Operation Global Media Domination: the intellectual situation

We’ll try not to be smug about this.

Julian Assange Smug Life. I got 99 problems but a snitch ain't one

Julian Assange Smug Life. I got 99 problems but a snitch ain't one

We will fail.

Today we got a link and some actually decent traffic because a post from the ol’ raincoaster blog was excerpted at the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, bringing to four the number of universities which have used this blog in either their academic publications or their course materials.

This almost makes up for a recent, and high-profile, local blogging conference at whose keynote someone else was publicly thanked, at length, for the job that I did. No, really, that was me. On the other hand, I guess this makes me the Executive Director of W2 by default; I sure hope the salary is good!

But I’m SO over that!

In bonus good news news: our Iron Maiden/Bollywood mashup unicorn chaser is going the teensiest bit viral, and if you’ve clicked Play you know why. And speaking of music, we know the music on our WWII Dogfights in Colour YouTube video is intolerable, but we got paid $95 to put it on and if you want it off, make us a better offer.

We note further that the appalling music hasn’t stopped it from getting over one million hits. Let’s give it a few more, eh?

what did you do today, raincoaster?

Shakespeare got to get paid

Today it isn’t so much what I’ve done as what I’m going to do; I’m going to give the keynote speech tonight at the AGM for the Federation of BC Writers. I’m also going to take the opportunity to pimp out my intensive, 10-week online Blogging for Writers course that starts next week, and my June 19th Social Media Self-Promotion for Writers half-day workshop.

Dud my nails for the occasion, too! Sparkly!

Posted an announcement about my new linkblogging service for celebrity/gossip or fashion blogs:

$100 a month gets you a list of links three times a week, minimum 10 links to different blogs. More links, or more frequently, more money, obviously. Every blog that buys into the monthly link service is automatically included in the links, of course, and the more blogs that buy the service the more powerful in terms of Googlejuice and visibility each link will be. Completely custom link lists are also available, but if I’m going to spend two hours looking for links already day in and day out, you’re gonna hafta make it worth my while. Send Viggo with cash.

I also blogged:

Dropped a couple of quite pointed comments, even for me:

  • On Gawker, about Starbucks watering down its high-class image:
    Starbucks hasn’t been dedicated to high-end coffee at the expense of market share for about…lemme count on my fingers…oops, have to take off my shoes and socks too… twelve years. I was working there at the time, and you could feel the “shareholder-driven focus” seep through the stores like the nauseating vapours from an open grave. They still have good coffee, but that’s only because they want to keep the people they hooked with it, like me. They also pander to people with terrible, soy-creme-mocha-chippichino taste, because they roam the cities and towns of this world like lumbering herds of calorie-addicted ATMs.
  • On Ann Hathaway’s loser boyfriend (not that one, the new one) ripping down part of a mural, perhaps because he thought it was a Banksy:
    I like to think that the idiots who tear down/paint over Banksy works spend an eternity in a unique circle of Hell where they are viciously butt-raped by LeRoy Neiman and Thomas Kinkade. [banksystreetart]

Answered about 20 questions in the Support forum.

Threw about 12 items on the Tumblr for possible later use.

Outlined the Vancouver Social Media Club event on the 27th, for which I hope not to be in town, actually, and emailed several places to arrange a venue. And roughed out the announcement, which cannot go out until I get the nod from the venue, UGH, even though the Straight deadline is tomorrow.

Applied to be a speaker at 140 Character Conference, a Twitter conference run by the very cool Jeff Pulver. My proposed topic is using Twitter to initiate offline action in your readers.

Took the exit survey from Northern Voice.

Grocery shopped like a fiend. The shelves at London Drugs will never be the same; seriously, if you’re flexible, buying food from drugstores in the middle of the night can save you shitloads, because they’ve always got SOMETHING they’re trying desperately to get rid of, less than half-price. I’m eating packaged, microwaveable Indian vegetarian meals and canned fish for the next three weeks, it would seem.

Realized the Shebeen Club is NEXT FREAKING MONDAY which means all the invites have to go out via social media tomorrow, and we’ll miss the papers. This is what I get for booking a speaker who promptly takes off for Malaysia. “Pull a topic out your ass” night it is then! Thank god it’s Zombie Awareness month.

