Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Manitoba Links Weekly: Exploring the Past (ManLinkWeek 2)

By the time you read this I will be in Oak Lake, between Virden and Brandon and far enough away that the grocery store maintains a full selection of Roughriders merchandise. Starting a weekly feature the week before I wouldn't be here was kind of a dumb idea, in retrospect, but I think you'll find plenty to enjoy in these links regardless.

[Community of Oak Lake: Did You Know Oak Lake Centennial Feature]
"Our first Mayor was Robin Hood! Then he drowned, childless, at the age of 45." These and other cheerfully poignant, quietly unsettling small town facts await you!

[Kert Gartner: 1960s Winnipeg Life on 8mm Film]
Oh, wow, this. Local photographer and animator Kert Gartner spent an entire weekend digitally transferring piles and piles of his grandparents' old 8mm reels, and basically it's all amazing, so be prepared to drop some serious viewing time into this and his accompanying YouTube account. The 1969 Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade? Twenty-four minutes of The Pas in 1970? Forty-year-old Red River Ex footage? Bring it on.

[Markosun's Blog: Russian language map of Canada]
This is tremendous by itself -- a little bigger and it would have made terrific desktop wallpaper -- but it's infinitely more fascinating if you're the type to daydream about science fiction or alternate histories. And I would totally buy from a line of "Виннипег" shirts, I won't lie to you and pretend that I wouldn't. (What's the Russian for "One Great City"?)

[winnipegzombies YouTube: Undead Fire Performers (2011 Winnipeg Zombie Walk)]
undead are weak against fire, this is bullshit
The "BRAINS! BRAINS!" chant about three minutes in, taken together with the drum music and the wide circle of people and the sporadic bursts of fire, must have been a real hoot if any passersby were unaware that the Zombie Walk was that night.

[Uptown Magazine: Intra-Winnipeggian Tourism]
Yo, it's my feature, I get self-promotional perks. You ever notice how little we know or hear about the less-discussed neighbourhoods of our fair city? New development is only covered when it happens downtown or in the southern reaches of town, and older neighbourhoods are only mentioned when someone gets shot in them, so entire giant segments of the city are complete mysteries to a lot of people. Everything east of Main or St. Anne's is just the Mint and some French people, and anything north of Portage is just hey guess what you're dead. Alas.

[Twitter: Fake MLCC (likkermart)]
"Get 15 Air Miles when you buy a bottle of Some Wine You Never Heard Of. Limited time only."
"Even though we put up signs about being undrunk, we still want you to get shittttttaaaay!"
"We are pleased to announce we have some new beers. We're just not sure what, or where it is."
If you Twitter-follow one parody account of a Crown Corporation this month, make it the plastic-bottled ersatz publicity machine of our provincial hooch monopoly.

I know I brought this up on Winnipeg Cat last year, but holy shit, get a load of that. Somehow, out of all the links this week, this one just feels like it's the oldest, and at the same time feels like somebody laced the Nutty Club raspberry drops with peyote and then fed them to an Angelfire site.

That's it for this week's installment; I'll be back in town tomorrow afternoon for Winnipeg Internet Pundits, and I'll have more ManLinkWeek for you same time next week!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Crazy Terry's Used Car Capital

So, this news story came up a day or two ago. Wacky, right? Read that again, let that turn of affairs sink into your brain for a minute.

Terry Nelson's reign in Roseau River had its fair share of controversy, Nelson being something of a regionally-renowned shit disturber, but his long and tumultuous Chiefdom came to its conclusion when he was forced out by the First Nation's custom council last month and his permanent replacement elected a week and a half ago.

Terry Nelson isn't the type of guy to let a little thing like impeachment get him down, though; now he's free to pursue his other interests, like... securing a ten-million-dollar line of credit, setting up shop at the outskirts of town, and working with car dealers to shore up a fleet of used vehicles with satellite-tracked immobilizers in them. Hey, career advancement is in the eye of the beholder, right?

So I for one wish him all the best in his future endeavors, and I for one am looking forward to seeing how this all plays out. I can only imagine -- I can only imagine what the television commercials will be like...

Crazy Terry's Used Car Capital on Highway 6 is clearing house all this month, and we're passing the savings on to you!

Bad credit? No credit? No problem! This 1985 Pontiac Parisienne can be yours, for only thirty-nine-ninety-five! Zero per cent financing available, no money down.

I used to argue for treaty rights, but now I'm agreeing to treat you right! This 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier, brown and grey with all its original doors, only fifty-nine-ninety-five!

