Thursday, 29 November 2012

Back on that blog game

I know, I know. Good bloggers take a few minutes out of everyday to blog. 

But the truth is, who want to read something that is half hearted posted?

AND, who wants read something that is poorly written? I sure don't.

So, while my other blog ( has been taking up more of my time lately, I decided to let The Dandelion suffer. 

The weather is cold, no, frigid. So I guess it's a good time to get back on that blog game.

Besides summer and fall, the Holiday season in this city is my favourite time of year. I almost like being in Polo Park mall among the insanity of holiday shoppers.

After my initial anger that a perfectly nice, big, beautiful old tree has just been cut down to be put in front of our tired-looking municipal government building; the Christmas tree in front of City Hall excited me. 

The lights down Portage and Main are so beautiful glowing in the city's darkness at 4:30 PM.

And if you haven't experienced the wind-chill in downtown Winnipeg at this time of year, oh, I highly recommend it. Especially if you're going for the my-cheeks-are-so-frozen-that-it-looks-like-I-put-on-an-adorable-amount-of-blush-look. 


All cynicism aside, Winnipeg does a good job of making the city feel festive despite the weather. And it really is my third favorite time of year in the city.

Happy Holidays Winnipeg. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Key To My Heart- Grandma Marie

Today I am going to blog about something personal and close to my heart, my Grandma.

On October 2nd, Marie (Lynn) Loeppky passed away at the age of 90.

I was one of the lucky grandchildren who got to live with her, laugh with her, play cards and watch T.V. with her almost every second Friday growing up.

My grandma, I'm sure like many other grandmas, was a very special lady.

She loved to dance, knit and loved watching the Blue Jays and the Maple Leafs play. She said she didn't like it when her eldest son, my Uncle Don, would tie his tie around his head and dance on tables at weddings, but she laugh and clap her hands anyway.

She loved to give us cans Coca-Colas and Revels when we came over visit. She always had Werthers Originals and chalky white mints on the coffee table. Her coo-coo clock from Grandpa would go off every half an hour. She would cheat at Rummy and Hearts by trying to "help" you with your cards.

When she lived in her house in St. Norbert, she hated when people would walk on the grass which was always nicely manicured. She met her husband, Neil, at a social in Winnipegosis, Manitoba on New Years Eve in 1946 where they kissed at mid-night and were married a few months later.

Her car, a maroon 1978 Malibu, always smelled like moth balls and would make a loud buzzing sound when you open the door without taking out the keys from the ignition.

Over the last couple years, Grandma had been in and out of The Victoria General Hospital due to a bad hip, a broken wrist and multiple illnesses. The staff at The Victoria General Hospital were always gracious and caring to her, and for that we are very, very thankful. Thanks especially to Deborah, the nurse, who made very sure she was comfortable, and didn't mind us being in her way in her last few hours. And to Dr. Bruce McLeod, who I'm told, took very good care of her.

During her last few days, despite sickness, Grandma remembered who we are and always wanted to make sure we were comfortable even though she was the one in the hospital. She would still offer us Cokes and ice cream, raise her eyebrows and say "Oooooh well" like she always did.

Tomorrow, Tuesday October 9th, is her funeral at Trinity United Church (933 Summerside in Fort Richmond) where she was a founding member.

"Miss me but let me go When I come to the end of the road and the sun has set for me, I want no rites in a gloom filled room. Why cry for a soul set free. Miss me a little, but not too long, and remember the love we once shared. Miss me but let me go. For this is a journey we all must take and each must go alone a step on the road to home. So when you are lonely and sick at heart, go to the friends we knew and bury your sorrow in doing good deeds and never be afraid to hold your head high till we meet again. Love Mom" 

We love you and miss you Grandma. 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Remember This Summer, Winnipeg!

I realize that I haven't updated my blog in a really long time and the only thing I can blame it on (besides perhaps some out-of-school laziness) the wonderful Winnipeg summer we just experienced.

Remember it? It was really hot and sticky, around 28-35 degrees. People would complain even though we probably shouldn't have because our winters really suck. It was sunny, you had a tan,

We would go outside, go to Birds Hill, go to Folkarama, go for long walks at The Forks, Folk Fest, Jazz Fest, Fringe Fest, Wine Fest.

Ya... good times.

