Friday, June 24, 2011

When gunshots don't sound like gunshots

First some random housekeeping...

For the person who googled Root Beer Slurpee (a close second to Dr. Pepper) - if you're still looking, try the Sev in EK by Rona, just off Panet. They had them a week or two ago.

For the person looking for VW hubcaps - send me a message, I might have what you need if you didn't already find it. I, and most of my friends seem to hoard VW's.

For all of you that are looking for some variation of Winnipeg and h00kers (streets for h00kers in Winnipeg, Winnipeg h00kers, where to find Winnipeg h00kers and so on), please consider not looking in my residential part of the North End. I'm genuinely a little disturbed as to how many hits my blog gotten based on people who seem to be googling for h00kers.

To expand on a rant from way back when, Geography, where I expressed anger at negative news being attributed to the North End when it didn't belong there. At the time I didn't really have evidence that I could link to (as my own memory doesn't record details like dates and times that I get angry. Ok, well, now it does a bit more that I have a blog, but I digress...) so every time I come across something now, I try to add it to the list. So, Mike McIntyre, this one is for you. The intersection of Ross and Isabel is NOT in the North End. Thanks. While I'm thanking people, thanks to Winnipeg Cat for a daily chuckle and the link that led me to the story.

Oh, and the Wolseley project? Well, we're two weeks in and going strong. Only a little disturbance to the flowers and one lost due to natural causes.

Now on to my attention grabbing post headline...
Picture it, Saturday night in the North End. It was a nice enough night out, which generally means it's a little bit loud, but this past Saturday night was actually pretty quiet.  At one point, we'll say, maybe around 1130, I hear a series of noises that "sounded like gunshots". Or at least slightly less identifiable than most of the other noises that people claim sound like gunshots. For the record, most of the noises that are "gunshots all of the time" (see almost every story involving a shooting in the core area for this quote) are fireworks, backfiring cars, cars driving over glass bottles, cars driving over juice boxes, or pretty much any other noise besides gunshots. Of course, sometimes they are gunshots.

So Saturday night I hear a series of noises that didn't quite sound like the usual fireworks, but I wasn't really sure what they were either. Since there were no sirens immediately after I didn't really think about it too much. About half an hour or so after that, there was a loud BANG! sort of noise, but more like the sound two train cars make when they're joining up. I thought it sounded like it came from the government housing units across the street so I looked out the window, saw nothing of note, listened for a minute or so and went back to watching tv. Another minute or two later I heard the same sort of noise again so rushed to the window to try and figure out what the heck was going on. Was someone tipping over autobins again? There was not a soul in sight and no other noises to be heard. Back to my PVR I went.

About ten minutes later a vehicle tore down my street, like it was in a NASCAR race - it went by so fast that by the time I jumped up to see what kind of vehicle it was, it had already passed. I returned to the TV only to jump up like a jack in the box like 20 minutes later to the sound of a bunch of voices outside my window. This time I meandered outside to see what was going on. There were numerous cop cars milling about and the neighbours said there had been gunshots. Wait, you mean the banging noises half an hour ago?

Apparently. I wandered up to the next block where the most police activity was and asked one of the few officers who was not looking all over the ground with a flashlight, what was going on. I was asked if I heard anything, I repeated the above story and was very amusingly given a "ma'am, I can tell you that there has been a gun fired, perhaps it's best you return home". Eventually the intersection was closed off with police tape. Now, I can see most of that intersection from the window I was looking out, it can't be more than 50m from my house, and there were no people milling about after I heard the sound that didn't sound anything like what TV, Movies and my own one confirmed account of gunshots have told me that gunshots sound like.

Interestingly, right around the time they were closing off the street with police tape, about 25m to the other side of my house there was a number of cop cars all of a sudden and they had stopped a car and had 4 people down on the ground. I was led to believe (can't know for sure of course as the police tend to be tight-lipped on these sorts of things) that the two things were connected however the time delays between all of the events confuses me.

Oh, and Choppy (forgive me, I don't remember which blogger called the Police helicopter that, but it amuses me so I'm going to use it too) was there circling around for quite a while. Well surely an event of this magnitude made the papers and you're just desperately searching for where I've hidden the link to the article... nope. Nothing. Nada. No hint of a story.

