Monday, November 10, 2014

I Wanted One Last Project to Give This Site a Proper Sendoff, So I Wrote an Original Soundtrack Concept Album for a Manitoba-Themed Nintendo Game That Doesn't Exist

Hello there, friends! I'd hate to bury the lede too far down under my characteristic exposition, and the post title gives you the gist of the idea, so let's get straight to the important part: I'd been secretly writing an album off-and-on over the past year or so, and now that album is out.

Manitoba Circuit OST / マニトバラリーレース大冒険!! こんなに平らでいいのか?! OST
Pay-What-You-Want |

So that's pretty great. That's a pretty good feeling! The album is free to stream, and also free to download, though you are welcome to pay money for it if you find you enjoy it.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ask James Anything Month: We Get Stacks and Stacks of Letters

Greetings from a motel in Yorkton, Saskatchewan!

It's been quite the whirlwind month for me since last we spoke; I've overseen the final episode of Winnipeg Internet Pundits, entrusted the physical Slurpees and Murder Record Club collection (there were a lot of records) to radiomaking sensation Christian Cassidy, bequeathed most of my vast fighting-game library to the fine folks at Chip Damage, guested on an episode of City Circus with Royal-Albert-saver Marty Gold, and done a lot of final-visiting and merrimaking with folks whenever I wasn't doing all that stuff I just mentioned above.

With very nearly all of my local -- well, 'local', now -- that'll take some getting used to -- (where was I) -- with very nearly all of my local loose ends tied up, I set out early this morning from Winnipeg with a car packed full of my remaining possessions. Sometime tomorrow evening I should be arriving in the wilds near La Ronge, Saskatchewan, or more specifically in a nearby Lac La Ronge subdivision that can only get internet by smartphone.

Not yet having a Saskatchewan smartphone, I'll be off the e-grid until I get that sorted out. So I'd better get this mailbag a-rolling!

Saturday, March 01, 2014

I Found a New Job and I'll Be Moving Far Away, so March is Ask James Anything Month

Hello, friends! It's been quite the week.

You may've wondered why I seemed to disappear into the internet ether after my most recent post. Those of you who also follow me on Twitter were aware by then that my cat was pretty gravely ill around that time; I spent my time before that post my the time after that post coaxing medications into her, nine times per day, ultimately taking her back to the vet's the next day when she still didn't show any improvement. (The details get a little grisly, so I'm trying to be concise about it.)

So I stuck next to the phone very closely those next few days, waiting for updates, and a rather different sort of call came in when I did; if you've encountered me any-elsewhere on the internet lately, you've already heard the big news. My favourite cat in the world passed away, and I found out that I'll be moving 1,100 kilometres northwest about a month from now. Those two life events were within 24 hours of each other. It's been quite the week.

Onward to adventure! I'm incredibly excited to become the Library Consultant for the Pahkisimon Nuye-ah Library System, based out of Air Ronge, Saskatchewan. And when I say 'based', I mean that my role with the organization will involve extensive travel; I'll be making trips all around to the member communities, driving to anywhere that has a road (I'm told the furthest drive will be the six hours to La Loche) and flying to anywhere that doesn't. So as someone who really loves librarianship and really loves exploration, I'm quite looking forward to this new opportunity.

If you've never been up there, it is beautiful scenery. I drove up there this past December (from Winnipeg, in one day -- get at me), and the route north from Prince Albert is two and a half hours through breathtaking boreal forest. And very early on in that drive, a great big sign beside the highway helpfully warns you that there won't be any gas stations for another 230 kilometres or so.

That's the other thing: if you're unfamiliar with the La Ronge / Air Ronge area, you may not appreciate how far north it is. It's about two and a half hours north of Prince Albert, as I'd said, or approximately six and a half hours north of Regina. Y'know how 90% of the Canadian population lives within 160 kilometres of the US border? Well, this isn't that. When I say I'm moving north, I mean a different biome north.

It's exciting! I'm really excited. (And if you've talked to me recently but before I landed the job, you knew how miserable I was feeling about a lot of things. Ah, but that was then.) But, alas, this means that I'll be leaving Winnipeg behind -- and with it, everything I've been doing around here.

So with the position starting in the first week of April, I have about a month remaining to tie up everything I'd had on the go. The other blog has now drawn to a close, and the radio show will run a few more episodes before officially concluding on March 19th. Here on Slurpees and Murder, I won't be around to finish ManLinkWeek, so I'll let that end where it stands -- and there're a couple more things I want to get onto the Slurpees and Murder Record Club before it's all said and done, so hopefully I'll get those out while they still make sense.

