Archive for April, 2014

Me at the 4/20 Celebration at the University of Santa Cruz, 2009.

Me at the 4/20 Celebration at the University of Santa Cruz, 2009. Note the pendant and T-Shirt.

I would have got this up on 4/20 itself but I was busy working a ten day week at the world’s largest dispensary, making sure our festivities went off successfully (they did). Now I am back with the facts on this unique American holiday.

Growing up in California, specifically in Marin county and San Francisco, I have been steeped in cannabis culture all my life. This makes sense since San Francisco is where the hippie movement originated. So it is no surprise that I have known the significance of 420 and the myths behind its origins from a tender age, since before I knew the significance of 666 (one of those side effects of being raised as a Buddhist hippie). Over my twenty six years in the Bay Area I have heard all manner of stories about why 420 is associated with cannabis, ranging from the plausible to the ridiculous. I’ll be profiling and debunking the most prevalent ones then giving you the real low down on how 4:20 became the time to smoke and April 20th became the day.

I’m going to start with the most ridiculous then move to the most plausible.

Bob Marley’s Birthday/Death: April 20th is not either Bob Marley‘s birthday or the day of his death.

April 20th is the Best Day to Plant Cannabis: Any experienced grower will tell you this is a load of bull. The best time to plant depends on where you live, current climatic conditions, whether you are planting indoor or out, and numerous other contextual factors. Many people choose this day as a day to begin planting but there is no real reason other than a personal choice.

The Number of Chemical Compounds in Cannabis: While more plausible still wrong, there are currently 315 identified chemicals in the cannabis plant. We still don’t have the full chemical profile of cannabis, and we knew even less back in the 70’s when 420 was started.

Police Code for Cannabis: Police codes change from one country to another and from one region to another, but to my knowledge 420 is not a police code for cannabis related activities anywhere for any agency. 420 does happen to be the code for a homicide in Las Vegas though (in many area’s it is 187).

The Number of the Congressional Bill to Legalize Cannabis: Unfortunately no, there is no bill currently introduced that would legalize cannabis this session, usually there is and there is bipartisan support for it. 420 is the number for Senate Bill 420 which expanded California’s medical cannabis program in 2003.

That’s it for the major rumors and myths in need of debunking. You may now be left wondering, if that is all bogus then what’s the real story?

The Waldos

The real story on how 420 became the magic number for everything marijuana related is the story of a group of kids from San Rafael High School in the early 1970’s. This group was known as the Waldos because they would gather and smoke around a wall after school at 4:20pm. Or at least that is how the Waldos’ legendary story was first passed on to me many years ago, when I was a highschool student myself, smoking near a wall at 4:20pm after school. But here is the full story of the Waldos and how 420 originated in the words of Waldo Steve himself.

One day in the Fall of 1971 – harvest time – the Waldos got word of a Coast Guard service member who could no longer tend his plot of marijuana plants near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard station. A treasure map in hand, the Waldos decided to pluck some of this free bud.

The Waldos were all athletes and agreed to meet at the statue of Loius Pasteur outside the school at 4:20, after practice, to begin the hunt.

“We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4:20. It originally started out 4:20-Louis and we eventually dropped the Louis,” Waldo Steve tells the Huffington Post.

The first forays out were unsuccessful, but the group kept looking for the hidden crop. “We’d meet at 4:20 and get in my old ’66 Chevy Impala and, of course, we’d smoke instantly and smoke all the way out to Pt. Reyes and smoke the entire time we were out there. We did it week after week,” says Steve. “We never actually found the patch.”

But they did find a useful codeword. “I could say to one of my friends, I’d go, 420, and it was telepathic. He would know if I was saying, ‘Hey, do you wanna go smoke some?’ Or, ‘Do you have any?’ Or, ‘Are you stoned right now?’ It was kind of telepathic just from the way you said it,” Steve says. “Our teachers didn’t know what we were talking about. Our parents didn’t know what we were talking about.”

You may be wondering how something that began 40 years ago as an inside joke to keep things discreet in front of teachers has since become a world-wide phenomenon spawning any army of “genuine 420” Made in China swag. The rest, they say, is history. The Waldos weren’t just ‘some kids’ they were some kids who had connections to people like Phil Lesh, David Crosby, Wavy Gravy, and The Grateful Dead. 420 spread out along the same vectors as Tim Leary‘s acid trip and the hippie movement, spilling out to touch every corner of the globe.

