Tag Archives: robert scales

Friendly Dehli Wanders – Postcard #71

Postcards from Gravelly Beach – Friendly Dehli Wanders

First reflecting on Funiculars, Dave then reads works by poet friends from far-flung points including: Sohaib Ahmed recounting escaped love and lights, Adam Burningham examining towns atop streams, Amber Case on a languid roadtrip, and Robert Scales appreciating a sunrise and oblivion – plus music by guitarist Matt Harding and a rainstorm, crickets and cicadas from a porch.

Choose your transport for: Friendly Dehli Wanders – Postcard #71 (23:51, .mp3, 48MB)

Continue reading Friendly Dehli Wanders – Postcard #71

Revisiting True North Media House and With Glowing Hearts, 8 years on…

Leading up to Vancouver 2010 Olympics, filmmaker Andrew Lavigne followed, filmed and documented various stories around social justice and social media. One storyline was the “True North Media House” a renegade media project cooked up by me, Kris Krüg & Robert Scales based on our experiences documenting previous Olympics. In brief, we wanted to create a context in which grassroots bloggers, photographers, podcasters, vidmakers etc. could capture and share stories, reach a wider audience, and (if they chose to) stay out of trouble with IOC.

We aimed to take a non-political, non-denominational, non-everything kind of approach in that folks were welcome to write about whatever they want and participate anyway they wanted as long as they: took responsibility for their own work, published content under creative Commons license, submitted their RSS feeds to our “firehose”. This was unique amidst the adversarial relationship the Olympics built up with various constituent groups in the community. In other words, the Olympics were going to happen in our city, and we had an opportunity to share stories of what life is really like in Vancouver, the neighbourhoods we live in and the changes we saw to our civic society during that time, plus lots of parties  

Wisely, we eschewed a physical space in favour of providing a litany of meet-ups, campaigns, workshops, and offering access to our mailing list and other channels to all the PR agencies, hospitality houses, various educational an activist groups and so on providing a wide variety of topics and events for TNMH accredited documenters to document. By the way, to be accredited, one must agree to the three principles above, and print out their own badge, lamination optional but recommended. Overall, so many wonderful people took on this challenge from youth to elders, people who thought they would have no interest in the Olympics to people who were diehard enthusiasts, to activists to people seeking free beer.

Uncounted thousands of stories were created, amplified through some very strategic social media kung fu, and the story of True North Media House became a story for the mainstream media with coverage in dozens of publications. Indeed, some “mainstream” journalists wrote with a glint of envy about our lack of word counts, deadlines and assignments… Yet we were motivated and focused enough to actually create compelling narratives and artifacts.

Double Elvis for Julian

This double #Elvis goes out to one of the few dudes who can *easily* kick my ass at the “… Yeah I saw that band back in…” Julian Hannabuss
Photos by Robert Scales
via Instagram:

Guest book at Ceningan Resort on Nusa Cenengan, Bali, Indonesia

No secret that I love to make scrapbooks – both building them and showing them – and sometimes even encourage my friends to do so. In this case, Robert Scales made one as a guestbook for his resort in Bali. I gave it a little tuneup and encouragement and then, it lived at the bar and was filled with wonderful words until… One day, the bar burned down and sadly, the book with it (plus all kinds of great ephemera he had collected from world travels including loads from his home province in Quebec, unlike the booze, unreplaceable objects d’ art). I’m glad some of these comments are preserved digitally as well as the Curious George cover and boardgame backboard.

Seems like he needs a new one, so maybe I need to make a trip there to deliver who’s coming with me?

Robert Scales shared Ceningan Resort‘s album — feeling inspired at Ceningan Resort.

18 August 2016 · Lembongan, Indonesia

Social media bonanza update – Podcast Preview

Rolling out podcasts at usual epic pace including a few new series and guest appearances of sorts:

In case you missed it:

The Crazy Canucks
Primer on the Super Series  – a bit stale now but John added some beats while make my historical spiel worth a listen

Postcards from Gravelly Beach
Part second to last of the White Poppies for Remembrance series with an essay about why not to wear a poppy (respect by avoiding war) and some more hand-selected tunes paired like a pinot noir and gorgonzola

Canadian Podcast Buffet
Cross border podcast evangelist and diplomat Mark Blevis came to visit Vancouver and recorded some snippets of me, the charming Bollwits and the hilarious dudes form Foreskin Radio and Suburban Transpondency begging the question “why do al the fine podcasters come from Surrey?”

