To You and Yours This New Year from James Howard,
Self-Professed Unknown Underground Indie Sensation:
Happy Two Thousand and Ten, everyone!
Well, I'd say that was a reasonably satisfying couple of weeks off. How were your holidays? Good, good. But, back to work! It's been a good couple of weeks since you folks have heard from me, so I figured that I was obligated to check in and confirm that I'm alive. (This is more often than I usually check in with friends or family members, so consider it a privilege.)
I would go on about my personal resolutions or my end-of-year blog plans or whatever, but by now it's the tenth of the month and nobody gives a crap. So instead rest assured that I'm just going to keep doing what I do, only changing plans in those occasional instances when my snarling, fearsome expansionism rears its dirty head. Life ain't easy as a small fish in a small pond!
It's going to be another big year, so let's get down to business.
It's Worth the Trip to Uptown Magazine!
I rang in the first issue of the New Year with this column, a tremendously helpful shortlist of things that you definitely should not be doing if you're one of those hypothetical wayward souls returning to the city for Manitoba Homecoming 2010. Any longtime readers out there might have done a doubletake at this; haven't I already written about this topic previously? Why, I have! But I hope that you'll forgive me the return to the topic, because A) I did my best to focus on other facets of the exercise, and B) that first column was a year and a half ago. If that sounds crazy, that's because it is. Has it been a year and a half already? That's madness.
It was funny, actually; the day right after I handed this column in, that kerfuffle broke out in the national media again about Sam Katz and his stupid naming rights initiative. The holiday season and new year turnover meant that it was a slow news day, and the Canadian Press' strategy for slow news days is to pick any given outstanding story that makes Winnipeg look like a shithole and then publish it as though it's news.
(You might think I'm kidding about that, but now that you've heard it you can't unhear it. Keep an eye on their national story selections and let me know if I'm ever, ever wrong about it.)
Anyway, so our beloved local Free Press ran that Canadian Press feed, I guess figuring why not, and then its loyal and supportive readership condemned them for being all lazy. Winnipeg Free Press, you know I love you, but -- hey, that's the first time I've said that all year! Winnipeg Free Press, you know I love you, but you don't really attract the best and brightest to your comments sections online. The comments sections of the two local papers are pretty funny because Sun readers almost always agree with everything on the site, Free Press readers almost always disagree with everything on the site, and somehow this still makes both groups look like morons. It doesn't help that these are the only -- only -- places in the universe that anybody uses the phrase "GIVE YOUR HEAD A SHAKE", a particularly stupid argumentative tack which is written so often in the Free Press' comments that it would comprise a techno song if it were set to music.
So folks were up in arms complaining about how local media sure did drop the ball on the story, which I thought was particularly amusing -- not only because I distinctly remembered Bartley Kives mentioning the stalled plan two months prior, but because this story is actually so old that I wrote about it over two years ago. Has it been two years already? That's madness. And that's why it was funny when this story came up the very day after I handed in the column above; I read it in the news that day, went aw-shucks because I could have written about it, and then remembered that I have written about it.
It's a weird feeling, but par for the course around here, and this news item will continue to crop up until we are all dead because Winnipeg is just the same six or seven stories repeated on loop. As I'd said earlier, though, the trick is to keep presenting them in new and interesting ways. And I intend to do what I can! So tonight, for my first post of the new year and to accompany the themed column above, I'm commemorating the launch of the Manitoba Homecoming 2010 tag here at Slurpees and Murder. Don't worry, I'll be responsible with it; you might initially fear that I'm going to tag everything with it like "MY BACK LANE ISN'T CLEARED YET DURRR GO MANITOBA 2010", but humour me when I insist that I'll be using it in a balanced and reasonable manner. It turns out not everything in Manitoba is terrible! I know that sounds crazy, but bear with me.
Yes, there should be some interesting material coming down the pike around here in the next little while. I had promised you guys a photo safari tour of Christmas Eve downtown shopping, and it turned out to be so depressing that I nearly gave up on everything forever -- but, having done it, I should at least share the experience. I also intend to explain, in the near future, why living in Winnipeg is suspiciously similar to reading a major-label comic book; remind me to do that, if I forget to mention it. The stupid police helicopter is going to have its first vote tomorrow, so we're all going to have to put up with it for a very long time; I plan on revisiting that issue, but in a different medium than you would usually expect.
And with Homecoming 2010 now in full force -- doing everything it can to avoid ever mentioning the words "Spirited", "Energy", or both -- I'm going to make a big deal of looking not only at the province and its capital now but at some artifacts of our local past as well. In fact, when-slash-if my current term work expires later this year, I might just camp out at the Archives for a while; I'd get to do stuff like this, except not nearly as well! I think that'd be a hoot.
Yes, just like it says on the secondary theme song of the promotional campaign, This is Gonna Be a Good Year! I don't know about you, but I sure intend to enjoy it!