Good News/Bad News

Keven Spacey is as confused as I am

Keven Spacey is as confused as I am

Well, I may get whiplash from this rollercoaster life (if I don’t get it from doing yet another faceplant trying to walk on the slippery boardwalk). As some of you know, the Daily Dot and I have parted company. That was planned and a very long time coming, but it had to be done and it was done last week when I sent in the final invoice and, well, it was sad but it was better if you know what I mean. Then I moved to a place where my rent is paid with two hours a day of wood chopping, compost researching, boardwalk repairing, etc, started losing weight automatically, and all was well.

Yesterday, raincoaster.com celebrated its eighth birthday! I still remember all 64 of my first day’s hits, which I got by begging in the comments section on Boris Johnson’s blog.

That left me with Ayyyy.com as my sole paid gig.

Guess what happened to Ayyyy.com today.

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#OpHippie Day Three

Barataria: new HQ for Operation Global Media Domination.

Barataria: new HQ for Operation Global Media Domination. What can I say, I like a challenge.

Well, say hello to the new Global HQ for Operation Global Media Domination. It is one-quarter mile down a dirt and gravel road, past the salmon stream, past the pond, to the left of the wood chip pile and the right of the kale garden (yet another kale garden), past the fish caddy, thirty yards up a slippery boardwalk into the rainforest, and it is all mine.

Well, mine and the rats’, but they’ll be leaving soon, trust me on that. If I have to borrow a honey badger, the rats will be leaving soon. They can’t get at my peanut butter, so they hate me and they pooped beside my bed last night. My bed is in a loft above the main floor, which is maybe 15×15, and I climb up a very steep ladder to get to bed, and as I said of the boardwalk “this is going to do wonders for my sobriety” and so far it has. If I fall off the ladder, I land on the stove, and I don’t want that, as the stove is likely to be burning hot when I go to bed.

One expects my days as a cocktail enthusiast are about to be severely curtailed. Oh, I’ll still go out for cocktails, but there’s something about having to walk two miles into town in the rain that takes the edge off a thirst, knowmasayin? Shawn at Little Jumbo and Simon at Veneto and Jay at The Blackbird may be seeing much more of me than they are used to, as I’m not paying rent and have nothing else to spend my money on other than trips of hundreds of miles just to drink the best cocktails in the world at their respective establishments.

I have named the cabin Barataria, after Jean Lafitte’s hideout in Louisiana. Jean Lafitte is the bomb, and when in doubt, choose an alliterative name from pirate history. Always.

This should be more widely known.

He, apparently, stole it from Don Quixote, where it was the name of a fictional island that was part of a deal from a conman, and the name derives from the Spanish word for “cheap” so this is perfect in every way.

OpHippie My Driveway

This is my driveway

This is the driveway. It is uphill, but not terribly steeply. You do feel it, though, when you push a load of firewood in a wheelbarrow all the way. I was enormously proud I got it all the way up the boardwalk to the cabin, but then it DID serve as a stability aid. I’ve taken three headers thanks to slimy boardwalks. Thank god for these boots; at least they have some tread. If I had to rely on my sneakers, I’d have been miserable since my arrival. Not that they aren’t great sneakers, but they are porous and they are not trail runners. Sticky, they are not.

As discussed last time in OpHippie, the boots are awesome. I have awesome boots. Awesome: those are what my boots are. I have been grateful for these boots every moment I’ve been here, although I keep forgetting to ask the donor if s/he would like to remain anonymous or not. Sorel Women’s Caribou, Da. Bomb. Waterproof, and 60% off, too! Also heavy, so I’ll lose weight simply wearing them.

Alas for my old hat, which was glorious and perfect in every way including folding up to nothing and popping back into shape. My new hat is cool, but it is no Old Hat. It is no Official Indiana Jones Stetson. I bought that hat the last day Woodwards was open, so 1985 I guess, and I paid ten dollars for it, which was far less, like 70% less, than it should have sold for, but they were just liquidating the stuff at that point. It was waterproof and perfect in every way as I mentioned before. Apparently they are still available. I should save up.

The new hat is an Aussie Akubra Snowy River hat and very good-looking although garnering fewer compliments than the old one (brim is too aggressive, methinks), it does not fold up, and it needs to have a leash and keepers put on, ie the string that goes under your chin, so I can hang it on my back when I don’t need it on my head and don’t want to hold it, and also so it won’t blow away when I board a ferry, for lo it cost me $150 and I am loathe to throw that away or let the wind gods steal it.

