Monday 24 May 2010

Local film hits Cannes, Al Jazeera hits Winnipeg

Produced by Winnipegger Merit Jensen Carr's Merit Motion Pictures, the film Tu Tu Much follows a group of girls as they try out for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. It was shown for a few days in January at Silver City here in Winnipeg, and now is making it's rounds around the world. According to it's Facebook page, it will be at Cannes Market May 19th and 20th, followed by a number of viewings in New Zealand. You can read more about the movie here.

Tu Tu Much is not Merit's first film about the RWB. I saw 40 Years of One Night Stands at Cinematheque a couple of years ago. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would enjoy a ballet-related film.


You may notice an Al Jazeera news gadget on my right sidebar. I put that there recently because I like to check out AJ for an international perspective on the world events. Anyhow, I went to the AJ home page yesterday morning to see what was going on around the globe and found a video from here in Manitoba about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

Yay! We made the international news!

Friday 21 May 2010

The Falcon Cam is back, and other stuff...

The CBC falcon cam is back in business for 2010.

Watch that little cheating whore Princess raise her chicks with her new young stud Ivy, whom she hooked up with after dumping her long-time mate Trey.

Women. I tell ya ...

Fun fact about peregrine falcons: they can dive at their prey at over 200 mph, making them one of the fasted birds on the planet. They also have a taste for human flesh.


Still on the subject of dangerous birds: what is the greatest threat to Winnipeggers? A: Geese.
"They can beat the hell out of you," warns animal behaviour expert Jim Shapiro, a professor at the University of Manitoba. He's taken a beating from a gosling's father during his research. "I was not paying attention and got hit in the groin."
I took Dr. Shapiro's course at the U of M (btw ... why is everybody named Shapiro a doctor?) and I am here to tell you that geese are not dangerous. Good thing too, because that would be pretty embarrassing:

person 1: Oh my God, you're missing half your face? What happened???

person 2: I got attacked by a goose.

person 1: A goose ...

person 2: Um ... I mean a legendary ninja warrior they call "The Goose" because of, ah, his freakishly long neck. Ya ... that's it.

Professor Shapiro used to bribe us with higher marks for helping him round up and weigh his angry and dirty geese on his goose farm south of Winnipeg. (A large Canada Goose weighs 15 lbs. Most are 11-13 if I remember correctly. Nice size for a family dinner.) A goose does not have teeth, and does not have sharp talons for ripping your ear off. All it can do is beat you with it's wings which probably hurts it more than it hurts you.

So, unless you pick up the goose and hold it in front of your groin, I don't think you have anything to worry about.


Still on the subject of things without teeth ... have you seen the new Olympic mascots?

Hey kids! Come and play with the one-eyed monster! It won't bite ... I promise!

Sunday 16 May 2010

Pictures of Deepwater Horizon

Ain't it pretty:

That reminds me. I have to pick up some fuel for the BBQ.

going ...

going ...


The Horizon was a floating rig, kept in position using a "dynamic positioning" system of thrusters and global satellite positioning. It was built in 2001 at a cost of $350 million, and cost $1 million per day to operate.

(The picture shown at right is the Nautilus, the Horizon's twin.)

I would give credit to whoever took these pictures, except that I don't know who took them. Received via email.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

UFG unveiling

I heard that the Friends of Upper Fort Garry were about to share their long-awaited plans for the Upper Fort Garry site, and I sent my Senior Upper Fort Garry correspondent down to have a look. Here is his report:

As I approached the parking log that is to be our newest provincial park, I visualized what the old Fort might have looked like, and imaged the majestic interpretive center that might appear here in a few years; and a chill ran through my body as though the spirit of Louis Riel himself were penetrating my soul. Then I realized that I was just cold because I had forgotten to zip up my pants.The tent in the parking lot was all abuzz by the time I arrived. There were actors in various period costumes mingling and siting behind tables with muskets and other artifacts. There were ladies dressed as settlers, a dude with a top hat, a military-looking guy. They all looked a little bit out of place in an old tent on a concrete lot, but they seemed like nice enough people.

I missed whatever speaches may have been made, so I pushed my way through the crowd of business people and media people to have a look at the displays which were all clustered at the far end of the tent. The first display that I came upon was a model of the interpretive centre:

Kind of like a flat version of the WAG or a big green slice of pizza. I overheard the Friend that was manning this post say to a lady that the intersection of Main and Assiniboine is very dangerous, and may be closed off. "So the plan is to close off Assiniboine?" I ask. "No, no that's not in the plan right now" he assures me.

