Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Words I Made Up — The Fifteenth

After The Fourteenth, here come the newborns...

  • Purgian (n): Someone who gets rid of their Iranian rugs and carpets.

  • Budsget (n): Money saved for and/or spent on weed.

  • Fununfair (n): A carnival at which goers can only watch others amuse themselves by riding machines and playing games without being allowed to do the same.

  • Concierge (n): A fake, deceptive wax candle commonly used for religious ceremony.

  • Sir Lanocelot (n): Name of the legendary wild cat that belonged to King Arthur.

  • Kintucky (proper noun): A state where everybody is related.

  • Buddhapest (proper noun): A large European city where everyone is enlightened and no one kills insects.

  • Dienamite (n): Lethal explosives.

  • Connunciation (n): When you mean one word but utter its opposite.

  • Dyeabetes (n): A disease in which the increased sugar level in the blood requires a certain colourant to return to its normal levels.


Words I Made Up

Words I Made Up — The Sequel

Words I Made Up — The Threequel

Words I Made Up — The Fourquel

Words I Made Up — The Fifthquel

Words I Made Up — The Sixquel  

Words I Made Up — The Seventhquel

Words I Made Up — The Eightquel

Words I Made Up — The Ninthquel

Words I Made Up — The Tenthquel

Words I Made Up — The Eleventhquel

Words I Made Up — The Twelfthquel

Words I Made Up — The Thirteenth

Words I Made Up — The Fourteenth
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Friday, 4 May 2018

OLS Reflections 五十八 — The Shamelessly Fun Ones

  • Sometimes I lay awake in bed wondering what those who write HBD do with all the extra time they save.

  • Dragonflies when it wants to. Fireflies means potential hazard.

  • Nothing says “We’re not from here — it was written in the itinerary” than a group of pale-skinned folks in formal attire parading on the bike path between Venice and Santa Monica on Segways.

  • If Superman had been created around these days he would have to be microscopically tiny to be able to get in and out of a cell phone.

  • When I took writing as a vocation and began sharing my life experiences and adventures with the world I reached an agreement with myself. Whenever ten years are gone into the past I will share more of the spicy stories from then. Whenever twenty are gone I will tell it all as it is — no matter how weird, dark, or hilarious. Where is the fun if we can’t laugh at and maybe also learn from our past. We’re getting close to lots of raunchy stories, which should be fun. Stay put.

  • During a special moment of receptive contemplation the word “Boredumb” came to mind. While I did find the word in the Urban Dictionary candidly defined as: When you get so bored, you turn stupid. My own definition goes the other way round: When you are stupid, you get bored. Truly, “I’m bored” is a moronic thing to say. Well do something about it instead of whining, you asshat.

  • Ladies and Gentlemen, the official account of the entire City of Los Angeles with its hundreds of thousands of followers has recently began following me. Ouh Là Là. Not bad that Instagram thingy, huh. They usually share informative, sometimes historical “Snapple facts/Did You Know?” kind of posts with different photographs of the city. My self-induced paranoia, however, is still trying to figure out a way to handle this chuffing news.

  • The teacher uses his pupils to watch them.

  • Whenever we say: “You’ll always be too much for certain people,” we’re actually just being considerate. “Certain people will always be too little for you,” is the more straightforward, less smothering way of putting it. “It’s not me, it’s you”.

  • Friendly advice for the younger generations who grew up with camera phones and for the older who just find it more convenient: 

    When shooting a video do it horizontally and not vertically. There is absolutely no good reason for losing half the space of the screen in such a way. In fact, video submissions that are shot vertically are often not accepted. It is also quite a hassle to convert and rotate if one wants to use the footage. So simply tilt the phone 90 degrees and start using landscape mode instead of portrait. Puh-lease ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Signed: Humanity

Kaleidoscopic, fairytale-ish mural by Daniel Rey Silvas @artistanova13 — off Pacific Avenue.

In the artist’s own words: “The mural is inspired by bringing the awareness of the community to children
with #autism and #epilepsy and enriching their lives through the use of cannabinoid oil #cbd. A truly noble
cause and a wonderful display of


OLS Reflections Dreiundfünfzig — The Playfully Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Cinquante-et-Un — The Corruptly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Treinta y Seis — The Wickedly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections — Facebook Edition

OLS Reflections — Facebook Edition Deux

OLS Reflections ثمانية وعشرون — The Tranquilisingly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections पच्चीस — The Soothingly Fun Ones
OLS Reflections Venti — The Quiescently Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Siebzehn — The Peacefully Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Quatorze — The Mitigatingly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Девять — The Pacifyingly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Seis — The Mollifyingly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Tre — The Mildly Fun Ones
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Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Attempting to Bridge the Gap Between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Evolution

Following three years in Canada then roaming around the U.S for a while, I arrived to Venice Beach in Los Angeles early 2014. The tropical weather was something I had been dearly missing. Being by the beach in general was another.

One of my first Sundays I was cruising around by the Venice Boardwalk when I saw — and heard — a big group of people on the beach playing music. Like a moth to a flame, my curiosity naturally led me towards them to get a closer look. What I found was mainly drummers in all sorts and shapes and colours just jamming around while forming a circle. In the middle, people were dancing to the beats and having a chilling time. This was my first encounter with Venice Beach Drum Circle, which I did not know anything about before then.

Having been always a drummer, though without a tribe, I started going every Sunday to this magical gathering — then also Saturday. Even before buying a djembe, I was just taking pictures and using others’ drums. After a while I felt more at ease and got to know many lovely folks from there. Eventually, I wrote an article titled: How Scary the Power of the People is, in which I was expressing my frustration caused by the heavy presence of cops and their vehicles on the beach by the Drum Circle. It was published on Conscious Life News. 

Note that in 2014 my own realty tunnel was filled with remnants of a hijacked Egyptian Revolution. So my views, thoughts, and feelings about “the establishment” were still bias in a certain way as I was lumping it all together. Not that I turned pro-establishment now, but my views are more balanced as I taught myself how to perceive both sides of any equation.

