing immense discomfort. Sitting down did little to help with the pain and discomfort I was feeling. It had taken on an aspect of what I can only describe as sickness; I felt like I was going to be ill all over the bus. I looked around me frantically, to see if anyone was looking at me strangely, giving me some clue that this wasn’t entirely in my mind. There was no friendly face to confirm my sanity, or lack thereof. The only eyes I felt upon me did not belong to any human face. And the fear grew.

Every so often on my walk home from the bus stop I had to pause to look around me, to make sure I wasn’t being followed. I kept glancing fervently over my shoulder looking for my pursuer, but it was to no avail. I accelerated my pace, my walking now on the verge of running. I was being pushed forward by the force of the eye-daggers in my back and the fear pressing at the back of my mind. I must have looked like a madman, rushing through empty, windswept streets; like a traveler seeking shelter from a storm, and finding none. A newspaper blew past me like a tumbleweed and a dog barked in the distance, signs of life in a listless world. By the end of my trip home, my walk had become a full on sprint. Despite this, the walk had never seemed to take longer, every moment passed like an eon. It was as if time itself had slowed down to corroborate with my would-be captors.

Now that I was home, I was back to a place of safety, where I was no longer alone. I didn’t tell any of my three housemates about the fear, for I imagined they would consider me as mad as I must have appeared. Due to my run in a three-piece suit I had worked up quite a sweat and my shirt-tails were hanging out over the belt line. Disheveled. That was how I looked and how I felt. Even though I was in the supposed safety of my own home, I still did not feel safe. I could feel the eyes upon me, I could still feel the fear paralyzing me. And the fear grew.

As the day dragged on, I could not have envisioned a worse possible day off. While normally I would have gone out celebrating my good fortune with my friends or gone out hiking, today I was locked in my bedroom, finishing moving furniture and rearranging my belongings. Instead of getting out and away from the fear I was stuck inside, locked in a prison of my own making waiting for the fear to consume me. My girlfriend and I had just separated after several years together. We had slowly grown apart. The realization of this was even slower to dawn on us. Once it had, we were slower still in acting upon it.

Eventually, as with all things we see in opposition, something had to give, and when it did she was the one to pack up and move out. Now, I was alone, and tonight I would sleep alone for the first time in many years. Before we had gotten together I could only sleep alone, whenever I shared a bed I had trouble sleeping through the night. I had the tendency to thrash around while sleeping from vivid dreams, active dreams. As a child, my dreams moved me; I had night terrors and ran around my house screaming. Could sleeping alone be the source of the fear? No, sleeping alone was nothing new to me, it was far more normal than sleeping with another. I racked my brain for some clue as to the wellspring of the fear, but found nothing. Yet still, in the sanctity of my bedroom, the fear grew.

I cooked and ate dinner in silence, contemplating my fate. What was hunting me? What force or creature found me so irresistible that I could not be ignored? And what was the reason for it? Had I done something to deserve this? If it was a question of deserts, what cruel god had I offended to deserve this torturous punishment? Dinner was a small, unwelcome, reprieve from moving, which had proven to be the only thing that could distract me from the feeling of being watched. Not fully, but enough where I could pretend everything was still normal. This must be how soldiers felt on a battlefield after the first sniper bullet shot through the air and was planted in a man, making him a corpse. I was holding my breath waiting for my bullet, never knowing when it would come. I’ve always hated waiting, since I was a kid. The feeling of waiting to die was the worst kind of waiting imaginable.

As night fell, I decided strong drink would help keep the phantoms at bay. Gin and tonic has long been held to be a cure-all, for malaria and other ailments. I wondered if demonic possession was another dis-ease healed by this wonder drug. I continued to move furniture around my room and unpack boxes while continuing to drink. The hours dragged on as the gin and tonics flowed on and sleep refused to come. Morpheus had already blessed my housemates, but I was forsaken, the last one awake being hunted by an unknown predator. Oh sweet Morpheus, what did I do to forsake you? Did I take the wrong colored pill? The matrix of my life was becoming distorted by my fear, I was becoming irrational.

