Friday, March 30, 2007

Recent News Roundup: Pour Him Over Ice Cream for a Nice Parfait

Have you been keeping track of what's going on in our fine world? You're probably up to speed on the big local stuff -- youth crime still rampant, downtown still dangerous, Jets still gone, so on and so forth -- so I'll run through a few items of interest beyond the top city stories. Wouldn't want you to miss anything!

First off, if you hadn't noticed this in yesterday's papers, I feel the need to note it now. The top of page B1 of yesterday's Winnipeg Free Press is an article about a Unicity Taxi driver, one who was suspended after sexually assaulting two young women. And the top of page B2 of yesterday's Winnipeg Free Press... is an article about an entirely different Unicity Taxi driver, one who was suspended after getting completely plastered and then plowing his cab right through the front wall of a living room in Maples.

What are the odds that two separate stories about Unicity drivers doing remarkably poorly at their jobs would top the first and second pages of the local section? Well, I used to work overnight shifts at a hotel with an attached bar -- so from my experience, I would say the odds are pretty good. My biggest surprise about any of this is that the top of page B3 wasn't an article about somebody dying of a brain clot after listening to Unicity's absolutely vomitous hold muzak for seemingly forever.

If you are considering phoning a cab at two in the morning on any given night, my advice is don't. Hitch a ride, walk, form a makeshift skateboard out of wood and beer cans, nap for four hours until the buses start running again (Winnipeg Transit's nonexistent overnight service really is a shameful reflection on our city) -- because you know what? These options will still be faster and cheaper than the countless minutes of terrible music and the glacier-slow car response time involved with getting home via taxi. Wait times of up to an hour were not uncommon with Unicity when I called to specifically request a cab for the manager each night, just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about here.

I hope that proposed airport shuttle idea goes through. I really do. Just to stick it to 'em.

But anyway! All that is yesterday's news, literally and figuratively. What all is buzzing around the news world today?

Well, this in particular caught my eye:

Oh, well, okay. Never underestimate the power of the human mind to concoct the worst possible rationalizations of failure.

"We find ourselves in third place for the first time in generations; this was our party's worst electoral showing since Trudeau was in power. What happened?"
"The, uh... the emergence of a third and equally competitive party in a provincial sphere desperate for change, combined with a salient general wane in support for the separatist movement?"
"What th--of course not! We are in third place because our leader likes men!"

So, if you were wondering, Andre Boisclair isn't Premier today entirely because he is an open homosexual -- just like Bob Rae isn't Liberal leader today entirely because his wife is Jewish. Remember: in Canadian politics, defeat is always taken personally!

Speaking of Liberal leaders. As any particular given news outlet will have mentioned by now, current Liberal leader (and, I continue to suspect, human Muppet) Stephane Dion fired off this line yesterday:

"I gave Canada Clarity; Stephen Harper gave Canada Flaherty."

Ba-zing. Jesus Christ. I want to know who wrote that for him so I can send that person flowers, or cigars, or something. What's the proper token of appreciation for excellent zingers? Is it a hug? I will hug you, unidentified speech writer!

See, this is why I love Canadian politics; most of the time you can kick back and pay attention entirely for entertainment value! Dion thinks he's hot right now because he got one rhyme in -- but he'll have nowhere to run when Ed Broadbent challenges him to a rap battle!


I couldn't resist. I'm sorry.

And that wasn't even the news item that inspired me to post today! No, after all of that, what finally got me started today was three paragraphs tucked quietly away in the depths of the paper.

Yes, seriously.

The artist is in the right and the organized religion knee-jerk reaction is in the wrong, of course, but that's not why I bring this up.

I glimpsed this, with amusement, very early this morning; right from the second the headline hit my eyeballs, a particular song started up in my head. That song kept going for the next several hours -- playing and looping and repeating itself -- until I gave up, plunked down with a borrowed electric guitar, and finally learned how to play it.