The following is a short excerpt from said article: 

They are afraid from us, not the other way round. We the people. The long-haired freaks, the peaceful warriors, the colourful weirdos, the nonconformist rads, the purple bonkers and the ballistic unicorns, the tie-dyed ones who dare to be different. We individualistic souls make them uncomfortable. That I knew for a while but the fear bit is what struck me yesterday. Their weapons cannot protect them against united people who are armed only with their smiles and cameras, and they know that. 

We’ve seen it happen all over the world in revolutions and uprisings throughout history. And that’s why they enforce laws to prevent citizens of the Earth from joyfully gathering, drumming and dancing on the beach after sunset! How absurd that is when you think about it. Why should that be anywhere near illegal? We actually come from generations of tribal nomads, this is natural to us. But I tell you why. It’s to control people, because when united they become an unstoppable force. And the establishment knows that.
They do.

Time at the Circle went on mainly peacefully until an officer named Roberts came into the scene. He was a cool guy and we bonded pretty well. This inspired a series of three of articles: Attempting to Bridge the Gap Between Us and Them.

Slowly becoming a part of that monumental gathering, more creativity came along with photo-video articles like A Year at the Venice Beach Drum Circle in Photos & Videos and its Sequel — while a third is on the way.

After all this connection, things went relatively well between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

With the cool officer Roberts in 2016

Now fast-forwarding to some months back towards the end of 2017. 

By the end of the Drum Circle one Saturday I was approached by two officers on foot, informing me that we have to wrap it up as it was past sunset. I joked with the 20-something year old petite officer by telling her that I didn’t recognise them without their big cruisers, loud sirens, and blinking lights. ⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The following week the sun went down yet no police showed up. So we kept going. The one after, it was the same story. It felt so natural that mature adults can stop drumming on a public beach whenever they wish rather than having to listen to a source of authority. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Nevertheless, the sudden disappearance of the LAPD got me curious, so I asked around. And this is what I found out. ⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Apparently, the cops ran over a woman lying on the beach in broad daylight — again! Then they got sued for it. So as a consequences their big toys were taken away from them; for now, they are not allowed to drive around on the sand. This is most probably why they never came back on foot to stop us since that first time. Now the drum circle keeps going till people just willingly leave. As it should be. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Another six-month fast-forward brings us to last Saturday — which is usually smaller and less noisy than Sunday. After a long hiatus, two cops, both in their mid 20s, came visiting us. Not in their vehicles, nor on foot, but in a golf cart. The first thing they did is give a ticket to some guy for having a beer in hands, and outsider sitting on the outskirts of the circle,

Their sudden appearance after MIA for all this time, especially that the first thing they did was ticketing that man, wasn’t welcomed well by many. While some of us kept watching in silence or ignoring what was going on altogether, a few shouted at the cops a couple of times. Nothing aggressive or rude; just “Fine, give him a ticket then you can leave.” Just passive aggressive. 

This was all happening about 10 minutes after I arrived. But even for me, having cops around wasn’t that perfect time to start drumming or getting into the zone. I then took this time to go around the circle and socialise with different brothers and sisters.

After the ticket, the cops went around and positioned themselves to have the sun in their backs while facing us — as seen in the featured photo. 

Eventually I did begin playing, yet still kept wondering when the cops will leave, almost subconsciously. Though I tried not to show it because the rest of the circle can easily pick up on that energy. That would be an addition to their initial discomfort I could already sense just by looking at their faces and body languages. 

What I did, however, was take a break after ten minutes through — much faster than the usual break which can take place after 40-60 minutes of constant playing. I then took another tour after jokingly telling a couple of unhappy drummers that I’ll go talk to the cops and tell them to leave. 

No man! Why?” was their anxious response, before smiling mischievously so they get that it’s a Ha-Ha. Well, maybe half a Ha-Ha.

After snapping a few photos around I headed towards the golf cart and took a couple of shots of the cops. Then I went closer to say hello. “I hope you guys are enjoying the view. How is officer Roberts, is he still around here? He’s a friend but I haven’t seen him in a while.

Not very much here, he moved to PK2 — or some other lingo — so he doesn’t really come here. I assumed that they meant about his promotion.

Both officers had young, gentle faces and could not be more than 25. When I told them that I share my photos on Instagram and tag #LAPD, they asked if they could see the ones I took. I did show them, adding that I do a bit of editing and they will find it on IG.

Eventually I introduced myself and shook hands with both before bidding them farewell. Unfortunately, though, I forgot their names.

When I turned around after this brief encounter I found T, one of the drummers who wasn’t too pleased of the random visit, filming the whole encounter. I think he took my words for real and followed me with the camera as I talked to them — possibly as a way to protect me.

As we moved further back towards the circle, T had that “What just happened?” kind of perplexed look. So I once again mischievously smiled and told him:

Because they will leave in a few minutes. Watch and learn. The magic of kindness and openness!

He smiled, yet I do not think he thought I was too serious.

A couple of minutes through as I went back to my chair, another drummer sitting right by came closer to ask: “I’m curious to know what did you tell them.”

Well, I introduced myself, took a few photos, and sent my regards to officer Roberts. You know, simply being myself. And they will leave shortly. They have other more important things to do than watch a bunch of Hippies having fun at a drum circle.

Haha. I can’t help it sometimes. I’m a 48-year-old war veteran who doesn’t feel like he needs to be policed, especially when I’m trying to have a good, clean time, He went on. 

I hear you, Brother. One thing I remember from a John Lennon quote is: The only thing they [the establishment] don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humour. So when you shower them with openness and authenticity things just flow from then on. This is called emotional intelligence.

Before finishing our chat, we both looked ahead to find the cops evacuating the area in their little vehicle and never came back. Adios, amigos.

You see?”

