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The French public prosecutor has called for the church of scientology to shut down in France, accusing it of "mental manipulation". The church is on trial for attempted fraud and false advertising. Christine Forey, the state prosecutor has put in a request that there be a minimum fine of 300,000 Euro. The church harassed former members after they left, it is 3 such members that brought the case forward. It is the first such trial to be held under the new anti-cult legislation.

Forey said "This is about protecting potential victims", and that Scientology was "an essentially commercial enterprise". The church continued to send information to the former members, although they had requested to be removed from the mailing lists. The church maintains that this was due to a computer errror.

As one would expect, the church is outraged by this case and likens it to a witch hunt.

Zimbabwe fights US Sanctions.

Cartoon animator Chuck Jones has a heart failure and dies at age 89.

Source: BBC

This is the last Saturday I will be working at my housemate’s gamestore. Now that my consulting job has settled into a steady four days a week, the extra income from the gamestore is superfluous. Just as when I’ve left any retail job, it’s the discount that I’ll miss.

On my otherwise deserted walk over Adam’s Point this morning on the way to open the store, I saw a strange man. This older man, stringy grey hair hung limply around his rough face made pink by exertion, carried an armload of clothing against his large fallow body. His eyes were once blue but seemed empty of expression. He walks stiffly, taking steps not much longer than the length of his foot, and not bending his knees. Water, perhaps tears, trails down his hanging cheeks and shoulders. He is bare-chested, and must be wearing shorts if he is wearing anything. It does not seem like he notices me at all. He must be walking back from a morning swim, why else would someone be soaking wet on a cold morning? We are some four blocks away from Lake Merritt, but it would take a madman to swim in that tidal basin. Perhaps he is fleeing the scene of an illicit affair, however the mere thought of that body engaged in sex is repellent. If it was some sort of sprinkler malfunction that drenched him, why would he stagger around unclothed but carrying clothes?

As I step off the street and onto the sidewalk I must share with this odd man, I feel an unexpected gloom. Although the sun is out, it remains deeply chill in the shadow of the apartment building. I have an irrational sense of foreboding over merely walking by this man; I must walk within reach of those flabby arms, that pile of clothes taken from who knows how many people he has killed. The two of us close. And I tense myself to duck and weave and perhaps strike, if need be. We pass. I notice the drips left on the sidewalk in his wake. They seem to be transparent, like water, but also seem slightly thick.

I clear the shadows, stepping around the corner of the apartment building. Despite the apprehensions I had on the sidewalk, I realize that my heart is slowed. I stop to take a few full breaths, and I glance back. I cannot see the strange old man anywhere in the shadowed sidewalk. I look down at this sidewalk, but the weak sunlight must have evaporated any drops that would evidence his passage. What he was I do not know, but the encounter haunts me.

This was a big day. I had been at a birthday/cocktail party the night before, but wisely did not drink very much and left before midnight.

I woke up on Saturday morning before 8am, feeling fine. This was un unexpected bonus, and meant that I was able to get the bank as it opened at 8:30, and avoid the crowds. I was out of the bank before 9:00 am, so had time for another errand.

I had been looking for a way to smoke DMT, which is not smoked like marijuana or tobacco, but vaporised like crack cocaine. A wise noder in the catbox had suggested that I find a vase – the kind that is just a long thin glass tube with a curl at the bottom.

Digression: I obtained a dose of this substance a few months ago by bartering rare nexus. NOw I was finally going to try it. Now or never, I was running out of time.

I looked in a couple of shops (florists, gift shops) for a suitable vase. At about 9:10 I gave up on this, as I hadn’t found what I was looking for. I headed home, which is not far away.

At 9:30 the people came around to look at my house. This was their second visit, and they still seemed enthusiastic which is good. They’re cool, and I’d be glad to have them as tenants. It will be a weight off my mind when I get tenants. They’ll let the agent (and thereby me) know on Monday, so I’m holding thumbs.

After that, the obligatory visit to the supermarket.

I resorted to plan B for the DMT. A friend had heard of a method of smoking crack out of a lightbulb, and this seemed doable. It took me a few minutes, delicately wielding pliers and hammer to prise the metal cap off a lightbulb, and thus turn it into a glass bowl. A piece of PVC tubing served as the mouthpiece. Fortunately the tube was only marginally smaller than the neck of the bulb.

