archives greymatter top

powazek productions
{ personal log }


Last night, for some reason, I dreamed of pot. I wasn't smoking it or anything. Just fiddling with it. Not that I've ever fiddled with pot, of course.

Then this morning I wake up and I realize it's four-twenty. And all the memories came rushing back.


Four-twenty. Supposedly it's the number of active elements in marijuana. Or the criminal code for possession. I think all that's all just urban legend material. All I know is that on April 20th, back when I was in college at Santa Cruz, it was a very special day.

I remember one April 20th when I was hitchhiking up Bay Street to campus. A VW van picked me up and a blue cloud rolled out when the door opened. "Happy four-twenty, said the driver, handing me a joint. It could have been 1969, but it wasn't. It was 1992. Santa Cruz was like that.

I can't remember Santa Cruz without thinking about the Fish Rap – a gonzo alternative newspaper I worked on in college. Hell, my UCSC career was basically devoted to the Fish Rap. I started as a photographer. Then photo editor. Then senior editor. Then editor emeritus. Then I had to graduate.

It was the Fish Rap that put me on the road that lead me here. I bought my first Mac so I could learn PageMaker to design the paper. I taught myself about layout and editorial. I learned how to manage a staff of crazies. But most of all, I learned that anything was possible. I learned that a bunch of stoners with macs could create a newspaper that was every bit as real as the ones in the newspaper racks that seemed to appear there by magic in the night. I learned that everything, the whole world, had been created the same way – by people too inspired (or too stupid) to let anything stand in their way.

And remembering the newspaper, today, on four-twenty, made me remember Doctor Harry Buds. Half a spoof on the Good Doctor Hunter S. Thompson, and half an actual agricultural guide, the good doctor wrote a biweekly marijuana advice column for the Fish Rap. The "Dormitory Doobage" series was especially groundbreaking.

The true identity of Harry Buds is a well-guarded secret to this day. But I can tell you that the good doctor, later in life, became especially inspired by carnivorous marine mollusks.

So I'm sitting here on this rainy Friday, in an apartment in San Francisco, almost ten years later, looking out over the rooftops of the city. And I'm wondering if ten years really is a long time or not. I'm wondering if this is the kind of melancholic nostalgia that old people feel.

Which, of course, brought me to Google. All it took was one search to bring it all back. The original Fish Rap web pages are, amazingly, still online, time-stamped: "Last updated: May 22, 1995 at 12:16 AM." It's all there. Doctor Harry Buds. The Founding Flounders. And all the people I called my friends and heroes when I was a young, stupid, inspired college muckraker.

Happy four-twenty to all the stoners, dreamers, and crazies out there. You're going to change the world, you know. Like my friend Jodi's sig file used to say:

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For indeed, that's all who ever have."
Margaret Mead

{ 4:05pm }



» Derek,

I read some of the old Fish Rap stuff in your old website...which left me wondering what happened with one of the stories you wrote -

Did the Jewish Studies course ever get an E credit? I hope so. I'd hate to think a study of Irish literature (Joyce, Yeats etc etc) wouldn't get an E credit.

Tom Cosgrave  { 4.20.01 @ 7:36pm }

» Tom - I don't think so. And I bet an Irish lit course wouldn't do the trick either. We're too white for pc Santa Cruz. ;-)

And for anyone who's interested, a lot of my old Fish Rap stories are archived here.

dmp  { 4.20.01 @ 7:51pm }

» :) Happy Day, Derek!

My friends are getting married tomorrow (well, it's today, now) and everyone was sitting at the rehearsal dinner tonight, just hanging out, drinking, laughing.

It was cool, and what was even cooler is that many people there were friends of mine from high school. I've known most of them for at least fifteen years; we've all gone from drunken slam-dancing in purple fishnets to talking about houses and children.

Scary, quite. But also good.

Ten years is an eternity, but it's also a blink of an eye. Here's to another decade, sweetie. :)

roe  { 4.20.01 @ 9:49pm }

» Your story brought back a series of odd, gentle moments shared with smiling, stoned friends. A 2 a.m. breakfast. A case of the giggles. A friend playing his guitar. A midnight ride on the handlebars of my boyfriend's bike.

I don't need the drugs anymore, but I'd revisit those moments in a heartbeat.

– michele  { 4.20.01 @ 9:53pm }

» as a current dorm resident, fourtwenty is quite the holiday. walking down the halls yesterday, i could smell the pot leaking out from under the majority of the doors and it made me think about how lucky we are. we're a bunch of over-privlidged kids with nothing better to do than to celebrate a holiday that is nothing more than getting stoned.

yes, we're so lucky.

amanda  { 4.21.01 @ 5:39am }


« before     { current }     after »

{ news }
» Goodbye old friend.

» Don't miss the photos and audio from Fray Cafe 2.

» Psst. Hey kid. Wanna buy some swag?

{ me.elsewhere }
  My snail tracks on the web.
» DfC profile
» New Riders profile
» Amazon wish list
» {fray} is page
» Mirror Project pics
» FilePile profile
{ new in dfc }
  Gaming the system: How moderation tools can backfire
Sometimes all the widgets backfire, encouraging the very behavior they're designed to avert. The rules have a dangerous side-effect: they create a game.
{ new in fray }
  "I wanted to spend the 4th with someone who always knew the way back home."

Counting Flags by Kevin Smokler.
{ new in sfstories }
  the slow glimmering descent
I've been watching fireworks there for years, but last night was different. And not just because it was clear.
{ new in fray org }
  fray day 6
Fray Day 6 is coming to cities all over the world on September 14, 2002. Come tell your story.
{ see also }