Who the squid is this guy?
My name is Stanley Q Woodvine. My blog will naturally be a reflection of what interests me. That includes things like. me, computers, anime, the tools I use as a binner, such as bicycles and bicycle trailers, my experience as a homeless person, interesting things I find in the garbage (you have no idea), and life in general.
In the past I’ve been an illustrator, graphic designer, and a writer. I have no idea what I’ll be doing in the future. At present I am living rough in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, meaning I am homeless, and have been for the past nine years. I support myself almost entirely by binning — collecting and returning beverage containers for their deposit value. People in the Fairview neighbourhood can see me bombing about with my bike and trailer with it’s fluorescent orange back end. I have had some traditional jobs: part-time in a book store, landscaping, and full-time custodial. I have also done a bit of computer consulting, and CMS design/set-up.
What’s with that whole Homeless thing?
Looking back on it, I would now say that I became homeless largely through my own stupidity; sadly, it can’t be blamed on alcoholism or drug addiction.
I tell people that I simply lost the “thing” that had driven me to be an illustrator since I was a child. I had used that drive to push me beyond a childhood environment that was abusive, and dangerous; it pushed me to leave the Prairies at age 17 and seek my future in Vancouver. Within two weeks I was working for a community newspaper, the Westender, as their first-ever illustrator. I learned graphic design on the job, and went on to other newspapers, most notably The Georgia Straight. I also freelanced a lot; mostly illustration and design, but also some surprisingly lucrative technical writing. Basically I was able to pursue my passions and incidentally support myself for some twenty-four years.
By 2004 the passion was gone, I came to a point where I didn’t want to, almost couldn’t bring myself to draw; all the joys became terrible chores. I fudged, and outright missed deadlines; my work became laboured and mediocre. I effectively drove my freelance business into the ground.
Having honed my work ethic entirely in the meritocracy of commercial creative communication. I found myself baffled by the completely opposing ethics that seem to underlie traditional nine-to-five sorts of work.
I had current and former clients who tried to help me, but it is a thread running through my life that I’m hard to help. I have to say, with hopefully no rancour, that my friends weren’t much help. Ultimately, I wasn’t able to pay my rent so I evicted myself.
Cue the violins?
Eight years later, I’m still homeless. Why is that? One friend says I’m taking the easy way. It does seem easier to stay homeless than jump through the hoops to get off the street. I’d hoped to do it myself: 1) get a job; 2) work hard; 3) save my money; 4) get a place; 5) rebuild my life. I tried that, and hope to try again – I got as far as number three. No one would rent to me — my loss. Having a full-time job and being homeless do not mix well. If you are going to be homeless, then binning allows you to control your schedule, so you can go get a shower when showers are available to be gotten.
Some of this nonsense could be avoided if I had identification. I lost a lot in the process of becoming homeless, including my ID. I have no living relatives, and I do not even know how to spell the name of the mother I’ve never met. So if I can’t satisfy the requirements of the forms, then what? I had my one-and-only meeting with a welfare worker in October 2004 to see if the system could offer the same assistance it had back in 1980 when welfare (then called “Human Resources”) worked hard to help me get my ID for the first time. This time I was told, quite bluntly, “No.” Getting my ID back was my job. If i did that, and if I got my taxes back in order, I would be entitled to $73.00, monthly street assistance (2004 dollars, so that’s real money).
So, eight years later, I’m still homeless, because it’s easier, and because I am neither an alcoholic nor a drug addict ( I can say that because I’ve made my second try at quitting smoking stick for nearly two years so far), I don’t need to suffer. I can support myself as a binner competitive with having a minimum wage job. And I don’t believe you can go hungry in this beautiful city.
And obviously I have enough leisure time to start a blog. I hope it will entertain and inform.
How to help support this blog
As of November, 2013, I can accept Bitcoins, WTF are those? A somewhat nouveau cryptographic online currency. WordPress.com accepts Bitcoins as payment for upgrades. I’m really interested in extra storage — starting at $20 per year. This would also allow me to also post audio files. I haven’t received any Bitcoins yet.
At right is my Bitcoin QR. Below is my Bitcoin Address: