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Eyes on drugs
11.25.2014
09:17 am

Topics:
Drugs

Tags:
pupils


 
VICE visited a nightclub in Berlin and photographed close-up images of people’s eyeballs while they were under certain er, illegal (and some legal) substances to see it you can tell what drug they’re on by the size of their pupils.

Opiates tend to constrict your pupils while the likes of cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines—“speedier” drugs—will dilate your pupils.

Apparently German police use a device that’s called a “pupillograph” (kinda like a pair of glasses) that can determine if someone’s on a drug by the size of their pupils before the blood test results even come back. From what I’ve read online about the “pupillograph,” the device doesn’t actually work too well with determining drug use. It works great for determining glaucoma, though!

I don’t know. These all seem kinda bogus if you ask me. It really depends on what lights are on around them and the flash on the camera. I’m not saying they aren’t on drugs, but I take this with a grain of salt.

Anyway, I guess it’s sorta interesting to look at.


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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1948 NYC pot bust caught on film. Arrestee has a mean case of the giggles
11.25.2014
07:39 am

Topics:
Drugs
History

Tags:
marijuana
New York City
pot


 
As public support for the decriminalization of marijuana grows, states are loosening restrictions left and right and the US is making its slooooooow crawl towards sane drug policies. Yes, we still have a long way to go before we’re able to proudly and patriotically blow bong rips in a cop’s face, but I believe it’s healthy to acknowledge our progress and reflect on the enormous precedent of drug panics we’re gradually counteracting—so let’s check out some vintage newsreel from a drug bust in 1948!

In this dramatic Telenews short, five men and one woman are arrested for their stash of 60 “reefer” (joints) and $2,000 worth of bulk weed! That’s $2,000 in 1948, and the weed was probably terrible back then! This was before mandatory sentencing guidelines for pot, meaning these folks had no idea what kind of jail time or fines they might receive, and yet, they don’t seem particularly worried! One dude in particular can’t stop laughing; what a curiously inexhaustible humor he has!

Despite what was then the prevailing public perception of pot as a volatile gateway to psychosis and/or heroin addiction, our jovial drug dealers’ neighbors appear unruffled by the bust, and like true New Yorkers, they immediately start discussing the newly vacant apartment.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘The Complete Zap Comix’ box set is the greatest thing in the history of the world, ever


 
Over the Halloween weekend I was visiting my family in Wheeling, WV (it was my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary) and I needed to buy a cheap one-hitter to help get me through it. There’s only one place to buy that sort of thing in my hometown and this would be Wheeling’s sole smut emporium, the very downmarket Market Street News.

Thirty-five years ago, in better economic times for that town, Market Street News was still a dirty book store, but back then it also sold bongs, rolling papers, fake drugs like “Lettuce Opium” or “Coke Snuff,” British rock mags, National Lampoon, biker rags like Easy Rider and Iron Horse, High Times and a small handful of underground comics. A bead curtain separated the front of the shop from the over 21 area and the place smelled heavily of incense, cigarettes and Pine-Sol. It was here, age 11, where I bought my first issue of High Times, the October 1977 issue with Johnny Rotten on the cover and the now infamous “Ted Nugent shits his pants to get out of the draft” interview. What kind of degenerate sold a little kid High Times?

Let me assure you that I was not an innocent child. By that age, I’d already read Ladies and Gentlemen, Lenny Bruce!!, I owned a copy of Naked Lunch and had already tried getting high (unsuccessfully) by eating fresh ground nutmeg and morning glory seeds, something I’d read about in that book’s infamous index section. I wanted to do drugs, I just didn’t know where to get ‘em (aside from “Lettuce Opium,” which yes, I admit that I tried.“Coke Snuff,” too!)

I couldn’t “score” real drugs, but at the age of 11, in a low level smut shop in a podunk West Virginia town, I was able to get my mitts on something equally mind-expanding (and only slightly less illicit): Zap Comix. Lewd, crude, incendiary, mind-blowing in the extreme and incredibly smart, I embraced Zap Comix wholeheartedly, even if I, a sixth grader, was considerably younger than the audience of “adult intellectuals” it was ostensibly intended for.
 

 
Although Zap founder Robert Crumb himself was already a very well-known and widely respected artist and counterculture hero by the time I discovered Zap in 1977, I can’t image that it was too much earlier than 1973 or ‘74 that something like Zap Comix would have had the kind of distribution that would have allowed it filter down to small town America. The first (#0) issue of Zap came out in 1968. Not every small town had a head shop at that time, of course, and even when they did, carrying Zap Comix—which presented some completely insane stuff, images WAY more perverse than anything that was being cooked up in Denmark or Sweden at the time—was probably not worth the heat it would bring, especially in that line of work. If they can bust you for selling bongs, why carry filthy and obscene comic books to further tempt fate?

Most people probably found out about Zap generally around the same time I did, no matter what age they were. Unless you were living in a big city or in a college town, it would have been highly unlikely to have encountered it otherwise. This is why I associate Zap with the punk era. At least that’s when a copy first made it into my young hands.

Crumb did the first two issues on his own before ultimately assembling a “Magnificent Seven” of the best underground artists around—San Francisco poster artists Rick Griffin and Victor Moscoso, Marxist biker cartoonist Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton (the creator of “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers”), painter Robert Williams, the demented S. Clay Wilson and later, after Griffin’s death, Paul Mavrides, known for his Church of the Subgenius graphics. The Zapatistas were a sort of “supergroup”—the dharma warriors of comics. Inkslingers. Revolutionaries. The best of the best. Their only yardsticks for comparison were each other and that sort of fraternal competition raised the bar and kept their art constantly evolving and their social satire razor sharp.
 

 
Like punk (and Burroughs, Lenny Bruce, Firesign Theatre and John Waters) Zap Comix kind of helped to deprogram me at a young age during my rustbelt Christian upbringing. My deeply religious parents never looked twice at my “funnie books” but if they had they’d have been utterly appalled, finding between the covers of Zap Comix characters like S. Clay Wilson’s gay pirate “Captain Pissgums” who liked to have his crew of perverts, um, piss in his mouth or the “Checkered Demon,” a randy devil cheerfully doing the most obscene things that I’d ever seen depicted on the printed page. It was shocking then and it’s equally shocking today.

Take a look at this short piece from S. Clay Wilson titled “Head First”—IF YOU DARE.

See what I mean? Remind yourself that this strip is now nearly half a century old. The reason I linked to it is because embedding it would probably have made our advertisers very nervous about what kind of people we are! Crumb’s Zap contributions were never as out and out repulsive as Wilson’s, yet he was still utterly fearless in portraying his own infantile sexual fantasies and neuroses (and finding willing groupies to help him act them out along the way. Which he then wrote about in subsequent issues of Zap. Heavy meta…).

The goalposts have moved quite a bit over the decades as “obscenity” has been redefined by culture, AND YET that vile, hilariously fucked up strip has lost virtually none of its power to offend. This is only one of the reasons to love S. Clay Wilson—whose work ultimately sets the tone of Zap because his is the wildest, most feral and least compromising—his willingness to basically puke on his reader’s sensibilities, no matter how “far out” they think they are. The sole purpose is to be brutally offensive, no more no less. You can look for something deeper, go ahead, but I’m not sure you’re going to find it in a piece like “Come Fix” (click for pdf) in which a lesbian biker chick injects semen intravenously with an interesting result.
 

The front and back cover of Zap #14 by S. Clay Wilson
 
In the context of the late 1960s that was something both sickening and ENLIGHTENING. And it had nothing whatsoever to do with flower power or hippie. Zap Comix was cynical and dark, twisted and perverted, full of “gags, jokes, kozmic trooths.” Zap wasn’t interested in persuading you of anything, it wanted to beat its epiphanies into you.

