<tangent> This post was originally published in 2018. ::cue adventure::
This past week has been pretty random.
1) I ate a dinner cooked by none other than Patti LaBelle. Independently an AMAZING sentence to write, but to be served soul food from a soul singer while in an EXACT MOMENT I was doing some soul searching … that was awesome. (It’s turkey leg and lima beans … I’m not sure what else was it in, but it all ended up in my belly.)
FYI, I did not season this. I even felt guilty the next morning microwaving it, because microwaves have no soul & I won’t disrespect Patti.
2) I got to FAN GIRL THE FUCK OUT in front of Daniel from GET OUT!!!!
I was at a Patron party and even though he was attempting to be incognito, I recognized him immediately. I very quietly approached saying I loved you SO MUCH in “that movie” using actual air quotes because I didn’t want to say the movie in case other people heard and that would blow his cover. He then put his hands on my shoulders as he kissed me on the cheek.
I mirrored this exact expression.
Now onto the post … </tangent>
I liken my acid trips to a Goldilocks style experience.
The first time (which was accidental)? Too much.
The second time? Too little.
The third time? Just right.
::whispers:: Driver, there will be three stops tonight.
<PresentingStopOne>The first time I took any sort of psychedelic was accidental while attending an S&M club in 2012. I had just started exploring the “scene” and I was told by my friend that if I wanted the “true” experience of being tied up, I should “roll” while I do it. (Roll meaning take ecstasy.)
In my 20s I made it a “thing” to try a drug on each of my birthdays. It felt one part “rite of passage” and another part structured; I’m goal oriented and like to work “towards” things. I would first, pick out the drug I wanted to try, research all of the side effects, acknowledge that this was the year I was going to do it, and then find a suitable party to uh, party on with.
I took the first pill when we arrived at the club, and didn’t feel anything. Knowing from previous adventures in “rolling” I needed two to feel the effect, I asked my friend for the second pill.
Not sure when it was finally going to kick in, I downed some water and OJ before I was called over to the domme for my session. His name is Phoenix, and while I shockingly also found him attractive I questioned his ability and or my willingness to be tied down.
Barely able to keep a straight face, I tried to listen as he went over the “rules.” I do genuinely enjoy being in a sub role, I’ve just had limited experience in the space. I’m smart (debatable), and I’m an asshole; I can’t be a sub if I think for whatever reason I might be smarter than you. (It’s called “topping” in the scene.)
I have a wide range in terms of how I determine intelligence. There needs to be an equal balance of IQ and EQ – which is very rare, which is why I mostly choose to stay single.
<tangent> I actually had my date on Friday say that I have an “androgynous mind in terms of attraction” – and he’s absolutely right. I don’t see people for face value, which is why if you put all of the people I’ve dated in a room, none of it will make sense until they open their mouth. </tangent>
I made mental notes with each of his ties remembering back to my childhood all of the experiences I had as a kid tying and untying ropes to my boat at our lake house. My body felt a tingle as the rope was then tied around my chest. I could feel the compression which was (at the time) both terrifying and relaxing.
Due to barely listening to the rules, I missed the word that “began the scene” (although he did tell me to motion with my hand three times if I needed to get out- that I do remember).
Without thought my body was slammed down on the bench and as my chin hit the cold plate I began ROLLLLLLIIIIINNNNNNGGGGGG harder than I had ever experienced.
Spread eagle and now hog tied, Phoenix hit my hide until it was raw, pacing each pat to the beat of the song Kiss by Prince. (Note to nerds: make sure you wear cute underwear if you want a life experience like this.)
As I looked out at the crowd, to my surprise, the lyrics appeared in a pinkish/ purple neon color as if written out on an imaginary teleprompter. As someone who commits to something, I wasn’t willing to click my wrist three times to go home, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t fully freaked the fuck out.
I had experienced a lot of weird shit, but seeing something that my mind logically knows isn’t there was definitely new. Not only had ecstasy had never caused me to feel this way, but I immediately assumed I must be on some sort of psychedelic. I only knew that because when friends had done them previously they made this exact comment …
EVERYTHING WAS SO COLORFUL!!!
