Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I was going to keep this a secret, but....

If I won the lottery I was totally going to do this anyway. Sufficed to say, my good fortune in the weekly Lotto Max draws has not panned out quite the way I had hoped. Although I suppose there is hope for the next time there is a $50 Million jackpot...

Assuming it does not go as planned, yet again, I might as well share my idea in case there is anyone out there who does win it and needs some inspiration. As it turns out my idea is already a "thing" as described in this article. Basically, wouldn't it be great if we gave some struggling entrepreneurs (and some well-respected local businesses) a chance to open up a storefront here on Selkirk Ave? Winnipeggers love free things more than just about anyone so I think demand would outstrip supply.

A mix of old and new businesses and services (but no more social services!) could help to bring back some vibrancy to this once grand strip. Wouldn't it be great if there was a little coffee shop that served exciting things like espresso and lattes? With all the students attending classes on Selkirk they would probably do a brisk business. Local art could hang from the walls and there could be posters abound for local upcoming events - just like that quaint coffee place in another part of town. Stealing an example straight out of the article, what about a bike place that did repairs? Not all of the bike riders here in the North End are kids running drugs - for some it's their main, economical, environmentally friendly mode of transport. Heck, if they could figure out a way to repair strollers they'd make a killing; the amount of abandoned strollers I see is mildly disturbing... Once upon a time there was a bike shop on Selkirk

I, dare say in my plan.where I have won the lottery, since I would be the one buying up all the buildings that I would perhaps even offer up to a year free rent to really give them m a chance the to establish themselves. Imagine though, lottery aside, if the commercial property owners along Selkirk did that of their own accord? I imagine if/when they wanted to sell their property it would be a lot more valuable with a tenant in it (with the assumption that the businesses would stay on after establishing themselves.)

Well, here's to dreaming *imaginary glass clink*

Monday, February 13, 2012

Home and Away (no, not the Aussie TV show)

Hoping that a few of you at least have wondered where I am, don't worry I'm back soon. I shall also eventually update the travel blog that I supposedly keep. Had I known that wifi was freaking EVERYWHERE in Nicaragua I would have brought some sort of device with me, but instead I travel as though it's the dark ages; the only thing more primitive would be if my camera took film.

So, in some sort of attempt to stay connected with Winnipeg I try to check the news every now and again when I have a few minutes left on my internet time. Apparently we are up to murder #3 of the year, Whitney Houston is dead (not a Winnipeg story but it has been all over the news) and a little snippet that caught my attention on the CJOB website (CJOB's page seems to load faster than all the other local pages). There was a shooting on Redwood, seemingly at Powers, with the incident starting on Boyd. Now, my initial reaction was to be taken aback, wonder if it was one of my neighbours that may have been chased by gun-toting thugs. Then I remembered that it probably was other thugs. How can I say that? How judgemental of me! Well, I guess I have become indifferent.

I have wished, on more than one occasion, for follow ups to crime stories, letting me know more details, taking the scare factor out of the headlines. No wonder all the suburbanites are terrified of the North End - no one ever tells them later what really happened. That, yes, someone was robbed/stabbed/shot/etc, but that the victim and perpetrator were known to one another; the average citizen need not worry. So, now, instead of waiting for that follow up story that generally only comes about with an actual murder, I just presume that it was crime that wouldn't/couldn't involve me or the neighbours that I know.

In this instant information age, where reporters are expected to post stories as they're happening, and the commenters are there to jump on every spelling mistake and grammatical error that is made, I long for the days when we had to wait for the full story to come out. As well, with mediums like Twitter with many people subscribed to similar people/agencies, we get hit with the same stories 10 different times and ways. I think this also helps to add to the perceptions we have about crime. So since I rarely get the details I'm looking for in the news, I will continue to choose the "ignorance is bliss" route regarding the likelihood of being a victim of crime at home as I am unlikely to get mixed up with the wrong sorts of folks.

So here I sit, in Nicaragua, a country that has thus far shown me nothing but lovely people (with a very patient nature for random backpackers with a menial grasp of Spanish) and think of all the horrible things that have also said about here, and that some people couldn't believe that I would consider travelling here and think how clearly badass I must be, I mean, honestly, I live in the worst part of town in the MURDER CAPITAL OF CANADA. What I am very poorly trying to articulate is that if I can (so far) safely traverse Nicaragua, I'm pretty sure that people can start getting over their fear of the North End. Although, further to that last sentence, I'm pretty sure that I just technically said that I was purposely trying to articulate it poorly which is of course not the case. I will blame having had too much of the local rum. Don't drink and blog. See you in a week or so.