Archive for June, 2015

Post 11 - Simple Square Ginger

Brand: Simple Squares

Product: Nuts, Ginger, and Honey Organic Snack Bar

Weight: 1.6oz / 45g

Cost: $2.49/per from manufacturer


Calories: 230

Total Fat: 17g, Sat. Fat 5g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 95mg

Total Carb: 16g

Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 10g

Protein: 6g

Protein per ounce: 3.75g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.41

Carb to Protein Ratio: 2.6-1

Vit A: 0% DV

Vit C: 0% DV

Calcium: 4% DV

Iron: 10% DV

Organic, gluten free, kosher, no refined sugars, soy and dairy free.

Not made in a gluten free facility.


It’s been a couple weeks since I last reviewed a Simple Square so it is time for another go, this time with the ginger flavor. The ginger one is just like the coconut Simple Square, but with added ginger which, as a fan of ginger, I thought I would like but I actually found it kind of off-putting. I love the Simple Square for it’s simplicity, even though this one is slightly less simple with seven ingredients. The flavor wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it was best described as mediocre. Maybe I had my standards set too high after the coconut Simple Square, but this one was a real let down, especially compared to the Squarebar. I would say the major selling point here is that it is kosher, which I imagine is a huge win for people who keep a kosher diet but I don’t so it’s not relevant to me.

Just like the last Simple Square reviewed, this one has nothing to get melted in high heat situations, which makes it great for Burning Man. Personally, I would still opt for the coconut one over this ginger one.



Brand: NuGo Organic

Product: Dark Chocolate Almond

Weight: 1.76oz / 50g

Cost: $1.83/per  from manufacturer


Calories: 190

Total Fat: 5g, Sat. Fat 3.5g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 60mg

Total Carb: 26g

Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 13g

Protein: 10g

Protein per ounce: 5.68g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.18

Carb to Protein Ratio: 2.6-1

Calcium: 2% DV

Iron: 4% DV

Organic, low fat, non-GMO, and vegan.

Not made in a gluten-free facility.


It had chocolate and almonds and was kind of chewy, but mostly a mess of nuts inside of a chocolate shell. It should have been tasty, it had potential, but it was really quite dry and that was rather unfortunate. It could be that this particular bar just wasn’t that good, which is why I have another flavor of NuGo bar picked out for another review later on down the road. It was low fat, which is nice if that is a concern for you. It also was pretty high in protein compared to most other bars I have reviewed so far, but it didn’t come close to the Squarebar Cocoa Crunch in terms of protein per ounce. The only saving grace was that this had the cheapest protein cost out of any bar reviewed so far, making this the budget option. Otherwise, it was mediocre compared to the Squarebar and 22Days in all ways possible. Outside of protein, the NuGo Organic bar had pretty much no nutrients; no vitamins, and only trace amounts of calcium and iron (on par with a bottle of mineral water). I doubt I will ever get this brand again after this review, but perhaps the second NuGo bar will wow me.


Rally in San Jose, CA after the CA Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 in 2009.

Rally in San Jose, CA after the CA Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 in 2009.

Like that sign said 6 years ago at a protest in San Jose, this is not over and we will win. In fact, right before Pride weekend, we did win and the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, that, for the first time in America’s history, homosexual couples can get married in all fifty states and all states must recognize other state’s gay marriages.

While this is great news for all supporters of marriage equality, and it is time to celebrate as Chief Justice Roberts has said,  I fear it could be just a moment of celebration before a potential onslaught of adversity against gay and lesbian couples. While liberty and justice have gotten a win for the short term, this narrow victory will likely incense conservatives for years to come.



Let me unpack Supreme Court voting a bit for anyone not familiar with it. While you only need a 5-person majority to make a decision and pass laws that is seen as something to avoid at all costs, especially when core civil liberties or civil rights are on the line. Usually, the majority strives for at least a 6-7 person vote in favor, ideally a unanimous vote if the issue is seen as very important and/or hotly contested.

The best analogies I can give to illustrate what I mean are the desegregation of schools and creation of abortion rights. When Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954, desegregation did not have wide support across the country like it did today, it was hotly contested because it dealt with highly important civil rights and civil liberty issues. Desegregation was so important that Chief Justice Warren did everything he could to get a unanimous 9-0 decision, including pulling a justice back to the bench for the vote, even though he had just suffered a heart attack and was on medical leave. Want to know why Brown v. Board of Education was never challenged? That is why.

