Backpacking Dad’s #BlogHer11 and #HomeHer11 Terrible Jam Giveaways

I’m going to BlogHer this weekend. I may be there already. (Are you reading this in the future? Then I went last weekend. It was fun. In your case this post is completely dated, and you should skip around to something else.)

Last year I stayed home instead of going to BlogHer, and in order to pass the time I started, then later tried desperately to keep up with, HomeHer (#HomeHer10 on Twitter). It was a joke that lasted four days. I’m still laughing.

This year, although I’ll be at BlogHer, a big piece of my heart is with the #HomeHer11 crowd, a dedicated and enthusiastic group of people who have been talking about this unconference for a while now, some of them since #HomeHer10 ended. In honour of those of you who will be at #HomeHer11, I thought I’d throw a little giveaway into the mix. How would you like some jam?

And not just any jam! This is some really terrible jam. It was jam I made from peaches from my tree during #HomeHer10. It’s overcooked, looks black in the wrong light, and it’s a year old. But, despite all of that, I love this jam, because making it was a huge part of my first HomeHer updates last year. It should go in a museum. I’m serious: Do not eat this jam. (Well, maybe it’s okay to eat. What the hell do I know about year old jam? This is my first time having any in my cupboards.)


So, #HomeHer11 folks, if you would like to win this completely unappealing piece of history, just leave a comment below with a #HomeHer11 hashtag (this will let me know for sure you are attending HomeHer and are not some creeping BlogHer wank, trying to steal jam). As usual with my giveaways, if you get a friend to enter as well, and they leave a comment in reply to your comment, you get an extra entry in the drawing, numbered immediately after them.

You do not have to follow me on Twitter or Facebook or anything like that. Just love #HomeHer11 deep in your hearts.

Now, I’m not leaving people going to BlogHer completely out in the lurch. I will also be bringing some terrible jam to them in San Diego. This terrible jam is made from apricots picked this July, it is completely untasted, and I know I didn’t use enough pectin to settle it, so it slides around a good amount. Its only saving grace is the way it looks. It is Superficial Jam.


So, #BlogHer11 folks, if you want to win this possibly inedible jar of apricot jam, you have to do some more work than my #HomeHer11 friends. I have 30 business cards to give out at BlogHer this year, leftover from a run I ordered two years ago. The information on these business cards is slightly out of date (my Facebook page is at now), and the picture is ancient. I have hand-numbered these cards from 1-30. To enter into the Terrible Jam giveaway, you need to have one of these cards. That’s right! It’s a totally exclusive giveaway! Further, I will only give you one of my collector’s item business cards if you address me as “O Captain, My Captain” when you see me.

I’m such an ass.

That’s it: See me, say “O Captain My Captain”, get a business card, hope I select your number, win some worthless jam that I made myself. You should probably follow me on Twitter ( so you can see what the winning number is, but I’ll also post it here on the blog. You’re going to have to be able to find me so I can give you the jam though.

Both drawings will be done on Saturday night. I think. If I remember.

(Note: I am bringing the Superficial Jam with me to San Diego, so I’ll physically give it to the person who wins. The Historic Jam will have to be shipped to the person who wins.)

Good luck!

The Diamond Ring of Damnation: A Giveaway #diamondringofdamnation


So, my friends Uncle Shopkeep Alexei and Auntie Shopkeep Marie of San Francisco’s best indie boutique, Fiat Lux, have decided to branch out into the social media world a little. They have a Twitter account, @fiatluxsf, and on a lark Uncle Shopkeep Alexei asked me to help him get to 100 followers. In exchange, he would let me have one of these awesome diamond rings for Emily.

Diamond Ring of Damnation

It was a bribe, really. A devil’s deal: Do I sell out my Twitter followers, my loyal interlocutors, my friends, for this? If I do, I’m damned. So, of course I said “yes”. And then I dubbed it “The Diamond Ring of Damnation” (#diamondringofdamnation on Twitter).

