The Banksy Christmas Card, 2015

The three wise men are bringing a ladder, a canteen of water, and a map of safe houses.

You didn’t get me anything for my birthday, and you know it!

We’ve been taking a short (what, six year?) break from the posting of Christmas Lists round these parts (these ones right here *points*) and you’ve all had plenty of time to save up for some good ‘uns, so let’s get right to it, shall we?

A donation to these poor people, neighbors of my cousins’, who lost their roof and the entire upper floor of their house in a fire. Since it was an historic log house, they couldn’t get insurance for it, and since they both worked at Walmart for 20+ years, they don’t have what you’d call cushy pensions (if they even have pensions). Just a reminder: it gets down to -40 here in the winters sometimes.
And if you cannot donate: Sharing is caring! Twitter, Facebook, email, church groups, wherever.

Cashmir by Chopard eau de parfum. And look, it’s on sale!

Really, really, really, REALLY good cheeses. Soft, smelly ones especially.

Lap desk. This one from Levenger is, of course, perfection, as is everything at Levenger.

Home Depot gift certificate. I have a wish list, but it’s long and complicated and I don’t have the exact measurements I need but if you hate giving gift cards and think they’re tacky you can go ahead and get me a shitload of copper tubing and a pipe cutter, plus assorted T joints and right angle joints, also in copper, plus some nice, thick red cedar planks and dowels, thick enough to go in a closet and hold up a rack of coats. Not that that’s what I’ll be using them for. Oh, and some lamp gizzards; I understand from YouTube that they come in kits.

Up, up and awayyyyyy!

She’s so thrilled to be my Christmas pressie!

An Andalusian mare, because why the fuck not? Nobody’s getting me anything from this list any damn way.

A newsboy cap, in grey. God, I love newsboy caps. Or a Greek fisherman’s hat. NOT a flat cap: I am not a wizened old cab-driving Man United fan.

A cozy angora or cashmere scarf, light enough to tuck inside a coat.

Hand cream with an SPF. Honestly, why is this so hard to find?

The book Flow. I need to work on my focus and my work habits, and flow is not something I’ve experienced in a number of years, literally.

Some nice copper doodads. Candlesticks, bar accouterments, trays, whatever.

Scented candles: cinnamon and Christmas scents for the winter, lilac for spring.

A nice three or four bedroom house with a fireplace and a view of the water somewhere on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The main living space or the office MUST face west, so I can watch the sunset. A wood-burning fireplace and/or stove would be a plus. So would “it comes with kayaks”.

A copy of Writer’s Market. For real, the new one. With the digital subscription, because fuckitall, I need to make some goddam money! Writer’s Market lists all the main publishers in each different field of both books and magazines (and now, websites!), what they’re buying, how to pitch them, and who to contact along with the email or phone number. And the digital subscription is continuously updated.

Some nice leather gloves, size medium. Grey, pink, or black.

A really big, really nice mug. I love big mugs, big glasses. I can’t be arsed to get up and refill it.

A car trip. Just a day trip. Doesn’t have to have a destination; I just love me a good road trip. Wilno would be cool, and we could eat at the tavern. Perth would be nice, because I’ve been here three years and haven’t had a chance to wander around the cute part of the town. Merrickville, same. Somewhere either the town or the countryside is pretty.

A book of legends about the Wendigo. Doing some research for something that looks like it’s turning into a novel.

A trailride or a hayride or something horsey. God, I miss horses. I live a six minute drive from a stable, but it takes an hour to get there on the bus, and I can’t afford lessons there anyway.

A nice, big bowl for homemade ramen and pho. This place only has cereal-sized bowls.

Blackout curtains. Desperately needed.

Decent-quality earbuds or headphones that are weather-impervious.

Some nice pens. I’m actually writing things down. In notebooks. It’s amazing!

A teapot. This fake Spode with triffids and daleks on it is awesome. Anything from Calamityware would be good.

The Prancing Pony of Penticistan

First Nations pony is also overjoyed

First Nations pony is also overjoyed

When I mentioned on Facebook that I was coming to the wild Penticistan steppes above Ruralopolis, I never thought that the locals would take it upon themselves to create a Welcome video for me. Apparently, they were so overcome with joy at the thought that soon the mighty raincoaster would roam the sagebrush slopes above the lake, gibbering softly and occasionally making nameless sacrifices on mysterious altars on the hilltops, that they created this gloriously Canadian multiculti work of art to welcome me.

It appears they think I do not know what is meant by the term “Indian pony” but we will let it slide. After all, OMG PONIES!

Christmas Presence 2012

Anonymous Santa

Anonymous Santa

I’m a little late getting into the Christmas spirit this year, partly because I missed my traditional opening to the Christmas Season, Christmas at Hycroft, thanks to the month-long Death Flu of Death flu that sent me to the hospital a couple of times instead of to the mall to see Santa like normal. But today at Starbucks I did indulge myself in a new Christmas album of jazz/lounge standards, of which I have an extensive collection, and I’m taking this as the official start of the season. It’ll sit nicely between my Ren & Stimpy Christmas Album and that one by the Gospel singer with the incredibly moving voice who was convicted of beating his wife.

But there’s one Christmas tradition that never gets old for me: pimping out my Christmas List to tens of thousands of people on social media, in the vague hope that one or more of them will weaken and buy me something. So without further ado, here is what I want, and how and when I want it.

That has never worked for me on OK Cupid, so I might as well try it here.

  • a pony. I’m fat now, Santa, so make it a sturdy Welsh Cob or Connemara pony.
  • a new hat, to replace the one that got stolen, my lamented and loved Official Indiana Jones Stetson which I bought on the very last day that Woodwards was open.
  • Chanel Allure perfume
  • Viktor & Rolf Spice Bomb perfume
  • any of Biella Coleman’s books or books about WikiLeaks except Julian Assange’s Cypherpunks, which I already have
  • an MP3 player, preferably an iPod Touch (used is fine) so I can get back into running without getting bored out of my mind
  • iPhone and a Virgin plan, because of all the places I’ve tried Virgin is the ONLY company that always has great service
  • this digital pen
  • a nice roomy winter coat
  • some high heels, size eight, since all mine got stolen
  • a charm bracelet, since mine got stolen
  • any silver table doodads, since mine got stolen. Pickle forks, tea strainers, you name it: I love it. And I used to have it. And it’s cheap.
  • wine tumblers
  • silverware
  • Harry Potter books, to replace all of mine were stolen
  • DVDs, to replace mine that were stolen, particularly fitness DVDs
  • Socks, yes really.

And I would like them all to be properly wrapped, thank you very much. Watch carefully as Aunt Chippy shows you how it’s done.

Should I register “rollercoaster” as well?

well what the fuck WAS that?

well what the fuck WAS that?

Ever had one of those days that starts out like that and then goes…well…like this?

That’s right, bitches.

Problems! Solved!


Problem 1) Transportation to Vancouver so I can honour my commitments to speak at and participate in Social Media Week and Social Media for Government in Victoria.

Solution 1) Hotel_Goddess, a woman who has never met me, who lives in another city from me, and who doesn’t even know my real name, promptly put her airmiles together and made a reservation for me. Now this is a religion that pays off: I am a convert! From now on, I’ll stop worshipping Cthluhu and start worshipping Hotel_Goddess, because what the hell has worshipping Cthulhu ever got me? I’ve yet to be eaten first or, really, at all recently, but there…I’ve said too much.

Problem 2) Homelessness which I think we can all agree is a helluva problem, particularly with it frosting over every night already (yes, really). Solved in bipartite mode by my friend Nancy until Monday, stowing me away in her mother’s basement (maybe Mom won’t notice? I dunno, she’s pretty sharp!) and by friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-chef-running-a-pullled-pork-truck-in-Osoyoos(and if you see him say hi from me) to whom I was introduced by email and who has a cabin which isn’t currently occupied and whose current house-sitter has other things to keep him busy for the next few weeks and maybe forever. So this cabin needs someone sitting in it, and it might as well be me. So, from Monday I am going to be sitting in a rustic two bedroom cabin/trailer/Rube Goldberg agglomeration with a view, a deck, a wood stove for heat, a gas stove for cooking, a big screen tv, and in a very funky, desirable neighborhood that’s walking distance to downtown. Like, four blocks. If the next couple of weeks work out, I might get to stay there when the owner goes up north to cater at a college, which would mean I pay for utilities and taxes and such, but no rent.

u totes jelly bro

u totes jelly bro

Oh yes, did I mention two bedrooms? One for me and one for Julian, until I coax him into getting over his crippling shyness.

