Tag Archives: America

MakeSandcastlesNotWar’s 2018 Reading Series List

Happy Wednesday folks!  Christmas may be over, but the holidays are still happening.  Lots of news has been slowing down lately.  Now’s the time here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar to reflect on some highlights of 2018.  There has been lots of amazing types of topics being reviewed this past year.

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Image result for Pile of books

To kick off this year in review trend, its time to start with a new series of posts – Reading Series.  During the summer/fall season, I read some incredible books during my free time.  Some featured a story full of mysteries while others taught some intriguing life lessons to carry on for the future.  Each novel I read sent me on a completely different adventure, reading through the minds of some of the most treasured authors in the world.

Here are the highlights from the 2018 Reading Series:

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

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Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is a timeless play about a group of people in New York City during the 1980s AIDS crisis.  It’s a complex and metaphorical examination about AIDS and homosexuality in America.  The play features characters (major and minor) who are ghosts or angels.

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This play was so famous that HBO created a miniseries back in 2003.  Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes features a story that best describes the portrayal of the AIDS crisis during the 80s.  Over 30 years later and the story was still amazing, yet heart-wrenching to read about.  Definitely a great pick for my first Reading Series.

The Haunting of Hill House

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Shirley Jackson’s 1959 gothic horror novel was creepy to read on a hot summer day.  The Haunting of Hill House featured many eerie twists and turns inside Hill House, a ghastly mansion located between many hills that was built by Hugh Crain.  Dr. John Montague, Eleanor, Theodora, and Luke enter the Hill House for the weekend.  What they find during their stay is just absolutely shocking.

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It depicts a unique kind of terror throughout the novel.  The Haunting of Hill House was even made into a Netflix series this October… and it was JUST as twisted to watch as well.  Even during the summer, The Haunting of Hill House was chilling to read.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

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Do not bother children when they are skateboarding, make friends with people who want the best for you – those were some skillful rules Jordan Peterson discussed in 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.  Peterson lays out 12 rules for living in this life of chaos, presenting metaphors and symbolism that is also guided with meaningful philosophy.  He utilizes various examples from media, ranging from the bible to Disney’s Pinocchio, as part of each rule he discusses in each chapter.  This kind of deep analysis mixed with familiar references is what made many points truly hit home in a variety of cases.

Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos was an intriguing guide that featured lots of lessons to learn.


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Our last novel takes us from the ‘antidote to chaos’ to the absolute craziness that is Larry Kramer’s Faggots.  Kramer’s popular, yet provocative title introduces us to Fred Lemish, a gay man in his late 30s who searches for his lifetime partner in New York’s liberal gay community during the 1970s.  Faggots introduces us to various characters within each page, showcasing their raucous outings in New York City.

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Interestingly enough, Faggots reads as a cross between a play and a porno.  You jump into a new scene of the story that usually features lots of sexual activities happening between the characters.  The novel turns into this Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas type of atmosphere where drugs run rampant among the NY gay paradise known as Fire Island.  Nevertheless, Faggots was quite a graphic novel to read.  It certainly captured my interested right from the first page.

So those were the four novels I got to check out this year.  With other books on my list, who knows what other novels will be featured in 2019.  In the meantime, its time to celebrate these marvelous novels that took me on many incredible adventures.


New Jersey’s Recreational Cannabis Plan

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Recreational cannabis has been making its way all across the United States.  From the Golden State of California to the Bay State of Massachusetts, recreational cannabis has become the talk of the town.  Many cities and towns have been drumming up their ordinances and procedures for rolling out this industry.  States like New York are even writing up bills to allow health insurances to cover medical cannabis.

As the recreational cannabis industry takes off, other non-legal states look to become more 4/20-friendly as well.  One such state that is doing that is New Jersey.

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Image result for New Jersey

This year, New Jersey may vote whether to legalize cannabis.  New Jersey is one of two states looking to vote for recreational cannabis in their state.  Illinois is the other state voting as well.

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New Jersey is nestled between Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and Connecticut.  Each of the three states already initiated their own medical cannabis programs.  Legalizing cannabis in New Jersey could send shock waves within the area.

Six years later and the legalization trail leads on.  More and more states look to legalize cannabis after seeing the widespread success happening around the nation.  Legal states have been profiting BILLIONS off of this industry, so it was only a matter of time for New Jersey to get in on the ‘Green Rush’ action.

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More and more dominoes are falling each month.  Colorado and Washington knocked over the first of many after legalizing in 2012.  Each domino only brings us one step closer our goal – recreational use nationwide.  Legal cannabis in the ENTIRE country, just like Canada or Uruguay.