And if there was one song I would never have expected to lead into with a timely news item, it would have been:

Tom Waits - Chocolate Jesus [buy]

Just to bring this post around full circle -- I put on literally hundreds of CDs during my tenure at that overnight hotel job I had mentioned, and through all of that only three artists I was listening to were ever recognized by a passerby, guest or fellow staff member. One of those artists was Tom Waits. So you can rest assured that Tom Waits brings people together; if there were one man walking the planet right now that could handle the responsibility of being a prophet, I should hope it would be him.

It's a great big crazy world out there, folks! Try not to let it kill you!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Eric Clapton w/ the Robert Cray Band -- MTS Centre, Wednesday, March 28th, 2007




Do tell me if this isn't properly expressing the quality of the show; I'm more than happy to elaborate on anything you may wonder about after viewing this summary!


Monday, March 26, 2007

Counting Ballots is Hard: The 2007 Quebec Provincial Election

It was being reported for hours by all available media outlets that Quebec Premier Jean Charest had lost his seat in Sherbrooke; the ramifications of this vis a vis the outcome of the election would have been both earthshaking and hilarious, and I was eager to fire up some good ol'-fashioned schadenfreude for this post. Turns out -- whoops! The story being put forward now is that the election officials somehow completely forgot to include the advance votes, almost all of which went to Charest, and go figure ha ha he actually won the riding. Lucky him! He gets to keep his position after all.

For now, that is. After tonight's election, the Liberals in Quebec have been reduced to a minority government -- and when I say reduced, I mean reduced. In 2003, the Liberals won 76 of the 125 seats; that number dropped by almost thirty (!) this year. Jean Charest just barely kept his riding, so he's still the Premier -- chances are high that he wouldn't be, had he lost -- but after a showing that comparatively dismal, especially after he had expected a majority victory, the ice he's skating on seems even thinner than usual for him. Even after the Federal Budget gave him free tax cut promises to hand out, he and his party still got hammered.

I don't think I can properly express just how unpopular Jean Charest can be in Quebec, but I'll give it a shot: damn that guy's unpopular sometimes. Wow. I almost feel bad for the guy sometimes. (This usually passes quickly.)

Meanwhile, Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair also won his seat -- and he's actually more likely to lose his leadership position. The Parti Quebecois has a long and storied history of fragging its lieutenants, if you will, and most of the leaders they turfed were doing better than Boisclair is doing. Separatism isn't dead (it never is; Rasputin was easier to kill), it's just... er... sleeping. Sleeping really, really deeply.

The ADQ is the big story, and obviously so; up 37 (!!) seats from last election, Mario Dumont's hastily assembled peanut gallery of ragtag amateurs is now the official opposition in Quebec. Prior to this election, they'd never even held enough seats for official party status. They've never held more than five seats, their nominally conservative platform actually involves a staggering whackload of social spending ('conservative' is a deceptive term in Canadian politics), and their logo looks like they stole it from some airline -- but they're the official opposition, now, and damned if that doesn't shake everything up in Quebec. The PQ has been shunted down to third place, for the first time in 34 years; I don't know about you, but I'm totally willing to take conservatives (such as they are) over separatists. And Quebec voters are, too, apparently!

So what does all of this mean for us in Manitoba? Very little, except to say that Ottawa is going to ignore us as usual. I mean, let's not be naive, here. As for what it means for Canada -- it means everybody can ignore the separatist question for a while, which is nice, and it means Stephen Harper may or may not call a federal election as soon as possible, which we already knew anyway.

The news fallout will be fun (expect the words 'protest vote' to run free and plentiful through the media fields), especially given the vast potential for ensuing nastiness in the coming weeks, so keep an eye open. Things are different in Quebec, now. But not as different as things would have been if Charest had actually lost. (Man, that would have been funny. Ah, well.)

Canadian politics! Whee!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Markers Equal Fun

I bought some folders from Staples recently.

(I needed folders. What can I tell you? Sometimes a brother just needs some folders.)

Of course these things never go smoothly, I initially grabbed legal size, what I needed was letter size, back and forth to the store and back so on and so forth. I assure you this isn't the important part of the story.