Having established all that, I'd thought to myself -- well, what can I do to play this site off, for the last month I'm still around? And then I remembered, oh yeah, I have a March feature, I did it all through March last year.

So let's give it one more spin, friends and faithful: March is Ask James Anything Month! If you've ever wondered or wanted my thoughts on something, well, now's the time, I'd say. Hit me up!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

James Hope Howard Liveblogs the CBC Feed of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony

9:50 AM

Well, good morning, sports fans! Hey, how 'bout that hockey game earlier today, huh? Canada can breathe easy for the next four years, now, after a Gold Medal game that was very exciting and not at all anticlimactic.


We're live from (the CBC broadcast feed of) Fisht Stadium for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremonies, so I'll do my best to keep up with it; let's you and I experience whatever's about to happen together, as the natural pairing bookend to my previous 2014 Opening Ceremonies liveblog (as well as the opening and closing ceremonies from 2010).

They've just flashed a notice that the Ceremony proper isn't for another 27 minutes -- I presume they're starting it at fourteen past the hour, as they did with the opening -- but I'll kick off from the top of the hour and we'll figure it out from there. (It's all just montages, right now, so, y'know.)

10:00 AM

The hockey and curling montage taking us into the top of the hour featured The Tragically Hip's classic "Blow at High Dough", which really just made me miss the Rick Mercer vehicle Made in Canada. Man, I liked that show.

Exciting footage of athletes walking! So many athletes! So much walking!

We join Scott Russell and Diana Swain -- what, where're my Ron & Peter, I was looking forward to those two -- Scott & Diana in the Fisht broadcast booth, who kill some time by listing the upcoming rebroadcasts before throwing it to various interview snippets from Canadian medal winners. Including an appearance by the Jennifer Jones team, which was nice; I lit out bright and early to take in that St. Vital Curling Club watching-party event earlier this week, it had a breakfast buffet at 6:30 AM and the bar open at 9:00 AM, it was super great.

Back now with Scott & Diana, who plug Collider Films before now throwing to -- aww, man, another The Olympians feature? Erghhhhh can we just get to the vaguely terrifying Russian wackiness already, c'mon hurry it up already

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Manitoba Links Weekly: REEFER MADNESS, Sage... Madness(?), Does This Mean I Shouldn't Bring a Samurai Sword to the Art Gallery, and Here's That Winnipeg Blog Compendium You've Been Waiting For (ManLinkWeek S02E17)

Ha, well, so much for my earlier plan! I wish I had a super-cool story about the very important and dramatic events that kept me from having this post out earlier, but the truth of it is just that the Olympic hockey is on way late at night (and onward through to morning!) so I'm on some very wonky sleep patterns. These are very important patriotic considerations! This'll just have to be a Sunday feature, I think, until all that gets sorted out. Please bear with me in the meantime.

So hello and welcome to a Manitoba Links Weekly! Brace yourselves for the week's worth of content, it's quite the flurry today.

This week on Winnipeg Internet Pundits I opened the show by not working a telephone correctly, because I am the smartest there is. (Well, okay, in fairness -- it was actually a switch outside the studio that needed flipping, rather than anything to do with the phone machinery itself. But it took me a minute or two to properly diagnose that while still keeping it together on-air.) Once that got settled, though, it was a very good show! Rather a good show, and I hope that you will enjoy it.

Let's light up the ManLinkWeek!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Manitoba Links Weekly: Hashtag Melnigeddon, Everyone Will Like Me Again If I Sue This Student Newspaper, Russ Wyatt is Sheegl-Shaming, and Here's a Stolen Skeleton Statue to Watch For (ManLinkWeek S02E16)

The Mr. Bones mascot skeleton statue has been kidnapped, and it is currently being held for ransom, and the ransom is a pizza. Winnipeg is a live-action cartoon. [ via ]

Hello and welcome to Manitoba Links Weekly! God, what a week.

This week on Winnipeg Internet Pundits we began the task of chipping away at the wall of newsworthy topics this week; I also played a couple of thematically-appropriate tunes during the hour, and I'm interested to know whether you the listener think they helped or hindered the flow of the show, so let me know by email or in the comments below what you made of it.

Friday, February 07, 2014

James Hope Howard Liveblogs the CBC Feed of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies

9:50 AM

Hello out there, sports fans!

