Good news, everyone! I tried "brownies!"

I had half a brownie and took two hits from a "brownie." It was slow to hit me, but it was powerful when it did. For a while, I couldn't stop grinning. I'm already pretty bubbly naturally, but I became this smiley giggly cartoon character. Everything that was interesting at all became hilarious. That part was awesome and I wouldn't be opposed to trying it again.
However, coming down from it was pretty horrible. I know it's completely in my head, but I could feel it squishing around in my brain. If I smelled something powerful, I could feel the front of my brain expanding. If I heard a loud sound, I could feel the back of my head expanding. It made its way through my bloodstream and compelled my limbs to twitch. I knew in my head that I was gonna be okay regardless of how I felt right at that very moment, so I lay down and tried to comfort myself by thinking about how people eat brownies all the time and function acceptably and watching my friends play Super Mario World.
I stayed just a tad brownie-ful for almost the entirety of the next day. I could taste the brownie every time I burped. It put me in a good mood and made me a better singer and made me more expressive.
I'm not sure it'd be worth doing again. I'm trying to enter the big-kid workforce, and that might possibly come with "brownie" tests, and the brain-tingles were pretty scary and something I'd wanna avoid repeating. But the giggles and the munchies... those were simply magical.

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Good news, everyone! I tried weed!

I had half a brownie and took two hits from a pipe. It was slow to hit me, but it was powerful when it did.

For a while, I couldn't stop grinning. I'm already pretty bubbly naturally, but I became this smiley giggly cartoon character. Everything that was interesting at all became hilarious. That part was awesome and I wouldn't be opposed to trying it again.
However, coming down from it was pretty horrible. I know it's completely in my head, but I could feel it squishing around in my brain. If I smelled something powerful, I could feel the front of my brain expanding. If I heard a loud sound, I could feel the back of my head expanding. It made its way through my bloodstream and compelled my limbs to twitch. I knew in my head that I was gonna be okay regardless of how I felt right at that very moment, so I lay down and tried to comfort myself by thinking about how people smoke all the time and function acceptably and watching my friends play Super Mario World.
I stayed just a tad high for almost the entirety of the next day. I could taste the brownie every time I burped. It put me in a good mood and made me a better singer and made me more expressive.
I'm not sure it'd be worth doing again. I'm trying to enter the big-kid workforce, and that might possibly come with drug tests, and the brain-tingles were pretty scary and something I'd wanna avoid repeating. But the giggles and the munchies... those were simply magical.
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Goin' on a job hunt!

I'm taking a leave of absence from my current job to avoid getting fired for attendance. I wandered around and asked everyone if they were hiring. 
"When are you available?" 
"24 hours a day except when I'm in class." 
"What sort of experience do you have?" 
"Almost 3 years of customer service and I'm one of the fastest cashiers at my store. Oh, by the way, I make like $320 per week." 
"Seeya." 
I realized pretty quickly that I'd have to take a pretty sizable pay cut, so I started applying basically everywhere and not mentioning any sort of wage (or just saying "open" because at this point I can't really be picky. Some highlights: 
The front desk guy at Holiday Inn said they just had a massive hiring spree, so they're completely full. But then he leaned in and told me that he was about to put in his two weeks so I filled out an application anyway. 
I applied to be a janitor at another hotel. The application was in Spanish. I filled it out anyway because I'm a total badass.
I applied to Office Depot. It's a cheesy $7.75/hr job, but the application was 10 pages long. 
A guy at Wendy's told me that being a cashier isn't easy. I wanted to say "Bitch, I'm a cashier in a crazy busy grocery store full of rich old Jewish ladies, and MY job's easy. Yesterday I wrapped, labeled and stocked like 40 pounds of candy and trail mix and THAT job was easy too. Quit being a crybaby about your slow-ass cash register job where you occasionally have to put 3 hamburgers in a bag," but I held my tongue. I don't want to burn any bridges. 
And all the jobs around my dorm are $8/hr. 
Basically, hold on to your jobs if you can. Having to find a new one sucks.

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The whole "green" thing is sort of a scam

 You ever notice how "being green"  basically means using less water and paper and gas and electricity? It's actually a tactic for businesses to double-dip on increasing their profits: they make a concerted effort to use fewer resources that cost money, and then they get to dress it up as being environmentally-friendly to attract customers and occasionally increase prices. 
 
A local frozen yogurt shop has different sizes of disposable paper bowls, and then they have the "green bowl," which is a large, green, washable bowl that they encourage people to use because it's "good for the environment." The measurable monetary benefit to the store, beyond simply good feelings toward the company that can possibly contribute to a customer's choice to return, is twofold. First, they reduce the volume of paper bowls they have to buy. The green bowls, while they have a higher overhead cost, are much cheaper in the long run because they rarely have to be replaced. Also, they encourage people to buy more yogurt with their larger size. People have a tendency to want to fill whatever vessel they're putting their food in, which is part of the reason why dieters recommend using a smaller plate. Since they charge by the ounce, they get more money from their customers.
 
I work at a grocery store. Since paper and plastic bags are pretty expensive, the store started selling "green bags," which are reusable canvas bags. They cost a dollar, enough to offset about 60 plastic bags, and they keep customers from using plastic bags so the store doesn't have to buy as many.
 
My dad, one of the most conservative people in existence, switched over to a paperless office because seriously paper is fucking expensive as shit I mean god DAMN.
 
Slightly related: "organic" food isn't necessarily any better for you than non-organic food (what do you think is going to happen if you eat non-organic food? Are you gonna blow up? Chill, dawg) and if you don't have a gluten allergy, and you would know if you did,  you don't have to worry about eating gluten-free and in fact you probably shouldn't because it's unnecessarily expensive.

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My family's adopting and it's getting finalized in one hour :D

Dajia hao! IN about an hour, I meet my sister that my family is adopting. Right now, her name is Hui Yun, but her English name is going to be Mary Theresa and we're going to call her Mia. She's almost 3 years old, but she's tiny. It's to be expected that 3-year-old Asian girls are going to be pretty small, but she was only 17 pounds at the age of about 2 and a half. To give you an idea, that's about the average size of a baby a full year younger than her. She has a heart condition that basically amounts to a hole in her heart, but the prognosis is good. We've talked to several cardiologists in the US and in China and they've all said that she'll live well into her 60's and she might not even need surgery, but if she does it will be a one-time thing and fairly routine as far as heart surgery goes. We've been waiting for almost five years, and if mom and dad weren't open to a special-needs child we would've been waiting longer.
 
In China, there is a policy that states that government employees (which is basically everyone since the government runs a huge chunk of the industry) can only legally have one child. So many of the second children, and the girls, get put in crowded, understaffed, and underfunded orphanages. Mia's head is shaved to prevent lice, and her first meal of the day is sugar water. Even though she's almost three, she's still in diapers. Her caretakers are doing everything they can, and they know enough about her to put together a personality profile that includes things like "she likes to snuggle" and "she's a bit of a couch potato," but they have very little money to work with and they're spread very thin over many children.
 
All the waiting has given me ample time to worry. We look  different, sound different, and smell different. My dad, brother , and I are all about 5'11 and 170 punds, compared to her smaller-sized, female caretakers. How is she going to react to 17 hours of flying and a 13-hour time zone shift? Her days and nights will be almost perfectly reversed. That can't be easy for a baby to deal with. I'm the only person in my family who speaks any Chinese at all, and even then it's not much. Will our food make her sick? What if the 5-year-old gets jealous of her, or is too affectionate? I'd imagine that everything will iron itself out eventually, but it's gonna be hard before she's fully integrated into our society.
 
So yeah, I'm nervous, but it's basically the most exciting thing ever \^o^/

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I'm not a fan of touchy-feely coworkers.

Lately, I've started noticing that a couple of my coworkers are getting a little handsy with me. Do people not understand what a professional relationship should look like? I work at a grocery store primarily staffed by 18-to-20-year-olds, so it's to be expected that we'll be a little more informal with each other than if we were, say, high-powered attourneys in our late 50's. But all the touching has been getting creepy. Yes, I understand that you like me. I like you too. That does not mean you can go in for the shoulder-rub or chest pat or whatever the it is you're doing. Have we ever hung out on purpose? We've enjoyed each other's company lots of times in the same room, but I've never been in the same place as you by design. Interestingly, the coworkers I'm considering spending time with outside are the ones who are pretty much always stay at least 4 feet away. Hm.

By the way, what is it with non-standard handshakes? I can handle grip-and-pump-once, but anything beyond that is starting to get into manual makeout territory. I can forgive it if no one else is around, because it's about on the same level as those mystery erection that pop up just because of coarse fabric or fluctuating circulation or whatever, but in a crowded grocery store I don't want to send any of the wrong signals. "No, customer, my manager and I are not going to go home tonight and engage in sexual intercourse. He is just really bad at shaking hands."

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P3's characters killed my enjoyment of the game (Spoilers) (Long)

 They simply aren't realistic. I know, I know. Why should I expect realism in a game where the defining feature is shooting yourself in the head to cast Bufu on stuff? This isn't an issue of being willing to suspend my disbelief. This is a fantasy story, I'm willing to give it a lot of slack Everyone with "The Potential" is an interesting person with a big personality who goes to Gekkoukan? Okay, they said in the game that it's fate, and maybe that place gives off Tartarus-rays since, y'know, it's Tartarus. Some hulking behemoth hits an 11-year-old boy with an axe and the kid responds by saying "That wasn't good" and healing himself back up to full health? Sure, the game would be boring if you collapsed to the ground crying every single time you got hit. But the game would benefit from... I don't know. I guess everyone being completely different.
 
Let's look at our party:
 
The main character. He is reeling from the recent deaths of both his parents, yet he still integrates himself perfectly into his new school and makes lots of friends and acts as a leader and single-handedly keeps the world from ending.
 
Junpei. A goofball whose motivation for the longest time is just to play hero, yet the realities of "oh crap I could die" don't dissuade him. And are we supposed to know anything about his background? Or did he just materialize into existence during the opening cutscene?
 
Yukari. A girl with a dead dad and a slut mom who is the model of what parents want their kids to be. She is cute and smart and sweet and a good student and the most popular girl in school and an athlete despite receiving literally no parental direction since the age of six. At all. I get my genes from two smart, attractive, personable, athletic people who have lots of money, have a great marriage, and devote their lives to make sure we have all the skills we need to succeed and my accomplishments in life are vastly inferior to Yukari's.
 
Mitsuru. Her mom is dead and her dad is the head of a crime family, yet she still manages to be the valedictorian. And when her dad dies right in front of her while she is forced to hang there and watch, she picks up the pieces well enough to settle all their accounts by herself about eight hours later, which is not knowledge I'd expect a 17-year-old girl to have. And even if she were being prepped by her dad to take over, which isn't that unlikely since mob bosses get killed all the time, she's still a 17-year-old girl who watched her dad get shot to death.
 
Akihiko. He grew up in an orphanage and is still clearly distressed about the death of his sister, yet he worked his way up to being captain of the boxing team with no explanation of how he learned to channel his grief and frustration into something constructive.
 
Shinjiro. A criminal who the rest of the party loves so very much for some reason. I guess they're all interacting with him and building a friendship off-screen, because I have no idea what's going on. He almost never says anything at all for the entire game. Before you get him, it's "I don't want to go back there." When you get him, it's "... hey. I don't care." And then he goes balls-out with a speech from nowhere and kills himself to save Ken, which since it happened during the Dark Hour should've been easily remedied by Samarecarm, or even Diarahan since when you fight Jin and Takaya you get shot all the time.

To be fair, Ken, Aigis and Koromaru are a decent character, a robot, and a dog. No objections there. But the rest of the party is composed of prototypical high-risk kids. Avoiding homelessness and incarceration is an accomplishment for people with their background, yet they're all paragons of athleticism, scholarship, and social engineering, not to mention somehow conjuring up the maturity and inner strength to accept the responsibility of risking everything to save the world. It feels like the writers were banking on us forgetting how young 16- and 18-year-olds are. I'm 18 right now, and I couldn't do any of that. I spent all that time commanding a party of children. Children who should be receiving counseling so they can stop being broken shells of people, not making me look bad.
 
And the translation is horrible. I expect Mitsuru to speak differently from Shinjiro. But I guess they decided to translate the -masu form of Japanese verbs as "thou" and that everything harsh in Shinjiro's script should be a swear word. And it's really stilted and awkward to call Yukari, who is bubbliness and girliness personified, by her last name. Japanese honorifics, while great in Japanese for shedding light on how the party interacts, sound like weeaboo crap in English. Yes, they're Japanese high schoolers. But in my game, they're speaking English, which has rules that make you sound like a crazy person when you violate them.

Basically none of them can act, either. Have you ever heard a teenager who sounds like... well, any of them except Yukari? Way to kill my immersion from the start, guys. And even though half of them have to cry, none of them have the acting chops to pull it off. Hey, casting directors: if you are hiring people who have to cry, that means they're going to have to have the ability not to cheapen a scene where something emotional is going on. If they can't do it, or don't have the common sense to avoid the issue (like the actress who played Yukari), then don't hire them. At the risk of bringing up the same point over and over again, the scene where Mitsuru's dad was shot to death right in front of her went from sad to ridiculous the second Mitsuru opened up her flipper-baby tear ducts.

To make matters worse, the social link characters are pretty much universally great. I'd rather share a party with Mutatsu, Kenji, Yuko, Tanaka, Bebe, or Mamoru than pretty much any of those people. Or even the Social Link version of Mitsuru, because she's likeable and shows some vulnerability and humanity and we get to see her come down off her high horse. They're all real people with realistic problems. Akinari has to come to terms with death. Nozomi is a nervous overeater. Maiko's parents are getting divorced. Mitsuko and Bunkichi try to keep the school from destroying a memento of their dead son, but give the OK because it's what their son would've wanted. The authors can clearly write acceptable characters, so why didn't they use their talents on the main cast? You know, the ones who don't talk ten times and then shut up forever?

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"Oh, I'm taking Japanese"

That is probably the one sentence that makes me uncertain about someone. Oh really? Why Japanese? Why not, say, Spanish or German or Italian or French or SOMETHING that isn't spoken basically exclusively on an island with an exclusive, insular (it means island, ha ha) culture? There are very few classes outside your major that can ever help in the real world: government, the very first writing class, and a foreign language. Taking something dippy and stupid as a foreign language means losing an entire semester's worth of credit hours and money and study time for something that takes effort to make useful.
 
I'm not denying that there are valid reasons for taking Japanese, but rather that people who take Japanese for those reasons basically don't exist. Selecting a foreign language based on anime and video games rather than actual interaction with other people is really sad, especially when there are other, more useful classes that fulfill the same requirement.
 
You can go ahead and make your mistakes, but I'm gonna wonder what it means that you picked something worthless to study for two years of your life.

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Today I talked to a wheelchair extremist.

I was on the bus and talking to this lady. She mentioned that she was part of an advocacy group that has the goal of making sure businesses are accessible to people with handicaps. It's a good cause; there's no reason in this day and age that being in a wheelchair should keep you from riding the bus or going to the bank or getting some baller ice cream.  But their methods are..... damn.
 
