Tag Archives: guam

“The Internet Age Began on August 9, 1995” / via Litkicks (with comment)

Dave quoted in Guam’s Pacific Daily News about Jerry Garcia’s death, Aug, 10, 1995 (Guam time)
{excerpts – go read the whole article, its great}

Two separate things happened on August 9, 1995, both by chance emerging from Northern California though they had little else in common. The first was a scheduled event: the initial public offering (IPO) by Netscape, a startup tech firm designed to make software to power the Internet.

I remember walking through the hallway at work that morning, probably heading for a coffee refill, when I saw a clump of co-workers and magazine editors talking anxiously. I thought they were talking about the Netscape IPO, but they weren’t. “Jerry Garcia died,” one of the editors said to me. “We need to replace the front page and get a new headline up, stat.”

Jerry Garcia. This one hit home.

Nobody said “going viral” yet by the summer of 1995, but that’s exactly what Jerry Garcia’s death did, and it was pretty much the biggest anything had gone viral anywhere up to this point.

Jerry Garcia’s death was the first major spontaneous news event to break big on the Internet, and the first of many to follow. There is one simple reason why it took a Grateful Dead member’s death to inspire the world’s first flash mob: the Internet’s early-adopter user base was heavy with educators and scientists and technologists, and educators and scientists and technologists tend to love the Grateful Dead. There was also a remarkable preponderance of Deadheads at magazines like WIRED as well as among the Internet’s most well-known early voices, like lyricist John Perry Barlow, who had recently emerged as the co-founder of the freedom-minded Electronic Frontier Foundation.

It’s because the World Wide Web and the Grateful Dead loved each other so well that August 9, 1995 turned out to be the first day I ever used the Internet to find out where I would be going that evening.

“wake now discover that you are the eyes of the world”

Comment:

This day was pivotal for me and the day *everything* changed for me. I was a Deadhead and living on th e island of Guam after leaving Japan for a visa run and, after finding i was somehow very employable, i stayed on. Then, 1995 came and instead of joining my pals from BC, Canada and Utah and all points in between, i figured i’d work one for season as a Japanese speaking host at a private beach club – which sounds like a dream job but i could feel my brain atrophying and i’d imagine myself 20 years later as a character from a Jimmy Buffet song…And then in the weird time shifted hours of a 17 hour difference, i got the call that Jerry died. I was crushed and flummoxed and didnt go to work and instead starting making calls to find out “what happened? when’s the tribute? what the fck?” etc.

I couldnt learn a thing and the newspapers operating on a day or two delay was no help – of course this hippie didnt have a TV and then again, watching some make-upped clown on CNN tell me the generic anecdotes was not what i needed. So i went down to a park where i thought i might find some other Heads and sure enough, i found tribe of wide-eyed wonderers in the same state of mind.

I passed around a few little pinner joints – not worthy of the big man but did what i could – and commiserated with the assembled mix of oddballs who end on the island avoiding <something>. And then 2 haoles walked up and started asking questions. By that time, despite my heritage felt mostly local and raised eyebrow with the others at the intrusion and instead starting asking them questions: how? where? wtf? and they had all the answers. Mouth agape, i asked how they knew all this and they replied, “We work at the newspaper (Pacific Daily News for the record) and we have the internet.” “Ummm… The internet?” my reply. “Yeah its send words and pictures of any kind over phone lines and onto a computer,” they explained and i thought “whoa computers can do that?”

The next day, their write up was in the paper including a few of my quotes talking about how (paraphrasing) i’ve travelled all around the world and always found community with Deadheads to celebrate the music and counter-culture lifestyle.”

I realized there was no way i could physically get from Guam to San Fran in time for any memorial and instead tried to call friends who i’d roust at 3AM and barrage with questions quickly as i was paying like $8/minute or something. Still no real sense of understanding so i went to an ISP called Kuentos.Guam.net and took a one night workshop to connect to the internet using Win 3.1 and Trumpet Winsock. I couldn’t have cared less about the tech but wanted to see the words and pictures… and over the 9600 baud modem, i began to see Dead.net appear with words and pictures. The page was about 1/2 way loaded when the power went down on the whole island after a (endemic & invasive) brown tree snake bit into the one of the warm electric wires and shut it all down. I had seen the future enough to know that this was something for me.