Bedazzled and smiling happily, the guys then looked at me like I am some kind of wizard, while the circle went on to its natural peaceful state. Ta-Da

Now to reflecting upon this latest encounter. The transition from the tension and passive aggressive energy I picked up when first arriving to the Circle four years back, to attempting to connect “us” with “them” on a more intimate level, to succeeding in doing so to a considerable degree, I can only think of the word “Evolution”.

All I could see this time is two young docile men doing their job: Ticketing the guy who was drinking in public first. Then deciding to watch us Hippies having a good time for fifteen minutes. Perhaps as a break from a long — likely boring — working day. This actually wasn’t a first, as I’ve seen it many times before when the Circle is so absolutely lit and the officers take their phones out of their pockets to start filming us from afar. After all, we are something to see, a phenomenon, a true Venice Beach tourist attraction.

That said, I did not sense those two officers were there to monitor us as it used to happen back then, or stir any kind of trouble. Neither did I consider them any kind of threat. In fact they were actually located pretty far, just enjoying the scenery, or so I felt.

As such, there is absolutely no good reason to treat them anything other than kindly, respectfully, and more importantly humanly. As I mentioned before, one may not agree with the establishment, the system, politics, lawmakers, but the officers themselves are simply humans, just like me, just like you. Some are simply cooler than others, just like the rest of us.

Love one another. It is The Way.


Attempting to Bridge the Gap Between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Officer Roberts

Attempting to Bridge the Gap Between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: The Coke Prank

Attempting to Bridge the Gap Between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Sergeant Pepper
A Year at the Venice Beach Drum Circle in Photos

Another Year at the Venice Beach Drum Circle in Photos & Videos 

Stop-n-Search That Hippy

Banged Up Abroad — My Few Days @ The Don Jail

The Intertwining of Music and Sexuality ― A Djembefola’s Tale

How Drumming Changed The Way My Brain Processes Music

Drum Circle Etiquette — The Do’s and Don’ts 
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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

OLS Reflections 57

  • The beauty of art is that it’s contagious. Since there is no separation between art and artist, when you watch the latter passionately enjoy their creation or performance you get to share the experience by enjoying it with them. Truly, while nature may keep our heart beating, but the arts… are why we want it to keep beating.

  • Because simplicity is deeper than complexity, the simple often passes unperceived by the complex.

  • There is a fine line between minding your own business and feeling awkward, even afraid, to make eye contact with strangers.

  • Whether you look for the good in others or the bad you will find it.

  • Until you face your own shadow you will keep encountering its reflection in others.

  • Sometimes I wonder how the world would been have dramatically transformed if great teachers like Lao Tzu, Confucius, the Buddha, Plato, Rumi, and Spinoza had access to the Internet; how many spiritual and intellectual revolutions and ages of enlightenment would have shaped history differently; where we would be now.

  • My secret? I stopped chasing — people, situations, substances. When things unfold, I let them. When they don’t, I let them. Instead of chasing the dream, I taught myself how to live it Here and Now, hence manifest my own reality. This is how we become at peace and in harmony with the natural flow of the cosmos.

  • The more one masters a certain domain, the more simplification they will strive for.

  • The strongest souls are those who help others through their storms while they themselves are going through their own. Usually the strongest are also the gentlest.

  • Until one connects with their inner divine feminine they will never understand the unspoken language of women. Cracking the elusive code which allows deciphering and translating that language is a process, so it takes time. Even then, there is a whole new mystical world to be explored and learn from. When the work is done and the male ego is bypassed, one of the illuminating realisations you come upon is that what a woman essentially needs is someone who can listen to what she isn’t saying — that which lies beyond words… and egos. 


OLS Reflections

OLS Reflections Deux

OLS Reflections Vier

OLS Reflections Khamsa

OLS Reeflections Yedi

OLS Reflections 八

OLS Reflections Ten

OLS Reflections Onze

OLS Reflections 13

OLS Reflections Quince

OLS Reflections Sixteen

OLS Reflections Dix-Huit

OLS Reflections تسعة عشر

OLS Reflections Veinte Uno

OLS Reflections 22

OLS Reflections Dreiundzwanzig

OLS Reflections Twenty-Four

OLS Reflections Vingt-Six

OLS Reflections Ventisette

OLS Reflections Veintinueve
OLS Reflections 30

OLS Reflections Einunddreißig

OLS Reflections  إثنان وثلاثون

OLS Reflections Thirty-Three

OLS Reflections Trentaquattro

OLS Reflections 37

OLS Reflections Trente-Neuf

OLS Reflections Forty  

OLS Reflections Einundvierzig

OLS Reflections — The Spiritual Edition 

OLS Reflections Cuarenta y Cuatro

OLS Reflections 45

OLS Reflections Quarantasette

OLS Reflections — The Unpublished Edition

OLS Reflections Forty-Nine

OLS Reflections 50 

OLS Reflections Cincuenta y Dos

OLS Reflections Cinquantaquattro

OLS Reflections पचपन
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Friday, 16 March 2018

OLS Reflections Fifty-Six — The Notoriously Fun Ones

  • As a kid I once fell into a well. The experience remained quite traumatic until I learned to let go of the hole thing.

  • My biological clock may be ticking, but I can’t hear it properly due to the singing cuckoo.

  • Do you know that worrying really works? 98.7 percent of the things I worry about never happen.

  • Next time someone asks what I do I’ll tell them I’m an existentialist-turned-transcendentalist psychonaut, and wait for that face. I’ll smile then sternly say that I’m really a junior financial planning analyst, and wait for that other face.

  • Did you know that the real purpose of the office neck ID holders is for when the boss decides to take those wearing them either for a ride or out for a walk?

  • Answering an anonymous letter pseudonymously is synonymous with it autonomously happening posthumously.

  • My expectations were so high they always left me loaded. That’s to put it bluntly.

