R.I.P., ‘Admiral Halsey’

At about 4:00 this morning, on my way home from a late-night writing session at an all-night diner, my elderly and infirm Mazda Protege5 finally yielded up the ghost.

I bought ‘Admiral Halsey’ in June, 2010, expecting to get three years’ service out of it. Three years later, almost to the day, it began making the chuffing and puffing and knocking and banging noises that have made it so odious to right-thinking people, and which I have, I believe, mentioned more than once before on this blog. My mechanic informed me that the catastrophic converter was denoberated, and the exhaust gas regurgitator was suffering from sinusoidal depleneration, and moreover the clutch was worn out; and I could expect the whole car to fall apart like the Bluesmobile at the end of The Blues Brothers in anywhere from three weeks to three months. Since that time a year has gone by, and I managed to keep the poor old Admiral going by driving carefully and sparingly. But no more. The clutch has given out entirely, and the gears no longer engage to deliver power to the wheels.

The Admiral bade its farewell with a satirical flourish, rolling to a halt on the Trans-Canada Highway dead in the middle of Calgary. While I was telephoning for a tow truck, a friendly policeman pulled over next to me and inquired what was the matter. He not only called for the tow truck himself (I still had to pay for the tow, but I got the police discount rate), but parked his car behind me with the bubble-gum lights flashing, ‘so you don’t get smoked from behind,’ as he put it. I am grateful to him, and to the tow-truck driver who got the smouldering hulk of my car home with efficiency and despatch.

Today, with the help of my good and old friend Dave McKay, I went looking at cheap cars advertised on Kijiji, which is the leading classified advertising site in these parts. (Craigslist is nothing in Canada by comparison.) So far I have looked at four or five cars, and come to the conclusion that I need to grit my teeth and do without wheels until I have a bit more money to spend.

Thanks to the generosity of my 3.6 Loyal Readers and Various Loyal Lurkers and Benefactors, I have enough money for my current bills, plus cover art for ‘the Orchard of Dis-Pear’, with a few hundred dollars left over to put towards a replacement car. Unfortunately, used cars are more expensive in Canada than the U.S., and still more expensive here in Alberta; I have with my own eyes seen people asking $500 for cars that I could see clear through because of the rust, and $1000 or more for cars twenty years old and not even in running order. I am therefore going to have to defer buying even a temporary replacement for the time being.

I have no intention of placing any further burden on my Loyal Readers and Lurkers; your support has been more than I could ask already. My tip jar runneth over beyond my hopes. But I do have a request all the same. If you know anybody who might be interested in my humble books, your friends, or your friends’ friends, or your friends’ friends friends, or your sisters and your cousins whom you reckon by the dozens, or your aunts, by all means lay on them (like a hot tip at the horse races) the salutary idea of taking a nibble on one or more. All of my titles are available at the moment for $2.99: cheap at half the price, and if my reviews are anything to go by, good at twice the price. Also, if anyone can think of ways to help me get my work more widely reviewed, I would be grateful to hear of it.

For my part, I shall do my part by putting the nose to the wheel, or shoulder to the whetstone, or whatever it is that industrious and honest people are supposed to do. I am going to cut short the quixotic search for a running car in my price range, and apply myself to getting more books out so that my price range can increase. Watch these pages for developments very soon.

In other news, I got word today that my proof copies of Writing Down the Dragon (paperback edition) have been shipped, and should arrive next week. If the proofs are OK, I will be putting the paper book on sale for the trifling price of $11.99, in Yankee greenbacks, with  commensurate prices net of VAT in other currencies. Stay tuned, and soldier on!


  1. cinda-cite says

    “I will be putting the paper book on sale for the trifling price of $11.99, in Yankee greenbacks”


  2. Ugh. Glad you had some good luck (translation: work that paid off) in making him last as long as he did, but sorry to hear you’re in the car market as well. (Being a one car family bites, yeah verily, in a state that does all the Stupid People Tricks possible to get cars out of circulation.)

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