Since i was a kiddo, i’d made ditto-machined newspapers, punk rock fanzines, the best school reports, and shared little chap-books of poetry and sketches with pals and now, i realized, i could do this at a bigger scale… take all my weird bits of knowledge and share with a larger audience. Head melted i started my first web page a week or so afterwards, a treatise and clearinghouse about the history of Hemp in Japan. The page was endlessly long as i didn’t realize the concept of multiple pages linking together but like the endless scroll feeling of the page — mountains and rivers without end, its seemed organic and right away, there was conversation and community sparked as i quickly met other folks exploring nascent hemp culture. Within a month, i was importing hemp surf trunks and trucker wallets to sell on island and also sending my research out to publications.

Realizing the my lifestyle/hobby of the Grateful Dead was no more (ostensibly anyhow), i made plans to leave Guam and head to Olympia Washington where i could mop up a long overdue college degree and find a place in all of this new web stuff.

Within 24 hours of landing in a strange climate and town, where i set up a tent in the woods by Evergreen College, i met some heady looking guys setting a booth to sell tie-dyes the next day at an annual campus fair. I asked them for change for the laundry and they asked “are those hemp overalls?” Yeah man,… of course this led to the usual passing of the bowls and swapping tales of tour. The next day i learned they also had just opened an ISP called OlyWa.net. “Come on by,” they said. I did and joined up and crashed coursed myself in TCP/IP, POP, PPP, HTTP and all the other acronyms i could and, seeing the 3 dudes werent exactly “people persons”, i worked my way into the biz as the marketing guy. This was a wild great ride from 1996-2000 when we sold it (a whole other story including the acquiring company requiring me to take a drug test… they tried anyhow).

Then moved back up to Vancouver, working for Raincity Studios making new-school database driven content rich, community building sites, Warner>Rhino was a client and was able to do some work on the site which brought me to the Internet in the first place. I added my fuzzy photos and hazy memories to the list of shows and felt something about full circle. Also by this time, my first web project about hemp in Japan had been published extensively and i had High Times staying at my house and related fun and chaos.

Then, moving on i was the first Marketing Head at Hootsuite – a social media tool in full startup mode. We were 10 in a dingy office and i was charged with growing the audience with basically no budget. But years of hustling the Grateful Dead lot and making enough to get to the next show and have a good time doing it, came in handy as i recruited an international team, fed them stories and together built community around our users including epic campaigns at SXSW where i went back to my Dead roots and created the Hootbus which was a modified short bus turned into a party on wheels as we’d roll the streets of Austin getting people “On the Bus” just like on tour — well kinda anyhow. In my barrage of public speaking which came along with the ride, i shared stories (to tech heavy audiences) of building community on tour, the resourcefulness needed to build and move, the “one hug at a time” ethos which i espoused to treat each user like our favourite.

Then last year, The Grateful Dead did the 50th anniversary shows and Hootsuite reached a Billion dollar valuation. Im still the same guy, sitting on a porch with a smoke and cut off jeans wondering when the next show is and how i can share the story.

Slice of Guam / Micronesia / German history from WW1

Super interesting video by the (excellent) series The Great War about the Germans in Micronesia in WW1.

In brief: The Germans “colonized” Palau (and Pohnpei i believe) during the pre-war period, but when the Japanese took over their holdings, their ships were stuck without ability to re-provision,. As such, ended up in Guam (held by the then-neutral US who’d “acquired” the island during the then-recent Spanish-American war (along with Philippines and Puerto Rico)).

For a period, the US, Germans and Chamorros lived together without much incident, but when the US entered the war, the warship Cormoran was told to surrender but instead, was scuttled. The hulk now lays in Apra harbour, with the Tokai Maru (Japanese naval vessel sunk by US sub in WW2) alongside, together making a popular dive site.

{I lived on Guam and travelled to Palau, Yap etc. in early 1990s and was well familiar with WW2 history and this wreck but didn’t know the details of the back story.}

Also (from comment elsewhere):

Keep in mind, i have big heart for the Micronesian people pulled into wars with NOTHING to do with them and their interests. (Spent extended time in Guam, Saipan, Palau (my fave place on earth) and Yap.

IMO The only way to (possibly) prevent future catastrophes is to learn the fck-ups of hubris and vagaries of colonialism to then intelligently articulate the rights of peaceful people.

