Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Manitoba Links Weekly: Nothin' But Ice (ManLinkWeek 14)

It's the middle of January, it's cold outside, everybody is pretending to be surprised. Settle in and warm up with some ManLinkWeek!

First up:

[One Man Committee: Winnipeg Internet Pundits turns one]
Happy almost-Birthday, Winnipeg Internet Pundits! The one-year special tomorrow evening will feature WIPs alumnus Rob Galston (who spent this past week explaining why he does not care for the City's interpretations of its own Osborne Village secondary plan), and will also mark the final regular show for One Man Committee author Walter Krawec. I've considered it a privilege to be on the airwaves alongside Walter, whose thoughtful reflection and keen insight always ensured a robust discussion of the issues, and hopefully in future we'll be able to have him on as a guest from time to time to balance out whatever lunacy is falling out of my mouth that day.

A whole year of radio already, my goodness, where does the time go. Onward to Year Two! Knowing this city, I'm sure there'll be no shortage of topics to explore in the coming year.

Oh, speaking of: I did my best to minimize overlap today between this post and the recent WIPs link roundup, but said roundup was so thorough and so crammed full of noteworthy things that I was bound to duplicate at least one of them. Between here and there, I doubt very strongly that you will go wanting for local interest items to read today.

[Observations, Reservations, Conversations: Seasons of Tuxedo]
Okay, so, get a load of that video. Between the surprisingly ominous future-synth musical selection and the somehow-instantly-dated CGI, does this feel like the early build of an old scrapped PC version of Shadowrun to anyone else? Any second now a bunch of megacorporate vampire trenchcoat elves with shotguns and cybernetic right eyes are going to rush out of that specifically generic chain restaurant, and then it's going to be on like Polo Park up in here.

That's another thing that kept throwing me off while I watched this video: the store names on the walls. This is something of a silly personal diversion, but I always get a kick out of spotting placeholder text easter-eggs that folks sometimes sneak into things to see if anyone will ever notice. So obviously I was pleased to see that the flagship IKEA (which will helpfully have its wordmark written in house-sized letters across its roof) will be joined in the Seasons of Tuxedo development by the following distinguished retailers:

"E-clipse" (how that store survived the dot-com bust I'll never understand)
"SAVVY" (clothing for pirates, one assumes)
"Fashion place"
"CINEMA", obviously an anchor tenant, airing a showing of what is either a raccoon or the Pringles mascot

And my personal favourite of the stores:


I don't even know why that's so amusing to me. I just love the idea of people constantly walking into that store and asking them what they sell there.

Now, the fun of their making up names isn't exactly what threw me off; IKEA being the only confirmed tenant thus far, the video guys needed to get a bit creative to avoid having all but one of the stores be named "Lorem Ipsum". No, what really got me was that they went to the trouble of making up dozens of fictional stores, each of them with their own wordmark and colour scheme, and then, after doing all of that, they went "hell with it" and tossed in three real-life logos. Covered up only just enough to obscure the full name of the store or product, but left in their original fonts as typographic telltales to screw with dudes like me who are looking for funny fake store names.

ANYWAY. I very much dislike the entire concept of the Seasons of Tuxedo development, and I dread its future implications for our infrastructurally bankrupt sprawl-happy city, but, hey, I got a chuckle or two out of its promotional video for reasons entirely unrelated to what the video was intended to accomplish. That's a positive, right?

[Policing, Politics and Public Policy: Winnipeg Police Pull 2010 Annual Report from Website]
And so the saga of the Winnipeg Police Service 2010 Annual Report continues, with no end date in sight. It went from being late to being late and wrong, then went from being late and wrong to being sheepishly retracted for amendment, and when they do re-release the poor thing again (presumably for real this time) it'll be even more overdue and it'll remind everybody of the whole debacle all over again. Then, too, when you open up the question of statistical credibility in police documents -- particularly when taken alongside our Crimestat's reputation for shortcomings and inaccuracies -- well, that's a can of worms that isn't easily closed again.

And we still never got a French version of the Annual Report! Man, seriously.

[Grant's Tomb (Brandon Sun): Every city is triple-A!]
And speaking of keeping authorities intellectually honest with statistical analysis -- I know that I linked to a Grant Hamilton article last week, and I try to run an informal soft-ban on using the same site two weeks in a row, but this piece is tremendous and not getting nearly enough love or attention.