Noted that my first post on Sami Salo’s testicles has 666 hits. Hmmm. Does that mean he’s cursed? Or that the devil loves to read interviews with social media gonads?

Bitched endlessly on Twitter about the two drunken hipster chicks who sat in our doorway so they could loudly conduct a “private” conversation. If it had been more interesting than “Oh my god I totally don’t wanna be your friend when you’re like this! I’m not like this? I mean, I’m like this now, but I’m totally not, like, LIKE this, you know?” I’d have liveblogged it. Must. Get. Webcam. “ZOMBIE HIPSTERS OF VANGROOVER” sure to be a Youtube smash!

Neglected (once again) to blog the fantastic Bombay Sapphire event I went to Monday. Oh well, so far I’ve posted it on Twitter 12 times and that’s 12×5500 readers, so I’m sure they’re okay with me taking my sweet time.

Somewhere in all this I went for an hour-long walk around my neighborhood, which is always a rewarding experience, particularly when I run into the kitten I rescued on Christmas Eve a few years ago, all grown up and haughty. And get to chat with the cute guy who works at Union Market. Suddenly, yeah, I LOVE talking about the weather.

Decided on the spur of the moment to do the Shebeen Club press release right now…see ya l8r!

New Look for Northern Voice

Longtime Northern Voicer here (That’s the Northern Voice blogging conference, May 7-8 in Vancouver) ; I’ve attended the conference every year but one, and this year I’ve busted into the dizzy heights of the presenter’s list, which certainly puts me in the upper 50% of attendees. Yes, when it comes to Northern Voice, me luv it longtime.


Is it just me, or does this thing:

Northern Voice Mascot, PedoBearMoose, yo!

The official Northern Voice mascot

Look like this thing:


Pedobear, the one and only!

Now, Kris said something about having some sexblogging workshops this year. I’m just not sure this is the very best way to draw an interested crowd.

Northern Voice Get Your Moose On

On WHERE, goddammit? And how do I get him off?

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Pimp My Blog: Blog Promotion Class Saturday, May 3

social media

Saturday, May 3rd

Current course:

Pimp My Blog: Promotion Tips

What: Blog Promotion Tips for Beginners

When: 10:00am-2:00 pm, Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Where: Tradeworks Training Society, Chinatown

Why: Now that you’ve got a blog, why toil in obscurity? This course will teach you effective blog promotion techniques to reliably increase your readership. Each course is limited to 8 students, and covers blog basics like:

· what a blog can and can’t do for you, famewise, and how to get there
· professional vs personal profiles, privacy and promotion
· community netiquette and joining the blogosphere at large
· what the world wants to hear vs what you have to say

Who: raincoaster media ltd, in partnership with Tradeworks Training Society.

How(much)? $125 tuition prepaid only, or $100 if registered along with any other half-day social media course.

To register: email bloggingclasses at gmail.com and reserve your space via the secure Paypal link at the top right-hand corner of http://raincoaster.com or http://runningthroughrain.wordpress.com .

Reservation guaranteed only upon acceptance of payment.

Upcoming Courses: Corporate Blogging, Blogging for Nonprofit Organizations, Blogging for Entrepreneurs, and Photoblogging (online and in Montreal, courtesy Neath of Walking Turcot Yards). Please email to be put on the notification list for dates.

the Tale of the Tahitian Temptress who TKO’d a Tiki Bar

Now, it is not every day you hear a story like this. Indeed, it is not even every night, unless one leads a very unusual nocturnal life indeed and from me, that’s saying something.

I’m not sure what. But something.

She’s something alright. And she was probably even more of a something fifty-some-odd years ago, when she was whisked from the South Pacific in company of a Canadian Seaman (and we’ve all heard all about Canadian seamen, haven’t we?) and transplanted abruptly to a dingy back room on East Hastings, neither the first nor the last tropical beauty to end her days on the chilly, rain-washed streets of Vancouver’s Skid Row.

Waldorf Tiki Girl
Photo by Mikhail Gershovich with D’Arcy Norman’s camera

Doesn’t she look pretty? Doesn’t she look happy? Doesn’t she look like she has no idea what she’s gotten herself into?

