Category Archives: Kinfolk + Pals

articles, tributes, bits of poetry, obituaries and birthdays alike – put here when relating to my brothers, parents and other kin

Bob and Dave: Surrey and Ghandruk

Bob, Dave: Surrey, approx 1975
Bob, Dave: Ghandruk, 2017

Onward, upward (poem from Deb.)

My dear counsellor – who helped me so very much when “the wheels fell off” with sickness, death, career disruption, and finding new self with advice about letting go and floating – is travelling, writing, meditating, learning, giving… all over.

She wrote this gift and sent to me.

Martha's Vineyard (by Deb)
Martha’s Vineyard (by Deb)

Onward, upward 

Let the fresh air
float away distractions, unnecessary cares.
That tendency to carry sorrows
of others, in your heart, in your bones,
need burden your spirit no more.
No sense heaving that lore.
Your best
was,
and is,
all you need deploy.
And gift
that inner critic
a swift kick,
off the gentle path,
irregardless of where it lands.
Nature’s recycling
will reliably,
re-craft it into her hummocky soup.
She handles erosion, far better than you.
Let your sweat
effuse
forgiveness, toward you, from you.
This life, these acts
weren’t meant to be perfect, wise, exact.
You’ve learnt vast
lessons
from
endless folks of your past.
Expend unwisely no more!
Instead, embody your
fortitude,
as we redwoods majestically do,
Your bod grants you a naturalness,
this
style of presence
– to exude.
Venture now,
liberated of unwarranted strife,
boldly stride,
up nature’s steps of life,
allowing
supportive connection,
when you need or like,
or when it’s most wise.
You sweet soul,
Onward, upward, lithely glide
up, up to luxuriate in the sun’s inviting light.
Retreat mediation room poetry
Multiversity 1440
Scripted by DebJoan Hall-B
March 15, 2018

74th Birthday Letter to Mom

Well Mom, it’s your birthday.

Of course, you’re on my mind today, but also every other day. Of course I miss many things about you but mostly just the ability to call and catch you up on my life and have you cheer me along on my challenges and adventures. Your sing- songy voice going “oh son, that sounds fantastic, such fun!” So here’s your update…

Still, I’m trucking away at challenges and having adventures. I get Blue sometimes/often for sure… Missing the “old me” – even though I know its useless thinking and there’s many things about that part of my life that were not sustainable and decisions I could’ve made that would’ve been slightly more sensible – but I miss having energy to get up and  face each day with optimism and enthusiasm. Instead I wake up confused, exhausted, anxious and in pain. However, whenever this happens, I remind myself that I’m off all medications, I’m still out here in the world, making friends and trying to make the lives of strangers a tiny bit better. Just like you taught me.

Continue reading 74th Birthday Letter to Mom

Goodbye Baloo – a robust and authentic leader of Surrey youth

Baloo, Akela and Bagheera and Cubs Scouts at Guildford mall, circa 1979
Baloo (C), Akela (R) and Bagheera (L) and various Cubs Scouts (including Gordon Manson and Dave Olson)  at Guildford mall, circa 1979 (photo by Mike Peters i think, provided by Gordon Manson, cropped for clarity by me)

I knew Michael as Baloo (and/or DonM.), as that was his Cub Scout leader name, named after the big friendly bear in the classic “jungle book” story by Rudyard Kipling.

But, before he was a Cub Scout leader, I knew him from the neighborhood growing up in Guilford in the 70s. Gordon and I were childhood friends, involved in all sorts of little activities like making “secret club”, building tree houses and romping around “Guilford mews” condo complex.

Later, the family join the same church my parents belong to and so I was friends with Gordon both at elementary school and at church.

One of my favorite memories of Michael was when he took us to the PNE in an old Pinto car. After he loaded us up, he explained that the brakes were shot on the car. Somehow I wasn’t worried at all! I watched him as he drove a stick shift and explained to me carefully how he was downshifting to slow the car down to “save the brakes.” He expertly and gently used the stick shift and handbrake to get us there safely for a day of fun. Later on in life when I had an old Volkswagen bus with the same conundrum, I would think about him as I would downshift and expertly and gently slow my jalopy van safely through traffic.

As Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader, he took on the task of teaching us karate. Of course an unruly group of boys thought we would be breaking bricks after the first half an hour but, instead, he explained to us all that we had to learn to meditate. Imagine a room full of us “trying“ to sit still and be quiet. It wasn’t entirely successful! But then, to show that he was in charge and knew what he was doing, he challenged us to all punch him as hard as we could to see if we can make him flinch. All of us thought we were so tough as we would try to so I came out and land a solid punch in the gut and he just laughed heartily at us. It put us all in our place, and we were much more attentive after that.

He also often brought his guitar, especially on scout outings, and would lead sing-alongs. We were all amazed by his versatility and thought it was super cool that “we” had a leader who play guitar.

Maybe you’ve seen the photo of the whole gaggle of us, with my dear, recently deceased mother and third leg of their leadership tripod Mickey Gladstone, with Michael front and center with his guitar and mustache. I am leaning on his left shoulder with my glasses and goofy childhood grin. The whole pack of us looked at him as our protector and “bonus uncle” knowing that while he was a big friendly bear, he would protect us at any cost.

The measure of a man can often be judged in their children, and garden resurfaced in my life a few years ago and we realized we were at in similar industry and were able to “talk shop“. You could tell the big heart was passed on when he arrived at my 42nd birthday party with an entire roast beef wrapped in aluminum foil he cooked for the occasion. “Just in case there’s not enough food” he said. And dear Sherri, as I’ve gone through some health challenges of my own these past few years, she’s been there so very often with a kind word of support and encouragement. It means so very much to me. Truly his quality lives on through his offspring.

Indeed, diseases can be very cruel and seeing Michael deteriorate physically to a shadow of his former robust self was a bit shocking at first as he was such a robust and powerful man – I witnessed something similar with my own dad‘s journey with dreaded cancer though it was a six week or deal from news to death – however I was comforted to know that his mental faculties stayed intact and he was able to show his children affection until the end, spared the ravages of dementia.

Dear Michael, know that you were a “big fish” to a gaggle of us kids growing up in (rather rough and tumble) Guilford in the 1970s and your protective spirit will linger on and all of us for decades to come.

Gratefully and respectfully, Davey Olson, Cub Scout pack member

Dennis Peron – a few words in Memorium for a charismatic activist

Dennis Peron is/was charming, fearless and charismatic
Dennis Peron is/was charming, fearless and charismatic speaking at a Hemp event in Olympia, WA 1996 – as seen in HempenRoad

Dennis Peron – who clearly made a global impact with his efforts to normalize medical cannabis – died

An exceptional public speaker with charisma for days, goodly Dennis Peron (as seen in my documentary HempenRoad film) speaking at a Hemp event of some name or another in Olympia, Washington in 1996, just before Prop 215 passed – which was the (arguably i suppose) first big domino to fall in the cannabis legalization / normalization movement. He stood up to the government stooges with bravado and vigour and rallied disparate communities to the crusade with compassion as the central theme – a brilliant communications strategy among other things.

Dennis Peron at the podium
Dennis Peron at the podium, Oly Hemp Something, Olympia, WA 1996 – as seen in HempenRoad

Was charmed and captivated by his style and amazed at his polished & nuanced public speaking style with frankness & subtle wit. Serious topics delivered with casual ease and fierce determination. A pro in a league (at that time) of well-intentioned amateurs.

When making my lil film i wanted to give new voices a chance to share their stories and as such, avoided the then “big timers” who were churning out books and on the pulpit banging circuit, but wanted to include him as he was “not a hippie” and coming from a different direction at the problems than the usual suspects. He was gracious with his time and invited us to come to California to film part 2 – something i so very much wanted to do but never happened.

Dennis Peron in Capitol atrium
Dennis Peron in Capitol Building atrium, Olympia, WA 1996 – as seen in HempenRoad

He lived long and well but (as we all will) succumbed to a health conundrum a few days back – as i live elsewhere in the world most of the time these past years i lost track of his actions but when asked about him in SF a couple of years back, he was spoken of in revered terms usually reserved for mafia dons. Be it known, there are not many of us who can pass away knowing we changed the course of history and he is definitely one who can. He likely didnt remember our encounter (or maybe even see the film) but he made a significant impact on me as an activist and communicator.