Well it's all over now, so let's talk about it

More to come on Winnipeg summers.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Movie Magic

Here is a short film myself and a classmate did in CreComm.

We filmed it in various places around Winnipeg: the Exchange District, West-Broadway, off Corydon ave, The Legislative Building and downtown. I like that it makes the city look pretty even though it still kinda cold and dusty out.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Dionysus in Stony Mountain

I'm not going to lie, I can't say I'm much of a play-goer. The last time I went to live theatre was at MTYP and I was 12. That's probably why my experience at the Rachel Browne Theatre was drastically different from the last time I went to the theatre.

My childhood memories of moving sets, props and music incorporated in each scene were dashed and replaced with boring, mundane talk about the problems of the political and justice system in Canada.

The play Dionysus in Stony Mountain, written by Steven Ratzlaff and directed by Bill Kerr follows the relationship of a prison psychiatrist, Heidi (Sarah Constible) and her patient, James (Ross McMillan).

The first scene is spent learning about their relationship, and the second scene is spent learning about Heidi's life outside of her job through discussions with her uncle.

The website depicts the play as "an unabashedly dense and intellectual play that explores the binding and loosening of family ties, the warehousing of the mentally ill in Canada’s prisons, mania, and the boundaries of the psychiatrist/patient relationship."

 "Intellectual" seems like an understatement of what the writer and director were going for. I give mad props to the actors for being able to memorize line after line of mass amounts of dialogue. And while I thought James gave a believable performance, the dialogue between characters was not.

It felt as though I was listening conversation on Gilmore Girls, except instead of talking about relationships and love, the characters spoke of dark, politically charged, Canadian topics, complete with the over use of a thesaurus and quick speaking dialogue. 

If the writer was trying to sound like he was intelligent, progressive and intellectual, then sure, he achieved it. But as for capturing the audience's attention, making the story believable and holding their interests, this is where he lacked. And that is what live theatre is all about.

Instead of making the viewer think, which is what he probably wanted, he most likely left most of them only half listening to Jame's five minute monologues on his political views. Or in my case, zoning in and out and only listening half heartedly as the characters moved from subject to subject without really absorbing what they were saying. 

Over all the characters were intriguing, but the play was not, simply because the writer and director tried way to hard to sound smart and therefore it lacked an emotional connection from the viewer to the story. 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Journey for Justice

I had never heard of Candace Derksen and “Project Angel” before I read the book Journey for Justice: How Project Angel Cracked the Candace Derksen Case by Mike McIntyre. The murder of then 13 year-old Candace happened four years before I was born, but in recent years, the case came back to life when DNA evidence testing had developed enough to become useful in court.  

Because I had never heard the story of the young girl's death, my initial reaction to the book was shock and curiosity. The author gave plenty of details about the case, the murder and the family, I somewhat morbidly wanted to know more about what happened the night she was killed. I wanted to know why Candace didn’t scream on the night she froze to death in the Elmwood shed, or why she followed her killer in the first place. Of course these details could never be concluded, but I still had some questions regarding the book writing process. 

When McIntyre and Candace’s mom, Wilma Derksen, came to the RRC campus to discuss the details of the book, I was looking forward to what they had to say about writing the book together.  I wanted to ask about their collaboration and what it was like to sit down and go over the details about the days of Canadace’s initial disappearance. I also wanted to learn about how McIntyre decided on dialogue from the day of her disappearance and the days afterwards.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ask any of my questions because McIntyre spent much of his time discussing how to write books about murder cases in general.

McIntyre explained that he wrote the book in segments and didn’t go back through the book to do much editing. This shows in his writing because there is a lot of repetition and re-explanation of places and names that had already been brought up. This made the book redundant and exhausting at times to read, which didn't work well for readability. I like that he paid close attention to detail especially concerning the trial and the jury. Despite the details being a little boring, they were important to explain how high of a profile this case had in Winnipeg and around the world.

Journalist can learn from McIntyre's mistake of not going back and doing key edits through out the book, as well leaving out redundancies such as repeating the name of Candace's school and about the pool built in her name at Camp Arnes. Also, because the family and McIntyre worked so closely on the book, it seems like he wrote the book so the family would be pleased with the outcome. McIntyre emphasized their religion and their beliefs which at times were too much for the reader. Journalist who build relationships with the people in their stories should learn to still keep a safe distance so the story's plot does not get lost. And so the story written properly, and not to please the family. 

