What is The 4:20 Habit?

It’s not about cannabis.

It’s about:

  1. Merienda — the light mid-afternoon meal that we eat between lunch and dinner.

  2. A food writer — me — who just wants to go back to the kind of writing meant for humans. Heaven knows I miss it.

The first is self-explanatory.

The second is not so simple but let me try to explain anyway. To do that, I have to make two references.

  1. On Substack’s An algorithm for quality by Chris Best and

  2. Ready Player One, a sci-fi novel by Ernest Cline (there is a film version directed by Steven Spielberg)

The first is about how online publishing has devolved into creating content to feed search engines and attract advertisers. It’s true. Screw user experience. Write about what’s sensational and profitable even if it’s totally useless and even if the information is misleading or, worse, downright false. I’ve been blogging for over 20 years and I have witnessed it first hand. It’s deplorable.

The second is about OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation), a multiplayer virtual reality entertainment universe. After its co-creator and owner James Halliday died, his avatar Anorak announces a game in a pre-recorded message granting ownership of the company to whoever first finds the Golden Easter Egg. To find the egg, a player must find three keys to open three gates and complete three challenges. While any player in OASIS can compete, Innovative Online Industries (IOI) spends millions and endless resources to win, take over OASIS and install instrusive online advertising.

These two, together, propelled the creation of this blog / newsletter. It will never have advertisements and it will always be written with human readers in mind.

Why The 4:20 Habit on Substack?

Because Substack has a no-ads business model.

What exactly will the newsletter cover?

Like I mentioned earlier, it’s about merienda and not about cannabis nor the cannabis culture. In our house, between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. is merienda (mid-afternoon snack) time. Coffee, tea or an cold drink served with bread, pastries, dumplings or a small portion of whatever's left over from lunch.

The 4:20 Habit is about:

  1. Merienda drinks and dishes — where they originated, how they became popular, how they are referenced in pop culture (books, film, TV and web) — and, perhaps later, some recipes too.

  2. The drinkware and dinnerware in / on which merienda is served.

  3. Stories that form in my head over merienda.

But why the420habit.com?

I was feeling mischievous.

Mischief managed.

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Brewing stories over drinks and mid-afternoon snacks.


Connie Veneracion

Lawyer by education. Journalist by accident. Writer by passion. Photographer by necessity. Coffee and wine lover forever.