I am a coffee fiend. I grew up with parents who had long since ditched their automatic coffee maker for the very sexy Chemex hourglass and the sounds of beans grinding in the morning cued the start of the day. Fresh coffee and fresh orange juice helped me get my day started and old habits die hard. Forgive me, I am a coffee snob.
Coffee is a sacred substance in many cultures and it’s amazing how industrialized it is in the US. Most of us need the caffeine more than the fruit of a coffee tree. Preground tins are a staple of American living and we all know the Folgers jingle by heart. Diner coffee is pretty much an institution onto itself. We’ve also seen gourmet chains dotting the streets offering sugary drinks and endless disposable cups. Meanwhile, coffee snobbery and fine cafes are popular in urban centers and hipsters have declared the barista a spiritual leader. Coffee, however you take yours, is a cornerstone of life here in the US. Here is one of my favorite methods of making fancy coffee for myself or friends at home.
Please note: I rarely use measuring cups when I’m cooking. Your mileage may vary for taste, preference, and ingredient availability.
(Spices can be finely pre-ground from the store or fresh and coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder)
Spice grinder/mortar and pestle
Coffee maker of choice
Despite the porn, I’m terribly naive about why our society has conniption fits when it comes to talking about sex and drugs. Both are very taboo and subject to numerous pieces of legislation and come with deep currents of conscious and unconscious stigma.
Trying to develop a career as a “professional” in either field is a tenuous path. Semantics mark the difference between the suit and coat crowd and the plebeians or worse yet the crackpots. Those who aspire to join the suit and coat crowd can be spotted at their industry’s events with marked civility to the crackpots by their subtle but very nearly ritualistic social performances best described by Roland Barthes and an avian behavior graduate student sharing drinks at happy hour.
In the drug world, the people talking about sex are regarded as the way to ruin the legitimacy of things. The ones who don’t get “the bigger picture.” In the sex world, those who talk about drugs can also ruin the legitimacy of things. Legality is a major issue. Drugs could blow the whole house down.
When you already have to speak in sotte voce about a very fundamental reality, the introduction of another pretty much leaves you to the fragments and the faintest lines of symbols creating galaxies of the inferred. This is the blend of religion, and of disease. The orbit is farther out with a much more tenuous grasp on gravity. The stakes are closer to death and not because of something inherent to them so much as their relationship to codified law that has a very class distinct application on the masses. Having “made it” is so often defined by the cocaine of an appealing ass. It’s not the Benz, it’s the room for a buzz that never ends and never has consequences.
Class is marked by the consequences you face for your own humanity.
Sexuality has been my trade but I keep my personal cards kept more keenly to myself. I do think ones pleasure practices are as sacred (for whatever that word means) as ones spiritual practices. I don’t think I really get a say over how any given individual choose to guide their perception of the world by chemical, religious, technological, biological, material, or what-have-you-tools so long as there aren’t material world consequences on other non-consenting people. You can’t just steal some shit. You can’t just instantly use someone as a tool of your experience. The fact that we imprison people for getting high is, in effect, a thought crime.
It’s gospel in the sex positive world: there’s no such thing as too much lube for anal sex.
Except for the fact that A) yes, actually, there is such a thing as too much lube and it results in very dangerous and slippery situations, especially if you’re wearing high heel shoes and trying to fuck someone bent over a sink in a bathroom somewhere in public and B) it’s easier to recite a slogan in place of evaluating what you want and this has its pros and cons and no single slogan can hold the entirety of experiences inside it.
From a public health standpoint it’s important to advocate for latex-safe lube and condoms as a means to reduce the risk of transmission of STI’s and it’s also important to remember that educators are on hand to provide the love buffet of options without creating a singular narrative for how sex should be enjoyed. There is no one-lube-fits-all and some people might actually be better learning how to evaluate what kinds of lubricants will fit their needs best rather than providing advertisement for Lube™.
Maybe it’s just a side effect of providing sex education since 2003 but foregoing lube for buttsex is one of my favorite modes of intercourse right now. The first time it was powerful and anxiety inducing. Had I finally broken some kind of slut wall? Was I now, after years of teaching and practicing this playful discipline experienced some new form of anal enlightenment? Was I at some new level of insatiability, forever destined to need more? What kind of a filthy, fucked up whore wants to get fucked in the ass without lube? How many cocks did it take to make me like that? How far had I chased the pleasure dragon to overcome what felt like canonical law?
Daisies in coffee bottles
Plastic has been a complex innovation that we’ve overused. It’s kind of a bad habit of opulence to burn through a supply of something without thinking. This is the story of industry. Plastics are handy because they’re lightweight, have the ability to be really resilient, and they have made a lot of things in computing, technology, and medicine possible because of their existence.
However, plastics can be super toxic and fail to break down. We put them into mass production and introduced a lot of reasons one might think they need something but only serve to become landfill fodder. Plastics are hard to recycle and most of the process winds up being just as bad, if not worse, than landfills. We didn’t ever really need plastic bags but we have them. We never really needed plastic bottles but we have them. We also send them around the globe because they lower shipping costs despite the fact that not every country has “waste management infrastructure” like we do. The landfill, wretched as it is, is the best case scenario for a lot of our plastic demand. It’s sure as hell better than in the bellies or around the necks of wildlife with its poison permanence pockmarking our natural landscapes.
