Author Archives: john hardin

About john hardin

sometimes I'm joking. Sometimes I'm half-joking. Sometimes I'm serious. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference

Humboldt County’s Nuclear Caviar

nuclear caviar

We have a long history of shortsightedness here in Humboldt County. I suspect that we’re as eager to throw our long-term assets away for a fast buck as we ever were, and the impending legalization of marijuana gives us another opportunity to do just that.

chase the fast buck

Right now, the black-market cannabis industry holds this county hostage, politically and economically. The illegal marijuana industry has already brought enough social problems to Humboldt County, problems ranging from poverty and homelessness to hard drug abuse, violent crime and murder. Feeding this disease, and fueling the destruction it causes, the misguided War on Drugs has turned a harmless, easy to grow weed into expensive contraband. Now that the tides have turned on the War on Drugs, politicians and drug dealers will try to convince you that marijuana is nuclear caviar.

bud-horz

Nuclear, meaning that they will tell you that marijuana is so dangerous that it requires as much government oversight, control and regulation as a nuclear power plant. Caviar, because they intend to concoct some scheme to control cannabis production, to keep the price of cannabis artificially inflated, so that good pot remains an expensive luxury that working people can ill-afford.

luxury marijuana

Cannabis is not nuclear caviar. Cannabis is a giant fucking ripoff. Until now, the price of cannabis has been highway robbery at the point of a cop’s gun. If the CA legislature passes the current passel of pending cannabis legislation, they will simply turn iron-fisted prohibition into a state sponsored racket. It will still be highway robbery at the point of a cop’s gun, and pot will remain a giant fucking ripoff. For now.

its-a-rip-off-its-a-scam

Still, dramatic changes, already underway in the cannabis industry, will continue. The marijuana industry of today looks nothing like the marijuana industry of 20 years ago. Humboldt County will probably produce more marijuana, this year alone, than it did in the entire two decades between 1980 and 1999, and the cannabis industry of the future will look nothing like the cannabis industry of today.

the future

The cannabis market will become more competitive, production will expand and automation will increase. Profit margins will shrink, leading to rapid consolidation. That means lots of people lose their jobs or go out of business. That’s how legal industries work. The cannabis industry is rapidly becoming a legal industry, full of businessmen who know how to run a business, and aren’t afraid to make tough decisions.

business-shark-

That is a dramatic change from the cannabis industry we all know and love. We like pot growers to be spendthrift fools who have no idea how much money they really make, buy everything retail, and drip money as they walk down the street. More than the cannabis itself, our local economy relies on the stupidity and shortsightedness of black-market dope growers who’s lack of business acumen lured them into this line of work to begin with. The black market takes money out of the hands of hard-working people, who might otherwise save it, and puts it into the hands of the people most likely to squander it. That’s how prohibition boosts the economy, and that’s what we see here in Humboldt County.

spendthrift economy

The fact is, no matter how legalization plays out, most of the people who benefit from the marijuana industry in Humboldt County today, will eventually get squeezed out. Will it happen in three years, or will it take five? That depends on a lot of things, but it will happen, regardless. A lot of people around here will have to find something else to do, and the sooner, the better.

find something better to do

The War on Drugs is a cruel racist policy. Mostly, the War on Drugs provides a legal framework for the violent control of minority communities, but here in Humboldt, we see another racist aspect to the War on Drugs. Here, the War on Drugs provided a relatively low-risk avenue to affluence for privileged white kids with no particular skills, talent or ambition. Hey, I’m a privileged, white, college drop-out myself. I certainly understand the attraction, but it’s still racist. It’s still wrong, and it’s still a huge fucking ripoff, but rest assured; that side of the War on Drugs, will evaporate too. The marijuana industry will no longer be dominated by white middle-class dilettantes looking for a low-stress, way to support their high-consumption lifestyle.

social_disease-horz

When you think about it, these are the people who make Humboldt County attractive and interesting, at least to me, the artists, performers and musicians, the idealistic art history, English and ancient language majors and the disillusioned scientists and engineers who decided they didn’t want to build weapons systems or devise new, environmentally destructive, products. For people like this, growing pot was a way to finance their art or their writing or their political activism, or their other interesting hobbies, without distracting too much from them. The cannabis industry of the future will have no place for these people.

no room for you damob

Instead, the cannabis industry will be dominated by greedy white farmers who know how to grow pot and run a business, but have few, if any, other interests. Greedy white farmers do not attract tourists. If they did, people would flock to Iowa to watch corn grow. Greedy white farmers drain rivers, kill fish and destroy habitat, and they use their political clout to make sure that no one gets in their way. That’s what greedy white farmers do everywhere, and that’s what they intend to do here.

Silly Greedy Farmer

Yes, farming is boring and ugly and no one wants to see it, and the same is true of farmers, but we have something else here in Humboldt County that is worth more than all of the black-market marijuana we’ve grown here in the past, and all of the nuclear caviar we hope to produce in the future, put together. That is natural habitat.

natural habitat humboldt

Natural habitat has become remarkably rare around the world. I mean really rare, not artificially price-controlled, “rare,” but genuinely uncommon, and truly valuable. The Earth has lost half of its natural biodiversity since the first Earth Day, and the primary reason is loss of habitat. If we should treat anything around here like nuclear caviar, it is the natural habitat here in Humboldt County.

habitat loss

People want to see natural habitat, and they want to see it teeming with life.. Natural habitat attracts tourists. Biodiversity attracts tourists. No one will ever figure out how to produce habitat on the cheap and flood the market with biodiversity. Habitat will only become more rare and valuable. Pot, on the other hand, is easy to grow and cheap to produce, and it won’t be long before some state, like Nevada, Texas or Kansas, decides to get out of the way and open up the floodgates to an ocean of cheap cannabis.

habitat disregarded

That will leave us, here in Humboldt County, facing the same decision we face now, but with fewer options, and greatly diminished assets: Do we sacrifice our lives, and the natural habitat we love, in a vain attempt to compete with market forces beyond our control, or do we use our imagination, and learn to do something else, that harmonizes with the natural splendor of this unique place, and works for the kind of people who make up this community, and make this community special.

sohum people-tile


SoHum in August: Come for the Smoke, Stay for the Helicopters

Helicopter-Water-Drop

I love August in Southern Humboldt, triple-digit temperatures, the air hazy and thick with the ever-present smell of smoke and the hellish red tint it lends to the sunlight. Everybody’s nervous, nervous about fire, nervous about water, nervous about fish, nervous about their crop, and nervous about helicopters. Don’t forget the helicopters. Ya gotta love helicopters.

i_love_helicopters

Yes, to see SoHum in all of its glory, come in August. They say sunlight is the best disinfectant, and one August afternoon in Garberville will remind you why. Nothing can survive there. In Garberville, every fiber of your being will tell you that the sun wants to kill you. You will try to accomplish whatever you went there to do, but you will become ever more stressed, fatigued, irritated and confused, by the minute, as the sun steadily beats the shit out of you, until you finally realize you must flee for your life.

flee for your life

For miles around, the forested hills mitigate the harmful effects of solar radiation, but Garberville has the only substantial assemblage of concrete and asphalt in the area, and it concentrates sunlight like a magnifying glass. The locals have cut down damn near every last tree in town to insure maximum solar gain. They really don’t like people hanging around town.

Garberville welcome to buy

The proliferation of wildfires in our area seems like a wet dream for our local merchants. Every cafe and restaurant in town has a cue of at least six clean cut young men in uniform, just the kind of customer they’ve always wanted. Now they’re everywhere. I had to wait in line for lunch behind a whole platoon of regular Army GIs. I don’t think that ever happened to me in Garberville before.

GIs in line

2015 is shaping up to be an exceptional summer for smoke in SoHum. We love smoke in SoHum. As anyone who lives here will tell you, we have the best smoke in the world here in SoHum. Pot smoke, cigarette smoke, diesel exhaust or good ol’ wood smoke, whatever your favorite flavor, we’ve got plenty of it here in SoHum, and we’ll happily set fire to a car, a homeless person or an RV to spice it up for you.

RV-on-fire-350x263

Personally, I really love the smoke. I know it’s killing me, but for some reason I appreciate the air more when I can see it, and I find warm smoky air particularly comforting.  It might remind me of something from my childhood. I vaguely remember that my grandfather smoked a pipe and kept the thermostat too high.

smokes a pipe

Speaking of too high. I love smoking weed so much that I hollowed out my toothbrush, and attached a bowl to it so I can smoke pot while I brush my teeth. That’s how much we love smoke here in SoHum, and we’ve become connoisseurs of the finest smoke. We’ve developed our appreciation for smoke to a high art. We prefer to call ourselves “smokiers,” rather than “smoke snobs,” but it’s just our way of celebrating the pure joy of breathing contaminated air.

breathing apparatus

And nothing compliments the light-headedness that comes from breathing contaminated air on a hot summer day like the ominous reverberations from the incessant beating of rotor blades. Few sounds strike more fear into more hearts around the world than the sound of an approaching helicopter. Locally, decades of conditioning by CAMP have effected us deeply. This year, the choppers are all fighting fires, but they remind us of our PTSD. …all day.

ptsd pot

So, please, visit SoHum in August and you’ll get a warm welcome. You’ll see us at our best, and taste the air when it’s thickest and creamiest.