Today's shopping

Today’s shopping

The “dry firewood” thing is a challenge. There isn’t any. The new stuff comes in and it gets damp just hanging out in the woodshed. Moisture is contagious. I have a brand new pizza box that won’t burn now, because it’s been in my cabin two days and has absorbed too much moisture. It steams when you try to set it on fire. But I got some wax coated cardboard today that will burn like a candle, and some wood that just got cut, and Shahee helped me set up a rack to dry my wood on, on the top of the stove. I need a grate for the stove and if I can get a spare, that will make an excellent drying rack on top of the stove. We are discussing making me a rocket stove like his, which works amazingly well. The cabin isn’t as insulated as the bus, alas, but it could be improved. And a good stove will go a long way to that. Still, after living for two years without electricity in Vancouver, I’m used to chilly temperatures for sleeping. Can’t sleep if it’s hot, in fact.

Once the rocket stove is in, I get a converter and that transforms heat to electricity, and YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS! It means I don’t have to blog from the kitchen, that’s what it means.

Well, no wifi back there, but I can write offline and come to the kitchen to upload.

Oh, did I mention there’s a beach?

Middle Beach, Not-Ucluelet

Middle Beach, Not-Ucluelet

Not too scruffy. This was a very quiet day, apparently. Usually the waves are surfing sized. There is a beach to the left and also one to the right. They are also surfing beaches. Mostly, I use these beaches in the following traditional fashion: make coffee, put in thermos, doctor appropriately, go to beach. Walk up beach. Walk down beach. Repeat until coffee is gone. Return to kitchen.

Some local colour…

Get Trippy. YOU MUST OBEY. Or not, dude, Whatever's cool.

Get Trippy. YOU MUST OBEY. Or not, dude, Whatever’s cool.

Skyline, not-ucluelet

Just a local skyline view

OpHippie Sky Lights

OpHippie Sky Lights

This is down by the main gardens. It’s a sort of Gilligan’s Island with a nautical theme, a platform with a tire swing and sofas, a pond with salmon in it, and a cave for concerts and getting loud. Right now there’s a carpenter from Nanaimo and a guy from London whose mind is completely blown by the space staying there.

OpHippie You are so totally loved. Even you, yes you.

OpHippie You are so totally loved. Even you, yes you.

OpHippie My Pond

OpHippie My Pond

When I’m coming home in the dark I listen for the sound of the salmon stream waterfall to tell me I’m on the right path. Not long after this comes the pond, which is where the stream and the salmon come from. Last night I wandered around far too long in the dark, blundering into other camps because I was too proud to use the headlamp. I guess you gotta learn every lesson once, eh?

OpHippie close of the day

OpHippie close of the day

Basically, but the time you notice the clouds are starting to turn golden and magenta, it’s too late to walk to the beach. I have to set a “sunset alarm” on the phone so that I can make sure to get there in time. Watching the sun set, knowing there is nothing out there between you and Japan but some whales is a pretty awe-inspiring feeling. Sunsetting is a big activity here, as I have mentioned before.

Future plans include getting a human poop composting system designed and in place (I’ve actually been quite useful so far, thanks to connections with a certain Victoria-area garbage collector), making some sort of deal with the Best Western down the road for access to the hot tub, making some kind of deal with the local stables for some riding time, and finishing up the shopping.

Things I need now:

  • railway lantern
  • fuel for lantern
  • butane hot plate and fuel, although I’m ambivalent about cooking at the cabin. Attracts critters.
  • candles
  • pulley so I can winch things up to the loft and back down, cuz I’m way too lazy to take the stairs all those times
  • new glass for the window frame they put in. Plastic just isn’t cutting it, people. They also are talking about putting in a BIG ASS window on the wall underneath the loft. The frame is incredibly sturdy, being steel, the window is double glazed and mirrored, so the question becomes do I want it facing out or facing in?
  • space blankets, one or two to use as curtains at least while I only have plastic in the window
  • Swiss Army Knife (with corkscrew) or equivalent. You always need scissors and eight other things you don’t have
  • plates and cups for the cabin
  • chair for the cabin, maybe two if they’re cheap
  • pillow
  • bedding. The sleeping bag I borrowed from Shahee will do for now, but actual bedding would be better
  • manual coffee grinder. Makes the best coffee and is meditative and ecosensitive.

