Is FriendlyChemist my friendly neighbor?

The question is prompted by this post on Gawker, where I suddenly can’t comment anymore. Interesting; is this banning #7? Well, if it is, that’s the LAST time I try to add value to one of Adrian‘s posts. Anyhoodle, here are my thoughts on whether this Silk Road user and extortionist FriendlyChemist is a neighbor of mine in White Rock, BC.

FriendlyChemist, according to the article, threatened to out a list of online drug exchange Silk Road’s users, although whether he had actual addresses and real names or just usernames and PO Boxes is unclear. In response, Dread Pirate Roberts, the head of Silk Road, hired another user to kill him; the user reportedly sent back photos proving the deed, although the RCMP say no way was there a gory drug murder in White Rock. Is he really dead? Probably not; he probably posed for some pix and then split the money with the guy DPR (allegedly) hired to kill him. No honour among thieves and all that. If they’re in the drug business and they’re not using, they’re in it because they’re greedy; this is too good an opportunity to cash in for a businessman to pass up.

That’s the US you’re looking at there, Point Roberts to be specific. So if you’re an athlete, you can actually SWIM to the US.

Some background:  White Rock is walking distance to the US border. There’s a border crossing with guards and everything, but you walk not far east and you can just walk into the US with no problems. Blaine, on the other side of the border, does a HUGE business with mailboxes for Canadians, who like to order from US sites and get delivery to the US and thus avoid all kinds of taxes, duty, and shipping fees. It is a major, MAJOR smuggling point and also a lovely, upscale retirement community.

White Rock Sunset

White Rock Sunset

Does anything go in the other direction? You bet! The Bacon Brothers, Canada’s most notorious drug lords, are based out of Surrey, which is literally across the street from White Rock. Not too long ago they shut down a helicopter flight training school which was just a front for pot deliveries from nearby Harrison Hot Springs  (also lovely: come for the views, stay for the contraband!). And the Guardian famously profiled a commercial truck driver who smuggled pot over the border at the official truck border crossing nearby.

Could a major drug manufacturer be based out of White Rock? Probably not, since it’s almost entirely housing and upscale retail, but out of Surrey or any of the nearby semi-rural areas? You bet. And don’t forget that at one point it was estimated that over 80% of the heroin in North America entered via the Port of Vancouver. It’s just a part of the culture of the region to be drug-positive or drug-neutral. You can thank the increasing violence relating to organized crime for a recent turn against it in the public’s view.

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Just mething around: the Breaking Bad theme, performed on equipment from a meth lab

Just what it says on the tin: Andrew Huang has offered up a spirited and downright eerie performance of the theme song from Breaking Bad, all performed on items you might find in a meth lab (no, a scab-ridden, underage flunkie is not one of the items, thank GOD).

The Canadian Huang is something of a phenomenon on YouTube, with 103,000 subscribers and over 200 videos. This particular one has over 400,000 views.

Interviewed in the British-based Crossrhythms site, he spoke of his first efforts, creating a site called Songs to Wear Pants To. “Through Songs To Wear Pants To I wrote close to 600 songs in response to suggestions that strangers sent in online. There were no rules, they could suggest anything from a style of music to a lyrical theme and I would attempt to compose and perform everything exactly as they requested it, usually with a bit of a comedic twist. My approach has always been to keep people guessing – I have a rule that my current release cannot be in the same genre as my previous album. There’s no easy way to provide a history – I’ve produced over 100 pieces a year for almost a decade and just throw it all online as I finish it.”

This one arose from a Song Challenge, and it’s truly a brave man who throws himself on the mercy of randos on YouTube. He’s triumphed nonetheless, with an amazingly tuneful performance done on acoustic guitar (the beaker is used as a slider), cast iron frying pan, skillet, tin stock pot, plastic tubing, coffee filters, pop bottle, measuring cup, propane tank, and brown butcher paper.

No, really.

As an extra (and to pay the bills) at the end he tacks on an offer for a free month of Netflix so you can batch-watch the boys of Breaking Bad in bulk. BONUS!

It’s official: Andrew Huang is a star. He’s recieved the internet’s ultimate benediction: he’s been featured on the Buzzfeed homepage, and in the German Stern magazine. That’s it, Canada can’t hold him anymore!

There’s not much more to say about this other than you will want this on repeat.

Heroin: the comic

Heroin the comic

Heroin the comic

That’s about it.

This week was GST Refund Week, as April told me, which explains the nonstop sirens and drama out on the street. Everyone’s got an extra hundred bucks that won’t be deducted from their Welfare, so they’re buying whatever makes them feel good. God, I actually miss the days heroin was the dominant drug, because junkies are way less trouble to deal with than crackies or meth heads. April taught me the word “jib” the other day; I love my young friends, they keep me au courant.

One of my long-running jokes is that I want to make a cleaning service of meth-heads and OCD sufferers. I could probably get a government grant to pay their salary, and they’d be the most meticulous team ever. That was before I read William Vollmann‘s book Poor People in which he interviewed a Thai cleaning woman who really DID use meth to give her the energy to get through particularly difficult jobs.

Who in hell tries heroin thinking they won’t get addicted? I know three people who’ve tried it and not gotten addicted, and at least one who tried it once and had to move to the country where he couldn’t get it as easily, because he quickly recognized he’d do anything for more. And today, walking in the community gardens, I saw a large, healthy harvest of opium poppy pods waiting for their daily scraping (you harvest it kind of like maple sap, scraping off the oozing tar, yum).

Back when I was with Greenpeace one of my co-workers came back from canvassing in Strathcona and said he’d run into a lesbian couple in their 80’s or so who invited him in for tea and offered him jasmine, Earl Grey, or opium. They said they’d been harvesting it from their flowerboxes since the 50’s or so, and nobody had ever bothered them. Well, who would?

How to Do ANYTHING Better on 4/20

420 Vancouver by gillicious

420 Vancouver by gillicious

Yes, it’s a civic holiday in Vangroover (not really, but yeah) and there’s a distinct likelihood that several, if not even plenty of my readers, yes, we can see you out there, you left the webcam on and your eyeballs look like piss holes in the snow, may be somewhat affected by, shall we say, hyperlocal atmospheric conditions.

So, in the spirit of serviceyness, we present a couple of handy-dandy guides that will help you pretend not to be completely fucked up.

First up, Mowing Your Lawn on PCP:

Great! Don’t you feel productive now? But the night is still young, so don’t stop the buzz now! Grab a bottle of some refreshing liquid and follow along with Jenna Marbles as she shows you how to do makeup drunk.

And now Hannah from My Drunk Kitchen shows you How to Make Poutine, which you will want if you got baked, yourself:

She should definitely NOT have licked up the gravy that dissolved the dust from Burning Man and washed it down with a Caesar. She was only drunk before: now she’s a bad case of All Of The Above.

One thing that should not be attempted under the influence: singing in the car. If you’re the driver, you shouldn’t be messed up, and if you’re not the driver, you’re annoying the driver. Besides, no matter how awesome you think you are, you aren’t as awesome as this guy (yes, more Canadian Content; we’re just that much better at being drunk/stoned than you are):

And, no matter how awesome you think you are, even if you are sober and your audience is completely shitfaced, you will never be as good as Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers, who use their van as a recording booth while tootling around San Francisco belting out cover tunes.

You’re welcome.

That’s a lotta blow!

Coco-BOOM

Coco-BOOM

Contrary to my expectations, and to my great disappointment, I learned that this is not how Coco Puffs are made. Au contraire, this is the War on Drugs. Who knew coke was so flammable?

The Guardian reports:

Puerto Concordia, Colombia: anti-narcotics police officers blow up a cocaine processing laboratory after seizing it from the Farc
Photograph: Guillermo Legaria/AFP/Getty Images

Bystanders were extremely moved by the pyrotechnic display, if not thrilled.

NO Moar Bear!

I fucking hate shortages!!