Another core civil liberty is one’s right to be sovereign over their own body, including your right to an abortion should you choose to do so. When the issue first went before the Supreme Court back in 1973, they did not present the same united front that they had with Brown. When it came to abortion rights, the court could only muster up a 7-2 vote in Roe v. Wade, thus beginning more than a forty year onslaught on women’s reproductive rights that continues to this day. Notice the difference those two votes makes? Now ask yourself how confident you feel about Friday’s 5-4 decision. Then ask yourself how confident you feel about the fact that the legal precedent it builds on, Hollingsworth v. Perry, was decided not on the merits of the case but by standing alone. In Hollingsworth, the Court looked at who was the plaintiff in the case, felt they had no business to bring that suit, and said, effectively, ‘you can’t stand in this court room, get the hell out of here;’ without any care to the legality of marriage equality. That is being decided on standing.

Right now, marriage equality is legal because of a 5-4 decision that builds off a technical foul, and of course decades of other cases like Lawrence v. Texas, Bowers v. Hardwick, and the aptly named Loving v. Virginia. A 5-4 decision is better than a 4-5, it is better than nothing – but it is the next-best thing to nothing and historically in America that is a recipe for decades of legal battles.


Well said, who is next?

I hope this explains why I may be celebrating less than other pride revelers. I worry about what is to come and the vitriol spawned by a divisive 5-4 decision. Still, 5-4 is the best we could hope for this with current court as it is the most conservative in US history. If that trend continues then I am *very* worried for the future of marriage equality.



Post 9 - Amazing Grass Savory Almond

Brand: Amazing Grass (They don’t have a website)

Product: Green Superfood Sweet and Savory Almond

Weight: 1.6oz / 45g

Cost: $2.49/per, online (not from manufacturer)


Calories: 220

Total Fat: 13g, Sat. Fat 2.5g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 120mg

Potassium: 260mg

Total Carb: 21g

Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 12g

Protein: 6g

Protein per ounce: 3.75g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.42

Carb to Protein Ratio: 3.5-1

Vit A: 10% DV

Vit B12: 2% DV

Vit C: 6% DV

Vit K: 6% DV

Calcium: 4% DV

Iron: 10% DV

Organic, cold processed, gluten free, non-GMO, and vegan.

Not made in a gluten-free facility.


Pretty tasty, better than most protein bars but nothing spectacular or memorable. The bar is a mass of nuts and chocolate chips mashed together with a superfood greens blend, it’s got rose hips, maca, acai, spirulina, and tons of other really healthy and tasty things in it…albeit in very small amounts. While this advertises being a superfood bar the only benefit it has over anything else I have reviewed so far is being cold processed. There really wasn’t anything remarkable about this bar but it would be pretty good for Burning Man since it isn’t a chocolate-heavy bar. I was pretty impressed that the company that makes this bar has no website of any sort for any of their products, it is all sold through third parties. Maybe I am weird but that makes me a bit skeptical of Amazing Grass and any other company that doesn’t have a website to provide information about them and their products.

This piece originally ran on April 21st, 2015, in The Leaf Online as, “Nip it in the Bud: Cannabis Farming Is Not Causing California’s Drought.” It was picked up and ran by AlterNet on April 22nd, with the title, “Weed and Water in California: Pot Isn’t The Problem.” All photos were taken by me, while visiting family in the Central Valley in 2009.

Nip in the bud” To break a bad habit before it forms.

There’s nothing new about bad cannabis science, but now in the days of cannabis policy reform it often seems that new examples are cropping up every day, hoping to mislead the public into believing the ‘virtue’ of prohibition.

Time to nip them in the bud.

Nip it In The Bud 2 - Drought - Dead Orchard Img 46

California has been in a drought for the past four years. Most of the state has received under 10 inches of rain, meeting the criteria to be labeled a desert. This conundrum has made California a testing ground for a battle over water rights, where cannabis growers are being unjustly scapegoated as the culprits behind the worst drought the state has seen in over a millennium.

It all started when a recent study conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlifefound that illegal and unregulated cannabis growing could potentially be a threat to sensitive wildlife and their habitat. The researchers use many qualifying words in their study, because many of the facts aren’t sufficiently well-known to properly say how big of a threat cannabis growing could be to endangered species like the Coho salmon. Regrettably, most journalists reported on this uncertainty with headlines like “Pot is Making California’s Epic Drought Worse” and “California is in One of its Worst-Ever Droughts Because People Are Growing Too Much Weed.”