I think it’s cool that the notions of reusing things is starting to catch on and as much of a pain in the ass as some might think it is, I do like bans on plastic bags in cities. (Pro Tip: If you constantly leave your grocery bags in the car of your city with a plastic bag ban remember that you can RELOAD your grocery cart and rebag at the car. Remember also that Costco Warehouses never issued plastic bags for their shopping and instead encouraged shoppers to reuse the leftover boxes from shipping to organize their goods.)
I don’t know if we’ll make change in behavior fast enough to reverse the damages to the planet but I do know that thinking about ways I can reduce my own waste output does help my overall awareness of what I consume. I do get hopeful as more places encourage reduction, reuse, and recycling. I hope that health codes continue to recognize the damages they’ve created by legally mandating use of disposable plastics despite their cost to personal and environmental health. I think it’s cool when coffee places drop the cost of their morning brew for people bringing in their own mugs. I think that’s awesome! I hope more places follow suit.
HOWEVER, all behavior change comes in waves and it isn’t always easy. I too feel frustrated and even shamed by clerks when I forget to bring a bag or I’ve already overstuffed my backpack. It feels like losing. It’s key to remember that, A) store clerks are trapped behind a register for 8 hours day after day and that makes them cranky , B) no one wants you to self-flagellate when you forget, and C) clerks are often in a bind when they have to remind people about anti-plastic bag legislation because people take their anger out on them and every time you have to ask is a chance for someone to flip out.
Once you DO start to get the hang of bringing your reusable hippie shit there are still more chores to remember. The biggest one of them all: clean your hippie shit.
Reuse those bags!
- Throw your canvas grocery bags in the wash or clean the vinyl/heavy plastic ones with a sponge and some soap and water. Yes, it’s true, you DO have an increased risk of foodborne illness if you keep reusing and reusing those grocery bags. How to solve this problem? Clean them. The elevated risk of foodborne illness as a reason NOT to institute bans is as ridiculous as suggesting that cutting boards , sponges, pyrex, or tupperware should be banned because reusing them without washing elevates risk of illness. Make it a point to throw basking soda in the washing machine water every now and again and clean out the things you use in your life that repeatedly come into contact with food. Also take care of your sponges, cutting boards, AND your reusable grocery bags. No one wins if you lug a gross bag with old food bits to the farmer’s market or the corner store. While some advocate bleach, I think baking soda and vinegar are two of the best cleaning agents around for routine cleaning. It will do wonders to brighten a fabric without causing any fading and it’s non-toxic even though it can kill bad stuff.
I love my Kanteen.
- Cleaning your water bottle means more than a quick wash because it’s “only” water. Remember that your water bottle is coming in contact with your filthy, filthy mouth and that water incubates a lot of germs. A quick rinse isn’t going to cut it. Make sure to wash the CAP of the bottle and the THREADS where it screws shut. Lots of stuff likes to hide here. As a note, this was something that got drilled into me while doing disaster recovery. We all had our water bottles and those who didn’t make it a practice to seriously clean their bottles on a regular basis often came down with Giardia. This included my husband who can attest to the unpleasantness of water borne parasites.ALSO: you can help get rid of the metallic taste in your bottle if you take it home and let it soak in water and vinegar overnight. If you’re noticing some stains in your bottle from a smoothie or coffee, try throwing in some rice and vinegar to help shake it clean if you don’t have a bottle brush handy.
It’s so much easier to help those good habits stick if they aren’t making you sick. Make sure clean up to prevent yourself from getting sick when you’re checking out more sustainable ways to go about your business.
A very happy hippie.
The beauty industry is a lot of bullshit and you should check up on who you’re letting fuck your pores.
I’m a big fan of science and there’s lot of science innovations that are totally awesome for health and happiness and I don’t want to dismiss anything outright but one thing that’s important to remember about the word “industry” is that it usually means that money flows up to the top of a hierarchy that is usually a lot of rich white dudes whose motivations are to make more money, not to help you on your path to happiness. What they shill might be helpful or beneficial but when push comes to shove, the dollar they can make means more than you.
People in sex world know that phthalates are really bad for your health. We’ve smelled out gassing jelly toys and some of us may have felt the hot burning poker effect of a cheap shitty toy that apparently just expired by becoming an agent of chemical toxicity rather than an instrument of pleasure.
Well, phthalates are also in a lot of cosmetics. This is because phthalates esters of phthalic acid that create a “plasticized” effect. They make the jelly toys bendy and soft, they make your foundation smooth. They allow for flexibility or transparency. Phthalates are actually in TONS of our products and in many ways I’m really glad that the sex toy activists started raising alarms about them in toys before the sex toy industry really grew to a monolith like the cosmetics industry. Sex toys were considered novelties with really limited runs and few retail outlets because they were pretty much illegal (and are still treated as tenuously legal in a handful of American states). When I think of tangible things achieved by sex positivity, it was really strong messaging about phthalates that I would say has been much more successful than similar campaigns in other industries.
You would still be considered a “hippie” if you started asking for phthalate free cosmetics but you would be considered an uninformed consumer if this wasn’t on your mind while strap-on dildo shopping and you would run into a chorus of voices to pass on the good word.