Decades of dreaming later and our lifelong dream is finally coming to a reality.  Recreational cannabis is spreading all across America.  There is no slowing down nor is there any telling what surprises may come next.

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With that, here’s to hoping New Jersey takes the next steps in legalizing cannabis.  They may have brought us Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey, but legal cannabis should help spruce up their notorious reputation.

11/30 Cannabis Reflective Philosophy

Greetings, fellow readers!  So very much has happened within the past few weeks that has spilled onto this week.  As we move towards the final month of the year, it’s time to discuss it in the best way possible… reflective philosophy.

Medical Cannabis Week Philosophy

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Medical Cannabis has had quite a week here in America.  New York is pushing strategies to include medical cannabis as part of their health care coverage.  The University of British Columbia is initiating their first study of cannabis’s effect on the opioid epidemic.  But one of the biggest PR miracles that is still shining on is the opening of recreational dispensaries here in Massachusetts.

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In just one day alone, over $440,000 was made by the two dispensaries combined.  Think about the basic math in this scenario — $440,000, made within just one day of sales.  Almost half a million dollars of sales of cannabis products on just that ONE day.  Edibles, flowers, tinctures, concentrates, topicals.  Hash, wax, flower, shatter, the whole nine yards.  All types of cannabis products sold for almost half a million dollars on November 20th.

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You don’t need to compute some math or search the latest article to know that over a million dollars was made in LESS than a week.  All you need is that final result and your mind can clearly pinpoints the foreshadowing through that number.  Let the numbers speak for themselves.  Words will just get jumbled around the background of this beautiful ending for this long-awaited arrival.  It’s such a winning number that you can barely wrap your head around what has happened.

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That’s when you just know… that was it.  Recreational cannabis has its biggest PR miracle that is growing faster than ever.  Hard work and a little patience helped lift this new aspect of the cannabis culture off the ground.  Only ten days have gone by, yet the future becomes clearer than ever.

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Then there is the other outcome you have to wonder about – the medical cannabis industry.  This is when you have to ask those big questions filled with complex answers.  What does the future truly hold for the medical cannabis industry?  Could there be hidden strategies that could keep this industry trending further?  If there were ever still a trend, what would it possibly look like?  Is there still something medical cannabis provides that recreational doesn’t?

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As the years go on, those questions become harder to answer.  With the wind starting to blow towards the recreational market, competition among businesses will be very interesting.  Strategies will become more advanced.

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At this point, there is very little data to ponder about within the next few days.  The holidays are starting very soon, so we must take time to celebrate this last month.

If there were anything to remember for today, it’s this – 2019 is looking to be MORE and MORE eventful for the cannabis industry.  Especially around Massachusetts.

Canada’s Crafty Cannabis Study

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New York and Massachusetts have been peddling further into the cannabis industry these days.  Massachusetts is reeling in from the PR miracle of opening two dispensaries (which already made over $1,000,000 in less than a week!) and New York senators are passing a bill to have health care coverage for medical cannabis.  Both states are seeing the wide range of benefits cannabis has for their citizens.  Things in the east coast are really starting to pick up now over this past week.

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Along with all of this exciting buzz happening in America, its upstairs neighbor Canada has been celebrating its own miracles as well.  Cannabis is legal in Canada (as in, EVERYWHERE in Canada), various universities started allowing students to smoke on campus, and the very first 4/20 video game lounge opened up in British Columbia (more on that here).  Canadian citizens all across the nation have been reaping the benefits of being able to consume cannabis from both medical and recreational dispensaries.  In the land of Tim Horton’s and poutine, Canada’s cannabis community has become much greener this year.

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With all of these events happening, British Columbia has become much more of a 4/20 hot spot these days.  But its not just the students that have more freedom to use cannabis.  Cannabis is now being utilized for scientific research.

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University of British Columbia’s first Canopy Growth Professor of Cannabis Science Dr. M-J Milloy will be leading a scientific research on how to fight British Columbia’s opioid crises.  BC’s opioid crises was declared a public health emergency back in 2016, yet a record number of people are dying of overdoses.  This research looks to reduce the opioid epidemic all across the nation.

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Image result for BC City

The opioid epidemic was mentioned not to long ago during the discussion about New York’s plan for providing health care coverage on medical cannabis.  Canada is one of many countries seeking alternative solutions to fighting this health PR nightmare.  Opioid use has been on the rise every year, prompting many people to unorthodox ideas like cannabis.