  • Hymen should be called Hywomen. Or maybe hi, women.
  • Now that female pilots are a common thing, shouldn’t Cockpits be called something else? Like Cocktits.

  • March is my least favourite month because I don’t like to be told what to do.

Woof! Kool new mural by @muckrock on the Venice Beach Boardwalk.


OLS Reflections Dreiundfünfzig — The Playfully Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Cinquante-et-Un — The Corruptly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Treinta y Seis — The Wickedly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections — Facebook Edition

OLS Reflections — Facebook Edition Deux

OLS Reflections ثمانية وعشرون — The Tranquilisingly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections पच्चीस — The Soothingly Fun Ones
OLS Reflections Venti — The Quiescently Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Siebzehn — The Peacefully Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Quatorze — The Mitigatingly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Девять — The Pacifyingly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Seis — The Mollifyingly Fun Ones

OLS Reflections Tre — The Mildly Fun Ones
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Saturday, 10 March 2018

Words I Made Up — The Fourteenth

Following The Thirteenth, here are more newborns.

  • Investigator (n): Ancient reptile with a highly-developed sense of money.

    Some dim-witted people may choose to define it as: Ancient reptile who wears a vest. But that clearly doesn’t make any sense since gators do not wear clothes. Humans! 

  • Jewbilee (n): A notable anniversary of a certain Judaic event, especially one celebrating twenty-five or fifty years.

  • Cheekyta (n): An impudent little girl.

  • Dicktate (v): Give orders to one’s penis by speaking to it out loud.

  • Jewpeter (n): A large planet, possibly in an alternate universe, where all inhabitants are Jewish men named Peter.

  • Escaligator (n): Ancient reptile capable of using moving staircases.

  • Briberry (n): A small roundish juicy fruit you offer someone as a gift to persuade them to act in your favour.

  • Adolf Hit-her (n): A megalomaniac dictator who’s also a woman beater.

  • Skateholder (n): A person with an interest or concern in roller skating, ice skating, and/or skateboarding, especially as a business.

  • Cockytail (n): An alcoholic beverage that renders its drinker conceited and arrogant.


Words I Made Up

Words I Made Up — The Sequel

Words I Made Up — The Threequel

Words I Made Up — The Fourquel

Words I Made Up — The Fifthquel

Words I Made Up — The Sixquel  

Words I Made Up — The Seventhquel

Words I Made Up — The Eightquel

Words I Made Up — The Ninthquel

Words I Made Up — The Tenthquel

Words I Made Up — The Eleventhquel

Words I Made Up — The Twelfthquel

Words I Made Up — The Thirteenth
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Thursday, 8 March 2018

Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, and Crystal Methamphetamine — A Psychonaut’s Review

Being the least category of substances to be drawn to, I wanted to better understand what amphetamines and methamphetamines — including crystal meth — do to the human psyche and body. Considering all the Adderall and Ritalin over-prescribed to kids and adults along the rampant use of meth in the streets, notably in the U.S and Europe, I was curious. First as a psychonaut. Second, as a way to learn. The following are the findings. As I often do, I made a story out of them rather than sounding like a news reportage, to make it more enjoyable for you and for myself. 

My own experience with uppers began when I came from Egypt to California to attend a few summer courses at UCLA. Being 19, I was still fresh and eager to experiment. Upon arrival to Los Angeles I only knew an ex who happened to be seeing this guy who was into “speed”. For five days I was smoking it through a glass pipe as I was instructed. Though sometimes I sniffed the white powder and I remember how it would always hurt my nose. In terms of route of administration and bio-availability, smoking is more potent than sniffing while weaker than injecting. 

As a stimulant, on speed I was up, alert, and focused while not looking much like I was on anything. Just ultra sober, one could say. There wasn’t a lot of eating, and something I notably remember enjoying was driving while blasting techno-electronic music — usually following the Pacific Ocean coast through Malibu. Then back to the dorms in Westwood by 5 or 6 am. Other symptoms were increased pulse and heart rate leading to increase in blood pressure, enlarged pupils, hyperactivity, talkativeness, some light-headedness, and of course, insomnia.

It was quite the experience for younger me. Though after having briefly tried ecstasy and cocaine already, “speed” seemed like it turned me into some kind of robot. There was no feeling of eternal love or empathy or any connectedness with nature or the universe as one gets with MDMA among other psychedelics; it didn’t even have the warmth of codeine, which was another reference point to my developing mind. It also rarely made me feel like wanting to dance to the music I was listening to — even though I was enjoying the listening.

By the end of those five or six days I had already lost about 10 pounds. This was when I came to agree with the common reputation: Speed is a cheap high. In my mind then I bundled it with something like crack as it was registered as not an enjoyable recreational fun. The conclusion reached was that I need more than just some added energy, to put it simply. 

On that same upper note, before that trip I had already heard from former students how they used OTC caffeine pills called NoDoze to stay awake and study before the exams. I might have tried them once or twice, to study. But that was that.

Also in L.A I came across a few girls who were looking for speed. It was when I first began noticing how this class of drugs is preferred by females who enjoy the added energy along the appetite-suppressant quality. I equally learned it’s commonly used by students, truck drivers, and high-intensity workers. In Egypt, truck drivers did opium for the same stimulating effect.

Need for Speed

Throughout the following years in late 90s Egypt, I came to try speed several times with friends. Some would bring a bit from London or the U.S, and we would usually do it when there was nothing else to hit. It was like the cheaper coke.

For me as well as for many of my generation, THE party drug was ecstasy, commonly known as X, E,  Ex, Eve; later in north America MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) specifically came to be known as Molly. Apparently, the meth scene then followed through, coming to the limelight in the late 90s.

Around the same days I remember once a girl in our group telling us about a medication called Tenuate Dospan (Diethylpropion), generically known as Amfepramone. Those were weight loss pills commonly used by middle age women as an appetite suppressant. “When you take enough, it will make you feel like cleaning the house at 3 am while listening to music”. Before the Internet, words of mouth and semi-blind trust were all we had.