Here’s what Alexei says about the designer, Daisy:

Daisy is a young female metal-smith, ethnically a Filipina, native to the Bay Area. She graduated from a well-known metal-smithing school and handcrafts each piece on her own, then bezel sets the diamonds or gemstones. She started out by making engagement rings and wedding bands for family members and friends. We found her at a design festival, where she was swamped by all of these jewelers making big trendy pieces. Her booth measured 3 square feet and she had about 60 pieces on it. It was a no brainer. All of her diamonds are VS1, which is the highest quality (what’s called “clarity”, the measure of other trace elements in the rock) you can get at this size, and she works mostly in sterling silver, though we also carry some pieces that are in rose gold and 22k yellow gold. She’s been at it for only a couple of years on her own, which is what attracted us to her, and her line has allowed us to offer customized pieces (she does custom engravings on these tiny little pieces).

Her stuff isn’t trendy, it’s touching. For example, a young woman came in and I showed her Daisy’s line, then she came back a few days later and asked if she could get two of her necklaces, both with angel wings carved on the front and with the name “Marie” carved on the back. It turns out that her mother had just passed and she wanted one for herself and one for her sister. Another woman has asked to put her child’s heart monitor printout on one of her pieces. People tear up when they see her shit. Crazy stuff.

It was totally selfish, and I should be ashamed of myself. But I’m not, because Alexei and Marie are friends, and they have great taste. Also I’m totally selfish and ashamed of myself.

But wait! There’s more! Perhaps I might be redeemed.

Because Uncle Shopkeep Alexei and Auntie Shopkeep Marie have offered to put up a second Diamond Ring of Damnation, custom made, to the winner of The Diamond Ring of Damnation Giveaway. They’re hoping to get to 200 Twitter followers. I think we can do it.

Here’s how to enter.

1. Follow @fiatluxsf on Twitter.

2. Leave me a comment saying you’ve followed @fiatluxsf on Twitter.

That’s it. The comments are just so I can manage the giveaway for Alexei instead of making him do it.

Bonus Entries!

If you tell a friend to enter the giveaway (by following @fiatluxsf on Twitter and leaving me a comment) have them reply to your comment down below as their notice of entry. You’ll get an extra entry in the drawing, numbered immediately after theirs.

The contest ends on Sunday, July 24th, 11:59 PM PST.

Tell your friends!

Winner Winner Winner

So, with a total of 44 individual entries, and 5 extra entries for referrals, I used to select a winning number for the “Backpacking Dad’s What Was On His Sweater-Vest” giveaway from a 1-49 range. told me…

In case you can’t make it out, it says “46”.

Counting backwards and forwards through the entries, I see that “46” is none other than Christina McMenemy from A Mommy Story!! Congratulations Christina. Use your prize wisely and in good health, and remember not to leave it broadcasting while you are just walking around the house.

Now, in sadder news, not one person guessed what was on my sweater-vest. I know. I can’t believe it. What was on it, you ask? Well, let me show you. Here is an artist’s rendering of me in my sweater-vest when I was six years old.

That’s a horrifying image and I apologize for your nightmares. However, my sweater-vest just said “HELLO”. That was it. Nothing fancy. I thought I was going to have to do at least ten different charity posts. Nope. I don’t have to do any.

Aw man, but that’s no fun. So, I’ll tell you what. I’m going to pick my favourite guess, and the person responsible for that will be the one who gets to name the charity. Cool? Cool.

Weirdly, I had two separate guesses of “Izod”. I would pick both of these as winners, but I don’t know what the hell that means. I think this means I’m lame in some important way.  I have to go with KBestOliver’s “Not the Mama” guess, both for referencing the best running gag on “Dinosaurs”, and for thinking that 6 year-old me was a time traveler who went into the future to steal a sweater-vest from someone. Or for thinking that I’m younger than I am.

Once again, congratulations to Christina. And to KBestOliver: pick your poison. Although don’t actually pick “poison”, because that sounds like the worst charity ever. Although maybe you meant “Poison”, like there’s some non-profit that helps support former Poison band members. If that’s the case, then okay.