Tag Archives: utah

Letter: regarding eco-carpetbaggers, money-focused orgs, talk – action = zero, etc

Written as a letter to a friend, somehow thought good idea to put here so i don’t lose it. Not sure but hey… no one’s paying attention anyhow.

Might be scenic but still a dump

Hey [redacted],

I hear you on these hypocrites, bootlickers and carpet baggers who talk a big game but at the end of it, they spend all their “organizations energy on managing the organization” rather than actually doing stuff.

I learned a long time ago (somehow) in my punk rock youth that “talk minus action equals zero” and in that same youth, was idealistic enough to want to actively support a lot of different organizations in Utah and BC but every time I went to volunteer my (then healthy and strong) body for action (i.e. put me on those anti-whaling ships! send me out on desert missions! put me on a lookout tower!) the only answer was “you can help with fundraising… Why don’t you go door to door and ask for money?” Not impressed.

And, years later, I still see the same organizations spending all their money begging for money. E.g. After all my years of working to normalize cannabis, I see the suits and celebrities jumping into the mix and congratulating themselves and I wonder: where the fck were you on those rainy days at the capital decades ago? Where were you lobbying and writing letters and to policymakers and showing up at inane committee meetings? I hear you are running your mouth about stock prices and making cute branded labels for your factory growing weed blah blah blah.

As such, somehow I realize that despite my usual social and community-building nature, when it comes to getting shit done, I just do what I want to do on my own terms and float out into the world and don’t expect to see an impact for decades later. Been this way for my documentary films, punk rock fanzines, chap books of poetry and other arts and crafts… + Realized that I could be an artist who spends half of his time applying for grants and sending and submissions to be rejected (another quarter of my time complaining about the injustice of it all) or else I could just go hustle some day job for temporary times (goodness know i’ve had a few) and make art on my own terms and put it out there without any expectation of acceptance or money. Fuck Stats, Make Art.

Somehow I almost accidentally ended up this way as I teased with a flirting level of fame before vanishing again. Seldom seen indeed. I think of Henry David Thoreau self publishing 100 copies of Walden, dead at 37, no one remembers his contributions to pencil making or the impact that came hundred plus years later. That’s the kind of hero.

After being gone for Utah from sometime and ending up back there in recent years after my Mom died and hiding out, i saw all the precious places polluted by REI shopping yuppi3s and credit card wielding “ski bums” who think they’re making a difference by voting for “that other party”, left again as fast as I could and proclaimed my lifelong dream to never go back to Logan (the only town I’ve ever been busted for weed).

I even went to my favourite holy sacred hot spring up fifth water diamond fork on trails that I literally helped build and pools that I hauled up bags of cement to shore up the rocks to find it overflowing with BYU students, I stripped down to my naked self and took a nice shower in the waterfall and all my splendour and quickly cleared the area out for a nice leisurely soak. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

how to clear out an hot spring… (photo with Lomo sardine can spy camera)

All this is to say that I see you and hear you and admire you and you got a guy out here respecting your work and your life and understanding what you’re laying down about Lycra knuckleheads with their lawyers and mortgages.

Told a younger friend the other day who’s getting caught up in the rat race that all these asshole billionaires that end up in the news about not paying taxes or going to space, they’re all bunch of workaholics who never see their family, never just to get hang out in a barn with an illicit smoke and some used records, and hell my mother-in-law cooks as well as any restaurant and the best views are for free. And if you want to be all fancy, I built a house on a tropical island one time for $50K and another time for $70K, you can’t buy a carport most places for that. You can get your own campland near Gary’s outpost near Shasta for under 100… I’ll tell you about Paradise, the way John Prine sings about it. Move to the country, grow peaches… work little except for the real work.

That’s my riff/rant/spiel, yer pal, daveo

VW Suana, Hot Tub, Prayer Flags (also daveo)

just settle in and everything will be alright…

Handy when the psychedelic VW bus sauna, hot tub, and other time travel portals are all conveniently next to each other with the prayer flags.

As seen at Mangy Moose / Scraggly Squirrel ski cabins, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Thanks Honi and Dave!

{loads more from this visit to come in another post but in the meanwhile, check out the Lomo photo pictogram cards}

photo: Adam Burningham

 

#daveo50 ~ 2016 / 50 years > days > photos

Dave Olson, 2016 #daveo50
#daveo50 ~ 2016 / for passport, visa, or other ID

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).

Continue reading #daveo50 ~ 2016 / 50 years > days > photos

Diamond Fork to El Cortez (2016) – Lomo photos (colour)

Whilst in Utah in autumn of 2016, I took a trip with my pals Marty the potter and Rod Ash (RIP), and his son and nephew, to beloved Diamond Fork hot springs (6ixth water, Spanish Fork canyon area). 

Indeed a special place to me. I hadn’t visited in many years and since then, the umm… cultural traditions had changed somewhat (nekkiedness not as prevalent or accepted, nevertheless…).

Anyhow, along the journey (beginning at Marty’s place in Provo) I snapped these pics with a Lomo La Sardina (Sardine can) camera loaded with expired film.

A few snaps ensued as evidenced in this assortment (unedited)…

A few days later, I made my way to Las Vegas to visit brother Anders and stay at the classic El Cortez hotel in Fremont area of town (off-strip). 

It was a slice of going back to the 1960s or something like that, my favourite part was walking down in the middle of the night in pyjamas and robe to the bar and no one batted an eye as they were all focussed on sticking another coin in another machine.

#daveo50 ~ 1994 / 50 years > days > photos

#daveo50 ~ 1994 / BC Identification Card, issued 02/94

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).

Continue reading #daveo50 ~ 1994 / 50 years > days > photos

Poster: Farmer Weed reads at Blowfish concert / Logan (Utah), ca. 1992

Poster: Farmer Weed reads at Blowfish concert / Logan (Utah), ca. 1992

No Restrooms, No Alcohol, All Ages, $5, 3 bands. 

Momentos: USA University Road Trip (with Spanky and Kaimi), 1989

USA roadtrip, 1989, by 1974 VW Bus “Earthship”

In 1989 (iirc), my beloved VW bus criss-crossed states at a frenetic pace with long drives to Kansas City for Drum Corps, California for punk concerts, over the Rockies to Denver for The Who, a Vancouver trip or two in there, couple of Moab and then was wrangled into the epic trip starting in Utah to the US Northeast and swinging back down through the Midsouth stopping by universities and colleges of all times so a fellow named Kaimi could pitch his idea of selling flag T-shirts to various bookstores. 

The deal was: he would pay the bills, do much of the driving and other logistics and I was just along for the ride and providing the wheels.

USA roadtrip, 1989, Kaimi at wheel, Dave shotgun in 1974 VW Bus “Earthship”

Resulted in many harrowing nights in places like New Haven, Cambridge, New York City (where we weren’t allowed through Lincoln tunnel because of onboard propane and required a complicated turn around in the midst of traffic), a break down in Connecticut – replacing fuel pump with a random mechanic in his driveway. I remember driving on a graceful parkway then seeing a horrific accident unfold in the pouring rain storm. Sneaking into all sorts of university dorms for clandestine hi-jink, being mysterious “aliens” from the west marauding in this renegade van. Seeing a wonderful girl I knew from Utah working as a nanny in Connecticut (rip Janel H.), making friends with the father of the house (he let us sleep in the basement because I was reading Jack Kerouac), buying beer with fake IDs and never a second glance, (racks of it drinking back while crossing midwest and through Penn), stops at Wrigley Field in Chicago (no game :(!), Sun Studios in Memphis (met a fine lady there), watching Kaimi spin spin spin with endless energy. Oh, staying with his family around Washington DC and going like a “show and tell” item to his younger brother’s high school class (to much acclaim :)). The van getting broken into and ransacked while parked in Washington DC to see the Smithsonian. Must’ve been a couple of other significant roadside attractions along the way. 

