Friday, July 24, 2009

"Quote Of The Day"

"She trusted the man because he presented himself as a Christian".
Not quite a quote, but a quote from the article that appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press on Thurday July 24th.

The spacious two-bedroom apartment with gleaming hardwood floors and marble countertops seemed almost too good to be true.

And $1,200 later, the apartment Trish Wilde thought was a sure thing turned out to be nothing more than attractive photographs and broken email promises from someone she says just pretended to have space for rent.

"I'm sick about it... $1,200 is a lot to make up," she said.

Wilde's son and his girlfriend were desperate for an apartment for Sept. 1, Wilde said, as their current lease expires soon. When they saw a listing on the classified website Kijiji for a two-bedroom apartment on Grosvenor Avenue, "they jumped at it."

The ad listed an apartment for $800 per month, including utilities. The advertiser said he was a mechanical engineer who'd been transferred from Winnipeg to New Jersey, said Wilde. He said he had the keys with him, so he couldn't show the apartment in person, but sent photos of the suite instead.

Wilde said she wired $800 for the first month's rent and a $400 damage deposit to London, England, covering the costs to help out her son. The man said he'd been sent to London unexpectedly for his work, she said.

Wilde said she trusted the man because he presented himself as a Christian. She said her son and his girlfriend even sent photographs of themselves so the man could get a sense of the new tenants, at his request, and received photos the man said were of him.

But after receiving the wire transfer, the man demanded another $800 before he would send the apartment keys, said Wilde. The Grosvenor building is managed by Sussex Realty, and when Wilde and her son called to check, they learned no one with the man's name lived in the building.

"We've got to do something to stop this," Wilde said. "This guy has probably made a killing."

The alleged scam might not be the first of its kind in Winnipeg. In late April, an ad for a Kennedy Street apartment with nearly identical wording to the Grosvenor Avenue ad was flagged as a scam by a Kijiji user.

In recent months, more near-identically worded ads for apartments in St. John's, Victoria, Kamloops and Halifax were flagged as scams by Kijiji users, one as recently as Wednesday.

Sussex Realty leasing manager Heather Campbell said the low vacancy rate seems to be driving Winnipeggers to more desperate measures.

"It's unfortunate, that I think a lot of renters right now are so desperate for a suite that they are sending money to people they don't know," she said.

Campbell said people can always call property management companies to check on suites listed online, and should always submit applications and damage deposits directly to the companies, not to individual renters. Any receipt for payment should come straight from the company, she said.

Wilde said her son went to police and was told not much could be done, and that online scams happen often.

Kijiji's website says people who think they've been scammed can contact a number of groups, including RCMP, Crime Stoppers, PhoneBusters, the Competition Bureau and the Reporting Economic Crime Online website. Website users can also report ads they think are scams using a link on each page.

Two comments:

1) In this day and age, why do people still wire money to strangers, especially over-seas? Use a transaction that is accountable and recoverable. Don't people watch enough movies about scams to know better? Stupid people!

2) Okay, if you trust someone because they present themselves as Christian, this should have been the first clue to run. Wow, there are suckers born every minute!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's Time To Fringe!- Advance D'n'D Style

The armies of evil are assembling.
The forces of good have reunited.
Gather your weapons and your dice to once again witness the greatest game ever played!
The 2006 Fringe hit is back! Bigger, Bloodier, Violenter than before!

This year I promised myself I would see more than one play at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, so far I've seen two, well at least 2 episodes. J is in a play called, Advanced D'n'D The Next Campaign, an ensemble-cast improv production that promises to be a lot of fun. Personally I've never played the game, Dungeons and Dragons, nor do I have much prior knowledge to the concept and characters. Basically this is a good versus evil, but as far as the plot goes...anything can happen, because it's improv!
There are only 3 more performances of Advanced D'n'D left, so you still have time to check out this unique and very entertaining show. For information about the characters, photo and a show by show summary, be sure to check out their website,

Show times:
Thursday July 23- 7:30pm
Friday July 24- 8:00pm
Saturday July 25- 3:45pm

Winnipeg Free Press- ****
CBC Manitoba- ****
Ignite 107- ***1/2
Uptown- B+
Advanced D 'n' D: The Next Campaign
Red River Serial
Venue 6, Tom Hendry Theatre at the MTC Warehouse
Review posted: Sunday, July 19

Oh, it's on! Brandishing battleaxes and wielding warhammers, do-gooders and evil doers come to blows in Advanced D 'n' D: The Next Campaign, an improvisational comedy based on the notoriously nerdy Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game. Here's how it works. Each adventure picks up where the last show left off. Directed by the dungeon master, players' fates are determined by the Dice of Doom. A high roll is excellent. A low roll... well, these are Dice of Doom. With up to 12 characters on stage, there's many a fine warrior. Especially entertaining are the vociferous vampire Raoul, Viscount of Hexadecimal and Sir Bedlington Regal who rides his servant Kile around like a pony. On the other hand, a couple combatants seem incompetent in comedy conflict and the flow of the game is choppier than the swords the characters carry. Still, despite a few casualties, Advanced D 'n' D: The Next Campaign reigns victorious.
- Jared Story

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Could Have Met The Emperor Of Japan Right Now!

...but I'm not, I'm still in Winnipeg and not in Vancouver where the Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are spending their last day in Canada. Yes, I had the opportunity to meet royalty, I received an invitation over a month ago, but I turned it down.

Your probably wondering why I would even get considered? It's because I'm the local President of JC's and the Emperor wanted to meet select members of the community. When I received my invite, reaction from my friends, co-workers and family were a little mixed. I was told by many this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and this honour should override any financial considerations...oops, forgot to mention, I would have to pay my own way to Vancouver and wouldn't be compensated by said organization... That was strike one.

The date of the reception is today, July 13th from 4:45-5:05pm, yes, only 20 minutes! It would be $500 for airfare, probably another couple hundred for hotel and I would have the pleasure of being in the same room as the Emperor for 20 minutes!...that's strike two.

While most of my friends really encouraged me to attend (my boss even offered to pay half my airfare!), I had the impression some felt I wasn't worthy enough to meet royalty. I'm just some shmuck who frames pictures, listens and plays some music and writes stupid blogs, not someone with a respectable and "important" job that contributes anything important to this world. If you want to think about this in a Japanese Canadian historical point of view, we shouldn't be cheering and bowing to the symbol of Japan because of the internment and our upheaval from the impact of Japan attacking Pearl Harbour. I know this sounds extreme and really isn't the point, but in some ways I don't feel a great deal of connection with that makes it strike three.

In the end I felt I could save the money for something I really want to do. The days of sitting lakeside and sipping a cold one are fast approaching and I'd rather spend two weeks at the cabin than two days in Vancouver and it's got to be a lot cheaper. I'm also planning a September roadtrip to Minneapolis/St. Paul to catch a concert by the Minus 5/Baseball Project/Steve Wynn IV (I'll write about this soon on my other blog), which I'm really looking forward to!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Whoopie! It's My Birthday.

So it's my birthday, big f*cking deal, another year down , another day closer to death.
Obviously, I joke, well wasn't much different than any other day. It was my day off from work (my regular day off), so it was laundry and clean the house day. To add to the fun I made lasagna for a pot luck/Folklorama meeting in the evening. Remember those younger days when your birthday was always on your mind, when you couldn't wait until all your friends patted you on the back (...and gave you presents!) and said, "happy birthday". Back then it kind of mattered, people remembered friends birthdays and didn't rely on software or alarms on their Blackberrys or of course, the idiot's solution, Facebook. Yes, Facebook where all your "friends" are reminded of your birthdate, they have the option of wishing you happy birthday or not, even from people you may have never met or know much about.

It may sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not. I like low-key birthdays, I'm not much for attention or large gathering anyways, but it is nice to hear a happy birthday greeting from more than my immediate family. All my Facebook messages this year were from cousins (from out-of-town), relatives and friends that I see in person every once in a while. Though I had a meeting tonight, everyone wished me a happy birthday and to top it off, Sumi baked me a cake! I wish I had a camera when they surprised me with the cake, but I brought home a left-over piece. It was a yummy white cake with marshmallows and creamy white icing (my favourite, though it looks yellow in the photo) with white sprinkles. At home we indulged in some Jeannie's cake (with candles), which I love anytime of the year.

In some ways birthday's are like New Year's day, when we make promises we know we will never keep or make resolutions about things we should be doing or accomplishing. One of the ongoing promises I try to keep is keeping this and my other blog updated. I have so many excuses, like I don't have the time or I have nothing to talk about or I can't get on the computer...these are all true, but it shouldn't stop me. When I finally get my laptop computer, I envision I'll be blogging every night and posting even more music...yeah right.

DIK VAN DYKES- The Birthday Song mp3