I ventured out of my bedroom, into the midnight dark of the still and empty kitchen for another gin and tonic. Suddenly, the fear flared up. A red flag instinctual warning of life threatening danger. For a moment, I froze where I stood and stared into the darkness. Out of the amorphous dark materialized a small being made of shadows, no taller than a child, a shadow within a shadow in the moon’s penumbra. There were no clear features of the thing, past two pinpoint eyes, gleaming like stars out of a night sky, far off stars from some distant galaxy. I saw no face where one should be with my eyes, but with my mind I saw a myriad of horrifying faces in an endless montage, all with the twinkle star eyes. I could not bear to look at the thing, and ran back to my bedroom in terror, locking the door behind me.

Utter panic arrested my breathing and attacked my heart. I did not know what the thing I had seen was, nor did I care to find out. I now knew what had been watching me, I had seen my hunter and it was not of this world. Clearly, it did not want to take me yet, it was still enjoying the sport of the hunt, like a cat toying with a mouse once victory was assured. That was perhaps the most disturbing fact of the day’s events so far, it found my torture pleasurable. I shuddered to guess what it had it store for my demise. I had been reduced to a small child once more, a mirror image of the shadowy doppelgänger that laid waiting for me just past my flimsy bedroom door.

I remembered that as a child, the best way to conquer the fear was to go to sleep. Somehow sleeping always manages to make everything better. When your head hits the pillow, the entire world may be crumbling around you, and when you wake up miraculously the world has been built up new and more beautiful than ever. I needed that right now, I needed that beauty to help me overcome the fear. After many hours of unpacking and begging Morpheus to bring me to dreams, even the most awful nightmares would be better than confronting this real horror that skulked in the Stygian dark. I was tempted to sleep with the lights on, thinking that might protect me from the shade that was prowling about my house. In the end, I decided not to, it was best to face my fate head on, as my hunter had faced me minutes before. Despite that resignation I did not feel up to going back out of my room, the fear within me was too strong. Besides, what could I hope to do to a demon of shadows?  Instead of physically facing my doppelgänger I would face it metaphysically, in dreams, perhaps there I could stand a chance of besting the fear.

The next day when I awoke, still alive, the feeling of being watched had subsided, and the fear had diminished, but it remained. The fear remained in my memory, a specter haunting my thoughts. Perhaps something had been disturbed during the move, some hidden evil from childhood. Some long forgot secret doing of mine, a horror of my own past too despicable to recall. While the fear had temporarily passed, I knew it would live on in the back of my mind, pressing me. It would be there, forever waiting, lurking just off the periphery in the dark, biding its time.

***

            Something was definitely not right in the world, or at least in me, I could tell that much. This gnawing feeling in my guts, a feeling I often felt all my life, like the fear, signified some tragedy. I wasn’t sure what was wrong though, everything seemed fine with me. Aside from the bad break up and worse hangover everything seemed fine. One thing I did know was that I needed to sober up. I needed to be able to see the world through clear eyes again, not shrouded in a haze of bong smoke or sheltered behind beer goggles. While I had come a long way from Golden, the General’s words were still fresh in my head. Encouraging words, psalms of strength from a slightly shell-shocked bible-thumping trucker, words that might normally have fallen on deaf ears but they stuck with me. “If you knew what to expect on the test what would be the point in testing you?” There wouldn’t be a point. Even worse, if you knew what to expect but were still punished for your mistakes, then life really was about playing your part and dealing out punishments on those who forget their place or seek to change it. I refuse to live in a world that is afraid of change. Evolution is the only constant and I will evolve from my shortcomings.

Long time no see for one of these cannabinoid profiles. I’ll try and post some more real soon and I have some other cannabis related pieces in the works, stay tuned! And now Tetrahyrdocannabivarin, THCv.

Formula: C21H30O2? (All the information I read online said THCv had the same molecular formula as THC, but it looks like it might be bound in a different configuration.)
Molecular Mass: 314.47g/mol

Decarboxylation Point: ???
Boiling Point: <220°C (428°F)

LD50 (Lethal Dose):  Unknown, likely comparable to THC. (Compare to Nicotine: 40–60 mg, 0.5-1.0 mg/kg)

THCv is a non-psychoactive variant of THC. The other major difference between the two is that instead of stimulating appetite, the famed ‘munchies,’ THCv actually suppresses appetite. For that reason THCv is being heavily researched as a weight loss tool. Like many cannabinoids it is an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic, though less strong than CBD and THC, but using different mechanisms in the body.

Therapeutic Uses

Analgesic – Relieves pain.

