On the Road Again, AGAIN!

Veteran Hobo via Shorpy

Veteran Hobo via Shorpy

ICYMI: I’ve been trying to buy and live in a converted schoolbus for the last year and a half or so. I finally OWN the bus, but it’s full of black mold and would need to be stripped back to the frame and rebuilt, by myself single-handedly thanks to budget constraints, and completed before mid-September, when my pet-sitting bookings dry up. The bus currently has a rocket stove as its major heat source, and I have it on excellent authority that this particular form of heat source, ie an open wood stove, will NEVER EVER IN A BILLION YEARS pass inspection, and it must pass inspection in order for me to drive this bus anywhere.


I have to be in Ottawa in September, to spend the winter and possibly longer.


If I cannot insure the bus, I cannot drive the bus. If I cannot drive the bus, I cannot use the bus. So, it becomes about selling the bus (and all its contents that are mold-resistant; it has some useful and valuable stuff like a gas generator, etc).

I may put that money into an RV or a car and trailer. My friend the Bus Whisperer insists that trailers are not fashionable, and are therefore a much better deal than RVs, so that’s tempting. Also way more versatile; I could hardly take a bus to the grocery store, or go downtown with it. The question is, can I get both a car that can drive 3,000 miles AND a trailer I can live in for whatever I can sell the bus for? The Bus Whisperer says if I strip it out right to the bones, ie no glass, no rubber, nothing in the box, I could sell the aluminum body and then sell the rest and maximize my take, rather than just letting them do it. I can certainly do that; demolition isn’t a fine art, is it? Lots of exercise though.

I’m moving to Ottawa to take care of a family member with a chronic condition who just needs someone around in case. In exchange, I get to live rent-free for the winter, and concentrate on my writing rather than this pet-sitting treadmill which is taking up easily half of my working hours and getting me rent plus $20 a day. I can do a LOT better than that by writing.

And I’d get to visit all my friends in Montreal, Toronto, and New York. Heck, I’ve never even BEEN to NYC. Might even see the Maritimes, who knows? If I had a car and a trailer, I’d basically have complete freedom. Could pick up the pet-sitting again, could just do my own thing, wifi permitting. And nothing says I can’t do some custom, hackery renos on the trailer and/or car.

So, since there’s a hard deadline, and a three thousand mile journey, suddenly several decisions have become very simple. If something’s not possible, it’s just not going to happen, so what else can happen and how can that help me? I’m going to miss the coast like anything, but I fully plan on returning when I can. And you know, somehow I have a way of getting things done if I really, really want them.


come see me at social media camp in Victoria, May 5-7

Who likes free lunches? EVERYONE! Who likes saving money? Pretty much those very same people! Now you can attend Canada’s biggest and best purely social media conference in one of the world’s prettiest cities, save $100 on registration, and have lunch on and with me. Given the number of lunches other people have bought for me, it’s kinda the least I can do.

Kittens explain social media, they explain everything.

Kittens explain social media, they explain everything.

Yes kittens, I’m headed back to the #YYJ for another Social Media Camp, Canada’s largest social media conference, in gorgeous downtown Victoria. I know that’s a cliche, but it’s literally true and I don’t know anyone who isn’t thrilled at an excuse to go to this spectacular city.

This year I’ll be speaking on Marketing the Mystery; in other words, how to use social media to drum up interest in something when you’re not actually allowed to say what it is. I’m using the @WhatsPineApple campaign that we’re running for Steve Wozniak as my specific material here. What’s PineApple? All will be revealed by Woz at the Business Rocks conference in Manchester, April 21-22, which means I’ll finally be free to talk about it by the time Social Media Camp rolls around.

social media camp

I may or may not also be doing an informal chat-style talk on how writers can use social media to boost readership and sales. That depends on finding a room for it, or alternately on attendees buying me pints at the pub. I’m easy, and Victoria is the spiritual home of the Canadian brew pub tradition.

AND thanks to organizer Paul Holmes, I’ve got a juicy discount code for you, kittens! Regular camp tix are $699 and go up to $999 for the Rock Star pass, but a limited number of camp tickets have been made available at $599. But with this sweet, sweet discount code you get $100 off whichever package you buy, and you get a free lunch, on me. And with me. This is good news for you, as I am a restaurant snob and will take you somewhere nice, I promise. Your super-secret discount code is: Raincoaster.

Clicky, clicky, you know you want to. $200 off Canada’s best social media conference AND a free lunch with your humble editor in one of the world’s best undiscovered foodie destinations. DO EET. Guy Fawkes mask optional, we’re not formal here.

well, better late than never, eh?

You may not LOL, but I sure did. More than a year after I left the Daily Dot, I’ve been taken off their password system. That’s proactive security, people, that’s some ace security.

Hello from Passpack!
Sorry, but it seems you’ve been removed from Daily_Dot’s connections.
To verify, login to:


Go to the “People” tab.

You can no longer exchange secure messages or send each other passwords.


Gee, what SHOULD I have done, when I had the chance?

In related news, their political reporter (formerly Anonymous reporter) Dell Cameron tried to fisk an article of mine last night, but his tweet had a glaring spelling mistake and apparently he thinks it’s still 2014. Then he deleted it.

Then he tweeted this.


That’s right. Get the pen and paper ready, cuz I’m only going to go through this once. If you’re seriously lazy, just go through raincoaster’s Amazon Wish List but you’re not, are you? You like it hard.

I do, in fact, have a shipping address now although for several opsec reasons there’s no point in attempting to SWAT me there. Like, I’m not actually there.

Here we go. Make sure your wallet is sitting down for this; we don’t want the loonies to fall, do we now? Pour yourself (and perhaps your wallet) a nice tumblr of something bracing and let’s begin, shall we?

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State for obvious reasons. And no, I’m not going to torrent it.

Chanel 19 or Chanel Allure eau de parfum, or Christian Dior Dune eau de toilette. Or Casmir by Chopard, which happens to be 75% off right now. Hey, I’m easy. If you can’t decide, just get them all.

Fun novelty yarn and knitting needles to make a hat and a circle scarf, because all mine are still up in Penticton and I like knitting.

Cross training shoes and/or running shoes, size 8 1/2 and some workout gear. Technical pants, rain pants, thermals, that sort of thing. Because this “being fat” thing? I’m so over that shit.

Pierre Omidyar’s cellphone number. I’m gonna give him an earful about being on the payroll since July with nothing but zeroes beside my name.

Speaking of phones, a phone would be nice. Doesn’t have to be a new phone. But this iPhone 3 is not long for this world and I’ll need another mobile device of some kind. Of course, if I got Pierre’s number I would just tell him John Cook promised me a new laptop and phone, plus phone plan and rocket stick for unlimited internet and that would be that. Well, until someone tells John Cook anyway, but what does he care?

A pony. A Caspian Horse would do, but I might need a sturdy Welsh cob at least until I lose some weight. A horse would be an acceptable substitute. Plenty of room in the back yard here, and if the neighbors ask about it I’ll just say it’s my support animal.

A walking or workout buddy to make sure I get offline at least for one hour a day. Gym membership is not exactly practical, given I never know where I’m going to be from one month to the next.

Bubblebath, bath oil, bath bombs all accepted gleefully, especially any that smell like real roses. Put that $13 no name gift pack back on the drug store shelf, it’s not what I’m talking about. Love by Escents is just about perfect, and so is their Spice one.

Chocolate truffles, chocolate coated almond brittle, or the like are all gratefully accepted. Salted caramels too!

While we’re on the topic of comestibles, let’s discuss beverages:

Good quality coffee is a necessity, and as I have a Bodum coarse ground is what I need. Or a manual coffee grinder; I find the grinding quite soothing and I do it while going through my email in the mornings. It’s better for my adrenal glands than plunging right into reporting after brushing my teeth.

