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Marijuana in the Azores

Marijuana/cananbis/weed in the Azores


   I have been smoking weed for years now and I have always done so here, in São Miguel island (for those unaware, it's part of the Azores archipelago and belongs to Portugal). I have decided to write this article for outsiders, such as tourists, who are curious about how it is regarding cannabis. 


Disclaimer

   This article is for educational purposes. I don't grow nor sell cannabis and all information here, unless specified otherwise, is from my own experience. The information here is usually regarded as common knowledge between local cannabis users and even the law enforcement entities.


Legality

   Since 2001 (according to law number 30/2000 of 29th of November):
  • Sale of cannabis in Portugal is illegal
  • Possession and cultivation of cannabis in Portugal is decriminalised.
   It is allowed to have a "personal" quantity at a time, up to 2.5 grams of herb and 0.5 grams of hashish. 
   As for general allowed quantity allowed (described in the law as the quantity for 10 days use), the max is 25 grams of herb and 5 grams of hashish. Above that, you are considered a dealer, therefore a criminal.
   Regardless of the quantity you're caught with, the police can confiscate cannabis. If it's below the above values, you will not be arrested. 


Locals' view

   Just like the view on anything, this is a very subjective thing. You may find young people who are against cannabis and old people who consume it; however, generally speaking, cannabis is viewed as simply a drug and, specially to those who are uninformed, many people classify it in their heads in the same way they do with hard drugs such as heroine (which used to be a massive problem in the country prior to the decriminalisation in 2001). Unfortunately, it is common to find people who think it does more harm than alcohol and tobacco, that it can make you overdose and it's a gateway drug. I think this is roughly the same around Portugal, but probably worse in the Azores, given how people here are isolated from the outside continental world. 
   As a curiosity, unlike in every other Portuguese territory, the minimum age to purchase beer and wine in the Azores is 16, instead of 18, although as recently as January 2017 there has been talks to raise the minimum to match mainland Portugal's. 
   Once again, generally speaking, most teens and young adults are aware of what cannabis really is and does, lots of them have tried at least once, and some are regular users. People from other age groups will most likely see cannabis as negatively as they see hard drugs. 


Availability (what?)

   All year round, the most common type of cannabis available in São Miguel island is Moroccan hashish, locally called "pollen". It is resin compressed in long bars which varies from dark (low quality) to light (high quality).
   Sometimes, Pakistani hash is available, known locally as "bolota" or "paki". It is resin compressed in a ball or tube and is usually more potent than the available Moroccan variety. 
   Herb is rarely obtainable, except in the three months of Summer. It's known in São Miguel as "cabeços" (whereas in other parts of Portugal it's called "erva" [lit. weed]). It is locally classified by how it was grown, using the following English terms: indoors and outdoors.


Consumption (how?)

   The most common method used to consume cannabis in the island is by smoking spliffs (known as "ganzas" and "charros"), which are joints with hash mixed with tobacco. The tobacco is needed so the joint burns. In the summer, it's common for people to smoke what is locally known as "uma portuguesa", which is a spliff with hash and herb.
   Rolling papers are legal and can be easily purchased in cafés, some shops and self-service shops such as the Grab&Go in Ponta Delgada.
 
   

Prices (how much?)

   As most black markets, prices are not strictly defined. Generally speaking, cannabis in the Azores is slightly more expensive than mainland Portugal. 
   Usually, for locals, prices are the following: 
  • for 0.5g and 1g of "pollen" (hash) it varies between 2,5€ (absolute minimum) and 5€
  • for 1g of "cabeços" (herb) it's 10€, however, given the few months where they're widely available, this price varies a lot depending on how they're grown, who grew them and the quality. It's possible to get 1 gram for 5€, but it's usually 'mids'. 'Highs' never go below 8€ and are almost always at 10€ a gram.  
   I said for locals because, as you might have expected, prices are inflated for outsiders, namely tourists and habitants from mainland Portugal and other islands. How much they are inflated depends on the source and experience the consumer has.


Dealers (who?)

   Disclaimer: Obviously, I will only share information in this section that is widely known here, even by the police. 
   Dealers are usually teens and young adults, found in groups. They will most likely not approach you (unlike the infamous dealers in Lisbon). If you approach them, they will probably be reluctant at first, as it's unfortunately somewhat common for them to think you're yet another snitch/informer (known locally as a 'xiba', from the slang verb 'xibar', which means 'to snitch').
   There's nothing special that sets Azorean dealers apart from others. If you're trying to find any, you might as well go by stereotypes, basically of what you think a regular cannabis dealer looks like. Still, keep in mind that you should be cautious.


Hot spots (where?) 

   Disclaimer: Once again, this section only contains generally known things, even by the police. Fortunately, they tend to focus on big drug busts and hard drug dealers, so even though they are aware of these hot spots, police activity is not as frequent in them as you might expect.
    It's no surprise that you'll find more cannabis users and dealers outside in the most densely populated area of the island, Ponta Delgada. There are various hot spots (in this context, these are places where there's a prevalence for weed dealing and smoking). Two noticeable ones are Largo Mártires da Pátria (the garden in the south entrance to the Antero de Quental high school, locally known as "jardim do Liceu") and Jardim António Borges (which is right in front of the Domingos Rebelo high school).
    The aforementioned hot spots are located right next to schools, which explains the demographics for dealers and users in the island. They are not shady looking and can have tourists walking around, so people smoking and/or dealing will try to be discreet, but don't expect such discretion at all times.



I will continue updating this blog post with more information.

Broke Protocol - First impression 🖱️⌨️

BROKE PROTOCOL
 Today I woke up, had a cup of coffee and opened Facebook and saw this post about a game called Broke Protocol. Usually I dismiss new games as I'm not that much into gaming as I used to years ago, but the words "sandbox" and "free" drew my attention. Last time I talked about gaming on this blog was when I reviewed State of Decay in 2013 (by the way - a sequel to that is being made) and for some reason I thought of trying the game and documenting my first minutes on it here. 

Broke Protocol is an online city life roleplaying game. It's free, low-poly and commonly described as a 'GTA clone'. Players can and are encouraged to host their own servers and the game is currently on Steam Greenlight.

I downloaded the client linked in the official website, extracted it to my Program Files folder, forced anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering through NVIDIA Inspector and started it.

Broke Protocol
The game's simple start menu.
At the time of this post, the game is on version 0.622, released on 7th May 2017. The settings are pretty straight-forward. I changed the resolution to 1920×1080 fullscreen, disabled fog and bloom and left occlusion on.

The server list annoyingly has no filters and loads the furthest servers first for some reason (all of them marked with a ping of 500). After a few seconds letting it load, I joined a French server with a nice ping and about 30 players.

Upon joining, I was met with a login screen and a character creator. As expected, character customisation is still basic, but still a nice feature nonetheless which hopefully will be expanded in the future. Soon after I was on the streets of Broke Protocol.

Broke Protocol
The chaotic streets of Broke Protocol.
It didn't take me long of walking around to find some chaos. Players killing other players, fighting and robbing NPCs, traffic jams, cops going berserk. Pretty much what you would expect in a Grand Theft Auto game, albeit in a Unturned-like world. 

NPCs are distinguished from players because of their calm walking on the sidewalks. Once engaged in a fight, they pull out a random melee weapon and fight back. 

Broke Protocol
Yes, that's a baseball bat that I'm wielding while fighting a player.
When anything on this game dies, it drops a briefcase with all of its item. That also means when you die, you lose everything except your clothes. You will need to get used to being literally stabbed in the back by another player while you are vulnerable picking up stuff from a briefcase. 

By default, interactions in the game are done with the middle mouse button pressed down. It's used to open the inventory, pick up briefcases and also...
Broke Protocol
I've got some bad news for you, Conan.
...intimidate NPCs. I found it amusing that every time I instructed an NPC to put their hands up and be robbed, they obliged, even though I had no weapons on me and in exchange I got pistols from some of them. Why fight and risk dying when you can just force them to praise you like some sort of God? 

At this point I noticed the game had a GTA-esque wanted level system, as seen by the stars at the top of the minimap. 

Broke Protocol
Murdering low-poly people near the beach. Delightful!

The stars increased with the crimes and not long after I had the po-po after me. I chose the crime life in the game, but some players preferred paying to be cops at the local police station. Besides weapons and money, the NPC I murdered above had cocaine. This game has drugs, awesome! And no, I'm not being sarcastic. I used to spend many hours on a Multi Theft Auto server (that's a GTA San Andreas multiplayer mod) producing and dealing drugs. 

Being high on coke on this game gets you an extremely blurry vision and that's about it.
 Obviously I had to try some. There's no animation while consuming drugs, just an immediate effect which resulted in blurry vision for about 20 seconds as I walked around running away on foot from some cop. 

I explored the world and visited a fast-food restaurant not-so-creatively named "BURGERS". Not long after, the server initiated what seems the only event the game currently has: Battle Royale.

Come on everyone, hit that F1 button.
Players are asked to vote and once initiated, the objective is to kill everyone as the area you can roam in gets smaller and smaller. Unfortunately my health was not replenished upon entering and I had no more ammo, so I couldn't do much on foot. What to do next? Simple, let's get a vehicle!

It's possible to be a passenger on any NPC car, but where's the fun in that? I stole a car and had my first driving experience in this game. It wasn't too bad - driving is done with ASWD and camera movement with the mouse, just like it's supposed to be. I'm looking at you, Borderlands (who the hell thought driving with the mouse would be a good idea...?).

Broke Protocol
Who needs weapons when you can simply run people over?
 The last minutes of my first Broke Protocol experience were spent driving around running players and NPCs over. Traffic got stuck in an intersection as players gathered there to kill and loot each other. The game has VOIP so I could hear some people talking with their microphones as they engaged in battle. Ah, the joys of PC gaming, when you can hear Russian kids screaming at each other!

On its current state, I doubt any one will actually consider this a game to get addicted to and spend countless hours on. Nonetheless, it can be fun and useful to kill some time. I recommend everyone to give it a try and perhaps consider voting for it to be greenlit. It has lots of potential, so who knows what the future holds for this game?




I'll always remember the time I can't remember

The final months of 2016 are extremely blurry in my memory, almost as if they didn't happen, at all.
I've always been interested in the various available drugs, how people react to them and how society views them. My personal self-imposed limit are the hardest drugs as I couldn't care less about heroin and crack cocaine. Cannabis is obviously a personal favourite, psychedelics are a goal in the future and benzos... well, these are best off left in the past, which brings me to this post.
      
A few years ago I tried oxazepam and diazepam recreationally, both of which are benzos distributed as pills. The relaxation was nice but not convincing enough, plus the risks of dependency and withdrawal didn't keep me on them for long.
      
Then came codeine and tramadol, both of which are opioids. I had to do cold water extractions as I only had pills with paracetemol also included. This is the closest I'll ever get to opiates and I'm not going back, as although the numb and chill effect was nice, the infamous "opiate itch" that came the mornings after was extremely annoying. And once again, the risk of dependency and withdrawals. Fuck that, seriously.
        
At the end of last year I got my hands on a big supply of alprazolam, more commonly known by its trade name of Xanax. It's without a doubt the most well known benzo, used to treat anxiety. But it also has a somewhat of a recreational side, glorified by depressed white rappers such as the $uicideboy$, and shunned by others such as Bones.
    
I spent most of November experimenting with different doses, times of the day and activities. As expected, in general, it made me more relaxed and somewhat more confident, nothing much. Until I drank alcohol whilst under the effects of Xanax... yeap, that's what fucked me up.
        
Alprazolam on its own already had its effects on my memory as I could feel the days passing by faster since I couldn't quite remember most of them, but when I drank alcohol under the influence, no matter how little... everything changed. I became the closest I could to a zombie. Whoever you are, reading this, I'll let you know right now: do not drink any alcohol after, whilst or before taking Xanax. You will regret it. With the politically correct warning written, allow me to tell you how things went downhill.
   
           
The first time my body experienced a high dosage of Xanax and alcohol was not planned. My tolerance grew quickly and I usually took between 5 and 10 mg on the morning on some days. One of these days after college classes, my friends decided to go chill and have a few beers. This is where my memory goes dark, I remember sipping on some beer (I don't even like alcohol that much) and then waking up at home, in my bed room with a half-eaten piece of bread next to my computer. What happened between these two moments was later explained to me by my friends.

Apparently, besides the general fucked up look, slurred speech and saying nonsense, I urinated on a spider web in some corner screaming for the spider to die, randomly crossed the street sprinting and nearly got run over, started random chats with people on social networks, answered my phone and blabbered nonsense... A family member picked me up and to this day still thinks I was just extremely drunk, although I was told I didn't even drink much. It's quite frightening looking back at all the things that could go wrong, the worse part being I couldn't remember anything, no matter how hard I tried. 

From what I can remember, that was the only time I mixed both. The first 5 words of the last sentence is the big problem, though... who knows what else happened as I continued taking Xanax regularly up until December. It fucked up my memory and perception of things big time. There are simply days and moments which I will never remember. Drinking to forget doesn't work; however, drinking and taking pills... you'll forget and probably regret. 

The last time I used alprazolam recreationally was in February, and I intend on keeping that as the last time. The effects on short- and long-term memory are simply not worth it just for the simple effects it had, which I wouldn't even call a "high". So yeah, I'll stick with the good old green for the time being before diving into the world of hallucinogens.  



2k17

Today is the 1st day of the 4th month of 2017. Alternatively known as April Fools' Day.
I was reminded of the existence of this blog while updating my Steam profile and noticed I haven't posted anything in nearly 2 years. Well, up until now.
Initially this was intended to be a stupid edgy blog where I posted whatever I felt like and specialised in memes related to the UnrealSoftware.de community.
What has changed regarding my attitude towards this blog? Nothing much. I expect to keep the randomness, ease a bit on the edginess as I'm not 14 any more (seeing as I started posting in 2012) and perhaps add a more personal touch the blog (not like anyone cares).
What about me? Well, I've been studying my first year of Tourism in the University of the Azores and I'm turning 19 in three months. I spent 4 days relaxing in Lisbon last week and hopefully by May I'm back there.
I would say I've been getting lazier – thing is: I've always been a lazy piece of shit. If I could spend my days sparking up joints filled with medium-quality 'pollen' hashish with tobacco in my bedroom I would. I haven't been doing exactly that, but I'd be lying if I said my life hasn't been something similar. And I don't mind.

Nature

Tekstyle is not jumpstyle

10 months have passed since my last post. Time flies... which brings me to this post. Fans of hard dance music have probably heard about tekstyle and jumpstyle. They are like "cousins" to the more popular hardstyle and hardcore, and nowadays the tracks on these genres are usually categorised under the label "tek/jump", which leads people to think they are the same... no, they aren't.

Why is the title "Tekstyle is not jumpstyle" and not the other way around or simply "Tekstyle and jumpstyle aren't the same"? I chose it to be that way because tekstyle is recent and a genre that branched off of jumpstyle, and some people don't realise that and think that jumpstyle simply changed its name. Speaking of which, let's talk about jumpstyle, the music genre, not the dance.

Jumpstyle jumper silhouette
The jumper silhouette commonly associated with jumpstyle.

Wikipedia describes jumpstyle better than I ever could, so here it goes:
Jumpstyle music is an offspring of tech-trancehardstylegabber and mákina. Its tempo is usually between 140 and 150 BPM. However, it cannot be seen as merely a slowed down version of gabber. It is characterized by a 909 kick drum used in a four on the floor beat. It also has influences from hard house and electro house

Ok, so now you know what makes a track jumpstyle. But a definition isn't enough, right? Because how are you supposed to know how a 909 kick drum sounds like without hearing it? Here, I'll give you something to listen to. I guess it's also some shameless self-advertising... I made this mix last year containing what I consider "jumpstyle classics". As I'm writing this, it's the most viewed video on my YouTube channel. I never expected it to go that far!

As you can see by the thumbnail, I used the jumper silhouette. You will find it on almost all jumpstyle videos on YouTube, with or without the "jumping is not a crime" text. I won't go deep on that matter because Know Your Meme explains the origins of this image here: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/jumping-is-not-a-crime.

Jumpstyle was popular on Europe, specially in Belgium and the Netherlands, and I guess it reached its peak on 2007-2008. Some artists that contributed to this genre are: Vorwerk (yes, that guy that is known to be a ghost producer behind many house tracks!), Ruthless, Patrick Jumpen, Dark-E, Jeckyll & Hyde (aka Ruthless & Vorwerk, are the main reason jumpstyle got popular in Holland), DJ Francois, Coone (nowadays produces solely hardstyle), Lethal MG and DJ Greg C.

In the 2010s jumpstyle got totally replaced with tekstyle. It usually maintains the uptempo mood of its predecessor, but now with a more aggressive and sometimes exaggerated faster kick. It is usually closer to hardstyle and electro house than jumpstyle. You can instantly spot a tekstyle track when it has a climax like this (skip to 2:40):

Dr. Rude is one of the biggest names in the tekstyle scene, although recently he is more focused on hardstyle and "freestyle". Another name in the scene that needs to be mentioned is Mark With a K. His tekstyle track "Music Is My Alibi" has gained over 2 and a half million views. Woah. It actually sounds nothing like jumpstyle or tekstyle, it just seems a nice hardstyle track with those vocals and melody but then, at 1:44... yeap, tek fuckin style right there.

I could go on and on about this genre, but I think you got what I meant and I would probably end up diverging from the initial subject. So yeah, tekstyle is not jumpstyle. You can say it's an evolved form of jumpstyle, I'd rather say it's just another branch in the vast hard dance music "genre tree", because personally, jumpstyle just sounds a lot better. :)

For the hardstyle fans out there, tekstyle is to jumpstyle what hardstyle is to early hardstyle and hardtrance. You will hear jumpstyle in "flashback sets" (the best ones in Reverze IMO!) and fitted in regular tekstyle sets for the sake of nostalgia, and it will easily stand out from its "tekky" counterpart.


This is what happens when you post (bad) tattoos on Facebook

Owned on Facebook

Lightnings used to be the hottest natural occurring thing on Planet Earth, until a man by the name Lee Smith caused the most painful and hottest burn (possibly 90000001 ºC) by the following wise words: "Im only kidding its a great tattoo , send my condolences to the 4 year old that done it".

8k visits & new blog domain

If you call someone a sandnigger on the comments of a random Facebook page, expect them to inexplicably reply back implying you are a nigger yourself (even though you are white as fuck, since you don't go out of your house to catch sunlight), Starting All Words With Capital Letter. Oh, did I mention all of them have "Mohammed" in their names? Yeah, they do.

I noticed that for some shitty reason this blog's domain (SomewhereDownTheLane dot tk) stopped working and to register it again I would have to pay for it. Yeah, right.
So I went browsing for another free domain provider with no ads. I remembered of co.cc (which is dead since November 2012, time passes so quickly doesn't it?) and that is was blocked by Google, and since I got fuckillions of views due to people searching on Google for "Toaster Steve", I needed a good alive alternative.
So yeah, as you can see, I found it. The blog is now accessible at SomewhereDownTheLane.co.vu.

And speaking of visits, when I opened the blog dashboard to post this I noticed it had exactly 8000 views.

Here's some blog stats.