Project: Upon turning 50 years old on August 16, 2020, Dave Olson (me, hello) is posting a photo (or maybe photos) a day / per year – starting with 1970 with intent of chronicling existence through various primary evidence sourced from studio portraits, class photos, ID / passport photos, or occasionally other “casual/group/random” shots when the above don’t exist in my archive (note: not “artificial intelligence,” really me, pulled from shoeboxes, journals, wallets and whatnot – diligently scanned and dated via glasses and haircuts, lightly annotated).
Around 2000 in Olympia Washington, my colleagues and I sold a renegade pioneering Internet service provider (OlyWa.net) to an (evidently) evil national corporation (ATG) who quickly imploded allowing me the sensation of losing *big paper money* before i hit 30 – ugh .Anyhow, I managed to put a down-payment on a house – which had a semi-finished basement (and was also stumbling distance to downtown bars) which is the reason for this riff.
The aforementioned basement was rapidly converted into “the Hockey Lounge” a speakeasy/smoke easy/crash space for touring rock ‘n’ roll bands as well as a resource library for Hemp Lobby activities.
As the name applied, this was about watching hockey games as, in Washington state at the time, the sport was not popular and bars were filled with cigarette smoke an early season baseball games instead of pungent herb and Stanley Cup playoffs. The Hockey Lounge rectified these conundrums.
So, with a couple of first generation time-shifting devices, two satellite dishes and a cable feed and other electronics cobble together by brother Dan – who also procured couch, bar, fridge etc. from various auctions – and extensive hockey and punk rock artifacts decorations, a conversion of the fridge into a 2 tap keg-e-rator, the eventual addition of a toilet, wiring the house with ethernet connected to redundant broadband connections (note this was early 2000s) this became the scene of much frivolity.
There were rules:
- Wash your glass (everyone had their designated glass which was store in the freezer compartment)
- Pay your tab (note beer was always top-end craft from a brewery in exchange for making a website, we were on the regular route for a beer delivery and well let’s just say people drink more than they paid for.
- No cell phones, camera etc. / no talking about other shit besides hockey and music
and these rules were not followed very well unfortunately.
Occasionally we would host various contest/pools during the playoffs or Olympics in which everyone would enter with a high-quality six pack (they were sent away and shunned if the quality was not sufficient) and winner would take most, second place slightly more than they pitched in, and third place their ante back.
Several times noted touring rock bands crashed out but most memorable was my hometown heroes DOA, who i sang BTO’s “takin’ care of business” onstage (at 4th Ave Tav) while wearing a Canucks jersey. The band – including now-Burnaby city councillor Joey “Shithead” Keithley, now deceased hard drinking storyteller Randy Rampage and the road manager (who was so happy about the high-speed Internet) and roadie who, years later, i met his brother coincidentally in Granada, Spain – all watched Canucks playoffs time-shifted and told tales into the night, signed my Hardcore 81 album, tidied up after themselves.
Of course, many travelling friends crashed out and enjoyed the space including Maddog Mike of Pacifica who destroyed so much Grand Crü beer and was still up early for his business meeting in Portland, Dane came by too (who i think took these photos), we had a “hippie on the couch” from CT or CO for a long time, others who came by at all hours expecting the place to be open like it was there own clubhouse, some disrespect, some sloppiness, some heat started to outweigh the frivolity. A lot of dishes to wash, but also a lot of fun backyard bocce games.
Of course there was the infamous High Times photo shoot in which many regional growers and vendors came by with copious amounts of wares in hopes of being featured in the magazine. Many were, i was rewarded with a massive mess to clean up and a photo/write up in the article which well… caused some community angst and notoriety (possibly covered elsewhere in this archive).
Epilogue: As it goes, economic situations changed with the *great collapse*, I couldn’t find work in any form, and then domestic situations changed with people moving in, people moving out, various tenants and domestic intrigue, then renters, a sewage flood and then a renovation and what not. [I had tried to finish some college, start a new business and relationship and hard to do all of that i suppose.]
In amongst much of this transition, aforementioned brother Dan became their “sole proprietor” of hockey lounge as it became his apartment. As things descended into malaise, various pieces and parts were sold off for cash to pay the mortgage, eventually the house sold, and I headed north and continued hockey culture with the Canucks Outsider podcast, then Dan later heading north as well to attend UBC engineering school. The Hockey Lounge still lives in the way/spirit at his current abode.
There is scant photographic evidence of this era though the legends live on throughout the streets of Olympia (or so I tell myself) plus at Olympic Plaza in SLC, and oh yeah if you’re reading this pay your fcking tab – this means you!
Memo: “outrage” in The Olympian newspaper in 2002 about High Times magazine declaring Evergreen the top cannabis college in USA. yup, upset the college, legislature, heads, smugglers, suits, cops, pretty much everyone / i just washed the dishes & caught the blowback.