Barely able to speak, I was then released from the ropes still rolling … HARD. I only knew for sure one other person that had taken the same pills that I had, so I walked over to him looking down at my phone (for what I’m not sure). As I moved my screen, a rainbow appeared and each of the avatars began “moving.”
WOAH, I said to my friend, who didn’t need to say much to confirm that he was seeing everything that I was seeing.
After everything was said and done, it took a full 24 hours for the drugs to get out of my system.
Looking back, I technically speaking should have been mad at my friend for not telling me that I was going to also be doing acid that night, but now all I can do is smile. It was definitely the hardest I’ve ever “rolled” and while it was not fun having the contents of my stomach expel like the Exorcist, I can definitely chalk this life experience up to, yep, I did that, and lived to tell this story. </stopone>
<PresentingStopTwo> Last October, I was hanging out with a friend of mine from the building. (I live in a Melrose Place style atmosphere where everyone is ridiculously attractive and we do genuinely all get along and hang out.
My friend Sam said that he was heading down to our neighbor’s apartment to have happy hour before everyone went out for the night. He knows how much I love Halloween, so he suggested
showing up in costume.
Don’t threaten me with a good time, I thought going into my goodie bag emerging mask and all.
I attempted this year to go with an overall arcing theme for every party (I had about two weeks worth). At first, I was going to wear this one blazer and rock it in COMPLETELY different ways, but that ended up not working. Upon receiving an invite to a mandatory masquerade party, I flipped the traditional mask and bunnied it out.
This was the original costume …
This is what I showed up in, which was surprising that they actually opened their door (because I said nothing other than knock) …
The pre-party was poppin, and the girls looked FIEERRRCEEE as a super hot Thelma and Louise with their beaus dressed as both Brad Pitt’s character and a cop.
I was off helping in the kitchen with the food when the oven started smoking (they obviously had crumbs or food cooked on the bottom).
Here, I said, let me go cook this in my oven that way we can let the smoke go down.
You’re awesome, she said as I hiked it back to my place.
Walking back into their apartment, the hostess’ beau (aka Brad Pitt) asked if I wanted to do acid with them. Surprised, I took a moment to reflect on what I had wanted to do.
See, in Q4 last year, I decided I was ready to get married and have babies. Not that I still couldn’t drop acid being married and having kids (just not supervising them while on acid obviously), in general I wanted to make sure that my actions were aligning with my intention.
I then caught a glimpse of my rabbit ears in the mirror (forgetting I was even in the mask). “When in Rome,” said the rabbit choosing to go down the hole.
If I do this, I said to myself, I’m in it to win it. No Irish goodbyes (as is my MO I never say goodbye I just leave).
He then tore off what looked like a little piece of paper as he asked me how much I wanted to take. Since my girlfriend and I are about the same weight, I said …
Have you done this before, he asked?
Yes, I said but only once and it was accidental.
He paused for a moment in confusion as I explained that I took what I thought was E (and it was actually a candy flip).
I was then instructed to let it melt on my tongue, and the second it dissolved, I stopped drinking entirely. I had no idea how acid was going to effect me and like a good nerd, I wanted to isolate the variables.
I was then informed that we’d be heading to a house party, so we all piled in two ubers and headed some place not in the hills. (When I commit to something, I don’t really ask a lot of questions.) While I knew the group, I was in general in a quieter mood and wanted to truly experience what this life experience would be like. Friends kept telling me that I’d love acid, and at this point I had also tried shrooms, so if it was anything like that – I’d be super okay with life.
We pulled up to this big craftmans style home, and a very active party. I separated myself from the group choosing to do a lap before committing to a location.
I made into the backyard and as I went up the windy steps, I saw this sign …
As I took a turn to the right (there was no option to go left), I saw a group sitting and chatting. I knew I recognized two of the people at the party, but I couldn’t put my finger on whether they were famous or we were acquaintances at some point. Not saying anything, I just sat down as I started to feel the effects of acid.
I don’t know how to describe what it’s like to be on acid as anything other than feeling a “oneness” with yourself and your environment.
I experienced a euphoric calm and while I naturally don’t give a fuck, when I’m on acid, I apparently give every fuck possible … about absolutely everything.
“Bunny,” said one of the guys I thought I recognized, “what do you do?”
“I work in tech, and my life’s being turned into a TV show,” I said without a breath or thought.
“And just like that, ladies and gentlemen (he said to the group laughing), the quietest person at this party also happens to be the most interesting.”
I had no idea how long I was up there for (time feels different on acid), but sometime later, someone started bitching about Uber and LYFT. It wasn’t what they said, it was how they said it. The complaint was rooted in sheer entitlement, and this bothered my acid minded self.
Without an ounce of aggression, I presented a different side of (whatever mundane argument I had now acidmindedly … I mean absentmindedly involved myself in) by providing a history of both companies.
Uber and LYFT both back in the day, would give bloggers promo codes in exchange for promoting the service. Back in 2012, when I first started using them, I also didn’t have access to a car, but did promote them so much that John Zimmer (LYFTS CEO) invited me into the office for a visit. Their strongest numbers (at the time in terms of downloads for new users) was the day after the city of Los Angeles placed a ban on the service. The coverage of the ruling was turned into a full page article and a WHOLLEE LOTTA free press in the LA Times.
I then took a breath and realized the group had now doubled in size and I am speaking very passionately to an audience that I don’t know, nor do they obviously care.
I immediately toned it down 10 notches, and laughed saying to the group, “so, I’m on acid and I’m going to get some more water. Does anyone need anything?”
Slow your acid roll, Friel, slow your acid roll, I said walking down the steps.
I had no idea who the host was or who anybody was, so the last thing I wanted to do was be disrespectful to my neighbor who obviously (or at least I hope) knew someone.
Once inside the house I found a dog and immediately went back to my happy place.
A few minutes, hours, or whatever later, I wound up back in the kitchen getting some more water. As I went to go and find my friends I was met by one of the guys that was witness to the great debate (he was one of the gentlemen that I thought I knew).
What’s your show about? he asked.
It’s Talk Nerdy to Me. Bruckheimer and CBS had it initially but I’m repackaging it (which has since completed read more about that here).
I KNEW I KNEW YOU!! he said. I recognized that voice!
Jen Friel, I said shaking his hand.
I’m Pat, he said
<tangent> It’s Pat, I thought, hehehe.
I’ve heard about you, he continued!! This is so great!!
Let’s take a picture, I said.
I knew you looked familiar, I said. You’ve got to be in the nerd community.
I am. I have a radio show and I’ve been on Star Trek. (You can have a listen here.)
We then talked about Stan Lee, a handful of his favorite comics, and before we parted we swapped Facebook friends requests to keep in touch.
I really appreciate the read, I said as he went in for THE BEST BEAR HUG EVER – feet off the ground and all.
I then regrouped with everyone as they indicated that they wanted to head to an after hours party at a warehouse in downtown. Generally speaking, I make it a rule to never go to a second location with a hippie, but a strict “no Irish goodbye” policy in place meant that I had to see this rabbit hole through.
We arrived at the club two ubers and one missing party member later. The club was literally a warehouse somewhere WAYYYY past anywhere anyone would deem “safe.”
Thelma, Louise, Brad Pitt, cop, and one bunny later, we stood in a super creepy alley waiting for potentially an expansion to the group. Everyone else had done acid before, and because I didn’t know who was on what and what to actually take myself, I only took the single (very small) tab. I reached into my deck, and was ready to pull the common sense card reminding the group of our physical state …
… before I could, we were approached by a gentleman that was (sadly and obviously) homeless. He first asked for money and (as usual) none of us had any cash on us. Still on acid brain, I asked him how he was doing and if he needed any help.
CEO or janitor, I treat everyone the same. (Thanks mom and dad for engraining that into our brains as kids.)
He then started telling me that he’s a veteran and trying to get back on his feet. I listened and with genuine empathy wanted to let him know that he has options with the VA. I obviously wasn’t sure exactly what he was entitled to, but I was happy to google the number if he needed it.
Without responding, he quickly lifted his hands up while shouting …
Without reacting, I about faced on the heels of my converse and went back to the group.
“Who are you?” asked Louise.
“He’s fine, I’m fine. We just need to go inside – now.“
A handshake and an ID check later we fell deeper into the hole.
Brad Pitt then offered to buy me a drink (A SENTENCE I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO SAY), and without thought I agreed knowing however much acid is left in my system, it wasn’t enough to deal with this.
I’m not a fan of clubs …
Especially not after hour clubs …
Especially not after I was offered a threesome (outside the cuddle dome) …
Would I be considered a furry in that situation? I had no idea …
While all of these adventures were fun in my 20s, in my 30s they’re just repetitive patterns. I don’t like repeating things.
Staying true to my own word, I peaced upstairs to the boundary setting platform where I could watch everything (I’m naturally a voyeur), but still have my own space and subsequent sanity.
Now calm, I started my own one person dance party which eventually attracted the rest of the group who made their way upstairs.
Home, I thought. Friel wants to go home. Friel is also a stubborn asshole who sticks to her word. DAMN YOU ADULTING!
What’s next? I asked hoping we were all on the same page.
“Let’s go to Mel’s!” said Thelma.
We’re not on the same page I thought. Not even same chapter, not even the same book.
One agonizing hour later, we arrived at the Mel’s on Sunset. This was fortunately our last stop, and even through the pain, I couldn’t help but laugh at my own reflection which reminded me of Donnie Darko.
If only I were on more acid, I probably could have reenacted this moment.
We arrived home before sometime before sunrise and I still hadn’t arrived at a decision on my thoughts on acid. The candy flip was INTENSE, so much so that I still question ever owning plaid sheets again.
The rabbit hole was interesting, but I wasn’t sold on whether or not I liked it. I obviously didn’t take enough and also put myself in a situation that inherently knew I didn’t like – so I couldn’t blame the drug for that, that was all on me. </stoptwo>
<PresentingStopThree> Finally last month (before Super Bowl weekend), I got hit up by an old friend who asked if I wanted to join him in Joshua Tree for the weekend. (I had never been previously and never knew anything about it other than it was a place where my friends went and did drugs.)
The last minute invite had the ABSOLUTE BEST timing. I had just articulated that morning that I felt like I was living an IRL version of Groundhog’s day. I had been working so much that every day seemed to flow into one very long repeated beat. I knew I needed a break, and after the seriousness of the seizure I had last September, I wasn’t willing to risk any possibility of putting myself in harms way again.
“It’s a quirky little cabin,” said my friend continuing, “it’s nothing fancy.”
Already having been sold, I confirmed that I could bring Buster Brown (el dog-o) and asked for the address.
The next morning, I packed my bag happier than a pig in shit to get out of LA. Anytime I need a recharge I just go into the wilderness. Island, woods, lake, give me something with fresh air, the stars and I will come back an ENTIRELY different person.
I happened to arrive ahead of my friend (we took separate cars so Buster had enough space to stretch out), so I stopped off at the local Walmart to get whatever we would need for the night. He wasn’t sure what cooking supplies would be at the house, so I grabbed everything premade for some wonderful street tacos (with the intention of cooking them over a fire).
If you ever have the chance to people watch at the Walmart in Joshua Tree, I highly recommend it.
It’s a combination of “The People of Walmart” and “Unsolved Mysteries reenactment actors.” I’m not even sure what decade some of them were in, but I wanted more.
Items in hand, I arrived back at the house where I met up with my friend excited for whatever adventure was ahead.
See this, he said pointing at a statue. Jim Morrison brought this here from an artist in Venice Beach.
Really? I asked knowing that if he was saying this, it was the truth.