I don't write this post to highlight yet another negative thing that has happened in the North End, I mean, I don't want to hide the negative either, but more to point out two things. One, we need more information from the Police. When something of this magnitude happens there should be a website that explains at least the basics so we can arm ourselves with the most powerful weapon out there - information. Perhaps a rule such as if more than XX cars are dispatched (I would say 4 is a good number) to a call, a brief summary should be made available to the public. Two, sometimes gunshots don't sound like gunshots.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I am not a h00ker, but thanks anyway.

That just about sums it up really. I was walking back from bringing the garbage to the bin the other day (the bin is on the boulevard, don't get me started on that...) and as I was walking the half a block back home, a car slowed down jussssssssssst enough to make me wonder what he was looking for - maybe checking the street name? Nope, he seemed to be looking just at me.

Not wanting to accuse this guy of being a john when mayyyyyyyybe he was just lost, I continued up the sidewalk (not the street, the sidewalk - the h00kers usually walk down the road itself) and sure enough he turned down the next back lane and stopped; waiting for me to approach the car. Instead I stood at the sidewalk and shot him a dirty look. He turned around and headed back up the street staring at me the whole time. We reached the corner again at about the same time and he waited for me to approach the car yet again. My response was the same scowl and then he turned, waited just another second in case I was confused and perhaps wanted to offer him some lovin' and then drove away.

Now, although I don't have a picture of myself up here, I'm fairly certain that I, even on my worst day, do not look like a street h00ker. Not really sure what kind of amazing luck this guy thought he was having, but I think he may have watched Pretty Woman a few too many times.*

Now, thankfully, I was very close to home at the time and it was still daylight so I didn't feel particularly threatened, but what if I was a bit younger and a little more vulnerable? What gives that creep the right to think he's allowed to look for sex next to MY house? Or anywhere in my neighbourhood? I wish we had a "red light' district in Winnipeg - we all know that sex for money happens here - why not add an element of safety for the workers to it? If there was one place for this type of activity then there would be no reason whatsoever that just because I, or any other girl or woman, simply walking down the street was a h00ker.

Of course the idea of some sort of designated area for this is far to wild and crazy for Winnipeg, but I really think that it should get a bit more discussion than it does.

On to more lighthearted story...

Last week, the MCC store on Selkirk Ave. that I mentioned in my Spring Cleaning post was mentioned in a slightly more widely read medium - a little rag called the Winnipeg Free Press...
Transit worker Larry Preweda just received a stunning windfall -- pearls, gold and $1,860 -- thanks to some very honest people. "My wife Delann passed away three years ago. I was de-cluttering the house and decided I'd give her books to the Mennonite Central Committee thrift shop. I never even realized there was a Readers Digest book about two-and-a-half inches thick in the box.
"The guys came and took the furniture and books over to the MCC Thrift Store on Selkirk Avenue.
"A few hours later, this lady gives me a call from the store to say she's found some interesting stuff inside a fake Readers Digest book and told me, 'You'd better come here right away!' "
Preweda was shocked to open the lid of the clever book bank and find $1,860 in cash and Delann's gold and pearls.
"I thanked them profusely," said Preweda.
Preweda learned later that the book bank nearly hit the trash heap.
"The MCC lady said she didn't normally deal in Readers Digest books, and they almost chucked it, but they heard something move ---- I guess the pearls -- and so they looked inside and called me immediately," Preweda said.
"It was the first donation of the day, and Betty Neufeld, our book woman, lets out a whoop: 'Look what I found!' " said Gerry Loewen, the floor manager at the MCC shop. They started counting the money.
"We stopped at $1,500 or $1,600," she said with a laugh. "If it had been one of the last pickups of donations, we could have missed it."
Aside from change and a little American cash in a coat sleeve, this is the most money the MCC gang has ever found.
Not only did Preweda receive the money and items, the incident also revived his faith in humanity's honesty.
"It made me feel very good -- a reaffirmation that there's good people out in the world," he said. "I'm going to give them something nice as a sign of my appreciation."
"We were delighted we could do that for him," Loewen said.
Yup. Now that's a feel good story! So remember, next time you've got some gently used things and you want to make sure that if you accidently leave your pot of gold in between the couch cushions that it makes its way back to you, give Gerry a call and she can send the volunteer troops out to pick it up! 204-586-2527 if you are too lazy your internet connection is too slow to go to the other post ;)

*Ok, so I certainly don't look like Julia Roberts either, but I do think that if I ever had to resort to h00king, that I'd be more of a yellow pages sort of girl rather than a hanging out on a side street in the North End.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Wolseley Project - in the beginning

So while it's no secret that I love living in the North End, it's also no secret that it wasn't exactly my first choice of neighbourhood to take up residence.

Like many a quasi-hippie and hippie alike, I love Wolseley. Home St. in particular, oh the beauty of all that brick! The majestic old homes and the beautiful large trees combined with the quaint neighbourhood shops and places to nosh (pulling Sherbrook into the mix for that in particular, never sure who claims Sherbrook, Wolseley or West Broadway...). My only complaints about Wolseley would be the small personal greenspaces (for the most part) and lack of parking (I love my cars). Oh, and the crazy environmentally-conscious folks who make it so that Wolseley is the breeding centre for every Winnipeg mosquito, making the walks down the beautiful tree-lined streets a back (and arms, legs, face, everything really) slapping good time.

Since Wolseley wasn't in the cards for me financially, I always assumed I'd end up in "fake Wolseley" aka, the West End. My options for the West End likely involved a lovely but small bungalow that would have been bursting at the seams with my endless collections of vintage treasures. But then I found my little gem of a place in the North End. Baffled that no one else wanted a 1400+ sq ft. beautiful 1920's house with 10" oak baseboards, a master bedroom with a walk-in closet and ensuite (plus 3 other bedrooms), hardwood floors and a DISHWASHER (ok, so I'm easily wooed) I put in my offer for less than half of the going West End rate at the time, and never looked back.

That doesn't mean that I don't still love Wolseley.  25-30 years ago, no one wanted to live in Wolseley either (or so I'm told, I mean, I was in elementary school, not checking up on Winnipeg real estate). The big beautiful houses were frequently run down, some of them were even, gasp, rooming houses, and you could pick them up for a comparative song compared to the bright and shiny 'burbs.

I like to think the North End is at that point right now, slowly transforming itself into an eclectic and diverse neighbourhood that will nurture its residents. One day, I can say I was in on the ground floor. Sure, not quite as valuable as buying into Microsoft or some other stock before it hit big, but in the intangible category, a pretty big score.

I spent most of Friday evening working on what I've dubbed The Wolseley Project. In addition to my regular obsessive maintaining of the boulevard and my ridiculous quantity of plants all over my steps, I decided it was time for some flower love in the boulevard,just like you see all over Wolseley. Now, the slightly more normal thing is to have some perennials and bring some height and drama, but I'm more of a "splash of colour" sort of girl, so I went for bedding plants, plus they're a bit more instant gratification than perennials. I've got orange and yellow and purple flowers and the reactions we got (big thanks to the roommate for help putting them in!) while planting them in was cautiously positive. One neighbour jokingly asked with whom he should place his bets on how long it would last. Well, I'm pleased to say, that if he had bet 3 nights or less, he would have lost.

 Yes, that's how I'm going to have to measure it, on a day by day basis, but that doesn't make it any less of a success for every day that they survive. Similar to the theory that kids won't tag a mural as quickly as they would a blank wall, my theory (and reinforced by the community members who've seen it so far, kids and adults alike) is that the people here appreciate people investing in their community and will treat it with respect, because those flowers are there for everyone to enjoy. Now, do murals sometimes get tagged? Yup. Will someone destroy the flowers? Maybe. Stay tuned for the progress of The Wolseley Project - here's hoping the next picture will be big strong healthy flowers with lots of blooms!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Since you asked...

The internet fascinates me. I marvel on pretty much a daily basis as to what information is now at our fingertips. Back in the day (you know, like the 80's) Winnipeg was XX years behind in fashion trends because it took that long for the ideas to trickle down to us, now, we can all know what everybody on the other side of the world is wearing *right this minute* with live cams, twitter feeds (I don't personally understand the point of Twitter, but that's another post) and checking out the facebook profiles of everyone we've ever met and their friends. That being said, I hear we're still a little behind in fashion, but I blame winter for that one; you try to be fashion forward and warm at the same time!

So, further to the internet impressing the heck out of me, Blogger is good enough to tell me what countries all of my page views come from, and boy oh boy are they varied!

Those countries are, in no particular order....

UK, Iran, Belgium, Estonia, Australia, Russia, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, Vietnam, Cayman Islands, Paraguay, Uruguay, Netherlands, Slovenia, Trinidad and Tobago, South Korea, Poland, Brazil, India, Taiwan, Denmark, Turkey, Qatar, Philippines, Ukraine, South Africa, Belarus, Iceland, Sri Lanka, France, Algeria, Macau, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates and Spain.

