Category Archives: Writing Collections

a library in process holding collection of my writing projects including expository essays, articles for counter-culture magazine, sudden fiction and freeverse poetry – organized by form or collection

leaning forward now

you lean forward

thick blades arch and thrust

you collared to the clouds

dappling your supple shadows

graceful valleys

no secrets

only tales to distract

away

my constant gaze

and eager intentions

I’ve Seen the Pathway (Tired Traveler)

i’ve seen the pathway
tis cobbled rocky and twisted
arranged enough to confuse
and mislead
but it leads
to the finest lands
you’ve ever dreamed

if you manage to stand
and can navigate by orion
you’ll arrive in the bay
left by bandits, fishers and seers
where abundance and tranquillity await
so replenish your weighted mind
tired traveler
and soak in the nectar of another
delirious day

Seems Born to Drive

My Ingersol Rand representative
seems to be
born to drive

“I’ll gain success
by making friends
with numbers,”
exclaimed in a backslide

sure a bit rough around the edges
and often high on LSD
air tools look more splendid
displayed in meaty catalogs

greasy prints, overalled
hauling backwards now
wailing down Granville
dodging cabs
playing chicken with buses
pylons flying
a mob soon gathers

(tbc)

“Letters from Russia” discussion on “Write Now!” radio show – interview transcription

DJ Snailmail:  Our guest tonight for “Write Now, The Art & Action of Letter writing” is a letter-writer of sorts and a storyteller Dave Olson out of Vancouver, British Columbia.  Dave, can you tell me about the two websites that I visited there? Can you talk about those two; I’m not sure, the podcast one and the other one?

Dave: Sure.  Well, I do a whole bunch of different writing and creative projects and uncleweed.net (note: now daveostory.com)  is my home for all my creative arts and crafts I make, whether it be my writing projects or academic projects, and then I do a bunch of podcasts.

Continue reading “Letters from Russia” discussion on “Write Now!” radio show – interview transcription

Busted in Japan – a narrative by a Briton caught in Kansai

A quick preamble to this stunning narrative …

Taima.org Hemp Cannabis in JapanI wrote Hemp Culture in Japan which turned into a collaboration with HempMan, a German in Japan, to create a comprehensive clearinghouse of all information about Cannabis in Japan called Taima.org. This site is maintained by HempMan but in dire need to “web 2.0″i-fi-cation to make more searchable and participatory and such but i digress …

As part of my research, i get interesting things in the snail and postal mail – from angry letters from Iran PhDs to cool grow shot shots to other”researchers” wanting all my contacts.

This note though is heavy duty as this older gentleman recounts the dystopia experience of being shook down. Frustrating to be sure as no one would add any reason or sense to the process and he was cut off from most anyone but a rubber-stamping attorney.

I’ve followed up with the gentleman for some more insight, but for starters, get comfy and give this a read.

I arrived at Kansai Airport last March with around 15g of marijuana. I’d bought it in Amsterdam and thought it would be OK as I’d travelled in and out of Japan for years and never been searched – this time it was different. I don’t really know why they searched me – the sniffer dogs weren’t interested. Anyway, they discovered the stuff. Later that day they searched my apartment and discovered about 20g there in deep
freeze – pretty bland stuff and I was hoping the import from Amsterdam was going to give me a better buzz.

I was kept at Kansai kuko police station for 18 days and then transferred to Sakai detention center in southern Osaka, where I spent a further 42 days (almost 2 months in total).

Even though I’d cooperated fully with the police, confessed and didn’t try to hide anything, the prosecutor demanded a 2 year prison sentence as I had a ‘significant’ amount. I’ve lived in Japan for 18 years and this is my first offence. In the trial, the judge regarded my ‘addiction’ as a big problem as I’d admitted to first smoking cannabis when I was 19 (I’m now 54) he said he was giving me a 18 month sentence suspended for 4 years. Very surprisingly I was granted bail after the first court appearance (the hearing and presenting of evidence). This cheered me no end as it seemed to indicate the judge and prosecutor did not regard me as a danger to society. At present I’m waiting to see what Immigration has to say as they decide to deport or not.

