A travel documentary about commercial hemp industry in the Pacific NW in 1996-7
Available in full length (83 minutes) online on Youtube and Vimeo.
With legalization in Washington and Oregon, and an ever-changing landscape in BC, this film shows the roots of a movement going from society’s fringes towards mainstream acceptance by exploring economic and environmental benefits.
Produced, written and narrated by DaveO, directed by Eiji Masuda, the HempenRoad is an experimental, multi-media roadtrip exploring commercial hemp businesses and conferences in the Pacific northwest. The film explores many uses of cannabis including fiber, paper, fuel, food, beer, medicine, as well as delving into the political and environmental issues around legalization.
Beginning in the clearcut Olympic peninsula, the film follows narrator Dave “Uncle Weed” Olson as he visits a variety of colourful personalities and interesting businesses.
Stops include: Victoria, BC; Eugene and Portland Oregon; and, Olympia and Seattle Washington, before finishing with exclusive footage of the groundbreaking Commercial Industrial Hemp Symposium in Vancouver, B.C.
Note: made in 1996 using footage captured by 16mm, Super 8, Hi8 tape, scans, 35mm stills, web video and editing with Adobe Premiere 1.0 on a 200Mhz Mac-clone and a 9Gb harddrive.
The HempenRoad features:
Victoria, British Columbia
* Ian Hunter (RiP), Sacred Herb & Victoria Mayoral candidate
* Sarah Hannah Bedard, Sacred Herb
* Odette Kalman, Ecosource
* Padra Almadi, Earthenware
* Eric Hughes, Zima foods * Alice Bracegirdle, Zima foods
* Todd Dalotto, Hungry Bear
* Rose, Hairy Truth
* Carolyn Moran, Living Tree Paper * Bruce Mullican, So Much Hemp
* Diedre Mullican, So Much Hemp
Portland, Oregon * D. Paul Stanford, CRRH
* Cheryl Kolander, Aurora Dye Works * Chris Iverson, HempWiezen beer
* Charles Tomala, Jay Stewart, Scott Orr, OlyWa.net
* Bob Owen, WHEN
* Dennis Peron, Prop 215 (California) activist etc
* David Edwards, Earthgoods
* S. David Stunda, Earthgoods
* Cory Brown, Fremont Hemp Co.
* Rob Jungman, Manastash
Vancouver, British Columbia
* Mari Kane, Hempworld
* Mosse Mellish, Greenman paper
* Geof Kime
* Jace Callaway
* Mark Parent
* Ryszard Kozlowski
* John Stahl
* Brian McClay
* Brian McLay
* Alexander Sumach
* Jean Peart
* David Watson
* Brian Taylor
* Sotos Petrides, Wiseman Noble
* and other speakers and audience members at the Commercial Industrial Hemp Symposium
HempenRoad Soundtrack includes:
* Phat Sidy Smokehouse
* Chris Sullivan
* Bread Mountain
* 420 Love
* Chris Jacobsen
* Old Time Relijun
* Collective Shoe
* J. Williamson Ensemble
* Systolie Diastolie
* and more . . .
Zhonka co-founders on 40 under 40 List (new window) – feature article by Paul Schrag from Business Examiner details achievements by 40 area business leaders under 40 years of age including Zhonka’s Jacob Stewart and Dave Olson 6/23/03
Article from The Olympian (new window) – newspaper article about Zhonka Broadband by Alex Goff w/ pic of Dave, Jay and Kenny Trobman at the Clubside Cafe 3/21/03 – Photo by Steve Bloom /The Olympian
Free the Internet! — Open Access, Levelling the Playing Field #5
By Dave Olson
[Originally published in Menu Magazine from Olympia, Washington, circa 1999]
There are many ways for you to get an Internet connection to your home, office or wherever. What you likely don’t realize is the morass of politics, tariffs and such-nense that goes on behind the scenes in order to provide a high-speed digital data link to your house.
Indeed, it is often a double-edged sword as laws that were made to de-construct Telco monopolies often hinder the progress of open-access. The accepted standards aren’t necessarily driven by the best technology and consumer- demand but rather by what the Telcos lobby for and decide to release (often based on the benefit to the bottom line).
As is the normal custom in this column, we will glance into the past somewhat to get a sense of how we got where we are now.