So, it takes inventory to be ecosensitive. Well, that’s not a surprise. I hope to get up to P-town to get some of my summer gear before the seasons turn, because I already OWN a lot of these things.

Anyway, now must write a proposal for my new boss to discuss rates, duties, hours, and expectations. God only knows when I’m going to work on the media startup I’ve got bookmarked, but all things in time. It’s amazing how many of my skills developed at Occupy Vancouver are coming in very handy. Also Girl Guides. Also living off-grid in the city for two years.

And how was YOUR day?

You can see the whole growing set of photos at Flickr.

Operation Hippie Update

Soon to be me. Titania, queen of hippie fisherpersons

Soon to be me. Titania, queen of hippie fisherpersons

So, preparing to move from a nomadic, cat-sitting existence to a geostationary one, and one in a vegan ecovillage at that, is proving to be somewhat of a bigger shift than even I realized.

For starters, there’s the busfare to get there, which I do not have. Nor will I have it until one of my clients pays me, and I just split from the biggest-paying one by mutual consent. Yeah, I sent in The Last Invoice, but it’ll be Monday before it’ll be paid, and then it’ll be paid in Paypal, so to get it to the bank will be no sooner than Wednesday, probably Friday of next week and that’s IF it gets paid Monday. And once the money is there, if I’m there also, there’s nothing to buy up there but nights in a B&B and whale watching tours.

So I made Mine Hosts Metro and Mrs Metro an offer they could refuse, but fortunately they didn’t. I will give them the money that would go for bus fare if they will drive me. They can then use this to get a night in a swanky B&B or hotel. This guarantees that I get the back seat of the car, but oh well, it also guarantees I don’t have to sit beside a random homicidal maniac who will hog the armrest. It also means they can drive me to the actual site instead of dropping me off where the highway meets the road and I get a nice long walk down a gravel shoulder before turning up a dirt road in the middle of the rainforest, all while toting three heavy suitcases filled with everything I’ve been wearing for the past nine or ten months.

My footwear collection, also being ported around all over BC in said suitcases, consists of one pair of metallic wedge sandals, one pair Doc Marten Mary Janes, and two pairs of Brooks running shoes made of mesh. Absolutely nothing of the rain boot gum boot variety. And that is the single most necessary type of footwear when approaching an ecovillage on the west side of Vancouver Island in the dead of winter.

When I show up to the ecovillage, I am expected to be self-sufficient and bring food. They have kale; anything else, I’ll have to lug in. Since I am not and do not wish to become a Kaletarian, this means I have to buy food (too busy to catch my own, and the hunting is atrocious in downtown Victoria, although I hear at certain bars it’s easy to catch crabs).

And I have $1.90.

So, being me, I bitched about this on social media.

And, my friends being my friends, one of them sent me $100 so I could buy some goddam boots, two offered to mail me their boots (postage is $40 or so from Vancouver, though), and one offered me a job doing copywriting for his companies. He asked if I needed an advance, and told me to name my own rate. He trusted me to do that honestly in part because when my friend, who is between jobs, offered me the $100 I posted about it and asked my friends if I should take it or turn it down.

As it turned out, I turned down the mailed boots as the postage was truly extravagant and I could buy boots at the end of the month anyway, and accepted the money on the advice to pay it forward.

Then I went to LL Bean and found out the boots I wanted were 37% off, but they were also sold out until April 22, and a fat lot of good that does me. MOST of their boots are sold out, which means everyone is having a pretty shitty, slushy winter. So tomorrow I’m off to do some shopping in downtown Victoria.

My shopping list is a bit different now. When I lived in Vancouver’s Chinatown my shopping lists looked like:

  • sambal oeleck
  • udon noodles
  • bean thread noodles
  • peanut butter (the universe’s most perfect food)
  • prawns
  • salmon
  • chicken
  • soy sauce (you could always tell when I was “rich” because then I’d have three kinds: Indonesian, Japanese for sushi, and Chinese for rice)
  • bok choy
  • onions
  • makeup
  • nail polish in outrageous colours
  • antique or collectable cocktail accoutrements
  • gin

My shopping list for tomorrow reads:

  • gumboots
  • keeper cord for my $150 Akubra hat so the wind doesn’t blow it away
  • crab trap so I can catch my own food
  • fishing rod
  • bean thread noodles
  • peanut butter
  • sambal oeleck (some things never change)
  • bag of oranges in case of scurvy or some goddam thing
  • coffee and GOD I HOPE THEY HAVE A COFFEE POT IN THE COMMUNAL KITCHEN

It would be nice to get some glasses before I leave (the kind for your face, not the kind for your cocktails) so I could actually SEE the view, but maybe I’ll squeeze in an eye exam at least. Metro and Madame Metro have promised me glasses for Christmas. If not, once I’m paid I can just wander into town and I’m sure there’s a doctor there who can write a prescription that Clearly Contacts will mail.