Note that Guam was dragged into another few erstwhile global conflict chapters of late – ergo: repopulation of bases (many of which were repatriated to locals control in mid-1990s) after US Military bad-actors repeated fcked up in Okinawa predicating mass migration of troops due to local pressure/protest, plus the sabre rattling by DPRK with threats of bombs at Andersen AFB (which i passed through almost daily for 18 months to a landlocked beach – no longer possible to do). Also worth noting: each day thousands of ROK holidaymakers come to the island so the threat wasn’t just to US interests, but also to intimidate other Koreans.

In all of the this, the locals (especially indigenous Chamorros – who vote for a US congress-rep but who is not able to vote in US congress) are further marginalized. The “spin” is it creates jobs and increases “aid” to the island.

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“Art Technology Are Old Pals” Talk Transcription (Wordcamp Vancouver 2010)

Transcription of a talk called “Art and Tech are Old Pal” at Wordcamp Vancouver in 2010. Video no longer exists (thanks to blip.tv) but audio exists, as does a “round-up” of photos, tweets, artifacts, and so on. See “Consider Perusing” below.

Dave: I bet you’ve had a lot of knowledge today, so you’re probably pretty exhausted.  I’m pretty wiped out but that’s mostly from the speaker’s dinner last night.  Thanks to the organizers for bludgeoning us the night before.  I really went there.  This will be fine.  I’m just going to pop in for just an hour or so.  It turned out to be longest bus ride of my life on the way home.  Overall, we’re good.  So, Mr. John Biehler on keyboard. [applause]

So, I do my best thinking in the bath because you can’t do anything else.  When you’re in the bath, there’s really nothing else you can do.  You certainly can’t use your iPhone unless you put it in a little Ziploc bag.  You shouldn’t be using your laptop.  That’s just dangerous.  I can’t use my vaporizer because I’d be electrocuted.  So really, all that’s left to do in the bath is thinking.

Recently, I was in the hospital.  Hit me the slide there, John.  While I was recovering and having my scrambled eggs and stuff like that, I got to thinking about what a strange conundrum.  What a strange piece of place of history that we live in with this tool.  I was thinking about coming to talk to you guys.  I had to have something because I really couldn’t think about it because I really couldn’t do much of anything.

I started thinking about how weird it is that all of a sudden art and technology were seeing these fruitions of time where all of a sudden a lot of you are making tools, writing codes, I went and sat in some of the things, and John’s talking about Map and all the new innovations of WordPress 3.0., I use the free WordPress.com, so I’m just letting you guys figured out how to build the tools.

But, all of a sudden, we’re replacing time that guys are making tools.  You’re also expected or in some way producing content for these things.  All of a sudden, you have this new publishing platform in front of you.  I started thinking, because I’ve always been caught in space between art and technology as evidenced here with my King Tut exhibit there, that was pretty good and that’s the important part of taking risks, just proof and point about when you make art, you got to take some risks.  

Continue reading “Art Technology Are Old Pals” Talk Transcription (Wordcamp Vancouver 2010)

“Are You Worthy / Greeks to Geeks” talk transcription (Wordcamp Whistler, 2009)

IMG_0051

What follow is a transcription of a talk called “Are You Worthy – Publishing from Greeks to Geeks” at Wordcamp Whistler in 2009. Video and audio exists, as does a “round-up” of photos, tweets, artifacts, and so on. See “Consider Perusing” below.

Speaker: We really hoped you enjoyed today and I think you’re going to enjoy this last session.  I’ve been looking forward to it since we started planning this.  So with that I’m going to turn over to Dave Olson, he’s going to ask you, “Are you Worthy?”     

Dave: So, it’s the end of the day, my brain is a little stretched — a lot of input, a lot of stuff.  So, if you feel a little antsy, because frankly taking notes — I don’t know if I’m going to say anything that’s really worth taking notes.  

I’m just putting this out there, if you want to come and sit down here or you want to pull your chair over, I’m an old hippie, so I was on dead tour.  It’s all right you can come and sit down if you want.  No big deal by the way.   I’ll give you a moment to do that.  

My ulterior motive for asking you to do that is that I didn’t bring anything to put on the projector.  But I have lots of little odds and ends here.  So, you’ll get a better view if you come and sit up front.  That’s the way I like it — special shout-out to the ladies right back there.       

I almost said I didn’t make any slides but I did make two slides here because people are always telling me that, “Dave, we really like your presentations, but damn it, would you give us a bulleted list?”  