Dave Olson looks on as Dennis Peron speaks in Olympia, WA 1996
Dave Olson looks on as Dennis Peron speaks in Olympia, WA 1996 – as seen in HempenRoad

Glad he lived to see the results of labours – while situation not perfect by any means, at least folks in majority of states can access medical cannabis safely(ish) – and/or can relocate to said states… and in many states everyone can (as he says in the doc) “self-titrate.”

PS See his bit in HempenRoad and witness charm in action at the Olympia Hemp (something) at Capitol Bldg in 1996. Go to 35:55 minute mark.

My pal Jaime Stein left Hootsuite… he said this and i said that

I’ve got some news… Goodbye Hootsuite!

Jaime Stein, 13, January 2018

This week was my final week at Hootsuite. I had an incredible 3+ years and am thankful to people like Ryan Holmes, Matt Switzer, Cameron Uganec and Dave Olson who gave me the opportunity to work at the nest. #HootsuiteLife

{he goes on to share dozens of stories from the intersection of startup life and personal adventures/growth… link above to read}

##

{i replied thusly – pardon errors]

Well I’m a little late to the conversation, but have a lot to say about this starting with your skills as an actual practitioner, meaning someone who “uses social media to talk about something other than social media“…

Next, admiration for your creative promotional work with the #CFL and (proudly) announcing the #Greycup as the Canadian Twitter trend of year on @TheSportMarket radio with Tom Mayeknect & @bobmackin (Also noting the league’s “challenges” in attracting a younger audience since your departure) #Underappreciated

Then, seeing you gracefully switch gears to #ING – including managing social brand transition to #Tangerine. Pleased, you brought your whole team, plus local social practitioners, to the Toronto #HootUp during #NXNE for their “scarfing ceremony”.

You respectfully and kindly asked my “permission” to borrow the scarf idea for your superstar saver program (which I hearitly “gave”) and then did great cross promotion with the related Tumblr blog (now sadly gone) and even featured me :-) #AlsoACustomer

Launching the Vancouver #Tangerine office was a blast when we “scarfed in” CEO Peter Aceto even though I had to stand on my tippy toes to kiss him on the cheek. You (and colleagues of course) brought personality to a typically faceless / bland industry.

At Hootsuite, despite your experience, you came in with enthusiasm and humility. A powerful combination. You were willing to do whatever it took to bake yourself into the team(s) and fulfill the bigger purposes, not just “padding your stats”.

When I had to leave Hoot for medical purposes, I was so concerned about the continuation of the culture… Not the “Icings” and parties, but continuing the deeply ingrained – but hardly automatic – practical part of social media: giving each customer #OneHugAtATime

One of my definite, albeit unofficial, roles at HootSuite was as a purveyor and amplifier of culture: from beards (of which I was the first :>) to parliaments to coffees to unabashed enthusiasm for mentoring young workers, I “passed the torch” to you and you delivered for more than I ever could.

Watching your recent efforts, I felt so pleased to know that the international markets in particular, which are very close to my heart, were given such respect and personalized attention. Especially #APAC #Europe and #government agencies. I planted many seeds years ago and you gardened them so very expertly.

When I happened by the #Toronto office last summer, I was in a deep trough of personal confusion and your enthusiastic and sincere welcome – and acknowledging to colleagues –the work I’ve done in the early days of the company, meant very much to me. It’s hard to vanish.

Even more recently, while I was dealing with a very lonely “holiday” time, you virtually celebrated my “Jewish Christmas” of a movie and Chinese food with me. Best festive wishes.

While I am no longer in the “industry” and now just a wandering poet (possibly fulfilling my true life’s intention) I am forever in your corner and happy to help you in anyway I can: from funny photos to, (heaven forbid) Linkedin recommendations, to virtual hugs, just ask.

Just a few more fine gentlemen…

And me in a Callahans general store trucker hat from Austin Texas.

Assortment of pals (for whom i am grateful)

Always be Kind

PS I have more

Merchant of ephemera in Mile End

Meet Billy, mixed media artist, roamer and proprietor of my fave ephemera shop @monastiraki in #Montréal where i purchased expired passports, vintage hotel stationary, 4-language election leaflets, handmade chapbooks and myriad other oddities – much is now transformed into new stories. PS i need a stationery restock!