Tag Archives: article

Longboard Hockey in Vancouver – Reportage Notes and Artifacts

Originally published in Heads Magazine Toke on the Porch blog on January 22, 2007

Out n’ about on assignment for a forthcoming Heads article, I witnessed a sport hitherto unknown to me which combined many activities I enjoy into one sublime recreational pursuit: full contact hockey, tasty weed, chillaxin’ and longboarding (I am a newb – just cruised the Stanley Park seawall a couple times).

Anyhow, ace photog KK+, fashionista Kdon and my rolling amigo Cousin Herb chronicled the action – both the ongoing hockey games and boarders running the six story garage kamikaze style while sliding hard stops at the bottom and riding elevator back up for another go.  Besides KK‘s tasty snapshots, I shot some video I’ll cobble together into a clip soon.

Here are a few outtakes, anecdotes and pics of the exploits:

On the stuffed elevator ride to the 6th floor, before I can pull the fattie of Chocolate Jack Herer from behind my ear, a smiling chick in blond pigtails and a Team Canada jersey sparks a beauty doobie.

Turns out she’s The Bloods’ goalie Natasha getting in another run before playing her former team, the North Shore Slashers after they finish off the Shitmix.  She doesn’t seem insane yet she eagerly faces wildmen firing beer cans at her head, “It’s nuts out there, there are no rules, everyone should try it.”

Some incredible boarders (behold the mightiness of King Brian!) and a bewildering assortment of boards, mostly Landyachtz and Rayne.

“The Meathheads” are up 2-1 thanks to a wiry dude sans helmet who snakes through defenders – hard sliding to the left while shooting off the right, one foot flying behind.

Just when it looks easy, he takes a hit goes Bobby-Orr-flying through the air onto the pavement, then leaps back up before being run down.  Turns out this savant is “King” Brian who skates for the 9-0 Chilliwack team.  He’s also the Longboard Hockey League’s defending scoring champ and frequent curator of the Chanley Cup.

Besides the Longboard Hockey LeagueCoastlongboarding organizes a 4 day festival in May on the Sunshine Coast with a downhill race, championship hockey game and punk bands at a reserved campground at Danger Bay.

I ask another Chilliwack Meathhead called Tyson what possesses them to drive out from the farthest burb of Chilliwack – a town I remember mostly for grow houses and cow shit – “it’s about the community” he says rolling up a huge cone from my ample first aid kit of bud.  His buddy adds, “Yeah, all we do is skate and smoke weed.”

Sounds good to me, pulling a hoot with my head fogged and face grinning. “Good stuff” he says, as i dodge a bearded dude on a six wheel skateboard barrelling down the garage ramp.

An intriguing evening at the LHL games for sure – I spread the custom Heads rollies around Cousin Herb rolled up the aforementioned Chocolate Jack Herer using the “made in Spain” Raws and those clear rolling substrates I’ve become so fond of.

Of course, I recorded interviews and action for a forthcoming Choogle on with Uncle Weed podcast.  Recent episodes make fine companions to my HeadFirst articles, “Rebagliati Positive for 2010” and “Zen Rambling in Japan.”   Check out “International Heads and Hemp Oil – Choogle on #34” for some behind the scenes commentary and anecdotes from the articles plus my interview with Ross is at “Coffee talk with Gold Medalist Ross Rebagliati.”

Enjoy!

In the Suitcase with Dave Olson in @ToqueCanoe

“HootSuite’s hippie artist shares his packing dogma”

Canadian travel blog Toque and Canoe recently profiled me and my packing devices and methods for an article series about how people pack, what’s  in their suitcase etc., ergo: “Olson is an avid traveler apart from work which – aside from the fact that he has the coolest piece of luggage ever – makes him an ideal candidate for our latest In the Suitcase post.”

Me in Toque and Canoe – Suzanne Ahearne took photo

Read the whole article: In the Suitcase with Dave Olson – HootSuite’s hippie artist shares his packing dogma

Here are snippets:

Q. Tell us, Dave, about your favourite suitcase.

A. I have a tiny old hard shell suitcase with stickers all over it. It was actually made by prison labour on Alcatraz. It’s kind of fallen apart and I have to put a leather belt around it to hold it together. But it fits as a carry-on. And it’s a beauty.

