Wow, it is hard to believe that I am  already at the mid-point of the spring 2016 and my first semester at Sierra College.  It is definitely a smaller campus in both size and population but the diversity surprisingly seems to be far wider then it was back in the 90’s when my girlfriend Lisa went here.  I really do not remember much about the campus from back then, other then the cafeteria and the wall where all the ceramic see stuff is.  This semester has introduced me to my nemisis, Mathlab, which is an overpriced online math homework lab from textbook maker Pearson and it’s the scam of the century.  You pay $90 a class unless you fair and retake it the immediately following semester, then you can use it for free.  They more then half of the textbook price for the online fee.  Anyway, needless to say, books for this semester ate a large chunk of my financial aid and the last couple of weeks have made me feel like the Master Of Coin under King Geoffrey.

It made it even harder on my Birthday because I just wasn’t motivated and by Sunday, my looming birthday was beginning to make me depressed.  Luckily my friend needed a ride and gave me some weed and gas money to drive him.  A mutual friend needed a ride home after and since he lives in a place literally called Camp Far West on the furthest corner of the city where I live, he gave me a Jackson.  He offered, and I only took it because I was so tight on money.  So this set my week off to a much better start and things were beginning to look up until Monday evening when my Phone died, I thought it had lost power at first but nothing would cause it to wake up which left me feeling a little bit like that Ewok in The Return Of The Jedi when the ATST Walker blasts the ground with a laser bolt and one Ewok is crispy and the other shakes him trying to get him to wake up.  The fear and panic evident just below the surface as I try and hold the power button for a few minutes.  Nothing.  Try plugging in the USB Power Cable, nothing.  Bypass the Cigarette Lighter Adapter, start the car, plug in the inverter and use a known good USB Charger.  Nothing.  No lights, no signs of life.  Even letting it sit for several

I bought this ZTE Zmax after having had Samsung Galaxy devices for almost 7 years starting with the S2, the Note, Note 2 and finally the Note 3.  It was definitely a step backwards as far as build quality, screen quality, battery life, device performance and above all developer community, meaning Root access and custom ROMS which are necessary for device longevity since manufacturers rarely update their handsets more then one version of Android, if they even do that and that release is often months after the new version is released.  My wife has a high end, Motorola business model Android device that is about 7 years old and she now has an issue where most of the applications wont run on her device any longer, and her device was never upgraded.  It still functions according to her needs, so the obsolescence is in the design.  Now, this ZTE Device and Metro PCS show once again how enterprising capitalists can use seemingly reasonable fees to circumvent business practices and restrict customer freedom.  First example: They lock your sim card to your device ID in their system so that if you want to buy a new device, regardless of where you guy it, you have to either call in or go to the store and have them swap the device ID numbers.  There is a $10 fee associated with this fee from back in the day when Metro PCS was a Mobile Virtual Operator riding on the Sprint Network in the Bay Area and Northern California and all of their retail stores were small independent retailers and they needed to give them incentives and ways to make money.  They charge a convenience fee to take your payments, regardless of method being used to pay.  They also will charge you a fee to process your warranty repair on your device which sort of  places the burden on the customer.  The warranty repair is supposed to right the wrong of the device failing in an untimely manner and forcing the customer to pay a fee for this service sort of ignores the reality that they bought the device from Metro PCS and that technically the device will only work with Metro PCS.  (Not really true anymore, but not everyone is aware of this.)

Most people do not know that if they pay their bill a week late, that they need to request a credit for those 7 days from Metro PCS because their service was disconnected and you do not have a contract.  When you pay that monthly fee, which in my case is $60, they need to credit you for the days your service was disconnected because your fee is for a month worth of service.  Not having a phone has made it hard for me to stay in contact with friends or make money.  It also has exposed a glaring flaw in Windows 10 Pro, that the Maps application doesn’t have offline, GPS, Turn By Turn directions.  Found that out the hard way and wasted 5 hours and about $10 in gas, so when I had a chance to drive for some money, I had to take someone else along for their phone and GPS.  Luckily they also ran shotgun for the drive because it was from Lincoln to Turlock and then back again.  it was 6 hours in the car round trip blazing like Cheech & Chong smoking Backwoods blunt after backwoods blunt as the miles ticked away.  It was St. Patrick’s day and man the police were out in force, lights flashing everywhere.  It was kind of bizarre and surreal.  Then the smell of Stockton, Modesto and finally Turlock which should be named Turd-Lock from the smell of the cheese factories, dairy farms and livestock in misery so that we can enjoy fresh milk and cheese.  The smell permeates the air and can hid the cultivation of marijuana from being detected by smell alone.  Your neighbors cant smell your skunky, stanky green growing in your back yard because it just blends in with the smell of all the cow shit, sour and fermenting milk becoming cheese, sour cream, and butter along with every imaginable pasteurized and processed cheese food.  It’s a smell not unlike I imagine the zombies in The Walking Dead to smell.

So, I roll in to the weekend with a newly formed business relationship, a big bag of weed and $75 in cash in my pocket.  Not bad for 6 hours of driving and missing a little bit of sleep.  It will definitely make Spring Break more tolerable and it looks like I might be doing a bit more driving this weekend which will ultimately result in more cash and top shelf Marijuana.  My friend said one time to another friend of mine he had just met, about me, that I smoke a lot of free weed.  I do.  I have a lot of friends that smoke and I am often the middle-man or the broker in the middle, or i give rides, or offer computer repair services.  So, ultimately I get paid in bong rips, invitations to share a bowl, joint, blunt or dab all the way up to being handed multiple grams of wax or high end medicinal or trim or shake.  Ironically, the shake is usually what is left over in a 30 gallon trash bag after the majority of a 20lb load had been removed by parting out ounces and quarter pounds.  All the particulate matter in the bottom tends to be mostly crystals and pulverized buds.  Makes for some potent and powerful stuff.  Blunts are definitely better for long drives as they burn slower and can be rolled thicker to smoke longer.  Lighting a pipe or bong while steering can be a bit tricky while doing 90 down the freeway.  Yes, I am joking, and no, I don’t smoke while speeding.  I don’t speed.


About Old Guy Student

Biological Anthropologist / Photographer / Technologist / Scientist / Blogger

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