The Plan: pic seven

Lotus leaves at Sun Yat Sen

Lotus leaves at Sun Yat Sen

Those of you who’ve been following the ol’ icecoaster adventures during my sojourn in Upper Muskox will be familiar with my Plan posts, in which I lay out one productive thing to add to my life over the course of a week (no sense rushing into things impetuously, like moving across the country etc, nossir. Not my style At. All.) and which subsequently goes entirely haywire. And here is another; you must be thrilled!

Back in the day (as we who are old enough to remember those days say) I had a Polariod Joycam, and I loved that mofo like a very bestest imaginary friend. I took it everywhere with me, as it was small, light, and also a mere $20, which reminds me of the Finnish nickname for a cellphone: Yuppie Teddy Bear.


Living Room

Operation Global Media Domination Global HQ

Anyway, the Joycam still exists (can you spot it in this shot of my living room? Probably not, I think it’s on the floor under the four laptop bags) although joycam film has gone to that Great Photobooth in the Sky. Well, not quite: it seems Impossible Is Nothing, or rather Impossible is Possible at the Impossible Project, which makes and sells instant film for existing Polariod cameras, so there is hope for those of us hopelessly addicted to Polariod Dry Transfers and their artsy crafty ilk.

Distractions of Thrift

Distractions of Thrift, a polariod dry transfer by Butter Fry

Such as mine own self.

But where was I? Yes, eulogizing Polariod. It’s what Hipstamatic is a pale, robotic image of. Duty done, moving on.

I have one professional-quality 35 mm SLR (no D!) that I inherited from my mother, and two digital cameras thanks to my friend, photographer and social media maven Cathy Browne, who gives me her castoffs every time she trades up (and long may she so trade!). I’ve been running around for weeks with one or the other in my backpack, and finally decided to get some use out of them, reviving my old Pic a Day practice. I found it refreshed the way I look at the world as I pass through it, as well as provided a reason for me to get out of the damn apartment. Sort of the same effect as when I first began blogging, and I found it forced me out to get material. So you may see a weekly roundup of photos, at least one per day; then again, you may not, particularly if you don’t read this blog every day and if not, what’s your goddam excuse I’d like to know? EH?

In any case, here are some shots from today and last night. I’m too lazy to embed them all individually, so here’s a slideshow via Flickr and Vodpod. Don’t let anyone tell you the Downtown Eastside is a wasteland: this is what it looks like.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Masked Bandit of Chinatown

I do not dread the Dread Pirate Roberts. I'm funny that way.

I do not dread the Dread Pirate Roberts. I'm funny that way.

Is a sexy masked bandit/cat burglar too much to ask for? Really, Universe? REALLY? Just one of these, just ONE in the rat’s nest of banditry that is My Neighborhood?

Faces of Meth

Faces of Meth

Guess not, eh?

Well, let me tell you about the cat burglar/bandit who broke into my apartment recently. S/he/it looked nothing like any of the above, at least as far as I could tell from the mask, but there were some general features that reminded me of a previous invader with whom we have had words.

I have, you may recall (if you are one of the eight people I’ve let into my apartment in the last five years) a large patio that overlooks a bunch of trees, some of which are tall enough that I overlook SOME of them, say the first 20 feet, and the rest of the tree overlooks me, and the whole assemblage of trees and I look down into a triangular area which is fenced off to a height of ten feet with razor sharp razor wire (did I mention it’s razorish?) and thus rather secure.

Or so I thought.

A few years ago I developed the habit of freezing water overnight in a huge steel mixing bowl and plopping it into a baby-sized inflatable pool, for optimium foot-danglage while working on the laptop on the patio, and most pleasant indeed it is. Very pleasant. But it means that said baby pool sits out on the patio overnight, as I am freezing some more water for the next day’s refreshing paddlage. And one evening, as I was ensconced indoors (for I like to be equal-opportunity in my apartment enjoyment, and not all Outdoor Snob etc, in case the living room gets its feelings hurt) I heard a strange sound coming from outside.

Splash, splash, splashy splash.

Now, that’s not that strange a sound to be coming from a wading pool, only it was 2 in the morning and the patio was as far as I was aware, entirely empty of life forms except for the moss and the pot of mint for the mojitos. And they don’t splash around much, even during the full moon.

So I looked out, and there in my baby pool were babies a-plenty: masked bandit babies, and masked bandit parents, splooshing and splashing and looking up at me with a big, “What? What’s your fucking problem? Can we get a little privacy?” look on their faces, every last one of them.

So I gave it to them. Privacy, that is.

And I shouted over my shoulder “Just don’t put a claw through it” as it was inflatable and thus rather delicate, and the next thing I hear is POP, pfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft…

Raccoons: passive-aggressive bitches.