In the UK, T.D were dubbed ‘Chalkies’ or ‘Tombstones’. In Egypt, the drug was almost unknown to anyone except some housewives and mothers along very few experienced druggies. 

Other related worldwide brand names are Anorex, Linea, Nobesine, Prefamone, Regenon, Tepanil.

As I came to find out — bless the Internet — Tenuate is a stimulant drug of the phenethylamine, amphetamine, and cathinone classes. To feel its speedy effects you needed at least five pills. The couple of times we did them we took six or eight. While we did go out clubbing and dancing one of those nights, there was, again, no empathetic sensations or warmth. Just energy and that feeling that everything is alright, which is not a bad sensation. But I was still looking for more enriching experiences. 

This led to taking ecstasy four days in a row with the same group of friends during one trip to the Red Sea... before realising that it’s not how it’s properly done. 

After 20 years I was able to locate them online and finally know what they were/are

I think this was when I began developing psychonautical tendency, compared to purely recreational use of psychoactive substances. A psychonaut is literally a “sailor of the soul/spirit/mind”; from the Greek ψυχή (psychē “soul/spirit/mind”) and ναύτης (naútēs “sailor/navigator”). The difference is that there is a certain desire to learn and grow from these experiences. When a psychonaut goes through enough with a certain tool, they tend to outgrow it. You learn whatever is there to be learned and move on to different tools with which you explore your psyche in order to gain newer insights.

The gained perspective is either for spiritual purposes or for the exploration of the human condition or both. A
psychonaut is also he or she who refers to a methodology for describing and explaining the subjective effects of altered states of consciousness, including those induced by meditation, sensory deprivation, or archaic and modern use of mind-altering substances — particularly entheogens (Hallucinogens).

Another thing with uppers specifically and myself personally is that I naturally always had the extra energy and ability to focus, which many people seem to chase when doing this class of drugs. Such heightened awareness made me speak fast, walk fast, and think fast. In fact, when I talk about something I’m passionate about or when telling a story, some people whisper in my ear “are you on blow? Do you have some?” True story.

That said, the following 13-14 years were spent away from purely speedy stuff — experimenting with all the other classes and substances, like psychedelics, barbiturates, even some cocaine and ecstasy on occasions. After a few years, the main drug of choice became opiates along weed and hash — probably to slow myself down. This toxic lifestyle eventually ended with a seven-year heroin addiction.

Afterwards, I left it all behind and headed to Canada which became the ultimate detox. A couple of years later there I had to chance to try Adderall once or twice. A friend of this girl was prescribed some and she gave us a few. This was the first pharmaceutical speed to try after Tenuate Dospan many years before — at least in a pill form. And again, I was just up and energised. I already had an idea so I was drinking wine and smoking up. I also took a pill or two, which didn’t really take me to any special place. 

After a few years in Canada my journey led me to Los Angeles. I had completely recovered by then and was in my best shape in aeons, psychologically as well as physically. Due to significantly more interaction here, I came to notice how amphetamines and meth/crystal meth are spread around, between seemingly regular people and street folks alike. Since I have no intention in “speeding” things up — because they are already pretty fast — I never sought to try it again.

The first time I saw someone lucidly highlight the similarities between both these drugs was in a video of Carl Hart, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at Columbia University. The interesting is that the man is a former user himself.

In his book, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society, Hart exposes “Why are meth and crack cocaine believed to be such horrifyingly devastating drugs, while cocaine and Adderall are often seen as recreational drugs of high society.” This caught my attention because it was what I first believed. It became the main motivator to educate myself more on the subject rather than believing the mainstream hype.

You can watch a video interview with the man at the end of this exposé. You can also check his TedMed Talk titled: Let’s quit abusing drug users.

Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) is an amphetamine prescribed to treat ADHD and binge-eating disorder

I then came across a notable story through a pretty young woman I met. At one point, she confessed that her father is a meth head and that he was the first to shoot her with it. Yep. She got hooked for a while but then cleaned up. 

She further shared that her ex-husband is also meth head; and that one day her three-year old daughter came back from a visit to her father with a needle in her foot. Aouch! 

Another story is of a woman in her late 40s who was coming to L.A for a vacation. Last time we met was one wild night more than ten years prior, so reuniting was quite the experience. Before arriving, she asked me to look for a doctor who can prescribe XYZ, a certain appetite suppressant amphetamine. This was when I was once again reminded by how some women just love to be chemically up there.

But perhaps when mentioning the word “Meth” today, the show Breaking Bad is what first comes to the minds of many. Funnily enough, I never watched it, despite a few friends telling me I have to. I had already stopped watching TV by the time the show became a hit, but I could have always downloaded it. Honestly, I was at a time my life when I regaining my health after years of leading a toxic lifestyle and wasn’t that excited to get into a show about a class of drug I don’t even fancy. So I never did. As a result, I lacked the basics about this drug.

As such, with all these stories and epidemic I reckoned that I have never actually tried meth. Looking at before and after Faces of Meth photos was enough to deter me from the whole idea — despite finding out later on that it is more of a media stereotype and that many meth heads do not look like those photos at all. These methed up faces are not a direct side effect of the drug, but it is due to the harsh lifestyle itself some users often lead when neglecting proper diet and hygiene. I already knew the same about heroin addiction, though apparently it is the same hype to scare people from meth.

Nevertheless, I have already gone through seven years of addiction and was able to beat it. So obviously getting into something which seems even more dangerous than heroin was not even an option. That’s all in addition to the fact that uppers are not really my kind of high. 