Continue reading “Are You Worthy / Greeks to Geeks” talk transcription (Wordcamp Whistler, 2009)

Guam Dossier, part 2 – Star Sand Private Beach Club

Dave with 4 guests from Japan at Starsand Private Beach Club on Guam, circa 1995
Dave with 4 guests from Japan at Starsand Private Beach Club on Guam, circa 1995

When living on Guam (1993-96 ish), i had 3 jobs – along with selling my hemp bags and flower sticks.

I previously told you about SS Neptune submarine-ish tour guide, and alluded to the job at Starsand Private Beach Club where i was a “bi-lingual club host” meaning i welcomed the guests (mostly Japanese but some Korean and a few Chinese) gave a briefing of the day’s agenda and available activities (horseback riding, atv riding, kayaking, beach games, bar-b-q lunch…) and led jungle hiking tours which i devised and included war artifacts like an unexploded grenade lodged in a tree, a cave where Japanese soldiers hid out, a traditional Chammoro grass hut (where i’d take my medicinal breaks) and all sorts of wildlife (wild boars included!)

Also led snorkelling group sessions to help pax understand how to wear and clear a mask, avoid coral, identify some fish and go in the appropriate direction to avoid fighting current. Due to slippery rocks and jellyfish, this also involved lost of first aid – some quite grisly. I’ll spare you.

Sometime groups would stay over and i’d be paid to eat my weight in sashimi (granted i was pretty skinny then), entertain with fire juggling, pretend to understand mah-jong and take photos – then sleep in hammock or tent. Sometimes the groups were filming TV shows and so somewhere out there, I am in the background of various mini-series rom-com dramas. Not to mention all the family vacation photo albums in which i make a thin but tanned appearance.

Guam is a quick 3-ish hour flight from Japan making a for an easy and decadent weekend getaway. Most guests were honey-mooners, some families, company groups and lots of 20 year olds enjoying a brief reprieve from the pressures of education and work to celebrate their seijin shiki (coming of age day). Most all came in organized tour groups and then would purchase “optional tours” including the private beach day, at hotel tour desks. Other activities (besides submarines and scuba diving) included duty-free shopping, “massage” parlours and gun shooting ranges.

Anyhow, my co-workers worked the “bad boy” image pretty hard and acted like smooth operating beach toys (with much success plying dates for after work) whereas i was the (almost shockingly) “good-ish boy” hanging out with the folks interested in history, poetry and practicing my Japanese skills. Mostly.

The beach club was run by a corrupt as fck family who controlled liquor and tobacco concessions for outer islands. A weird trio of bosses who were never on the same page and constantly overirdiing each other on decisions and appointing relatives as “managers”. They also imported grunt labor from Truk/Chuuk island and paid them seemingly in booze. They lived on site in shacks and raked the beach and other odd jobs.

The club was sorta landlocked with the only access being through Andersen Air Force base (yes the one in the news recently regarding DPRK’s ambition s to bomb it) which accommodated all sorts of planes (Stealth bomebrs, Concorde and those big transport planes, plus FedEX planes bringing in fresh meat and produce to stock the base stores). Post-9/11, the base shut down the thru-access required to bring guests in and, as such, the club was closed. I imagine there are some squatters there enjoying the pristine yet rugged location noted for the “sand” which was really broken up pieces of coral resembled stars. Not sure of the current situation there and because this was before the advent of “consumer internet” there isn’t much record of evidence. Every few years, i’ll from another former employee or another who’ll dig into the internet and come across my snapshots. There are some photos out there from the last few years (i think from the part of the club made for the Korean guests as the K & J’s had a hard time getting along so became prudent to separate oddly) but could be from another beach with star sand. If you have intell, please let me know.

Like this evidence: Here i am plying my trade with a quartet of lovely Japanese ladies enjoying an idyllic day on the beach.

NOTE: Snap taken with an early generation Japanese panorama camera but developed on “normal” size resulting in black bars (mostly cropped out) on top and bottom of print.

Guam Dossier Part 1 – S.S. Neptune

SS Neptune tour: Guam, Micronesia
SS Neptune tour, some staff: Guam, Micronesia

So wanna hang out while i share a load of artifacts from #Guam? The unincorporated territory of the US is in the news what with global sabre rattling… I lived and worked on Guam in the early 1990s in various tourism endeavours and have much knowledge of the place as i stay sorta up to date with news of various Micronesian islands (#hideawayplans).

First artifact is me with co-workers at S.S. Neptune which is an undersea viewing boat which plied Apra harbor amongst US Naval vessels, Japanese sashimi-fetching boats, various pleasure crafts, the wreckage of John Wayne’s old yacht and a couple other tour operators doing scuba diving or similar tours to our 6or7/day tour.