Yeah, he said, the owner of the home is an OG in the LA music scene. They were friends and brought it here one day. We call it “The Vortex.”
Hoping Buster wouldn’t walk over and pee on something called “The Vortex,” I quickly took him for a walk before we began the “festivities.”
We first popped a bottle of champagne as we caught up. Almost all of my friends now, I’ve known for 10 plus years, so even though our lifestyles mean that I might not see everyone as much as I’d like, when we do finally catch up – it’s like no time has passed. (I’ve known this particular friend for 12 years, and have always held a deep respect for him.)
I told him about a new opportunity I accepted, and he smiled.
“I thought you were so crazy when you started Talk Nerdy. Everyone did, but you’re doing it, and you always have.”
“I called it ‘bartering’ but it was just influencer marketing before there was a name for it. I also just got lucky with this new opportunity that I have my hand in both tech and Hollywood. This is my absolute dream job.”
We then cheersed as we continued to catch up. Here, he said sometime before sunset. Put this in your mouth and let it melt.
I felt like there was a “that’s what she said in there,” but instead, I just listened knowing that if I was going to go to NeverNeverLand with someone, this was the ONE person I know I could totally trust to know what he was doing.
The actual park happens to be in the homes backyard so after a quick hike, we had a pretty awesome view watching the sunset.
Normally, when I’m in a place like this, I get (again) that sense of “recharge,” but whatever it was that I was feeling sitting on that rock, it felt “alien.” Not in the literal sense of green men coming down, but I had never felt whatever it was that I was feeling. When I’m in historical places, I can sometimes feel what’s best described as “layers of paint.” I can very tangibly pick up on the fact that there were other lives that have lived here. This was that, but also like, a petri dish; I felt like I was in a lab of some kind.
I normally feel like a zookeeper, but here I felt like the animal.
Buster agreed on the whole “alien” feeling.
I didn’t say anything at first, because I couldn’t rule out if this meant the acid was starting to take effect.
Sometime after we got back to the house, we took the second tab. Much like in “stop two,” time becomes foreign and it’s replaced with this feeling of “universal oneness.” There was no TV at the cabin, just records from the 60s and 70s. I grabbed these two records and placed them on the chair.
Looking at Santana’s album, you’d think, oh! these people are obviously on some sort of psychedelic, but oh contraire mon non frère … it was the black and white album that was TOTALLY popping off the page.
See those waves? They moved so slowly back and forth, and when I looked at Santana’s album, I still saw nothing. Commercialism at its finest, I said laughing. The Santana album “looks like someone was on something” but clearly, the other album made so much more sense.
Since most of the albums they had were from artists that were on some kind of psychedelic, I suggested listening to some records. Go right ahead, he said as I picked out out one from the Beatles.
I want to listen to Lucy in the sky with Diamonds, while on LSD, I said.
So … that’s what we did.
He then asked about some of my thoughts of the property (which they are considering renovating).
This place is golden, I said, but to take it to another level, you need to make the outside come in. Add like solar panels, and make the main living area have a “picture car” feeling to it (similar to what you have on a train). You can even add in a skylight in the bathroom and even have the walls have like a furry like feeling to them. Anything that is mellow enough for someone who has had “too much” to not lose their stomach, but for those who are “on their way,” both the skylight and furry wall paper will enhance their trip.
The home is a one bedroom, and I commented that you should leave that room to be like the “sanctuary.” Incase someone again, has too much they can go and chill and not be so exposed to the elements in a literal sense.
<tangent> I grew up in a house built by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Our living room had a stone wall, with cave door, and over 98 windows. It was such a cool house but pain in the ass to heat in Connecticut. As a kid we would RUNNN from the bedroom wing to either the kitchen or the library/ family room. We lived with the outside in, which was great watching it snow (all bundled up).
Homes in Joshua Tree I feel like should have that same effect. Bring the outside in to maximize the space and enhance the experience. We all know what people go to Joshua Tree for … (or so I thought I knew). </tangent>
This being a much smaller property meant from a heating or cooling perspective, your costs would be lower, and while I’m not an expert on it, I do know that for solar paneled homes (at least at some point) you can/could get a tax credit.