Anyway,  they have these organizers whose job is to walk around and find public places that aren't accessible. They make a note of it and then start calling their members. The lady I was talking to said that she'll get a call at 10 AM that there's a restaurant in a city two hours away that has bathrooms that aren't accessible. So their caravan of "wheelchair warriors," as they call themselves, will go there at the drop of a hat and order iced tea. They'll go into the bathroom and say  "Oh hey, we can't use these. We're going to stay in these bathrooms until we can use them." So they go and martyr themselves in the bathroom.  Or they might get a call that a city has buses that aren't quite accessible enough for their leader's liking. Their response is to chain themselves to the front.
 
The lady I talked to has been arrested several times. She takes it as a badge of honor that the government has her photo and her fingerprints . Her organization is classified by the US government as a "nonviolent civil disobedience group" and is listed in a category she says is just one step below the Black Panthers.
 
That's nice, but have you ever heard of filing a complaint? "You are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which makes it much more difficult for me to become a regularly paying customer" sounds a lot less crazy than "Oh, I cannot pee here so I'm gonna PUT THIS STALL ON LOCKDOWN UNTIL YOU INSTALL SOME DAMN RAILS." But maybe that's just me.

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What is wrong with beggars here?

Here in the States, the homeless are dirty and stinky and creepy. What's wrong with them? They're clearly not crazy: they're extremely visible and there are folks all around who would be more than happy to take them to their little happy homes with fluffy walls. They're not violent: the police would be all over them in a heartbeat because they do a horrible job of portraying themselves in a sympathetic light and so they can't play the "you're not gonna lock up widdle old me" card because they lack any sort of cuteness. At all. The best I can come up with is that they're lazy.
 
Look at Mexico. In Nuevo Laredo, a town ten minutes south of the border, there is a big plot of land called "Las Colonias." It means "the neighborhoods", but the plot is a garbage dump. I don't mean it's run-down and falling apart. I mean that the city used to put all their trash there until a bunch of people who couldn't afford to live anywhere else because basically all the money in Mexico belongs to an elite ruling class that you can't get to be a part of ethically blazed a trail through the refuse. The Mexican government, in an act of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," gave the blank spots between the heaps of garbage street names. So this shanty town has thousands of people in little lean-tos with plywood walls and tarp roofs, and you know what? The homeless people in the US, should they decide to move there, would be dirtier and stinkier and creepier than every single one of them. 
 
Here, they have access to all sorts of  shelters and asylums. On the nights when they can get inside (granted, not every single night, but honestly their batting average can't possibly be that bad), they have access to a shave and a toothbrush and a shower. There's no excuse for being such strange weirdos, since they don't seem to be crazy since otherwise they would be taken to a crazy home long ago. If you're 80 and doing this, I have a hard time believing you lived 80 years acting like a helpless alien without someone saying "y'know, we should investigate and see if there's anything wrong with your psyche." That's obviously happened, and the conclusion was obviously "welp, this guy's just lazy and drunk."
 
What's even worse are the people who appear strong and normal and have tattoos and piercings. They're all college-aged; maybe they're students doing some avant-garde thing to whore for attention. If you have enough money to keep a nose ring on you and not sell it for the money (this half square centimeter under my nose is gonna be SO toasty), I don't see why I should give you anything. To make matters worse, they're all confrontational buttholes. So we have people who aren't even pretending to need money yet demanding it anyway.
 
That would not fly in Nuevo Laredo. Over there, the homeless (at the risk of offending my readers who live in the colonias in Nuevo Laredo and can read English and get internet access, if I can pick up your house then you are homeless) are all normal and nice. They manage to stay clean without running water and they're all perfectly well-adjusted. Maybe it's the sense of community there, or maybe it's that here it takes effort to be homeless while there it just takes not making much money. Maybe it's the fact that here people are too well taken care of for their own good. They know that if they want more money they can just beg harder and look sadder. But please don't think that all beggars everywhere are at all similar to the first world's degenerate crazies. Pretty much everywhere else, where substance abuse is uncommon and there aren't scads of rich people who want to get thoughtless karma by throwing money at bums who stand around with signs, they're decent and normal and just victims of bad circumstance.

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