Remember, of course, that we live in a province where the standard media protocol for news releases is to slightly rephrase them and then dutifully repeat whatever it was they said -- so perhaps I should consider that I've been living here too long, that perhaps I am just being unduly impressed when a newspaper worker responds to the claims of seated politicians by actually applying things like critical thinking and careful scrutiny and reasonable suspicion. And graphs! Look at all that. Look at all the effort that this man has gone to, in a situation that very rarely receives or requires any effort at all. (You will note as an example how readily Winnipeg's traditional media outlets were willing to accept the Winnipeg Police Service 2010 Annual Report, before a dude on the internet happened to saunter in and do everyone's homework for them.) Good for Brandon! Between this and the whole oil boom going on over there, Western Manitoba isn't doing too badly for itself; good thing they haven't thought to secede yet! Ha! Ha ha ha! oh god, please don't leave us

[UPTOWN Magazine: Best of Winnipeg 2012]
Hey, it's that time again! UPTOWN's Best of Winnipeg list tends to arrive around May or June, so this isn't an immediate priority on your to-do list or anything, but when you have a few minutes handy you should definitely drop in on it and do your part to celebrate what makes this city great fair to good not unlivable. It may also behoove you to review last year's list and the year before that, if you're blanking on any given category, or if you remember being cheesed off about one of the winners and want to make a point of voting against them this year.

Boy, the Best Video Store category ought to be a real hoot next year, huh?

[Co.Design: Coming Soon to Canada: Igloos That You Spray On]
Articles written about Winnipeg for publications based elsewhere will most frequently, almost invariably, involve some sort of variation on the theme of "HEY, did you know it gets COLD in WINNIPEG?" This article is not an exception on that front -- but the important, not-unwelcome difference here is that it employs this revelationary reveal in the service of presenting something as being completely awesome.

The design and (as it were) construction method featured here is one of the five winners in the Forks' Warming Huts competition, and it is the one that most captures my imagination by far. One is scheduled to be laid down this coming Friday -- weather permitting, because it's been a bizarre winter around here -- but when you have technology like this, why stop at just one? I'd be absolutely delighted if they went bonkers with this thing and laid down a hundred insta-igloos all clumped right together, a whole village of substantive yet impermanent structures raised overnight with little more than water and science. (Nothin' But Ice!) Put fifty each in a line on either side of the skating trail! Use the combination of their invaluable shelter against the outside world and their constant flux of population to craft some kind of artsy metaphor about the simultaneous importance and intangibility of human community, or something like that, I don't know, you guys are the artists. Look, just give me the hundred Ice Pillows already, we'll figure out how to explain them later.

Also, the other thing that I really like about this warming hut design is how hard it'll be to burn it down.

And, finally:

[Kijiji Winnipeg: FREE BACON !!]
I don't -- I just -- I don't even know where to begin with this.

Here is this store's official website; here is a smudgy flyer for some of their products. The store sells snow blowers, and drywall, and extension cords, and beef. The store is named "KND Marketing".

"get a free package of Bacon with every purchase from KND Marketing this week!!! Come to 60 debaets Street, and view all out products in our showroom, and or place a special order for somthing you need, and get a free package of bacon!!"

If you drive to their building in the St. Boniface Industrial Park and buy something from them -- an electric fireplace, a hunting stand, a standalone shed, a 22-ton gas log splitter -- they will hand you a package of bacon. This is a thing! This is a real thing.

I really don't know what else I could add to that, so... thank you for reading ManLinkWeek! Stay warm out there.

1 comment:

John Dobbin said...

I'll reserve judgement till I see actual blueprints and plan for the place. At the moment, it is concept. Some might not like it but I'm not sure what people might want for such a large vacated industrial piece of land.

I don't know that any concept for the spot would make anyone happy. If it was industrial, residential, agricultural, commercial or natural, it would be sure to chafe someone the wrong way.

Certainly opposing the project will not help the downtown. Downtown's best bet lies in residential development, government offices and hospitality (entertainment and some retail). In other words, mixed use and nothing with the square footage of a skyscraper for retail.

I did notice the fun they had with signs. Maybe that is why they took down the video.

The issue of Kenaston Route 90 won't go away even if residential development was the only thing that went on the IKEA and Kapyong Barracks sites. The truth of the matter is that whatever goes there unless it is a park (and even if it is a park), it will attract people.

The old open air Polo Park concept was interesting albeit less favoured for winter. It is possible this new concept will be embraced again.

What is your favoured choice for the sites?