Armagnac, any Scotch that begins with L or B, The Botanist or Hendrick’s gin, or a fancy liqueur that mixes with a hundred things like Grand Marnier would make special occasions that much more special. I’m very tired of ordinary drinks. Very.

But ordinary wine? Whoooooooole other story. Bring it on. Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Merlot,  or some more unusual grapes would be great. Whites? Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc, or a nice dry sherry like Alvear’s Fino. For sparklies, I like Cava rather than Prosecco, and frankly can take or leave Champagne. That’s one expensive taste I never picked up, along with truffles, which I loathe.

Any old-fashioned or weird bar gear would be good. The Wish List has a ton of Reidel stuff, but anything that would be in James Bond’s bar cupboard would also do. Second hand or first hand. And what the hell, an Absinthe fountain would always remind me of the time Rebecca bought me an Absinthe at Clive’s after Social Media Camp.

When it comes to beer, I like anything but lagers and pilsners. My favorite, oddly, is Central City Red Racer IPA, but it’s a special case. Love Winter Ales, Dubbels like Grimbergen, any beer that tastes like fruitcake in a glass. Red ales are also on my favorites list, along with pumpkin ales. And do not turn your nose up at that pumpkin spiced whiskey from Spicebox; it’s actually quite good.

I could use some good pots and pans, particularly now that I’m not moving around so much and have a home base of sorts. This Calaphon Cookware set is just about the platonic ideal of what I’m talking about here. One thing I’ve learned from living in a dozen different houses over the last year: you can get away with cheap knives, if they’re sharp, but there is NO substitute for good pots and pans.

Fun scarves are always welcome, as are fun socks.

Cheeses, particularly blue, aged cheddars, California jack cheese, St. Andre Brie, or goat cheese camembert, along with some Carr’s table water crackers, would be very welcome. Why is there table water in the crackers? I’ve never known and always wondered.

Anything for the table made of silver would be awesome; silver plate is fine. By this I mean teaspoons, pickle forks, sugar tongs, knife rests, napkin rings, etc, etc, the more mismatched the merrier. I collect this stuff.

I also have a silver charm bracelet, and silver charms are el cheapo but still impressive. It shouldn’t be hard to find a charm that says something about me or something about you. How about this nice wine bottle? And it’s on sale!

A new backpack with a section to protect my laptop would be good. The one I have is several years old and although it’s holding up incredibly well, it has shredded parts on the straps. And of course high quality luggage would never be turned away, particularly a very large rolling suitcase. The ones I have with me are small, and you can just fit much more in one big one rather than three small ones.

A cosy sweater that comes down below my butt would be awesome; cardigan or not, I don’t care (size 18 alas!). Or a simple tunic top. In fact, now I’ve found leggings that fit, I might never wear anything else. Except my beloved Thuggies, of course, of which I would accept: The Grim Sleeper Zip, the Safety First, the Original Lumberjack in red because I already have blue, or the Peguin. In Mini Thug, as I have dropped a size thank GOD.

Come to think of it, Agatha Christie books would be swell. Most of mine were stolen by our neighbor when we lived in Richmond, and I haven’t replaced any of them. Still love Tommy and Tuppence and Miss Marple, though.

Can I think of anything else? A massage? A bathing suit, but you can’t buy that for me; it is impossible to successfully buy swimwear for a woman other than one’s self. FACT. Anything that makes travel easier or time off more fun would be welcome, basically. How I wish Greyhound had that “one year pass” deal in Canada. I’d have saved a thousand bucks this past year.


UPDATED TO ADD: who ARE these people sharing this post to Facebook? Well, they’re more ambitious than me, that’s for sure.

I’d also like a nice feather pillow and a new white sheet, the last one having been basically worn and torn to shreds over the past year. A new laptop (did I mention that?) and a portable bluetooth speaker. And meat; I’m not particular what kind, having had bear, venison, moose, and other exotics. Just: meat.

So, I went clubbing…

Started out kind of meh, but things got better.

As you can see here:

I think I may go shopping tomorrow. Especially if it’s like this.