Anorectic - Appetite suppressant, promotes weight loss.

Anti-Emetic – Reduces vomiting and nausea.

Anti-Epileptic – Reduces seizures and convulsions.

Anti-Inflammatory – Reduces inflammation systemically.

Bone Stimulant – Promotes bone growth.

Euphoriant – Produces feelings of euphoria, promotes happiness and relaxation.

Currently Being Studied For

Diabetes: A combination CDB/THCv tincture is in a phase 2 clinical trial as a way to mitigate diabetes. GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company, is a world leader in cannabis research. GW is presently examining CBD/THCv’s abilities to ameliorate insulin sensitivity.

Weight Loss: The same mechanisms that allow THCv to combat diabetes combined with THCv’s anorectic properties make it an effective way to combat obesity and control weight gain. GW Pharmaceuticals is also leading this research. GW believes in THCv so much they have even patented its abilities to combat weight gaining and diabetes.

Parkinson’s Disease: THCv is a cannabinoid that has been identified that can aid in Parkinson’s Disease by attenuating the motor inhibition caused by 6-hydroxydopamine. It also has various related mechanisms that assist in treating Parkinson’s.

Anti-Inflammatory: This study was only done on mice but if other studies are any indication of success it should apply similarly to humans, but THCv shows to be an anti-inflammatory. It works through a different mechanism than other anti-inflammatory drugs, THCv inhibits cyclic AMP production by hCB(2) CHO cells, but does not inhibit other affiliated cells. The whole thing seemed to rely on the CB 2 receptors.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15302527

http://www.google.com/patents/EP2356987A1?cl=en

Halent 2011 - Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Chart

References:

  1. Steep Hill Lab, Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Reference Guide; http://steephilllab.com/resources/cannabinoid-and-terpenoid-reference-guide/
  2. Skunk Pharm Research, Cannabinoid and Terpene Info; http://skunkpharmresearch.com/cannabinoid-info/
  3. SC Labs, Meet the Cannabinoids; http://www.scanalytical.com/the-cannabinoids.html

*Note: Decarboyxlation – A chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases  CO2, often triggered by heat.

Back from a brief hiatus from blogging to focus on other projects I’m back to fill your inboxes and thought-boxes with new blog updates. Today will just be a brief guide for my fellow Californians on how to conserve water. While this will be a short post it may be one of the most important things I post given that California is in its worse drought in 500 years. If it wasn’t bad enough it not appears to be getting worse. Things are so bad that the Governor and many cities are calling for voluntary rationing. The life or death question is – why the bloody hell hasn’t anyone made rationing mandatory? Hellooooo guys, worst drought ever, what about that isn’t scaring you into imposing mandatory rationing? My current city and hometown of San Francisco leads the state, using 49 gallons per person per day on average  versus 100.

1. If it is yellow leave it mellow, if it is brown flush it down. We probably all heard this as kids from environmentally conscious parents, I know I heard it enough were it became rote. I would imagine that is a result of growing up in California and dealing with near constant droughts all my life. We Californians should be used to drought conditions by now. This is a major one since your average toilet flush uses over 2.5 gallons of water and is flushed over 5 times a day. That’s over 12 gallons a day for most toilets.

2. Shower less. No really, shower less. If you currently shower daily, shower ever other day, if you already shower less often than daily cut back to less. I’m showering twice a week now and no one has said a peep, it’s amazing what deodorant and changing your shirt daily can do. At Burning Man I went a solid ten days without a shower, that is pretty close to my maximum limit in the dusty context of the Playa. No shower for ten days does not mean not bathing, you can do wonders wiping yourself down with baby wipes (even your hair). Showers account for 17% of residential water use. Most showers average 7-10 gallons a minute, but there are ways to reduce that. Think about that next time you extend that morning shower just because it ‘feels nice.’ BTW, despite that ten days of dusty no-showers I still consider myself a clean freak, just less OCD than I used to be.

3. Develop a system for washing dishes. I’m working on implementing a system in my house with a soaking tub to reuse water for soaking and minimize the use of new water for rinsing. Using cast iron is also immensely helpful since you hardly ever use water to clean cast iron.

4. Cook things that use less water. I love making soup, but soup is half water. Now is not the best time to be making soup if you can opt for cooking things that use less water. Rice and pasta are also pretty water intense. You can always use cooked in pasta water as grey-water for watering plants once it has cooled!