 
USA roadtrip, 1989, with Spanky in front of Sun Studios, Memphis (obviously)

Pal Jerrod aka Spanky was also on board (as kinda Kaimi’s svengali) and brought his guitar so, along with my bongos, we did some busking here and there ++ saw Fugazi play at All Soul’s Church, DC and REM play at Merriweather Post, Maryland, just missed secret Rolling Stones at a frog-something-named-bar by Yale. Rambled campuses and saw how the system of private patronage in the East works – they ain’t no smarter, just better connected / mostly. Skullz and Bonez.

USA roadtrip, 1989, Spanky and Kaimi (grumpy) out back Sun Studios, Memphis

I had no schedule nor expectations except to just go go go and so we did. And, behold I have evidence.

USA roadtrip, 1989, in front of Wrigley Field (we were told there was a game but nope, White Sox were playing across town)

Certificate: Graduation, Adult High School (Alpine School District, Utah), 1988

Invite: Graduation, Adult High School (Alpine School District, Utah), cover

In the event you doubt my credentials, I present prestigious documentation for your perusal… Hey, I can’t seem to find the certificates for the invitation to the ceremony (which I did not attend), so a blurry snapshot will have to do for now as evidence.

Invite: Graduation, Adult High School (Alpine School District, Utah), inside (blurry)

Noting I have more to say about this and how I left high school a couple weeks into “senior year” and in rolled at Utah Technical College, later Utah Valley Community College, later several other name changes… and took an assortment of classes about photography, ceramics, mountaineering, anthropology and creative writing.

As it goes, attending this then-little college with an interesting eclectic mix of ages, interests, attitudes etc. was a fantastic decision. More to say another time, perhaps when I add the actual certificate and other related materials.

Artifact: Nudist Prophet Zevs Cosmos (Daily Herald, Provo, 1987)

“Nudist Prophet Proselytes Valley” / Zevs Cosmos in Daily Herald, Provo, Sunday Feb. 8, 1987

This fellow posted up with his signs and pamphlets by University Mall between Orem and Provo, Utah Valley – between the community college and Brigham Young University (this is a rather conservative Mormon-dominated area to say the least) spreading his kindly message of nudity and openness.

Brother Bob and I stopped and had pleasant conversations with him on a number of occasions, received his various brochures (which i may yet find) and helped him on his way with food and fellowship. Remains an inspiration. Thanks Zevs, hope you wander well. 

Riff: VW Beetle / busted up, 1986 (+ pizza beast, Earthship, REM and a sketchy boss)

Battered VW Beetle with broken spindle in American Fork, UT, ca 1986

Just before I turned 16 while living in Orem Utah, I purchased an (soon to be infamous) 1974 VW “turtle top” bus ($1475) and, that winter – after failing my driving test driving the bus and driving away from the licensing bureau but passing in the next time (that big bus wasn’t easy to parallel park until you got the hang of it) – drove up to Vancouver in the middle of the winter which included the snowy regions of the Cascades…  On the way back, with no money for a motel and 2 brothers on board, the van caught fire (engine compartment) in snowy Prosser, Washington at 2AM (had extinguisher, slept cold, finally found a mechanic who didn’t do anything and limped home about 700 miles on 2 cylinders, 35Mph… #anotherstory #focus).

Anyhow, this is all to tell you that this led to taking a job with a sketchy man who lived in our townhouse complex who had opened up pizza restaurants, Roberto Prieto (or so he said). He was a dodgy fellow with an underage wife, quickly burnt out his business partner at  “pizza heaven(?)” and bailed and opened a rival “pizza beast” in Provo. So i went to work for him cleaning out this former Chinese restaurant and turning it into an assembly line of high-volume pizza for BYU students,  in exchange for him paying me ($3.35/hr) but also helping rebuild my Volkswagen bus as he was allegedly a great VW mechanic and had an awesome set of tools (somehow all brand-new) in his garage.