The book is similar to McIntyre’s column in The Winnipeg Free Press because he likes to use strong soft leads in his longer columns. The leads grab the interest of the reader, and get them interested in the story. Similarly, I felt McIntyre did a great job with the opening chapter leading into the book. He told the tale of a lonely street cleaner who turned out to be Candace’s killer. He also gave the reader a sense of being in the room when the family panicked about their missing daughter. Like his column, he gives the reader the same amount of details about what police officers do to catch criminals, which allows his readers to understand what officers do. Over all, the book read like a series of news columns which stays true to his style of writing.

Because I was still curious about Candace Derksen, I decided to call and ask my mom about what she remembered about the case.  At the time she didn’t have children, and she had just married my dad a few months earlier. My mom remembered the killer’s name, Mark Edward Grant, easily. She told me she couldn't recall if she remembered the details about the case from back then or from the recent years, but she remembered the feelings she felt when she first heard of Candace’s disappearance.

“I was worried there’s a creep out there. You always have to look over your shoulder. But, in retrospect, now that I have children, it would be horrible. There are horrible things that happen in our own backyard, we’re all acceptable of great love and horrible things. There are two sides of humanity.”

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Get Free Stuff, Check Out Some Magazines.

Are you bored? Want FREE stuff?

Wanted to eat sushi off a naked body? Pose next to a Harley? Play street hockey? Listen to some rad music? Watch some stand-up comedy? Drink some free booze? Eat candy? Get on TV (maybe)? 

You can come do ALL those things at:

The Magazine Trade Fair
March 30, 2012 at 160 Princess Street 
(Red River College downtown)
Noon until 4 PM

I know you're probably thinking: "What's the catch? All that stuff is so sweet." 

I know. It is. And the only reason why we're giving out all that stuff is because we're students trying to show off our magazine project...and to get a good grade in P.R. class for organizing an event.
So check it out on your lunch break, drop by if your in the neighbourhood, eat some free food and get free stuff. Roam around check out different booths we've worked very hard on.
We know you're bored, so you may as well.

Here's a sneak peak of our booth at the fair:
sushi magazine

We will have a naked sushi model serving free sushi and copies of Umami PDF's. 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Portage Place

Ask yourself: When was the last time I shopped at Portage Place?

For the first time in three years, I went into Portage Place to shop.

I snuck by some kids who were playing on the escalator, and hopped on. Walking around the second floor, I remembered why I hadn't visited the mall in such a long time, despite living and attending school near by.

There are stores I would shop at, but not very often. Bargain shops in particular. Not to say there's anything wrong with these stores, except, I don't know how many times I would go in to buy questionable canned goods and cleaning products.

Four security guards ran by me, while two others discussed what was going on. I wish I was making this up. Really.

I probably sound like such a snob. Like maybe I'm too good for bargain shops and for Portage Place in general, but that's not at all true. I love downtown Winnipeg, and try to support it as much as possible, but they aren't making it easy to.

I found this clip from 1988, about how Portage Place tried to make their stores open 24 hours in order to get more customers to come in. According to the clip, it was a big fail. Which means for over 23 years, Portage Place has been trying and failing.

A few months ago, we had a representative from The Forks come speak to our class about what properties that are managed and owned by The Forks. According to the speaker, The Forks owns the IMAX, which LOSES thousands of dollars of revenue every year. The only reason why they continue to keep it open is, and I quote, "because we'd rather loose money than see another bargain store go up (in Portage Place)."

So what can we do to improve it?

Here's what I think:

Portage Place needs to put in a Safeway or IGA or something that sells quality foods in order for people living in the surrounding area to buy fresh produce and not canned cheap foods. There is a Safeway down Main street, and a Superstore down Ellice, but I'm guessing a lot of people who live in the area, (like myself) don't have cars, and bussing is hard with groceries.

Either Portage Place needs to step it up by getting rid of their dumpy stores, and dying movie theatres and put in more quality restaurants (which would be put to good use on nights when the Jets play or when there's a concert). Or maybe add a store that is no where else in Winnipeg, like Urban Outfitters or H&M, which would force girls like me to go there. Or downsize the mall and make it more business person friendly, like the malls in downtown Vancouver.

Here is a fairly accurate representation of what Portage Place is like now... except on warm sunny days, when there usually is lots of people around.

