The Prancing Pony of Penticistan

First Nations pony is also overjoyed

First Nations pony is also overjoyed

When I mentioned on Facebook that I was coming to the wild Penticistan steppes above Ruralopolis, I never thought that the locals would take it upon themselves to create a Welcome video for me. Apparently, they were so overcome with joy at the thought that soon the mighty raincoaster would roam the sagebrush slopes above the lake, gibbering softly and occasionally making nameless sacrifices on mysterious altars on the hilltops, that they created this gloriously Canadian multiculti work of art to welcome me.

It appears they think I do not know what is meant by the term “Indian pony” but we will let it slide. After all, OMG PONIES!

Christmas Presence 2012

Anonymous Santa

Anonymous Santa

I’m a little late getting into the Christmas spirit this year, partly because I missed my traditional opening to the Christmas Season, Christmas at Hycroft, thanks to the month-long Death Flu of Death flu that sent me to the hospital a couple of times instead of to the mall to see Santa like normal. But today at Starbucks I did indulge myself in a new Christmas album of jazz/lounge standards, of which I have an extensive collection, and I’m taking this as the official start of the season. It’ll sit nicely between my Ren & Stimpy Christmas Album and that one by the Gospel singer with the incredibly moving voice who was convicted of beating his wife.

But there’s one Christmas tradition that never gets old for me: pimping out my Christmas List to tens of thousands of people on social media, in the vague hope that one or more of them will weaken and buy me something. So without further ado, here is what I want, and how and when I want it.

That has never worked for me on OK Cupid, so I might as well try it here.

  • a pony. I’m fat now, Santa, so make it a sturdy Welsh Cob or Connemara pony.
  • a new hat, to replace the one that got stolen, my lamented and loved Official Indiana Jones Stetson which I bought on the very last day that Woodwards was open.
  • Chanel Allure perfume
  • Viktor & Rolf Spice Bomb perfume
  • any of Biella Coleman’s books or books about WikiLeaks except Julian Assange’s Cypherpunks, which I already have
  • an MP3 player, preferably an iPod Touch (used is fine) so I can get back into running without getting bored out of my mind
  • iPhone and a Virgin plan, because of all the places I’ve tried Virgin is the ONLY company that always has great service
  • this digital pen
  • a nice roomy winter coat
  • some high heels, size eight, since all mine got stolen
  • a charm bracelet, since mine got stolen
  • any silver table doodads, since mine got stolen. Pickle forks, tea strainers, you name it: I love it. And I used to have it. And it’s cheap.
  • wine tumblers
  • silverware
  • Harry Potter books, to replace all of mine were stolen
  • DVDs, to replace mine that were stolen, particularly fitness DVDs
  • Socks, yes really.

And I would like them all to be properly wrapped, thank you very much. Watch carefully as Aunt Chippy shows you how it’s done.

Should I register “rollercoaster” as well?

well what the fuck WAS that?

well what the fuck WAS that?

Ever had one of those days that starts out like that and then goes…well…like this?

That’s right, bitches.

Problems! Solved!

mostly.

Problem 1) Transportation to Vancouver so I can honour my commitments to speak at and participate in Social Media Week and Social Media for Government in Victoria.

Solution 1) Hotel_Goddess, a woman who has never met me, who lives in another city from me, and who doesn’t even know my real name, promptly put her airmiles together and made a reservation for me. Now this is a religion that pays off: I am a convert! From now on, I’ll stop worshipping Cthluhu and start worshipping Hotel_Goddess, because what the hell has worshipping Cthulhu ever got me? I’ve yet to be eaten first or, really, at all recently, but there…I’ve said too much.

Problem 2) Homelessness which I think we can all agree is a helluva problem, particularly with it frosting over every night already (yes, really). Solved in bipartite mode by my friend Nancy until Monday, stowing me away in her mother’s basement (maybe Mom won’t notice? I dunno, she’s pretty sharp!) and by friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-chef-running-a-pullled-pork-truck-in-Osoyoos(and if you see him say hi from me) to whom I was introduced by email and who has a cabin which isn’t currently occupied and whose current house-sitter has other things to keep him busy for the next few weeks and maybe forever. So this cabin needs someone sitting in it, and it might as well be me. So, from Monday I am going to be sitting in a rustic two bedroom cabin/trailer/Rube Goldberg agglomeration with a view, a deck, a wood stove for heat, a gas stove for cooking, a big screen tv, and in a very funky, desirable neighborhood that’s walking distance to downtown. Like, four blocks. If the next couple of weeks work out, I might get to stay there when the owner goes up north to cater at a college, which would mean I pay for utilities and taxes and such, but no rent.

u totes jelly bro

u totes jelly bro

Oh yes, did I mention two bedrooms? One for me and one for Julian, until I coax him into getting over his crippling shyness.

Problem 3) Vancouver rent doubled from $340 to $760 or thereabouts.

Solution 3) Emailed the woman in charge of admin at Kellett and had her fax my ROE to the co-op. Did this before the last post went up, by the way. Doing it afterwards may have been less productive, knowmasayin’? Photographed my last pay stub detailing last day paid and how much I earned in all of August ($288 for the curious) and sent the digital files to the co-op. Was almost punchy enough to hit Flickr Uploader by rote, but managed to stop myself in time. It ain’t art. Then I forwarded to them the receipt from Paypal for my blogging payment for the posts I made in July. $300 US equating, after Paypal fees and the exchange rate, to about $288, sound familiar?

Co-op re-evaluated my housing charges in record time, thank GOD, and now I have to pay only the $340.

Problem 4) Unemployment=No Money. And no, I’m not eligible for BC welfare or, it seems, welfare up here either. Yay, mobility! Anyhoodle, even when one saves $400 on rent and gets another place for free, one cannot eat air. And one cannot purchase non-air foodstuffs up here for anything like spare change. A week’s groceries from Sunrise Market would cost me $12; the equivalent here (if I could even GET the equivalent here) is more like $45.

Solution 4) A very nice person on Twitter who wishes to remain anonymous because it’s a business account and they don’t want it to seem like they’re looking for publicity ALTHOUGH THEY TOTALLY DESERVE IT FOR THIS AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE sent me $250 via Paypal. This is, as with Hotel_Goddess, someone who’s never met me in person and doesn’t even know my real name. They just like the way I roll, have benefited from social media in the past, and want to pay it forward. And another friend who’s starting her own blog sent me $200 for a blogging lesson, so I can at least pay my Vancouver rent if I put the two of those together. Might even get some gruel!

If I can manage to switch my flight to the 13th instead of the 9th, I might even be able to run a workshop here at the Aurora Conference Centre. I’ve been talking with Chef Pierre and a workshop series is very doable, but I’ve missed the deadline to get an ad in to the paper in time to have a workshop before the 9th, so I have to check out the flight change tomorrow. A full workshop would mean I could pay all my arrears to the co-op and then some, and be sure of having enough money to get back up here and do another workshop. And so on. Gotta get that flight switched (might be another $100 or so) and then pick a date!

Oh, and I’m going to be speaking briefly at the Rotary North meeting this coming Thursday at the Top Knight, so if you want to meet the now-happy wanderer in person, turn up. But don’t get between me and the mic; I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt.

Moral of the story: When in trouble, whine. Copiously. On every social media platform available to you.

C'mon, get HAPPY!

C'mon, get HAPPY!

Pat’s Bay Wildlife Slideshow

Parental Eagle is not so much angry as disappointed in you

Parental Eagle is not so much angry as disappointed in you

Time to take a trip in the wayback machine, as well as the puddle jumper! These are some shots I took in June at Pat’s Bay on Vancouver Island, more formally known as Patricia Bay, which is doubtless how it was introduced to the Royals. It is, by the way, a $40 cab ride from downtown Victoria, although thanks to faithful charioteer WestcoastDave on Twitter, I didn’t have to pay.