After 11am I had gathered CDs, swimming trunks and towel and other goodies. This was the afternoon party, and last time that I’d be seeing some of these people for quite a while. A farewell if you will.

It was at G—‘s pad overlooking the city. February is usually the hottest month and this one was no exception. In one of the gift shops I saw a fancy thermometer registering 26C at 9am.

I had been asked to play some music, on a general theme of absurdity. So I had riffled through my CDs and come up with some generally odd music in a set that crossed genre and decade boundaries regularly. I’m not a DJ by any means, but I had fun playing this stuff. And G--s equipment, 2 CDJS and a mixer, did help.

Here’s the set as it actually happened:
(Ambient)
Fields of the Nephilim: Harmonica man - An atmospheric and dramatic start
This Mortal Coil: Acid, Bitter and Sad
Dead Can Dance: Summoning of the muse
Laurie Anderson: O Superman
Dead Can Dance: Frontier
Dead Can Dance: Echolalia
(stories)
Pink Floyd: The Gnome
Coil: Boy in a Suitcase (a short piece, (boy in a suitcase, follows you from place to place) that seems to be a solution to the gay traveller’s needs in Coil’s characteristically twisted way)
Aphex Twin: Milkman
Pink Floyd: Bike
Tom Waits: Singapore
Aphex Twin: Little funny man
(rock)
Coil: Penetralia
Pink Floyd: Interstellar Overdrive
Tom Waits: Goin’ out west
New Model Army: Vagabonds(just the intro. It has been sampled recently in a trance track from Deedra and I thought I’d tweak people’s minds, and bang on into…)
Jesus and Mary Chain: Surfing USA
Tom Waits: 16 Shells from a 10-0-6 (In retrospect I would have replaced this with Chocolate Jesus)
(techno)
Fields of the Nephilim: Elizium(just the intro first track)
FSOL: We have explosive
Aphex Twin: Start as you mean to go on
Prodigy: No good
Coil: Teenage Lightning 1
Squarepusher: Trip to Reedham
Mahlathini & the Mahotella queens: Rastaman

After that I tried out the pool and Jacuzzi. And then the DMT.

My first experience was quite disappointing. I had help from C--, a friend who had tried this before. He played a lighter on the underside of the light bulb, while I sat ready to suck on the tube. Soon wisps of white smoke (actually just vapour, not burned smoke) came off. It tasted much as if a piece of plastic had been thrown onto a stovetop hotplate. Not gag-worthy, but not at all pleasant. I got down a lungful. Nothing.

We persisted, and I got an even stronger lungful. The table in front of me began to warp and stretch before I had even finished inhaling. I looked outside, and saw the trees outlined in stark contrast, greatly edged detail against the sky.

I began to feel very afraid, a feeling of vertigo. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be here, I didn’t know if I could take 20 minutes of this. Everything was moving away from me, receding.

I put down the bulb. The feeling subsided, leaving me feeling light-headed. It felt a bit like inhaling a stiff dose of Nitrous Oxide. And that was that. Nothing more.

We were sitting there holding a blackened light bulb, which had obviously just been used as a pipe, as in walked someone I had never seen, another one of G—‘s guests. The room must have smelled of burnt plastic.

There was still a substantial amount of orange-brown resin adhering to the inside of the bulb. After we had wiped it with a cloth, we had found that all the black stuff was soot on the outside, from the lighter.

I joined others on the lawn, and stared at the blades of grass, talked. I felt goofed, but it was nothing shattering, something to be mildly amused at, not MR McKenna’s “death by astonishment”.

After a while the idea began to grow that I might want to try again, but C—informed me that it was pointless to try again within an hour.

I took 15mg of nexus, as it was there, and couldn’t hurt the experience. I waited for that to take effect, which meant that I actually waited about 2 hours. The Nexus wasn’t causing hallucinations, but was making people and things look a bit odd.

C—was DJing now, so I did the pipe myself, as W-- watched. It was quite straightforward – hold the bulb in my left hand, a finger curled around the tube. With my right hand I played the lighter on the underside. The white smoke suddenly coiled up, and I got down two or three lungfuls before I had to stop. In retrospect that is what the helper is for, to make you take a last toke whilst you are being rather distracted by the comeup. It’s rather disconcerting to start hallucinating before you even finish inhaling.