I push on over to the next display, which is a model of the entire site enclosed in glass. Lo and behold, it shows Assiniboine closed off... sort of:

"What's happening with Assiniboine?" I ask the Friend who's in charge of this display, "It looks like it just kind of disappears." "Yes, it gets closed off and the traffic will be routed up Fort Street" he tells me, "but that won't happen for several years" he says, obviously sensitive to the fact that some people drive cars and may not like seeing a street closed off.

There was an impenetrable wall of people in front of the remaining displays, and I was pressed for time, so I was not able to get a good look at all of the features and details, but I can give you my initial impressions of the plan, which is not yet posted on their web site. (You can see the original plans though):

My first reaction was: "What? Is this it? There's nothing here." The footprint of the fort is basically a park with no structures. Upon closer inspection I see that the spots where buildings would have been have been turned into gardens of some kind. I was actually slightly relieved that they weren't going to try to recreate the fort. We don't need another fort in Winnipeg, and especially a 1/3 half-assed mock-up of a fort. The lack of buildings also means fewer hiding spots for drug dealers and gang bangers. It's just that ... jeeze ... there's nothing there!

There's not quite nothing: there is a large clear glass wall in the shape of a building onto which holographic images will be projected. (I ain't cleaning that thing.) The only other structures on the block appear to be the interpretive centre, a tall sign of some kind on the NE corner, and of course the Manitoba Club building.

I think there are two ways to look at this project: the first slightly cynical view is that what the Friends have done here is build themselves a giant back yard. A personal park that they have agreed to share with the public, extending right from the Friends' lair at the Manitoba Club down to the river. Sitting in their perch up in the Club, they will see almost nothing but greenery. Even the interpretive center will be barely visible because it is a low, sloping building covered in foliage.

A more sympathetic person will look at this as an enhancement to downtown. What is now concrete and rubble is about to become green space. There were no additional surface parking lots in the plan that I could see, which is a good thing.

Whichever way you look at it, you ought to keep in mind the cost: the lost vitality and safety that would have come from having more people living downtown, the property taxes that we had to forgo, the direct contributions by the various governments, and the indirect contributions in the form of donations from crown corporations and tax-payer funded organizations. All of these costs were forced on us by a small handful of privileged people. There was no consultation about doing this. Just a PR campaign to get the government on their side. Two years later: "here you go ... this is what you're getting."


In the big scheme of things, this project is not going to change our lives a great deal either way. There are bigger concerns in the world.

Monday 10 May 2010

Spring cleaning, gonzo twins, privacy

Spring Clean-up

If you live in the St.Vital or south St.Boniface area of Winnipeg, here's something for you to do this weekend: Bishop Grandin Greenway is having it's annual spring clean-up, Saturday from 10:00 am to noon. Get outside, meet some people, and help clean up your neighbourhood.


Separated at birth?


Hey everybody! Don't look at me!

Whether you're a homeless person, or a multi-millionaire, if you value your privacy, stay the hell away from Gordon Sinclair. Gordon almost gave me a migraine this morning with his column about the couple who is listing a house for $7.4m:
the wife and mother of two -- who considers me a friend -- phoned Thursday ... she was fearful their otherwise private lives were about to become public.
... he writes, while dropping hints about who exactly the couple is (He owns a local business, recently expanded into the U.S., they have two daughters, one of whom moved to San Diego; they are well know for their local philanthropic and volunteer work; etc..), helpfully suggesting that people check it out on Google Steetview, and succeeded in getting a leader for the column on the front page of the Saturday Paper. Ya ... that's gonna help with the whole privacy situation.

Though one might suggest that by listing a, perhaps, $2m house for $7.4m, they were intentionally trying to generate buzz in media. I don't know ... you tell me:

Though it looks quite nice from the back. A nod to Modern Houses of Winnipeg blog for noticing this a week before the press picked up on it (not that it is necessarily newsworthy). See also New Winnipeg.

Thursday 6 May 2010

Frank for President! .. and other Friday stuff

It turns out that there's more than one election going on in these parts. On June 10 my half-blood buddies will be able to go out and vote for President! David Chartrand is running for re-election, as are two other folks: Frank Godon and Robert Nolin. I'm pulling for Frank, who's returning from a stint in Russia teaching English. If I'm not mistaken, Darcey of Dust My Broom fame is part of his campaign team. Also see his Facebook page.

Cybersmoke is calling for more fiscal responsibility from the MMF.


I know many of you spend hours sitting around and wondering "why can't I find a blog about poutine?" Well, your wondering has been answered.


I haven't done my Friday video in a while, but here's one for you from Winnipeg break-core musician Aaron Funk, a.k.a. Venetian Snares. Turn this up LOUD. Yes, especially if you're at the office.

Of his many albums, one is called Winnipeg is a Frozen Shithole, and features songs like "Die Winnipeg Die Die Die Fuckers Die".

I'm sure he means that in a nice way.

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