We then went into the kitchen and I noticed the cupboards (which were real wood) actually felt “alive.” There was a movement to them that I didn’t see looking at the (some kind of) plastic kitchen counter.
“I’ve always hated florescent lights,” I said.
“Now you’re really going to hate florescent lights,” he said laughing.
“They’ve always felt ‘soulsucking’ to me, but now against something that so visibly feels alive makes sense with certain design decisions I’ve made over the years.”
“Oh yeah,” he said as we started to make dinner.
We (I think quickly) ate our street tacos as we grabbed some blankets and went back outside to examine the sky. While I didn’t exactly see diamonds, a few conversations later, I noticed that there was a light in the distance that looked like the light you see reflected through the eye of an animal.
(We had also previously heard coyotes howling.)
I’m going to put Buster inside, I said out of fear that if it was an animal, we’d not only have to get the eff out of dodge quickly, but I’d have to control a 70 lb dog that was trained to be in dog fighting. He’s a bolter, and I wasn’t about to end up putting him in any kind of danger.
My friend then went to turn the light on outside the house, thinking that animals might have ended up coming closer to the property due to the family not being home for the last couple of weeks.
As if dared by the porch light, the light in the distance appeared to only get closer. I kicked off the comforter pretty certain at this point that I was going to have to get Buster inside ASAP.
“It’s okay,” he said. “I don’t think that’s an animal.”
“Animal or person, there is something there and I’m not putting my dog in any sort of danger.” (I might be a butt head with certain life experiences, but el dogarino puts his blind trust in me. I don’t take that for granted.)
Before I could put Buster inside the light appeared to rise up almost as if it were a drone (it had been so close previously we could actually see it lightly reflected on the rocks – which is why I assumed it was an animal of some kind, strictly based on the height).
“Park rangers come around here to check on people,” he said.
“Park rangers aren’t that tall,” I said again noticing the light go even higher.
Having a company that owns fleets of drones, I knew what I knew about drones, and had definitely never seen light form in that way. The only other option was to accept what logically I already knew.
Here I was a few years earlier, on acid for the first time knowing what I was seeing was illogical.
Now, on this acid trip, I’m seeing something that I KNOW I am actually seeing with my own eyes, that I’ve been told over and over “does not actually exist.”
Oh no, they exist.
The light show continued throughout the night, and I wasn’t exactly scared but I wasn’t super pumped either.
“Of course the night you’re here they really show off. I’ve never seen this much activity.”
Whatever it was, I knew I wasn’t in immediate harm. Considering we were two solid miles off the grid on a dirt road, even if I wanted to leave I was shockingly safer where I was … (even if it might have meant exposure to a little green man).
I also trusted my friend, so again, if I was going to be in this situation – we might as well make the best of it.
“Is this a thing in Joshua Tree?” I asked totally naive.
“Did you not know that?”
“Absofuckinglutely not. It wouldn’t have changed me wanting to come here, but I just need a minute.”
We then went back inside and continued rocking out to the records.
Which btw are actually pretty annoying to keep changing. As someone who listens to songs endlessly on repeat it was a pain in the butt going up and resetting the record player.
I kept looking out over to the Jim Morrison statue and asking, “what crack was he actually smoking when he bought this? On acid, I don’t really get his flow.”
“I don’t think anyone knew what he was smoking.”
Sometime before the sun came up, we watched a super good documentary on Netflix (on his computer) called Unacknowledged. Highly recommended.
The next morning, we cleaned everything up as I timed leaving the desert to hit right when Super Bowl was starting (knowing the roads would be dead).
What did you think, he asked?
The acid is great. I totally get why people professionally microdose. I feel super creative and “grounded” for lack of a better term. The rest? I could have done without, but, at least I learned something new.
On the bright side, when I exhaust the expression, “I’ve dated everyone on this planet” at least I know I’ll still have options. </stopthree>