Always a marijuana smoker and a gadget fan, I was instantly attracted to the Proto Pipe. The ultimate pot smokers’ pocket “tool”, the Proto Pipe represents the perfect marriage of functionality and design.
I first saw the “ad” for the Proto Pipe in Dr Atomic’s Pipe and Dope Book, an underground comic by Larry Todd, creator of “Dr Atomic”. I knew I had to have one of my own. I got a postal money order, sent it off to Willits, CA and anxiously waited for my Proto.
When the package finally arrived, I was sent a notice to pick it up at the Post Office. Uh Oh. The “Feds” knew there was a marijuana pipe in the box. I was freaking out.
Keep in mind this was 1977. Drug paraphernalia was as illegal as the drugs themselves. I was stressing out over picking up the package. I gathered up all my courage and went in.
As it turned out, there was a COD charge (I could’ve figured that out if I read the pick up notice.) Apparently the Protopipe price had increased since the 1975 release date of the comic book ad. I paid the extra three bucks and grabbed my treasure.
The Proto Pipe was even better than I imagined. I was so elated with my purchase, I immediately bought a dozen more. The Proto Pipe company set up their own distribution system by giving deep discounts on multiple purchases. I received my dozen and sold them out in a day. I sold so many Proto Pipes that year, it seemed everybody had one. I was also the source for spare parts as most stoners lost the poker within a week.
I had 2 Proto Pipes for nearly 40 years, using one almost daily and the other put away as a spare. In 2014, I had one taken from me after a friend went through a stop sign without stopping. The police pulled us over, my friend was arrested for an outstanding warrant and I lost my beloved Protopipe. I also received a $100 fine for possession. One of the police officers was training another. He picked up the Proto and described it to the younger officer as a “one hitter”. I scoffed inwardly. My Proto Pipe was nearly twice the age of that policeman. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut and not correct the officer.
Today, a genuine Proto Pipe can only be found on eBay or other “collector” sites. You will pay well over $100 for an original. There are a couple of copies out there but nothing will replace the Proto Pipe manufactured in Willits, California.
Shortly after setting the plants in, I went back to the grow store and purchased 6 square pots, soil and earthworm casings. I could have saved a few bucks and gone to the big box garden store but I wanted to throw my cash at this store to support this new and growing industry. Additionally, I find the staff really know about growing cannabis and were quick to answer my many newbie questions. I didn’t go overboard on the nutrients for my first grow. I felt the soil mix I put together would get them through at the start.
Four of these plants were started from “random” seeds I had lying around. The other two are clones I received at the 420 celebration in Natick. I failed to take care of the seedlings at the very start by constantly moving and hiding them, completely messing up their “light cycle”. In fact, 3 of the plants started to bud out. I nipped the buds off and hoped for the best.
At first I don’t believe I watered the little ones enough. I was so certain that I would drown the seedlings that I was way too stingy with the water. Then I picked up the pots and realized just how light they were and I then started to soak them good. It seemed to pay off as growth accelerated in only 2 days.
There’s a lot to be said about reading instructions… I figured out I had set the lighting incorrectly. For nearly a week the LED lights were on 24 hours a day. Not what I wanted. I was going for 18 – 6 for the light/dark phases. I fixed my error and it seems the plants are back on track.
I’ve enjoyed the growing experience so far. I’ve got so much to learn and a long way to go, but I’m hooked now. I just hope I can see this through successfully as there are so many challenges ahead: pests, fertilizer, flowering, harvesting, curing… I will keep these post going so that you may follow my progress… I am open to suggestions, questions and encouragement!
I discovered comic books after I discovered weed. I was already 15 when I picked up my first comic book. It wasn’t Marvel or DC or any super hero title. I wouldn’t start reading those until much later. It was the underground comics that caught my eye.
Fat Freddy and Scottman were part of our “stoner gang”. Scottman was forever trying to get me into comic books and Freddy would nod vigorously in agreement. I always declined, dismissing them as “kids stuff”. Then Scottman handed me a copy of a comic book that seemed to glorify our very lifestyle. When I read that first copy of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, my life of smoking weed and doing drugs was validated.
The Freak Brothers were created by Gilbert Shelton in the late sixties. Featured in underground newspapers, Playboy and High Times, the comic is still being reprinted and sold in comic shops and on-line. Gilbert Shelton is also the genius behind another underground comic classic, Wonder Warthog.
We were in a frenzy to read every single issue. At the time, there were still new episodes being released. We would take the T into Boston and see what new “underground” comics were available at Newbury Comics (back then the only store location was on Newbury Street).
The Freak Brothers had seeped so deeply into our lifestyle that we “became” the characters from those pages. Fat Freddy, of course, was instantly recognizable from the group. He adopted the very essence of Fat Freddy in every way. It was hard to tell the real Fat Freddy from the fictional Fat Freddy. One time, Fat Freddy iced up some nasty bongwater and chugged it down. Such a Fat Freddy thing to do. As for me… I became the somewhat obscure character: Skinny Benny.
Police Officers became “Norberts” after the character “Notorious Norbert The Narc”, a bumbling officer always looking to bust the “Brothers”. Any weed dealer was “Dealer McDope”, all beer was “Tall Toad”, large campers were “Phutney Creech Landyachts”. I could go on but I think you get the point. Gilbert Shelton and the Freak Brothers were also the source of that favorite sound effect used when describing all manner of destruction: “Fagroon“.
I’ve always felt the Freak Brothers would be great as a movie. In fact, there have been multiple attempts to produce one. A stop action, puppet-style production was started but never finished. There was even a Kickstarter campaign to get it funded but it fell short. I hold on to the hope that a Hollywood stoner will write the perfect Freak Brothers movie script.
As I stated, the Freak Brothers are still in print and available from a bunch of places on the internet. Of course, you can just read them on-line but nothing beats the feeling of a printed book in one’s hands. May I suggest you just go for the whole deal and pick up the The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Omnibus, the ultimate collection of Freak Brothers comic strips with all the necessary “Fat Freddy’s Cat” footers included.
Here’s some Freak Brothers links to get you started:
I don’t do record reviews.
I believe they are pointless. You either like a piece of music or you don’t.
With that said, I have no problems suggesting music. You’ll either like it or you won’t. But in case you might, I suggest the latest Los Straitjackets album.
Nick Lowe is an artist with an endless list of collaborations and covered classics. You know him from his hit “Cruel To Be Kind”. It is a shame that song has defined this guy, because the discography of Nick Lowe is a musical treasure. He is the genius behind the song: “What’s So Funny About Peace Love And Understanding” sung by Elvis Costello, for example. Listen to Nick Lowe and I expect you will be pleasantly surprised. Start with the 1970’s band Brinsley Schwartz and work through Nick’s vast collection of music.
Los Straitjackets are an instrumental band with a Rockabilly meets Surf kinda sound. Around in various forms since 1988, Los Straitjackets are from Nashville and are easily recognized by their suits and Mexican wrestling masks. The band toured with Nick in 2015 and the rest is history. The result is a fun collection of Nick’s awesomeness served up in a hip guitar strewn tidal wave of sound.
The new album: “What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Los Straitjackets” and much of Nick Lowe’s music can be found at: Yep Roc Records.
Welcome to Tuesday. It’s Tokermon time.
This week we introduce Stinky. This is a Tokermon you don’t wanna meet. As the name states, Stinky has an odor. A bad odor. It has been well documented that Stinky poops quite a bit. You’ll find stinky in the corner or your grow area doing his business. Naaasty.
Yup, I’m taking the plunge.
After the 420 Independence Party in Natick last week, I was motivated to make a grow box happen. A combination of a nutrient raffle prize and the gift of two cannabis clones, I felt it was time to start growing.
I had hoarded a cabinet last century that has been sitting in the basement waiting for this opportunity. At 3 feet by 2 feet and 3 feet tall, it was going to be a smaller grow box but I feel it will be enough to “get my feet wet”. The first 2 steps: paint the inside and buy the gear to get this grow box built.
The inside (and outside) of the cabinet is a black laminate. I used a can of Kilz white to mask over the black then I followed up with a coat of ceiling white. I felt that a flat white paint would be the easiest to apply and good for an even reflection of the grow light.
The next step was to visit my local grow store. I am lucky to have a great grow store the next town over from me. HTG Supply is one of the fastest growing indoor gardening suppliers in the United States with over 16 stores, mostly in the East. These are no-nonsense grow shops with all you would ever need to grow weed. I made the decision to go with soil over hydroponics. HTG Supply has all the stuff for both types of growing.
Here’s the list of all the stuff I bought from the grow store:
- LED Light – 7 Band 2.1 “2 Pod”
- 4″ GrowBright High Velocity Inline Fan
- Growbright 4″ Carbon Filter
- 120V Dual outlet timer
- 4″ Metal Bracket Flange
When I was out, I picked up a 4″ rubber duct connector, a thin rear dryer duct and a 4″ hole saw. The wood I was cutting was a very dense particle board. I got the wrong type of hole cutter yet I persisted and bored 2 holes in the cabinet. The inlet will be at the bottom and the outlet will be the hole at the top, assisted with the fan. I hope placing the holes apart as I have will maximize the airflow.
Now it was time to mount the fan. I paid extra care here and mounted the unit super secure. When I cut the holes in the box, I made sure there was enough clearance to fit the motor/fan assembly.
On the outside of the box I mounted a “triple” outlet I had lying around and pushed it inside a hole I drilled through. A glob of hot glue and some adhesive pads and the plug is secure. I added a vent flourish for the exhaust hole because it was cheap and it looked cool. On the other side of the plug, on the inside, I plugged in the timer. Now it was time to mount the LED light bank.
The LED lights are in an easy to handle box assembly. It features convenient tabs to clip a hanging cable. I drilled 4 holes in the top of the unit, pulled the mounting cables through and clipped them together. Couldn’t have been easier. I can raise and lower the LED light box by adjusting the cables from the top of the grow box.
I added the carbon filter to the inline fan using the rubber connector. I made a support bracket from some aluminum I had bent around the filter and mounted to the inside top of the grow box. The inside was shaping up. I used some duct tape to work on some of the “light leaks”, especially around the intake venting. I will tighten up the rest as I see them.
It was time to bring the green children to their new home…
…to be continued.