And, brothers and sisters, it is still the same: the white man wants to control us. Well, control is just what you'll get from this '89 Oldsmobile, a Cutlass Ciera, ninety-nine-ninety-five. And every finance package comes with a gas voucher! This $20 value, absolutely free, all this month at Crazy Terry's Used Car Capital.

Let me tell you, folks, there's only one way to deal with a white man: you either pick up a gun, or you stand between him and his money. But why stand when you can relax in style? This 1992 Buick Roadmaster, original wood paneling, yours for only sixty-nine-ninety-five! And we'll match any competitors' financing offer; I have no intention of letting anyone, Jew or otherwise, give you a better deal.

I used to command roving batallions of armed men, deployed to intimidate my enemies and enforce my rule; now I finance the same trucks they used to drive around in! Like this 1999 Dodge Ram, seventy-nine-ninety-five! Just thinking about it is enough to drive a man kah-razy!

People ask me, they say "Crazy Terry, how is it you can offer these great loan packages that the white man's banks can't?" Well, I'll tell you how! If you miss a payment, we SHUT YOUR CAR DOWN FROM SPACE.

So come on down to Crazy Terry's Used Car Capital! Highway 6 near the Perimeter, one block west of Red Sun Gas Bar. Crazy Terry's Used Car Capital: the best in the business, and you can take that to the bank!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Manitoba Links Weekly: Inaugural Edition (ManLinkWeek 1)

Part of Winnipeg's appeal to me -- and it's likely that I'm at least partially mythologizing this, but humour me -- part of the charm of Winnipeg is its stubborn, scrappy DIY ethic.

It makes perfect sense, given our isolation, that the city and its people developed a mentality of screw-you self-sufficiency; most other similar-sized cities can look to larger nearby urban centres for additional amenities, but when our closest outposts of civilization were six to eight hours away by car or a few days away by horse, folks here kind of figured that they'd be better off setting up what they needed themselves. Universities and trade schools, music labels, transport networks, museums, construction companies, ballet academies, whatever; when something isn't around, and there's no equivalent nearby, we're the sorts of folk who just start doing it ourselves and intend to figure it out as we go along.

These natural urges have been dulled and domesticated somewhat in recent decades by improvements in transportation, by the rise of information technology, and by our gleeful provincial suckling of transfer payments, but even mostly dormant the instinct remains. Want something? Put it together! Bam, problem solved.

Such is the case with this post, today. I'd been thinking recently that it'd be fun to have a regular collection of interesting Winnipeg- and Manitoba-related links -- like these with additional commentary and explanation, like these but locally themed. I thought "Man, someone should do that", and then shortly afterward thought "Oh wait, yeah, I could do that". And here we are!

I figure this'll be a fun experiment as a weekly feature, although I'll then have to figure out what day of the week it works best on. Tuesdays, maybe? Monday would probably be ideal if it weren't already Winnipeg Cat Reader Submissions day, because I'm self-aware enough to know I can't compete with my own cat for reader attention. (Have I already done 87 weeks of that? Wow, where does the time go.) Wednesday could work if it weren't overlapping with Winnipeg Internet Pundits, which provides all its links up-front to begin with and is better for having clever and reasonable people on the show to counterbalance my tomfoolery. Thursday and Friday are less desirable because nobody wants to commit too thoroughly to reading when the weekend is so tantalizingly close, and general blog readership across the board just plummets straight off a cliff on Saturday and Sunday. So, y'know what, let's say Tuesdays for now.

This segment isn't necessarily restricted to blog entries, to intra-Perimeter content, or to the previous week exclusively; there are a lot of awesome local things on the internet from days of yore, so really my modus operandi here is "this is interesting and I hope more people see it". I'm... I'm really not very complicated.

But enough talk! Have at you!

[the-watchmen.com: Silent Radar Redux, September 2011 (via scruffy the yak)]
The CBC Hockey Night in Canada video editors are incredible wizards, so their use of The Watchmen's "Any Day Now" to herald the Jets' return made my heart grow three sizes that day. (This is still amazing to watch, incidentally.) The Watchmen coincidentally played the Horseshoe Tavern last month, recorded the performance, and subsequently released that recording for free on their website -- and as far as I'm concerned, if you can't enjoy a free hour-and-a-half live album from The Watchmen, we can't be friends any more.

Although I have to confess from a personal standpoint that "Run and Hide" without "Cracked" immediately preceding it just feels... improper, somehow.

[State of the City: Round Three on Crime in Winnipeg, With Pins]
Watching Kelcey versus Grande unfold has been borderline cringeworthy, Stefano Grande serving as the Andy Roddick to Brian Kelcey's Roger Federer, but the fun sidestory here is Kelcey being the Enzo Matrix to Marty Gold's helpful Binomes. "We are helping! We are helping!"