Raincity Radio
i’ve resurrected an old series started by Mark, Robert, Megan and others and busted out a healthy batch about web community building in Vancouver and elsewhere with guests including Jordan Behan, Marc Laporte, Boris Mann, Robert, Francis, Erik, Mark, etc.

Choogle on!
Absinthe on Thanksgiving Night Market, Hemp for Victory, Riveside chat

Canucks Outsider
Shifting into gear, Sorta …

Out N’ About with Uncle Weed
This travelin’ man chronicles is growing quick as i make new personal docu-diaries and find other clips needing a home

Dopecast with the Dopefiend
My UK counterpart came to visit and we talked and toked and recorded it all for your listening pleasure.  I offer half-asses analysis about the urban mileiu of Vancouver, forests, transportation, planning, politics, weed …
see also: a full extensive interview


Roland’s Rabble
discussion about the open soft/hard OpenMoko and other phones seeking to shake up the mobile industry (iPhone, rumoured Google phone) with Bryght’s Mr. Furley and PhP guru Audrey F.

Postcards from Gravelly Beach
Final chapter of the White Poppies for Remembrance series – out in time for Remembrance day – this “back cover” of the series features me spieling on about the remnants and artifacts of war and the folks pointing the troops to conflict and their motivations while wandering around London

Postcards from Radio Zoom
Radio Zoom John and I are planning a plan to bring the music i used in the WPfR series to his music-focused show.
This includes:
World of Hurt – Drive by Truckers
White Daisy Passing – Rocky Votolato
Mercy –
Refresh –
Providence – Chris Jacobsen
Brokedown Palace – Grateful Dead
First Vietnam War/Snipers at the Gates of Heave – The Black Angels
Gone Beyond – Akron/Family
Be Joyful! –

more with Wm Lenker at the Woodshed this time a sort of John Sinclair inspired reading – seeking the right JS tracks to combo it with.

Choogle on!
My podcast queue cleaning bonanza is nearing an end:
Numbskulz grow up
London last wander, maybe a bonus show about getting to London from vancouver with thoughts on NYC and elsewhere – might go under the Feasthouse label if not Choogley enough

Herby’s tales of ganja growing and swinging at Wreck beach

So this winter:
Work through Clayoquot recordings, water shortage, first nations reservation, skateboard comp, sitting in the woods with eagles perched overhead, wandering along trails, reading poetry and essays on clearcuts …
War resistance -seeking refuge in Canada
Marc Emery – extradition
Immigrating to Canada
Growing in a small space

Urban Vancouver
HempC taste test

the big psychedelic mop-up tray of all that’s left including a drunken (well me anyhow) discussion on the role of union in modern economy, some clips of the Dalai Lama’s Canadian citizenship ceremony, hanging out watching Seattle planes land with Cosmo

Raincity Radio:
Scales international exploits to China and more
Michael Fergusson about web communities for families
Boris and Francis about best practices for Drupal development

Olympic Outsider
a couple interviews which still need edited, release and all that with Duff Gibosn and Cripsin Lipscomb

Also Noteworthy – my personal podfather, Cosmo Goodbud Spacely started a new series Cosmo’s Spockets being a short literary snippet, a song or two and his innermost thoughts (well close anyhow)

Sharing “Oft-Forgotten Vancouver Stories” at Northern Voice 2013

Dave at Northern Voice 2009 by Megan Mallen
Dave at Northern Voice 2009 by Megan Mallen

I’m speaking at noted, long-time personal expression/blogging conference: Northern Voice, this time held at Museum of Vancouver. I’m bringing an old-timey suitcase and possible costume changes.