Firefighters walk under smoke from fires along Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif., Friday, July 31, 2015. A series of wildfires were intensified by dry vegetation, triple-digit temperatures and gusting winds. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)


Red-Tagging Gavin Newsom’s Blue Ribbon Panel

red tag-blue ribbon

Gavin Newsome’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Marijuana Legalization reminded me just how far politicians will go to thwart the will of the people. Lawmakers in Sacramento are still working to undermine Prop 215, almost 20 years after the voters demanded legal access to medical marijuana.

crybaby 215

For decades, corrupt politicians, like Gavin Newsom, have used marijuana prohibition as the iron fist of American fascism at home, because it gives them the green light to use violence against American people with impunity, and allows them to turn American citizens into cheap prison labor. Cannabis prohibition has given a corrupt few, unfair, unreasonable, and unconscionable power over the many, and they’ll only give that power up when we pry it out of their cold dead fingers.

cold dead fingers

They expect that the voters will finally take matters into their own hands in November of 2016, and by initiative, legalize “recreational” use of cannabis for all adults, regardless of their medical “need.” Who knows what this initiative will look like, but everyone knows it’s coming, because the people want their weed, dammit, and we are sick and tired of the oppression. Cannabis prohibition is wrong, and its long history in the US is nothing short of shameful.

shameful

If lawmakers in Sacramento actually worked for the people, cannabis prohibition would have ended decades ago, but they don’t. Politicians work for money. Money can do anything it wants in California. Money can kill people or keep them locked-up for decades for no good reason. Money can destroy habitat and poison the environment. Money can kick poor people in the ribs while they sleep. That’s what money does. Lawmakers in Sacramento get paid to make sure that money has what it needs to get the job done, and for the last three decades, marijuana prohibition has done that job well.

drug slavery

So, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom convened a Blue Ribbon Panel to figure our how to preserve as much of the injustice of prohibition as possible, even in the face of overwhelming public support for complete legalization. Now they’ve issued their recommendations.

obey-recommendations

I didn’t read the report, but I did hear Gavin Newsom himself explaining his panel’s recommendations, and I could hardly believe he could keep a straight face as he read them. He explained that the best way to keep pot out of the hands of children is to keep the price high. He told us that kids don’t have very much money, so if pot is expensive, they’ll be less likely to try it, and they won’t be able to afford as much of it.

I-Cant-Afford-

I guess toy manufacturers, who spend millions of dollars marketing expensive video game consoles to children, didn’t get the memo about kids not having money. I’ll bet there isn’t a single kid an America with a $500 dollar phone and a $100 dollar a month phone plan to go with it. Oh, wait, there’s one. …and another… I suppose adults could be buying all of those rap CDs that glorify violence and drug abuse, but I somehow doubt it, and let’s not forget what a great job high, prohibition-era, marijuana prices did at keeping marijuana out of our schools. How stupid do you think we are, Gavin?

how stupid do you think we are

Imagine if we applied Newsom’s logic to alcohol. As an adult, you would pay $60 for a beer, because no kid would be stupid enough to waste that kind of money on it. Does that sound fair? We don’t price products higher for adults in order to keep them out of the hands of children; we allow licensed retailers to sell the products at fair and competitive prices. That eliminates the unregulated black market, and then we prohibit licensed retailers from selling them to minors. It works for alcohol. It works for tobacco, and it will work for marijuana too.

get carded

Then Newsom tells us that he wants to keep the legal marijuana industry in the hands of the same people who have been selling weed to your kids, at $10 a gram or more, in every high school and Jr. high in America for the last 30 years. Why on Earth would we want to do that, Gavin?

drugs in school

You might think that the black-market marijuana industry is a paragon of ethical business practices. I don’t know why you would think that, except perhaps if you lived on another planet, and got all of your information about Planet Earth from listening to KMUD, but let me tell you, as a lifelong marijuana consumer, who has lived in the heart of the Emerald Triangle for the last 15 years or so, drug dealers lie.

