Monday, September 26, 2011

Set the counter back to zero

Sigh. Well, we almost went a year without a murder on my street. Actually, I suppose if I want to be technical, it sounds like the 15 year old who was murdered a couple weeks ago was ultimately stabbed on my street as well, but the media was kind enough to primarily report the incident as being at College and Aikins; although, I suppose with my obsession with the media labelling neighbourhoods correctly in their news stories that is a touch hypocritical, but hey, my blog my rules ;)

Now, the police are being extraordinarily tight lipped with further details regarding the incident on Saturday night, and in one article I read apparently the RCMP had also been by the crime scene. I wonder if this means it's tied to one of the big gangs, with Canada wide ties, rather than the kid stuff we normally see in the North End? When the police were going door to door earlier in the summer to advise folks that there were gang members in the community, to which my reaction was along the lines of "Really??? Oh my goodness, I had no idea!!" (*insert sarcasm font between quotations), I learned, that apparently we actually do have "real" gangsters lurking about the neighbourhood - not just the kid and misguided barely-adult gangsters. The kinds that ride on motor-bikes instead of pedal-bikes.

Of course they found the neighbour to quote for the paper who wants to move because now they are too afraid to leave their house and so on, that's good, I always worry if they haven't found that person, although the other neighbour who "always hears gunshots" didn't seem to be quoted (as per almost every murder story, especially those involving firearms), I sure hope that wasn't the person  that was found dead. More sarcasm aside, right now I just feel a little curious about the who and if we're lucky enough to find out, the why.

I don't think the incident makes me feel any less safe on my street, I guess I don't really know what it would take for me to feel less safe. When I was searching to see if they had released any more information on the crime or the victim, I came across a story from 2007, also a murder on my street, and that one was random, with the police saying that it was a case of mistaken identity. It's odd that I don't remember that event, and I wonder why it didn't stick in my mind. At that point I hadn't even lived on the street for all that long. Perhaps I naively believe I'm safer because I think it's extremely unlikely that anyone would ever mistake me for a gang member, a gangsters girlfriend or the girlfriend of a rival gang member; except when putting my garbage in the autobin whilst in my pj's I generally look very generically lower-middle class So no, incidents like the one a few weeks ago, this weekend, or even in 2007 don't really frighten me. If I was going to be completely honest, my biggest fear that might actually come true is getting mugged, but since although I dearly love my handbag, genuine leather and all (I'm cheap and it was a treat to myself!) I would likely give it up in exchange for my safety. I also of course realize that sometimes that's how murders where a victim and culprit don't know each other start out - something as simple as a mugging. I also admittedly take slightly more precautions when out for a walk here than perhaps I would in the 'burbs, no more cash than I need for wherever I'm walking to, heck, I usually just bring my trusty friend Visa, no sense needing to replace my whole wallet if something happened.

Of course, part of the not necessarily bringing the purse thing is because do you know what a pain those things are??? Seriously, I miss my teen angst days with my chain wallet and when the only key I needed was a house key - now, between work keys, car keys, other car keys, house keys... and then there's the phone. Back in the day I had no cell phone, so I didn't need somewhere to put it; I think that is half the reason I ended up with a purse. I met a 6 year old with a purse the other day - if only the poor girl knew the half of it; what's fun and playing grown-up now will just end up being a catch all for everything and anything and likely holding all of her husbands stuff too (oh yes, you men do that - mock our giant handbags and then give us stuff to put in them for you!). Of course if I was ever in a roving edition of Let's Make A Deal I would likely have whatever they were looking for.

Speaking of purses, I actually know two people who fell victim to having their purses stolen while at cemeteries this summer - those are thugs that will hopefully get what's coming to them. Yeesh. Well, I'm off to reset the Boyd Ave. murder counter, so long as I don't keep it in my purse I should hopefully be okay.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I've been....


Now, obviously election signs are not that uncommon at this time, however what was unusual was that I didn't ask for these signs to be put on my prominent, corner lot fence, in BOTH directions. Now, don't get me wrong Kevin seems to be one heck of a guy, I've met him at numerous functions in the community over the years and he has always come across as being very genuine; perhaps too genuine for politics. I have a sneaky suspicion that he's really going to try to make a difference, at least at first. I also like that until recently it gave me another adult to talk to who was suffering through braces (he got his off now - I am still being tortured).

In fact, I probably would have been okay with keeping the sign on my fence, if for no other reason than he's the only candidate that I've actually met, but since I am working election day I have been told that demonstrating any sort of political support is a no-no. So I called the campaign office and they very efficiently sent someone down to take down the signs. However, I did ask for follow up as to how exactly those signs ended up on my fence (more on my motives for that in a minute, it was more than just idle curiosity). I was told, that, oops, they were meant for two different neighbours of mine, which of course may be true, but I'm more than a tad skeptical, and that's not just because one of the yards the newly torn down signs ended up on belongs to my 95 year old neighbour, of course she called and asked for a sign...

The main reason I'm more than a bit skeptical is that a friend of mine has been enumerating for the upcoming election and on several occasions has come across folks that flat out refuse to have their name added to the voters list, yet they have election signs in their yard. Does that not seem a touch contradictory? Yes please Candidate X, please put your sign in my yard indicating that I support you. Vote? Why would I vote? I didn't think that's why you wanted me to have a sign there! See? Seems a little suspect.

Now, this election is not the first nor will it be the last where there is some sort of controversy as to how, where and when signs get placed, but it certainly makes me wonder just how much support that Candidate X really has... maybe he or she just has more rogue volunteers.