Next time you're near the big PP, picture yourself as a downtown innovator, and ask yourself:
What does this place need?

Maybe you'll be the one to finally save Portage Place.

Side note: comments have told me there are a few close by food store. So I changed my blog post slightly.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Prairie Anxiety

"I'm from the the prairies, where you can watch you dog run away for a week."

This was my go-to line to describe where I was from when I lived and worked in the mountains. What my customers and new friends didn't know was is that I was hardly joking as I recited the line. 

I realize a lot of people love the wide open spaces of the prairies, and despite being born and raised here, there are times when I can't STAND the vastness of the land.

Don't get me wrong, I know how lucky I am to have so much space especially after visiting other countries. But it's something about looking to the horizon, and seeing a few buildings marking the city center way off in the distance that makes me feel uneasy. 

Last week was reading week, and I jumped at the opportunity to high tail it out of here to head West. It was the first time in years that I drove to Alberta rather than flying. 

As soon as we got into Banff, I immediately felt like I was home, despite my home never really being in the Rockies. I love the feeling of being confined. I love being able to see the outline of the mountains traced in the sky by the moonlight.

But let's not get overly poetic here.

Truthfully, I don't mind winter. I don't mind being outside... If I'm bundled up without any skin showing. 

Since moving back the prairies I feel as though I am at a loss for winter activities, whereas before I could get up, go for a few runs at the hill and then head to work. Going to a "hill" anywhere near Winnipeg is hardly worth it, by the time you do up your bindings your fingers are frozen and 30 seconds later you're back on the chair. It's the worst. 

*Sigh* I guess I'll have to continue to tide myself over by visiting BC and Alberta every once in awhile until the prairies grow some hills. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Downtown WPG Documentary Vs Podcast IPP

For the many of you that don't know, an IPP or an Independent Personal Project, is an assignment which all Creative Communication student must do in their second year at Red River College.

It is described as "a chance to showcase the skills and abilities you have learnt in the program, and is an opportunity to do something that you otherwise would never have had the chance to do if it weren't for the program." -Most of the CreComm Instructors

A lot of students like to throw fund raisers and benefits. It's also common for students to write books, novels and blogs, and make Podcasts, documentaries and Apps. I can't say I'm much different from the other students.

My two ideas for an IPP are either A) a Documentary or B) a Podcast.

Real original, I know.

But hear me out...

Downtown Winnipeg Doc: I know you've read about it, talked about it and are sick to death about hearing about it, probably because you don't go there anymore unless there is a Jets game, but the goal of my doc would be to rectify the negative stigma which many people have attached to their idea of downtown Winnipeg.

Old School

I would like to interview people involved in the Downtown Biz, The MTS Centre, The Forks and 5468796 (Barcode) architecture firm, as well as people who live or work downtown.

However, in the words of my loving boss "Talking about change in downtown Winnipeg is like beating a dead horse."

(Google-ing "Dead horse images" was a bad idea).

Plan B) Podcast

Ideally, my Podcast would be modeled after CBC's Q. Instead of interviewing famous actors, singers and bands, I would interview bands from across Canada who are passing through Winnipeg on their summer Canadian tour. Or do a series of phone interviews, with a few songs from the band's EP or album. And finally, instead of a witty Jian Ghomeshi as the host, listeners get me, Josie Loeppky :).

I would market the show, turn it into a brand and make it into a series people can download for free or listen to it on 92.9 KICK FM.

I would love to get feedback on my ideas because I would like to make something that people would actually listen to or watch, and to really "showcase" my skills.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What's next?

Six months ago, I came into this program so excited about the idea of finding a career for the rest of my life.

A way out of serving tables. Not that I dislike serving, and not that I'm bad it. But to find a way of earning a living by putting some of my creativity to use.

Lots of people talk about the stresses of CreComm and the crazy amount of homework we get every week. I don't mind the work load, and I don't mind school being most of my life.

It's the amount of stress put on deciding a major that is starting to get to me. When an instructor tells me I should decide how I want my life to look like in the next five to ten years, if I want to work 9-5 or evenings and weekends, I start to panic.

I know this is where I want to be, but the idea of having to decide a big part of my future in a week and a half is beginning to wear on me.

I know this isn't a blog about Winnipeg, perhaps someone out there can relate? #CreComm

Friday, 27 January 2012

92.9 KICK FM

Recently, I started my own radio show on Winnipeg's Indie Station 92.9 KICK FM.

