Thursday, October 28, 2010

And Her Name Was Mari-Jane

As this election year comes slowly to a close, because there are 5 more days left until election day, I decided I would take the time to write about a political topic. Politics is a topic I have grown fond of after working at a local broadcast company.

Before I really get into the topic, I want to encourage you to vote this year. Early election goes until the 29th of October, and Election Day is Tuesday, November 2nd. GO VOTE. Take a friend to the polls with you. I was shocked when I recently heard a friend tell me she didn't know HOW to vote because no one has ever shown her. Take and show your friends how to vote if they need your help. I have also heard people say they don't really follow politics, so they never vote. I think that's too bad.

While in some elections, we vote, and then determining on who the majority votes for, they send a few people to vote on the majority's behalf. It's what we call the College Electoral. I personally think that this form of voting is out-dated and a bunch of crap, but I will save that topic for a couple more years when it relates.

There are a bunch of elections this year all over the country. You can't help but turn on the television or the radio without seeing or hearing some sort of political campaign. And, is it just me or do the ads get worse and worse every year. I watched an ad yesterday (online) that was running in our nation's capitol that showed pieces of a dead fetus. REALLY? No matter what the stance on abortion was, who in their right mind would think it okay to show this on television during evening programs where kids were watching? It's absurd. Were they smoking crack or something. The station airing it even posted a big disclaimer saying that they had to air it and could not make changes to the ad because of federal law. Looks like we might want to start looking at some of those federal laws. What do you think guys.

But look at that. That just leads me into my MAIN topic for this blog posting. Changing laws. I know, I bet for this blog you were really looking forward to some sort of rant about Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan or the Jonas Brothers. Ya, not really my cup of tea so, if you were, sorry. :)

Right now California has an act on it's ballot that legalize Marijuana. This has been getting a lot of attention across the nation. Some of you (who I will not mention names) have probably been following this like crazy, while some of who may have merely heard about it briefly. What ever you know about it, I hope that I can give you a little insight into the topic, as well as my opinion on the whole thing.

As many of you know, I went through a drug and alcohol addition facility back in 2002 and 2003 in San Diego, California. I had recently been discharged from the Navy on the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, which was just recently over-turned, another topic altogether. Upon leaving the military, I got in to crystal methamphetamine. Of course with that drug, people you start to associate with usually smoked Marijuana and drank alcohol, so of course I smoked and drank too. When entering a drug and alcohol facility, they want to know everything you have done, so of course you tell them.

There is this thing called a gateway drug. And this term is used a lot in recovery. One drug can lead to another which in turn, can open the door for another, and so on. In all the years I have been in classes and going to meeting and reading books, it has always been said that marijuana is just a gateway drug. A gateway drug. I really think it's an interesting term. I remember a kid in rehab that only smoked marijuana and I remember him getting upset because a group of people were telling him that if he didn't stay clean, he would move on to more dangerous drugs because marijuana is only a gateway drug. I was fairly new in recovery, but even at that point, it made me mad to see 4-5 people around this kid telling him these things. Just a quick history so you know why I was mad, his parents had found some pot in his room and sent him to rehab.

So this gateway drug thing. Look at me, I went from crystal methamphetamine and “gateway-ed” to pot. I can see what the gateway term means, but I think that people need to look at is in a slightly different way. It's not the drug that is the gateway, but the people. The drug itself did not make me want to go to another drug, and another drug. No, it was the people I was associating with and the environment and the peer pressure. That's the gateway in my opinion.

So with this new ACT in California, which is called the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010”, I think it's a great initiative set by the state. It is projected to save 1 Billion dollars in criminal costs each year, the states collectors estimate the bill would bring in 1.3 Billion a year in tax revenue, and would save countless hours on our police forces trying to control it.

I read an article earlier from the TIME website where Joel W. Hay, Professor of pharmaceutical economics at USC, says that marijuana is a “Dangerous drug” and that if you look at tobacco and alcohol and see the issues they have caused, he believes marijuana will only be more of a “toll” on society. I would have to respectfully disagree with the good professor.

A toll on society is what Mr. Hay calls it, but I would encourage him to actually look at the act proposed. Hay says that it will have negative outcomes for people at work. Well just like you can't drink alcohol while at the job in most places, the act would still make it wrong to do that with pot. The act goes on to say that you couldn't smoke in public, have it on school grounds, give it to minors and so on and so on. The tax revenue is to fund jobs, schools, health care, etc. So with the billions it would save in criminal costs, Billions it would bring in in taxes, not to mention the businesses and jobs that would be created from it, where is the so-called “toll on society” that this will bring?