This is another reason I see Zap Comix as being aligned with punk, because philosophically-speaking it was. Indeed in its crudeness, lewdness and desire to shake its readers out of their complacency, Zap anticipates punk (and a lot of other things!) and surely would have influenced many of punk’s prime movers who undoubtedly were exposed to it.

Anyway, when I bought my one-hitter, I got into a conversation with the guy behind the counter and I mentioned that I used to buy Zap Comix there when I was a kid. Then the very next morning in the hotel I read an article in the New York Times about how Fantagraphics were publishing the complete run of Zap, along with a sixteenth and final issue, in a deluxe slipcase box set weighing over 20 lbs, complete with sixteen high quality giclée prints of each Zap Comix cover.
 

The front and back cover of Zap #13 by Victor Moscoso
 
I immediately wrote to Fantagraphics fab director of publicity Jacq Cohen and requested a review copy of The Complete Zap Comix. It was sent Fedex two-day shipping, which seemed to me to be the longest two days of my entire fucking life. An eternity. In fact, it ended up being a day late, and by that time, I was truly salivating over the prospect of its arrival. I was not disappointed. I’m a man with a lot of toys and The Complete Zap Comix went immediately into my “prized possessions” category. If you’re reading this thinking “Yep, I need that” trust me, you do need it. However, as far as pricey Christmas presents to yourself go, you might not want to wait for Santa to lay this one under your tree because it’s probably going to sell out. Only 2500 have been printed and from what I can tell anecdotally from how many friends of mine are buying it, it won’t last long.

The irony of turning something that was once sold in dirty bookstores into a $500 collectible is delicious, but I can’t think of a more deserving title than Zap. The production quality of The Complete Zap Comix is first rate and the pages are clearer than they’ve ever been, blown up to 9.75” x 13.25” and painstakingly cleaned up digitally. Everything comes in a sturdy, gold-embossed slipcase and there’s a separate book dedicated to “The Zap Story,” an oral history/scrapbook that also reprints some Zap rarities and “jams” where each of the artists would complete a frame or two—upping the ante in the process—and then pass it on to the next guy.

In the title here, I declare that The Complete Zap Comix box set “is the greatest thing in the history of the world, ever” and I’m only semi-exaggerating. Seeing the whole of the Zap run laid out like this, it seems obvious—so very, very obvious—what a profound and truly American cultural treasure this is. This is great art of historical and cultural importance that changed people, blew their minds and inspired them. I know that it changed ME. Zap Comix deserves to be reappraised and valued for what it’s truly worth and Fantagraphics has done an amazing job with this stunning box set.

Now the Smithsonian Institute needs to step up to the plate while the remaining Zap artists are still alive and kicking against the pricks and give them their due. It could happen. It should happen. Let’s hope it does happen.

Below, one of the greatest—and most eerily prophetic—comics EVER by Gilbert Shelton, “Wonder Wart-Hog’s Believe It or LEAVE It!”...Um… he could be talking about TODAY’s America, here, couldn’t he???
 

 
More classics from Zap Comix after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Freeze, you dirty dopers’: The ‘Heroin Haikus’ of William Wantling
11.19.2014
12:46 pm

Topics:
Art
Books
Drugs

Tags:
poetry
heroin
William Wantling


 
If the American poet William Wantling (1933-1974) had not existed, it would have been up to Charles Bukowski  to invent him—in fact, the two men did know each other. Wantling spent most of his life in Illinois but served in Korea and also did time in San Quentin for unspecified crimes, although it may have been forging prescriptions, which would make him the original drugstore cowboy. (His inmate number in the California Dept. of Corrections system was A45522.)

After prison, Wantling studied and eventually taught at Illinois State University. Samuel Zaffiri said of Wantling that his post-prison life was “a constant search for things which would get him drunk or high.” Zaffiri also wrote of Wantling, “He was a manipulator and all with whom he came in contact, whether best friend or casual acquaintance, were game for his wiles. He wheedled, begged, lied.” According to Kevin E. Jones, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the poet, “Wantling lied, cheated, ripped off his friends, shat in their bathtubs.” Sounds like quite a guy.

