hello, yes, this is raincoaster

hello yes this is raincoaster

hello yes this is raincoaster

So, it’s been awhile, no?

For those of you who’ve missed updates at the ol’ raincoaster blog, since the last time this blog was active I’ve:

  • Started and run Canada’s premier hacktivism and cyberwar news website, The Cryptosphere, currently on hiatus. During its active period it was linked to by sites all over the world including the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Newsweek, and more (although not any Canadian ones, which is weird). And I was quoted by Time magazine. So, that was nice.
  • Moved about twenty or thirty times, as I paired my burgeoning cyber-career with a sideline as a pet-sitter. After one too many cancellations, I started charging good money with 50% up front and non-refundable, and otherwise, this really couldn’t be a viable option. But the fact is, that’s a horrible way to live, always trying to line up gigs so you’re never homeless.
  • Been homeless for periods of time, because of the whole making-no-money-from-website thing, combined with pet-sitting gigs that didn’t line up. Thank god for good friends, that’s all I can say.
  • Moved back to Ottawa, god help me, to stay with a cousin who has a medical condition that means he should not live alone. The idea was, I rest up and recover from the gruelling life I’d been leading while doing him a favour. Didn’t quite work out that way.
  • Shortly after arrival, fell down an entire flight of stairs, landing on the back of my head and my elbow. The elbow shattered into gravel, so that gives you a rough idea of what my brain went through. My sister heard the fall, and investigated immediately; when she found me no more than three minutes after the fall, there was a pool of blood around me three feet in diameter. The medical team were quite surprised I didn’t die. Me too, considering…
  • Was examined in Emergency and told my elbow was not broken. Five weeks later, when I went back because it wasn’t healing as well as the rest of me, I found out that was false. It had been turned into what the bone doctor called “gravel”, and so they had to schedule me for surgery. I now have six inches of steel in that elbow, and even five months of physio will not allow me to straighten and lock that elbow, ever again. There goes my career in yoga.
  • Slowly recovered. The fall happened at the end of September 2016, and I literally don’t remember anything other than some of the hospital, until Halloween. I only have patchy memories of the next few months. It was June of the next year before I felt like myself again. I kept trying, and failing, to get back to work, and because even my capacity for self-awareness was damaged, I couldn’t understand why I was having difficulty.
  • Got laid off from Passcode, so was fully unemployed in a province where I didn’t officially exist and thus couldn’t get benefits.
  • Over months proved to the government not only that I existed, but that I was a Canadian citizen who had entered the country legally. Got, piece by piece, all of the identification I needed, so now if I want I can go get a driver’s license, only nobody here will let me borrow their car, so I’ll have to pay a driving school. So I need to make some money.
  • Started back to work, first at a content farm, which is unchallenging, but at least it’s steady, pays promptly, and covers my bills. Then got a gig with a new news site covering blockchain, and they’re very interested in my specialties of crime and social justice. And they pay TOP RATES. I’ve already got an assignment there, so I just need to get the email questions out and do the research and then bang an article into shape. Very excited about this.
  • Just tonight, had a tryout for a 9-5, M-F crime writing job. We’ll see how I do at this, but they already know my work and are keenly interested. It’s in the same time zone as Ottawa, so that works out well, and it’s a four month contract, which would give me enough of a cushion that when I go back to BC I wouldn’t need to scramble or feel desperate.
  • Speaking of which…

I just gave Ontario my notice.

It’s been…sticky, humid, swarming with insects, sleeting, coated with ice, 90 minutes from downtown via bus on a good day, expensive, fattening, boring, Tory, racist, uncultured, and dull. And I’m leaving.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not really Ontario I hate, it’s just the extremely bland, suburban part of it that I’m marooned in that I hate. And I know BC isn’t perfect. Half of it is on fire right now.

But I know where I belong, and I know the places that call to my heart. I know that, when I sit on the bus in Vancouver, nobody moves away from me just because my hair is blue. I know that BC takes public transportation much more seriously than Ontario does. And god, the food is SO MUCH BETTER.

Also, my friends are there.

During my two years in Ontario I’ve made precisely 4 new friends, none of whom live in Ottawa. I’ve been deliberately avoiding social occasions, because I don’t want to form emotional ties to this place, and the plan has worked.

Two of those four new friends have offered me a pet-sitting gig over the Christmas holidays, right through to mid-January, and they’ve included: an offer to stay with them in December for free, three weeks of paid pet-sitting, and an airline ticket home to BC at the end of it. So, although I had hoped to be out of here sooner, I said yes. I’ll shift my stuff to The Sister’s basement at the end of November, bid my cousin adieu, and prepare to become a BCer again.

I’m gonna need more Gore-tex.

 

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Dusting off the old blog. I quite like this Slow Burning Fuse person.

The Slow Burning Fuse

APT 3G 19610910

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#AntiSpyBill Event Tonight Featuring Lauri Love, Kim Dotcom, Lee Camp, Suzi Dawson, and more

Staying up to live-tweet this tonight. Lauri Love, Kim Dotcom, Lee Camp, Suzie Dawson, Bailey Laymon, and more! This event is so jam-packed that Captain Crunch is just part of the audience. An engaged audience, however. Your input is important too: Just use the hashtag #AntiSpyBill.