PS did a screening of hempenroad at evergreen with q&a to show my face to the haters & invite to spew their ridiculous vitriol in person
In 2002, I participated in a documentary film called “Go with the Flow” about the capitol city of Olympia… at the time, Time Magazine called Olympia “the hippest city in the west” or something (note: I have the Olympian newspaper article about that magazine article somewhere…)
Anyhow, the full blurb is below but in brief: I was interviewed in reaction to the recent High Times magazine article calling Evergreen State College the top cannabis culture in the USA which provoked much consternation from both the suits and the heads. Lots of other neat Oly folks in there including: Slim Moon (Kill Rock Stars records), Calvin Johnson (K Records), Evergreen Grad ceremony and contrasts of Procession of the Species and Lake Fair parades.
Regardless, the film is amusing and I was in attendance at the premiere at Capitol Theater (the poster above is promoting this screening), and along with this rather battered poster, even have a DVD around here somewhere…
Go with the Flow is the story of Olympia, Washington, a place in the Pacific Northwest so vibrant and unique, Time Magazine once called it “The hippest city in the West.” Nestled on the southernmost tip of Puget Sound, Olympia’s scenic beauty is surpassed only by its intriguing history and eclectic subcultures.
DISTRIBUTOR: Pacific Communications
PRODUCER: Jim Jenner
DIRECTOR: John Paget
FEATURE DOCUMENTARY: 85 minutes
Somewhere along the way, someone came to visit me when I lived in Olympia in a dark and dingy duplex on Quince St (near the OlyWa.net, later Zhonka) office. Maybe it was brother Bob? Maybe it was buddy Mike? Or Brad? Anyway, someone who had done something pleasant to Christmas previous. And somehow they were coming to visit and I got this map to them / I’m not sure how any of this worked out, especially with the cryptic map. I’m not a cartographer it seems, regardless this map survived the decades and here it is now. Mysterious and no longer relevant (like Terry Z’s noted internet café).
In 2000, my colleagues and I sold a remarkable Internet service provider company (OlyWa.net) to it what turned out to be an evil (CLEC) telephone company (ATG) with big promises and lousy execution by entitled old bastards in Northern California… There’s a longer story there but… for now: the next year it was clear they wanted rid of us “Internet hippies” and targeted me as the “weak link” and I made it easy for them by well, roasting out at a company sponsored golf tournament… I mean it was wasn’t really a cultural fit.
Anyway, they called me in to a vice president’s office (who clearly had serious Vietnam-induced PTSD issues) with an bumbling HR guy who had come up from California to hand me a form to take a drug test. I had showed up late for the appointment, dressed in overalls, listened to their nonsense, took the form, and considered options.
My friend/manager was with me, he immediately put me on “administrative leave,” I then contacted/met a lawyer I knew through my hemp activism – he told me he would take care of it pro bono and best thing for me to do is lay low.
So, that night back at the hockey lounge, I fired up the then-new Priceline and basically spun the dial on somewhere to go and ended up on Belize for $420 leaving forthwith.
I arrived in Belize city, immediately switched to a small plane to a little island Caye Caulker, met a nice girl from Ohio on the plane who directed me to some cabins in the dark. I paid eight dollars for the first night, woke up the next day and went and told the boss man Ruben that I would pay in advance for 10 days but please let me know the day before so I would remember to go to the airport.
I dwelt amongst the people of the island, watching the tourists come and go, making some friends, dealing with some fakeass Rasta jerks trying to take advantage, managed a terrible in-grown toenail, learned about coconut rum, ate lobster burritos and got in the water some to swim with smalls sharks (I was still dealing with a broken wrist from a hockey injury).
Most importantly I read a mighty hardback edition of Leo Tolstoy’s classic “War and Peace” from cover to cover. My friend/manager had stopped off at a find used bookstore in Tacoma en route to dropping me off at the airport (surreptitiously) and this mighty tome became my guide as I learned that “patience and time are our greatest allies” and sometimes you have to let things burn in order to win the long game.
I came back from the sojourn expecting to be fired but the lawyer had done a fine job (in brief: realizing that everywhere in the company’s policy where “drugs” were mentioned, “alcohol” was also mentioned and as such, at the golf tournament, the company was providing Dixie cup sized shots of cheap whiskey by a golf cart all over the place putting everyone in the same violation territory as me).
The vice president guy and HR guy were furious, scolded me, offered me counselling, i smiled and nodded, and then asked me not to tell anyone in the company about this which, of course I immediately did.
A few months later we settled with the company for some sorta/ not really, graceful exit. Elsewhere in this archive are a few related newspaper articles and interviews about this incident in general.
PS This incident also sparked an extended research essay/treatise about workplace drug testing and an exploration into going to law school which fortunately, never materialized.