And, as it happens, exactly the guy to think up the idea of writing haikus about the heroin life. Spero was a literary magazine published in Flint, Michigan, in 1965 and 1966. The first issue featured William Burroughs and LeRoi Jones; the second issue had a tiny little booklet tucked into a tiny little pocket—the booklet was Wantling’s Heroin Haikus.
 

William Wantling
 
It should be noted that Wantling’s understanding of the haiku form was looser than yours or mine, most likely. Wantling ignores the line lengths and focuses on the syllable count, the poem has to have 17 syllables. I guess that’s why, in a beautiful bit of purposeful modesty, they’re called “some seventeen-syllable comments.”

Here are three of them:
 

THE FIX

Give me the moment
that will join me to myself
in a mad embrace

LOS ANGELES—2

I bring a can of weed.
Grady brings pills and peyote.
Party time!

THE BUST

A knock, the door
flumps down.
Shotguns, the heat screams—
Freeze, you dirty dopers!

 
At the Division Leap bookstore and gallery in Portland, Oregon, you can buy a copy of Spero #1 and #2—complete with Heroin Haikus tucked in a little pocket—for just $350.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
More heroin haikus after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Short animation describes what drug addiction is like
11.19.2014
10:57 am

Topics:
Drugs

Tags:
Addiction


 
Without giving too much away, here’s a short animation by Andreas Hykade that shows in a very simplistic way what drug addiction is sorta like.

The more the bird-like creature chases the high, the less he’s able to fly and the fall to earth gets bumpier each time. I’m not certain what the creature’s drug of choice is—it’s represented by a golden nugget—but I think it’s safe to say you can fill in the blank with anything addictive, even caffeine, gambling or an addiction to making money.

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Pop art made from hundreds of discarded cigarette packages
11.18.2014
08:37 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs

Tags:
cigarettes
pop art


Silver Camels, 2013
Discarded Camel cigarette packages on linen

 
Probably the strangest thing about the artist Robert Larson is that none of the writeups of his work that I’ve seen bother to say whether he smokes or not. Not knowing anything else about it, I’d surmise that he does, but so much emphasis is placed on the role of “scavenging” in his work that I have to assume he does not smoke. Which is a little weird! So Larson spends hours and hours walking around his hometown of Santa Cruz, California, where he collects discarded cigarette packs and other ephemera in order to create his striking geometrical collages. It seems an intriguing variant of pop art in which the actual mass-produced product is incorporated in the art. After all, Andy Warhol didn’t use actual Brillo boxes, he made them. Larson’s cut out the middle man here.

Larson’s work is interesting because it’s almost too aesthetic and/or beautiful to land any particular point about the dangers of lung cancer, if such is even his aim. And to be honest, that’s the right approach because the links between smoking and disease are, after all, very well known. But to take such depressing subject matter and turn them into a pleasing piece of art, that’s more impressive.
 

Red Flower with Gold, 2010
Discarded cigarette packages, encaustic on linen

 

Unchained, 2013
Discarded Marlboro cigarette packages on paper

 

Green Triangles, 2012
Discarded Newport cigarette packages, encaustic on linen

 

Gold Flower with Red, 2010
Discarded cigarette packages, encaustic on linen
 

Red Honey, 2008
Discarded Marlboro cigarette packages, encaustic on linen

 

Bloom, 2012-2013
Discarded cigarette packaging on canvas

 

Meditations On Top, 1997-2007
Discarded Top rolling paper packaging on linen

 

Passage, 2011
Discarded white-generic matchbooks on linen

 

Blue Honey, 2010
Discarded Marlboro packaging on linen

 

Slow Burn, 2007
Discarded Zig Zag rolling papers on linen

 
More pretty cigaratte artworks after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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93-year-old great grandmother smoking weed for the first time
11.17.2014
12:24 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Drugs

Tags:
Marijuana


 
93-year-old “Silver Princess” and her son “Open Sky”—these are their code names, btw—record themselves smoking the good shit for the very first time. Since they both live in the state of Washington where weed is legal, grandma and her son are willing to try it at least once. Why not, right? Hilarity ensues as they videotape themselves toking up. Pure comedy.