Details and tickets are at northernvoice.ca but basics are: June 14-15 (my gig is last on Saturday, 15th 3:30-4:30) at Museum of Vancouver (same building as the Planetarium with the crazy metal crab out front).

Blurb: Vancouver, The Untold Stories 

The core of personal expression is in the stories we create. Indeed, we humans are defined by the stories we tell and the people we tell them to. No matter what form your stories take – digital or analog – they come alive when shared with an audience.

By exploring an oft-forgotten and eclectic variety of Vancouver stories, Northern Voice veteran (this is his 10th talk) Dave Olson @uncleweed, will send you on personal quests to discover new heroes, sort out conundrums, and collaborate with other storymakers to and remix artifacts from our local life. Along the way, you’ll explore forms your mixed media stories might take, and ways to share with audiences you’ve yet to meet.

Start your journey by finding inspiration and interestingness in the  history of our own Vancouver, perhaps: forgotten breweries and legendary blues venues, wealthy recluse at the Bayshore, intrepid punk rock photographer, bohemian group of seven painters, storytellers past and future, true heavyweight champ in an unmarked grave, a dead Hollywood star and his grisly autopsy, stoner comedians’ first meeting, Jimi/Janis/Jerry, summer of love shakedown #nofun, Sammy Sr. at the Cave, Jello at the York, everyone at the Buddha,  and a host of our distant forebears and peers.

Your speaker Dave grew up in Guildford > Whalley > Newton and now lives in Lynn Valley and works in Mt. Pleasant – while he’s spent time in 29+ other countries – he takes distinct interest in getting lost in neighbourhoods seeking craft ales, chill gardens and curious tales. You may have caught him sharing at Pecha Kucha, SXSW, TedX or local community clubs.


For the record, my previous talks were:

  1. Blogging your Passion (with Rachel Ashe, Andre Charland and …)
  2. Three Ps of Podcasting (intro’ed by Roland Tanglao)
  3. Crazy Canucks panel (with John and Rebecca Bollwitt, JJ Guerrero, Alanah McGinley)
  4. Fuck Stats, Make Art (dedicated to Derek K Miller)
  5. Story of a Story (Letters from Russia)
  6. Rock n Roll Photo (with Kris Krug and Bev Davies)
  7. Citizen Journalism and Vancouver 2010 Olympics (with Robert Scales, Andy Miah, Kris Krug, Debbie Lander)
  8. Japan photo project (with John Biehler’s photo camp)
  9. Finding your Voice with Storymaking (delivered via video due to hospitalization)
  10. Vancouver: The Untold Stories (with you, i hope)

My blurb follows, perhaps we’ll see ya there? Oh, a load of my pals are spieling too.


SXSW China panel shares market-entry advice to Western businesses | CNReviews

SXSW China panel shares market-entry advice to Western businesses | CNReviews

Olympic photo essay at PBS Media Shift documents documenters

Continuing on with archiving the digital artifacts from my Olympic experience and True North Media House campaign… here’s a photo essay by my compatriot Vancouver photographerKris Krug for PBS Media Shift blog in which he profiled a variety of people on the ground in Vancouver producing social coverage of the Olympics.

Be sure to explore the entire photo set – Citizen, Alternative Media Converge at Olympic Games in Vancouver – for some real treats but i’ll include a couple of my best pals here plus Kris’ intro which sets up the piece:


Citizen, Alternative Media Converge at Olympic Games in Vancouver

It has become second nature for people to capture experiences, events and news using their phones, cameras and computers. We live in a world were journalism is an action — and citizens have stepped up to answer that call to action.

As a result, the story of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games is by no means limited to the version being told by official media sponsors. Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and Tumblr are enabling citizens and independent media to provide real-time coverage of the culture, events and community that are part of the Olympic Games. More stories are being told than ever before — and most of them have nothing to to do with the athletic events.

Kris Krüg is a photographer with Static Photography and a prominent member of the citizen and alternative media community in Vancouver. He is out in the city covering the broad spectrum of events that are occurring during the Olympics.

This is his photographic recap of citizen and alternative journalism at the Olympic Games.