The Cryptosphere

#AntiSpyBill #AntiSpyBill

Tonight the Internet Party of New Zealand is hosting a major international event live online, featuring interviews with internet eminents including Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom, alleged hacktivist and Cryptosphere contributor Lauri Love, political refugee and new Internet Party head Suzi Dawson, the irrepressible Lee Camp, and more. The purpose of the event is to brainstorm with the entire world the best possible bill to protect the digital freedoms of the citizens of New Zealand, and to use this bill as a template for other Five Eyes countries.

A group of 100 invitees will be able to contribute questions and interaction live on the Zoom broadcast, and others will be able to watch via Facebook Live and YouTube, or simply follow the hashtag #AntiSpyBill on Twitter.

The press release reads:

In a world-first, activists from all Five Eyes countries will be represented at the #AntiSpyBill event, which will…

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Happy Birthday Bruce, Lorrie, Isabel, Doady

Death as a Dinner Guest

Happy Birthday Bruce, Lorrie, Isabel, Doady

Happy Birthday Bruce, Lorrie, Isabel, Doady

Today was a good day. A long, tiring day that started far too early for someone who usually falls asleep between 4 and 6 in the morning, but it was still a good day.

And a bad day.

A bittersweet day.

Today was the family birthday party for all the people whose birthday is this month.

One of them is dead. Well, that’s how it starts.

He wasn’t, I don’t think, when they ordered the cake. Dead. And when we picked up the cake, there were no musical notes on it, which WOULD NOT STAND for VARIOUS REASONS and my aunt Dinny immediately called over the chief baker and had some musical notes piped on it as had been the plan all along because my aunt Dinny always goes to the top and gets results fast. The musical notes will be important later; this is foreshadowing.

But yes, my awesome, kind, funny, warm Uncle Bruce had been very unwell for a very long time, and had been in and out of the hospital recently. On his last day he was at home, and his wife was booked to help at a dance, and he wouldn’t hear of her staying home with him. He was good. Go.

So she went.

When she got back, they chatted about the night, she made some tea for them both, and before she could give it to him, he collapsed. It was all over.

In the same spirit, she wouldn’t hear of keeping his name off the cake. Bruce wouldn’t miss a party, particularly not a party where he’s the guest of honour! My family is one that takes party obligations very seriously; people practice for things like being the guest of honour, and making their initial “what I’ve been up to in the last six months” remarks.

Partying is serious business.

Partying is, in fact, the family business at Uncle Bruce and Aunt Donnie’s house, as well as their preferred activity: always an enthusiastic and talented musician, once he retired from his job as a genetic technician at the Experimental Farm, Bruce made music his full time gig. How good was he? Well, lots of Canadian people go to Ireland. How many get paid to go to Ireland to teach Celtic fiddling to the people who invented it?

That good.

And Donnie was always by his side, with a pot of tea and a sheaf of papers and often with a phone at her ear, running their road show with an efficiency that would be the envy of any nation’s chief executive even if it often looked like an octopus in a hurricane and felt like that to those suddenly caught up in it unprepared. And when they decorated the house for Christmas, you’d never seen more holly on more gilded fiddle ornaments. Joy and music and family with their four boys were where they lived, and South March was only the place where this glorious galaxy happened to intersect with Planet Earth.

So, in many ways including being named on the cake, Bruce was indeed at the party.

Cal was also at the party.

Cal liked my tee shirt: the one that says “Ain’t no party like a Gatsby party cuz a Gatsby party don’t stop until two people are dead and everyone is disenchanted with the Jazz Age as a whole.” In retrospect, I should not have worn that tee shirt.

Today is the first day Cal and I ever met; he’s married to a second cousin from a side of the family that my mother never spoke to, so we didn’t speak to them either. But Cal was charming and sat across from me at lunch, and he and his wife Gail gave me a birthday card with actual cash money in it (that’s how you know you’re still Kid Generation, even if you’re middle-aged) for my birthday, even though they’d never laid eyes on me before either, which was very nice of them. Cal had high cheekbones and bright blue eyes and excellent posture, and he was a sweet, low-key gentleman with a good sense of humour and was not in the least phased by the presence of my pinko politicking, purple-haired self as many gentlemen of A Certain Age are. We joked across the table about my shirt and all the hippies in BC and many other things besides, and listened to all the family stories, and stood up and sat down over and over for many, many family photos, and then it was time to go, so we all went.

Cal died on the way home from the party.

I expect that, wherever they are, Bruce is showing him around and introducing him to people, because that’s what Bruce would do, and since Martin Landau and George Romero died on the same day as Bruce, and Kenneth J. Lane died on the same day as Cal, they are probably having an amazing (and well-dressed) party right now.

Old Man Ocean

RIP Old Man Ocean, killed by a couple of jerk kids for no reason.

lindsey brunsman

oldmanocean-5

This is a man I’ve always known as Old Man Ocean. Five years ago I was going through the School of Photography at the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii. My class and I often encountered this man wandering around town, and one thing he made clear to everyone was that he never wanted his photo taken.

One particular day, I was walking around town with my camera, turned a corner around the back of a building, and there he was. As I approached, I held up my camera asking if I could take his photo. He unexpectedly motioned me towards him and communicated that I could snap shots of him. While doing so, I carried on in a short conversation with him, and remembered him telling me how he had once lived in Texas. The photographs I captured that day remain very valuable to me, and I have…

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