THE HOTEL HOOK UP: Insider Info for Out-Of-Towners

“I just tell folks to try the strip club, that always seems to get them to leave me alone.”

I reached out to a handful of folks in the hospitality industry (off the record, of course) about scoring a little vacation cheer. From five-star bellhops to the neighborhood Airbnb owner, the hospitality industry knows how to get it done. Here are a few tips I picked up from the pros.

People think the staff are their best buds after the bars close. The reality is that these folks are amused by you, but still on the clock. They don’t want to lose their job, but are happy to make a few bucks if your request is a victimless crime. Expect to pay a premium—and that goes on top of the tip you better leave for putting your new friend in a job-compromising position, even if he is doubling the price on you.

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WHERE THE EARTH BREATHES: Exploring Energy Vortices in the Western U.S.

Have you ever been hiking in the woods and felt a strange, prickly sensation between your shoulder blades? Or maybe you’ve been inexplicably drawn to a beautiful, secluded spot, only to find a quiet peacefulness that you’ve not encountered before. If you’ve experienced either of these phenomena, it’s possible you’ve stumbled upon an energy vortex. A vortex is any mass of whirling fluid or air, spinning around an invisible axis—like a whirlwind or a whirlpool, a tornado or a cyclone—and in energetic terms, it’s a spiraling mass of energy concentrated at a specific point on Earth. Some say it’s where the Earth breathes its energy in and out.

These energy vortices fall into different categories: magnetic and electrical vortices; positive and negative vortices; portals to other dimensions or higher areas of consciousness; sites of paranormal activity and points of contact with UFOs. Vortices are frequently found at intersections of ley lines, or supposed alignments of electromagnetic Earth energy that correspond with significant archaeological and anthropological sites. Many of the world’s great spiritual centers, such as the Egyptian pyramids, England’s Stonehenge and Peru’s Machu Picchu, are considered vortices. Some people believe vortices are the Earth’s chakra centers.

It’s hypothesized that these areas can help harmonize emotions, heighten introspection, enhance mystical abilities, assist in healing, and amplify our connection with the Earth’s energy. Like a whirlpool, a vortex will draw to its center all that surrounds it, a theory that explains the powerful pull these places have on the spiritual seekers drawn to their sites. People describe the energy they feel in these spots as noticeable vibrations, a tingling in the extremities; buzzing throughout the body, rising temperature, a rush of energy, or a shift in perception—a spiritual awakening.

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When you start a new project—whether that’s a platform, publication or business—it’s important to create and maintain a balance between a set mission statement and an openness or malleability. It’s a hard thing to attain, and the reason why many ventures fail. But for the founders of the Seattle-based Women.Weed.Wifi collective, this balance comes naturally—even telepathically.

From a back table in Cupcake Royal, located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the three core members of Women.Weed.Wifi—Amanya Maloba, Janice Ibarra and Vanity Thomas—sip on mugs of tea and pick at luxurious cupcakes while expressing the eclectic spiritual, creative and moral motivations behind their platform. Just because their ambitions are wide in scope doesn’t mean they don’t hold a singular cohesion.

“We have our own individual flows,” Thomas explains. “Collectively, though, we look at the platform not only for us to be able to do what we want, but for what others want to do, too.”

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CONVERSING WITH THE MOTHER VINE: Life, Death and the Living Universe

It was one of those intense, pivotal moments in life where you think to yourself, “What the hell am I doing? How did I get here?” There I was, sitting cross-legged in a traditional Shipibo ceremony house, called a maloca, in an isolated part of the Peruvian Amazon, minutes away from partaking in my first ayahuasca ceremony.

Psychedelics were no stranger to me, as I already had several LSD and psilocybin trips under my belt, but I found little peace from those previous dives into the unknown. I had done my research, read countless stories and articles about ayahuasca, the mysterious jungle brew, yet I was still quite terrified of the unknown that lay ahead.

Jose and Horatio were two Shipibo men from long lineages of shamans, or curanderos, who had a combined fifty years of experience working with the jungle medicine. Despite their small frames and Horatio’s advanced age, I could tell that these men were beings of a different caliber. They emanated an aura of gentle kindness and a wisdom that spoke far beyond their years. The shamans dutifully began the rituals of establishing a protective aura around our ceremony space, and blessed the dark bottle of ayahuasca which they had brought with them. Then, one by one, we were invited to come up to the table and partake.

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The Stihl 22-inch barred chainsaw ripped through the post the size of a thirty-year-old, second-growth Douglas Fir; roaring, its voracious appetite craving wood, spitting out chunks until I was slathered with bits of sawdust and oil. It felt like a host of giant mosquitoes had come for my blood. If the cops came, it would be my blood. The howl and whine of the machine reverberated through the valley. Howling, regurgitating maniacally. Question authority. I’d lived by that all my life. Now, I was really doing it, practicing what I’d preached. Not just talking. Doing. The chainsaw was my instrument of revenge. There was a full moon descending, her light pure white, reflecting off the blade, then into the wood.

My hands were shaking. Not out of fear so much. The chainsaw had me in its grip. The stinks of exhaust blowing in my face, hot and gassy. Sweat pouring down my brow. It was Fall, and the Artic had decided to come pay an early visit. I was overheated in the frigid air as the saw poured its guts into the wood. That saw had an insatiable hunger. Only thirty more posts and umpteen struts to cut through before the billboard came crashing down. It would be easier to burn, but all hell would have broken loose. The fire department, cops and bystanders, ravenous for excitement, would have been here before it burned completely down. The authorities would save the monstrosity, of course, fix her back up—give her a new paint job and a new life. Then, we’d be lucky to once again see the giant advertisements blotting out our views. This was, after all, America, the Land of the Brave and the Home of the Hucksters. It was two o’clock in the morning and we had to hurry and finish the job before the sun came up. I owed this exploit of insanity (and many others I would come to take part in) to one man I had come to revere.

Edward Abbey

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DOPE DINNER: The Barbary Coast of Cannabis Cuisine

I recently took a voyage through one of the most exquisite works of edible art I have ever seen.

Like any speakeasy in San Francisco worth going to, this one can be found in plain sight, if you know what you are looking for.

Once inside, you’ll discover The Naked Kitchen; guests mingle in the back patio anxiously awaiting to dine like a shiver of sharks.

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The fashion world is a chaotic land full of outlandish Instagram photos and Kanye West shows, but every once in a while something magical happens. A phenomenon unlike any other.

The fashion world (and yes the sports world) were blessed this past month with the RompHim.

What’s the RompHim, you ask? Well, that’s a great question. According to the Kickstarter page—which is currently hovering at just under $360,000—the RompHim is a romper designed for men. It’s described as “your new favorite summer outfit,” which almost certainly isn’t true.

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Just after inauguration, The National District Attorney’s Association (NDAA) created a policy group featuring 14 district attorneys who will issue advisements on possible law or policy changes regarding cannabis.

At their first meeting, the group reportedly wanted to draft a letter to all governors in states where medical and recreational cannabis are legal, instructing them to shut those businesses down within 90 days. Yikes.

That didn’t happen. But the fact that it was considered created a momentary burst of fear that rattled the industry and caught many off-guard. Who are these guys, and what kind of power do they wield?

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Thoughts of outer space often come to mind while smoking. There’s something cosmic about your mind being transported to a new plane of thought; the euphoric feelings, the stress of the day magically melting away. Is there a reason for this? Could cannabis and the universe be somehow linked in a deeper, more significant way?

*adjusts tin foil hat* Let’s begin, shall we?

Brands like Lil Mayo, everyone’s favorite alien, and Seattle-based Dawg Star have invited the astral connection. The name “Dawg Star” comes from the history of the stars Sirius A and B, and the supposed connection to ancient aliens. Yes, those ancient aliens. According to legend, the Dogon tribe of West Africa called cannabis the “two-dog plant,” as they believed it was brought to Earth by a goddess descended from the brightest stars in the sky, Sirius A and B, the “two-dog star.” Only Sirius A can be seen with the naked eye, however, leading to multiple theories that the isolated Dogon tribe could only have known about the existence of Sirius B if they had, in fact, been visited by aliens.

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