You should all go over and read my new blog: drinkscoaster.com. A new home for food, drink, and travel posts.
This should end well.
Last night on the way back to the cabin I’m pretty sure I heard the local bear. It’s a small black bear, nothing to worry about, but all the same unsettling at 4am. There are also apparently cougars about, which is more of a worry, as the cougars of Vancouver Island are the most man-eating big cats in the world.
Then again, I’m not a man, so what do I care?
There are also wolves, although I haven’t heard any, but I’m prepared for that. You bet. I got a tip on Facebook. All the natural world cowers in fear of having its secrets exposed in a random Facebook status update or comment, and for good reason. In this case, the tip, which appeared in my friend Janine’s timeline, is that to keep coyotes off your property, pee on the boundary lines. They can’t see your invisible fence, but they can smell it and go, “Whoa, hippie territory. Hippies. Why’d it have to be hippies? I hate hippies,” and bugger right off. I’m going to see if it works with wolves too. And bears. And rats.
Oh, the rats. The rats. The rats in the walls.
Well, I wouldn’t care so much if they would stay IN the walls; it’s when they come out and poop on my floor and counter that I find annoying. Every couple of days I find another rat poop somewhere I was about to put my foot or my hand, and since the cabin is only about 15 feet square, this is TOO MUCH. At night as I’m lying in my cosy sleeping bag in the loft, I hear them directly above my head on the roof, scrabbling around and chittering, so I drum on the damn ceiling to encourage them to move on and they momentarily stop what they’re doing before starting up again shortly afterwards.
Now, I know what to do with rats, but the fact is I haven’t got a pack of flying Jack Russells with frickin’ laser beams on their heads, so I’m having to make do. If I could find the holes they are using for getting inside the cabin, I could stuff them with steel wool and/or spare tinfoil (washed, so it has no food smells) and that would stop the buggers. The problem is, because of the trees and overcast weather, there hasn’t been enough light to SEE such things in the first place. Once the sun comes out I’ll get a wooden ladder and circle the outside of the house, pull the tarps off the roof and check under there as well, and look at the cistern behind the cabin too. Having checked the weather reports for the area, I expect that will be in May or June.
In unrelated news, I have accidentally left my iPhone at the cabin. This is bad because that motherfucker’s flashlight app is the best damn flashlight this camp has ever seen, and the battery only has 20% left. It’ll die tonight and worse: I cannot use it to actually get to the cabin. I have a weak headlamp instead that Shahee loaned me.
In other unrelated news, I’m starving, haven’t eaten today, and am off to the Best Western down the road to have a burger. I have heard their veggie burgers are good, so hopefully their beef burgers will be as well. Too lazy to walk into town this late; the place rolls up the sidewalks at 5, which was an hour and a half ago.
Still haven’t heard from the new boss about when I start. At this point forget an advance: a retroactive payment would be nice. And oh yes, I started a new blog. Can’t afford the custom domain this week, but hopefully next week I’ll be able to get one registered. With the Manolosphere going the way of the dodo, Manolofood.com is going to disappear, and I need a place for my foodie posts, a dedicated food/drink/travel blog. Will import the old posts and get some new content coming in the next few days.
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.
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.
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?
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…
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.
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?
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
That is not, contrary to appearances, a picture of my grandmother (known to all as “Gramma” and god help you if you didn’t call her that but tried something more formal, ooooh she wouldn’t be having any of that, now. But it certainly does appear to be a picture of Gramma, for verily it looks very much like her down to the too-short haircut, and I’m pretty sure she had that shirt as well. But that’s actually a picture of ‘Murrican mucky-muck John Kerry trying and failing to blend in at a dance ceremony in Bali.
That is most definitely NOT what my Gramma would have done.
At her eightieth birthday my Gramma got up on the table and danced to Patricia the Stripper, and if she’d been at this shindig with Kerry she’d have gotten those temple dancers to do the Dougie before you can say “Gramma, you’ll break a hip!”
Speaking of hips, my Gramma was pretty. Hip. Follow along!
I was over on Facebook the other day, having taken too many flu meds to do any decent work, and my friend Cassandra was in need of distraction (what is it with the #DramaSec these days? People deleting accounts left and right. Assange taking a family quarrel to Twitter in front of two million followers. Takedown notices, bogus and not, flying all over the digisphere. Enough already, the new moon is over!) so I told her the following story, for distraction purposes only. Do not operate heavy machinery under the influence of this story. Do not read if pregnant (because you have better things to do with your few remaining hours of freedom) or breastfeeding (because it’s really, really hard to handle a baby and a laptop at the same time and what if puke gets in the keyboard, eh? You’ll wish you’d listened to me then!).
Where was I?
Oh yes, on Facebook, telling Cassandra a story about Tennessee. You see, it’s considered quite exotic in Ottawa, where my Gramma lived. And here is the story about my Gramma‘s travels to exotic Tennessee just as I told it to Cassandra, for lo, I am very lazy and I just copy-pasted it.
Now, Gramma did not drink. In my family, this alone makes her somewhat legendary. But Gramma was not above knowing the value of an alcoholic comestible, or of taking advantage of that knowledge by running what amounted to an arbitrage on the celebratory beverage in question, by the simple means of purchasing it in one physical location and transporting it to another, where its selling price was higher. The ungenerous would call this “bootlegging,” and it has been the start of more than one great Canadian fortune.
Gramma would take bus tours of what she called “my old people”, ie they were like five years older than her, but not as lively, down to Tennessee and Missouri to do whatever it is old people do there. Tours. Watch the Osmonds. That sort of thing. And coming back she would get them all to smuggle bottles of Jack Daniels anywhere she could find a space. Under lumbago cushions. In big granny purses. In wig cases. Everywhere. Once, she struck gold because a guy had been in a cast from his waist down to his toes for a couple of months and his leg wasted away and she could fit four bottles in the space between his leg and the cast. When they got to the border, she would just yell at the border guard, “THESE ARE SENIORS, YOUNG LAD! THEY NEED TO GO HOME AND REST!” and never once were they searched. She gave the bottles as wedding and Christmas presents, and would supplement the punch at family parties with it, among other things.
I find, upon leafing through the ol’ raincoaster archives, that there is indeed an actual picture of my Gramma. At my cousin’s house. Legally blind. Shooting at a turkey from the deck, beside a stack of beer cases, with a tank of propane between the muzzle of the gun and the target.
You go, Gramma!