The Art of Research

We live in a world of over-educated people that do not know how to research or think for themselves. School does not equate an ability to research. I had good research strategy even before high school, thanks in part to some awesome English AND Science teachers. I will spare you the scientific method, but that IS a form of research.

First, develop an idea or question.

It could be:

  1. What is the meaning of life?
  2. Christianity was partially responsible for the collapse of the Roman Empire.
  3. How do I move a pet snake?
  4. The government is lying about cannabis.
  5. Could the Earth be flat if we missed something in quantum physics?
  6. The impending revolution will take many off-guard, despite all the warnings.
  7. Which routing protocol works better for X scenario?

You get the idea.

Then, it is important to find articles from as many different sources as possible. Depending on how deep I want to go, I will read anywhere from 5 – 500 sources. I usually aim for primary sources or someone with first-hand experience if I can.

Once you take in all this information, it’s time to discourse internally and externally. Frequently, I will call someone that works in the field or has the knowledge and/or expertise to answer my question or help me “unpack” a concept, especially if I get the sense that it is way outside my skill set.

Finally, I weigh out the probabilities of each scenario or perspective, and I tend to lean toward the one that is most logical to me, or, if it is outside my expertise, I will go with the strongest source, and/or go with the most popular opinions as the necessities, and with the peripheral stuff, I just experiment.

Of course, I keep an open mind. Even if I have my mind made up on a topic, I often keep in the back of my mind that there are others with way more knowledge than me. This gets me excited, because I love to learn. So, I take my new foundation of knowledge and use it to research other areas, grow in the subject, and spur others on as much as I can.

Either way, good research ethics are this: assume you know nothing until you have put in a significant amount of research. Even then, stay open. It’s important.

People’s lives are actually counting on it.

Wagen, over and out.


Being 16

Turning 16 was awesome. In the week surrounding my birthday, I got a cell phone, an ’89 S-10, a driver’s license, and a job at AMC Theaters in Humble, Texas. I was “all the way up” and “nothing [could] stop me.”

It was also the year I tried alcohol. I liked it almost as much as I liked cannabis, I just hated the hangovers. There is no hangover with cannabis. If there is, it’s more tolerable than alcohol.

I had been using cannabis since I was 14. I supported my medical needs by mowing lawns. I also had enough to buy some video games, musical equipment, and skateboards…all of them were outlets growing up.

At 16, I ramped up my levels. Instead of buying a quarter or half-ounce at a time, I graduated to one to two ounces per transaction. I started to gain a reputation, especially among my peers.

One associate came to me and said, “Somebody came to me the other day and asked if I knew who had weed. I told them that you always had good quality weed, even when everyone else was dry.” Part of this was because I had local connections in Dayton, but if Dayton was dry, I had connections in Houston. Most of my peers didn’t.

It makes good sense.

When I would go into Houston, I used it as an opportunity to turn my Ebonics (gangsta slang of the impoverished areas) and Spanish up full blast. I knew some interesting people. Some flexed up, but I never really had any problems. Years later, I found out that they didn’t interact with many brave, middle-class white people, so I could get places that my white-racist, under-achieving, middle-class white people couldn’t. This was a HUGE advantage in the black market.

I didn’t “deal” in the traditional sense. No. Due to some critical thinking, I had other ideas. What I would do is go to my dealer and ask for low prices. I would pick up 2 ounces of top-shelf…I mean stuff that makes Colorado and California top-shelf look like dirt…for $65 dollars. Then, I would go to parties and get everyone high and discreetly share my connect with people I trusted.

I remember a few parties where I rolled some fat joints, and the joint would just take off through the crowd, one or two hits were enough to get most people “blowed” or really high. We called it “2-hitter-quitter” instead of “top-shelf.” The latter likely adopted from the alcohol industry.

I would have to pass 20, 30, 40 people and walk up to who was holding the joint and say, “Hey. Could you please hand the joint to me.” I didn’t care how old they were. I could care less if they thought they were tough because they played high school sports. Some would spark an attitude with me. I’d say something like, “That’s my weed your smoking. Hand it over so I can hit it a few times.” They would, and I would often give it back.

I’m not a monster.

Taking people’s cannabis virginity and lighting up a whole party was called, “killin it.” I would even say this to adults.

“What have you been doing today?” They’d ask.

“Killin it. What about you?” I’d respond.

I think some knew, but most did not.

Fun times.

“Donde esta la mota?” — Spanish

“Where da weed/kill/bud at?” — Ebonics

Wagen, over and out.