Wish Lists of the Covidian Age

Well, possums, it’s been roughly 2.5 months since ol’ raincoaster here was in receipt of any of these much-lauded Covid-19 supports. She got what has been referred to as “The Letter” although she got it by email which is a damn good thing because if it were up to the Post Office who knows when, but there, I’ve said too much. Like that this week they emailed me a job opening that closed on January 15, yes, before it was posted. The Letter informs the (un)lucky Canadian that the Tax Person (we don’t say Tax Man anymore) requires them, the Canadian, to prove that they had a net income of $5,000 or more in 2019 and that it ceased as a result of the pandemic. And that, until they do, they get nothing.

At least on Tuesday they announced they won’t be clawing back the money given to people whose net income was less than $5000, but whose gross income was above that benchmark.

So, there’s that.

Now, there’s a workaround that should be effective, but I’ve got to do another call with them on Monday, which will be a solid month after the last time they requested documents from me, and we’ll see what happens then.

So, anyhoodle, money has been scarce around the ol’ raincoaster burrow since the end of November, as CRA requests documents, then requests 4 weeks to review those documents, then requests more documents and another 4 weeks theretoreview, and so on, all to determine whether or not my income from pet-sitting did or did not evaporate during the pandemic.

Spoiler alert: it did.

But in between hunting for a job and whining on social media about having no money, I still find time in my busy schedule to engage in the favourite pastime of the destitute: making fantasy shopping lists.

Now, back in the day when I had a steady income I could flip through glossy magazines and put, say, some whimsical 17th Century Chinoiserie chairs on the list, but these days, when I can’t even afford the catalogues and the library is closed and Connoisseur magazine folded, even my dreams have contracted.

Presented here, on the general principle that pain shared is…well, just great material for a good goth lyric, if nothing else…my fantasy shopping list of All The Things I Would Have Bought By Now From Local Companies (fuck Amazon!) If I Still Had The CRB To Which I Am Entitled Because Duh, Pet-Sitting In A Pandemic, I Mean Come On.

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The Smartest Man in Ottawa

On New Year’s Eve I braved the (slightly) below freezing temperatures and the dreaded OC Transpo bus system (ew, masses on mass transit, all of them breathing moistly) to hit the mall and get a bottle of bubbly for midnight. I knew it would be bad, but I did not know exactly how bad it would be.

Friends, it was bad.

Now, it was only bad because it was possible in the first place, and it was only possible in the first place because Ottawa, world capital of freezing rain, adores strip malls. Maze malls. Any form of mall except the kind where the pathway from one store to the next is enclosed from the weather. In any other year this is a true inconvenience and stupidity, but in Covidian Times it is the only thing that allows many retailers in Ottawa to remain open, as all enclosed malls are closed during the Lockdown.

So, friends, I was saying it was bad. It was perhaps 100 people in the lineup for the liquor store bad, that’s how bad it was.

Now, I’ve cut back on my alcohol intake to the point where my liver thinks it’s a virgin, but I do love my cava, and had even considered splashing out on some Macieira and blood oranges to make a very Iberian cross between a French 125 and a sidecar. But, kittens, I have my limits and a 100-person lineup is well past it.

Instead, I deked into Loblaws, which also sells wine. It was sold out of pretty much everything with bubbles except Mountain Dew and beer, so I grabbed a bottle of red, some instant oatmeal, and a bottle of rhodiola supplements, and was in and out in ten minutes.

As I was passing the liquor store I noticed that the lineup had shrunk to perhaps a dozen stragglers, so I got into it thinking “what the hell, did everyone just give up at the same time?” but then I realized I HAD wine, didn’t need more, and could probably catch the next bus home if I hustled, so I began hustling bus-ward.

At which point a genial man with a shopping cart asked, “What are you looking for? I have everything.”

I looked into the cart. He did, indeed, have everything. It seems I had just met the reason the lineup had vanished: this man had gone into the store, bought every bit of bubbly and booze he could afford, and wheeled the cart down the lineup asking people what they wanted.

An honest to god bootlegger, people. An honest to god bootlegger.

If I’d had my Vry Srs Jrnlist hat on (it’s a newsboy cap, of course) I’d have asked him what his markup was, but I was hustling bus-ward so we exchanged just a few words before I was out of earshot.

Earshot. I saw a horse pedigree once for a hunter and while I forget the sire’s name, the dam’s name was “Earshot” and I realized that someone had waited that horse’s whole life for it to give birth so she could say the foal was “out of Earshot”. Nothing I like better than a long-running joke. Respect, horse-namer. Respect.

So, that’s how I met the smartest man in Ottawa, and I hope he made an absolute killing. The security dude was standing right there, but he couldn’t have cared less. He was no revenuer.

Happy Hater’s Christmas! It’s Here At Last!

We speak, of course, of Drew Magary‘s annual Hater’s Guide to the Williams Sonoma Catalogue, which is, as always, a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

What? You’re still here? Haven’t run straight over to read the living SHIT out of this gem immediately? Still need some motivation? Well, here’s a wee excerpt, to give you that kick in the butt you never knew you needed.

Oh, it’s hygge AF. Just the thing for sipping wine in the yacht’s hot tub as the snowflakes float down and we all chuckle knowingly, each feeling kinship with those adorably primitive Japanese hot springs monkeys. Oooh, Can you order those too?

Price: $29.95

Copy: “This triple-insulated mug from Corkcicle keeps your favorite beverages warm for hours. Its silicone base resists slipping while its tight-fitting lid prevents spills. Featuring a sweater-inspired snowflake design, this mug is ideal for outdoor activities and on-the-go sipping.”

Drew says: THAT’S A YETI! YOU’RE SELLING ME A FUCKING YETI! A Yeti inspired by fucking sweaters. And where’s the wine factor into all this? Now I’m pissed. Oh hey guys, I just disrupted the beer coozie sphere with my new product, the TABLACTITE NARNIA LION.

The 2020 Hater’s Guide to the Williams Sonoma Catalogue

No, seriously. GO.

Enjoying First Nations/Aboriginal Summer

Car Free Day Vancouver

Car Free Day Vancouver

I understand Summer has come late to the Southlands, and that they are currently reveling in hour after hour of sunlight, near-perfect temperatures and cool, meadow-scented breezes. When this rare occurrence … um … occurs, there’s only one thing to do: ditch the vehicle and spend as much time as possible en plein air, as enthusiastically demonstrated by the hero of our little video here:

Tragically, he is stopped in his tracks by an architectural befuddlement so befuddling it has foiled such capable combatants as the Police and the Daleks! That’ll teach him to play in the shade when the sun is out!

Daleks rule the world but only on the ground level

Daleks rule the world but only on the ground level

Celebrity ASSets Up Close

Kim Kardashian is missing something

Yep, another post that tells you to go over to my new column at True/Slant and read what I wrote there. Not that ANY of you followed that advice last time I posted it. Still, the thought of an analysis of the value of Lindsay Lohan‘s butt with cameo appearance by Kim Kardashian‘s butt must be worth SOME clicks, no?

Celebrity Assets: Plundering Booty

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