5. Use your grey water. Whenever possible find ways to reuse your water. One thing I often do is use the same water to rinse out multiple bottles to put in the recycling. Oh yea, did you know you’re supposed to wash out your recycling and not leave it filled with food remains? Common courtesy folks and it makes the somewhat inefficient recycling process slightly more cost effective. You can use any water without chemicals in it to water plants; I would not recommend using dish water unless you are using a totally biodegradable/organic/all natural soap. The food waste could be an issue, or compost?

6. Set up a rain capture system. There are various ways to do this but most are variants on a barrel design. You can even pull water out of thin air using a fog capture system, something I am considering for my home in San Francisco.

7. Let your lawn die. Just stop watering it, let it go fallow, then plough that crap under and make a garden. If you are going to use water to maintain plants at least make sure they are drought resistant plants or useful things like food-baring plants/herbs.

8. Stop washing your car. I don’t even have a car anymore so I stopped this years ago. Thankfully cleaning a bike is much more water efficient than washing a car too. At the least create a more efficient system to wash your car, efficiency is the name of the game.

9. Gamify saving water, especially with kids. I like to use gamification to turn mundane things into fun games I can play with myself and the world. One game I am big on right now is “how little water can I use today?” For children you can try rewarding them for positive behavior, such as praise for taking a shorter shower or remembering to leave yellow mellow. I leave the games up to the individual as only the individual will know what properly motivates them to right action.

10. Group showers? What happens in San Francisco stays in San Francisco…

[EDIT]11. Transform sewer water into drinking water. Yep, it’s possible and here is the DIY guide on how to make what you need to do it. I’m ready for the apocalypse.

Hey everyone, had a busy week here picking up a couple new jobs, but I will try to get some more regular postings. Without further to do, here is a recipe for some homemade triple sec/citrus liquor. Honestly, calling this triple sec is a bit insulting to it, it’s more similar to an orangecello, though even that isn’t quite right. For this batch I used the peels of organic murcott tangerines that I got from a local farmers market. I usually use dried peels as they have an indefinite shelf life; these peels were from last summer/fall. I finished this batch off with some of the ginger simple syrup I cooked the previous week to create a tangerine-ginger triple sec. Read on and try it yourself!

This is a FLAME HAZARD. If you are not careful watching this and you are cooking on a stove top like me, without a real still, there is a very real chance of it catching on fire. Vodka is definitely flammable, and orange essential oil is extremely  flammable. Combine the two and it is a recipe for a giant 2 foot tall pretty blue flame, like I saw when mine caught on fire the other day. This is my fourth or fifth time doing this now and first fire. The fire is VERY  easy to put out, even easier than it is to start, just put a lid on it and turn the heat off. It is seriously that easy and you don’t ruin your triple sec. This was honestly the best batch I have ever made.

01

You will need: An empty jar, vodka or another neutral spirit, sugar, and orange peels (fresh or dried). If you plan to dry your peels to use them make sure they are TOTALLY dried out, or they will mold. I’ve lost peels to that before.

03

 

Step 1: Fill your empty jar with orange peels, don’t cram it full but put as many a you can comfortably fit. Fill the empty space with vodka and leave it for 1-2 weeks. One week is enough to infuse the orange essential oils into the vodka, but an extra week doesn’t hurt.

06

Step 3: Pour out your orange peels and vodka into the pot that you will use to cook in. Squeeze residual vodka out of the peels into the mix and add some more vodka to cut down the strength of the flavor.

07

Step 4: Bring to a boil covered, then uncover and stir quickly. BE CAREFUL NOT TO SPILL ANY! Alcohol and orange essential oil are  both super flammable, spilling any while cooking is almost a guaranteed cooking fire and no one wants that. As an aside, the giant blue flame I made was very pretty.

08

Here is what the finished product looks like, very dark in color compared to usually bland and colorless triple sec. The flavor is rich and multilayered, perfect for sipping by itself or using in a cocktail. If you are interested in some more awesome  recipes check out Punk Domestics. That “Last Gasp of Summer” sounds awesome.

I’m back home on Californian soil under the warm winter suns of the West Coast. My first winter in Wisconsin wasn’t as bad as expected; really, it only got to negative 12, without wind chill. It looks like I dodged the polar vortex, but not completely. My flight out of Milwaukee was grounded due to the cold and that set off a chain of events that became a cusp event, where I could either fold up my deck and quit or I could rise to the occasion and shine. I shone on, like the crazy diamond I am.