Then again, trying it once at this age wouldn’t be the end of the world. For the sake of research and for knowing. Or so this experimentalist psychonaut thought. So basically, it was mere curiosity lacking the enthusiasm. This led to never trying to find or score any meth. Eventually I thought it’s a convenient time to do my research in order to better learn about both amphetamines and methamphetamines: Their history. What they really are. What they do. And what are the differences and similarities between them. So I started digging.
Amphetamine first marketed in 1933 as a decongestant in the United States by Smith, Kline & French

As the names suggest, there is a clear similarity between amphetamine, methamphetamine, and crystal methamphetamine. While these stimulant drugs are closely related as they share the same chemical base along some qualities and characteristics, the process they undergo significantly alters how they effect us. 

Amphetamine was first developed in 1887 in Germany. The more potent and easier to synthesise methamphetamine followed in Japan in 1919. In World War II, both drugs were used extensively by the Allied and Axis forces for their performance-enhancing effects and were administered to soldiers to help them stay alert and awake. Japanese Kamikaze pilots were also known to be given high doses of methamphetamine before their suicide missions; millions of Japanese defense workers and civilians used them as well. Following WW II, combat forces around the world kept using stimulants for the added stamina and physical motivation. 

Not just the forces, but historical figures like Hitler and later John F. Kennedy also took speed. The latter was under the supervision of German physician Max Jacobson “Dr. Feelgood” who provided JFK with amphetamines along mood-modulating steroids (for his Addison’s disease) as well as meperidine (Demerol), methadone (Dolophine), and methylphenidate (Ritalin). 

Like opium, morphine, heroin and cocaine before the 1920s, amphetamines were also sold over-the-counter
before being discontinued due to high potential for abuse and dependence

The Benzedrine decongestant was the first ever pharmaceutical containing amphetamine — with an equal parts mixture of levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It was then followed by Benzedrine sulfate pills which were introduced three years later. The pills, colloquially known as Bennies, were marketed as a kind of cure-all medication and dispensed for a variety of conditions; from narcolepsy, obesity, low blood pressure, low libido, chronic pain to colic and migraines.

At the time, speed became such a big hit, it was used recreationally and was repeatedly referenced in culture through literature and music.

The Beat Generation’s writers and poets were big fans, mainly of Benzedrine. Jack Kerouac is one of those who particularly enjoyed getting zonked on it. Apart from Kerouac’s novel On the Road, references were also found in William S. Burroughs’s Junky, Allen Ginsberg’s memoir poem Howl, and in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

Other examples are Ian Fleming’s James Bond who used the Benzedrine inhaler at times of peak stress. Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets — with “Bennie” being an allusion to Benzedrine while “Jets” an allusion to speed. Also in “Wet Sand” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, and R.E.M’s “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?.

Due to amphetamine becoming a controlled substance, Benzedrine was replaced by propylhexedrine, marketed under the name Benzedrex and Obesin (in Europe) among others. As a methamphetamine analogue, Benzedrex is known as a nasal decongestant, appetite suppressant, and psychostimulant medication. 

When the patent of Benzedrine was about to lapse around 1949, GlaxoSmithKline company introduced Dexedrine as its successor. Dexedrine is a dextroamphetamine which was initially used to treat depression. In high enough doses the drug increases the production of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, both of which cause the same fight or flight response in the user.

At start, Dexedrine didnt achieve the same levels of popularity as Benzedrine. When users, however, began reporting its weight loss properties, it became an overnight success. By 1955 SKF was making sales of $12 million per year.

Amusingly, with all the Z and X I’m reminded by something I have written a while ago:

Xgeva, Xanax, Xtandi, Xalkori, Effexor, Dexedrine, Benzedrex, Desoxyn, Zaltrap, Zyprexa, Zykadia, Zelboraf, Zyrtec, Zytiga, Zestril, Zocor, Zantac, Zoloft, Zyban, Otezla, Benzedrine. Pharmaceutical companies choose to add the letters ‘X’ and ‘Z’ to the names of their meds so that we find them compleX and believe they know what they’re talking about. 

Now three more names are added to my little joke.

In 1971, the last non-prescription inhaler was removed from the U.S. market following the passage of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

While Dexedrine is still available today, its use became quite limited. Now the common amphetamine medications are commercially known as Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. They all have medical uses and have been/still are prescribed by physicians for a variety of conditions. Being psychostimulants, these medications increase metabolism, therefore are included into weight loss aids. Amphetamines also have the ability to increase focus and heighten mental clarity, thus prescribed to those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), ADD, as well as for narcolepsy (sleep disorder).

As a matter of fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ADHD. diagnosis in children has increased to 11 percent in 2011 from 7.8 percent in 2003 — a staggering 41 percent increase. Also by 2011, 6.1 percent of young people were prescribed some stimulant or the other — a 28 percent increase since 2007.

But perhaps what was most disturbing is finding out that more than 10,000 toddlers at ages 2 and 3 were taking these drugs: That is, “far outside any established pediatric guidelines,” as professor of clinical psychiatry, Richard A. Friedman put it.

To get a tad more specific concerning the umbrella term ‘amphetamine’, Ritalin (Methylphenidate Hcl), like Concerta, is a dopamine reuptake inhibitor (RI); whereas Adderall (Dextroamphetamine-Amphetamine) is both a dopamine releasing agent and a reuptake inhibitor.

The difference is that Adderall increases dopamine signalling more than Ritalin does; and generally speaking, it is considered stronger and more stimulating. It also has a longer half-life and may feels smoother to many. While Adderall is considered more addictive, Ritalin has more adverse side effects, particularly during long-term use.

Understandably, people with different brain chemistry and wiring react differently to different drugs. But common positive effects of stimulants are elevated mood, decreased hostility, improved mental function. For those who actually need it, and not just seeking a recreational high, it slows down that “constant chatter of noise in their minds, the nervousness, the worry, the panic,” as worded by a user. For ADHD, prescribed amphetamines appear to improve brain development and nerve growth.

 It keeps them focused and on task.

As mentioned, amphetamines do enhance performance and increase stamina and motivation. Not just cognitive performance, especially at low or moderate doses, but physical as well. Other than students, some athletes and soldiers use it for its psychological and athletic effects such as increased endurance and alertness, despite being illegal in many competitions.   