Sadly, a week after my first show the CRTC announced that they will be evaluating KICK in order to determine whether or not they will to continue to fund the station.

Despite only having done two episodes, I have can honestly say I have never felt so at home with doing something that is completely new and foreign to me.

The station manager, Rick, taught us how to use the sound board, choose songs and answer calls (if anyone was to ever call) and then he left us to take the wheel.

I always had a love for radio, as a kid I loved the drive to school in the morning listening the witty banter of Beau, Tom and Fraiser on Q94.

And then as I got older, the more my love for CBC grew. I was so proud of myself when I was picked as letter of the day by Jion Ghomeshi on Q.

Now, to have my own show, even though it's only on a college station, is a small dream of mine come true.

I know it sounds cheesy to say, but when you know you love to do something, you just know.
The first day I sat down with headphones on my ears, and a mic in my face, I just knew.

It would be a sad day if or when KICK gets closed down, and other kids like me couldn't for fill their small dreams too.

Until then...

Check out my show

on 92.9 KICK FM


Friday, 20 January 2012

It's cold outside

Winnipeg winter, we can blog about it, whine about it and talk about it some more. Some may say its a Winnipegger's favourite subject.

But no matter who you talk to; your grandma, your neighbour, a complete stranger on the bus. We all have a common bond of shared hatred: the cold weather.

Its been minus 40 the past couple days. It's days like this week when walking to your car, just a few short blocks, become unbearable.

When you get an instant brain freeze one step outside your door, not because you're drinking a slurpee, but because your toque isn't covering your forehead enough (but there is a good chance you may also have a slurpee in your hand).

My question is; what keeps us going?

When I lived in Fernie, I didn't mind the cold weather because at least I had the mountain to go slide on.

Here, some people ice skate or snowmobile to pass the winter months.

Or if you're like my dad, shoveling the drive way becomes a hobby.

So, how bout' that weather eh?

Monday, 16 January 2012

Slurpees in -30

On our very cold drive home from Sunday dinner last night, my sister pointed out the window to two kids who were bundled up from head to toe.

They were each carrying Slurpees, and walking backwards to the chilly winter wind.

My sister laughed and said "Only in Winnipeg."

True enough, sometimes you just need a Slurpee no matter how cold it gets.

Slurpee Capital of the World

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Getting out of 204

Not so long ago, I used to vow to myself that I would "get out of this frozen-dump-of-a-city if it's the last thing I do!"

Eventually, I did end up leaving the Winnipeg, but the contempt I felt for my city when I was 17 didn't last as long as I thought it would.

Now, with the end of my post-secondary education in sight, and the very real option of leaving the city for good (or at least for a real job) is a possible actualization, I'm not so sure about leaving after-all.

I used to feel angry with my family for not wanting to leave the city, for not wanting to live in warmer places like Vancouver or Toronto.

I used to not understand why kids my age didn't want to move out of their parents basement, and go travel to foreign countries for months on end.

After my first year university, I couldn't wait to be anywhere but here.

That said, it was one thing to leave when all my things were still in my parents house, and my permanent address still read "Winnipeg, Manitoba" on it. 

Just a few short blocks away are friends that I've gone to school with since grade two, they still live in the same house that their parents bought as newly weds.

I used to knock them for not wanting to break free of the grasp Winnipeg had on them, for not wanting to move out of their beautiful River Heights homes, and into their own dingy apartments in Osborne Village.

But as I sit in my own dingy apartment, eating noodles and collecting dept. Frequently visiting the LC to buy the cheapest bottle of wine possible, I look back at my 17 year old self and laugh.

Winnipeg ain't so bad.

My whole family is here; when I don't have enough money for food or laundry, my mom comes to get me.

When I'm feeling stressed or lonely, I have several friends within blocks from me, who no matter how cold it gets, are willing to meet me at the Toad for a drink.

And yeah, it's cold. Really, really effing cold.  And yeah, there are pot holes, the buses run late, and sometimes downtown gets sketchy. But the people are nice, there are plenty of job opportunities, and family and friends are always near-by (if you're born and raised like I am).

So I guess I've searched, and maybe I'm getting old or something, but nesting in Winnipeg doesn't sound so bad to me anymore.

That said, a hot vacation out of here never hurt anyone.