travel tips with Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming is Naughty Santa

As the dreaded holiday season approacheth, more and more of us will be taking to the skies in a desperate attempt to put in brownie point-garnering facetime with relatives whose very existence is the bane of ours. Just die already and leave me the pearls and the cottage, dammit!

Naturally, airplanes stuffed with hundreds of passengers with nothing in their future but a potentially-fatal planeride and said facetime with relatives are going to be tense environments, places where we should all be a little more considerate and take a little extra care not to offend. Especially the rentacops.

Rakish Hollywood idol Alan Cumming offers a handy tip to ensure your trip is as smooth and un-cringifying as humanly possible; as a recovering Englishman, Cumming is somewhat of an expert on the subject of embarrassment, so his wisdom is to be treasured and passed on from generation to generation, at least until men start wearing kilts again.

from AgentBedhead:

“I always think the pressure on planes gives you a hard-on,” he mused. “My friend I was just working with said that when he goes to sleep, he always puts the table out in case he gets a hard-on whilst he’s asleep. That’s a very good tip for your readers if they want to avoid embarrassment on a plane.” 

miscellaneous blogging advice I have given out recently

I'm not a blogger

  1. Faking your own death is good for hits
  2. Being exposed as a serial killer is good for hits
  3. Flamewars are great for hits
  4. If at all possible, blog nekkid. They can tell.

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Medieval helpdesk

Some things, my friends, never change. Working the technical support front lines is one of those things. Here’s the best thing to come out of Norway since…ever.

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Hired to blog: what it takes to get there

Job Hunter

It takes guts. It takes heart. It takes hard work. It takes a blog that knocks the socks (if any) or tiny ankle hairs (if any) right off the reader. It takes the ability to discard relics of meatspace like financial ambition. And it takes, apparently, a job application that looks like this (illustrations added for blog-illustrative purposes only; do not take internally or mix with other liquids):

The Romanov Family

Greetings to the illustrious Manolo, whose growing empire rivals those of the Ottomans and Romanovs, except better-dressed and without the bloody revolution part.

To say that I was excited by the blog job opening at Teeny Manolo would be to understate the case to a near-criminal degree. I am a longtime acolyte of the Manolo (and grateful recipient of the Manolo‘s linkie luv) as well as a highly experienced blogger, blogging instructor and consultant, and former nanny and retailer of clothes for teenies. During my time in the totwear trade, I was sometimes delighted by clever, practical, and attractive clothes, but more often (it must be confessed) I was appalled and shocked into bitter sarcasm by the vast tide of bogswill being passed off as proper clothing for youngsters, boys in particular.


What did little boys ever do to get stuck with SAILOR SUITS for Tinky Winky‘s sake? And cheap, shiny nylon sailor suits with scratchy seams that make the baby Jesus cry, or would, if he had to wear those instead of the lovely robes that Mary picked out for him on that trip to Jerusalem.


Please accept this application for the position of Teeny Manolo Blogger. Currently I have three active blogs: raincoaster, for my bitter ravings; running through rainthe Shebeen Club for students of my courses on blogging for personal growth; and , for my literary group (who would love to host the Manolo for an evening, should he pass through Vancouver). I average between four and twelve posts a day, and yes, I can modulate the snark at will.


I hope to hear from you soon: if you need an old-skool resume, just let me know. You can also check out my profile on LinkedIn.


Now, this application got me the job. That is all ye know, all ye need to know. But I’m going to take it around to a few of the job hunting agencies anyway and see what they have to say about it, A) because it will be payback for a lot of fascist, pointless make-work that they put me through for no other reason than that they had to do something with me and didn’t particularly care what it was (see the Operation Orwell tag) and B) it will probably give me something amusing with which to feed the blog. If you think I should feel guilty about wasting their time, I refer you back to A.

So far, the most perceptive comment comes from Mistress Cowfish, herself rather senior in the bureaucracy, who takes great delight in recognizing we are very, very 21st Century lately, in that a winning job application may now contain the expression “old-skool.

I’m not a blogger

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Blogging for Beginners August 18-25th


Just a quick note to let everyone know that raincoaster media (ie me!) will be giving the popular course Bloggging for Beginners again. This will be split into two half-day sessions, a week apart, to give students time to work with their blogs and develop specific questions and fluency. Let’s face it: we were all overloaded after last month’s marathon 1-day session.

At some point in the next two weeks we’ll announce an online course session as well, via either MSNMessenger or Second Life, and in early September we’ll be giving our course in the sunny Okanagan.

Blogging for Beginners will run in Vancouver once per month for the forseeable future.

Students can choose from morning or afternoon sessions: the first will run Saturday, August 18th, and the second Saturday, August 25th. Morning sessions begin at 9:30 and end at 12:30, while afternoon sessions begin at 1:30 and end at 4:30. Classes will be held at Tradeworks Training Society downtown (loads of street parking, and easy access to buses and Stadium Skytrain Station).

Our original announcement is here; please note the format change.

What: Blogging for Beginners: from Zero to Technorati

When: 9:30am-4:30 pm, Saturday, August 18th and August 25th, 2007

Where: Tradeworks Training Society, Vancouver

Why: Get your blog up and running in one day; optimized and pimped out in two! Strictly limited to no more than 8 students, this course covers blog basics like:

· what a blog can and can’t do for you
· doing business on blogs/advertising and Adsense
· podcasting, video, audio, and text posts
· basic copyright law and accepted practices
· blog promotion
· joining the blogosphere at large
· solving basic technical problems, where to find help
· what to say when you have nothing to say/what to say when you have far too much to say.

Who: raincoaster media ltd, in partnership with Tradeworks Training Society.
Contact lorraine.murphy at or use the contact form below for more information (details continue below form). If inquiring about our online classes, please let us know your time zone.


How(much)? $100 tuition. Pre-register to reserve your space: email lorraine.murphy at or phone 778-235-0592, and pay via the secure Paypal link on running through rain.

Blogging is the most powerful self-publishing tool ever invented; not only is it free and accessible, but it’s easy. Let Vancouver blogger and entrepreneur Lorraine Murphy teach you the skills to start up, maintain and promote your own blog. Whether you’re interested in blogs for self-expression, showcasing your professional expertise, personal journaling, keeping in touch with family, making new friends, sharing poems, or even publishing a book, this intensive course will get you up and running.

With class size limited to 8, this will be a program of personalized, hands-on learning. During the class you will create your own blog, tweak the design, publish your first post, add a YouTube video, and even some music. Then you’ll learn how to let Google and Technorati and other search engines know you exist, and begin to take part in the blogging community as a whole, including where to turn when you need help. We’ll wrap up with a lesson on effective and values-driven blog promotion practices and netiquette. You will leave with a functional, optimized blog and all the skills you need to take it as high in the blogosphere as you want to go. See you on Technorati!

Bio: Lorraine Murphy is a Vancouver blogger, writer, and editor. She has been blogging for many years, both professionally and personally, and her flagship blog, raincoaster, is ranked in the top 16,000 blogs in the world. She also maintains The Shebeen Club Blog for the literary group of the same name, and running through rain, for students of her course Blogging to Personal Growth. Ms Murphy is the author of Terminal City: Vancouver’s Missing Women and a former Small Business Columnist at Business in Vancouver newspaper and Occupational Pursuit magazine. As one of the cornerstone volunteers in the technical help forums, she has long experience helping beginning bloggers develop fluency and achievement online.

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