Category Archives: Lists + Awards + Profiles

some lists, interviews and riffs, from sundry media sources about: tourism, social marketing, renegade documenting and outsider art-making

Slow Train Coming – Talking Cascadia Trains in Vancouver Courier

from the article by Robert Alstead, Oct. 22nd, 2008
from the Vancouver Courier article by Robert Alstead, Oct. 22nd, 2008

I was interviewed (and used loquacious quotes like “super lame”) for an article about train travel in the Vancouver Courier.

I am including my quotes and a few other snippets about my pet-rant – inadequate train travel between here and points south as well as the photo by Dan Toulguet so it doesn’t disappear into the internet tubes like my previous photo appearance in this local newspaper. By the way, if someone could pick me up a paper copy, i’d be very pleased.

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Slow train coming

Robert Alstead takes a journey north by rail from California and wonders if Canada’s vanished passenger trains will once again carry us from coast to coast – Robert Alstead, Vancouver Courier
Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Print version of Slow Train Coming
Web version of Slow Train Coming

Dave Olson, who works in marketing for Gastown web design company Raincity Studios, travels six or seven times a year by train, on business and pleasure. “I don’t care for jet travel because of the incredible hassle and huge eco-footprint,” says Olson. Like many, he would take the train more if he could. “I like the pace and not having to drive, I like the rhythm and the scenery you normally don’t see, the rail yards and seashores and forgotten neighbourhoods. I find the train-riding experience somehow charming, even poetic and certainly creativity stimulating,” he says.

However, he complains Amtrak’s evening train south is hardly convenient for trips to Olympia or Portland, seeing as travellers must make an overnight stopover in Seattle. The Amtrak Cascades is also infrequent and often booked up. Amtrak does offer several “train buses” which Olson has found “super lame” with long border waits. He’d rather take the car if there are no seats on the train, although it did mean a $124 parking bill and a chipped windshield on a recent three-day trip to Seattle. “I know we would’ve enjoyed some work or playing cards or meditating on the train,” he rues.

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However, the Amtrak Cascades offers a good example of the difficulties faced in enhancing rail services.

For years, Amtrak has wanted to add a second roundtrip train between Eugene and Vancouver. However, congestion due to heavy freight movement on track this side of the border meant that a new siding needed to be added to allow trains to pass. For six years, Canadian and U.S. officials and railroad owners Burlington Northern Santa Fe had been unable to hammer out a deal over who should pay for the upgrade.

That means that a second Amtrak Cascades has been running only as far as Bellingham. Then in March of last year, spurred on by the onset of the 2010 Olympics, B.C. transportation minister Kevin Falcon announced that he was committing “up to $4.5 million” (reportedly 57 per cent of the upgrade cost) to build the siding.

In June last year, Premier Gordon Campbell marked the new service on the platform at King Street Station in Seattle by exchanging a large symbolic train ticket with Washington Governor Chris Gregoire in a photo op.

The siding was completed months ago. Amtrak is ready to go. But the service hit the buffers due to complications with the Canadian Border Services Agency, which reportedly wants $15,000 per day to clear the train.

Graham says the matter is in the hands of the B.C. government. A spokesperson for the province says it’s a federal government issue. Faith St. John, spokesperson for the CBSA, said she could not comment on the matter “because we are in discussions.” But she did say that “decisions to provide CBSA services at a new location or to expand current services take into account human resource requirements and the ability to provide security and service to the public.”

She could not say when the matter would be resolved.

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Happy 38th Birthday Tribute from Miss604

Rebecca Bollwitt, my dear pal and social media co-conspirator wrote a lovely birthday post for my 38th birthday, Aug 16 2008. I am very fortunate for these lovely words.

DrupalCamp Vancouver Day Two

Here are a few:

Hopping into the wayback machine let’s explore late 2005. John had just moved to Canada to be with me and decided to add me on his podcast, RadioZoom as co-host/local expert. At the time he was immersing himself in podcasts and connecting with interesting hosts all over the globe. One person that he had been corresponding with was Dave Olson, who did several podcasts and made appearances on Clubside Breakfast Time. I’d often hear stories from John about the ultimately cool Uncleweedand Cosmo G Spacely.

After meeting in 2006, we ventured out into the hockey podcasting realm in October of that year with the great Uncleweed. Since then it’s been a non-stop adventure withThe Crazy Canucks along with our co-hosts JJ and Alanah.

The Crazy Canucks on CKNW talkin' bout Podcasting


Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

On top of being a mentor in podcasting, Dave is also an inspiration to bloggers having coined the now internet-famous “F*ck Stats Make Art” motto at this year’s Northern Voice conference.

Here is a small sample of Dave’s Podcast and Blog Portfolio (not including his Raincityand happyfrog works): Choogle on with Uncleweed Podcast hi-jinks / Blog, Canucks Outsider Hockey Podcast / Blog, Out n’ About with Uncle Weed Travelin’ man vidcast,Postcards from Gravelly Beach Literature Podcast / Blog, Olympic Outsider Winter Sports-Culture / Blog, Mountain Highway Writer’s Notebook / Blog, Ephemeral Feasthouse Miscellania & Notes

Personally, Dave has always been a great friend to both John and me. He gives straight up advice, helps us cross promote our projects like crazy, and is always there to offer an inspirational word when I feel like the blogging world has got me down. I think what makes Dave even more cool in my books is that he went to high school in Surrey, just like I did. Even though there are a few years between us (I won’t say how many since this is supposed to be a very sweet tribute) we can still reminisce about the old days, the old hood, the things Whalley has seen and where it’s going. We know this place; we’ve formed ourselves through our experiences in Metro Vancouver and I hold his opinion of my site, and its integrity as a local blog, in the highest regard.

Even though we couldn’t get away to camp with Dave this weekend we’ve enjoyed many good times like watching the Canucks, talking Whalley Little League, promoting green living, playing golf, and most recently hiking in Lynn Valley.

It’s today that I raise a pint of tasty fermented beverage in honor of my bro Dave’s birthday. Here’s to many more years of grassroots media making and good times on and off the grid.

 

Flattery, oh yes, bring it on… Miss 604’s Tribute post

Miss 604 posted a {blush} tribute to me and my wee lil interweb projects:

“Being all bored at work on this lovely Tuesday morning (before we had internet powers) I found a link to my site off one of Dave Olsen’s (aka Uncleweed’s) MANY projects: Mountain Highway [mh].

If you follow that link you’ll see all of Dave’s projects listed on the sidebar. Hmm I could link to all of them from here but man, that would take up a lot of space and I already have his podcasts listed on my sidebar so check’em out there (inclu. Hockey NW and Choogle On) and yeah, I’m just being a wee bit lazy…sorry

From those NUMEROUS podcasts, photo blogs, poetry and of course – hockey info – he’s seriously got to be one of the hardest working blogger/podcaster people in Vancouver or appears to be anyway ;)

I’m just waiting til he and John [radiozoom] can get together and do one big mega-Vancouver podcast while I’m in the background sipping beer and watching hockey, occasionally throwin out an opinionated comment. “

Spot the Wonder Band



blasts from the past
Originally uploaded by Uncleweed.

A long lost friend from years ago in Logan Utah (the poet, now english teacher, Adam Burmingham) sent along this flyer from a band i played in in SLC circa 1990.

The band only lasted a short while as savnat singer/songwriter/guitar Chris Sullivan went to Alaska to fish (dammit). Bass player Dan Tatomer (Allen) is now the front man for Silver Needle, a glam-inspired rock outfit from LA, Brandon Kiggins in a filmmaker and instructor in NYC and the other drummer Eric, who knows … and me, i am just trying to get along.