No, the important part of the story was the collection of bins in the middle of the store, offering 50% off the lowest ticketed prices of any items therein. Anybody who knows me knows that I am incredibly cheap I'm a typical Winnipegger, which is to say I am incredibly cheap I like bargains, so I couldn't help but abandon my folder quest for a couple minutes and see what I could see.

What I found therein was something I would never have expected to find in a bargain bin, because I would have never expected such a thing would actually exist.

Behold as I beheld, including the double-take I took to confirm what I had just read:

Yes. Crayola Multicultural Markers.

Multicultural. Markers.

Would anybody out there like to form a New Wave band? If I do not form a New Wave band titled the Multicultural Markers immediately, I'm going to feel that I am doing the world a terrible disservice. (I'm not kidding about this. I can play bass or guitar while singing vocals simultaneously, and I would look devestatingly sexy in a Devo hat. Somebody take me up on this.)

Now, my first reaction upon seeing these was "Holy what--what have they done? Have we as a civilization finally taken the idea of political correctness too far?"; my second reaction was "Wait, never mind, these are awesome. I must have these". I'll admit to knee-jerk initial reactions about the continued spread of cynical lipservice diversity and tolerance -- let's be honest with ourselves, being able to draw other races does not spontaneously eradicate racism -- but really, now, we've needed these damn things for years. The ubiquitous 'flesh' colour of years past never actually looked like anybody, and we as a civilization can finally draw Asian people that aren't the same colour as Tweety. Progress is progress!

The eight multicultural colours included are 'beige', 'tan', 'golden beige', 'bronze', 'tawny', 'terra-cotta', 'mahogany' and 'sierra'. Why, imagine the fun kids can have just sitting around and figuring out which euphemism refers to them!

"I'm mahogany!"
"I'm bronze!"
"I'm, uh... tan."
"I don't want to be 'tawny'! 'Tawny' sounds like a girl's name!"

And imagine the fun parents will have when their kid comes home covered in marker, either because he's pretending to be from another culture or because 'tawny' sounds like a girl's name -- which, now that I think about it, leads us to the next topic of interest. Note the part where they're labelled as 'washable'; certainly Crayola wants you to note that part, because the packaging mentions this no less than five times on the packaging. What would you think 'washable' implies? Well, you may want to consult this li'l box on the back:

Turns out 'washable' is limited to skin and most (most) items of clothing, which makes them... functionally indistinguishable from regular markers in this regard. One day some poor mother is going to find out the hard way that her definition of 'washable' and Crayola's definition of 'washable' are miles apart when she comes home and finds out her walls have become multicultural in her absense.

"Washability you can trust! / Une lavalilite fiable!" Right. My ass. Next they'll tell us the nontoxic certification means it won't poison owls.

That aside! Having mentioned part of the back of the marker package, I now concede that the back of the package was what finally sold me on buying these. (Granted they only cost $1.48 plus taxes after it was all said and done, but I can be a remarkably hard sell sometimes.) Have a look at their suggested use for the markers:

Okay, that's kind of corny. But it looks like fun, doesn't it? It does!

Kind of odd that they specifically suggest brown paper bags, though -- what with brown paper bags being most commonly used to transport alcohol and pornography. If children are growing up in a home with a free and ample supply of brown paper bags, those children probably have a lot more to worry about than whether or not they have the right colour marker for drawing a Mexican dude.

But, hey, whatever ingredients are necessary for fun, right? Right! And fortunately I had a brown paper bag handy at home (...shut up), so I got right to work drawing the cave drawings I'd want to see -- the sort of lasting archeological discoveries that future generations could really appreciate in evaluating the status of our world to date.

Meaning I laughed and doodled a tiny cartoon Gary Doer.

(It's actually spelled 'McFadyen'; when pressed on this, however, cartoon Gary Doer dismissed the practice of spelling an opponent's name correctly as 'an amateur move'. He's got me there!)

I liked how it turned out, so I kept going with Hugh McFadyen:

And because I'm all about equal coverage and fairness of opportunity here at Slurpees and Murder, Liberal leader Jon Gerrard gets his time in the sun:

So all in all, I'm pretty pleased with my purchase. These recent experiences have led me to conclude that I'll never become so old or jaded that sitting down and puttering around with markers ceases to be fun.