David Downs, with SFGate’s Smell the Truth, is one of the only journalists to get it right, properly recognizing that cannabis growing is a “tiny sliver of water use in the state.” The study estimates that the average cannabis plant takes 6 gallons of water every day. Chris Van Hook, founder of the Clean Green organic cannabis certification program, estimates that while plants begin taking about a gallon of water a month they can end up consuming nearly 15 gallons a day. Chris estimates that all the growing in Mendocino county consumes about 32 million gallons at the height of growing season.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife study found that,“In California, irrigated agriculture is the single largest consumer of water, taking 70–80% of stored surface water and pumping great volumes of groundwater.” Almonds alone consume 3 billion gallons per day, out of the 30 billion gallons used by agriculture every day in California; 10% of the total agricultural water use and 100 times as much water as Mendocino uses for cannabis growing.


Notice the blue sign that says “Almonds.” This *was* an almond field, now it lays fallow.

California grows much more than just almonds. You may be wondering, just how much food does California grow? According to the California Department of Water Resources, California is the only state with the right climate to grow almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, raisins, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes and walnuts. California also produces over 250 types of crops, leading the country in 75 of those.

With the current drought, it is hard to see California continuing to keep up its same rate of food production, which may further drive up prices. The drought has created a state of emergency and has led to state-wide water rationing. The April snowpack, which should be at its peak, is actually the lowest it has been recorded since 1950; a record low of 5% of average.  2014 was the third driest year in over a hundred years and the warmest year on record.

Before this current drought California saw another drought from 2009-2010. This previous drought wasn’t caused by natural causes or climate change so much as it was caused by short-sighted politics. A federal ruling to protect the endangered Delta Smelt caused water to be diverted from thousands of acres of farmland in the Central Valley. This led to entire orchards being left for dead or laid fallow, including precious almond trees like those shown above, which take over three years just to produce fruit.

12 (Dustbowl Orchard)

These may have been almond trees, before the ‘Congress created dust bowl’ came and turned off their water supply.

Unfortunately, almond trees are not cannabis plants and don’t have a three month growth cycle. When those trees were killed by politics five years ago, the new ones planted to replace them didn’t even begin to produce almonds until the current drought was in full swing and water rationing was imposed. While endangered species like the Delta Smelt and Coho Salmon need to be protected, preservation must be balanced against the humanity’s need for water. As water gets increasingly scarce the political calculus at play will need to be re-evaluated. If better decisions aren’t made during this natural drought than during the self-inflicted one, those almond trees may never get a chance to fruit.

40 (The Dead Orchard #2)

If better decisions aren’t made to confront the current drought then dead orchards like this will be an all too common sight.

In response to the Reefer Madness panic over the minuscule amount of water being used for cannabis growing the legislature has released two bills, AB 243 and a similar bill in the Senate,SB 165. Both laws would strengthen existing laws governing cannabis farming and other illicit activities on public and private lands. The patient advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access, opposes both bills as they currently stand and feel patients are being unfairly scapegoated. ASA makes a good point considering other groups, like Nestle, are allowed to skirt legality to bottle millions of gallons of groundwater every year to sell bottled water back to the same people they took it from.

The real culprit behind the California drought isn’t outdoor cannabis growers, as much as it is every person who drives a car, everyone who doesn’t buy local or sustainable products, or indoor cannabis growers. In short, everyone who has ever contributed to climate change in any way. Indoor growing has a massive carbon footprint and greatly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions; in California, it is “responsible for about 3% of all electricity use.” Outdoor growing can be done in a sustainable way that uses closed loop systems, creating minimal environmental harms with relatively little carbon footprint.

Scientists have identified a new climate trend for California, and all other coastal areas like it, where they will get more erratic temperatures, less predictable seasons, and generally colder temperatures. This phenomenon is known as “Coastal Cooling;” it is even more intense in urban areas. Despite current warming, it appears that cooler and wetter weather could be in the future for California. As climate change intensifies, the West Coast will see more erratic weather and it is hard to say what it could mean for California’s farmers and everyone else who calls the Golden State home.