Hemp Activism on the Internet – Levelling the Playing Field #4 By Dave Olson
[Originally published in Menu Magazine in Olympia, WA, circa 1999]
Used to be, if an event like WTO rolled around, I would have been right excited about it. But now I have realized that my activist efforts are better served from the comfort of my couch.
Let’s get a few things clear right off the bat so you aren’t confused about what I am saying here. Sure, those who suffered gassings and police nonsense in Seattle were indeed courageous, and I agree that direct action is needed to stir-up the complacency, personally I have swapped in the placards, cold mornings and handcuffs for a warm beverage and iMac keyboard to make my opinion heard by policy- makers.
Before you start cussing, I do have activist and blockade credentials from the Clayoquot blockades on Vancouver Island and in early nineties I stood the line at the nuclear test sites in Nevada and committed plenty of acts of creative eco- terrorism throughout the four corners area. Heck, I have met Allen Ginsberg, chatted with Edward Abbey and been to Moab before Lycra bike shorts were allowed. Verily, even (venerated beat poet) Gary Snyder knows who I am.
How the Internet enhances my Hockey viewing experience – Levelling the Playing Field # 3
[Originally published in Menu Magazine from Olympia, Washington, circa 1999]
I have been feeling really relaxed and good the last few days, for two reasons. One is that the hockey season started and the Canucks are off to a great start, the other reason I can’t really talk about here.
Just so you know from the start, hockey is my lambs-bread, the “manna from heaven,” the one constant in my life. It seems that no matter where in the world I am living or travelling, what wars are raging in the world or in my mind, hockey is the sturdy oaken banister that is always there to enjoy.
My earliest childhood memories are watching hockey, seeing Daryl Sittler or Guy LaFleur blasting down the wing, hair flying, eyes raging. I went to a couple games a year in my youth and sat in the nosebleed seats and watched lousy teams no one wanted to see because the scalpers sold the tickets cheap.
The real lowdown on Mp3 downloads – Levelling the Playing Field #2
[Originally published in Menu Magazine in Olympia, Wa, circa 1999]
You’ve likely heard of Mp3, haven’t you? Mp3 is a compression/encoding standard which allows near-CD quality duplication of audio files at a fraction of the size. Because the files are much smaller than regular CD audio files, they are fairly easily transferred over the Internet or burnt onto homemade CDs. Convenient? Yes indeed. Legal? Well that depends.
Before getting into the fun, revolutionary part and the technical portion, we must first look at some historical precedents so we can figure out the legal ramifications of this brave new format.
When I was a kid and there was a song on the radio that I liked, I would cue up an 8-track or cassette tape into the home and wait for the song to come on again. Then, I quickly hit the pause button to start recording, albeit missing the first few seconds. Legal? The courts figured this out when TV broadcasters were complaining about VCRs on the market and Yes you can record a commercial public broadcast for personal use, even if the quality is poor.
Internet publishing, business and mayhem – Levelling the playing field #1
[Originally published in Menu Magazine from Olympia, Washington, circa 1999]
The Internet was originally created for communication between military, academics, research institutions and the like. Not surprisingly, marketers salivated at the idea of turning the whole thing into a mall / multi-level scheme. While on-line commerce has many benefits, I see the Internet more importantly as a communications tool & publishing medium that allows a new breed of artist/entrepreneur to reach a bigger, yet more focused, audience.
Fine web sites provide a subtle concoction of art design, content and entertainment with new ways of commerce and (importantly) use this new medium without replicating old, tired, inefficient models of business, entertainment or publishing. You can break all this down into three emerging Internet trends: e.commerce, virtual community building, and multi-media. I will go easy on the buzzwords.
Electronic commerce provide an efficient, easy way to do your business anonymously, discreetly, 24-7 and with no irritating humans providing poor service and/or breath. Whether you are buying, selling, seeking the unusual, or just buying groceries, the potential of on-line sales abounds, no question about it. E.commerce is not a fad, it will be the primary way to buy things in the very short-term future. The problem now is the lack of easily implemented, adaptable, affordable e.commerce technology. Thus, most on-line stores provide impersonal, non-exciting on-line shopping experiences. This bugged me more before I remembered that going to a real store is also uninspiring and a drag, unless I am browsing or shopping for fun. I still want to browse and shop at neat stores I like, I just don’t want to have to go to the grocery store every week to buy the same 50 items, when I could choose my food list on-line, and have it delivered or ready for pick-up.