In 1990, Steve Bloom of High Times was given a 420 flier at a Grateful Dead show and High Times began to incorporate 420 into their magazine. Rick Pfrommer, former Director of Education at Harborside Health Center, was working for the Cannabis Action Network at the time and they used their access to Kinko’s to print thousands of copies of the original 420 flier that Bloom saw. Thanks to Pfrommer and Bloom 420 went viral in a very short period of time and soon April 20th became a day for smoke outs and concerts everywhere.

Unfortunately, not everyone is okay with the spread of cannabis culture and the mass acceptance of this utterly harmless drug (seriously, less harmful then potatoes).

I take comfort that it was only angry white men with signs. Soon they will die out from a lack of mates as crazy as they are.

I take comfort that it was only angry white men with signs. Soon they will die out from a lack of mates as crazy as they are.

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Hey readers sorry for my extended hiatus. I had to have surgery on my broken wrist, which failed to heal right in the cast, which took some time. Then I transferred jobs to a new location, closer to home. But mostly I have been busy writing in my novel and building my own computer. This is my first time ever building a computer myself and it was a real learning experience, one I am ever grateful to my friends for. It is only thanks to the good graces of my housemate that I figured it all out and put it all together.

If you are like most people, including me, the idea of building your own computer seems daunting. For me the biggest issue was I had no clue what hardware actually was required for a computer, and as a kicker the hardware has changed since I last fuxed with upgrading hardware in my old desktop 8 years ago. You are looking at a man who has been using the same laptop with Windows Vista since before Obama was president. This upgrade has been long overdue.

So what are the core components of a computer that you will need for it to run? There are between eight to ten parts, depending on what you view as necessary.

1. Case – You need something to put all that expensive hardware in.

2. Motherboard – This is what everything in the computer attaches to, it IS the computer, for lack of better words.

3. Power Supply – This part converts the power from your wall socket into power usable by your computer.

4. Central processing unit (CPU) – This is the heart and brain of your computer.

5. Random-access memory (RAM) – RAM is short term memory used for processes, as opposed to longterm memory used for storage.

6. Drives – There are two main categories of drives, Disc Drives and Storage Drives. Disc drives hold CDs, DVDs, Blurays and other media to access the data on those discs. Storage drives provide longterm data storage to hold files on your computer.

7. Graphics Card – While you do not NEED a graphics card if you want to play any sort of video games or use adobe photoshop, or really do much more than word processing and surf the web then you want a graphics card. Motherboards come with a built in graphics card but they pale in the comparison to having an add-on graphics card.

8. Cooling Device – Computers get very hot and they do not like that. Heat will damage your parts and you should strive to keep your PC as cool as possible.

9. PERIPHERALS | Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard – The monitor is what you are currently using to read this text (textception…) I typed this on a keyboard and clicked post with my mouse. None of this would have been possible without peripherals, which is anything that lets you interact with the computer. It is possible to have a computer that runs without any of this, like a server.

10. OPTIONAL | Sound cards, wireless cards, more fans – While you can get a sound card to attach to your motherboard, like a video card, they are utterly superlative and not worth the money. Wireless cards are nice but I prefer to be hardwired into my Internet to avoid disconnects while gaming. I’m not using either of these parts in my build. I am waiting for 3 more LED blue glowing case fans while will both keep my computer cool and keep my computer cool.

 

Now, that doesn’t look so daunting does it? Just nine things really, and some are obvious things like a case, mouse, monitor, etc. You may even have some parts you can reuse from your old computer (monitors, extra hard drives for storage). The next major question is how do I pick the right parts? I used two main websites to figure this out, reddit/buildapc and Tom’s Hardware. These same sites conveniently have links to where you can buy parts. Once I found these sites it became a matter of figuring out my budget and the best configuration of parts I could afford.

Once all your parts arrive it is time to build that computer. I advise buying all your parts on the same day so they arrive around the same time, this will maximize the amount of time you have to trouble shoot and possibly return parts. I had to wait on a second motherboard because I bought an AMD motherboard for my Intel CPU, a totally avoidable newbie mistake that you can prevent by making sure your motherboard is compatible with your CPU. Most returns will be with a refund unless you manage to damage the part; I got a full refund and didn’t even have to pay to ship it back.

Before you build your computer, perhaps even before buying your parts I would recommend watching two videos produced by Newegg. These videos on how to choose your parts and then build your computer are very informative and accessible, as long as you can get past the smug looking tech douchebag with a soul patch. There is a third part on how to install Windows but I am doing my best to remain neutral regarding the OS since there are many valid options. Sure there is Windows and Mac, but there is also Ubuntu, Linux, and Linux’s grandaddy Unix. While Windows kind of dominates the gaming market you can always just run a Windows partition on an Ubuntu or Linux machine.

And that’s how you build a computer.