Post 8 - Squarebar Cocoa Crunch

Brand: Squarebar (Not to be confused with Simple Squares)

Product: Cocoa Crunch Organic Protein Bar

Weight: 1.7oz / 48g

Cost: $2.49/per from manufacturer


Calories: 210

Total Fat: 9g, Sat. Fat 6g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 50mg

Potassium: 230mg

Total Carb: 22g

Fiber: 2g

Sugars: 14g

Protein: 12g

Protein per ounce: 7.06g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.21

Carb to Protein Ratio: 1.83-1

Vit A: 0% DV

Vit C: 0% DV

Calcium: 4% DV

Iron: 15% DV

Phosphorous: 2%

Magnesium: 4%

Zinc: 2%

Organic, gluten free, non-GMO, soy free, vegan.

Not made in a gluten-free facility, but good manufacturing practices are used.


I ate it so fast I barely had time to process the flavor. It was so good, so amazingly deliciously good. Chocolate melted around a peanut butter center with crunchy rice. This is what all those mediocre choco-peanut protein bars are trying and failing to taste like. It also had a great mouth feel, kind of like eating a mouth full of peanut butter and chocolate. I would say I enjoyed this more than any other bar I have reviewed so far, even the scrumptious Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.

Packing in over 7 grams of protein per ounce, the Squarebar has the highest amount of protein by weight out of any of the bars I have reviewed thus far. What makes the protein content even better it is all plant based protein with no whey or soy as filler.  I left the Burning Man tag off this post for obvious chocolatey reasons, this is a textbook example of the type of bar that will melt into a gooey mess in high heat.

One extra plus for Bay Area residents like me is that they are local, made in Alameda. If I wanted to I could bike to them and pick up the bars in person creating no greenhouse gas emissions in shipping; this is the processed food equivalent to going to the farmers market. I just made a run to Whole Foods to get some more protein bars for review, up until now they all came from my local Pharmaca here in Oakland. The Squarebar is the first out of the Whole Foods bars I am reviewing.

Post 7 - RawRev Golden Cashew

Brand: Raw Revolution

Product: Golden Cashew Organic Live Food Bar

Weight: 1.8oz / 51g

Cost: $1.89/per from manufacturer


Calories: 230

Total Fat: 14g, Sat. Fat 2g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 0mg

Total Carb: 23g

Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 15g

Protein: 7g

Protein per ounce: 3.89g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.27

Carb to Protein Ratio: 3.29-1

Vit A: 2% DV

Vit C: 6% DV

Calcium: 6% DV

Iron: 15% DV

Organic, raw, gluten free, vegan, kosher, and dairy-free.

Made in USA in gluten-free facility.


It’s been a couple weeks since I had a RawRev bar and, since the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle was so amazing, I decided to try out another bar by Raw Revolution. This time I tried the Golden Cashew with very high hopes after how delicious the last one by RawRev was, but I was a bit disappointed. The Golden Cashew bar wasn’t bad, not by any means or measure, but it also wasn’t particularly better than anything else I have reviewed. It packed in less flavor than the other bar by RawRev which is nutritionally identical, which means this bar is rather mediocre by comparison, it tasted like a lame version of GoMacro’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip protein bar but with no chocolate chips. With no chocolate at all this is a very desert friendly protein bar, but it also doesn’t really have much flavor past the cashews.

This bar, like the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle,  is one of the few I have come across that was actually made in a gluten free facility, this makes it ideal for people who have extreme allergies to gluten and need to be extra certain that something is entirely gluten free. If nothing else, that is a selling point for the Golden Cashew bar.

It's kind of one's perfect!

It’s kind of blurry…no one’s perfect!

Brand: Essential Living Foods

Product: Keen-Wah Decadence Organic Raw Cacao Chia

Weight: 1.5oz / 42g

Cost: $3.29/per from manufacturer


Calories: 195

Total Fat: 10g, Sat. Fat 4g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 57mg

Total Carb: 18g

Fiber: 4g

Sugars: 10g

Protein: 6g

Protein per ounce: 4g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.54

Carb to Protein Ratio: 3-1

Vit A: 0% DV

Vit C: 0% DV

Calcium: 8% DV

Iron: 17% DV

Organic, non-GMO, gluten free, soy free, and vegan.

Not made in a gluten free facility.


 Chocolate upon chocolate upon chocolate. It wasn’t bad but it also really wasn’t anything to write home about in my opinion. My girlfriend thought it was delicious, so there is some hope for it. I felt it was a little dry, reminiscent of that chalky cheap protein bar taste I am not a fan of.