So, what did she?

I will tell you the story as the banquet manager of the Waldorf Hotel told it to me, one rainy afternoon when Raj and I were scoping out the place for the Urban Mixer. Predictably, I loved it, while he wasn’t so enchanted. But that is neither here nor there. It’s off over in that corner somewhere, with the dust bunnies.

The banquet manager, whose card is somewhere on this desk, no doubt glued down well with coffee rings and probably with half of a newspaper stuck to it with White Rabbit Candy, told us that during the Second World War one of the family who owned the Waldorf had been stationed in the South Pacific, and he went back to Tahiti after the war was over, what with Vancouver having somewhat of an oversupply of underemployed veterans, and Tahiti being, well, Tahiti. And while he was there, he noticed many things. He noticed the beauty and the sexiness of the women. He noticed the way art was woven into every warp and weft of daily life in the islands. He noticed the way the people gloried in nature’s beauty, including their own.

He noticed that everything was very cheap.

And in true Vancouver robber baron style, he made a deal for a whack of paintings by, if memory serves, four different artists (you can see the difference in styles if you study all of the pictures together) and various tiki-themed accessories, woven palm frond wallpaper being in somewhat short supply in Vancouver then as now. I think it cost him a sawbuck, but I could be wrong about that.

Cut to Vancouver, a few months later. There’s his family with a modest hotel on a busy street, and a big space on the mezzanine floor that’s doing nothing. Junior gets the idea to put his loot to good use by opening a tiki bar, Vancouver’s first and finest. And so they did. And downstairs got the overflow, so they built a Flintstones-worthy band stage and fake koi pond with dancing lights and a dining hall worthy of Gilligan’s Island, if Gilligan’s Island catered weddings for 300.

And the Tiki Maiden was given pride of place in the main lounge and all was made ready for the grand opening.

Now, this was Vancouver. This was, I believe, 1956. And this was an entirely naked Tahitian maiden who was, quite obviously, barely legal even in Tahiti.

City Hall, quick then as now to look for palms crossed with silver opportunities, only now they call them Consulting Fees and they route them through their spouse, sent an inspector of indeterminate type around. Presumably there was no full-time tiki bar inspector. I mean, it was Vancouver. In 1956.

And in Vancouver, in 1956, the inspector nodded and approved of a million little things. He liked the twinkling stars in the ceiling. He liked the woven palm frond wallpaper. He liked the tiki drums used as bar stools. He liked the tiki masks with the glowing Christmas lights for eyes. And as for the glorious tiki maiden…

He saw. He staggered. He clutched his heart, or maybe I just put that in there for dramatic effect, but maybe he did it anyway.

There she was, smiling broadly and displaying her charms equally so. You could, in fact, literally see she was a broad, and you could see just exactly how broad she was, in the ladyflower region.

As I described it when telling the story at the Northern Voice opening party, “She had a total Britney Spears situation going on down South.”

And This. Would. Not. Do.

But the young sailor genuinely liked the Tiki girl. It’s Art, he said, and he was right, although perhaps his defense of her depended more on her all-too-apparent charms than on the artist’s magic touch. And he refused to have her removed, though the City Hall inspector raged and ranted and threatened to withhold the almighty permits, leaving the family with a large, extremely well-appointed and rather expensive rec room.

To this day, no-one remembers what forgotten genius came up with the solution, but solution there was, and it was acted upon immediately. An artist (temperate rather than tropical, it is true, but possessed by the spirit of tiki as you may see from the results) was summoned and turned loose. Some hours later, the tiki maiden was ready for her closeup and lo, you couldn’t see a thing.

Other than the large, flowered lei which had been hastily slathered over the previously unadorned ladyflower.

Postscript: One notes, even possessed by the spirit of Jack Daniels as one was, that as one was telling the story the bartender was shaking his head violently, so violently and so prolongedly that one worried about the possibility of brain stem injury; to which, one can only reply that if one cannot trust a banquet manager who mists up when describing the tender portrait of the old fisherman which they’ve hung down near the dining hall, well, who can you? Eh?

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