Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Manitoba Links Weekly: Will Help Identify Your Carts if There is a Problem (ManLinkWeek 34)

All right, let's do this! Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown drops tonight on PSN -- I'm downloading it as we speak -- so we've no time to lose; the last console release in the series was... just under five and a half years ago, and to say that I am excited about the game would be to understate matters ever so slightly.

Ah, but first things first, of course -- it's time once again for ManLinkWeek!

[West End Dumplings: Seven stories about Portage and Main]
Following up on last week's call to action, the end results of which you can peruse here, Christian Cassidy celebrated the 150th anniversary of Winnipeg's most famous (well, most historically famous; one could argue Portage and Donald as the most currently iconic, at least as imagery goes) intersection with no fewer than seven fascinating historical features in one convenient serving. (The Trizec portion in particular is a tremendous and timely reminder that we, as a City, are stupid and never learn from our mistakes.)

Yes, the 150th anniversary was quite the treat, and -- as John Dobbin notes -- absolutely none of it would have happened if it weren't for one attentive interweb fella bringing it to everyone's attention. Hooray for blogging!

[Anybody Want A Peanut?: Confusion Corner redesigned and unconfused]
Here is how one of our most infamously indirect intersections could be swiftly simplified if we as a City had the foresight and finances to pursue it. So, to put it another way: here is something that will never happen.

Of course, you never can quite rule anything out around here:

[Metro Winnipeg: Stadium may be delayed again]
[Winnipeg Free Press: Buchko drops ball on stadium tour]
Now, I know you're not going to believe this, b--pfffft ha ha ha ha ha ha

[CBC Manitoba: Trash, recycling carts roll out to Winnipeggers]
In other local news, the city-wide trash and recycling collection overhaul has begun; the new system is intended to expand recycling buy-in and reduce waste while simplifying the overall collection process with uniformity across neighbourhoods. The goals, as stated, seem reasonable; I'm not particularly convinced either way as yet about whether the system will be better or not, but we'll see how it all shakes out when October rolls around and everyone has to play along with it.

I'll tell you what did catch my eye, though; in all of the news stories covering the changeover and the first wave of carts, the language in each one was noticeably similar -- when not identical -- to the City User Guide's "Cart collection" section and its insistence that writing down the serial numbers on the units "will help identify your carts if there is a problem". Where X equals news outlets, zero out of X have explained or expanded on exactly what sort of 'problem' that may be -- and I don't know about you, but I think it's really funny just how specifically nonspecific that phrasing is.

Oh, in case of a problem, I see. Like, any old problem? Do I call you guys up with my serial numbers if I can't reach the old newspapers caked to the bottom of the cart? Suppose there's a raccoon in my cart; do I read the serial numbers aloud to it until it gets bored and leaves? Is that what they're for? Suppose my problem is that someone filed off the serial numbers. Well, what do I do with them then? Do I write them back on? Does that still count?

Perhaps you, the reader, are supposed to imply from these instructions and this wording that your serial numbers will aid you in retrieving carts lost to -- how should I put this? -- dalliances with mischief. Well, dear reader, it may then perhaps behoove you to read further on into the User Guide under "Frequently asked questions":

"Who is responsible for maintaining the carts?

"You must keep the carts clean and secure. If they are damaged or vandalized, you will have to pay to replace them.

"What happens if the carts are damaged, lost or stolen?

"You have to replace or repair lost or damaged carts unless the collector damages them during collection. Phone 311 to buy replacement parts (e.g., lids, wheels). To reduce the chance of your carts getting damaged or going missing, move them back onto your property as soon as possible after they are emptied.

Conspicuously absent in these frequently asked questions: "So what the hell good did writing down the serial numbers do me, then?" And: "I have to buy a whole new cart every time some kid spraypaints it?" And: "You're charging people for replacement parts? Why are these parts more expensive than an entire blue box was?" Maybe those are being saved for the second printing.

Anyway, as I'd said, the whole city will soon be covered in these for the October launch, so enjoy coughing up the dough to rebuy your carts when someone inevitably feels like lighting them on fire and your much-emphasized serial numbers are melted to illegibility. Prrrrrroblem?

[Love me, love my Winnipeg: It's finally here... sort of; Roof still caving in]
And just in time for waste collection concerns like these, here is a review of the City's brand new My Waste App! All the functionality of bookmarking the City's garbage site in your smartphone browser, now broken into smaller chunks all directing you to phone 311! Yes, the Winnipeg My Waste App, now available "from your favorite app store". Give it a try! Maybe it's... maybe it's secretly very useful.

And while we're on the subject of online offerings:

[Kijiji Winnipeg: Giving away Barn for FREE]
[Kijiji Winnipeg: Antenna]
Part of the loopy fun that distinguishes Winnipeg's Kijiji section from other cities' sites is just how thoroughly the semi-rural character of the area shines through, especially in the available selection of items at any given time. Each of these postings stands quite well on their own, but it's also fun to mentally combine them; I mean, if you have the necessary tools on call to transport a barn just in case someone offers you one, you may as well swing by and take the 35-foot antenna as well. Why not, right? And what I really enjoy, too, right now, is picturing that the guy who wrote the first posting is reading the other two postings and blurting out "NO god DAMMIT where is the RHUBARB".


[The Manitoba Historical Society: The Republic of Manitobah (via This Was Manitoba)]
And, finally, let us close this week the way we opened and take you back to the later 1800s. Did you know that the area we now call the province of Manitoba was originally founded as a Republic? Well, it... wasn't, actually, or at least not legally. But that doesn't mean someone didn't try! So here is the true story of President Thomas Spence, whose brief and wacky experiment in self-governance ended in drunken corruption and a madcap pitch-dark fistfight-then-shootout during a treason trial in a log cabin. Because history is awesome.

Thank you for reading ManLinkWeek!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Canada Vignettes - Spence's Republic