I'd done this for the 2010 Olympics' opening ceremonies (and for their closing ceremonies as well), and while the Sochi Olympics are a tad more... problematic, I figure I may as well keep an eye on the ol' zeitgeist and see what happens.

The hosts for this CBC coverage are Peter Mansbridge and Ron MacLean, who are doing their best to fill time until the ceremony proper; interviews with various CBC personalities, footage of a Russian police choir singing Daft Punk's "Get Lucky", y'know, standard fare to build up to the top of the hour.

10:00 AM

There will come a time when "Fish Stadium" ceases to be funny to me, but today is not that day.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Manitoba Links Weekly: The Province is Cutting CFS Funding Alongside the Phoenix Sinclair Report, and You'll Probably Need a Drink After Reading About It (ManLinkWeek S02E15)

Hello and welcome to Manitoba Links Weekly!

It's been another big week, hasn't it? Another busy ol' week. Let me fill you in briefly on what I've been up to! When last we left off I was headed to the final Mondragon Party, set on braving the crowds --

Friday, January 24, 2014

I Went to a Preview Event For Winnipeg Mardi Gras and Everything Was Delicious, So Here're Some Recommendations

Well, good evening, all you fine folks!

January has been flying right by, our fair city's events calendar is jam-packed, and it's finally warmed back up enough that we can all go outside without screaming. Busy times! In fact, I'm off to the (hashtag) Dave Shorr Comeback Party shortly after I've finished this post -- if you see this in time you should totally come down too, tickets available at the door 'n'all that -- but first let me tell you about a thing I went to about a week ago, because I know y'all love pictures of food and drinks.

Hark! Winnipeg Mardi Gras approaches!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Manitoba Links Weekly: Here's That #laserpyramid Explanation and Image Gallery You Were Waiting For, Portage Places Plural (Portages Place?), Your Choices are the Reprehensible Party or the Incompetent Party, And I Wish Every Night Were Retro Night (ManLinkWeek S02E13)

I am a simple man, and I do not ask for much. Just Retro Night pricing, every night, everywhere. I would be so happy. [ via ]

Hello and welcome to Manitoba Links Weekly! It's been a heck of a week, hasn't it? Really seemed to fly right by.

This week on Winnipeg Internet Pundits we alternative-media types tackled the City's engrossingly terrible snow-clearing nightmare, the Province's precariously flimsy reasoning on both the Phoenix Sinclair and hospital-discharge taxi-ride files, and the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives' continued Wile E. Coyote act of running headfirst into rocks they've painted to look like tunnels. (Some of these stories are linked below as well, you'll know 'em when you see 'em.)

Onward to ManLinkWeek! More germanely, onward to LASERS:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Manitoba Links Weekly: The City of Streetlights and Trees, The Production Values are Very Nice, Can I Please Just Have the Machine Garden, And Here's Spraypaint on a Snowbank (ManLinkWeek S02E12)

Does anybody want to form a Winnipeg incarnation of Death Grips with me? I'll do the vocals, you do keyboard beats, it'll be great. And this -- obviously -- this will be our debut album cover. I am dead serious about all of this. [ via ]

Hello and welcome to Manitoba Links Weekly! There was no new episode of Winnipeg Internet Pundits this week due to illness -- mine specifically, because I was the kind of seasonally ill that I'd hate to have exposed anyone else to -- but next week should be a good show, I figure.

Onward to ManLinkWeek!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Manitoba Links Weekly: I'm Cold (There There), Maybe 2014 Won't Suck, An Industrial-Looking Heart in the Sky, and Here's an Anthropomorphic Cartoon Lady-Perogy Praising Jesus (ManLinkWeek S02E11)

Thus far I've spent the New Year increasingly debilitated by a seasonal cold-flu-something -- sweats and chills and coughing fits and sapped strength and the whole kit-'n'-kaboodle -- and in my intermittent bouts of mild feverish delirium, there are times when I am forced to question whether something is real or imagined. You can imagine the trouble that I am having right now with this picture.

But no, it's real, and it's spectacular: CTV News producer Joe Olafson took this photograph at the corner of McPhillips & Aberdeen, and it really is quite the fascinating smorgasbord of intrinsically Winnipeggian character notes. [ via ]

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to Manitoba Links Weekly! For the coming of the new year and the passing of the old I'd written a year-end retrospective poem, as one does, as you do.

So welcome to the new year! Talking about the weather may not sound like the most exciting way to kick off the year's first ManLinkWeek, but oh, it's been a special kind of weather: