Things to do while stoned: McKinley Park, Tacoma, WA.

While honoring a friend and former budtender of House of Cannabis, Miguel Gonzales, who passed away recently, I had the opportunity to check out the hidden gem that is McKinley Park, in Tacoma, WA.

McKinley Park is situated on the bluff overlooking the Tacoma Dome and Commencement Bay, adjacent to the south side of I-5, looking north. The park includes some beautiful landscaping, great views, multiple ins & outs, gentle slopes, and if you prefer, serious, short climbs.

(continued below pictures)
Things to do while stoned is a whimsical look at general and specific activities that many people who are stoned oft enjoy. It’s meant to be a fun look at the lifestyle.
Photos by Krista W.

Parking is located on the extreme south side of the park, part way up the hill, towards the Lincoln District from the Dome District. I approached from downtown, passing directly adjacent to the Dome, going over I-5, and up to G Street, where you hang a left. It looks like a dead end, but it’s not. Take a right, and parking is plentiful. You are at the top of the park.

As you walk down the hill, you will pass tons of native plants, trees, and wetlands. There are several mini waterfalls in the park, as well. At the bottom of the hill, you are treated to the visual pandemonium of cars merging from the S. 38th/HWY-16 northbound collector, and I-705/HWY-7 onto I-5 near the final merge point. It’s easy to dip off park grounds to burn one to help heighten the experience here, while the cars stream (or crawl) by.

Walking along the trail, the length of the park is covered to the east before you switch back and start walking up through the thicker hillside woods. Most of the water features are on spectacular display on this portion of the path. The scenery is beautiful, and I saw two snakes, several squirrels, and a few songbirds on this walk.

It took about 45 minutes to walk through the park at a fairly leisurely pace, but if you were exercising, it could be done easily in probably 10-15 minutes, depending on level of exertion. Overall, it was a beautiful walk in one of Tacoma’s most beautiful parks.

Intro To Joints

For many smokers, its the last resort. For many more stoners its a skill that they never picked up. But knowing how to roll a good joint is the key to stoner heaven. Whether you are hiking through the mountains or chiefing on a walk, a joint is the perfect companion, and great for sharing (not right now though.). While there are going to be a few ‘doobies’ rolled on the road to a perfection, a little practice and a little patience will get you a home-rolled joint burning between your fingertips in a second. So we put together a simple 12 step guide to help you perfect your joint rolling skills.

Whether you’re rolling your joint on your dinner table or on a book while you’re at the beach, its always helpful to have a wide, clean, smooth surface to roll on. If you plan on making joints a habit you might invest in a weed tray with tilted edges, but you can make do with a book or a bowl just as well.

Grab a few nugs, try to aim for about 3/4 of a gram. Don’t grind it too fine or it will be harder to roll with. You’ll start to get the amount you need down, but even if you over shoot by a little, you would be surprised by how much weed you can pack into a well rolled joint.

Bend one end of the papers between your pointer finger and thumb of your non-dominant hand. The paper has a glue edge, make sure it is putting up, and towards you.. At this point you can place a crutch on the paper under your pointer finger, but they aren’t necessary.

Pour your ground weed onto your paper, starting at your finger tip and working up. Try to leave as few gaps as possible so the flower is dense, even if that means cutting your joint a little short. Gaps will cause your joint to canoe, burning poorly and wasting weed.

Using both thumbs, massage the weed with a rocking pattern. Start at the edges, and work your way in, slowly and lightly massaging the weed. Tails will begin to form as you do this. The shape to aim for is a cone. Don’t compress the weed too much because it will be hard to draw through when smoked.

As the cone shape forms, stop rolling and fill in any gaps in the roll. Massage the weed into the cone shape. Well rolled weed is fluffy, rather than densely packed. Although if the weed is too lightly rolled it will burn unevenly. Any gaps in the weed will cause it to canoe and can ruin your joint.

With your non-dominant thumb, push the paper tip of the paper closest to you under the thin section of your weed. If you have trouble tucking, you can bend the paper so that it is flush with other-side. Use your finger to jam this section down so there is no gap.

From the bottom up, lick the glued edge. From the bottom up apply the now wet edge to the dry paper. Run your finger over the seam and leave the joint be for a minute so that it can dry. You do not need to use much saliva to make the seal, but be sure there are no air gaps.

Any weed left on your plate can be packed into the top of the joint. Twist the open paper shut, pressing down the weed. A pen or pencil eraser is a great tool for packing. Don’t pack too much, because the weed can become too dense to smoke through and the paper can tear. But you would be surprised how much you can get in there.

Grab a business card or some card-stock and cut it to about the width of your fingertip. Any paper can work, but something tough gives the joint a little structure. You can tear it too, although frayed edges can clog up your joint.

Bend a short zig-zag into your crutch paper. Wrap the rest of the paper around the zig-zag so that you form a cylinder. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. It is meant to catch weed from falling in your mouth, and to give you something to hold on to and pass around.

Tighten your crutch slightly and slide it into the unsealed side of your joint. You’ll probably be pushing weed, so be slow in pushing the crutch into your joint so that you do not tear the paper or pack the weed too tightly under your crutch. Now it is…

Q&A with Zia McCabe of The Dandy Warhols

Zia McCabe at 2012’s Frequency Festival.
Picture by Christopher Johnson, used by permission.

Zia McCabe is the bassist & bass/synth player for multi-platinum recording artists The Dandy Warhols of Portland, Oregon, who have released 10 full length records, several EPs, and a full length live album, since 1994.

Z came to Tacoma and partied down with us at the House of Cannabis – Tacoma location in June of 2019. She had our crowd dancing in line as she laid down a thick catalogue of urban dance to brit-pop with a fog machine and laser show.

Thanks for agreeing to do a little Q&A for the House of Cannabis blog. Here are a few questions we have decided to ask you!

1. What Dandy Warhol’s song do you most want to play live, that you all haven’t?

[Our song] “Easy” (Spotify | Apple Music). I think this would be so fun live. Especially for me because I would get to play bass guitar for the first bit and synth bass for the last section. 

Editors Note: This is one of my favorite The Dandy Warhol’s songs…. I’d love to hear it played, live.

2. Do you have a ritual or standing tradition of consuming cannabis before or after shows, and if so, what is that ritual like?

I have learned the hard way that I just can’t play stoned. I forget parts, I forget when to, and when not play. It’s a mess! But, I can get high right after soundcheck for a little attitude adjustment with plenty of time for any confusion to wear off. I also enjoy getting stoned after the show. I don’t drink all that often anymore so it really helps keep me entertained by all the people that have been drinking all night. 

3. Do you have a great weed story from the tour/road archives?

Hmm, well, I had grabbed an ounce before hopping on the bus to start a month long US tour. Enough to split up and keep everyone pretty well stocked for the month. Before I could split it up or really even smoke any of it, we got pulled over on the I-10 in Arizona. The idiot bus driver lets the cops on with their K9 to search the bus. The dog didn’t find anything (I now believe this was no K9, just a silly cop’s dog that he tried to train with german commands [as] the other cops seemed a little embarrassed). Anyway, they went back on without the dog and found the big bag of weed sitting in my bunk. Of course no one stepped up to take ownership (even though I had picked it up as a convenience to everyone) so I raised my hand. Not sure it would help at all, I showed them my carrier card for medical marijuana (I can’t remember what year this happened but pot wasn’t legal in Oregon yet).

As they walked me across the highway to their mobile offices, I told them this was my medicine, they replied, “in Arizona, we call this a drug”. So they put me a cell of sorts, metal walls and chain link door. I sat in there in my pajamas, with my hair in curlers and tied up in a bandana.

The cop came back and asked me how much I was allowed to carry. His eyes about popped out of his head when I told him two pounds. Ha! He then left me alone for a while longer. Finally he let me out and led me to his desk. He informed me that they were actually feds (gulp), and that there jurisdiction starts at 40 lbs (small sigh of relief). He said he’d been trying to find a local officer to come arrest me but since it was Sunday, no one wanted to come in on their day off (huge sigh of relief!).

So he led me back to the bus, came on behind me as I’m quickly sssh-ing the cheers from my band mates and crew. He gave us some silly lecture and we were on our way. The best part (besides not getting arrested) was that they didn’t search my purse with has a personal stash and pipe. Which I immediately passed around and we all had a good laugh. Crazy thing is, same thing happened two night later in El Paso but we had smoked every last crumb and just rolled our eyes as the cops tried to intimidate us by letting their dogs hump our luggage.

****Note to self, don’t bring enough weed for the entire tour and don’t carry anyone else’s share.  

Zia gets lit on 04/20/20. Picture used by permission of Zia McCabe.

4. Do you have a favorite strain, and what is your favorite way to consume cannabis?

I don’t have a favorite strain, because it’s more fun to switch it up and keep it fresh. Typically what I’m looking for is a heavy duty Indica. I mostly consume cannabis for relaxation and sleep. So I want it to turn my brain to mush and knock me out. I do dabble with Sativa hybrids during the day when I want to be creative or just enjoy my back yard. 

The Dandy Warhols, London, England.
Picture by: Aurelien Guichard, used with permission.

5. “Why You So Crazy” is a great album, but when is the next one?? Is it underway, already?

We do have another album on the way! I just tracked three new bass lines yesterday in fact. As you know we are slow pokes when it comes to getting new albums out so don’t hold your breath but do know it’s in the works. : )

For more on The Dandy Warhols, visit their website, facebook, or YouTube pages.

Things to do while stoned: PUZZLES!

As the pandemic drags on into the new year, a lot of folks are looking for creative activities to pass the time at home. While card games and board games are great, sometimes you want something more mellow—that’s where jigsaw puzzles come in. Chances are, you’ve done a jigsaw puzzle of some kind at some point in your life. But if you haven’t put together a puzzle as an adult, you might not realize how well it pairs with cannabis! And as an added bonus, you can frame the finished puzzle and use it to decorate your home or gift it to someone else!

I recently made an impulse buy when I found a 500-piece puzzle of “The Big Lebowski” for just $10. It had been a decade or two since the last time I had put a puzzle together. My partner and I set up a small table in a spot safe from our cats, knowing this project might take several sessions to complete.

Step 1: Sorting the pieces.
The first task when starting a puzzle is sorting the pieces–the perfect task for while you’re stoned! We found it was easiest to pull all the edge pieces and start building the puzzle with those, and to sort the middle pieces by color and/or texture. We enjoyed Vortex by Bondi during the sorting process.

Step 2: Assembling the puzzle.
If you’re planning to frame the finished puzzle, make sure to assemble it on a smooth surface, like a piece of cardboard or poster board. It will be much easier to do the gluing and framing if the puzzle is on a separate surface, rather than directly on a tabletop! It took us 3 nights to finish the puzzle. Even when there was a long period of time without any puzzle pieces being placed, we didn’t mind–after all, we were spending time together, doing something new, and smoking lots of cannabis! Some of the strains we consumed during this process were: Peach Rings by Puget Power, Do-Si-Do by Bondi, and and Rose by Loud.

Step 3: Gluing.
After we finished the puzzle, we used a paintbrush to apply a thin coat of adhesive. There’s a few different options that you can use–we just happened to have some Mod Podge around the house, so we used that. Depending on what kind of adhesive you use, you may want to do two or more coats, letting each coat dry completely before applying the next.

Step 4: Framing.
From here, you just need to transfer the (completely dried) puzzle onto whatever matting you’re going to use for framing. If you’re skipping the frame, you can just glue the puzzle to a piece of thick cardboard or something similar.

How to: Smoking on the Slopes

One of my favorite nostalgia moments when hitting the mountain is when you’re on the chairlift and you get that first intake of a dank smell from other mountain shredders getting their ganja on in the clean alpine air. Of course that usually makes one yearn to have a little smoke session of ones own, and hopefully the cycle repeats.

The numero uno, unrivaled feeling I have had on the mountain is having said toke session and then cruising some untouched, fresh powder lines through various tree runs or trails, capped off by sticking some gnarly little cliff jump. And to share that with a group of friends or family is my personal ultimate good time whilst cruising the slopes.

The issue of not being able to consume cannabis as openly as tobacco or beer and alcohol is still 100% real and at the mountain you have to be especially weary of this. Personally I’ve never let that slow down my consumption and I’m gonna key y’all in on some pro-tips I’ve picked up over the years to efficiently and safely have a cannabis filled day on the mountain.

#1 Doob tubes.

When you’re at the store stocking up make sure you get some pre rolls that come in joint tubes. Or if you roll your own, save them from previous purchases, you can always reuse those things. The little plastic or glass tubes pre-rolls come in have saved me much heartache over the years whilst on my more physical adventures. The doob tubes are handy because they are not bulky and they keep the joints in pristine shape until they are ready to be blazed.

#2 Mindful of where you blaze

I know weed is legal yada yada, you ain’t gotta tell me, I am the furthest thing from a closet smoker. Although, when on the slopes its important to not push the envelope. Cannabis consumption on the mountain should still be done in a discreet fashion. Don’t smoke on the chairlift unless you got the mountain to yourself and even then be careful you could get in trouble from a not so cool lifty and get your pass taken. I always urge peeps to find the trees, have a pow wow, its always a good time and sometimes a needed break. For the extremely initiated, pack the dab rig in the car depending on where were skiing you might have access to stop in throughout the day. Or hit it in the A.M. and let it chill in the whip until your ready to head home. Do yourself a favor and dump the water out in between uses. There is nothing worse than a bong or dab rig impeded by frozen water.

#3 Carry a Pack

Carry a pack of joints, carry a pack of edibles, hell, carry a pack of blunts if that’s your thing. Whenever I’m on the mountain and trying to consume these things its always smart to stash them in an easy to grab spot. Whether that’s in my snow jacket or my bibs, its key to have easy access to the danks and a lighter! Personally I don’t like carrying a backpack, but lots of my friends have in the past and it works for them. If carrying a backpack, stash it with all the essentials plus some water or snacks to guarantee your endurance on the slopes.

#4 Be Responsible

Charge your vape pens, pack a couple lighters, you know, plan for the day. Nothing worse than needing something that you don’t have and being stuck without it on shred day. That goes for the non paraphernalia items as well. Pack a multi tool, extra pair of goggles/gloves/ change of clothes. I don’t know how many times I’ve been blessed by someone bringing something that I forgot or vice versa. Preparation is always key to a good time. And now for probably the most important thing to remember, pack in what you pack out. Leave your smoke spot cleaner than what you left it and ready for the next set of shredders to do the same.

^ White Pass ^

Ski The Loup • Mountain Webcam view from the Bottom (NOTE: If this view is missing, camera is temporarily offline.)

^ Ski the Loop! ^