drug dealer shoes

They’ll say anything. You never find out what a drug dealer is really up to until they get busted. That’s when they find the stream diversions, the soil erosion, the thousands of spent butane canisters, the stolen guns, the rat poison, and the banned pesticides. I guess Newsom picked up quite a few campaign checks when he made his visit to Garberville a few months ago. Like I said before, politicians work for money, not people. People should remember, however, that half of the reason to legalize marijuana is to put drug dealers out of business. Here’s why:

why me

Another body turned up last week in Whitethorn. This happens so often that we don’t even blink anymore. In any other rural town of this size, a dead body would be a big deal. Everyone would want to know: Who was he? What happened to him? And especially, Could there be a murderer among us? This would shock most small towns to their core.

body found

Not us. We’re like: “Eh, it was just another kid, from out of the area. Somebody killed him, probably over a pot deal, and yeah, there are murderers among us. What do you expect? We’re fucking drug dealers! Do you want us to drive the economy or what?”

walk in the woods

Sure, marijuana is safe and effective, but drug dealers are dangerous, dishonest criminals who don’t care how many people people get killed, how much habitat gets destroyed or whose hands their product ends up in, so long as they get paid. They’re a lot like politicians in that way. They warn us that unless we protect their interests, the legal marijuana industry could end up in the hands of big tobacco companies. Honestly, could tobacco company executives really be any more callous? I don’t think so.

you think so

Despite the murders, despite the fact that dope yuppies are rapidly turning the last wild habitat in the continental US into industrial wasteland, Gavin Newsome, and his dope yuppie supporters here in Humboldt County tell us that we, as pot smokers, who have done the work to legalize marijuana, without any help at all from the legislature, or drug dealers, for that matter, should now be forced to pay a premium price to subsidize the greedy drug dealers who have ripped us off for decades.

pokemon_drug dealers rip_off_

I guess Humboldt’s dope yuppies are some of the few people left who have enough money to buy politicians these days, but still, watching Gavin Newsom suck-up to Humboldt County’s Drug War profiteers shows us just how craven he really is. Maybe California needs a Republican governor in this next election. I’m really sick of Big Government wedging itself between me and my marijuana. If greedy, drug dealing, forest raping dope yuppies can buy Newsom, I don’t see how a Republican could do any worse.

dope yuppie -kiss1


Information On the Internet, Always Consider the Source.

consider the source

I hear a lot of people lament the enormous quantity of questionably researched, grossly speculative and patently false information posted on the internet, as though “quality of information” were the primary obstacle to making “smart decisions.” If you ask me, people don’t make bad decisions because they lack information. People make bad decisions because they lack courage and imagination. The blather they see on the internet distracts them from this fundamental truth, and that’s why they spend so much time looking at useless information on line.

useless websites

I’m not saying that the internet is a terrible thing. The internet is a terrible thing, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about information, now. Long before we had the internet, we had information. The problem with information, is that it is always, “in formation.” The truth never appears “in formation.” There’s always more to the truth than can fit “in formation.” Besides that, information only appears “in formation” because it has an agenda. Reality doesn’t become information without the intentional efforts of someone with at least a point of view, if not a scheme, and information always conceals at least as much as it reveals.

hide and conceal

The problems of information becomes compounded on the internet, because, with the internet, we increasingly replace reality with information, and increasingly, information becomes our most familiar environment. None of what you see on the internet is real or true. At best, what you see on the internet reflects reality, but not without distortion, and the distortion generally reflects the dominant misconceptions of our times. In other words, the internet reflects a view of the world, not as it is, but as the least imaginative among us, imagine it to be.

Of all the rabbits on Furbal Street, Lester was the least imaginative.

Personally, I don’t think we have a problem with good information vs bad information, I think we have entirely too much information, and we make dumber and dumber decisions all the time. In this avalanche of information, collectively, we are losing our grip on reality. Nothing makes sense anymore. You can’t trust anything you read, and everything is more complicated, and way weirder, than you can imagine. That’s the truth, but here are a couple of examples.

thats the truth

I bought a pair of shoes online. I had lots of “good” information” about the shoes. I knew how much they sold for in six other stores. I knew who made them, where they were made, and what they were made from. All of this information came from reliable sources. Most of it was verified by multiple sites. When I placed my order, I knew I had found the right shoe at the right price. Of course, when they arrived, they fit poorly and hurt my feet.