If you happen to be near the Staples on Pembina, the one just north of Bishop Grandin, and you don't mind dropping $1.48 plus taxes for some quality entertainment, I definitely recommend you pick these bad boys up! I put to you the incontrovertible equation of "Markers = Fun", and it's lucky for everybody involved that I am not a tenured professor or this would be on a test later!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Raarh Search Search Search

Slurpees and Murder is thrilled to announce its inclusion among the ranks of Manitoba Blogs!

I've been meaning for a while now to do a post about other Winnipeg blogs (post preview: they exist and you should totally read them); I'll probably still end up doing that at some point, if only because a bunch of the ones I read aren't yet listed at the above location. That'll be the same time I get around to revising the links section on the sidebar, because those are the same three links I threw on there the day I started writing here and one of them is technically obsolete.

(Upon examing the Manitoba Blogs site and the blogroll therein, you too may have noticed that the blog titled 'Spirited Energy' is completely blank. I don't know whether the comedy in that is intentional or serendipitous, but man.)

And while I'm busy being thrilled about default accolades that involved no particular effort on my part -- Slurpees and Murder is thrilled to announce its status as the number one search result on Google for the word 'Raarh'!

Yee-ahh! That's right, baby! However briefly it lasts, I am the definitive internet authority on zombie noise!

So pay attention, because I've got the floor for this one:

1. Used to express anger or hunger. Primarily employed after zombification, as it is one of the few sounds a zombie can properly form.
2. Used to express any base emotion or instinct after zombification.

The onomatopoeic characteristic howl of a zombie.

inter.v. raarhing, raarhed, raarhs
To make the characteristic howl of a zombie.

Well, I've made my mark on the English language! Slurpees and Murder: fun and informative!

I was going to post this song on titular merit whether I was writing about Winnipeg or about zombies, so since I'm on both subjects it serves doubly well:

Thunderbirds Are Now! - Eat This City [buy]

This is the music that current-generation Sonic the Hedgehog would hear in his head if he were running at top speed through a metropolis lit ablaze and infested with zombie robots or robot zombies. I am sure of this.

Be sure to tune in for our next exciting installment! I'm not sure what the timetable is on the next update, because Manitoba Hydro is upgrading transformers near our area tomorrow and we won't have power for most of the day. But do drop by eventually anyway! Because I'll have a riveting piece for your reading pleasure, about -- wait for it -- a package of markers I bought!

Yes! Really!

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Federal Budget 2007: Hoo, Boy, That Don't Look Too Good

So, uhm... does anyone like this year's budget?

Being unemployed right now, lucky me, I had nothing better to do than stretch out on the couch and watch the CBC coverage of this year's budget rolling in. (My life is a thrill ride! Whoo!)

I must have missed the official announcement that the Conservatives have changed their slogan to "That's Our Canada", because Jim Flaherty busted that phrase out no less than eight times during the half of his speech that was televised. YES FLAHERTY I TOO HAVE NOTICED THAT WE LIVE IN CANADA THANK YOU

The actual budget itself is hardly a combative piece of legislation; it's the quintessential big-spending crowd-pleaser budget, with a little for everybody (unless you like tax cuts, in which case... I... don't know what to tell you) but not too much for anybody.

Well, go figure; as it turns out, you can't please everybody. When you try to throw everybody a bone, nobody gets any of the actual meat -- and Parliament is a gathering spot for hungry, angry carnivores. hay look at me everybody i am mister political pundit lol

To recap the CBC experience:

-- blah blah blah money flying everywhere blah blah blah even more money flying everywhere because Conservatives spend a lot of money for some reason blah blah blah THAT'S OUR CANADA blah blah blah THAT'S OUR CANADA blah THAT'S OUR CANADA blah blah dick THAT'S OUR CANADA blah blah THAT'S OUR CANADA THAT'S OUR CANADA THAT--

-- Jack Layton said the NDP hates the budget, and for pretty much all the reasons you would imagine the NDP would hate a budget. Act surprised.

