The college students and other young adults working at Vape Shops are collecting their checks. They won't realize how serious it is until their bosses start cutting hours or closing shops. If it gets to that point, it's too late. I hate to be the one to deliver this news and I hope it doesn't happen, I hope we fight now and educate the public before the battle is over. If anyone knows owners and people who care, people who can foresee where things are going, I'm willing to fight if you are. At the end of the day I can shop online, but I rather support the mom&pop shops, I rather buy locally. That won't be an option if this city gets riled up and prohibits the sale of vape products. (I really wish they'd put the same energy into putting an end to the opioid crisis, or other things that are far more important, but that's beside the point). David & Goliath has always been a fun tale. We are battling against the giants, and one of them is Big Tobacco. They're all too happy to fight against vaping, when they honestly should be embracing the culture and finding ways to profit off from it. If there's a demand for a nicotine product, they should have had the foresight to get in early and capitalize on it. We don't need to litter paper and pollute the air with second-hand smoke to continue our habits. Anyways, you know where to reach me, if people want to help spread counter-intelligence and fight to stop this city from moving towards prohibition. All of the cases stemmed from products that were purchased online, not from products bought locally. Illegal, black-market, unregulated, dirty products. Trust me, this city has no shortage of lawyers, if the shops and vaping were to blame, there would be lawsuits galore. Vape Culture can be annoying, I get it. I hate the "vape" competitions and people blowing their shit in other people's faces, or indoors that aren't their own. On our end, we need to help keep people more responsible with how they're using it, as it reflects on all of us. We also need to educate people about Liquid and Batteries, as well as devices. So there aren't any issues or errors. These things can be used properly and without detriment to the health, and it's MUCH HEALTHIER than smoking. I'm not saying it's healthy, but it's healthier than the product that has been around longer, and it's healthier than the product that is trying to bully vaping out of the market. Prohibition never works. People are going to use this product regardless. Don't make it harder, don't force them to purchase unregulated and unsafe products. Keep it healthy, smart, and regulated. Don't punish the mom&pop shops, or local businesses. This city already drives out enough business and the vacancies down on State Street aren't filling up anytime soon. Come on Santa Barbara, we have bigger fish to fry.
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For those of you who're younger, or for those who have children, I'd like to share some wisdom and experience, if I may. (I know funny right, the dark writer, reaching out to the young ones, scary ain't it)?
Which is why I want to reach out, because of who I am and what I have gone through to get where I am. See it's taken me 30 years to gain peace, acceptance, and to be comfortable in my skin. I think others should be able to find it a lot quicker and without false "ego" builds, as that kind of security is one of the most insecure.
This is for those over-thinker types (the ones who struggle to shut their thoughts up) and mostly for those who have always felt like they don't belong. For especially now, while this world is so intent on being more "inclusive," and more than ever there is a promised community for all, I think a new type of seclusion exist. People can feel more alone than ever, thanks to the constant reminder of "community" and "inclusion" across the boards of Social Media & the internet. At the same time, there are communities for everyone, but this can also be dangerous as there are communities that "prey" on the lost souls and take advantage of them. The first one is a mantra, it's not my own, nor is it original. "I think but I am not my thoughts." Separate yourself from your thoughts, it's freeing. Easier said than done, I know, but like any muscle it needs to be worked out, in order to grow stronger. Repetition is key. Why is this one so important? Well for starters it means you can think anything you want, and not have to feel guilt, remorse, or convince yourself you are stuck with these thoughts and attached to them. It is a reminder that our thoughts come and go, but they are not who we are and we don't have to be defined by them. The second was already hinted at, with the words "repetition" and the muscle growth analogy. Routine. Healthy routines. Start simple and easy, make sure you're brushing 2x a day, at least flossing once and feel free to throw in a mouthwash after each brush. "Alright Mr. Miyagi, you're going to make us do chores before teaching us how to do karate?" Self-discipline is rewarding and it's an asset that carries over into EVERYTHING