And Car Shopping, this is ridiculous, finding a decent used vehicle for under $40,000, forget Crypto people, buy a fraction of a used car, wait a year for it to appreciate and then sell it...what happened to the reasonably priced beater? I'm looking at $5,000, $6,000 dollars and more for a beat-up jeep from the late 80's with over 300,000 KM! "Only needs brakes and a transmission...." "My loss is your gain..." This is preposterous!!!

Anyways, surely it will happen and it will be the best jeep ever but - I got to say, it's not happening soon enough...

Now this laptop, it's due dire death, overdue, nigh-on-useless, so - unfolding it at the café I'm not surprised to get the black screen of death. Not the blue screen, merely a black screen that doesn't tell me if it's on or off or what the fuck is up...

I'm ok with the computer dying, only I have a lot of documents on it. Text files. Writing. Projects. And so I need to find someway get it to work, if only to back it up...

So, troubleshooting possible problems with the internet on my phone (an infinitely more useful computer, if only it had a proper keypad...), googling "Black Screen HP Stream" and I get a few troubleshooting guides - hard reboot, (tried 5 times, no luck), unplug (tried), various other methods, all to no avail. And then the methods become preposterous - "Control-Alt-Delete", and you try it, but the screen is still blank and so I can't resort to the task-manager which would supposedly help me to cure the black screen if only I could see the task manager.

These articles, they're mostly written by tech-shamans, just propose anything and eventually if it works they can take the "hold it under running water" or "take it to an expert"...the same tech-support strategies practiced by Shaw Cable, absolute bullshit. The situation is growing desperate...

I undertake the tap, bang, nudge and shake philosophy, to no effect. The screen is still black. Increase the violence. Turn off and on again. No luck. I'm beginning to suspect a hardware failure.

Eventually I find the solution - hold down on the Windows+B key and perform a hard reboot. 

This solves it. An actual tech article written by somebody who's solved the issue. This is about as rare as finding a fact on Facebook. Now to back-up my computer...

Saturday, up early to catch the bus. Go for a coffee, enjoy it because the next few days I'll be couch surfing out in Balfour, and nothing makes you appreciate town like a few days in the country.

Only I've read the bus schedule wrong, missed it by perhaps 10 minutes, and am stuck for an hour and a quarter beside the highway hitchhiking for a ride. 

This is a new record.

Eventually, Wayne from ********* picks me up, heading with his kids to Ainsworth to pass the day - local, it's always the locals, if you see an Alberta plate don't even bother putting out your thumb. 

Wayne proves an interesting fellow, with a temperament that reminds me somewhat of Wayne from "Wayne's World". 

Customers, a few regulars - R****, an older guy, maybe in his 70's, a certain fame or notoriety depending on who you speak to, hopping in on one leg (he carries his prosthetic under his arm or over his shoulder and has been noted on occasion to even wear it), he sits at the bar, JR. serves. 

Other customers have told me tales about him, about how when he was younger he would hide in the trees to drop upon the logging trucks, he's one of the local activists. A proper sort of Kootenay Character, the kind that are too regular lost to grasping landlords and gentrification.  


Dag's in, she's found a ride, "my neighbor, he's stoned 24/7; a real pothead..." she tells me. "Soulmate, perhaps?" I enquire. She laughs.


The Menu, revised to reflect the increases in costs, restaurants, they're a dying breed. Ours has seen increases in the round of 20% over the year before. Last year they revised the menu again and prices went up 20%. We were always expensive, now we're prohibitive. 


The owners, they're showing it to potential buyers. They're older, they look to be retired, and I'm wondering what could induce people with the kind of money needed to buy this place to consider sacrificing a peaceful retirement for the "investment" opportunity afforded by this restaurant. After they've left the the owner is explaining to me that the wife is "healing" via "Quantum...." and she can't remember the word. I know what she's talking about. "Quantum Jumping" I say. 

Sr. is shaking his head. I explain, because I get these video "recommendations" all of the time on YouTube, and have succumbed to most of the rabbit holes.

"Imagine that there existed somewhere in the infinite multiverse an intelligent, good looking, successful version of, imagine harder and pray and maybe you can become that person....", he's baffled, his wife is laughing, I clarify to her later: "Yeah, I visited all the multiverses, there was no multiverse where he was both good looking and intelligent, you have to choose...".

In absence of our trusty scapegoat I've assigned our chef - S*** - the role of Ken, and have begun ascribing Ken's backstory to S*** with all the new employees. I don't think S***'s impressed, but - this restaurant needs a Ken like every trashcan needs an "Oscar the Grouch" and until I find another he's it.


The weekend passes. One young couple, up from Idaho, chatty, here for the hot springs, they're having a great time, loving it, going to make it a yearly thing. So I make my recommendations as to the sights in the area, and, now back in the restaurant they're breathlessly telling me that they got engaged. And she shows me her diamond ring, very pretty, diamonds all round the band and they're both over the moon and more than a little tipsy. Their Facebook is blowing up, and they're soon busy answering all their messages. 

Even at our prices there are still customers, although a lot of them are getting in the habit of splitting burgers and appetizers, I can't blame them, we've gotten too bloody expensive.


In town, checking town prices, The Main St. Diner, good food, similarly vast menu, 35% cheaper. With the 25% tipping "option", which I find annoying, but at our prices we're in no position to be slinging mud. 

...and this occurred to me, as director of Marketing, that this thrift shop needs a resident artist. Someone that can make use of the tons of garbage we generate every week, to upcycle and sell it in the store. This would be a paid position, maybe $3000 per month, and they'd be allowed to keep a couple of their pieces and the rest would be sold, in the shop. And every month we could rotate in a new one...

No, really, I shouldn't have to tell you this is a great idea. And I've told them, but it went over like a lead balloon, like every one of my other ideas, and damn, they are missing out.

Image: Osama Bin Laden

In which I write everyone's favorite advice columnist.

OK. I've been on a few internet dates. I confess this with the same reluctance I would admitting to masturbating, adultery, or excessive drinking and drug use. 

This is a list of some of my best -- AND WORST -- dates ever. Note that you gotta go on a lotta dates to get this kinda list, this kinda discouraged. And my online dating thing has been sporadic - an every few years kind of thing at best. Some of these dates go back 10 years, others are a little more recent. And to answer any people who might argue "It beats hooking up at the bar", well, you don't have to hook up at the bar, and at the bar you can see what your getting...

Anyways - apologies to the countless normal, decent dates that I went on but just didn't hit it off with. Memory is selective, it tends towards the extreme, and in this you will find the extremes...