Well, hello there, stranger. Happy Louis Riel Day! And Happy Valentine's Day, too, if you were into that sort of thing.
As it just so happens, since we're on the subject of recent seasonal observances, I chipped in two or three jokes for the Sun's very special Winnipeg Jets Valentines gallery. (And knowing my luck, chances are that mine are all the ones you didn't like.) They're all quite worth your eyeballin', but here are some of the ones I really liked:
Pretty good, right? And then meanwhile I was trying to sneak, like, Chad Kilger jokes and shit into there. I really don't know how intrepid ringleader Tessa Vanderhart puts up with me, but she did a great job on writing and designing these, and I'm glad that I was able to contribute at least a li'l bit to the project.
(Y'ever forget about the concept of "writer's voice" entirely, for a while, and then have your own writer's voice rise up in rebellion and just stare you directly in the face? It's an... it's an odd feeling. "Oh. Huh. Well. That... that really seems like something I would write.")
I can speak firsthand to the difficulties of cranking out Valentines at any reasonable clip, in fact, because I'd also tried working on a set of civically-themed Valentines myself, and I did not -- to put it mildly -- I did not get particularly far with it at all. Here's basically everything I'd managed to generate on it:
And then I thought to myself, A) do you have any idea how hard it is to get decently-sized pictures of every councillor, and B) if I have to keep going back to the Sheegl well to get an idea done, that idea probably doesn't have a lot of mileage in it to begin with. You can see that the above was already a two-Sheegl-joke-every-seven-tries average, and spreading that across a thirty-Valentine pack (with non-mailable envelopes and Teacher's Card!) would wear its welcome out pretty quickly.
And I just couldn't get 'em to look consistent, and I just couldn't get them to feel consistent, and -- ecchh. Maybe next year! Maybe next year.
Anyway, enough about Valentine's Day! Nothing but trouble, Valentine's Day. How did you spend your Louis Riel Day? If you answered "on the highway"--
--well, my condolences, then. (And with all of the closures that were announced throughout the day, it's very possible that you're still out there somewhere.)
Driving conditions both in and out of the city were, as you can discern, less than optimal today. With temperatures hovering around minus-twenty Celsius and seventy -- SEVENTY -- kilometer-an-hour winds, travel by vehicle seemed a poor choice for most of the day.
Now, I don't know about you, but those are also the type of conditions that invariably rouse the prairie viking wanderlust in the back of my head. You can tell that I come from hardy stock, because these kinds of instincts would have killed all of my ancestors stone dead if it weren't for their survivability. So, yes: I went stomping around in borderline-uninhabitable weather for just over two hours, because it is invigorating, and because I am an idiot.
Here's a picture of Aubrey Park!
Here are pictures of Greenwood Park!
And then here are a whole bunch of pictures of Omand's Creek, because it is always thoroughly fun to monster-stomp your way through knee-high snow for hours at a time.
You probably thought that I was kidding or exaggerating for comedic effect, didn't you? That's adorable.
Anyway -- here is a sign that calls the area Omand Park.
There is also Rich Uncle Pennybags graffiti, because of reasons.
Here, mere paces away from that Omand Park sign, is another sign declaring the area as Halter Park.
There's probably a reasonably good story behind that, but I've never got around to looking it up.
And then here are people tobogganing and walking dogs along the creek, because screw you, it's Omand's Creek. I am very adamant about this and I am not really sure why.
Anyway, these were the last signs of life I saw for maybe an hour and half. Good to see the hardcore tobogganers (tobogganists?) out there, though, just a-tobogganin' away.
"Toboggan" is a really, really fun word.
Well, that doesn't look incredibly lonely at all, no sir.
I recognize that this is not an immediate priority -- ain't nobody clamoring to sit still for extended periods of time outdoors at the moment -- but at some point, some point later in the year, we might need to fix this bench up a bit. A bit. A tad.
To the bridge!
(I didn't include it in these pictures because it has to be viewed at a much larger size -- and because it is ever slightly Not Safe For Work -- but the contrast of graffiti styles in this shot is really something to behold.)
Are you like me? Do you see a hill and then, before you've finished deciding whether you should go up the hill or not, find yourself having already scaled the hill?
Nearly twenty-five years I've been coming to this particular place, and I don't know if I've ever not gone up the hill. Possibly not a once. It might be a sickness of some sort.
Unsurprisingly, still nobody around for what seems like forever. You may have noticed that a lot of these shots seem kind of dark, so let me establish something -- this was like three in the afternoon. It was just that kind of a day. (And the only reason that you don't see snow blowing all over the place in some of these shots is why the hell would I take my glove off and point a camera into blowing snow.)
To the tracks!
I know that sometimes the residents of our fair city like to talk about their favourite Winnipeg view, but I've noticed that we never really go over our favourite Winnipeg sounds. Sounds are important too! This is particularly noticeable with the city's many and varied bridges, because (say) Arlington Bridge has a certain atmospheric whoosh fully distinct from (say) the St. Vital Bridge and the high-pitched hum it makes when you drive over it.
I bring this up because the second -- the second -- I trundled out of the snow and up to this platform, the wind picked up dramatically and gave this incredibly satisfying extended boom behind me. I mean, an extended boom that would kill me, if I weren't properly decked out in a closet's worth of layers -- but that's part of the fun, you know? That's part of the satisfaction of the experience.
Anyone? No? Just me? Mm. Well, that's fine, I'm willing to be alone on this.
The number of pictures I have from hereabouts in the walk is far lower than the availability of the earlier sections, but I was lucky even to get these shots at this point; AA batteries, as it turns out, do not take entirely kindly to temperatures and winds that can kill a man.
Anyway, the graffiti on this bridge is as fun as ever, so have a gander if you're in the area. (You might want to wait until it warms up, a bit.)
Not that I should have worried, as it would turn out:
Oh, hey! After an hour or two of nobody, look at that, another human being! And one taking pictures with an infinitely better camera, at that, which means I can knock off my amateur-hour goofin' and get back to my walk.
Being infected with that wanderlust I'd mentioned earlier, and being born after 1972, one thing I kind of feel that I missed out on is the satisfaction (I'm sure) of lacing on one's boots, picking a direction, and then walking for hours until one finds oneself in a completely different town with a completely different atmosphere altogether. Again, I am willing to be alone and basically wrong on this thought, but I really like the idea of it.
So here's Tuxedo, basically, which is where you find yourself if you hit the bridge and aim south. You can see in the first of those two pictures, too, that -- perhaps mercifully for my long walk back -- the sun was finally just cracking the clouds at this point, raising the temperature from minus-fuck-you to a more manageable negative-egads.
Here is also where my camera died, for good this time, and never turned on again. (Note to self: BATTERIES.) Thank you for humouring my extended, slightly darkened narrative tour! I hope that your Louis Riel Day was equally enjoyable and rewarding.
Oh, goodness, this post was just way too many pictures at once, wasn't it. Next time on Slurpees and Murder: text! Hopefully!