Friday, 23 August 2013

Street Harassment in Winnipeg

At exactly 7:57 AM every weekday morning, I lock my front door to my River Heights home, march down my steps and head towards my bus stop. My route is always the same; I cross the street Warsaw Avenue to get to my bus bench on Corydon, where I wait exactly three minutes for the number 18 to come pick me up. It's a simple, boring, early morning routine that we all experience in our daily lives.

But one day this Spring, my morning routine was interrupted. I crossed the street, on my usual route, when I hear a "yewww" from a few feet in front of me. I look up and notice a 60-something-year-old man cat calling me from his parked white mini van.

I've experienced street harassment before, in fact, many times while going to school downtown either waiting for the bus or walking home from work. Usually, I think nothing of it. I do the same thing every time it happens: try not to make eye contact, make no acknowledgement of the person yelling and keep walking towards my destination.

But it was something about being face-to-face with this shaggy loser shook me.

Maybe it was because I hadn't even had my morning coffee yet, maybe it was because he was so close to me or maybe it was the interruption in my morning routine altogether. Either way, the interaction bugged me more than the usual "yeewwww"'s and "heeyyyy"'s I hear from passing cars.

I tried to not think much about this interaction until yesterday.

Alex Freedman interviewed Jodie Layne, director of "Hollaback! Winnipeg" on the CBC morning show and Jodie put what I was thinking into words: that it's not okay. All these years I felt ashamed for getting yelled at by passing cars. Like my outfit was too revealing or that I exuding some sort of sexual energy that welcomed men to yell at me. But in fact, that isn't true. I'm a 25 year-old young professional who wears long skirts and cardigans to work everyday and I am certainly NOT inviting attention. It's early, I'm tired and I just want to get to my bus stop in peace.

Jodie also gave me an idea: she said to turn it back on them. Take a picture of the harasser and upload it. So that's what I'm going to do next time I encounter Mr. White Van. Instead of cowering with my head down, suppressing my rage to the pit of my stomach: I'm going to subject him to the feeling of shame he subjected me to.

Since the face-to-face encounter, the old scumbag has yelled at me a few times from his van. Either in passing or while he's parked. I would like to get the chance to snap his pic, but since then, I'm much more cautious on my route to the bus stop. I carefully eye the corner where our encounters usually occur and proceed warily. I guess street harassment has a more powerful grasp on me than I thought.

Join the fight against street harassment in Winnipeg, visit and share your story.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Honest Bloggin'

I haven't been posting on my blog lately because I've been busy adjusting to real life in an office.

My new job at Honet Agency is nothing short of rad. That said, it's quite the change from student life to desk job life. Instead of eating KD every night, I now eat steak. I sleep eight hours a night and go to bed at a reasonable hour. I no longer go out on weekdays and live for the weekend. These are just some of the basic changes in my new life but here's my interpretation of day-to-day life in an office.

And yes, I originally blogged it on the Honest blog, not my own.

Gimme That 3 O’clock Sugar Rush

Authored by Josie Loeppky, 
Oh, hi there.

You may not know me around the blog, most likely because I'm new to these parts. I'm Josie, the "Communications Coordinator" aka Girl Friday.

I've only been around Honest for two months, but that's not to say I don't understand the ins and outs of office life already. You know what I'm talkin' about: the morning coffee routine, the slow sift through today's paper, the 10 glasses of water you drink a day because it allows you to get up from desk and stretch your legs.

Office life ain't so bad. The routine is comforting. The habitual aspects of it are soothing. Becoming better friends with coworkers than your own mother is a natural, and most of the time, an easy progression. And, at least for me, midday client/staff meetings are a treat.

That said, there's one thing about office life I can't seem to find a solution to: the three o'clock doldrums.

As a student for the past four years, the three o'clock doldrums weren't something I had to deal with. You're tired? You find a semi-quiet place in the school and take a nap. But no dice in the office world. No, no! Midafternoon means it's time to pound back the sugar, make the coffee extra strong and work through the next hour like you're a sandbag in Calgary. If you make it to 3:30, without dozing off, you're in the clear. Congrats! You're in the final stretch of the day.


Anyway, that's my interpretation of office life. If you have a better solution to the doldrum problem, please feel free to email me.

PS. Honest just got a candy wall!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Goodbye #CreComm

For the last two years, my life has been dedicated to school. A little program called Creative Communications (aka CreComm).

Today was my last day of school... possibly ever in life.

I was expecting firing cannons and for confetti to flutter down from the ceiling. For Champagne to flow from the Atrium rafters at Red River College. And for me and my fellow classmates to have a good ol' cry in our homeroom, The Agency. 

But none of that has happened. And it probably won't.

I'm not saying I'm disappointed... I think I'm in disbelief. In disbelief that I will no long have to search for hours for the perfect font to use on my most recent assignment. No longer have to move words around on a screen over and over until header finds a gentle balance between itself and the subhead. No longer will I have access to my little cave, my edit suite in the basement of the college. I won't have to get up at 6 A.M. to make it to school for 8 A.M. after staying at the college til' 12:30 at night on a Sunday. 

I will no longer have to wonder "What's due next?", "When can my group get together?", and "Did I auto-fail that last assignment?". 

Maybe I'll have time to start cooking (and eating) and gain back that 18 lbs I lost in the past two years. 

But mostly, I'm kinda sad.

My Red River College experience has had it ups and downs but overall I am going to miss seeing familiar faces everyday. I'm going to miss knowing that I can call at least ten different people to vent about the most recent assignment, how much we have to do or my most recent grade.

I'm going to missing knowing someone is there for you at all times to let you know a due date, when the camera equipment room is open or that there is for sure at least two-to-eight friends at the Kingshead having a much deserved beer at pretty much any time of the day. 

Anyway, that's what I'm going to miss.

The end of college marks a very anticlimactic end to the school years portion of my life. And the fat lady didn't even sing. Perhaps I am getting a little emotional because it's the last day, and I tend to forget the bad and remember all the good. But from what I remember right now, it was great. And I wouldn't trade my college experience for the world.

You, CreComm Class of 2013, are awesome. And you are what made the last two years awesome.

Thank you. 

The best parts:
-Producing the best project I can think of, my podcast.
-Meeting great new friends, most of which I hope to be friends with for the rest of my life (you know who you are, I love you).
-Meeting my boyfriend (you also know who you are and I also love you).
-Discovering my love for advertising, radio, and live television.

Friday, 1 February 2013

I've been IKEA'ed

9:30 AM on a cold Monday morning, the IKEA line has already formed. I felt slightly ashamed waiting for the doors to open behind the walkers, the silver hairs and the canes. They’re, or rather, we’re, lined up for the $1.50 breakfast and to take advantage of the free coffee before the clock strikes ten. I get it- it’s Winnipeg and we’re known for being frugal. But I can’t help but think “they probably spent eight bucks in gas to save four bucks on breakfast… Don’t lie to yourself Josie that is probably going to be you one day.” That day is today. 

As we get to the top of the stairs, the smell of the plastic pre-packaged showrooms hits my nose and I can’t help but sneeze. I realize not one person is turning to walk down the IKEA yellow brick road but instead they all turn to the right to form another line around the cafeteria.

Two cups of FREE IKEA coffee, brewed in a filter that looks kind of like a Depends underwear garment, two slices of bacon, French toast, hashbrowns and eggs ($3.50, the bacon and French toast were an extra dollar each). I ready to venture down the IKEA highway of no return.

I’m not going to lie, this isn’t my first IKEA trip - it was my third. So I had already experienced what happens when you step off the IKEA pathway. The first time I went to IKEA, I was with my mother. We were buying a bedspread for my room. I forgot which throw I wanted for the end of my bed and couldn’t remember what it looked like. I had to run up the stairs from the IKEA storeroom, and find my way to the bedroom section. I thought I could take a shortcut but I somehow kept ending up in the Kitchen section.

Twenty five slightly sweaty minutes later, I made it out of the show room once again with a picture on my phone of the throw I wanted. Then I went back downstairs to find it and inevitably buy it.

It’s no secret why the floor plan of IKEA is similar to a rat maze. On the way to finding my throw, I spotted four more items I missed on my first trip around the showrooms. Compared to a store like Leon’s or Sears where there is no flow to which way people walk, what direction to go or what route to take. At IKEA there is a very specific route, planned route shoppers must take in order to see the whole store. There is no such thing as quick trip to IKEA. It’s a pretty smart marketing strategy.

Today was different from my last experience, I decided to stick to the path and try not to buy anything. I noticed most of the people shopping at IKEA are retired, middle aged couples. And women phoning their husbands describing what they’re buying over the phone. I’m sure the men on the other end of the line were thrilled to receive those calls -

“It’s a brownish-black book shelf about three, no, six feet high and five feet wide and I think it will look just perfect in our living room next to your chair. Unless you don’t think so? I don’t know. Do we need another book shelf? I just thought we could put plants on it or whatever. Oh wait. There’s a shorter one over here…”

The couples test out the couches, interact with the cupboards and open and close the closets multiple times. Some read the serial number out loud, while the other would write it down- “PAX HASVIK number 112333008899888444 and it needs an 11 volt E26 GLODA, two dots above the ‘O’ light bulb”.

I heard a lot of “that’s such a good idea”, “I want this for my house” and “I wish my kitchen looked like this.” A lot of the time I said these things myself. 

Employees are seldom seen at IKEA, especially when you’re looking for one to ask for directions. But I managed to talk to one. He said every day is busy at IKEA (I believe it). He also said it has slowed down since the grand opening in November, but the weekends are still hectic. On my second trip to IKEA, during boxing week, it took us 45 minutes to park the car. The drive into the parking lot felt similar to a trip to the  airport.

I move from showroom to showroom, my willpower weakening with each step. Oh, this frame is only five bucks! How can I pass that up? It’s only five bucks. Oh and I kinda need another spatula. It’s only three bucks. Toss er’ in. $100 and an hour and a half later, I left carrying a 4ft canvas with spoons printed on it.

Oh, and a hot dog and a Diet Coke for a buck fifty. They got me again with the cheap food on the way out.

Dones't my new IKEA picture look great above my couch?!

So if you ask me if IKEA is going to have a lasting market in Winnipeg – I say: as long as they keep their meat balls at two bucks a plate, and as long as there are senior citizens in this city; as long as they have reasonably priced household goods and as long as people have a budget to live within, then yes, IKEA will have probably always have market here. And everywhere else in the world. 

PS. There has been a frame sitting on the floor in my room for the last two months because it didn’t come with instructions. Instead it came with four screws, a metal coil and three hooks with no place to attach any of it to the back of the frame. IKEA instructions are a whole 'nother story. 

Friday, 25 January 2013

Wind Chills and Winnipeg Transit

Winnipeg is going through a cold snap - No, this isn't new news.

If the CBC hadn't warned me every morning before I left my house - I would have gone on my merry way, wearing four pairs of leggings, a sweater, a hoodie, my winter parka and two pairs of mitts, thinking to myself: This was a normal Winnipeg winter.

And in reality is has been a "normal Winnipeg winter"! It's been -44 with the wind-chill for the past four days and that's just something we have to deal with because we choose to live here.

Now. I'm not going to rant about the weather. Although, I must say, as a personal side note: Winnipeggers have been doing a good job of sucking it up.

I want you to picture this: 

It's dark out (no surprise there, it's winter). Five people standing at a bus stop, shuffling back and forth, checking the oncoming traffic for signs of headlights larger than an average cars'. But there is no hope. It's 8:09 P.M. The schedule said the number 18 was supposed to be here at 8:06 P.M.

The bus is three minutes late. That's not a good sign.

The snow starts to form layers on our shoulders and heads. One of the men isn't wearing mitts. The other has his scarf up but his jacket is unzipped and open. I am thanking my parents over and over again in my head for buying me my large-and-in-charge men's Sorel boots.

Ten minutes pass. Another man joins the stop. We're all looking at the ground, knowing the truth but not wanting to talk to each other about it.

Eight more minutes go by. By this time, we know: The bus has no-showed.

After half an hour of waiting in the snow. We finally see the large headlights and the changing sign "North-Main Corydon" blinking off in the distance.  We pre-maturely form a line in the predicted area of where the bus will stop. Finally, we hear the screech of the bus's brakes. We all board the bus. Brush off the snow. And pretend like the last half an hour never happened.

Thanks Winnipeg Transit. You've been so helpful today.

This is me on the bus after "the wait", giving it a certain finger. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Honest-y is the best policy

I was fully prepared to be in charge of making coffee for three weeks during my work placement at Honest Agency. It was my first experience in an agency and as soon as I figured out I was in a room full of graphic designers, I thought "What do I have to offer"? Me, a second year CreComm student who had no idea how an agency worked

I wasn’t nervous, but I was really grateful when head honcho Callum Beattie made me a makeshift desk. I was thankful he threw me a "Josie and the Pussycats" reference. "Yes," I thought, "the boss has a corny sense of humor, I can work with this".

I was even more grateful when Charity leaned over from her desk and told me there’s a meeting every Monday morning. To which I responded awkwardly “Thanksfortelling… me?”

She smiled. I felt dumb. I now know how Lauren Conrad felt on her first day interning at Teen Vogue

Throughout the three weeks, the meetings in the board room were the best part of my day - getting together to brainstorm concepts and ideas with a bunch of creative people. My other favorite part was when head honcho part deux, Sherril Matthes, shared some of the workload she takes on on a daily basis. I was more than happy to help. Friday lunches at the Kings Head laughing at Roberta-isms, Kerri teaching me how to use a sewing machine and listening to Jadyn's playlists were some of the added bonuses.

By the end, three weeks had flown by. At the Honest "Naughty or Nice" Holiday party, Sherril shimmied her way up to me and taught me her little dance. I knew right then and there I would be stoked to work at an agency like this.

Overall, I am very thankful Honest decided to take me on as their first CreComm intern. I'm glad I had a positive first experience at an agency.

And I'm happy to have made nine new friends.

Thanks yo.