He did basically nothing for my van except a lot of talk and no action and assigning me hours in a solvent tank washing parts, and some months later (after the accusations about s3xy times and dodgy substances picked up momentum plus he had purchased fancy Camaros for he and his wife which he couldn’t pay for it seems) he bailed in the middle of the night with all sorts of wreckage left behind.

Bob and I went to his house, hopping into the backyard to see if there was any remnants of the van parts as the engine was “gone”. Nothing useful, however there was an hungry/angry mother dog and her starving pups in the backyard who came running after us requiring a mighty leap to clear the fence.

{Anyway, somewhere there is possibly still bad man and all the stories about young girls in coca!ne who has long forgotten about me and the pizza beast I suspect but if I come across an artefact from that time, I’ll hook you up – must be a snapshot somewhere.}

In the *interim* of not fixing my bus,  he lent me this battered Volkswagen bug which was exceptionally dangerous as there was no seatbelts, no passenger seat, and in the backseat where the battery was housed, sitting down caused the battery to short so only could have one person sitting behind the driver which made the vehicle very unbalanced.

I would drive this home, with dodgy headlights etc. after working at the pizza restaurant in Provo to American Fork (a vaguely neighbouring town), and two times had near death experiences, no exaggeration.

One time, I drove over a dip under a railway bridge which, turns out, was pure ice – the bald tires spun immediately completely out of control…, I remember seeing the light of oncoming traffic honking as the car spun aimlessly and aggressively in a narrow space wedged in between concrete poles and various stanchions for railroad crossing gates… but *fortunately* landed in a snowbank . Was stuck there, trying to push my way out, no one stopped to help, just honk, but finally I got it going and drove on bewildered (no way to call for help as no phone around), but couldn’t get all the way home as our current home (a story in itself) was top of the steep hill. After a few false starts with ridiculous backwards slides, finally gave up, left the bug, trudged through the snow to the house.

The next time, while driving along the same road, the lil car gave a mighty thud then a hard scrapping squeal and lunged to the right. Felt like much more than a flat tire and turned out the wheel, tire and all had completely come off the spindle, and yes the wheel spindle itself, a thick solid post of steel, had somehow completely, not snapped, but somehow worn right through and come off with wheel tire etc with it.

I fought for control and somehow crash landed on the side of the road… Likely hitchhiked home or walked or something, but this is where that bug lay. Never drove it again. I can take a hint universe.

While I’m riffing, later an eccentric man in Pleasant Grove called Martin took on the task of repairing the mighty Earthship bus, which at this point has been sort of out of commission for a while and was really cramping my style, but let me a 1976 fuel injected VW Bus, not a camper, but it was a runner… I maybe took advantage of his kindness a little bit by driving it to Moab several times and then on a road trip to Omaha, Nebraska to see our REM with a few pals. I did my best to take care of it and wow, it was a nice ride – not all the accessories but just went and didn’t leak oil (shocker).

Finally, the mighty Earthship was up and running and ended up on so many adventures back-and-forth across USA, many Grateful Dead tours, the hostage incident in Taos,  up and back to BC and down Mexico several times, living in it while working at a bike shop in Burnaby, BC and going to university of Utah in SLC, and now lives as a sauna in big Cottonwood Canyon (more to this story on the docket to share).

There were several other significant car incidents besides the bus catching on fire, and the bug causing a few near misses including the terrible Blazer crash on Christmas Eve in Jerome, Idaho but I don’t speak of that terrible incident any further. Pictures exist (and a newspaper article) and they make me shake and nightmare. 

So yeah the photo at the top is the bug with broken spindle. Somewhere there’s a guy named Roberto who owes me and a guy named Martin who i am grateful for and a stretch of highway between Utah and BC laden with calamity for me. All in the past. 

#daveo50 ~ 1986 / 50 years > days > photos

#daveo50 ~ 1986 / passport

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).

Continue reading #daveo50 ~ 1986 / 50 years > days > photos

Memento: Osmond family signatures, ca. 1977

Memento: Osmond family signatures, ca. 1977  / Orem, Utah