Oh, and in other news, FREE this weekend, go and check out Assiniboine Park Zoo. I think I might actually go check it out - those baby pandas are pretty much too cute for words and I don't know if I have been to zoo since it was free all the time. This is of course why I don't really think I like the zoo, I was forced to go all the time because my sister liked it, and it was free, so I kind of grew to hate the zoo; perhaps it's time to give it one more go.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's my birthday - what can I get for free?

This post will serve as both a mini-rant and a genuine post. Being a Winnipegger, I of course love free things. However, as someone who has spent years working in the service industry, I hate people who just want free stuff because it's their birthday. I mean, really, it should be your mom that gets something free - she's the one who had a tough day xx years ago. As a server, there is almost nothing that you dread more than a squeal coming from the table and someone saying "like, omg, it's his birthday, do you guys like do anything for birthdays???!!" Assuming it's someone middle aged, the omg and like can be omitted, but the vibe is the same. The more the table expects you to do for them is directly related to what they are likely to tip. For example, the table that wants you to dress up and play some silly character that's part of a running joke (this really happened to me, and yes, I went along because in theory it should have paid off well for me) and sing/dance/give free everything will tip 7-10% if you're lucky. The table that quietly celebrates a birthday complete with cards/presents etc. but never specifically tells the server that it's someones birthday - probably more in the range of 15-20%. Yes Winnipeg, 15-20%. Get over it. That is what it's supposed to be. Not 10%. However the longer version of this rant is for another post.

So, tomorrow I celebrate being 29 with yet another year of experience (although, 23 was my favourite year so I prefer to pretend I'm holding there) and I'll be darned if I can think of where to get me some free birthday goodies. Of course all the chain restaurants will do something - Montana's would make me wear the cootie infested moose horns and sing and give me some sort of dessert if memory serves, CRApplebee's would also make their poor servers sing and bring me dessert, Old Spaghetti Factory same deal. Tony Roma's is slightly more clever, they give you a card to come back for a free appetizer on your NEXT visit, and The Keg, my general exception to my I hate chain restaurant rule, would give me a slice of their fantastic Billy Miner Pie. If I was in North Dakota I could visit every Manitobans favourite quasi-Mexican restaurant, Paradiso. Paradiso gets points from a server standpoint for only providing free dinner on the actual day of your birthday, ID required - I don't know if you've noticed, but on Friday/Saturday night at a chain restaurants it's EVERYONE'S birthday.... coincidence? Not likely.

One of my absolute favourite places in the city to nosh, fude, also does a free birthday dinner, but I keep putting off joining their VIP club thing (which you need to do) because my friends are all to cheap frugal practical cheap to ever want to eat there on a regular basis, so I always figure I won't get to take advantage of it. I seem to recall a few years ago that a car wash somewhere in the South End would give you a free car wash on your birthday, and I think Dutch Maid did free ice cream.

It seems to me that years ago there were a lot more places that offered something free on your birthday, maybe I'm wrong, please comment if you know of one that I have missed, or a favourite from days gone by. In any case, tomorrow, I'll be the one opening presents (hopefully) with a great group of friends who unless they wish for death, will not dare mention my birthday to the server. If that establishment offers something for birthday folk and the server takes it upon his or herself to provide it - so be it (and a bigger tip).

So what is the moral of this post? Well, basically if there is free stuff out there because it's your birthday, obviously take advantage of it, after all, it would almost be wrong as a Winnipegger not to; however, don't be obnoxious about it, take your free stuff with no singing and dancing (the staff will appreciate it, you're not 7 years old after all) and tip appropriately and we can all get along :) onto some pre-birthday Bailiey's....

Friday, September 9, 2011

Art, irony, or both?

Sometimes, when you are trying to think of a good topic for a post, one just presents itself for you. I sure am grateful for camera phones - it makes it a easier not to pass up moments like this.

Perhaps someone will use it for this weekends Giveaway Weekend September 2011? I know I will be scouring the city for more crap treasures to add to my collection(s). Remember, if you come across any free arborite tables, pick 'em up for me ;)

Please be sure to get out and enjoy what will probably be the last super-duper-extra-fantastic weekend of the year weather wise! Seriously, 30 degrees in September?? LOVE IT!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sofa King many things I could say about this...

Let's start with kudos for the juvenile joke in the name - I amuse easily, so points for that. If you do not have the sense of humour of a 13 year old*, say the title of my blog post reeeeeeeeeeal fast. However, you would think that the Sofa King, would sell, oh, I don't know.... sofas? The sign went up on this Selkirk building a few months ago and a bit of busy work seemed to happen, but now all has grinded to a halt.

Selkirk Avenue could certainly use some real storefront retail businesses, and a furniture store would be an alright addition I guess. I mean, there's Gill's in the old ice cream place on Salter just south of Selkirk and still two side by side furniture places on Main (the old Kern-Hill store and the space next to it, incidentally owned by the same people as Sofa King, based on the website address) so we don't really need another one, but I suppose at least it's not a social service agency.  Windows and doors (as the Sofa King claims to sell)? Well, since the majority of the population in the immediate neighbourhood are renters, I don't know how useful that is either.

Do you know what I wish for on Selkirk Ave? Sofa King many other things besides another storage space for a business that has an amusingly inaccurate website. No really, go to - it is a far cry from the reality of their retail space on Main. I think they spent Sofa King much money on the website that depicts a furniture store that exists only in their mind that they are Sofa King broke that they don't have much money for Sofa King's castle on Selkirk. I'd be Sofa King mad if I were the Sofa King.

Oh, one last thing and then I'm Sofa King done this post, it's the long weekend and I have things to do, people to see (ok, not really, but it sounds better than saying I'm repainting my rental). I'm Sofa King confused as to why if the Sofa King is a window and door place that they have broken old windows. Just saying.

*Note to readers: Winnipeg Girl is not actually a 13 year old boy who spends all of his time looking on the internet for dick and fart jokes, she just seems that way today.