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Thursday, August 3, 2017

My addiction timeline.

Growing up, I became aware that there was a history of alcohol addiction on one side of the family.

My parents never drank, and I was under the impression it was to avoid triggering something.

I didn't drink until I was 21.

I partied like a normal person for a few years. I remember self assessing to see if I had an issue.  I didn't like getting sick, so I quickly learned to moderate, drink water, stop early etc. I am very lightweight and it took time to figure out how to manage that.

When I came out of party mode later, I was pretty impressed. No addiction. I didn't feel the need to drink. I never drank alone,  etc. 

I began to question all this "genetic predisposition" stuff and I was pretty smug for quite a while.

Then the social part of the internet geared up.

I don't remember myspace too much, but I did spend a lot of time on it. It wasn't really direct social interaction, so I doubt it was a real issue. It was more a creative outlet, I could decorate my wall, post music, look at boys. It was mostly self expression.

A guy took a shine to me and invited me into a group he and his girlfriend ran.

Now, I grew up in AOL chat rooms. I loved them, they were tons of fun. So I thought this would be similar.

Yeah, no.

This is where I first experienced people spewing false facts and untruths. People projecting, trolling and attacking. My autistic fact based brain could not handle it. I started getting into online arguments with people. Usually ending up with me blocking them when they wouldn't back down.

Then, something that never happened with AOL happened. Someone used my online profile to find me IRL.

It spooked the hell out of me. Suddenly this random loser that I just casually chatted with about video games showed up at my work thinking we were soulmates.

I tried to close my account but myspace wouldn't let me. I ended up posting a nude picture from the internet as my profile picture to get my account banned. It took over a week.

So after some time, facebook appears. I don't remember joining or the early days. What I do remember was posting constantly. Checking constantly. Obsessed. For years

My hand was so sore and my eyes so tired I was like a pigeon in an experiment. I got the the point that my right hand stopped working and I could only really see out of one eye. Still I sat there, click, click, click. A rag over my bad eye and using my left hand to work the mouse with the one finger that still worked.

When there wasn't enough new content I went out seeking it. I joined groups only to end up constantly arguing with anyone who posted something that was incorrect.

I'm not talking about opinions to be clear, but stuff like "my dog is female" when it has a penis. I'm exaggerating a little, but most stuff was easy to prove or disprove and I did not know how to cope with these types of people. If I'm shown to be wrong, I go "oh, my bad" and then I move on. Turns out that's not how most people work and I could not cope with that.

 Additionally, to their credit, most people do not have conversations that are just blunt exchange of factual information. Which is how I like to communicate mostly.

 I eventually realized I had a straight up addiction and a major problem. I would quit for days or weeks only to return and obsess more. I wasn't happy doing this, but I was so addicted to human interaction, so I kept coming back.  I wouldn't say I was lonely, any more than an obese person is hungry. I had plenty of interactions but my brain just couldn't get enough.

I eventually deleted facebook. It was a relief. I quit other social media at the time as well. I've had a few minor relapses on other sites, but I recognize it quickly and delete it. Instagram is the only site I've been able to use and not have an issue, but I don't like how much time I waste on it so I try to avoid it.

So, not so smug anymore. Wiser now, but certainly not smug

Good luck everyone.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thank you Mr. Mulder

 So for my first post of the New Year (yay! 7 years!) I thought I start with what I hope is a series of me writing down my thoughts about people who did simple things for me that had a large impact on me. Hopefully as a reminder to myself and others to be mindful of our interactions with others.

So I sat down last week and tried to remember what I actually LEARNED in school that I still use today.

I already knew that I had wasted a lot of my youth sitting in classrooms being taught stuff I had learned from watching PBS when I was 5, but I had never really thought about it deeply. Well, I finally have.

First off, I went to public school in Southern California during the 90s. I went to average to above average schools that were not over crowded or what we would call underfunded today. I Graduated HS just as the crowding and cuts were becoming a thing,

After some soul searching... I figured out that after about 6-7th grade I can't remember a single thing that was explicitly TAUGHT to us in class that I use today.

I'm not saying I didn't learn anything new after 7th grade. You pick up things just from exisiting. Tv, social interactions, falling down, etc. I still learned stuff.

 I'm saying that as far as curriculum, I didn't learn anything useful to me as an adult after about the age 11 from my teachers or school directly.

I'll preface this by saying I was in advanced math for my age, I was taking algebra courses at this stage.  Ironically, most of the math I do is making change in my head and figuring out tips. I was never taught how to count back change and just figured it out on my own. I learned percentages in 6th grade.

 It is borderline criminal that I basically I could have dropped out in 7th grade and not wasted the next 5 years getting picked on, drawing dragons in my notebook and reading fantasy novels.

Literally every memory I have of being in class in HS is me drawing dragons in my notebook and trying to look invisible. I'm not kidding. I would try to pay attention, become extremely bored and then check out. I was still acing tests. My grades didn't start slipping until things at home got bad coupled with me ditching school all the time because I was SO EFFING BORED.

So this is the last useful thing a teacher taught me and I loved him for it.

In 6th or 7th grade in math class we built this huge Icosahedron (think like a D&D dice but with more sides) out of PVC pipes and rope. My math teacher who was an amazing guy, taught us the difference between granny and square knots, so that the structure wouldn't fall apart when we were building it.

 I remember being struck with OMG THIS IS SO FUCKING USEFUL when he explained it....It was like a religious moment.. and thinking to myself  I WILL USE THIS FOREVER THANK YOU.  I remember being so happy, like euphoric. This alone tells me that perhaps I was already not getting a lot of new knowledge at this age but wasn't so bored that I remember it explicitly.

So I did remember it.

 I still use it.

A lot.

 Forever maybe.

Thank you.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Will work for inner peace.

"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."

-John Steinbeck 

I remember hearing this quote as a young adult, probably in my early twenties. 

I agreed with it. After all, this IS how I felt, and frankly, how we all felt. Young people just starting out, that things would get better, easier, etc. All that was needed was time and hard work.

Yeah, no.

As much as I hate to say I'm a "millenial", I am. I'm just as upset as my younger counterparts, just too worn down and pragmatic to complain anymore. The older I get, the more and more soul crushingly obvious it is that the 50's dream we were spoon fed through tv reruns, and our boomer relatives and teachers will not happen.

Whats tragic is through all the disapointments and setbacks, I STILL believe in my deepest being as I did at 16. That this is all temporary, and that the family, friends, and white picket fence will one day come if I just work harder.

I just wish I knew what was real, and actually attainable, and what is just pure romantic notion, so I could accept my fate and finally be content. To be content, is all I really want anyway.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Complete list of Dive Finds

 It always boggles my mind when I see people not only throw things away like this, but the sheer disbelief of outsiders, who view dive videos online and say they are staged or fake because theres just "NO WAY" people would discard XYZ. My experience is that people will discard ANYTHING and  you can have ANYTHING you want or need if you just are patient enough.

 When people move, they are panicky and thoughtless, they will throw things out and repurchase them rather than move them.  Also, rampant consumerism leaves people with excess items and apparently a complete ignorance of thrift stores or charity. Or perhaps people are too lazy to drop things off on their way somewhere to buy more stuff they don't need, I don't know which it is, but I find sacks of expensive clothing on a regular basis.

 I have actually had spooky moments were I think to myself, "gosh, I really could use XYZ, I'd hate to have to buy one, but I guess I will have to" only to find that item over the next two days. It happens to me all the time.  Its pretty amazing, just think how many items are being discarded for that to happen to me multiple times in a month. I pretty much don't buy a damn thing anymore, aside from food and gasoline. Theres no need to, as one of my frugal idols and genius Bert Langerwerf  used to say "everything is free." He was right.

Heres my complete list since Jan 2015 and I will add to it often. I only started collecting items I didn't actually need personally for resale/donation around April, when I learned we were having a neighborhood yard sale. Many of these items are being stored til next year to sell at the 2016 sale, since this years was a huge success for me. I sold items for 1 hour before work,  then had to pack it up. I didn't have much to sell but made $58. Not bad for an hour and free items, displayed on my free table, next year I hope to make more like $300. I also have been learning ebay and have sold every dive item I've listed, I started last month and have made aprox $100 so far on less than 6 listings.

  I did not include clothing, linens/towels, beauty or food items here because its just too much to list. Seriously.  Perhaps I'll make a separate list in the future. I did not include items that after the fact turned out to unusable or broken.

 I also have not included items I saw that were usable but I didn't need or couldn't sell quickly. For example furniture, computer printers and tvs are discarded in large numbers and I don't need any and my storage space is limited.

I have made notes as to how many of the item I have found. Keep in mind I rarely find multiples of an item at the same time, so if the item say, for example (3) that is three separate people on three separate days that made the choice to be wasteful.

Gift cards
Best buy$2.14
Starbucks $4.65
Starbucks $2.70
Target $5.40
Pacific Sunwear (pacsun) $7.53

Electronics/plug me in stuff
Panda clock
digital alarm clock
iphone/ipod clock/radio (sold)
Carpet shark vaccum (needs a $4 belt)
Standing fan
Selfie stick with batteries (sold)
Cassette boombox ( the vintage, silver kind)
Car lighter dustbuster (was very excited about this)
Black large toaster (makes 4 at a time)
Apple usb wall charger (sold)
Apple wall charger
Heavy duty extension cord
Heavy duty extension cord three way splitter
D batteries (new in package)
9v battery (new in package)
AA batteries(new in package)

Shoes/sport stuff
Adidas shoes (used for mud run)
reebok shoes (sold)
vans shoes (sold)
under armour (saving for new mud run)
Youth motorcycle helmet with googles
Purple backpack (like new)
Billabong womens wetsuit (NEW WITH TAGS)
Propane camping stove

Holiday stuff
 (6) wraping paper rolls
(2) bags of gift wrap bows
ornament hangers
Candy corn string lights
Pumpkin string lights
Reindeer welcome mat (new with tags)

Cat carrier (new) (sold)
Dog carrier med (new with tags still on door) (for sale as I type this)
Cat bed (new)
Dog bed (fine after a wash)
Dog leash (unused/new)
Dog poop bags in holder
Dog squeaky toy bear (new with tags)
New Cherry baby gate ( I use for the dog)

 (2 pair) gardening gloves (new with tags, packaging)
Mandevilla plant (tag on pot reads $20, half dead, recovered fine)
Aloe vera plant in pot
Metal plant stand with mosaic top
metal plant pot holder with wheels
Teak plant pot holder with wheels
Large birdbath
Folding cloth/metal chair for kids

Large ikea style dvd shelves
Cherry colored bookcase
Computer desk (like new)
Dvd shelves (tall for side of tv)
Computer/office chair (like new)
Photo/picture frames (too many to count, many new in package, wood etc, several w/ $35 price tags on them
Laundry hamper
Metal Hello Kitty trash can (tag from BB&B on back says $22)
Kitchen trash can
metal bathroom trash can
6ft white folding table
Shelf brackets (nice iron/ decorative ones)

 Art supplies
(2) large glitter containers (retails for $15 each)
Canvas still in plastic wrap with tags
Mechanical pencils, and refills
pens/ sharpies/ highlighters
(2) boxes of standard staples
post it pads
(5) rolls of scotch tape
Paint brushes (new)
Drawing paper books
Lined paper
Sewing glue
Elmers glue

roll of duct tape
Cell phone cases (one new, several in like new condition)
Tablet case (new in package)
Comic book (sealed in package)
Nintendo magnet
Huge box of vhs tapes
Large case of vintage cassettes
Ziplock bags (unopened box, completely new)
Electronic coin counter with batteries (sold)

Kids stuff
Hello kitty diary with pen (sealed in package) (sold)
Avengers playing cards (sealed in package) (sold)
Littlest pet shop figures (dogs)
Monster high doll (sold)
Disney store exclusive Minnie Mouse (sold)
Flats of kids stickers

Cleaning stuff
(2)Tubes of Comet (half full)
Rubbermaid mop (brand new)
Red broom
Hand broom
Bottle of kitchen degreaser (brand new)
Bottle of off brand soft scrub (brand new)
Aerosol febreeze (1/3 full)
(2)Spray febreeze (1/2 full)
Arm and hammer carpet spray (1/3 full)
Pet carpet spray, red bottle (completely new)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Huge clutch of Mexican Black Kingsnake eggs

This is my second year breeding Nigrita aka the Mexican Black Kingsnake. I wanted to show everyone this monster clutch, but first why I breed this species and my goals

Firstly, I love kingsnakes, but the amount of people who purchase kingsnakes and become dissatisfied with their personalities is very high. California kingsnakes are the worst in this respect, but all kingsnakes can be flighty, bitey and shit all over you.

I noticed early on that cornsnakes with horrible temperaments had bitey, crappy personality babies. Even when handling is accounted for. This is long documented in mammals as well, fear and arrousal (not the sexual kind) has a genetic component.

It is very easy to tease nature apart from nuture in reptiles because, by and large, they are raised identically, and its not like a dog that had a bad experience at the dog park and is now biting out of fear. Captive bred snakes, aside from perhaps a bad rodent bite (which can not happen to babies as the prey has no teeth at that age) do not get many, if any, opportunities to learn defensive behavior.

So three years ago I began aquiring adult black kings from the pet market for the would be colony. I also aquired one juvenile, aprox a year old.

Adult, aggressive pet snakes aren't common, as bitey animals rarely make it to maturity, several reasons but the most striking one is that aggressive animals have a very very high rehome rate.

Each rehome dramatically increases its chances of death as the animal is passed around to increasingly ignorant homes. Aggressive animals also tend to be rehomed for "free". Being given away vs a small fee being charged,  also increases the chances of an ignorant home. This has been proven true in rescue circles of all sorts of animals. From personal experience I know never to put an animal up for "free". It attracts people who just want it for free, not who actually want it.

Anyway! As a responsible breeder, its not only my job to screen homes and set up realistic expectations from the get go. Its also my job to provide healthy animals that eat properly.

I also believe in breeding animals with personality in mind and I do not breed any animals I deem to be overly shy, aggressive, or with over the top feeding responses.

So I assembled this colony with that in mind. All the adults are tame, and while they do look for food, know the difference between hands and mice. None of the adults musk, tail rattle or empty their bowels in fear.

Several did not make the cut. Nervous animals that did not calm down with gentle handling. Animals that continued to bite and bite and bite, even after being picked up in an obvious "you are NOT being fed" situation.  These were sold off to knowlegable people who understood what they were getting into.

I am very proud of the results. Aside from ONE anomalous rogue baby, they were all tame, easy to handle and NO returns and NO complaints after purchase (this never happens with other kingsnakes). There were 30+ babies in all.  If they get rehomed, it will likely have nothing to do with their behavior.

My holdbacks are growing up and will be reproductive NEXT season (2016) and hopefully I'll find suitable mates to outcross them to and continue to breed towards docility.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


A year ago yesterday. Chili and Escher hanging out

A photo posted by Crystal and Chili (@criosphynx) on

Chili has so few friends, but I think thats ok. Hes an introvert

A photo posted by Crystal and Chili (@criosphynx) on

mOaR Escher

much yay.