“First thing you learn is you always gotta wait”
— Lou Reed, Waiting for my Man, Velvet Underground
Usually when mentioning train travel in Canada you have to cue Gordon Lightfoot but as Canada has apparently forgotten that the iron road made the country and relegated train travel to a slim segment, I move my gaze to the south. While the rest of the civilized world may chuckle at the hype around the USA’s long overdue plan for high speed rail, I am just happy you can take a trip southwards on a train at all I don’t mind the slow rolling, but as Lou Reed explains, the waiting is a drag.With the impending Olympix invasion, February might be a good time to hop the rails and meet your Cascadian neighbours to the south. You may likely find you have more cultural similarities than our compatriots spread across 5-1/2 time zones. Get your passport ready cause I’ve got your route planned out for a proper visit – and each stop involves beer from Bellingham to Portand (or even Eugene).
Dual Train Action
The problem with the train isn’t speed – it’s timeliness and reliability – both of which hinder your ability for a successful and efficient diplomatic mission. Customs delays, mudslides derailments, waiting at sidings, labourious boarding check in, and a secondary immigration clearing mean you can’t rely on traveling by train for anything *important* but there is reason to hope and rejoice. The reason is there are now twotrains a day. Used to be one train with a bunch of “train buses” – which is Amtrak way of saying a fckin Trailways bus. I rode it many times with baffled tourists who dreamed of rolling the coast starlight gazing at the brilliant Puget Sound on, you know, a train – not a bus. Quite different indeed.
The second train was hard fought as the Canadian Customs held out for $10k for clearing each train. Seems at odds with encouraging a sustainable, tourism-based economy but I digress … Since about half of you are probably charting course to get outta town during this arts, sports culture consumer jamboree imminently approaching so I’ve plotted some ideas to where to go, and how to do it – you just hafta figure out how to get to Main St. station by 6 am, (which is of course, basically impossible if you live across a bridge or tunnel) so set your alarm for 5am and talk someone into driving you ~ a great way to start a trip indeed.
There are two trains and each has a different name and route, the Cascade goes from Vancouver to Eugene, Oregon but only once a day but twice if from Seattle (confusing i know) while the Coast Starlight ventures all the way to LA but starts in Seattle and offers sleeping compartments to help you feel like a Euro-rail backpacker.
Since you aren’t driving, and will be waiting a lot (and likely be annoyed that the thrill peace and magic of riding rails is replaced by unfounded paranoia and obtuse security), let’s get your pints lined up.
Used to be we Canadians could brag without hindrance about our superior brews … until the mostly west-coast microbrew revolution. Now the Cascadia region is dotted with excellent breweries laden with culture and tasty pints – and i’ve found the finest.
Bellingham is no longer Smelligham as we called it on trips southwards in the glory days of toxic pulp mills. Now there are ample opportunities to spend a few hours well away from Bellis Fair mall starting at Boundary Bay Brewery. With a handy location in the Fairhaven area (the old town), this popular hangout is close to the train station and the Alaska ferry if you wanna head into the wild. The pub is top shelf with outdoor beer gardens, award winning brews, guest taps and hearty grub.
A wee stretch further south on your train roll is the valley village of Mt Vernon and Skagit River Brewery. Stop in for a variety platter including 2 stouts (one on nitro) and a barleywine. Last visit, I left with a pint glass decorated with their award winning Skuller’s IPA insignia.
Enjoying some sample beers with Kris and Francis at Skajit River Brew Pub in Mt. Vernon, Washington en route to Gnomedex. We riff about various styles of beers (barleywine, stouts, porters, IPAs etc) and try to be pleasant.
Everett is worth stopping in to catch a hockey game at their new rink (home of the WHL Silvertips) but not oozing with culture (that i’ve found anyhow – please correct me as needed). Of course, Seattle is next but you’ve already visited there right? If you find yourself stranded in the Emerald city – step away from the train station and go to the crazy Experience Music Project – the weird looking building next door to the Space Needle for rock n’ roll history adventure (and a beer inside). It’s easy to find a solid pint but some maximum pleasure, head to the neighbourhood of Ballard, find a bar, tell them you are from Canada and let the wild rumpus begin as they treat you like a foreigner from somewhere exotic. (Hint: Find a Hale’s Cream Ale).
If you happen into Tacoma, avoid the industrial aroma and instead visit the stellar glass art museum (Dale Chihuly is a local hero) and find a bar called The Swiss – from which you might never leave.
Washington’s capitol city (the town Time Magazine called the hippest in the west + High Times bestowed additional dubious accolades) is Olympia. The station is located way out of town (in Lacey) and not handy to get into downtown but worth the trip if you can hang for a while. With artesian acquifers wells producing perfect brew water, Oly is famous for beer. Now the tradition has migrated from mass production of swillable stubbies to organic Fishtale Ale. In their intrepid Fish Bowl pub, you’ll spot grey ponytails plotting Cascadian secession or just eating fish tacos or a ploughman’s platter.
Wander a couple blocks down to 4th and find the Eastside Club Tavern – a real life Mos Eisely cantina with 30+ micro handles and a sweet jukebox (say hi from Uncle Weed). Then step next door for frog leg lunch from Cajun chef Billy at A2 and wander down the street to browse the eclectic Last Word Books. Finish with live music at a handful of bars or an art house flick at Capitol theater for a perfect day out. Can’t stop? See the Go with the Flow movie instead.
The next wide spot south is Chehalis and Centralia, but which i can never figure out which is which – just check your map and make sure to stop at the new Dick’s Brewery. Sadly, Dick “Danger” Young rode his Harley to the big party in the sky in 2009 but leaves legacy of 20+ brews. My faves in order: 1) Belgain Double; 2) Danger Ale; 3) Irish Ale; 3) Cream Stout; 4) Workingman’s Brown. If you are feeling dangerous (which you are since you are riding the train), try ’em all to find your fave.
This old logging town is a fine place to end up your trip as there is a McMenamin’s old-timey hotel called the Olympic Club (wait! isn’t that name illegal somehow ;-)) where a bank robber holed up and you can too.
Continuing on? Good, just roll right past the older, but less shiny, (Fort) Vancouver as you’ll get confused and think you are home. Instead, cross the mighty Columbia and embark into fantasy land for beer aficionados (and enthusiasts of no sales tax), Portland.
Beside the neatest bar you’ve ever seen on every block, Portand has stellar street markets, great dim sum, more cool McMenamin’s retro-hotels (try the Kennedy School) and theaters (like the Baghdad). In fact, with great transit (light rail hurrah!), “exotic show lounges” and cannabis clubs, PDX feels more like Canada than Canada sometimes.
Not enough? The end of this line is Eugene – the spiritual home of hippies and athletes alike. I can’t talk about Eugene without a Grateful Dead concert flashback so I’ll spare us both before i begin rambling about that show with Little Feat and the blotter paper…
That’ll do ya – you’ve gone far enough. If not, repeat the visits on the way back up. Of course, you can’t get all of these into one trip so pick a few stations and make a long weekend (or play hooky while you “work from home”) to make the circuit count.
Load em up
While Amtrak soldiers on – buoyed by Obama’s fresh visions – Canada keeps doing it like they’ve done since the trains were new. I’ve rolled the fine style and liesurely pace of the Queen’s own VIA Rail in fancy “Silver and Blue” style with my sweetie through the Rocky Mountains – the views were stellar but my indoor observations do not bode well for the future as we musta been the only ones under 65 on the train (aside from a few young families).
All good though, there was a bar serving Caesars on-board (and we ended up partying with the train staff in a Jasper bar) – but for the cost of the ticket, seems like you could drive an RV to Newfoundland. How VIA ended up this expensive when most the trains were made in 1950s I don’t know. How do other countries manage? And not just Japan and Germany, Russia has trains too – I’ve seen them in Dr. Zhivago.
What’s missing from rail service on this continent isn’t speed, it’s the ability for spontaneous travel encouraging relaxation, reflection and conversation. Further, there is a public desire to reduce carbon emissions and contribute in some way to the greater good with a greener-ish footprint – but we all need a way to travel to see Grandma on the holidays without causing air-travel-like pollution (especially since we humans must self-regulate after Copenhagen’s implosion). I think more trains are part of the answer, but for now… I’m rolling on with what we got – even if the rest of the world chuckles. Are you coming along? Good, you can buy me a pint of Danger.