Problem 3) Vancouver rent doubled from $340 to $760 or thereabouts.

Solution 3) Emailed the woman in charge of admin at Kellett and had her fax my ROE to the co-op. Did this before the last post went up, by the way. Doing it afterwards may have been less productive, knowmasayin’? Photographed my last pay stub detailing last day paid and how much I earned in all of August ($288 for the curious) and sent the digital files to the co-op. Was almost punchy enough to hit Flickr Uploader by rote, but managed to stop myself in time. It ain’t art. Then I forwarded to them the receipt from Paypal for my blogging payment for the posts I made in July. $300 US equating, after Paypal fees and the exchange rate, to about $288, sound familiar?

Co-op re-evaluated my housing charges in record time, thank GOD, and now I have to pay only the $340.

Problem 4) Unemployment=No Money. And no, I’m not eligible for BC welfare or, it seems, welfare up here either. Yay, mobility! Anyhoodle, even when one saves $400 on rent and gets another place for free, one cannot eat air. And one cannot purchase non-air foodstuffs up here for anything like spare change. A week’s groceries from Sunrise Market would cost me $12; the equivalent here (if I could even GET the equivalent here) is more like $45.

Solution 4) A very nice person on Twitter who wishes to remain anonymous because it’s a business account and they don’t want it to seem like they’re looking for publicity ALTHOUGH THEY TOTALLY DESERVE IT FOR THIS AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE sent me $250 via Paypal. This is, as with Hotel_Goddess, someone who’s never met me in person and doesn’t even know my real name. They just like the way I roll, have benefited from social media in the past, and want to pay it forward. And another friend who’s starting her own blog sent me $200 for a blogging lesson, so I can at least pay my Vancouver rent if I put the two of those together. Might even get some gruel!

If I can manage to switch my flight to the 13th instead of the 9th, I might even be able to run a workshop here at the Aurora Conference Centre. I’ve been talking with Chef Pierre and a workshop series is very doable, but I’ve missed the deadline to get an ad in to the paper in time to have a workshop before the 9th, so I have to check out the flight change tomorrow. A full workshop would mean I could pay all my arrears to the co-op and then some, and be sure of having enough money to get back up here and do another workshop. And so on. Gotta get that flight switched (might be another $100 or so) and then pick a date!

Oh, and I’m going to be speaking briefly at the Rotary North meeting this coming Thursday at the Top Knight, so if you want to meet the now-happy wanderer in person, turn up. But don’t get between me and the mic; I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt.

Moral of the story: When in trouble, whine. Copiously. On every social media platform available to you.

C'mon, get HAPPY!

C'mon, get HAPPY!

Pat’s Bay Wildlife Slideshow

Parental Eagle is not so much angry as disappointed in you

Parental Eagle is not so much angry as disappointed in you

Time to take a trip in the wayback machine, as well as the puddle jumper! These are some shots I took in June at Pat’s Bay on Vancouver Island, more formally known as Patricia Bay, which is doubtless how it was introduced to the Royals. It is, by the way, a $40 cab ride from downtown Victoria, although thanks to faithful charioteer WestcoastDave on Twitter, I didn’t have to pay.

Ah, social media, you spoil me.

I didn’t even have to pay for the plane ride home on Saltspring Air, thanks to the organizers of Social Media Camp! Since I grew up in planes, I was looking forward to this flight: a true puddle-jump from Pat Bay to one of the Gulf Islands, and then to Coal Harbour in Vancouver, from which I could and did walk home. Nothing like living right downtown! Not only that, but they promised me the handsome ex-Olympian who was also the most polite pilot in Canada. Our pilot was indeed handsome and polite, but as to Olympian histories, well, I thought it was too personal a question to ask. And possibly painful. I mean, what if the answer was, “No, actually my bobsled team was knocked out in the semi-finals and my whole life since then has been a slow, downward spiral, like some tragicomic Bruce Springsteen song.”

Incidentally, the plane we flew in was a 1956 DeHavilland Beaver, a plane of which Canuckistan can be justly proud. I’m thinking Hummingbird604‘s flight home must be the first and only time he spent that long in a beaver.

But there are some good reasons to get out of The Big Smoke occasionally. I think I caught most of them in these pictures.

Vodpod videos no longer available.