Ah, social media, you spoil me.

I didn’t even have to pay for the plane ride home on Saltspring Air, thanks to the organizers of Social Media Camp! Since I grew up in planes, I was looking forward to this flight: a true puddle-jump from Pat Bay to one of the Gulf Islands, and then to Coal Harbour in Vancouver, from which I could and did walk home. Nothing like living right downtown! Not only that, but they promised me the handsome ex-Olympian who was also the most polite pilot in Canada. Our pilot was indeed handsome and polite, but as to Olympian histories, well, I thought it was too personal a question to ask. And possibly painful. I mean, what if the answer was, “No, actually my bobsled team was knocked out in the semi-finals and my whole life since then has been a slow, downward spiral, like some tragicomic Bruce Springsteen song.”

Incidentally, the plane we flew in was a 1956 DeHavilland Beaver, a plane of which Canuckistan can be justly proud. I’m thinking Hummingbird604‘s flight home must be the first and only time he spent that long in a beaver.

But there are some good reasons to get out of The Big Smoke occasionally. I think I caught most of them in these pictures.

The Swag Report: Happy Birthday to Me!

Of the Most Epic Party in the History of Partification we shall not speak at this time.

Mostly because we can’t remember much of it.

But my going-away party had to double as my birthday party, and that was just fine with me, as providing transportation for all my Vancouver friends to and from my new place would be a little difficult, what with it being a four-day drive and all. At the party I got, besides all the yummy food everyone brought, a bottle of Plymouth Gin (which has been hard to get since last year), a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin, a bottle of Vermouth, a gift box of a half-bottle of Bombay Sapphire with two rocks glasses (are we sensing a theme here?), a hand-blown glass perfume bottle, a bottle of Chilean wine, and Hmm. Hmm. Other stuff which I can’t remember. Which isn’t too bad for a party where I said No Presents Please.

And when I walked into my new place in Yellowknife the woman I’m house-sitting for had left an airline-sized bottle of Bombay Sapphire on the kitchen counter, with “Welcome to da Knife” on a post-it. That’s what I call welcoming!

In case you didn’t know, I found my new job via Facebook, from someone I’d met on Twitter. I found my new apartment via the comments section at Crasstalk. So don’t ever think social media is a waste of time; it’s like sex. It can be a waste of time if you’re doing it wrong. But I do it really, really well.

Ahem.

Today, as nobody in Yellowknife knows it’s my birthday and everyone elsewhere is too far to walk, I have only digital presents, but they are lovely. What did I get?

My friends have a wonderful ability to prioritize

My friends have a wonderful ability to prioritize

from JustJennifer

A birthday post dedicated to me from Hummingbird604:

The truth of the matter is that the Raincoaster persona is not exactly the same person as my good friend Lorraine Murphy. Lorraine happens to be actually a very nice person with a brain and broad range of experiences that rivals that of many modern times’ intellectuals … she’s done some amazing work, especially for the Fearless City project, empowering folks in the Downtown East Side (where she used to live) and enabling them to tell stories through blogs and other social media outlets.

Normally, I would have taken Lorraine for drinks for her birthday but since she’s up North, a blog post will have to do. Lorraine, I’m very proud of how far you’ve gone, and as I told you once – you rock, and you WILL continue to rock, long time. Have fun up North, change people’s lives, show them the way and then assimilate them into the Cthulhu :)

Raul, you can count on me!

If I had a blog

If I had a blog

Yeah, thanks there, Kye Grace. If you need blogging lessons, I can hook you up, ya know.

She's got legs! And Cake!

She's got legs! And Cake!

From Suzy Cakes on Facebook

and last but certainly not least (because I’m sure I’ve forgotten some, some are not compatible with WordPress.com, and besides, I have this particular object on mail order, and Nancy better not forget it!):

Julian Sez Happy Birthday!

Julian Sez Happy Birthday!

from Guacira Naves