-- Stephane Dion said the Liberals hate the budget; his English pronunciation always reminds me of Grover from Sesame Street, for some reason, but damned if he isn't as clear as possible about his stance. "It's a bad budget," he blurted out during his interview, which as far as I'm concerned is a totally awesome way of phrasing any Parliamentary discourse. He never seemed more than seconds away from blurting out "THIS BUDGET IS TRASH" and tearing the booklet apart with his teeth. (Note to Self: get elected to Parliament somehow, one day, and then do this on national television.)

-- Elizabeth May said the Green Party hates the budget; she insists that the Greens would totally force an election over this budget, if they had any say in the matter, at all, ever.

-- Gilles Duceppe said that the Bloc Quebecois can tolerate the budget, but only just enough to keep it out of Andre Boisclair's way in the upcoming Quebec provincial election. If you were playing a drinking game and took a shot every time Duceppe mentioned seperatism or sovereignty, you would not be legally capable of driving until tomorrow at the earliest.

-- Danny Williams, the Conservative Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, hates the budget and hates it hard; this is a particularly bad sign, considering that you might expect Premiers of all people to be placated when the budget throws one and a half billion dollars at the provinces. Danny Williams, in Danny Williams fashion, was characteristically blunt -- "I wouldn't have expected an Irishman like Jimmy Flaherty to disappoint me as greatly as he did today" was his opening line, and he didn't get any nicer about it from there. (Man, people were savage about this budget today.) Then I genuinely lost count of how many times Danny Williams namedropped Saskatchewan for reasons that I only vaguely understand, unless "Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan" is the full name of his province. So, no, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador (and Saskatchewan) is not happy about this. Jim Flaherty claimed in his address that the days of big-battlin' between the federal and provincial governments are now over with this budget; I am forced to conclude that Jim Flaherty is a big honkin' liar.

-- The chief economist of the Bank of Montreal kind of liked the budget; the chief economist of TD Bank most certainly did not. But they're both big-bank economists, so who cares.

-- Andrew Coyne hated it, basically proclaiming it the death of fiscal conservatism in Canada; Chantal Hebert shrugged her shoulders and suggested that Harper might just want to go ahead and call the election directly if this is what he has to work with. They're from the National Post and the Toronto Star, respectively, so I've never heard of either of these people before. But they seem nice.

-- And Don Newman, the old wizard of CBC political coverage, didn't tip his hand one way or the other (journalistic integrity, and all that) -- but he did work in a "KABOOMBA!" during his analysis, so everybody had a good laugh.

The budget has the Bloc's support (because the Quebec provincial election is apparently important enough to dictate the entire sphere of Canadian federal politics; hey, who's up for another round of western alienation?), so the budget and the government are going to survive the first vote. After that, well, pfft, nobody has any idea what's going to happen at all. Canadian politics, baby! Whee!

Friday, March 16, 2007

That's Not Supposed to Happen


Ahem. Sorry. A little overzealous, there. Give me a second to try that again, see if I cool down any.

Holy crap you guys! Did you just see that? Holy crap!

Jeopardy ended with a three-way tie! That's not supposed to happen! That's never actually happened before, and the show's been on since 1964!

Holy crap, you guys! That was awesome!

I can't believe I'm actually marking out over an episode of Jeopardy.

Wow, I'm a dork.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

When Obsolescence Attacks

More fool me for glancing down at the bag of popcorn I was putting into the microwave, because I couldn't help but skim over this charming nugget of advice:

Granted, I've never tried this; my modus operandi is the commonly accepted one of standing there next to the microwave for a couple of minutes, listening attentively to the frequency of pops and trying to psychically determine when there are as few kernels left alive unpopped as possible.

But, really, now -- you aren't supposed to use the ubiquitous 'Popcorn' button on the microwave to make popcorn?

Just what the hell is the Popcorn button for? Was it ever capable of preparing popcorn?

If I put this package of microwaveable popcorn into the microwave and hit the Popcorn button, does it explode?

This is my own fault for ever reading anything. Damn you, basic literacy!

There Are No Jobs Out There (Only Lies)

Yes, I'm back. Yes, I'm still unemployed. Good evening.