Oh, I know. The drug dealers will be out of a good part of their business. People might stop taking the pills that these pharmaceutical companies are making because a natural remedy probably will work better. So who is this Joel W. Hay? He's a Professor of Pharmaceutical Economics at USC. No wonder he is against it.

watch this video


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lowering the Draw Bridges

I have mentioned in an earlier post that I believe that friends and family are of the most important things in a persons life. I mentioned that one of these reasons is because they hold you accountable to yourself.

I have spent years developing good and bad friends in my life. Some of those bridges I have burnt, some destroyed, but most I simply drew back the bridge to it's fortress, and guarded the castle with the highest of defenses. For some of these relationships, destroying or drawing the bridges built were necessary for the integrity of castle, usually not without damage.

Staying on the metaphor, I feel that my castle has become prosperous. The life of it, being healthy. In this, I have started to repair, lower and rebuild some of these bridges, in this time of peace.

One relationship I have started to rebuild, is that of my best-friend. Her and I have been friends for 5 years. She is definitely one of those people who make me want to be a better person, which is important for me. She has been there in my good and bad times however, for the past 11 months, we haven't talked. This was definitely a bridge I damaged on my own and one that I was sorry to have lost.

I have my bridges with my adoptive family (Blackmer and extended) that I made sure where drawn and barred. I separated myself from them with great distance. Pride, stubbornness and selfishness, mixed with feelings of resentment, hurt, and confusion plagued my castle and, if a castle could ever just up and move it's entire location, well that's exactly what I did.

I have slowly started to work on evaluating which bridges need to be repaired, lowered or even further destroyed. It has been a lot of work, work that I don't see being finished anytime soon, if ever. But one of the good things about this evaluation process, is that it is giving me a chance to process a lot of the things I never have. I am slowly, room by room of my castle, washing the walls of overgrown foliage, moss and mold.

This process, I am finding, is not all about just my castle either. Sometimes a bridge was not raised or destroyed in time, and this plaque I have been referring to, spread to other people's castles as well. So not only am I dealing with a lot, but it is allowing the other ends of these bridges, to start processing some things as well.

The great thing about life is that it's not all about the past. I am taking the time to build new bridges as well. I spent quite a bit of time talking to my sister-in-law this evening, (whom I have never met) telling each other about ourselves. I have missed out on so much of a lot of peoples lives in a decade of self discovery, that I can't help but be angry at myself, but then I remind myself, that it has all been a process to get me to where I am today. I am finding these days that it's ok to be angry about things, but not to stay in the anger, but find a solution to it. What am I going to do about it?

This is only a start to a bigger process. A bigger process because, even though sometimes I may want to repair or rebuild a bridge, it doesn't mean that the other side wants that alliance again. And this is a fact I have to face.

So reader, again, I have a challenge. I challenge you to take a look out some of your castle windows, and look at some of the bridges you have. Have you done some maintenance lately? Do you finally need to lower a draw bridge to let some air flow through? My challenge for you today is not necessarily and action challenge, but I implore you to do an internal process of your castle's state: are you in a time of peace or war?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Just take a pill.

A few weeks ago I was sick and decided I would look into some alternative medicines rather than taking some over-the-counter cold or flu medicines. With the help of some friends on, I created a list of some of the things they had mentioned and went on my quest to the local store on a hunt.

On the list of things I gather, at the top of my personal list, was Vit. D. I recently saw on a national morning show that taking 1000 i.u. of the vitamin would help promote stong bones, help with illness and fight the winter blues. I am highly allergic to the winter blues, so I made absolute sure I grabbed some.

Also on my list was a neti pot which, at first when Dawn mentioned it, I was close to responding to her that, "I don't do drugs!", then I decided I would google it first before I potentially put my foot in my mouth. Good thing, because it has nothing to do with drugs. So I grabbed one of those.

Milk thistle for cleaning and promoting a healthy liver and probiotics were among the other things that ended up in my cart. There were a few other recommendations that were made for a quick recovery of the stubborn illness I had however, with the budget I was on, I stayed with these few items.

So I started taking the pills on a very strict schedule. I found myself being a little OCD about it all too. I would take the bottles dietary supplements with me every where: to the BSU game, to work, to go to the store, etc. It was almost pathetic so, I had to check myself and relax a bit on the schedule.

I hate taking pills. I pretty much always have, but this phobia of-a-sort really kicked in when I went through some mental health counseling back in the early 2000's. I tried pills of all sorts of things that the doctor perscribed. I dealt with side-effects after side-effects and not really knowing if the pills were working. And the pressure to take them was nearly unbearable. The fact that I would sometimes forget to take them and everything else just became more frustrating. Worrying about whether or not I had taken my pills, or if I was going to break out in full body rashes, or if I would even remember what I had done that day, was more of an issue than I thought the pills were trying to help me with. So, I decided (with my doctor) to stop taking pills.

