Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sit Down Before You Fall Down : Happy 4:20 Day!

"I smoke two joints in the morning, I smoke two joints at night,
I smoke two joints in the afternoon and it makes me feel alright
I smoke two joints in time of peace and two in time of war
Smoke two joints before I smoke two joints
and then I smoke two more."
~ Sublime/Bob Marley "Smoke 2 Joints"

HAPPY 4:20 DAY to all the Hippies, Stoners and former Stoners alike! What better topic to talk about on 4:20 Day than weed, pot, grass, reefer or whatever Marijuana name you use!

Firstly, what does 4:20 even mean, right? "420" isn't a police code for possession of a controlled/illegal substance - such as weed. "420" isn't the number of active chemicals in pot. "420" isn't the pager code used by teenagers to signal they were about to smoke a joint. Close but not quite.... In all actuality, the term 420 was coined by a small group of students in the early 1970's in California. 4:20 was the time of day they'd meet at a specific spot to smoke weed and the term caught on like wild fire and hasn't been forgotten since. Since then, marijuana culture has used April 20th (4/20), as "4:20 Day" to further enjoy the 4:20 experience...

Back in December, right around Christmas time, I was suffering from some serious insomnia - so I started flicking through the satellite channels. No, I didn't reach for a "big, fat cannon", but I did find a couple of documentaries about our topic of conversation. (A link to each documentary can be found at the bottom of this post - along with various other links.) I learned more about Ganja in the three hours of television than I had in the whole time I had spent smoking the stuff....

The first thing that caught my attention were a few segments reporting on Portugal's Drug Laws. I mean, everyone knows about Amsterdam, but did anyone really suspect that Portugal's drug laws are so drastically different from what we are used to here in Canada? I was blown away by what they were able to film on the streets and in parks of Portugal Cities. (I believe they were in Lisbon - don't quote me on that though.) There were people in parks openly using much harsher drugs than weed. (Yeah - we're talking the likes Heroine among other things.) There were groups of people using. They weren't out in the open to be defiant or because they were too strung out to care - it was because of laws over there that I still can't wrap my head around.

At one point, they showed a police officer "walking a beat" at night passed a club/bar. There was a patron, from the bar, outside smoking a marijuana cigarette. (Anyone who has ever smoked a joint, or has been around one being smoked, knows "That" smell.) The police officer just continued on his beat, not bothering the patron a bit. Had that been here in Canada - entirely different story. The Portuguese have an entirely different way of handling their drug users as well. Rather than throwing the user in jail for possession, or any other like drug related charge, the user is sent to state paid rehab instead. What stuck out in my mind was when the documentarian asked someone who worked at the rehabilitation center what they thought of junkies going to rehab instead of jail. The Rehabilitation worker's answer was basically along the lines of "Either way, my tax dollars are paying for it. I'd rather have them go through rehab and give them a better chance to get better and not re-offend... In jail, it's more likely that they'll come out to use again." (I honestly think that an idea like this may work over here... Just a thought... I'd like to see this kind of law in Canada. If a person is convicted of a non-violent drug related crime, such as possession or something, that they go to rehab instead. Get them clean, maybe less of a chance to re-offend...)

The second thing that caught my eye was Oaksterdam University... There is an actual weed University out there! Who KNEW?! If you guessed Oaksterdam was located in California - you guessed correctly. Oaksterdam offers weekend seminars, semester programs, horticultural programs etc etc. They'll teach you how to grow marijuana and cultivate it. They'll inform you of different strains of weed and which are more potent than others. Oaksterdam even offers a glass blowing course - you can learn how to make your own bongs and pipes. Had I known about Oaksterdam back in high school - my career choices may have been a little different.... All in all though, I don't regret where I'm at today.

The third thing was that I had my eyes opened about something. I had no idea that there was such a large smuggling operation that had gone on.... The Emerald Triangle was the center of an elaborate marijuana smuggling ring. I come from BC, you always hear about "BC Bud". I know California is known for their weed as well. You hear of "Maui Wowie", "Panama Red", "Acapulco Gold", "Thai Stick" and a list could go on forever. I always thought that there was pot everywhere and there was no need for smuggling marijuana. Cocaine smuggling, that I understood.... Blew my mind about the weed though...

The last thing that really stuck with me, were the stories of medical marijuana growers and the government hypocrisy that seems to be there... These people spend about a year filling out the proper forms and shelling out thousands upon thousands of dollars to file these applications/permits/legal documents. After they've jumped through all the bureaucratic hoops, they were "busted" with a grow op and fined.... So the government gets their money... Then busts you anyway? Lame sauce, dudes!

Marijuana documentaries aside - as I mentioned, I'm from BC and grew up knowing about BC bud... I'm not gonna lie and say I've never smoked a joint in my life... I've had stoner friends, I've been friends with pot dealers. I've had my share of dances with Mary-Jane and had a few good times with it. I do remember some wicked bad paranoia and munchies too... I've watched stoner films and eatten stoner brownies. Two birds, one stone with the brownies... (Yes - pun very much intended there.) I've gone to the Legislative Building in Edmonton on 4:20 and witnessed the green haze in a sort of demonstration - albeit a very peaceful demonstration. I've experienced a term called "Green Out" due to an over indulgence on 4/20... Basically, "green out" kind of like smoking one's self sober if you will. Was still very, very relaxed the next day but none of the head fuzz followed. If you catch a bad buzz, drink a glass of OJ. The Vitamin C found in that Orange Juice will help straighten your head out...

It's Not Always About Me... : A Friend in Need, is a Friend Indeed! A Friend with Weed is Better!