Perhaps you saw, as I had seen, this enchanting article in the business section of yesterday's Winnipeg Free Press.

Why, there are at least eleven thousand available Manitoba jobs in the small business sector alone! Such severe labour shortages are afoot that even our smallest local businesses are courting able bodies from other lands! It's an absolute sellers' market, if what you are selling is manpower! How, this article poses rhetorically, could anybody not find a job in our fine province nowadays?

"So, James!" you might begin, hoping to catch me in one of my many webs of deceit. "With the much-vaunted continuing shortage of workers in Manitoba and other provinces, why would you persistently suggest that no jobs are out there?"

Funny you should ask that! Remember how I spent four years of my life to corral myself a Double Honours in History and Political Studies? Well, ha ha, because:

Of these eleven thousand hypothetical jobs, only six hundred and sixty are actually considered options for workers with university degrees. And 'workers with university degrees' includes the accountants, the engineers, the teachers and the lawyers.

Employers would be five times more likely to consider me for a position if I had stopped at a high school diploma. Wow! Boy, now that's encouraging! Somebody get me a time machine or a gun!

"But, James!" you again chime in, perhaps because you do not know when to lay off. (Or perhaps because strawman arguments are easier to set up in narrative format, but shh.) "These are only the small business figures! Surely the rest of the province's businesses have different hiring criteria!"

First off, no, probably not. Secondly, the article cites Shannon Martin -- Director of Provincial Affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business -- as mentioning that small businesses account for 94% of all businesses in the province.

To recap, then. 94% of Manitoba businesses combine for 11,000 open jobs, of which 660 are aimed towards university graduates -- including lawyers, doctors, engineers and accountants. Do you suppose there are more than six hundred and fifty-nine graduates or future graduates with these qualifications who would like a job in Manitoba?

Not to worry, though! After all, I'm sure our provincial leaders has just the solution for my woes! When the chips are down and times are tough, the Manitoba Government is here to... to, uh... to spend money on bus advertisements and promotional campaigns telling me how good I have it here!

You guys are jerks! Thanks for lying to me, though! I feel better already!

If anybody needs me, I'll be kicking around at home with no pressing demands on my time and nothing better to do than email resumes out. The struggle continues!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

No, Seriously, Why is This Building Still Empty

Malfunctioning electrical outlets? Burst water pipes? Random indoor explosions?

Family of bats? Rodents of Unusual Size? Infestations of zombies and werewolves?

Secret cult headquarters? Brilliantly disguised housing project? Black-market cigarette trading post?

I'm still on about this, you guys! I'm going out of town for a few days, but this'll probably still be on my mind. Downtown Winnipeg is a land of mysteries!

Daylight Savings Time Can Suck It

You know, Saskatchewan never has to worry about all of this Daylight Savings Time clock-tinkering hour-finagling stuff, and economically they're beating the stuffing out of us.

I'm just thinking out loud here!

Irma Thomas - Time is On My Side [buy]

Friday, March 09, 2007

It's Your Downtown

I like music.

I bought fifteen CDs in three days.

That's normal, right?

Okay, no, of course not. But eight of these CDs cost me $2.99 and the other seven cost me $1.99, so you can understand my thought process here.

These fifteen CDs, most of them in near-perfect condition, came to $37.85 before taxes. $40 in an HMV will buy you two Black Eyed Peas albums. I do not consider this a difficult decision!

Half a day of work at my old job equals fifteen CDs, and I consider this trade more than fair. Granted, yes, I'm unemployed now -- but, man, it's not as though I'll need to buy any more CDs for a while!

So while I'm on the subject of employment situations, here's how it shook down on Wednesday. About fourty of us transient worker types showed up at an orientation meeting, the organizers told us about the job and passed out sheets for everybody to write their info on, and we were told that anybody picked for the position would be contacted. (I haven't heard boo from them since, which means I'm still unemployed yet -- but the fat cheque I'll be receiving for the previously mentioned overtime means I won't have to sweat my current setup right away.)