All of this has got me thinking about when did taking a pill become the remedy for everything? I am taking these supplements to maintain a better health but when did eating a well balanced diet escape the American way? Was it when it became acceptable for women to enter the work-force because of the war, and the 'perfect' stay at home wife because just a mere fantasy? Nowadays, everyone in a family works to help pay the bills and the norm is to eat at fast-food resturants, who could care less about what the calories they shovel into our faces are.

We are a country of fat people. Working more and more, spending less time with our familes. Everyone on a different schedule and too tired to be leaders in our homes, let alone our communities. I know, some of you might be saying to yourself, ""Why is Lane, of all people, complaining about too many calories?!" Well, what I am really complaining about is feeling like I don't have enough time to live the way I want to. A healthy, well balanced life.

So, I want to encourage you reader, to find one thing, of possibly many, in your life that you can try and improve, or better. We live in a crazy world these days. Family and friends should be one of the top things in our lives, because they are the ones that hold us accountable to ourselves. I am challenging myself to focusing on eating healthier with a higher count in calories and natural vitimins. I will challenge myself to feed my body the nutrients it needs, without taking any suppliments (if possible, I mean I need my Focus for my memory). And, I am challenging myself to rebuild connections with friends and family. Remember, you've got a friend in me.

I would just like to say that I am not a doctor and I am NOT saying medications are not necessary. You should ALWAYS consult a physician before taking or stopping any medication. I would also like to say that if you do not feel that your medications are working properly, to immediately let your doctor know.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Singing answering machines

So I have a lot of things going on in my life. Getting an apartment of my OWN for the first time at the end of the month, starting some classes for self-improvement, getting a new job and working a temporary job until I start my new one.

Things seem to be going well. I feel like life in general is finally going as God has intended it, with a little hard work and positive influences. So in this process, like I said I am working a temp job at a call center doing some political calls to Texas, Connecticut and New York. Every once in a while I will get a Radio campaign sent to me but being so close to elections, it's mainly political.

 I am simply amazed at how many people SING their answering machine messages. I mean we all at one point have wanted to be the next Rolling Stone band or the next Susan Boyle, but come on, really. Any average person would keep these episodes to the shower or the car or at the most a Karaoke Bar. I mean, don't these people have friends or family like my sister Jennifer to just lay it out there and say, "Hey... Ya, no!"

But then I started to realize that I, yes I, Chistopher Lane Blackmer, do not listen to people about whether or not they like my singing when I bust out into some Eminem, or Regina Spektor or even the occasional Disney song. (ok, who am I kidding, I sing mostly Disney!) And after a short thought process, I turned this rediculous judgement of these singing answering machines into a state of envy. These people really must love to sing and be happy enough to share it with anyone who thinks of dialing their number, even some 28 year-old who is calling from a call center from Idaho with some political speal they don't want to hear about anyway.

So I take this lesson, and challenge myself, and YOU reader, to let go a little and express yourself this week in a way you normally wouldn't show others. If that means you sing aloud to yourself at the mall or wearing a scarf (because it's that season) in a way you have seen others wear it but have never had the COURAGE to do it yourself, then do it! And if I start singing to you on your voicemail, well then ...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's a new start...

So this is the first time I have had a 'blog'. I mean really. We have all had our moments where posting 2-3 bullitins on was at one point considered blogging, but who were we we fooling.

I have to give credit where credit is due. I have always talked about having a blog to help me as a form of expression for writing, but as I sometimes do, I talk a big talk. So, I have to thank Sarah D. for re-starting her blog and inspiring me to actually get off my butt and do sometime about this. Thanks sis.

There are a lot of things to consider before creating a blog or, as I learned, you can feel a bit of pressure to come up with some things in the creation process: a URL, a title, colors, pictures, layout, etc. And those are just the basic! Don't get me started on CSS. I never made it that far in web design.

It took me about 20 minutes or so to get it all together the way I wanted. I decided to choose the title "The lane of life; and vice versa." because while some people walk a path or road or some other form of a pebble walkway, I believe my mother named me correctly, I walk a lane. And as I walk this lane of life, I hope that this blog will help you join me and keep you informed on the life of Lane.

No matter how you came about my blog, I am gld you did and I hope you return to stay tuned in. I will try to be entertaining and engaging for those of you who dare to even want to read it, but the only thing I can promise, is that I will be myself. There are only a few people in this world who I feel really know the true me, and I hope that in this way, I can allow more of you to see what my thinking process and feelings are.

Thank you all for being in my life and supporting me when I have a pimple on my face. : -)