feet hurt

I had plenty of information about the shoes, good reliable information, convincing information, in fact. That is one big problem with information on the internet. Most of the solid, reliable, truthful information that you find on the internet, has no other purpose than to convince you to do something stupid, like buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first. Sometimes the devil is in the details, but sometimes the details just serve to distract you from the stupidity of the whole idea.

school is stupid

We should never forget that the “whole idea” behind the internet was to insure that the people in control of the US strategic nuclear weapons arsenal, and the rest of the US military, can send and receive coded commands from anywhere in the world, via a ridiculously redundant, high-speed computer network, mostly paid-for by the private sector. If that’s why we have the internet in the first place, how good can any of the information on it really be?

nuclear-casino-tile

On the other hand, before you knock the wacko, tinfoil hat wearing, conspiracy theorists you find online, consider this:

tin foil hat wearing crackpot

At the moment, I’m building a modular analog synthesizer, from scratch, at home, in my spare time. If you’ve never heard of such a thing, a modular analog synthesizer is a kind of electronic musical instrument. The original Moog synthesizer was a modular analog synthesizer.

Mine won't be this big.

Mine won’t be this big.

In essence, a modular analog synthesizer is a collection of electronic circuits that either produce an audio signal, or change an audio signal in some way, all mounted in a box so that you can easily configure them any way you like.

mine won't be this fancy

mine won’t be this fancy

There are thousands of different circuits that produce or change an audio signal. The process of building a modular analog synthesizer involves building a collection of these circuits that will work together to create the palette of sounds that you want to hear. To build the circuit, it helps to have a schematic.

circuit_diagram

This is exactly the kind of project where the internet can be enormously helpful. I found thousands of schematics online. However, one of the circuits I want in my synthesizer is a white noise generator. White noise sounds like the wind when it’s filtered properly. It also adds breathiness to flute-like sounds and can even replace a snare drum hit when it’s gated right. I found about a dozen schematics for white noise generators online.

white noise-tile

Several of these schematics came from very reliable sources, including colleges and universities. Apparently a lot of students have been assigned the task of building a white noise generator, which they use later in the semester as a piece of test equipment. Unfortunately, none of the white noise schematics I downloaded from these prestigious sources, worked, when I built them on a breadboard.

breadboard frustration

These were not complicated circuits. I know I had them wired exactly as shown on the schematic. I tried five different noise circuits, five different ways, and I could not get one of them to make a speaker go “Hisssssss.” like it was supposed to. Frustrated, I went back to the internet to look for some more schematics, and I found this one.

white noise plan

This is the only white noise circuit I’ve seen that uses an LM386 audio amplifier chip. That caught my attention because I’m familiar with the LM386, and just happened to have one lying around. I used one as the on-board amplifier on my “record-breaking guitar,” and lots of electronic toys use them because they are loud little amplifiers for their size.

lm386

The LM386 is a little noisy for a lot of musical applications, but for this particular one, noise is what we’re after, so I built it on the breadboard, and it worked. I was thrilled! I tweaked the design a bit to suit my application (mine will be the only white noise generator I’ve seen with “overdrive”). Once I had the noise circuit working the way I like it, I soldered it together on a piece of circuit-board.

circuit board

I found that schematic by doing a Google “image” search. Google presented me with a page full of schematics, completely removed from the context into which they had been placed. Ecstatic to have finally completed a working noise generator, I became idly curious about why the designer of this circuit showed it connecting to a radio antenna rather than a speaker or an amplifier, so I visited the page where the image originated.

white noise plan red wire

As I read the text on the page I discovered the reason why the designer of this circuit chose to attach a radio antenna to a circuit built for the audio frequency range.  He observed that when he attached a loop antenna, instead of a speaker to this device, the white noise generator caused interference on his radio, throughout the AM band. He then reasoned, rightly, I think, that if this audio circuit caused interference to an AM radio signal, it must produce white noise that extends well beyond the audio frequency range, and that the LM386 must be capable of amplifying signals at frequencies far above those of normal human hearing, and well into the radio frequency range, something I did not know.

bro i didnt know

He installed this device in his home, attached to a large radio antenna, to scramble the Very Low Frequency and Low Frequency radio waves that he believes are being used, against his will, to reprogram his mind.

electronic_mind_control

Apparently, a lot of people believe that radio waves can be used in this way, and that someone, or something, is using radio waves in ways that cause some people a lot of psychic distress. Some of these people line their walls and ceiling with foil, or wear tinfoil hats to block these unwanted signals. This syndrome is so common that it has become a stereotype, even an archetype. Who hasn’t heard of the tinfoil-hat-wearing crackpot?