Q. Are you a guy who likes to bring home souvenirs?

A. I keep little ephemeral paper objects. Ticket stubs. Crappy postcards. I’ll take an empty scrap book and make it real time on the trip. Then you return home and BAM, the whole trip is documented and you can share it with your friends. I was on a train in the rain in Spain (ha ha) and had my scrap book with me and I ended up partying with all of these great folks. Great way to bridge those cultural gaps. I also like to bring back coins. Little things. I like tiny things.

Q. What stands out as your most memorable souvenir from travels abroad?

A. The first time I went to Europe as a 20-something-year-old – with $200 and no return ticket – I took a watercolour notebook and watercolour pencils. I made (a dozen or so) little paintings on that trip. To me, they’re more valuable than anything I could have hauled back. I don’t generally buy things and ship them back. But I do have a weakness for funny hats.

Bonus: The video interview in which a colleague Marianne read the questions and i answered on camera to hand off: Snippets of daveos thoughts on traveling gears – Google Drive

Oh and it went to print in Calgary anyhow:
Toque and Canoe in Calgary Herald

Fuck Stats, Make Art, Riffs via Paul Jarvis

A sharp, creative and productive pal called Paul Jarvis named-checked Fuck Stats, Make Art in a blog post he shared with his tribe of creatives. Respectfully shared below for posterity.

Fuck Stats, Make Art

The title of this post is lifted from a talk Dave Olson (aka Uncle Weed) gave in 2009. The statement still resonates, because it succinctly emphasizes what’s important in the writing you do.

Trying to follow a formula, script or tactic to get more traffic, sales or followers never works in the long run because it screams inauthenticity. Your goals and desires echo in everything you do, even if you think they don’t. So if you’re focused on going viral or being popular or selling something, it’ll show. Copying what others did to gain success just makes you sound like an echo instead of a voice.

What makes the content you create awesome is that it’s a story told through your unique lens. It’s you, telling a story. It’s you not giving a fuck about anything but telling that story. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post about banking software or a video on how to make nut milk, the content will be better if you let your real personality shine.

How to find your unique voice

  • Stop reading blogs.
  • Definitely stop reading popular blogs.
  • Read outside of your niche/area of expertise.
  • Most definitely stop reading blogs about how to have a popular blog.
  • Don’t write to be read. Write to write, explore, experiment, share, express, inspire.
  • Stop looking at your stats, likes, retweets.
  • Write more.
  • Read what you write and ask yourself, “is this how I actually sound when I’m not conscious of how I sound?”.

Source: Fuck Stats, Make Art | Paul Jarvis

Candid Conversation with Dave Olson in The Business Examiner (2002)

Candid Conversation with Dave Olson in Business Examiner 03/04/02 – Business Examiner (Tacoma, WA)

Q & A with Kamila McClelland of the Business Examiner and Zhonka co-founder Dave Olson discussing mergers, Internet marketing, and new business plans.

##

Dave Olson was marketing director and partner in Olympia-based Internet service provider OlyWa, which was acquired by ATG, a telecommunications company that has Olympia and Tacoma locations. In the following question-and-answer, the Canada native shares the trials, tribulations and rewards of selling a business in which you’ve invested blood, sweat and tears.

Q: How did you first get involved with the founders of OlyWa?

A: I met the three founders of OlyWa at Evergreen’s Super Saturday shortly after I arrived in Olympia. They were selling tie-dyes and I was selling hemp backpacks.

They invited me down to the office to check out this Internet business they had started about six months before. They had already laid a solid technical foundation and gone through the initial ramp-up growth spurt. To complete the stew, OlyWa needed someone who could focus on customer service and marketing tasks.

Q: How much did OlyWa grow after you joined it in 1996?

A: When I joined, the foundation had been laid for fast growth. We went from 500 customers to 1,500 overnight, it seemed. We ran into some growth slowdown while we waited – and waited – for the phone company to install fiber into the building.

During that time, rather than sign up new customers, we kept a waiting list that grew to over 400 prospects. We didn’t sign up new customers until new lines were turned up in order to maintain our current customer’s high-level quality of service.

While we did miss out on some customers, it turned out to be great PR as customers truly appreciated it and carried their @olywa.net e-mail address like a badge of honor.

Q: What was your market niche?

A: OlyWa’s focus was on home power-users and community organizations. By freely extending support to community groups from KAOS Radio to the Food Bank to AIDS and Cancer organizations, I think the general public could see that we were both technically high-performance and genuinely community-focused.

Q: What image do you think OlyWa built for itself by the time it was sold?

A: High performance in every facet – technology, customer service and community support. In particular, we had a reputation for deploying new Internet access solutions first and in a high-quality and reliable manner. Bear in mind that OlyWa wasn’t the first ISP in the area, but certainly we were the most innovative by leading the way with 56K, DSL, Cable, Burstable T1.

Q: How many customers did OlyWa have when it was sold?

A: Depending on how you count them – e-mail accounts, unique billing customer, number of dial-up/DSL lines, etc. – 3,000 is a good round number. Most were residential users, followed by organizations/agencies and businesses third.

Q: What were the conditions in the company and the economy that led you and the other partners to believe the time was right to sell in 2000?

A: It was really more of a condition of our internal growth curve. We hadn’t totally saturated our local market but knew there were other products and markets to pursue, and also that we had the knowledge and experience to expand OlyWa into other markets throughout the Northwest.

We drew up a plan and shopped options, from venture capitalists and private investors to being courted by communications companies who had designs on merging with, or outright purchasing OlyWa.

Q: Was it a smooth transition?

A: Immediately after the merger, not much changed as we worked with our new parent company to devise a plan that ensured that the customer experience was not diluted but rather enhanced.

A problem arose when the parent corporation didn’t immediately incorporate a clear plan or have a defined interest in fully serving home users. Our input and ideas were mostly ignored or unbudgeted.

The business customers were a bit surprised about the pressure to change to an integrated telecommunications package, including a long-term contract, especially since OlyWa had never really used a sales force and certainly not any kind of high-pressure sales that had become the norm.

There were also a number of deployment and billing issues, both internal and external, that certainly left a few disenchanted customers. These service discrepancies were frustrating for us, since we were used to finding ways to satisfy the end-user.

As for the supported community non-profit organizations, most of them were cut or sent invoices. That was perhaps the most painful for me personally, since it is something I took pride in.

Q: What have you done with your share of the proceeds from the OlyWa sale, which was two-thirds stock and one-third cash?

A: The two-thirds stock sits in my safety deposit box, mocking me, and the one-third cash was used to pay bills, a few home improvements and a bit a traveling with my lady friend.

Q: What kind of restrictions did you have to adhere to as part of the sale?

A: I and the other operating partners had to join the parent company as employees and work specifically on migrating customers to the parent company’s network, which turned out to be a tricky proposition.

Q: What caused you to leave your job at ATG last June?

A: It seemed there was internal and cultural confusion on how to handle the OlyWa “tribe,” and what credence to give our ideas, plans and whatnot – kind of a square peg-round hole situation.

Some of our Internet colleagues at corporate HQ were squeezed out. We began to feel we were unwitting  pawns, rather than “bright, innovative Internet minds,” which is how they’d described us when we were negotiating the merger.

Long story short, we negotiated a “divorce” that included a non-compete and mutual non-disparagement agreement.

Q: What are you doing now?

A: The job market is quite lean these days, so I am following my entrepreneurial instincts and brewing up a few new business plans and ideas.

Ideally, I will do something in either public relations or marketing for business and artists. I have also considered completing a law degree, focusing on intellectual property laws, something I became more interested in during the merger.

Q: Is there any room left in Thurston, Pierce, Lewis or Mason counties?

A: Absolutely – in all those markets. I don’t see ISPs being particularly innovative in their service offerings. Additionally, the wait and complications for DSL service are frankly quite absurd.

Further, no ISP is providing Internet access in a wide variety of ways – DSL, Cable, Burstable T1, Frame relay – ensuring all customers can get broadband access. I particularly think that residential customers are underserved, as most ISPs in the marketplace are only after business clients, leaving home users at the mercy of either inconsistent national cable providers or local dial-up providers.

Q: How would you say the local business climate for ISPs has changed over the past three years?

A: The biggest change is the rise – and subsequent decline – of CLECs (Competitive Local Exchange providers). When these providers came in, there was a “shakedown” in which some smaller providers disappeared through assimilation or lack of business. Yet the bigger corporations from out-of-state entering the market haven’t increased the range and quality of service for the end user.

I think there is a desire from the customers for a return to both personalized, local customer service and more streamlined process to high-performance Internet.

Q: What’ve you learned from all this?

A: Before the merger, I felt we were a big fish in a small pond and wouldn’t be as successful in a bigger market. Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned is that our talents and experience were advanced enough to play in the big leagues.

I also learned lawyers make good money no matter how the deal goes down.