else we do. If you want to play an instrument, draw, write, sing, dance, or even be an accountant, influencer, whatever it is your heart desires. Self-discipline is the cutting edge that separates the wheat from the chaff. Now these two lessons for today aren't anything new and maybe you've heard them already, in some form of an other and it sounds like a real bummer. But here is the important thing. You have a busy mind, or your child does, and it needs constant stimulation. If you're not controlling and rerouting that stimulation into things, it will take over and find ways to keep itself entertained. Causing drama, abusing substances, starting fights, and overall self-destruction. We want to kill our ego, but we don't want to kill ourselves. Even though, at times, some of us may feel as though we do. "Suicide is a permanent solution, to a temporary problem." My grandfather taught me that one, it's not his or original, but it's always resonated and stuck with me. No one can truthfully reveal what happens when we die, but what is certain is what this life holds and what it has to offer. So make the best of it, make each day a better day and compete against only yourself, to be a better you today than you were tomorrow. For the worse thing any of us can do is spend our lives looking backwards with lust, greed, and envy of the person we used to be. That is it for now. There is more I wish to say on this subject, but I really should get back to writing my stories. I'm not yet ready to be a teacher, at least not full-time. I have lessons to share, but I also don't promise to know it all, or be above anyone else with my knowledge and experiences. Besides, I'm the quest for my Dark Tower, anyone familiar with the series will understand the reference. And like Roland, the main protagonist, my objective is to stay on the path of the beam, "all things serve the beam." I have stories to tell and share, there are always some "fun" lessons in those. But when I've told enough stories and if there is a demand, I'll do more than just offer a coffee-cup's worth of a lesson.
I've always had a restless itch, a hole, a void, something which made me feel anxious and unsatisfied. Staying busy, active, and always moving tends to help...but it can be painfully confusing when we are moving without direction. How are we supposed to know that those last 10 miles won't have to be backtracked? Are we moving forward, moving backwards or just traversing side-to-side? Sometimes I felt it was better to not move at all, just sit and wait. Vegetate. Turn off. I've progressed and I've regressed. Over time, I've found no greater enemy than myself. See it doesn't matter how powerful or weak the outside opposition is, if one is internally struggling with the self, the battle is already lost. We are our own greatest ally and our own greatest enemy, it's up to each one of us to recognize which is which and steer things in the right direction. It's taken years and I'm still at odds with myself, but these days I compete with myself, not against myself. Opposition makes us stronger. Remove the opposition and everything comes easy and as they say, "easy come, easy goes." The wind blows and nothing opposes it. As strong as it seems in one moment, it may very well disappear and be forgotten in the next. Sure it can dances with hurricanes and tornadoes, breathe life into fires and cause great destructive force. But at the end of the day, where is the wind? Does it have a phone number, address, or even a name to be called upon? Back to that itch, for a second, if you'll bare with me and you're insistent upon reading and listening. That itch never goes away, it only grows quiet and can easily be forgotten. Like the wind, it comes when it wants, does what it needs to do, then disappears just as easily. Sometimes it gets up inside of me, and I decide to dance with is, just as chaotic..Only once it's gone, I'm the one that's behaving this way, I'm the one that has to live with the ruin. Can't blame the itch, can't blame the wind. There's no secret, no shortcut, and anyone that is offering it, especially with money involved, is hustling. And not the good sense of the word either, for to try and cheat people out of their money, when they're hungry and desperate for money.. There's a special place reserved for those people, but there's also something to be said about us, for being so foolish. So take responsibility. Do something productive and find the things that bring happiness and fulfillment. Covet those things, aye.. It's dangerous, because now we have something to protect, something we are afraid to let go of. The problem with all that "jazz" is this thing called inevitability. In the end, there will be nothing. Nothing last forever, except..NOTHING LAST FOREVER. Read that again, slowly, NOTHING. LAST. FOREVER.. That's right, an eternity of nothing. So for now enjoy this, enjoy it all, even the pain and sorrow, for to feel something at all...is to be alive and breathing. Enjoy it while it last.
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