tin-foil-hat_

This man chose a more rational, science-based approach to the problem of unwanted radio-waves than Reynolds Wrap, and instead, designed and built a very clever, original, device from common, easy to find parts. Myself, I’ve never met a radio-wave I didn’t like, and have never experienced the problems these unfortunate people describe, but I can attest to the fact that his machine really works.

hey it works

If I had read his web page first, I probably would not have built the machine, but because I built his machine first, and it worked, I think he’s a pretty bright guy, and consider him a reliable source for technical information. After all, he solved my problem and taught me a thing or two about electronics in the process. If you, or anyone you know experiences distress caused by Low Frequency or Very Low Frequency radio waves, I recommend you try his device.

acoustic heterodyne mind control-tile

So, the next time you find yourself deriding the veracity of information you find on the internet, remember that the truth is stranger than you think, crazy people aren’t necessarily stupid.  Then ask yourself what the hell you are doing online.

what the hell are you doing1


A Milestone, Not a Millstone

milestone millstone

According to WordPress, this is the 400th post here at lygsbtd. I may not always be funny, but at least I’m persistent. In fact, it’s been so long since this blog was funny that people have begun to take me seriously. I appreciate the attention that my recent guest editorials at LOCO have brought me and my little endeavor here, but I’ve written better posts.

best book ever

Two Sohums comes to mind as a recent example of what I wish I had for you every week, or maybe Drugs and Razors Don’t Mix or perhaps New Cannabis Strains for 2014. I know there’s a really funny book about SoHum buried in here, and I should dig it out, polish it up, and find someone to publish it. Instead, week after week, I keep racking my brains to come up with something new, to keep you coming back for more.

come back for more

Until now. Today, in honor of my 400th post here at lygsbtd, I say, “To hell with my regular readers, I need a week off!” by presenting to you this rerun of a funny post from a while back.

A Summertime Tour of Garberville, CA

garberville welcome

Well it’s summertime in Garberville again, which means it’s hot enough that you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, if you don’t mind a little dog-doo and a few cigarette butts in it. Still, it’s the best deal you are likely to find on breakfast in Garberville, so bring a spatula. Yes summertime is the time of year where tourists flock to SoHum in droves to see the highest priced gasoline in the entire country.

gas prices

Tourists often find our local culture just a little odd, and you can see the puzzlement on their faces as they wander the streets wondering: “Does everyone in this town smoke cigarettes?”, “Why, of all of the dog breeds in the world, does everyone here have a pit bull?”, “How come every single parking space in town is full, but all of the stores are empty?”, “Did all of these people come to Garberville just to stand on the sidewalk and smoke?”

smoker a lot

I wonder these things myself sometimes, but I know that there’s more to Garberville than brand new pickup trucks, second-hand smoke, and ugly, ill-mannered dogs. No, there’s something special about Garberville that you just don’t find everywhere, at least you won’t find it anywhere between Willitts and Eureka. . That is, a bathroom. Since Garberville is the only town with services between Willitts, about a hundred miles South of Garberville, and Eureka, about seventy miles North, damn near everyone going North or South has to stop in Garberville or risk kidney failure.

restroom

Yes, Garberville comes as blessed relief for many road weary travelers, and since every bathroom in Garberville is clearly marked “For Customers Only”, they all feel obligated to spend a dollar or two while they are here, even if they had the good sense to fill-up in Willitts, and know that gas will be at least a few cents cheaper in Eureka.

customers only

But Garberville is so much more than a key chained to a foot and a half long piece of PVC pipe that is teeming with bacteria. While you are here, you might as well see the sights, and experience the historical significance, aesthetic highlights and cultural diversity that makes Garberville so unique.

garberville theatre

First on our tour, close to the center of Garberville, just West of the only stop sign in town, you’ll find the historic Cadillac Wok Chinese Restaurant. The Cadillac Wok has been open for more than fifty years at that same location, and so far as I know, no one has ever eaten there. Perhaps you’ll be the first.

cadillac wok

Just across the street from Cadillac Wok, you’ll see the Garberville Post Office. These have become increasingly scarce in Humboldt County, and who knows how long the one in Garberville will remain open, but most days you can still stand in line behind dreadlocked twentysomethings buying multiple thousand dollar money orders with stacks of ragged bills, just like in the old days.