I’m not entirely convinced this is grandma’s first time. She immediately knew the word for a spliff was a “joint” while her son struggled to find the appropriate word for it.

The whole thing is really amusing to watch and incredibly adorable, too.

 
Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Andre the Giant, boozer of mythic proportions


 
As You Wish, Cary Elwes’ new book about the making of The Princess Bride, came out on October 14—two weeks ago it made the #3 slot on the New York Times Bestseller List for Hardcover Nonfiction (it’s since slipped to #11). Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Patton and Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl were the only books keeping it from the top slot; by comparison, Elwes’ memoir was a far more surprising success. It turns out that people sure do love The Princess Bride. A lot.


The hand of Andre the Giant, cradling a regular-sized can of beer
 
And where The Princess Bride is being discussed, tales of Andre the Giant cannot be far behind. Elwes relates some incredible stories about the wrestler’s mind-boggling capacity for alcohol:
 

André was due to have an operation after he wrapped the movie. But until then the only medication he could take to deal with the pain was alcohol. Now, if you think André could eat, you should have seen him drink. It was legendary. Word had it that even before he developed the injury he could drink a hundred beers in one sitting. According to some estimates his average daily consumption of alcohol was a case of beer, three bottles of wine, and a couple of bottles of brandy. But what I witnessed was something quite different. At meal times, besides the incredible amount of food he ate, I noticed that rather than using a regular glass, André drank from a beer pitcher, which looked a lot like a regular glass in his hands anyway. In reality it was forty ounces of alcohol, which he nicknamed “The American”—usually some combination of hard and soft liquor and whatever else he felt like mixing it with that day. I should point out that not once did I notice any sign of the alcohol affecting him, which made sense given his size. …

It turns out that same night after the read-through André decided he would sample some of the finest vintage aperitifs and liqueurs from the cellars of the prestigious hotel and ended up closing the bar. When it came to last call he got up to leave but never made it to the front door, instead passing out cold in the lobby. The night porter was called, who in turn summoned security, who in turn rang engineering. Manpower was apparently needed. Yet, despite their valiant efforts, there was simply no waking or even slightly budging what could only be described as an unconscious 500-pound Gulliver spread out on their very ornate carpet. A meeting was held and the wise decision was made to leave him there. … For safety purposes, both to protect him and any passersby, they decided to place a small velvet rope barrier around André, who was by now snoring loudly enough to shake the lobby walls.

 
Elwes quotes Buttercup herself, Robin Wright, on the subject: “He was a bottomless pit. I think he went through a case of wine, and he wasn’t even tipsy.” 
 

 
As Richard English wrote in the pages of Modern Drunkard, “No other wrestler ever matched his exploits as a drunkard. In fact, no other human has ever matched Andre as a drinker. He is the zenith. He is the Mount Everest of inebriation. … Consider the number 7,000. It’s an important number, and a rather scary one considering its context, which is this—it has been estimated that Andre the Giant drank 7,000 calories worth of booze every day. The figure doesn’t include food. Just booze.”

English claims that Andre the Giant holds the record for beers consumed in a single sitting, at 119, a feat that took him (only) six hours—meaning that he drank a beer every three minutes on average. According to English, Andre’s bar tab for a month’s stay at the Hyatt in London while filming The Princess Bride came to just over $40,000.
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Existential odd couple: Samuel Beckett and André the Giant had a posse

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Cannabis Pharmacy: Vaporizers, science, weed and cancer


 
bOING bOING’s Xeni Jardin, as many of our readers probably know, is a close friend of Tara and mine, and she is also a breast cancer survivor. In a clip posted yesterday, she interviewed another of our friends, brilliant Michael Backes, author of the new book Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana (which has a foreword by none other than Andrew Weil, M.D.) about the latest in medical marijuana:

In this video my good friend Michael Backes, medical marijuana R&D expert and author of the book Cannabis Pharmacy (2014), shares some of his knowledge on the therapeutic power of pot. During my treatment for breast cancer, I learned how powerful medical marijuana truly can be in helping to alleviate some of the serious side effects of cancer treatment, including pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. I was not a pot smoker at the time of my diagnosis, and hadn’t used weed since I was a teen. Backes and my fellow cancer patients shared their experience and knowledge with me, and with the blessing of my oncologist, I found that it could be a very helpful form of relief.