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All throughout the decades, we heavily demonized cannabis for its supposed idea that it would get us hooked onto harder drugs like methamphetamine or heroin.  In an ironic twist of events, cannabis is acting as a secret substitute to detox our bodies from such illicit substances.

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On a simpler scale, the basic idea is to consume cannabis in order to minimize the damages from withdrawing heroin.  But in a scientific sense, cannabis acts as an EXIT drug where the cannabinoids flush out many toxins that are damaging our physical, mental, and emotional state.  Cannabis, the very same plant demonized for its urges towards harder drugs, is now becoming this healing plant that helps rejuvenate the human body of all poisonous chemicals.

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That is why you are seeing New York looking to pass bills to include medical cannabis as part of their health coverage and Canada creating the first study on cannabis in UBC.  All roads lead back to the growing opioid epidemic many nations are facing today; and that public health crises have been costing MILLIONS, especially for countries like Canada and the United States.

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And with that, cannabis will hold the key answer to our growing opioid epidemic nations are facing today.  What used to be demonized for getting users started on illicit drugs like heroin is now preventing such painful symptoms from occurring.  Many nations will continue to see cannabis as an alternative strategy over time.  Hopefully it won’t take another spike in opioid use to know that we have this gigantic health PR nightmare on our hands.


HIGH Score for High Score Lounge

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Things have been shaking up a bit around American lately, especially after the midterms elections were over.  The one shocker people are also still reeling in from is Jeff Sessions recent resignation.  Sessions is no longer the Attorney General and the position now goes to his former Chief of Staff Matthew Whitaker.  He claimed that, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana” and yet the cannabis community scored another win, with Michigan becoming the 10th state to legalize cannabis.  Michigan makes that now 1/20, or better yet, 4/20th of the United States where recreational cannabis is legal (Cannabis math pun, I went there!).

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Meanwhile our upstairs neighbor, Canada, has been too busy celebrating their victory of legalizing cannabis all across the country.  LEGALIZED CANNABIS… ALL. ACROSS. THE NATION.  The policy took effect back in October 17th and Canadians have already been taking advantage of this event nationwide.

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But it isn’t just recreational cannabis businesses that are already open – Canada’s recent political PR miracle opens the door for many specialty businesses.  Events such as Puff and Paint night or Cannabis Yoga have been springing up, but Canada has an even bigger surprise.  Located within Vancouver, British Columbia is a special gem that combines social cannabis consumption and retro video games.  Allow me to introduce… High Score Lounge.

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Image result for High Score Lounge Canada

Image result for High Score Lounge Canada

High Score Lounge features 80’s/90’s video game console games, arcade games, and even pinball games.  Choose from such consoles as the NES, Sega Genesis, Atari 5200, and the SNES; the console games feature over 200 titles to choose from.  If you get tired of gaming after a while, you can kick back to watch 80s movies and cartoons that stream all day.  Enjoy those nostalgic 80s titles with some retro candies and sodas to snack on.

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The best part about High Score Lounge?  It is COMPLETELY 4/20 friendly.  This arcade is combined with services such as a dab bar, cannabis vapor lounge, and even a dispensary.  You can even bring your own cannabis with you to the place as well.

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Seriously folks, it comes with its OWN DISPENSARY to purchase cannabis at.  You can get whatever cannabis products you need to get into your gaming groove.  Grab a good joint before hitting the pinball machine or take a quick dab before destroying your friends on Mario Kart!

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This is one of those marketing tactics that is simple, yet GENIUS.  You combine the social aspect of cannabis thrown in with some entertainment (console, arcade, and pinball games) to get one incredible establishment to check out.  It’s the 4/20 subculture mixing in with the gaming subculture (as well as the subcultures within that community!) in under one roof.  This is pretty much a gamer stoner’s wet dream here.

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Canada is certainly celebrating their recent victory with places like High Score Lounge in full operation.  High Score Lounge is a unique specialty business that will set high standards for Vancouver as well as Canada.  Retro barcades are the hottest thing around America now, but nothing yet has come close to something like High Score Lounge.

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At this point, High Score Lounge is one of many up-and-coming spots to look out for in the future.  This unique idea of combining recreational cannabis use with arcade games is definitely something that will reach America very shortly.  Who knows what 4/20-friendly city will claim their title as having the first barcade/cannabis lounge.  Will San Francisco reign supreme yet again?  Or will Boston come out and surprise us?

In the end, High Score Lounge shows how far we have come, with both the cannabis and gaming culture.  Both of these subcultures are now being pushed out into the public, attracting more demographics every year.