Citizen journalists John Biehler and Dave Olson hold up the media accreditation badge for theTrue North Media House. TNMH is a virtual and independent media house operating during the Olympics. It provides media accreditation to citizen journalists of all types and also aggregates their reporting.

Prince George, British Columbia Vancouver 2010 Torch Relay Celebration

Rebecca Bollwitt, a.k.a. Miss604, is a Vancouver podcaster, blogger and all-around social media maven. She has been covering the Olympics for her popular Vancouver community site.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games - Vancouver, British Columbia

Official media accreditation for the Vancouver Olympic Games is issued by VANOC, the organizing committee — and only the official Olympic media partners are eligible. But other forms of accreditation, such as the one offered by True North Media House, have also been created. Robert Scales, who runs the site Vancouver Access 2010, is holding up his British Columbia International Media Center accreditation badge. This center is created and maintained by the British Columbia government, and is home to a wide variety of Canadian and international media. A few spots were also offered to independent media and bloggers.

True North Media House campaign discussed at PBS Media Shift

The PBS Media Shift blog followed the True North Media House campaign, Craig Silverman wrote a lengthy article about the various alternative reporting efforts in Vancouver during the Olympics.

Again for the record & archive, I’ve pasted liberally from the article but encourage you to read the full version in context at True North Media House, W2 Provide Citizen Media Hub at Olympics by by Craig Silverman (bio below), February 22, 2010. The article ran with photos (including this one of interviewing Gord Rickards at Molson Brewing by John Biehler) for the Olympic Outsider podcast plus video clips from WGHthemovie.ca- Webisode #2 ‘True North Media House’.

Dave Olson, left, conducts an interview with Gord Rickards at Molson BRewery, Vancouver - Photo by John Biehler

The article sets the stage thusly about the changes in the media landscape compared to previous Olympics and offers the background of the TNMH campaign:

Well over 100 unofficial media folks are united under the True North Media House, a virtual media accreditation organization that’s aggregating content from bloggers and citizen journalists at the Games. The TNMH initiative also helps them coordinate and communicate with each other via a mailing list and #tnmh Twitter hashtag, while also serving as a point of aggregation for reporting and content.



Last Wednesday, an email went out on the True North Media House email list to let people know the group would be holding an “Olympic Hockey Tweetup” the following day between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. at a local club. “There will be an appearance by special guest Guy Kawasaki at about 8 p.m.,” the message said.

{Ed Note: The mentioned was just rebroadcast via True North Media House but was organized by another group}

Apart from a few organized events like that one, the people sporting TNMH badges have largely roamed Vancouver on their own, or in small groups. They go where they choose (and where security lets them) and report, photograph and tweet what they see. As a result, theTNMH news feed is an eclectic mix of content. It’s also spreading far and wide, according to Dave Olson, one of the organizers.

“What we’re starting to see now is people are getting their coverage up and out and distributed well before the mainstream media,” he said.

Olson, whose day job is the marketing/community director for Twitter client HootSuite, hatched the idea for TNMH with Robert Scales, who runs Raincity Sudios andVancouverAccess2010.com, and local photographer Kris Krüg, who is contributing photo essays to MediaShift during the Games.


Now that the games are up and running, Olson said it’s a matter of letting the TNMH-accredited reporters go about their business, produce content, and see what happens. One surprise so far has been Aleks, a 5-year-old Vancouver boy who’s blogging about his Games experience with the help of his dad. He proudly wears his TNMH badge wherever he goes.

“We have people who four or five days ago didn’t self-identify as social media reporters, but they had a passion for photography or making videos,” Olson said. “Once the Games were on, they realized they see stuff no one else sees. A lot of people are just stepping up and saying they want to be a part of this.”

The reports in the TNMH news feed and discussion on #TNMH bring to mind the old saying that youth is wasted on the young. It’s hard to imagine professional media are bounding around with as much joy, delight and enthusiasm. Certainly, not having an assignment editor or producer harrassing you on deadline helps keep the TNMH crew happy. But you can’t help noticing how much fun they seem to having.