The protein per ounce and carb to protein ratios were great but the cost per gram of protein makes this the most expensive bar I have reviewed so far (and I expect it to be the most expensive I will review, but time will tell). Given the high price, mediocre flavor, and lack of nutrients past the bare minimums, I personally would not recommend this bar. I especially would not advocate it for Burning Man given the chocolate upon chocolate; it is guaranteed to turn to a liquid clump of cacao in a foil bag in the heat out there.

Post 5 - GoMacro Peanut Chocolate

Brand: GoMacro

Product: Protein Pleasure Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Weight: 2.5oz / 71g

Cost: $2.89/per from manufacturer


Calories: 290

Total Fat: 11g, Sat. Fat 2.5g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 10mg

Total Carb: 38g

Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 15g

Protein: 12g

Protein per ounce: 4.8g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.24

Carb to Protein Ratio: 3.16-1

Vit A: 0% DV

Vit C: 0% DV

Calcium: 2% DV

Iron: 20% DV

Organic, gluten free, non-GMO, no refined sugars, sustainably sourced, macrobiotic, and vegan.

Not made in a gluten free facility.


It tasted like a peanut butter Clif bar with an almost identical mouth-feel, but with chocolate chips. I personally love peanut butter Clif bars for the flavor and mouth feel, I also love chocolate chips, so this was a win all around for me. In terms of nutrition, the GoMacro bar is one of the best reviewed so far. Next to the Daly Mocha Mantra, this bar has the highest protein per ounce ratio, the GoMacro bar also has a cheaper cost per gram of protein, making it a better buy for those looking to bulk up on a budget. The GoMacro bar has double the iron of the Daly Mocha Mantra which makes it ideal for people who need extra iron in their diet.

This would be a great protein bar to bring to Burning Man. While it does have some chocolate in it, the chocolate is minimal and a lot of it is inside the bar so it won’t become a gloopy mess all over the inside of the wrapper.

I talked to a friend who is a personal trainer and he suggested adding a ratio of carbs to protein, since that is required to properly process the protein. An ideal ratio is between 2-4 grams of carbs to each gram protein. I’ll work on adding it to all the previous reviews and it will be in all future ones.

PhotoPoem – Truth

Posted: June 15, 2015 in Poetry
Tags: , ,

It’s been a good long while since I posted one of these photography/poetry combination posts, and since it has been so long I will be posting one of my favorite poems that I have written in recent years paired with one of my earliest shots while I was still at the Academy of Art in SF. While I love this poem, it is more of a slam/performance poem than the others I have posted here, so I am unsure how true it will read compared to a live performance…pun slightly intended. Here’s the Truth.


Poster Wall BW


What is Truth?

It is the thing which hits you late at night,

When you are alone, clinging to nothing but darkness,

Like a war-torn lover holding onto the remnants,

Of the memory of what love was before they killed it.

It hits you like a sledgehammer defenestrated from a 10th story window.

Suddenly and with explosive force it shatters ego,

Breaking the everpresent manufactured techno bubble,

Freeing your consciousness as it freefalls into your skull.


You’re enlightened. Buddha never said it was so easy,

Easy like a drunk prom date in the back of your Chevy.

No condom date-rape baby, you’re both not ready…

For Truth,

The used condom of a generation wasted.

Venerated and penetrated in dark alleys,

In vacant lots and with vacant eyes,

The flagrant signs of a person abused.

Used and confused, we wander empty streets.

Empty selves looking for our next fix, addicts.

Spiritually hollow we’ll cram anything in that hole,

Chicken soup souls for the soulless faux wholeness.


We’re frightened, of ourselves and of our neighbors.

No savior in sight, try as we might, we are alone.

In front of TV screens, computer monitors,

Even sitting next to eachother, we are alone.

Homeless veteran who fought for a lie, dying in the streets,

Frozen in your sleep, please don’t cry…

Because Truth…

Like time heals all wounds and soon it will sledgehammer shatter

The mimeo-obscura movie screen false reality,

Samsara scented visions that cloud our thoughts,

Causing society to rot the apple core of knowledge.

But even a rotten core can still hold seeds,

If cultivated with care we can grow something new.

Reach within your own rotten core,

And seek the seeds inside.

Nurture well with tender care,

A phoenix waits to rise.