Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I was once again a guest in the lovely home of Ellen and Ralph in east Van. It's always a treat to relax in a safe, quiet neighborhood with plenty of parking. This being Vancouver however, I didn't feel safe enough to sleep in the house. Vancouver is and has almost always been plagued by drugs, unemployment and car break-ins. As Ellen says "They'll break in to your car if there's a big enough cigarette butt!" Knowing this, I've always been hyper vigilant with my vehicle so this is probably the best place to get used to expecting this unexpected like I should have when I was in Montréal.

I got to have dinner with Rob M. but instead of going for tried and true we went to Burnaby for Japanese and got cold agedashi tofu and mushy tuna.

My van is pretty loaded down with fuel and clothing but things are a lot more oganized than last time I was on the road. I made some important improvements like the laminate flooring and curtains and I hesitantly admit that I went to Daiso and I bought some new plastic items like a van sized dish rack. I'm planning to arrive in LA on the 29th to pick Blendy Maguro up at the airport. Only 1280 miles to go!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Woo Hoo!

About a week ago I sent my failed hard drive off to a data recovery service in Vancouver, all the while crossing my fingers that I could recover ANY of my photographs. I received a not-so-encouraging email from my boyfriend saying "Don't bother, my friend says it's IMPOSSIBLE!" And I told him that if there's one thing I've learned from owning my van it's that when things go wrong, EVERYBODY has an opinion. I did my best to ignore Brenndan's friend's naysaying and kept my fingers crossed. Well today dear reader, I have been informed that has recovered ALL of the files from the hard drive that I thought that I had wiped out with a bunch of super powerful magnets. It's going to cost $600, but that's a lot lower than the estimates I had been given earlier. So..with his piece of good news and the sun shining in October in Victoria I feel like celebrating! Or..maybe I should wait until Restart computer calls me back. I had them install a new hard drive and recycled display in my old machine and 12 hours later it began to malfunction. They are supposed to call me back today and let me know if it's working. I guess I'll keep my fingers crossed for now.

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Monday, June 4, 2007


I woke up yesterday in Québec city and went to bed last night in Vancouver. I'm trying not to think about it because it doesn't make much sense. I'm supposed to be helping Brenndan move his stuff into storage but actually I'm sitting on the couch with Jojo and Piggy typing and being the boss of everyone. I'm surrounded by a mountain of audio gear and cardboard boxes. Oh ya, and guess what. It's raining.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Start at the Beginning

In January I was offered a solo art show in Japan at a gallery called Birdo Flugas in Shiogama, on the Pacific coast, north of Tokyo. Knowing that I would want to travel for at least a couple of months in Asia following the show I knew that I would need to save some money. At the time I was paying $750 for my 800 square foot art studio in Portland.

Having lived in my van for eight months in 2005-2006, I decided that the best way to save money would be to move back into the van and take the opportunity to travel across the country, which I have always wanted to do.

It only made sense to look for a better van since I would be spending almost a year living in it, so I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to invest in a diesel vehicle and a vegetable oil conversion system. My first search on eBay turned up the van that would become mine, a 1982 Diesel Volkswagen Westfalia. It was located near Medford, Oregon and had already been converted by it’s owner, Thaddeus Gala.

On January 21st I drove the six hours to Trail and checked it out and gave him a deposit. I gave notice on my studio on February first and made plans to put everything in storage in Portland.

When I met with Thaddeus he went over the vegetable oil system with me. Basically, the van has a secondary fuel system with an electric heater to heat the vegetable oil so that the engine can use it as diesel fuel. To collect oil from restaurants there is also an external battery powered pump with a fuel filter that can be used to pump for the collection of dirty oil and then filter it after the solid matter and water have been allowed to settle out of it.

The filtered vegetable oil is then stored in a five gallon container that is connected by a pump to my auxiliary fuel tank. I can switch between fuel tanks via a console mounted on the dash, which also allows me to turn on the heater and the pump to fill the tank.