I arrived at the Milwaukee airport around 5:15pm, a little over an hour before my 6:25pm flight. As always, I checked the flight board before I signed in and immediately I noticed something was wrong. My flight was grounded due to the cold. Cold they say, HAH, it was a pleasant 3 degrees, a warm evening! There is one final flight out to O’Hare at 7:29pm, but that wont get me to Chicago in time for my 8:18pm flight, the last of the night to SFO. The woman from United got me onto a Coach USA bus that supposedly would be at O’Hare around 7:20pm. This is doable, excellent. I got on the bus and the driver told me, much to my dismay, that the bus actually would get there at 7:40pm. That is less doable; O’Hare is ginormous and I still had to check a bag, get through security, and get to my gate.

The bus got there on-time and I was the first stop. I got my bag checked and was through security in under 5 minutes, a personal record. Normally I’d opt out of the radiation machine for the pat down, but since my plane had already been boarding for nearly 15 minutes I needed to hurry (and I was only sexually harassed a little bit by the TSA agent for it). With a 50-60 pound backpack on and a camera bag I managed to run over a quarter mile to my gate, through the throngs of O’Hare in only 5 minutes. I got to my gate to find that I left my boarding pass and ID at security. I tried to leave my bags at the gate so I could run faster but the gate agents refused. In hindsight, I fully understand why; it could have been a bomb for all they knew. Now it really felt “life-or-death,” if I missed this flight my bag still got to SFO and an unknown fate without me.

I put my pack back on and took off running. I ran all the way back to security with my heavy pack and exceedingly exhausted muscles, but I ran to the wrong security check. There were two and thankfully the TSA agent I talked to was very helpful pointing me in the right direction. As soon as I made it to the right security check I got my ID and began the long run back to Gate C10. Nearly a mile later, in about 15 minutes, I was feeling near death but I made my flight. “Water…now…please, I’m near death,” is what I managed to croak out with a raspy voice from a sputtering mouth to the flight attendant. Even near death and about to collapse one cannot forget ones manners. I got my water, collapsed into my seat and threw off my jacket into the vacant seats next to me. Victory was three seats to myself; freedom to move and stretch out, also another bottle of water delivered to my seat.

Moments like this are why I do parkour. I didn’t implement any specific maneuvers from parkour, but the physical training and the training of my perception that goes into it were crucial to get me to my seat on that plane. This is also why I did Tough Mudder last year, to know my limits. I had faced obstacles much greater than this, so I knew I could overcome it. That doesn’t mean I can slack off, if anything it means I know exactly how hard I need to push myself, no more and no less. It is important to know one’s limits and to respect them, yet also to push your limits in a way that is friendly to your body. Do not hate your body, respect it and appreciate it because it is all you have.

As I said in a previous post, I took some time off from posting around New Years to do some cooking and you all would be reaping the benefits. Time to show you the best method to make medicated cannabis oil/butter. Supposedly it works better to use a crock pot but I have never used that method, I’ve only done it on stove top.

An important thing to know before making your oil is a good ratio of bud/shake to oil/butter. I prefer using olive or coconut oil as they both have more saturated fat than butter and the THC binds to it much better as a result. THC is lipidic, that means it binds to lipids…fats; THC is also hydrophobic, it cannot bind to water. I used about  three ounces of shake for 2 pounds (32 ounces) of oil, and threw some kief in as well. Most recipes I have found online use a ratio of one ounce shake to one pound of oil/butter, for bud it’s more like 1/2 ounce to the pound. I wanted a very strong batch as I have a high tolerance, and it certainly turned out strong.

What will really help the potency of your medicated oil is if you pre-bake the bud in the oven before cooking it on the stove. This is a process known as decarboxylation, this is a chemical process where carbon is evaporated out of the plant matter. All living things are made of carbon and over time exposure to heat and oxygen will cause decarboxylation. Using the oven accelerates this process. This is crucial for making cannabis oil because when cannabis decarboxylates the non-psychoactive THCa and other trace cannabinoids are converted into THC, which greatly raises the potency of your batch. I put my kief into a pyrex dish to keep it separated and cook it better.