A couple of hours later I hear a strange sound, even stranger than a family of hot-tubbing Procyonae. A dragging sound, as if a corpse of small or possibly median size were being dragged across my patio; being the curious type, and not the fearful, Woody Allen Character type (as you may have guessed from a few wasted lifetimes reading this blog) I flick on the patio light and see one of the Raccoonerie attempting to make off with the pool.

Yes, they were trying to drag a hot pink, deflated baby bathtub into a pine tree. I think at least one of the brood must have been a gay decorator.

So I yelled, “Drop the pool, bitch!”

Yes. I did that.

And s/he looked at me, all like, whatevs, you expect me to really drop this? you’re making a display of yourself; why don’t you just go back inside and we’ll both pretend this little episode never happened, that you never tried to face down a wild creature of the woods, here on your patio in Chinatown.

“Drop the pool, bitch! YOU HEARD ME!”

and s/he did, gave me the full one-shoulder shrug, and waddled off into the darkness.

So that was Episode the First.

Episode the Second occurred not too long after that, a number of weeks or maybe a couple of months, but it was still warm enough for the patio door to be open. And as I was typing away, I heard again a strange sound.

A dragging sound.

I sat. I thought. I even stopped typing. And I heard it again, inside the apartment.

The sounds are coming from inside the apartment!

And I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a movement. Movement of an inanimate object: the Turkish trunk I used as a coffee table, upon which my stereo rested. And I thought “It’s fucking X Files in here tonight” and I yelled,

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” not knowing who was the YOU who was doing whatever IT was.

And IT peeped out from behind the stereo, for lo IT had been dragging the trunk backwards, towards the open patio door, with the obvious aim of stealing both my handmade Turkish trunk and my stereo, and IT looked like this:

This Raccoon thinks he can tapdance around the law!

This Raccoon thinks he can tapdance around the law!

A half-face, masked, peeked out, sneered visibly, and retreated, in Super Slow Motion Approved James Bond Villain Style, back behind the trunk. A moment’s silence, a pause as the universe held its breath.

And then the dragging began again, as my stereo and coffee table made their inexorable way towards the patio and the trees just outside.


A sigh. A half-peep. And a waddle away, empty-handed.

Only to return another day…

Samurai Raccoon. We're so fucked.

Samurai Raccoon. We're so fucked.

Wednesday, in fact.

Last Wednesday I was minding my own business, which at that moment consisted of trying to fall asleep, when I heard it. No, not a dragging sound. A falling sound, and a thunk as of a heavy body hitting the floor.

Inside the apartment.

Because, bitchez!

Because, bitchez!

And, being me, I looked around, noted the location of the riding crop, picked up a candlestick (not heavy, but glass and hence dangerous if used all pokey-pokey style) and yelled “What the fuck are you doing in my apartment, you demented motherfucker, because you must be one fucking stupid-ass motherfucker to break into MY apartment. You want me to open an industrial sized tin of whoopass on your sorry mother fucking ass?”

…because I was raised to be a lady…

and when I got out to the living room I saw nothing but (yes) the wide-open patio door just as I’d left it. But wait…wait…there was something on the patio….

my grey jacket.

And when I went out to pick it up from where it lay, just about where the baby pool had been oh these two years ago now, I stepped on something in my living room, something in the dark, something unidentifiable, something that sort of squished. And then I saw The Other.

This Raccoon thinks he can tapdance around the law!

This Raccoon thinks he can tapdance around the law!

S/he was out on the patio, giving me the stink-eye and being all, “what, what’s your fuckin’ problem, bitch? You talkin’ to me? You talking to ME?”

and of course I was, and I continued to do so until it got the hell out of Dodge or at least my tiny corner of Chinatown.

And then I went back in and switched the light on and faced the unpleasant truth of what it was exactly that I’d stepped on.

Now, if I may be excused for a slight digression, timewise, for the previous several weeks I’d been looking for a particular necklace of mine. I have a lot of junk jewelry and a lot of sub-junk, like the orange macrame owl I made in school crafts period in about 1976, but I do have one necklace that is worth the better part of a thousand bucks, and it’s the one I hadn’t been able to find it in ages.

And there, in the middle of my floor, was a pile of necklaces my Masked Bandit had obviously been attempting to pilfer. And suddenly, I knew that some pine tree somewhere was swagged with even blingier bling than normal.

I sighed heavily, as one does on these occasions, picked up the necklaces (a pink frosted plastic bead choker I’d had since I was in school and a turquoise draped multi-chain number that my mother wore in the Sixties; raccoons have terrible taste) and went to put them back on the dresser with a resigned slump of the shoulders.

And there, where said tacky beads and chains had been, was The Necklace.

So, thanks?

But don’t do it again, bitch! PS: are we entirely sure raccoons aren’t related to meerkats? I mean, think it over…

Can YOU take it?

Can you take it? I sure as hell can't.

Can you take it? I sure as hell can't.

And they won’t even tell you what “IT” is.

My problem is, IT is at home, IT being the task of packing up essentially a three bedroom house’s furniture and stuff and either bunging it into storage or moving it up to Yellowknife in the narrow window when there’s a (long) road up there which isn’t an ice road and besides I don’t even have a driver’s license anymore so How In God’s Name I Am Going To Do This I do not know, but anyway…

How was your week?

In case you’ve heard rumours, well, they’re all true unless you heard them from legendary fabulist Steven Schwartz, in which case they’re probably amazing fabrication and I’d appreciate your noting them in the comments, as one day I may write an encyclopedia of internet drama and cancer-faking mythologists are definitely going to feature prominently therein.

But the rumours about me moving to the land of permafrost and the lynx nuisance at the city dump? Those rumours are true.

Yes, some poor company has offered me gainful employment, almost like a normal person, starting July 1st, which means several things:

  1. this will be a major score for my female friends who want to pick up some clothes free, cuz god knows I ain’t taking anything I can’t fit into or didn’t graduate in
  2. I have a shitload of furniture for sale, at all levels of quality from Oh My God Amazing down to You’ve Got To Be Fucking Kidding Me
  3. I forget what this one is.

Anyhoodle, there will be a party at some point, probably of the bring-a-bottle variety or, knowing my friends, the bring-a-bottle-and-a-sleeping-bag variety. I’ve already handed the reins of the Shebeen Club to Ian Alexander Martin of Atomic Fez publishing reducing my press-release-writing workload considerably.

Before I leave I’ll be speaking at Northern Voice blogging conference and Social Media Camp Victoria, and my newest round of online workshops starts next week. Then, poof! I’ll be out of the Downtown Eastside and up in the land of the polar bear. Where a dinner of (excellent) fish and chips will run you $60.


So, before I head off to the wilderness, I’m throwing yet another celebrity link roundup your way. In Vancouver, I could be relatively sure of bumping into one or more of these people every few months. In Yellowknife? Maybe not so much. So, that’s an improvement!

Continue reading

Vancouver Unicorn Chaser

Yes, that’s twice in a week we’ve had a Unicorn Chaser, but after dealing with all the drama lately (including an indigenous Canadian assassin, apparently sent by the anti-Julia Allisonites) I think we need one.

As some of you may know, I’m still stuck up in P-town, that cosmopolitan megalopolis of the Interior, and am stubbornly going to remain here until I can get a free ride home. The way my luck’s been running, if I tried to catch a plane I’d be groped by some cranky TSA droid and let fly at him, at which point I’d be sentenced to life in prison for castration without anaesthetic, and if I tried to take Greyhound they’d seat me next to an escaped mental patient from Winnipeg with a knife and anger management issues. And I know way too much about serial killers to hitchhike or take the Craigslist route. If, knowing as many people as I do, I can’t get a free ride, nobody can, and then we’ll know the Recession has hit rock-bottom.

So, here are some lovely pictures of the burb to which I am trying to return: Vangroover, home of the Canucks and the Canadians, and where Marc Emery was once named Businessman of the Year.

Vancouver False Creek at Dusk

Vancouver False Creek at Dusk by akameus

All together now: It’s a small world after all… Actually, every neighborhood in Vancouver is a small world, almost entirely independent of its neighbors. There’s one block on Cambie that is deeply hipster, and has been since before we knew what to call those people, but only the pub across the street is hipster, while every other storefront/bar/restaurant on that side of the block is pure DTES. Even though it’s technically DTWS. And then you turn the corner and it’s something else again. Forget the lack of freeways; it’s this “Islands in the Stream” quality that is most discombobulating for tourists. You can see them along East Hastings, looking puzzled and somewhat frightened as they frantically page through their maps muttering “gaztown, gaztown, czhinatown…” and if I’m well-dressed I try to help them. If I’m not, I just walk on by on the general principle that if someone DTES-looking approached them and began to speak, they’d probably break into a run and then god only knows where they’d end up.

Which brings me to this:

Gastown sign in the Diamond

Gastown sign in the Diamond

Even though the Diamond (which is a delightful place, moreso because it’s hidden, and don’t try the veal: try the Vietnamese sub) sells $12 drinks and is constantly full of models and photographers, it’s still on the Downtown Eastside, and I can only ascribe that horrendous mistake on a very expensive sign to the desire to Keep it real, yo.

Attention, Stalkers! raincoaster UNMASKED at SMCYVR!

Ha! Little does she know, my alien leaders have given me an EXCELLENT disguise for tonight’s Meet the Geek dinner from Social Media Club Vancouver. I may even get my tentacles did! We don’t have dessert on the menu for tonight (because nobody I know eats it anymore!) but I was thinking of bringing some of these:

cthulhu petit fours om nom nom Iaaaaaaa!

In case you're wondering: yes, THEY ARE BAD FOR YOU

Or perhaps one of these:

Cthulhu Cake

Or this one?

octopus cake

octopus cake, what does it look like?