I described it later as a spot on the table becoming larger and larger until it filled my field of vision, but that’s not entirely right.I noticed a small spot on the table, a part of the cork surface’s texture, that became intricately interesting, that grew in importance, replicated itself over my field of vision, pulsating and crawling with patterns, coming towards me and vibrating. This took over my visual field. Quite good. I'd recommend DMT on top of Nexus.

There was a ringing in my ears, like I have had with Nitrous, but lower in pitch, a richer sound. I wondered if anyone else could hear it, but was not able to ask. I became aware that I still had the bulb and lighter in my hands. I put them on the table. W— was still looking at me.

The body, bulb and table seemed to be a second layer of reality, behind the patterns. This is a disassociative effect. There were starbursts of beads. I lay down and closed my eyes. It seemed like people were waving flashlights around, looking for something.

Slowly the normal reality comes back into primary focus and the other layers recede. It was an intensely visual and interesting experience, but again not shattering.

About then is when two people I had never seen before walked in, more of G—‘s guests. The room must have smelled of burnt plastic.

Hallucinogens have characteristic colours. LSD has bright, saturated primary colours. Nexus has a whole palette of delicate vivid pastels, and DOB has different set of them, more like neon LEDs. It’s hard to put a colour to DMT – it’s like the ripples in the air, or reflective metal surfaces, detail rather than colour. Maybe you need more experience to discern the character.

Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll make sure that I’m using a glass pipe designed for the task, and able to suck all of the smoke rapidly into my lungs. It’s a learned technique that’s needed to really get off on the stuff. My throat is still a bit raw, and my voice was off yesterday, but honestly I find dope harder oon the lungs, which is one of the reasons whey I don't smoke it.

It’s not a 20 minute trip, it’s more like a short spike of 1 minute, followed by 20 minutes tail-off, where you feel more stoned than tripped.

The rest of the party was OK.

I felt like people were ignoring me at times, but I wasn’t up for much conversation, neither were they, we’ve said it all before and I am leaving soon.

For a while I sat on the rooftop balcony, watching the city lights, thinking about how one constellation of orange lights looks much like another, but not really believing it.

Ever notice how you can do something, and then a decade later realise that it’s no longer something that you do but something that you are? I feel like that sometimes.

I left around 10pm, tired, and having picked up a bit of sunburn somehow in the afternoon.

This is a note that appeared in my homenode, to explain a recent, lengthy absence and a general malaise. Placed here retroactively, simply for the sake of posterity and safe-keeping...

   Everybody: "So, what have you been up to lately?"
              Me: "Oh, nothing..."

It's been over a month since I've noded a damned thing.  Oh, the timestamp
in "last seen" may be some more recent number, but it's mostly a lie.  
Sometimes, I wander in, run my hands through the nodes, listen to catbox 
conversations that I missed most of and have no real hope of following.  
It's like I've become that field mouse of Pound's, passing 
through life barely touching the grass.

A month ago my life went through a graceful meltdown, and February has had
the feeling of dust slowly settling.  The details are too innane and
complicated to make for much reading.  Suffice to say, I lost interest in
things.  And being without ambition, interest is the only thing that makes
my world turn.

I'm bored out of my mind. Sometimes I sit down to write; I hit the keys
for awhile, punch out words and string them together. I'm writing about
the Landsknecht, something that supposedly fascinated me, but anything
I put down reads like a term paper.

E2 is a place I've wanted to be a part of since before I even knew it existed. 
But as much as I love it here, noding is a poor substitute for living.
The trouble is that I feel like I'm out and drifting between things.
And the trouble with being in between is that sometimes both shores look
equally drab, and one star looks about like any other.

Though you may not care, I wanted to write you this note, E2.  Perhaps
no one will read it.  Our family can be a cold place sometimes when folks
fall out of the loop.

But I just wanted to let you know that I'll need some time now to get my
bearings, and that's why I'm not really around.  Maybe I'll be back before
you even knew I was gone...

                                    - RP
                                   02/23/02

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