From these far and away lands most of my visitors have of course ended up on my blog from following a link from one of my fellow Winnipegger's blogs. However, a fair number have used our good friend Google or some other search engine and have hoped to find the answers to questions like:

Where is there a black and white photo booth in Winnipeg?
I think there might be one at the airport, and one at Polo Park. But they may have all switched to colour ones now. I hope not. I thought there used to be a place you could rent an old school one from, but my own Googling skills led me only to here and here, neither of which is what I would be looking for if that's what I had been searching for a black and white photo booth, I'd want it old school. 

hai yo mak slurpee
I had to try Googling this one myself because I thought maybe I was missing out on something. Google just suggested that perhaps I meant "How you make slurpee" which does make a bit more sense.  My answer is don't make it, 7-11 does it best.
This has been searched a few times and it just strokes my ego. Yup, if that's what you put into the search engine, you were looking for ME!! Hi there :)

good place for mpi painting winnipeg
That's a toughie, I mean, if I suggest a place and you go there and it sucks when you go, I'll have a hater. I did take my car to Intercity Auto Body and they were awesome for helping me to not have my car written off in a "marginal" claim. Although, if they haven't already, they need to change their radio ad, it's a bit dated; their jingle claims they are across from MPI, well, MPI moved I think about a year ago.... This one is a North Ender too so it gets points for that.

the bay downtown winnipeg washroom ladies
I have decided that this one is also one for the ego boost category, I'm sure we've all done it - seen something we liked on a website but couldn't remember exactly what site so searched out the term that seems most unique. So either someone was looking for my post about the ladies urinals at The Bay downtown (as that has shown up as a referring link a few times too) or perhaps they have some fetish for public bathrooms in department stores. Hmmm, I suppose that could go either way actually....

rubber chicken winnipeg
I would try Gags Unlimited, Party Stuff and Spencers. Let your fingers do the walking and call first.

winnipeg to meet a girl
slutty winnipeg girls
Now, I have no way of knowing for sure if this was the same person searching, I sure hope not. For slutty Winnipeg girls I would try any of the dance clubs, about half hour before closing, before the lights come up. As for coming to Winnipeg to meet a girl, man, that's a good question. Apparently all the super cool chicks are writing blogs (check the blogroll gents, there's a few of us ladies on there!) so you probably won't run into them in the streets. I'll let you know right after I figure out where exactly to meet a guy, seems logical that they are the same place (of course I think they ended up here because of the Meet Winnipeg Girl this weekend post, mixed with my rant at some point about slutty halloween costumes).

So, these are just a few of the ways people end up on my little blog about Winnipeg. If you're from far and away, don't be shy, send me an email or make a comment on my posts, I'd love to know how you ended up here. Oh, and my fellow Winnipeggers, what are some of the strange things that have drawn people to your posts?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Closed Doors - kind of like "Doors Open", but different

So hopefully a few of you had a chance to take in some of the great places on offer for Doors Open this past weekend. If you didn't, one local blogger, West End Dumplings can give you a little insight on his Saturday and Sunday right here. I was sad to miss out on the National Upholstery building - that looks right up my alley! I did make it the Sport for Life Centre, which I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty disappointed in. Don't get me wrong, if you need an office building with very little original character, they nailed it. It just seems to be a shame to have such a great outside and such a boring generic inside. The highlight for me was getting to go down a set of stairs in the back that still had the original banister.

So what is this Closed Doors I speak of? Well, this building isn't open to the public as such, but you could certainly arrange for a viewing. There is a property for sale in the North End, the former North End Bike Shop (forgive me if the name is incorrect - and if you have any pictures from it back in the day I'd love to see them, drop me an email!) or at least that's what everyone I show the picture to seems to exclaim.

So here it is:

So this gem is for sale and would make a great space for an artist or even another photographer and then we could kind of be neighbours! The link is here if you're more interested. But really, who would have thought that behind that shuttered exterior lies such a great space? Think of all of the stories that all of the buildings in this city could tell. Ok, fine, most of them would be boring, even in the older neighbourhoods and don't get me started on places like Lindenwoods (okay, this house might have a more interesting story than the others) but events like Doors Open or randomly trolling the MLS can show us a thing or two that we might not have known.

You're welcome for a post that did not centre on the return of the NHL to Winnipeg, but for the record, I hope they call them the Jets, I'm a bit nostalgic like that.