So, basically, gasp in wonder at my steez. My swag. My YOLO. My command of buzzwords.

And my D*CK!

Operation Hippie is GO!

God or Cthulhu or universal pantheistic principle help me. I’m turning hippie.

Yes, after several long months of dithering and running all over BC in search of pets to sit, I will be sitting still for some time, as in BEING GEOSTATIONARY, at least until I go back to Vancouver to volunteer at the BIL conference (an alt-TED conference) and run a Bitcoin workshop. And the next month, when I come back again to poodle-sit for an old friend. But otherwise, I’ll actually know where I’m going to be from one week to the next, which is something I haven’t been able to say since last April, when The Prospective Landlord from the world’s most perfect place bailed on me, rendering me technically homeless and throwing me into a new sideline as a pet and house and occasional child sitter.

I will be at an Ecovillage just outside of one of my favorite places, Not-Ucluelet, of which I have spoken before. For those who wish to take this opportunity to pizza me, remember: I have no credit cards and I prefer my pizza with anchovies.

Behold the ecovillage:

This could be the end of Hobocoaster (although there’s still a book in it if I ever have time to write it, as my friend Alex pointed out. Bitcoin and Backpacking? Something like that).

The question is, is this the beginning of Hippiecoaster? I’m not sure, as previous experiments in veganism did not exactly work out (unless you consider chest pains and fainting as “working out”) and I don’t like pot. Naturally, I turned to the internet for answers.

OKCupid says I’m Alt-Hippie, the most mainstream of hippie archetypes, which most people who know me would agree with. I did used to work for Greenpeace but then, I did used to work for Starbucks too.

Alternate

You are 32% experimental, 50% feral, 41% spiritual, and 10% square!

Congratulations! You’re Alternate. The Alternate is, at first glance, the most mainstream of hippies. You are probably more into protecting disempowered people and the environment than expanding your mind or achieving a higher state of being, but you aren’t so into nature that you choose to live in a tree. You even shower at times, and some people may not notice the passionate hippie lurking beneath the seemingly conservative exterior.

The hippie world needs you because you earth the other hippies, and form a bridge between them and the rest of society.

If you believe that opposites attract, you probably find yourself around Full-blown hippies. If you are more inclined to enjoy the company of those with similar attitudes, then other Alternates, as well as the Faerie-child, Treehugger, and Raver are for you.

The other categories are Neopagan, Mystic, Feral and of course, the Non-hippie

According to this infographic, I’m a fairly advanced Level 6 hippie, Hippie 2.0, which seems right, since I refused to move to the ecovillage until I had been assured there was both electricity and wifi.

The Hippie Continuum

The Hippie Continuum

Now, Shahee, who has more or less set this whole thing up, is your basic, full-blown hippie. I sometimes worry that he feels guilty  for wearing clothes made of plant fibers, and probably walks through meadows going “Excuse me!” “Oops, Sorry”! etc to all the plants he’s stepping on. So it’s going to be a bit of a cultural shift for me.

Then again, having had cultural and geolocationary shifts every two weeks since last April, it might come as something of a relaxing change. If nothing else, on a green kale and smoothie diet I’m going to lose some of the blubber which keeps me warm in the winter.

Who am I today?

I am, apparently, two people. Which is fewer than normal for me.

I'm Joe Strummer and you're not

I’m Joe Strummer and you’re not

Which Punk Icon Are You?

You got: Joe Strummer from The Clash

You have a cynical view of the world, but you’re nevertheless very earnest and truly believe that people have the power to bring about positive change. You’re very curious and creative, and are very active in seeking out inspiration in unlikely places.

 and

I am the Thin White Duke and you aren't

I am the Thin White Duke and you aren’t

Try the Which Bowie are You quiz at Zimbio. and tell them AND Buzzfeed to provide a goddam embed code, wouldja?

Time to celebrate! Who knows, I may take the Geographic Cure soon enough!