I did try to get my lawyer to emphasise the relative ‘harmlessness’ of cannabis abuse and the fact that I had often stopped smoking – sometimes for months at a time (couldn’t buy it) and also this was a victimless crime – smoking alone in my own home. This was ignored and not brought up at the trial but I suppose the lawyer had good reasons, he was pretty indifferent about the case to begin with and only after constant prodding by friends did he start to work a bit harder. I was still amazed at the possible harshness of the sentence. According to the lawyer, the maximum penalty for smuggling or possession of cannabis is 5 years in jail and/or a 30 million yen fine.

Detention in Japan was extremely boring and there were hundreds of rules to be obeyed. Sitting on a hard floor (this is Japan – no chairs are allowed) was very uncomfortable for me. If it wasn’t for friends bringing books and a decent cushion, I may have tried suicide in detention. The food was reasonable, though. I wasn’t made to pay court costs although my lawyer charged me his ‘standard’ fee – $4500. So now I’m out of a well-paid job and a lot poorer and still have the possibility of being
kicked out of Japan.

For anyone else contemplating bringing drugs to Japan, I’d advise – DON’T take the risk. Buy it in Japan. Grow it in Japan, (seeds are ‘apparently legal’ as there is no THC – but they’re always confiscated) but DON’T bring it in. According to the web site http://www.customs.go.jp/tokyo/english/iio/iio-cased-y2006.html even amounts as small as 1g are prosecuted.

If I’d done the same in my home country (Britain), I’d probably have been kept overnight in a cell or simply cautioned and then released – the police there have far better things to do with their time. The Japanese police throw huge amounts of money (and police time) at these prosecutions and my ‘file’ was 4 inches thick at the end, with scores of colour photos and colour copies of my diary, travel notebook etc. There were at least 3 complete copies produced. My home was searched by 10 officers for 90 minutes – while they discovered cannabis seeds hidden in a box, they failed to find a large bong filled with cannabis and may not have found my deep-freeze stash if I hadn’t pointed it out!

Police here seem to rely on confessions and don’t seem to have the ability or desire to ‘investigate’ cases thoroughly – which is why many Japanese kids ‘stonewall’ the cops, when arrested.

More on this topic:

Japan Bud wild in HokkaidoFor more hemp on Japan, listen to Japanese Mountain Satori Time – Choogle on #48 & International Heads and Hemp Oil – Choogle on #34

Hemp Culture in Japan a 1992-7 ground-breaking treatise on the history and cultural significance of hemp in Japan. Hemp Culture in Japan is available in .html or .pdf.

For alternate versions, visit Taima.org, a site dedicated to Hemp in Japan. Published in Cannabis Culture magazine (#13 & Best of …), the Journal of International Hemp Association (V.4 N.1) as well as excerpted in several books including Hemp Horizons and “Hanp” from Norway and Hemp for Victory from UK.

They Gave him 5 Years for $Billions(?) of Economic Growth

Marc Emery plead to a bargain of 5 years served in a Canadian prison instead of extradition to the USA to face a long, (likely fruitless) trial in Seattle and a sentence of up to life.

While the real dream is total victory and reprieve for all cannabis users, for Marc, this could’ve been worse.

The really remarkable thing is how the extradition issue really crystallized conservative Canadians who didn’t care about marijuana legalization grabbed a hold of the flagrant breach of sovereignty which occurred when the DEA-led campaign arrested Marc, followed by the extradition attempts – trying to take a Canadian to be tried in the US on US charges!?!?! Asinine indeed and most of Canada agreed.

From NO Extradition

If Canadians have broken the law in Canada, they should be given a fair jury trial in Canada. If they wouldn’t face any imprisonment in Canada for the charges laid, they should not be extradited to another country to face life imprisonment.

In Canada, a $200 fine — not jail time — is the BC Supreme Court appeals precedent for selling cannabis seeds (R. v. Hunter, 2000), and 58% of Canadians oppose extradition in this case (Strategic Counsel/Angus Reid polls).

It’s clear Marc’s 2 colleagues (Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams) were arrested as ransom to force a plea at minimum but fortunately their struggle will alleviate and charges will be dropped as part of the plea. The plea seems to come at a time when the personal vendettas have slowed due to political and economic shifts.

The Seattle-based former US district Attorney John McKay was fired in the recent Alberto Gonzalez roundup and he was the one waving the banner for Marc’s demise. McKay was also the one famously grandstanding over the discovery of a tunnel from Langley to Lynden (as though that’s the first one – heh).

Also, the DEA’s Karen Tandy, who had a personal issues with Marc after his crew heckled Drug “Czar” Walters’ nonsensical claims at a conference not too long ago, has moved on for a bigpaycheque at Motorola.

… and finally, the latest news from the No Extradition

LATEST NEWS: A press conference will take place at the BC Supreme Court at 800 Smithe Street, downtown Vancouver, at 10:00am on Tuesday, January 22nd. The hearing has been adjourned in order to continue negotiations for a possible plea deal agreement between the United States, Canada, and Marc Emery. Please call Marc or Jodie Emery for more information if you’re with the media: (604) 689-0590.

Opposition to extradition is still needed! Please phone (613) 957-4222 to tell the Canadian Minister of Justice it would be “cruel and unjust”, and an insult to Canada’s sovereignty, to extradite Canadians Marc Emery, Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams to the United States to face life in US prison.

In case you missed it, Marc’s speech before Joey Shithead’s Band of Rebels of gig on Tokes on the Porch Returns to Herby’s Garden – Choogle on #56

Letters from Russia on “Write Now!” show – Santa Cruz Free Radio (audio)

Countryside

Tune in to: Letters from Russia on Santa Cruz Free Radio (.mp3, 57:07, 26MB)

Blurb

DJ Snailmail and DJ Anon discuss Letters from Russia with writer Dave Thorvald Olson on the WriteNow! The Art & Action of Letterwriting show, Dec. 2007 on Santa Cruz Free Radio – Low-power unlicensed station – also streaming live.

Thanks to DJ Snailmail and Bread the Producer

Background notes about Letters from Russia for “Write Now! The Art & Action of Letter Writing “

letters from russia notes for rainzine
Letters from Russia Dossier w/backstory for @rainzine – made with old-timey Underwood typewriter & Thai mulberry paper

In prep for a chat on “Write Now! The Art & Action of Letter Writing w/ DJ Snail Mail” on Free Radio Santa Cruz’s about my Letters from Russia project, i jotted down some a bit of backstory which i’m posting here lest i misplace and to share with others with interest.  So, … here ya go :

I started writing LfR while at an Evergreen College week long course “Poets and Philosophers Discuss Love and War” at Lake Crescent, WA. I had prepared with much reading about the historical context so i could make the story accurate. I then charted out the philosophical topics to address during Herni’s political transformation and personal journey.

I wrote each letter separately, handwritten on different papers and different writing instruments and only taking a piece or two to keep the letters brief and intense. Each letter was written while out on a walk/hike (so i could be in character a bit i suppose) and i didn’t edit from the original letters at all.

I also sketched/painted that summer to fill out the story and help me visualize his world and support the letters by replacing some visual narrative – and finally bound the original letters and paintings in a wood/hemp book (a few are at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uncleweed/tags/lettersfromrussia/).

I lived overseas (Japan, Micronesia) quite a bit pre-Internet so am an enthusiast of printed letters and papercraft (I collect paper ephemera from trips).

I’d very much like to find someone with some deeper historical knowledge to give a read to see if there are glaring historical
inaccuracies – though i am sure on the dates and locations – before distributing the piece more broadly.

“Letters from Russia” to appear on “Write Now!” show on Santa Cruz Freak Radio

CountrysideReceived a lovely note from DJ Snailmail who creates a show (with her colleague DJ Anon) on Santa Cruz Free Radio called “WriteNow! The Art and Action of Letter-writing” expressing an interest in reading my Letters From Russia project.

In case you missed it … LFR (Letters from Russia (.pdf)- war & love epistletory discourse) is written as a series of 14 letters and a “declaration” ostensibly by a cobbler in Napoleon’s army in Russia 1812, to his lover in Paris. It evolved into multi-medium art project with a series of illustrations, paintings and papercraft all bundled in a handmade book of hemp and wood and twine.

Campsite from Letters From RussiaAnyhow, here’s more about the show – i’ll be on to talk about using letter writing a a literary device and the process i used and philosophical underpinnings and inspirations of the content.

“WriteNow! The Art and Action of Letter-writing.” The program explores the art, value and action of letter-writing, basically all aspects of letter- writing, specifically snailmail and handwritten letters. It’s on Tuesdays from 8-9pm on Free Radio Santa Cruz (101.1FM and streamed at Freakradio.org).

And i’m a sucker for civil disobedience, ergo:

In full disclosure, Free Radio Santa Cruz (FRSC) is a 100% volunteer collective and we do not make any money in this effort. FRSC has been on the air for over ten years without an FCC license. freakradio.org/about.html

Documenting pleasing mundanity of Vancouver commuting

Chinatown GateTis oft remarked that what constitutes a commute in Vancouver, may be considered a pleasure sightseeing adventure in other cities.

My treks starting from the North Shore and heading across Burrard inlet via Seabus or Lion’s Gate bridge are certainly visually inspiring albeit a wee bit crowded at busy times (which are almost always in transit-hungry Vancouver).

As such, i often join the tourists in snapping pics along the way. Heck, i film Seabus voyages and Skytrain rides when i can score that very front seat.

Anyhow, along with a rabble of techies, I tested a Nokia N95 phone for 8 days and used it to create a group project so to speak in which Roland, Richard, Rebecca, Kris and I all documented part of the Vancouver commute experience in order to try out different features and engage with one another using mobile technology. The quest: Return and report both the phone’s functionality/usability as well as the mobile presence-ness mojo conjured up during the experiment.

sun building vancouver lovely north van commute
Of course, Canada’s absurd mobile data plans really limit the usefulness but the wi-fi ability and 5MP camera (with solid video) made for some fun times documenting and getting up quick. I connected to the freethenet.ca connections but having to go through the web screen caused an extra clumsy step.

I also extended the phone’s ability with Shozu which allows direct photo upload to Flickr. I found the tool useful but set-up painful and wouldn’t have pulled it off without the help of Shozu warrior Roland Tanglao. I wish there was a direct upload of video as connecting via usb and then dragging the vid files to the ‘puter and then ftp upload was more steps then i’d like. I also didn’t pre-tag in Shozu but did later in Flickr (typing tricky with small keys). Riding the Seabus

Really, the phone’s user interface lacks massaged usability polish which remove the intimidation for all but the geekiest users. We all provided frank opinions to Jean Hebert (great hockey name eh) who was research project dude for SFU at Harbour Centre. We also commented on what we’d like to have in a portable communications device. I want flexibility, versatility, ruggedness, ease of use, big buttons, quick response – not too much to ask right? {Gonna test an OpenMoko phone next.}

My artifacts from the test are the a stretch of 5 vidcasts — both from my commute from North Van to Gastown and also a roadtrip to Olympia WA where i saw The Dirty Birds rock out at McCoy’s and connected to Zhonka Broadband’s free wi-fi hotspots. There are also a solid batch of photos snapped from the office roof to the Trans Canada trail park by my house in Vancouver Commute set.

Dirty Birds Rock McCoy'sDirty Birds Rock McCoy'sDirty Birds Rock McCoy'sDirty Birds Rock McCoy'sDirty Birds Rock McCoy's