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Step 1: Decarboxylate the cannabis. You can either use lower heat (240ish degrees) for about an hour, or a flash heat of 5-10 minutes at much higher (about 300). I am skeptical of the flash heating method as the higher heat runs the risk of burning off desirable cannabinoids and terpenoids. I cooked mine at 280 for about 30 minutes and it was a great success.

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Step 2: While the cannabis is decarboxylating start heating up the coconut oil on the stove in the jars in water. Use a medium to low heat to not crack the jars, it helps to preheat the jars in hot water before turning the stove on. You want the oil/butter to be liquid before you throw it in with the cannabis to cook it all together.

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Step 3: Begin to boil water on the stove, after a couple minutes add the liquid oil to the water. After about five minutes throw the cannabis in and cook it for the next 2-3 hours. You will want to begin on a medium/high heat to boil it and finish any final decarboxylation, but soon cut it down to a low heat, and you will keep it on low heat for the next 2-3 hours. Low heat is important to not burn off the oil or give it a burned flavor.

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Step 4: Let the mixture cool off and put it through a metal strainer, letting the water and oil drip into a Tupperware container. After you use the strainer I would recommend squeezing out the additional oil with cheesecloth, or  at least press it through the metal strainer with a spoon. This is crucial as most of the oil will still be in the plant matter and needs to be squeezed out. Put it in the fridge overnight, NOT THE FREEZER!!

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Step 5: After a night in the fridge the coconut oil will be a solid again, but the water will still be liquid, this is crucial so you can easily separate the oil from the water. Freezing it will also freeze the water making this impossible or at least *really* annoying and  time consuming…so if you like being annoyed and wasting time be my guest…or put in in the fridge and voila!

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If you put it in the fridge cut out a small corner of the oil and pour out all the nasty waste water. Many people suggest using a double boiler method where the cannabis and oil are in one smaller pot layered inside of a larger one holding the water. Don’t fall for that crap. THC is lipidic and binds into the oils, unlike tannins which go into the water. If you separate the water from the oil those tannins have nowhere to go other than into your oil making it taste awful, by putting it all in one pot the tannins go into the waste water to be discarded.

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Step 6: Chop up the oil into little pieces and put them back into the jars. I personally like to label my medicated things so people know what it is and don’t mistake it for just plain oil.

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That’s what the final product looks like. I’ll be posting up a recipe in the next couple of weeks using this, and it’s not boring pot brownies. Stay tuned to learn how to make a medicated curry sauce.

Hey readers, just wanted to give you a heads up that I am on vacation till the 28th and will likely be posting a lot less until then. Presently I am trying to stay alive in the coldest colds I have ever felt. It’s not the -50 it was before I got out here, it’s been in the positives and today is the first day of snow since I arrived on the 18th. While I had some anxiety that nothing I owned would be warm enough and went to the lengths of buying thermal underwear, yet I’ve been quite comfy even without the thermals. Though they have not been used yet I am sure they will and I would still fully advise bringing some with you if you step into the polar vortex. Thankfully the polar vortex has passed for now and I have lucked out, but it seems that another freezing arctic blast is on the way.

Not too much to post so far, haven’t done much sight-seeing yet other than the EAA museum. While I came to Oshkosh to visit a friend and lover, knowing little about the local history, apparently  this town has been known across the world for generations because of their rich history of flight. The EAA got its start in Oshkosh after WWII when Paul Howard Poberezny came back home from the war and channeled his life-love of flight with his wartime skills into the new Experimental Aircraft Association. If you ever get the chance to come to Oshkosh I highly recommend checking out the EAA museum, or if you are here at the end of July check out the AirVenture air show.

Today I’ll be going to check out a fancy charcuterie shop to try some real local cheeses. I’ll probably update this later on with some cheese reviews. For now the point of this post is merely to alert my readers to a brief absence.

Hey readers, I’ve recently begun wondering if my blog might be too diverse in focus for my readership and I am debating limiting my focus on this blog and starting another one for other posts or possibly something else. As a person who has many focuses in life and does many things I wanted a blog that reflects that, but I worry people might feel spammed with posts that are not relevant to their interests (you are here for DIY but I just keep posting about politics, or vice versa).

Here is your chance and your place to tell me what you come here for and what you’d like to see more of. You can choose up to 3 options on the poll and even add your own options if I missed something.