[AutoMattic Transmission: Awkward Phone Call - Content Warning]
"You might want to do something about that" is about as fine a bit of understatement as anyone could offer, given the circumstances. Red River's CreComm program, if nothing else, opens students up to new situations.

[Progressive Winnipeg: Take me to your...uh...leader?]
This article was covered in tremendous detail on today's WIPs (see, this is why I shouldn't be doing these on Wednesdays), but I'll admit to being as guilty as anybody else of offering little enthusiasm for prospective up-and-coming political leaders. Potential solutions, however, elude my grasp; what can leadership hopefuls do to convince the media and the public that theirs is a brand worth following, and how does anybody break through the glass ceiling of boreless political viability? Well, I mean, if we knew that, nobody would be stuck with dudes like Bob Rae.

[West End Dumplings: Brandon's water tower, transit fares and other council bits]
The East End water tower lives! I'm a sucker for free-standing historical artifacts, grain elevators and water towers and whatnot, so I'm glad to hear that Brandon's City Council has reneged on its demolition decision. I don't know what it is about water towers, but I love 'em; I can't picture Winnipeg Beach or Virden without one, and if either of those ever fall down I intend to be distraught for a good couple of weeks.

[winnipegcity.com: Harvey Smith ~ Winnipeg MB City Councillor for Daniel Mcintyre]
"Mr. Smith looks dreamily across the fluorescent-lit drabness of the city hall cafeteria. 'I guess I like beauty more than anything else. I love hoarfrost on the trees. I like nice things. I love the feel of brick and the smell of flowers. I just don't like ugliness'. And off he trundles, his vivid green tie a splash under the white beard, rumpled cardigan flapping."
what is this, i don't even

[Winnipeg Sun: Rapper busted after bizarre plane brawl]
I say this very rarely -- very, very rarely -- but the absolute undisputed highlight of this story is its comments section. And how do you turn the usually-terrible user comments section of a news story into a cornucopia of accidental comedy? You write a crime story about a local rapper and then the rapper shows up in it to defend himself at length. If you read one news site comments thread this year -- and that's probably a good upper limit, if you value your faith in humanity -- please, please, read this one.

Thank you for reading Manitoba Links Weekly! Watch this space!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Your Vote Doesn't Matter, Party for Sale, and All the Lonely People: A Belated Manitoba General Election 2011 Postscript

When the status quo wins as thoroughly and as decisively as it did in last week's provincial election, the urge to ruminate on it in a timely fashion seems rather less pressing.

Believe me, if there had been any important or immediate ramifications of the 2011 Manitoba General Election, everybody would have been chattering excitedly about them for the past week; there'd have been gripping and engaging dialogue from mainstream and alternative media sources alike, social media sites abuzz with activity with the debate on the future of our fair province doubtlessly capturing the imagination of all. As it stands instead, with an outcome like this, the most that anybody has really been able to muster up about our most recent exercise of democracy is a sarcastic "well, that was worthwhile" and then some dismissive wanking motions.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Very Special 40th Manitoba General Election Post (Is... Thataway)

Long time no see! It has been a crazy past month for me, and I refuse to acknowledge that it is October, but we can talk about that later.

Remember last year when we had a civic election and I busted out a Winnipeg Cat extravaganza for it? Well, as you're surely aware, today is the Provincial Election, so my end result was pretty well inevitable:

Feast your eyes upon the Winnipeg Cat 2011 Manitoba Election Special!

It's an even larger post than last year's municipal madhouse, and I do hope you enjoy it; I had to leave a couple gags on the cutting room floor in the interest of equal time, but even so I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Also, get out there and vote! It's as close an election as we ever seem to get around these parts, and even if you aren't sold on any particular party (I know I'm not) you can choose to think of it instead as the rare opportunity to vote against three parties at once. After this (and the St. Vital byelection next month) there won't be another election for a solid few years, so enjoy it while it lasts!

I'd written a column about electoral shenanigans in the most recent Uptown; it isn't required reading for your day's participatory democracy, but I would be pleased if you read it anyway. What should be pre-vote required reading is the excellent ManitobaElection.ca, your one-stop destination for all the information you could possibly need on the issues and candidates of your (yes, your!) riding. It also just so happens that one of the site's founders and administrators was interviewed last week on Winnipeg Internet Pundits, so, hey! Not a bad little burst of synergy, there.

(Election days boost my skill stats in self-promotion, maybe. I don't know.)

Happy voting! With any luck, I'll be back around again before you know it.