In this video, Backes talks about how to use vaporizers, how to dose correctly for different forms of therapeutic relief, the difference between smoking, edibles, and vaporizers, CBD vs. THC, why the classifications of Indica and Sativa don’t matter as much as most people think, and why temperature is important when vaporizing weed.

Buy Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana at Amazon. It’s currently the #1 best-selling book in their Pain Medicine Pharmacology department. Check out the five star reviews.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Strange Trip: Artist takes LSD in 1955, while doctor interviews him on film
10.20.2014
06:15 am

Topics:
Drugs

Tags:
LSD
CIA

LSD Bottle
 
The study of the psychological effects of LSD was fairly widespread in the United States and the UK during the 50’s and 60’s producing thousands of pages of research. Cary Grant, Federico Fellini and even Bill Wilson, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, all took LSD under very legal psychiatric supervision in the 1950’s. 

The U.S. Central intelligence agency also conducted thousands of experiments with LSD and other drugs on subjects both willing and otherwise during the 50’s and 60’s through a clandestine operation code named MKUltra. The CIA was testing the effects of LSD in part to find out if the mind-bending hallucinogen could be used as a thought-control substance. MKUltra came the attention of the general public in the mid-1970s. Hearings and a collection of declassified documents have revealed all sorts of insane mental experiments like subjects being observed while tripping for up to 77 straight days and dosing random people without telling them that they were about to have their minds blown and then subjecting them to hours of interrogation.

Is the clip below a “CIA sponsored trip” as the YouTube poster’s title indicates or just one of many psychological experiments conducted openly by U.S. medical practitioners before LSD’s official ban? I’m not sure, but it certainly gives an indication of the bizarre clinical nature of what these government sponsored “psychological evaluations” might have been like. The subject in the video, entitled Schizophrenic Model Psychosis Induced by LSD 25, at least seems to be perfectly willing to go along with the test in this case.  He reveals himself to be Bill Millarc, a 34-year-old painter from Los Angeles. As the video begins, the doctor, Nicholas A. Bercel, M.D. of the University of Southern California Medical School’s Department of Physiology (himself the very first American to drop acid, in 1951), gives Bill a dose of 100 liquid micrograms of LSD and begins to narrate Bill’s trip while conducting an interview throughout the entire experience. (Interestingly, the opening credits state “Material furnished through the courtesy of Sandoz Pharmaceutical Co.” Sandoz is the same Swiss company for which Albert Hoffman was working when he both famously and accidentally discovered LSD’s hallucinogenic effects back in 1943.)

Before long, Bill starts to report a few changes in perception. The rug’s pulsating. He has a very pleasant feeling of nausea. He feels like he’s hearing the singing of angels. It’s a very odd thing to watch as the guy tries to stay focused enough to answer the doctor’s questions as he starts to go further and further into “the zone.”

Many of us have seen the drawing circulating around the Internet where people make art under the influence of various controlled substances.  Here, the doctor does something similar by having Bill draw a charcoal rendering of a person summoned to the room early in the trip. Later, as Millarc seems to be just about flipping his lid, the doctor asks him to draw the same person.  As you can probably imagine, the second picture’s a little different from the first one.

Truth be told, I haven’t done acid in years and, thankfully, all of my experiences were eye-opening ones, but I can’t imagine tripping balls and having the doctor in this clip breathing down my neck the whole time. At one point the doctor claps his hands to snap Millarc out of what seems to be a particularly revelatory moment and Millarc becomes obviously annoyed:

“I was getting somewhere and you interrupted it.  I was sort of getting somewhere I suppose.”

 

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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