He continues to profile my compatriot John Biehler who produced exceptional quality and quantity of work during the Games:


John Biehler is an e-business analyst for an insurance company in Vancouver, but he’s also a self-described camera geek. He loves taking pictures and shooting video, and he shares his work on a blog and on Flickr.

Biehler booked off three weeks of vacation so he would be able to document the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, and now spends his days and nights reporting on everything from the torch relay to tall ships and zip line rides. His videos and photos are available in a special Olympic section of his blog, but they’re also showing up in the news feed of True North Media House.

Biehler proudly wears his TNMH media accreditation badge around his neck, and is often stopped by people who ask what it means, and where he got it.

“Some of the [people wearing the badge] have been able to get past security and get into venues because security think it’s official,” he said. “They don’t know we printed them out on a home printer and went to Staples and got them laminated.”

And Mr. Silverman shared my point (for which i am very glad) that grassroots content creation is for documentation as much or moreso than reportage or journalism.


Biehler is enjoying a unique experience because he has both a TNMH pass and an official one from the BCIMC. He is among the lucky few bloggers and folks from online media outlets granted access to the province’s media center. For the most part, he said, the professional media folks have been welcoming.

“They seem to work more hours,” he said of the pros, “and it’s been interesting talking with them about what I’m doing and what I’m working on, and comparing gear. Even if they’re working for a big company we’re similar in that we’re just trying to figure out the best way to do something.”

Olson said TNMH is more about documentation than journalism.

“But we’ve taken great pains to educate people about journalistic standards and how to tell a mixed media story,” he said. (The resources section on the website offers a wealth of useful information.)
The night we spoke, Olson was rushing off to meet a group of hockey fans from Latvia, an experience he looked forward to documenting.

“How often do you get a chance to meet someone who has come halfway around the world to your city to enjoy something that you’re also passionate about?”

To which he could have added: and then share that experience with the world.

Again, be sure to read the entire article and related media at True North Media House, W2 Provide Citizen Media Hub at Olympics and thanks to Craig for spreading the story.

Bio: Craig Silverman is an award-winning journalist and author, and the managing editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. Follow him on Twitter at @CraigSilverman.

What they’re ( not) saying about Paralympics via Vancouver Sun

What they’re ( not) saying about Paralympics

British press silent, social media drop off but ‘ definite improvement’ still noted

Vancouver Sun, BY GILLIAN SHAW gshaw@vancouversun.com

Alexandre Bilodeau’s gold medal — Canada’s first on home soil — received a massive amount of coverage.

When Vancouver blogger Rebecca Bollwitt was writing about the Olympics, traffic to her website grew 400 per cent.

It dropped back to normal levels with the extinguishing of the Olympic flame, where it has stayed even though Bollwitt is now writing about the Paralympics.

That may help explain why social media appear to be following the lead of many mainstream media outlets in reduced coverage of the Paralympics compared to the Olympics.

It’s an issue with no easy answers. Even as media and social media numbers drop for the Paralympics compared to last month‘ s Olympics, the optimist will see the increase in coverage from past Paralympics.

And both social media and the mainstream media added their voices to the call on CTV for more extensive broadcasting of Paralympics opening and closing ceremonies.

“ I would take a step back and think about what motivates the various media outlets,” said Marc-David Seidel, associate professor at the University of B. C.’ s Sauder School of Business organizational behaviour and human resources division. “ They want to sell papers, get eyeballs or whatever you want to call it.

“ In reality, social media has the same goal; they are both looking for audiences.”

Donovan Tildesley, a Paralympian and multiple-medal winner in swimming, would argue it is up to the mainstream and social media to help raise the profile of the Paralympics.

While some might say the size of the Paralympics – 650 athletes and 10 days of events compared to the Olympics’ 17 days and more than 2,600 athletes – is explanation enough for diminished coverage, Tildesley dismisses that. The profile being given the Paralympics speaks to its importance to media providers, he says.

“ I think there is definitely an improvement from past Games but by no means is it adequate,” he says. “ It is being covered more than it has been, but successes in the Paralympic Games seem to be pushed to the back of the news reports.

“ When Alexandre Bilodeau won his [ Olympic] gold medal it was the lead story on radio and TV. Yesterday when Brian McKeever won his gold medal it was 10 to 15 minutes into the [ CBC’s] World at Six.

“ It wasn’t the lead story. If they want to make it equal or parallel, as the Paralympics should be, it should be leading off the top of the news.”

In The Vancouver Sun, which produced both Paralympic and Olympic supplements, McKeever’s gold-medal performance, along with that of fellow Canadian Lauren Woolstencroft, was Tuesday’s front-page news.

It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg question. If Google searches are any indication, the Paralympics rank far below the Olympics in online interest.

But as Bollwitt points out, the fact that the Paralympic opening ceremony didn’t register as a Twitter trend compared to the Olympic opening that did could be explained by the lack of broadcast coverage.

“ It is not as widely televised so you are not getting people watching in Florida on NBC and tweeting about it,” she said. “ It would be great if it had the same kind of profile.

“ But I think more people are aware of the Paralympics in Vancouver than in any other year. It is still kind of a young event.”

Bollwitt, who is accredited to cover the Paralympics, said she’ll continue to write about them, despite the dwindled readership.

“ I write about stuff that may get zero comments and maybe two retweets but it still is important for me to get it out there,” she said.

It’s an attitude Tildesley would applaud.

“ If we want to understand more about the Games themselves and what these athletes go through, I think the media has the responsibility to take it upon themselves and make it the lead story,” he said. “ I think the mainstream media are just apprehensive because it means stepping out of their comfort zone, writing about something they are not convinced the public will consume.

“ What they don’t realize is that it is the only way to grow the movement from a grassroots movement to a mainstream movement.”

Tildesley says the public wants coverage of the Paralympics and there are indications both in mainstream and social media that some are ready to supply it.

A survey published in the United Kingdom after London won its bid for the 2012 Summer Games indicated 69 per cent of the U. K. public thought there should be more media coverage of the Paralympic Games.

However while February’s Olympics made headlines in U. K. papers – with some controversial coverage – a check of files turns up little in U. K. papers about the Paralympics.

One exception is a Guardian story, headlined: “ BBC criticized for scant coverage of Winter Paralympics.”

A tally of newspaper coverage shows mixed results. A search on Paralympics for The Vancouver Sun turned up 69 results in the Infomart database from opening day March 12 to Tuesday March 16. A search on Olympics from opening day Feb. 12 to Feb. 16 had 286 results, the proportion of stories close to the proportion of Paralympic competitors compared to Olympic competitors.

The Globe and Mail had 222 results for a search on the term Olympics between Feb. 12 and Feb. 16 and 15 results for Paralympics between March 12 and the 16th.

During the same period, an Infomart search of the New York Times turned up two results for Paralympics, while the term Olympics between Feb. 12 and Feb. 16 had 78 results.

The London Daily Mail turned up 40 hits on the term Olympics in stories from Feb. 12 to the 16th, while the opening of the Paralympics registered zero results. The Liverpool Echo had a single Paralympics story during that time, one about Merseyside marine and Paralympian Pete Dunning.

So is there cause for optimism that coverage is increasing?

Robert Scales, who organized a social media website for the Olympics, Vancouver Access 2010, argues that although social media coverage has dropped significantly with the Paralympics, a number of factors are involved. One is that South by Southwest, the largest social media event of the year, is being held in Texas this week.

On the other hand, accreditation for the Paralympics was much easier for bloggers to obtain, as Bollwitt, who wasn’t eligible for the top-level official Olympic media accreditation, found out.

Of the eight people who contributed to Vancouver Access during the Olympics, Scales said only three are left in Vancouver, with the others at SXSW. Even he hasn’t been using his Paralympic accreditation as planned because of injuries from a recent car accident.

Echoing in part what Tildesley suggested, Scales said the Paralympics may be outside the comfort zone of some. “ Yes, we are disappointed they are not getting the same attention,” he said of the Paralympics. “ Do they deserve the same attention?

“ Bloody hell, yes, they are heroes. They show the same endurance that any Olympian does – they are Olympians.”