Nonetheless, some doctors consider attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to be sort of fictitious diseases. This includes Dr. Leon Eisenberg, the “inventor” or “father” of (ADD) and (ADHD) himself who uttered just that during his last interview with German weekly Der Spiegel seven months before his death. If you Google it, however, you will be swamped with all sorts of articles and heated debates from both sides of the spectrum.

On the other hand of amphetamines, we have Methamphetamine. From a pharmacological perspective, the substance has no known medical uses and is almost always used recreationally. The only exception is a form of methamphetamine hydrochloride manufactured and sold under the brand name Desoxyn — a central nervous system stimulant, used mostly to treat severe cases of ADHD, obesity, and narcolepsy which are non-responsive to other treatments.

Due to its potency, neurotoxicity, addictive nature, risk of withdrawals, and stigma associated with being almost like a younger brother of crystal meth, Desoxyn is rarely prescribed. In fact, not all countries allow dispensing its prescriptions — relying instead on other medications for ADHD. Where allowed, it is used as an ultimate last resort.

“Meth” sold in the streets is called Beannies, Chalk, Crank, Speed. The powder or pills can either be snorted, smoked, or injected.

DesoXYn is another drug name to be added to my joke.

The only pharmaceutical Methamphetamine

Then lastly, there is Crystal Meth — a crystallised form of methamphetamine. This is solely a street drug which is used recreationally and never prescribed. It is manufactured in clandestine labs and used illegally. It usually comes in the form of crystalline rocks which are either smoked or injected. Crystal meth is often referred to as ‘ice’, ‘crystal’, ‘crank’ and ‘glass’.

 Taking into account the regional and cultural differences, other street names include: Crissy, Tina, Shards, Go, Whizz, Dope. Also Blue devils, Chalk, CR, Fast, Mexican crack, Pink, Rock, Speckled birds.

Even though both meth and crystal meth are used for different purposes, they are fundamentally the same thing: The chemical n-methyl, 1- phenyl-propane, 2-amine is called methamphetamine or for short, meth. In its crystalline form, it becomes crystal meth. So chemically they are the same, but their structural makeup is different, varying in form and levels of purity. Though both drugs can be safely classified as “meth”.

One term related to meth is ‘tweaking’. For a meth head, it follows other stages beginning with the ‘rush’, then the ‘high’, and then more binging. Tweaking is the period when the body and psyche stop responding to the drug anymore, usually after bingeing and staying up for days at a time, with minimal to no food. Normally, it is followed by crashing — sleeping — which could take up to a few days for the body to recover from the binge.

Another related finding is that both amphetamine and methamphetamine are used recreationally as euphoriants and aphrodisiacs — with methamphetamine being the more common recreational drug due to precursor availability and relative ease to manufacture.

As a potent aphrodisiac, euphoriant, and stimulant, there exists an entire subculture known as Party-n-Play based on mixing meth with sex. Generally speaking, it often describes gay men who meet through the Internet to engage in high-risk sexual activity. While PnP is the terminology associated with North America for the phenomenon, ‘chemsex’ is the term used for such type of gay sex scene in Britain and the rest of Europe. Other drugs used in the same scene as sexual stimulators are Mephedrone, GHB, and GBL. 

When broken, the crystals turn into powder

Now after knowing what they essentially are and how almost identical they can appear, let us review the slight differences between amphetamines and methamphetamines.

Scientifically speaking, amphetamine is known as methylated phenylethylamine. When methylated twice instead of once, it becomes meth amphetamine. Despite their similar structure and being almost identical in nature, this small, double-process chemical step renders meth significantly faster acting, more potent, more addictive, and therefore has more potential for abuse than amphetamine. The high also lasts longer. 

Their legal status is another difference. Under the Controlled Substances Act, amphetamines are Schedule III drugs — those with known or accepted medical use — while meth is scheduled II. Funny enough, marijuana, LSD and mushrooms still remain Schedule I along with heroin.

Nevertheless, both drugs cause “euphoria” and a “well-being” sensation due to the increased release of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. This release of pleasure chemicals stimulates the brain’s reward centre, enticing the user to continue using. As tolerance develops one constantly craves increasing levels of the drug. Apparently the dopamine levels on meth are much higher than that on cocaine or heroin.

As with other dangerous drugs, after prolonged use the brain’s chemistry changes. With meth specifically, one of the changes is the blocking of dopamine released in the brain. Abuse or prolonged use can lead to exhibiting properties which are detrimental to one’s mental health and physical well-being.

All that said, both amphetamines and meth can easily lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms are experienced following constant habitual usage. But as we have seen, meth will get one there much faster. 

“Drugs Are Bad, Mkay

I hold that when we don’t force or obsess about things they just happen. So one day out of the blue as I was giving a local homeless acquaintance some clothes, he handed me a small baggie with some white powder in it — as a thank you. How adorable. 

This wasn’t our first interaction as I had been sharing food, change, and words with him for a while. I didn’t say much and when I went home I took it out of my pocket, wondering what it might be. Knowing that the guy does meth, I reckoned it must be it. 

The baggie stayed there in my drawer for about three days when one afternoon I thought “Why not”. I had no idea how potent or weak the powder is. But being only two small lines, I decided to check for myself. One was up. Followed by some burning sensation. When five or seven minutes later I was alright, I took the second. 

In about a couple of minutes I could tell it was a legit substance. Some energy with slight euphoria coupled with that same ability to focus.

The day was spent normally, between reading and writing; but I was quite energised and kept going until 3 am. Watching porn was astonishingly enjoyable because one is highly focused and can last for hours. The thing is that you are not in it for the ejaculation, but all else before it. So it can turn into a sort of chemical Tantric sex. No wonder PnP is a thing.