That took maybe half an hour. And I certainly didn't have any other pressing matters that day -- because, remember, I'm unemployed now. (I'm still getting used to that.) So, it being such a nice day out (it was a really nice day out), I poked around downtown a bit with the ol' handy-dandy outdated digital camera and took some shots of interest.

Of note:

This is one of the signs posted around the site of the future Manitoba Hydro building. You see a few of these as you circle the premises, just to remind you that PCL (Construction Leaders) is concerned about safety.

What made me notice these?

Ah, of course. Thanks, PCL! Construction Leaders! How glad I am that the construction of downtown's newest signature project is in such safe hands!

I sure hope that blueprints and materials lists never require proper proofreading, because if they do this building is probably going to collapse within a year.

Aluminum Sound is where I'd bought four CDs for $2.99 on Monday and another four on Wednesday. Right in the front of the store is where they're keeping the bin of three-dollar CDs (all of them in excellent condition, I can attest so far), and there are still a bunch of good ones left. If you're looking to bolster your 54-40 collection -- and as far as I am concerned you have no good reason not to -- you need to get down there as soon as you can. You live in Winnipeg! Don't even pretend you aren't interested in buying things for cheap!

Bourbon Street Billiards gets my patronage from time to time, but not for ever actually playing pool. The reason I consider this a notable picture is so you'll know where to go if you're downtown and want to play X-Men vs. Street Fighter, because the room to your immediate left when you go down the stairs is de facto the last 'arcade' left downtown. A couple pinball machines, Tekken Tag, Bust-A-Move, nothing fancy -- but it's all we've got, now, so I go down there whenever I'm nearby and drop whatever quarters I've got on me.

Remind me to talk about arcades another time. I bet I could go on for a while.


So, the A&B Sound building -- is it haunted? Is it cursed? Is it a disguised government base for covert operations? I've been wondering about this.

I mean, Manitoba is a land of countless business opportunities, right? Manitoba Means Business and all that? So obviously there must be a perfectly logical explanation as to why a highly visible and fully furnished two-story building, sitting in the heart of downtown and right across the street from one of the busiest large-scale arenas in North America, has been sitting vacant for over a year.

Pirate ghosts? Plague of locusts? Passageway to Xanth?

It can't just be that it's blindingly ugly. Winnipeg is not so destitute a city that the stores don't sell paint.

If you have any ideas about why it's still empty -- or, hell, any ideas on what someone could do with the building -- let me know! I don't have a whole lot else to do right now (besides update my resume again, I guess), so I've hit the point where civic conceptual thinking exercises seem like a good idea.

Man, this unemployment stuff feels weird now. This'll take some getting used to.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Workin' Hard, Then Hardly Workin'

So! How have you been?

Over the last work week I had worked twenty-five and a half hours of overtime; you will note that a sixty-five-hour work week averages out to almost ten hours per day, and in fact that's almost exactly how it worked out.

Then I found out on Monday, half an hour before the work day ended, that it was in fact my last day there; I woke up today unemployed, and I may or may not be re-employed elsewhere by tomorrow afternoon.

Such is term work, of course. I suppose I've no complaints there, especially considering the eventual monetary payoff of the hours previously mentioned. But, yes -- you can imagine how getting out of work at 10:00 PM and returning to work at 8:00 AM, with an hour average of travel time each way, leaves little time for getting one's blog jollies going. Blog jollies are filed under leisure time, and most of my leisure time was spent towards passing out.

That Mardi Gras entry thing I've been wanting to write for weeks now? Ah, I'll probably just backdate it and then let people know where to find it. As far as dates and times are concerned, it isn't intellectual dishonesty if you're upfront about when you're lying! (Internet morality is an oxymoron at best.)

So we'll see what happens next as far as my employment is concerned. If I do end up being temped out to the new position (which doesn't sound too hot, so far, but I'll find out more tomorrow), it should likely be a regular schedule; if I end up unemployed after all, then hell, that's plenty of time to write!

And if unemployment means that my goofy summer scheme jumps forward a couple of months, then so be it. Have I told you about my goofy summer scheme, yet? Well, I can tell you about that later. Because tonight, I rest! And tomorrow... I have no idea!