Basically, i’d greet the guests (pax) coming from hotel by coach bus (all booked by tour operators) and check off names – keep in mind, most of the guests were Japanese and most of the rest Korean – get them onto a shuttle boat (twin outboard, 26 ft or so) and give em safety briefing with the life jacket, tell em about mangrove and ww2 incidents in the harbor, few jokes blah blah and then tie up alongside the glass hulled Nepture “sub” and move em over and down into the viewing pod, put on a cassette of oceany sounds and hang out with the people while the boat came up off reef, tied off to a buoy and divers went down and chummed all manner of interesting and colourful fishes, and brought various sealife (namako, hitote…) and posed for photos through the portholes. I took many photos (analog) and learned many strange vocabulary words. Sometimes when slow, i’d go dive for the last tour of the day which was a blast cause most all was under 20ft, a (relatively) prime location and freedom to bend normal dive rules with flips and tricks and goofballery.

Then get em back on the shuttle, cruise harbor a bit, flip off other boats, listen in a radio chatter and maybe do some flowerstick juggling and then always this trick with a rubber snake which scared the sh!t outta people everytime.

Related: Somewhere is a photo of me in the Pacific Daily News (Guam’s paper of record whose web traffic i suspect has increased exponentially of late) when the ship was dry docked and we were all marshalled into industrial, chemically, grunt work. Remember: Got my hair fulla toxic paint so went and shaved except for a Tintin-esque flair upfront. I was wearing a white jumpsuit and facemask.

I added marketing tasks to my duties. All tourism is/was basically package tourist coming for short stays and would book “optional tours” from their provider at each of the dozens of hotels – mostly along Tumon beach which is Guam’s main tourist area. I’d go chat up the desk tour agents (all Japanese), restock brochures, help at signup events, industry events etc.

Lost touch with all the folks i worked with there – we did put on an engaging tour and had some good party times together.

Guam Dossier part 0 – Jerry Day

Pacific Daily News Guam: Article about Jerry Garcia's death with quotes from Dave
Pacific Daily News Guam: Article about Jerry Garcia’s death with quotes from Dave

#Guam (and me) and Jerry Garcia were in the Pacific Daily Newspaper on this day in 1995.

Personal Archeology of Diligent Creative Endeavours

The things we make in the rapid pace of creativity, often fall judgement to our own perfectionism and subjectivity at the time,… But, one stashed away and preserved, they can become artefacts that show us how we became ourselves. Additionally, by preserving output made by our co-conspirators and collaborators, we can help fill in the gap’s of their stories.

In this case, videos made by my dear pals:

Brandon G Kiggins (Formerly of Utah, now of Brooklyn/NYU) “the environmentalist” (award-winning)

Eiji Masuda #RIP Japan who was my collaborator on the pioneering digital doc Hempen Road (20 years old this year) “Mistaking the shadow” #Experimental

A documentary about the Russian revolution “The beginning of our troubles” made by my Uncle Mark Bannatyne while at USU doing graduate studies

A film by my Mom Lauralee Elliott #RIP with significant assistance from the aforementioned Brandon Kiggins, while at #UVCC “Tattoo”, note: long before everyone had a tattoo :-)

A public TV show which broadcast clips from the previously mentioned Hempen Road on “Master Weed theater”

The one labelled “Giggling Piglet Co-op” features me and the Japanese girl on the island of Guam demonstrating flower sticks and talking about the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia who had recently died on a show called “Buenas”, and might… also contain a similar juggling stick performance from Tottori, Japan which appeared on the nationally broadcast morning show “Zoom in Asa”.

In some cases, these might be the only remaining evidence of these diligent creative endeavors. Eventually they will be digitized and shared an archived so the hours that one into them and the inspiration which comes out of them, can pass on to others.

What do you have in your closet or shoe box which Will surprise and inspire your friends and strangers?

from Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BSSvCKCh8dK/

Thinking about Mom, snorkelling at Starsand Beach in Guam

Pardon the terrible snapshot of a snapshot through glass but, this made me laugh and shows how intrepid Mom is/was. Here she is snorkelling at Star sand beach club where I toiled as a Japanese speaking club host… yes my job was to make sure people were having a good time on the beach all day and I was very good at it… Brother Anders and her came to visit one day and Mom jumped into all the activities with her usual bravado and enthusiasm.

#Mom #Lauralee #LoveYouForever