Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Manliest of Arts and Crafts Projects

It may not look like it, but I still do quite a bit of writing. It's for cover letters, though, so you don't really see any of it.

Yes, despite my Master's degree and my highly relevant workplace experience, I remain a capital-L Librarian without a library to work in. Since this is currently one of the worst job markets of the past eighty years, I figure I can't be too down about it; it helps the ol' morale if I think of it more as a mandatory unplanned vacation, kind of like being a nursing student. So in between applications, I do my best to putter around and maintain a reasonable facade of productivity.

What did you do today? The usual routine? That's cool, that's cool. Not a bad day, then. Me? I made a cape.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Behold Our Majestic Double Rainbow, or: You'll Never Guess What Winnipeg Leads in (Seriously, Guess)

When I say Slurpees, you say Murder!


...yeah, okay, so that never really works. But you've probably figured out where I'm going with this post, so let's get down to business.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Welcome to the Confusing Political Inclusions Pavilion

The Folklorama programs for the year, titled the "Folklorama 2010 Travel Guide", are now available in various locations all across the city.

As a two-week celebration of the diversity and understanding that unites and shapes our multicultural community, I believe it's fair to say that Folklorama represents a spirit of inclusion and a genuine effort to avoid making people feel as though they're left out.

So, for us politics nerds, the spread on pages twenty and twenty-one are particularly interesting; if we operate on the idea that everybody is important and that nobody gets left out, then apparently there are only eighteen MLAs in the Province of Manitoba and all of them are NDP.

Well, that's interesting.

Given that this list lacks all of the Conservative MLAs and the... one remaining Liberal, it stands to reason that these pages were paid for and/or laid out by the NDP. But isn't it usually considered worthwhile (or, uh, appropriate) to include the name or logo of the party somewhere on there?

There's a similar, but smaller (at half a page), section on the upper half of page forty-three that shows the names and titles of six federal Conservative MPs -- but that ad also uses blue for most of the design and identifies itself as being "from your Federal Conservative Team", so there's less room for confusion on that one. (Granted, the federal Conservatives have gotten themselves in trouble before for putting their names and logos on things they shouldn't, but I think the usage is considered acceptable here.) So it seems kind of strange that the ruling provincial party, who hold thirty-six seats, would use two pages to offer best wishes from only half of its Members.

Initially I'd wondered if they were profiling only the MLAs of ridings within the city limits -- Folklorama being, after all, a Winnipeg event -- but that line of thinking evaporated once I went over the ridings actually represented here. Brandon East and not, say, Burrows? Gimli and not, say, Point Douglas? Strange. And stranger still when you consider the relative provincial prominence of these members, especially since the two-page spread omits almost as many notables as it includes.

Ten of the eighteen slots here are filled by Cabinet Ministers, eleven counting the Premier, but that leaves another nine Cabinet Ministers off the sheet entirely. Some of the bigger names, at that; no Ashton, no Blaikie, no Robinson, no Wowchuck or Mackintosh or Marcelino. Yo, isn't Flor Marcelino the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism? How did the Minister of Culture, from a Winnipeg riding, get left out of the Folklorama program entirely while the non-Cabinet MLA of Brandon East made the cut? This is so bizarre.

I also wondered, after all of that, if these are some of the ridings that the NDP is sweating; were the selections here made to shore up support in next year's toughest battlegrounds? An initially promising idea, but not too accurate unless things have changed drastically in these areas; aside from Blady's surprise win and maybe Selby's riding, none of these contests were even particularly close in the last election. Not even Caldwell's!

I must admit that this post largely originated from me looking at these pages and going "what the hell is Drew Caldwell doing there", but much deliberation later I still haven't come up with a particularly compelling explanation. What the hell is Drew Caldwell doing there? Do we have a Brandon Pavilion this year? And how does a special spread of eighteen NDP MLAs make it into a Folklorama program without the customary NDP branding? Did Selinger decide that he'd pretend to be Sam Katz and stage a "non-partisanship" charade of his own?

More questions than answers here, I'm afraid. Fortunately, since Folklorama begins on the first of August, there are just under three weeks remaining before we can all get completely plastered and yell in public and forget everything we were talking about beforehand. Hope you like gymnasiums!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Big Month So Far, or: Concerts and Queens and Parades, Oh My (Plus: Crowdsourcing a Clean Shave)

Whirlwinds of activity around here! (Including, if you've been following the weather, actual whirlwinds.)

Yes, the summer months always seem to be the busiest in this city, and if there's one thing I need right now it's to keep myself busy. I'm currently fighting a bout of a frustratingly lingering cough and cold combination -- just like almost everybody I know, almost as if there's some sort of connection -- so it's important to get some sunshine and exercise, do the ol' up-and-about routine, that sort of thing.

Besides drinking entire cases of fluids, and besides stubbornly dragging myself out of bed bright and early every morning specifically just to watch soccer, what have I been up to? Well, buckle yourself in for a fine photographic travelogue, because we'll start from day one out along the Lake. (There are a lot of photos in this post, so slower connections should consider themselves forewarned.)