As for collecting the fuel Thaddeus went over using the pump and showed me some samples of clean and dirty oil and sent me on my way with two empty five gallon containers.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Vancouver, again.

It's Friday the 16th and I am back in Vancouver. This is the last place I expected to be this weekend but last Sunday, after I had attended Cayce's memorial service the day before, Derek Sheplawy called me while I was watching the Grammys with Wig and Ad. Since Derek never calls me and it was so out of the blue I knew it had to be bad news. Sure enough, Derek informed me that Jeremy Deighton ended his own life the day before. I was so shocked and stunned I think that I barely reacted at all. I didn't get much sleep (I had nightmares about James Blunt's face singing that horrible song at me) and woke up crying the next morning. I had no time to process Cayce's death and then had to immediately start making plans to get to Victoria for Jeremy's service.

On Monday I had to make my way to SFO for my flight to Portland. I cried all the way from 24th street BART to the airport. I called Bob Whittaker from the airtrain for moral support and started to feel a bit better (especially when he called my ex-boyfriend "creepy", which he sort of is but only Bob would come out and SAY it!) but when I arrived at check in and they told me I was too late for my flight I finally lost it. I started crying uncontrollably, the woman at the counter was as helpful as she could be and came around and hugged me. She even told me she loved me and offered to get me a sedative. We walked together to the medical clinic and she told me about her life and the people she has lost. I decided against the sedative and just went to my gate. I was thankful for the copies of Who is Bozo Texino that Bill Daniel had given me that morning. I lay down on the floor and watched the movie and ate the butt end of my burrito (El Tonayense, Super Veggie, no cheese) until I could board my flight.

Snow picked me up at PDX and I stayed over on her couch, I wasn't ready to face my lonely studio. The next day JW came over and we listened to the Damned (trying to find songs for Jer's funeral) and I cleaned my place. After JW had to leave Craig Thompson took the next shift and got me out of the house to walk downtown for Japanese food. That was just what I needed, fresh air and raw fish. The days got progressively less hellish until I arrived in Vancouver last night.

All I want to do now is see my dear, grieving friends so that we can comfort each other. If anything good comes out of times like this, one thing is that we all end our phone calls and emails with the words "I love you" because it's really important to remember to tell the people in your life and we get that now.

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Going to Vancouver

First thing the morning I was leaving to set up my show in Vancouver, BC my favorite mug cracked and broke when I poured hot tea into it. Earl Grey and honey all over the floor and counter. Palm springs rainbow mug gone forever.

Set the day back on track with a phone call to Bob Whittaker, who was at his cabin 300 miles NE of Seattle. Sometimes I think he just SAYS it’s 300 miles so that I don’t try and go up there. Anyway, good to know that after all these years Bob still loves me. (He said so, that’s how I know, plus he sends me pics of himself all the time.)

I left 2 hours late for Vancouver and had a phone chat with Bill Daniel during rush hour going through Seattle. I have never met Bill but I sure loved his film, Who is Bozo Texino? It was Kal Spelletich from SF who put us in touch since we are 2 van living hobo artists out to change and inspire the world. It’s great to talk to someone who fully understands the need to travel, and the ups and downs that go with choosing that lifestyle. Interesting too, because most of the people I know who travel a lot are musicians and Bill is traveling around showing his film! I can't wait to hear all the travel tips and advice that he has!

Arrived to Amy Honey and Mandrew's Honey Hut exactly 6 hours after leaving Portland. Greeted by Honey and her sister Eva Makebelieva then joined by Mandrew, Goose and Dee, who was leaving the next day to tour the east coast, western Europe and Africa with Po' Girl. Lots of hugging and shrieking all around. Amy and Andrew have hosted me and a constantly revolving crew of hobos and musicians over the years. It’s absolute luxury now that they moved out of the 3 room apartment above their record store REDCAT, and into a real house!

Then on to a Wednesday night house party near 12th and Windsor. With Amy Honey wearing lipstick and everything. Super nice party, lots of warm, friendly folks and good music. So glad to be back in the 'couve!

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