Uniden Digital Camera

Cut through the back parking lot of the Post Office, and you’ll see what remains of the last full-service gas station in town. Ironically, the old Ed’s Full-Serve was closed down because its restroom failed to meet specifications of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The station closed despite the fact that many disabled Americans really appreciated the service of having someone pump gas for them.

full service gas

Across the street from the old gas station, you’ll see one the the most popular skate boarding spots in Garberville. You can find the shredded kneecap skin of dozens of local youths embedded in the concrete there, just under the retaining wall at the end of the long sloping parking lot belonging to the Sentry grocery store.

road rash

Just North of the skateboarding wall, you will see a windmill, and metal sculpture of a horse, directly beneath the windmill, you will find a barrel full of water that the windmill circulates.

windmill

If you stare into that barrel long enough, you will see golden coy fish swimming in it. They say nothing’s easier than shooting fish in a barrel. Don’t try it, those fish are armed, but they won’t mess with you if you don’t mess with them.

shoot fish

The horse sculpture and windmill stand next to a coffee kiosk called Geddy Up. The interesting thing about Geddy Up is that the floor on the inside of the kiosk is significantly higher than the sidewalk outside. Because of this, when you order coffee there, you find yourself talking directly to the belly button of the attractive young female barista inside, who is always wearing low rise jeans and a halter top. Maybe that’s why it’s called Geddy Up. The belly buttons make good coffee, but that’s mostly beside the point.

barista belly

Just a half a block North of the coffee bellys, you’ll find a man with dark hair, glasses and mustache smoking a cigarette. He’s been there as long as I can remember. He occasionally says “Hi”, and he’s always smoking.

smoking man

Just downwind from the smoking man, you’ll find Garberville’s newest eatery: The Healthy Choice, a great place to grab a salad or smoothy while you enjoy all of that second-hand smoke.

second hand smoke

A little way North of the smoking man, you will come to The Hemp Connection. Here you’ll find the latest hemp fashions, smoking accessories, and the latest issue of High Times magazine. You’ll also find another smoking man, 4:20 Dave. Somehow, I find his smoke much less offensive.

hemp-connection

Continuing North on Redwood Drive, you’ll pass the North Valley Bank. This bank is significant because every dog in Garberville relieves itself on this stretch of sidewalk. The bank has posted little doggie doo bags, and signs encouraging people to clean up after their dog, but mostly the signs distract pedestrians who read the clever signs, and then step right into a steaming pile.

dog sign

Across the street from the steaming pile, you will see the Town Clock. Beneath the clock, you will find The Town Clock Square. Town Clock Square contains a shop where you can get a hoodie that says “Humboldt” on it, another shop to buy smoking accessories, and a place where you can get a haircut while you shop for a gun.

gun and barber

North of town Clock Square, past the Garberville Theatre, you’ll come to The Branding Iron Saloon, which features Lotto drawings every five minutes and a pole where local women practice their pole dancing skills. The Branding Iron Saloon is a place for serious drinkers, but the pole is strictly for amateurs.

amateur pole dancing

Beyond the Branding Iron Saloon, at the far North end of town, you will find the only patch of shade in all of Garberville, in a controversial patch of greenery known as the Demulling Memorial Grove. Because the Demulling Memorial Grove is the only green and shady place in town, people tend to congregate there. Because people tend to congregate there, many people want it shut down.

demulling veterans park

Just South of town Clock Square, you’re back at gas station alley. Whether you choose Shell, Chevron, or Union 76, you can rest assured that you are getting the most expensive gasoline that you’ll find anywhere in America.

high gas prices

I hope you enjoy your visit to Garberville, and come again soon.


Make it to The Makers Fair This Weekend

5th Annual Humboldt Makers Fair, Saturday August 1, Old Town Eureka

humboldt makers fair

This Saturday, August 1st, I’ll perform at the 5th annual Humboldt Makers Fair.  This event celebrates Humboldt’s DIY culture and creative self-expression.  The streets will be lined with booths for local artists and craftspersons to show off their talent and sell their unique products.  The festival also includes entertainment on two stages.

humboldt makers fair

I will begin the entertainment with a performance on electric didgeridoo….

photo credit bob doran

Photo by Bob Doran

 from 12 noon to 1pm in front of the Romano Gabriel exhibit on 2nd St.

romano-gabriel-wooden-sculpture-garden-

and then I’ll play again, from 2-3pm in front of the Gazebo in Old Town Eureka.

gazebo old town

I’ll scare the pigeons away

You can also hear Dogbone,

dogbone

Cliff Dallas and the Death Valley Troubadors,

cliff dallas dvt

Kindred Spirits

kindred spirits

The John David Young Conspiracy,

john david young conspiracy

Companion Animal,

companion animal

…and many more.

I hope to see you there.


SoHum’s Post-War Potential

war potential

Some people will tell you that the people of Southern Humboldt are too stupid to do anything but rape the environment, deal drugs, or both. I’m not one of those people. Despite our inglorious legacy, we have a lot to be proud of in our past, and we have a lot of potential for the future, but we have a lot of work to do right now to get there.

dealing with loss

Change is coming. It’s happening as we speak. As the War on Drugs comes to an end, the cannabis industry will undoubtedly go through dramatic upheaval. We should expect difficulties and challenges we’ve never faced before, and we should expect that these challenges will be made more challenging because of what the War on Drugs has done to us as a community.

after the war

The War on Drugs has done terrible things to this community, and, like soldiers returning from war, we won’t know how profoundly the War on Drugs has affected us, until it is really over. Some of us may find successful careers in the post-war cannabis industry, but we’re all still bleeding from wounds we got from thirty years of the War on Drugs, and a lot of people around here simply cannot imagine any other way to live.

cant imagine living without

Humboldt County may or may not own the future of the cannabis industry, but we do own the War on Drugs. No one can take that away from us. What Lexington and Concord are to the American Revolution; what Gettysburg is to the American Civil War, Humboldt County is to the War on Drugs.

war hero1

The War on Drugs lasted for more than 30 years, and you would be hard pressed to find a community anywhere in the US on whom the War on Drugs has had a more dramatic and lasting effect. No one likes to dwell on anything so terrible as war, but people die in them, people suffer through them, and they define people’s lives. We shouldn’t just try to brush it under the rug.

sweep_under_rug_xlarge

The War on Drugs has affected us all. We need to understand what happened to us in the War on Drugs more than anyone else. We need to understand how the War on Drugs impacted this community, and how it effected the whole country. We need that understanding this to heal ourselves. If we can find that healing for our own community, we can offer it to the millions of survivors carrying trauma from the War on Drugs.

traumatized

Seriously. A Drug War Museum. It should have a plaque or something with the name of every American who died in the War on Drugs. Make it a place where Drug War Vets can be honored for the time they served… in jail. Tell the story of what happened to this community, honestly, but make it a compelling narrative, and don’t skimp on the details. Honor the herb, and honor the people who risked their lives in a war zone to keep America high during the War on Drugs. I’m not kidding. That is our claim to fame, as a community, and it’s our wisdom to share.

Wounds Into Wisdom_0A

Take tourists on day-hikes that simulate the treks guerrilla growers had to make deep into the woods to tend their hidden patches. Have exhibits showing some of the sneaky tricks people used to hide their plants. Make each tourist carry a sack of chicken manure in their backpack for the whole hike, and hide some speakers in the woods that intermittently play the sounds of helicopters, to simulate an impending CAMP raid, for added realism . Show people what it was like here.

Marijuana raid w/ helicopter

A trip to Southern Humboldt could become a therapeutic part of healing the traumas inflicted by the War on Drugs. When people come here, we should remind them that there’s nothing wrong with consuming cannabis, but that the War on Drugs is a crime against humanity that has taken a toll on all of us. We should show the War on Drugs for what it is: a dark chapter in American History that must never be forgotten because it must never be repeated.

war never again

Garberville should become the place where people come to heal the wounds of the War on Drugs, but we can also make Garberville a place to explore the healing powers of cannabis as medicine. We have a strong community of healers here who already have a lot of experience with cannabis as medicine. I imagine that we’ve barely scratched the surface of cannabis’ many therapeutic uses, and that the potential for new products, therapies and treatments involving cannabis is huge. Look, cannabis feels good. Feeling good is good for you. Therefore cannabis is good for you. If you ask me, that’s all the recommendation anyone needs to enjoy cannabis. Now that cannabis is going to be legal, and cheap, let’s see how many imaginative new ways we can find to use it.

cannabis -tile

Cannabis is not wine. It is not a decadent luxury for the well-to-do. Cannabis is medicine. Cannabis is tonic. Cannabis is good for you. That’s why everyone needs cannabis. We can’t possibly grow enough cannabis here for everyone, and we shouldn’t even try, but we can dream up new ways to use it, and we can use it to heal ourselves, our economy, and our community from the traumas inflicted by the War on Drugs.

cannabis is my medicine


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