"Weedy" Places/Stoner Websites:
Stoner Movies
  1. Cheech & Chong
  2. Saving Grace
  3. Harold & Kumar (Go to White Castle & Escape from Guantanamo Bay)
  4. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Specifically Spicoli!)
  5. The Big Lebowski (The Dude Abides)
  6. Dazed and Confused
  7. Super High Me
  8. Half Baked
  9. How High
  10. Rolling Kansas
Stoner Songs
  1. Afro Man - Cuz I Got High
  2. Tom Petty - Last Dance With Mary-Jane
  3. Sublime/Bob Marley - Smoke Two Joints
  4. Cypress Hill - Hits from the Bong
  5. Steve Miller Band - Joker (At least he was a mid-night toker)
Openly Stoner/Marijuana Using Celebs
  1. Jeff Bridges
  2. Willie Nelson
  3. Bob Marley
  4. Snoop Dog
  5. Matthew McConaughey
Stoner TV Shows
  1. Weeds
  2. That '70's Show
  3. Trailer Park Boys
Stoner Olympics (I mean Stoners & The Olympics)
  1. Michael Phelps (American Swimmer - 14 time Olympic Gold Medalist & 2 time Olympic Bronze Medalist)
  2. Ross Rebagliati (Canadian Snowboarder - Olympic Gold Medalist in Slalom)
All Things Stoner (Honorable Mentions)
  1. The "Stony" Awards (Essentially the Stoner Awards)
  2. Bus Stop Bench with "Tempting Ad" (See Picture at Beginning)
  3. The Doobie Brothers (The Band)
  4. Stony Plain (A town in Alberta)
  1. (Meaning of 420)
  2. (Marijuana Inc Documentary)
  3. (Marijuana Nation Documentary)
  4. (Emerald Triangle)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fraissard: An Aussie-Canadian Bushman

While growing up, classmates only half believed that I had family from the Land Down Under.... When I started to bring in little gifts from the Aussie family, for show and tell - they were a little more ready to believe me. It's been years since I've done a show and tell presentation in front of a class, but today I'd like to do a little show and tell, again... This time with my cousin, Dominique Fraissard's music. I've always known him as Nick, but I hear he goes by Dom these days - can't fear change, just gotta roll with it. =0)

The first real memory I have of my great Aussie cousin, Dom/Nick, was the Christmas after I turned 8. I remember him playing the didgeridoo in my Aunty's basement and remember thinking "Man, this guy's a bit CRAZY!" He was full of energy and life - rockin' out on the "doo" and putting on a bit of a show for the family. Soon the holiday was gone, and the Aussie Relies had to go back to their real lives back in Oz.

A few years back, I was able to make it back to Vernon during the summer. It must have been perfect timing, as Nick was putting on a performance at a local coffee shop. (The coffee shop actually was my favorite cafe when I was in high school.) The evening of the performance, a bunch of my family packed into the Bean Scene, on the main drag in Vernon, and were entertained for about an hour or so. I was blown away by the depth of the lyrics and the enthusiasm of performance. Though Nick had always been talented, the performance was way more serious than the didgeridoo memory from years earlier.

With an indie/folk/roots sound flowing from my CD player, I had driven my then-roommate to distraction. She'd told me that if I played "that" disc one more time, she was going to snap it in half for me... It wasn't always that way though. When I had first got the CD - from my Aunt who happens to be Dom's Mum - the roommate would wander into my room and hang out to listen to a song or two. The down fall was only having one of Dom's discs - maybe a little variety would've avoided the threat. In the end, she didn't snap the disc... I still listened to the music and really enjoyed it. I still need to acquire a few of Dom's discs but there are ways to keep up on the new stuff... (Like checking out a link or two listed at the bottom of this post. You will also be able to find songs are available for purchase on iTunes. Definatelly worth a listen!)

I've had the fortune of hanging out with Dom in a non-music setting as well. I remember one visit where a few Canadian cousins all went boating on Okanagan Lake. Very entertaining.... A few days later, Dom had wanted to re-explore some of what he'd remembered of his Canadian childhood.... So again, a few Canadian cousins and Dom (and his Aussie friends) went for a hike across from Bluenose Mountain in Lumby... Embarrassingly, I was completely out of shape and had to decend as the rest of the crew went further to the top... (It was a good time still though!) While I was living in Edmonton, Dom had come in to see the Fringe Festival. (The Fringe is a festival centered around the performing arts - more specifically plays.) I had met him for a drink at a pub called the Next Act. From what I gathered, he enjoyed the experience.

My post originally from April 6th - Humble in a Moment - is actually the Dom we are speaking of. (I have since removed the post and re-posted on June 10th called Humble Lake - as I preferred this version better.) He's got a voice of his own, has pursued his dream and I sincerely hope he makes it to the top. With inspiration drawn from his childhood in Australia and Canada (and various other experiences of course) mixed with the artistic trait that runs in his family, Dom is out there doing what he loves. I know he's passionate about music and seems to enjoy the process of things. His hard work, over the years, has started to pay off. This year, now that he's residing in the Interior of BC, Nick has been nominated in the BC Interior Music Awards. He's one of the top three finalists in four categories: The People's Choice, Best World/Roots Album of the Year, Best Folk/Traditional Album of the Year and Best Producer. My fingers are crossed as the People's Choice Voting deadline has just recently past - that this year's winner will be Dom. (As well as the other three categories he's been nominated for.) Over the Easter Long Weekend the awards will be presented.

It's not always about me; sometimes it's about supporting the family in any way we can.

Places to Get Fraissard News