When I finally got into bed I remained wide awake. No tripping or anything, just up. It was actually surprising to see how those two small lines would still keep me awake after 12 hours. But they did. Also no wonder writers using uppers can finish a book or a movie in a few days.

To get a perspective, the effects of a small line of cocaine — another stimulant but also a topical anesthetic — may last for 30 minutes. Those two small ones for a maximum of one hour. So one can only imagine the potency of that substance. Then again, while the high is close to that of coke, somehow you’re not quite as up there, clarity wise. 

About a few weeks later, a friend came to visit from out of town. He shared that he had been recently prescribed Adderall after going through a sort of drug-induced psychosis following a few rough life events. I could tell he was ‘high’ from his merry, talkative mood as I could also tell he went through a whole lot and needed to vent to someone who would dig.

He then offered to share some of his meds. Knowing that things just come across me whenever I don’t seek them, I agreed to play along. I was also pleasantly surprised of the timing as I was already mid-writing this piece and was looking for as much research and experience as possible.

The stimulant effects of the ‘high’ were actually enjoyable. Probably because I had another head with me and not alone as I often am, which made the interaction, talking, and listening a fun experience. Due to the relatively low dose — also about two lines — it was also conveniently short-lived. I was actually able to have dinner an hour later and sleep came naturally about two hours after that.
 Catch Wreck‘s ADHD project album cover by Jacob Leidolf

To finalise this lengthy exposé, which technically took almost three years to compile, there was only one thing missing. While Google may have almost all the answers, in order to reach a wholesome view, direct experience is something that will always add to the scriptures. With that in mind, I once again took to the streets to learn even more. My best, and perhaps also more convenient bet was to go back to the same man, which I did, despite taking me a few days to locate him.

Once there, equipped with all the newly acquired knowledge about the world of uppers as well as a pen and paper, I sat on the ground next to him and began asking some questions. There was another homeless guy who joined our interview. In fact, it was him who answered most questions as my guy was nodding and a bit out of it.

Are amphetamines like Adderall and Ritalin sold in the street in Los Angeles?

Meh. There are a few people who seek them and those who sell them, but Meth is dominating. 

Because Meth is stronger?

Yes it is.

Now when you say Meth, do you mean crystal meth or methamphetamine — because according to the findings they are two distinct substances despite being quite similar? 

They are pretty much the same but they come in different forms. Some are sold by locals, while others by gang members.

But the crystals can be stronger and more expensive?

Yes, ice’ is. There is this website called where everything you’ll need to know is there. So what did you do?

Cool. Well, in my days I did heroin for seven years among many other drugs, but speed was the type I never delved much into, so I’m trying to learn more for a piece I’m putting together.  

I’ve been on heroin for 14 years. Now I do both together.

*This actually surprised me due to him looking like he’s in his mid-late 20s.

You shoot them together or one after the other? Is the high close to speedball (heroin + cocaine)?

Together. Yes, its a whole different high and there is actually a whole subculture now into this mix. The upper and the downer together takes you places.

I bet they do. Thank you, guys. Stay safe and goodnight.

Looking at both their faces, I once again wondered if Faces of Meth is taken totally out of proportions. They both are clean and look pretty smooth. And those are meth heads living in the streets.

Stimulants and Empathogens

Since those Tenured Dospan when I was 20, I never took enough speed to be spun. I did experience with a whole lot of other consciousness enhancers. But those recent small speedy doses were enough to remember why I personally do not really fancy being sped up. Let alone having those uppers as a drug of choice.

The subjective conclusion is that it once again seems to this psychonaut that the primary use of amphetamine and methamphetamine is to enhance performance. Whether for work or study — or to go to war or compete. They are like vitamins, or reinforcers if you will. Not much recreational. 

Recreationally, if I wanted a psychoactive substance to, say, dance, I would still choose MDMA. If to go up, then blow it would be as it is of purer quality than speed. If I wanted to trip it will be psychedelics. Even Ketamin wins in my head. But, if I were seeking energy and a certain mental clarity, then stimulants it will be. This, of course, remains a matter of opinion.

Conversely, that is not to say the extra energy, the stamina, motivation, stimulation, mental clarity, attention to details exhibited through ingesting stimulants do not make a difference. Because they do. I would actually be lying if I said my writing haven’t been occasionally enhanced by some upper or another. Then again, after those past two decades I can confidently state they are still not the preferred kind of high. I’m happy to have experienced their effects throughout my life, even if briefly and with low-to-moderate doses, without actually seeking or getting hooked on them.

Another gained insight is that the dirtier, more potent street meth felt like heroin compared to the pharmaceutical amphetamine which felt like opioid medications such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. Due to whatever they are mixed with, if you ask any real junkie they would tell you that in general the high of street drugs happens to be stronger, sometimes even more enjoyable than pharma-grade substances.

So as we have seen, like almost all powerful drugs, neither methamphetamine nor amphetamine are really safe for use. But amphetamines are included in some prescription medications, hence they can be safe, especially when used as prescribed and under supervision or direct medical attention. Then again, just a hundred years ago cocaine and heroin were considered safe and legally sold.

On the other hand, it is common knowledge that, like opioids, stimulant medications in general are being over-prescribed, to adults and to children. The latter are being diagnosed, labeled, and medicated at an alarming higher-than-ever rate. Perhaps a portion of them are just kids being themselves — daydreaming, losing focus and attention at times, getting bored in class, occasionally exhibiting impulsive behaviour. Perhaps they are not all mentally diseased needing chemical aids like speed and meth. 

Health is wealth, you see. Without sounding preachy, to be dependent on a substance or the other means losing a part of freedom. So stay clean if you can. If you choose to do drugs or to get on certain medication, or give it to someone including a child or adolescent, educate yourself first before taking the decision. With the amount of disinformation currently spread throughout the Internet and mass media, along how the world of Big Pharma works, there is no other way than to be our own researchers. Knowledge is indeed power and it may save a life. Stay Awakened.


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