Thursday, 1 December 2011

NOT a retraction

Due to the overwhelming number of blog views and comments good and bad, I received on my last post "Dating in Winnipeg," I am not writing a retraction but rather a clarification.

First and foremost, the last post had nothing whatsoever to do with my current personal life. However, this is a blog and the last post, like any other post, is my opinion. I was simply generalizing the sentiment felt by some single women in my life and whom I've spoken with.

In my first "case study" I can see how people may think that I was being shallow by stating that some guys get multiple-girls despite being "average." But this was not the point I was trying to make.

I was trying to say that girls shouldn't settle for guys who won't commit to them, nor should they settle for guys that don't treat them as well. Not just pretty girls, as one comment said, but all girls. Or rather all people.

My next point is that dating is hard, no matter where you live. But add minus 30 degrees, and less males than females in the city and see how that equates.

Lastly, of course my friends are amazingly beautiful, fun, smart and funny; but so are you. Not to give a Barney the Dinosaur style lesson, but it's true. So there is no reason for anyone to not believe that they aren't.

Good luck out there ladies (and guys), and to quote the book one last time "don't waste the pretty."

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Dating in Winnipeg: The only thing worse than Winnipeg winter.


With no special guy to warm you up coming in from the minus 40 degree weather outside, and no one to stay in with you on a Friday night because the windchill is so unbearable: the only thing worse than Winnipeg winter, is being cold AND single AND living in Winnipeg.

The last chapter of the book, "He's Just Not That Into You," tells the age old tale of women who date guys who are jerks because it's hard for women to find men, and because it sucks to be single.

The female co-author says what most of women are afraid of: there are "statistics" that there aren't nearly as many good men in this world as there are women, lots of women settle.

I personally think Winnipeg could be a case study for that "statistic". If you have read my older blog post about how Winnipeg is known for its good looking women, you will find actual statistics about how there are more women than men in this city. And despite many of them being very good looking women, some often settle for jerks who aren't half as good as they are.

As living, breathing proof, and the daughter of living, breathing proof, for a number of years; being single in this city is hard.

Here are my case studies:

Just like how most stories start, I have a friend who dated a guy.

The guy was nothing special; short, athletic, decent job, outgoing but drank too much. You know? The basic criteria that the female species looks for in a male counterpart.

 He would hang out with her whenever she wanted, but there was no commitment. How could you blame the guy? He was young, fun and decent looking, AND he had girls blowin' up his phone all the time.

So why would he commit to this beautiful, smart, young, successful girl, when he could have other girls, whenever he wanted, despite being only fairly average? Because he is a big fish in a small pond, and that pond is Winnipeg.

Snowey Love, Hurrah!
I have a couple friends who are young, super cool, smart and really pretty. They turn to Plenty of Fish dating site, for lack of meeting new men the old fashioned way; through friends, at hot dog stands, and at socials.

Plenty of Fish, according to popular rumours, is used by scuzzy men to find women, sleep with them and then never call them again. I'm sure not all men are taking advantage of this site, and I do know of a few success stories.

However, if these amazingly fun, cool, young women can't find success through a site, what chance do they  have at finding Mr. Right the non-electronic way?

I am far from being bitter, but after years of listening to my friends and family try everything from dating sites to night clubs to school libraries, I can see how frustrating it is to be single in this very cold, very small city.

Love can be found even when you can't feel your fingers, it just might take a bit more searching. And mittens.

SIDE NOTE: Because of the many comments, please understand that I was not blogging to give a dating lesson, nor do I need any dating lessons. Just simply generalizing the sentiment felt by some single women.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Occupy Winnipeg

On my walk home from school, I pass the tents and signs set up at Memorial Park. I look at the make shift campsite, and wonder if the people freezing their butts off every night are there to prove a point, or if they're there to be a part of the bigger movement. To one day be able tell their grandkids "Yeah, I was a part of Occupy, maaaannnnnnn."

Either way, for those who us who are unaware of their protest demands, the "Occupants" just look like a bunch of really dumb urban campers.

Looks like fun? Join us.

The problem with Occupy Winnipeg is; it's loosing momentum. Quickly. The focus is nearly is lost, and hardly there in the first place.

With the NYPD pushing the protesters out of Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park), and the world moving on from the initial shock of people protesting something-but-we're-not-all-quite-sure-what. The trend seems to be dying out (and we all know it is a trend because Kanye West was there).

Other Occupy locations in Canada are beginning to be dismantled. This "revolutionary" movement already something we're going to look back on and laugh.

Today, while I was doing research in order to formulate my opinion about Occupy, I went to the Occupy Winnipeg Website (click to go to).

Any confusion I had about their demands, was now clearly spelled out in front of me with nice typography and good design.

In comparison to the Occupy Wall Street (click to go to) website, the Winnipeg website is more clear, and better put together. Suddenly, I felt more compelled to listen to what these peaceful protesters have to say.

Yep, and it's still nice out!

So here's what still makes me wonder; if they can get their shit together enough to organize a nice website, then why can't they get their shit together enough for us, in Winnipeg, to care?

What I'm trying to say is: the overall movement is to protest against economic and social inequality, right?  And while I agree that the demands made by Occupy Winnipeg are large societal problems that should addressed.

However, social and economic inequality will always be there no matter if there are tents in front of the Leg' or not.

Call it pessimistic, call it what you will, but really these problems run much too deep for anyone to be able to protest them seriously.

But then again, maybe I'm wrong because there are thousands of people around the world doing it right now.

Wouldn't it be more effective to go volunteer somewhere, rather than go camping?!

Anyway, good luck out there guys! I'm off to my minimum wage paying job with a smile on my face.
Donate: To whom?

Friday, 4 November 2011

Green Memories of The Forks

Growing up in Winnipeg, The Forks was always a weekend part of family time.

On Friday nights, we would pile into my Dad's van "Big Blue," and head down VJ's drive in on Main for supper, or at least until my Dad's cholesterol got too high.

After VJ's we would head to The Forks. We would all hold hands and do "1..2..3..weee" with my youngest sister, Logan.

My step-mom would look at the jewelry, we would look at the arts and crafts, Dad would mosey around and make small talk with strangers, and depending on the time of year; we would either watch the ice skaters on the circular rink or the buskers in the courtyard.

I am not talking about The Forks the way that it is now. When I was a kid; the children's museum had just moved from downtown, there was no "Inn at The Forks," no skate park,  no MTYP (Manitoba Theater for Young People), no Goldeyes Stadium until my late adolescence, and obviously no Human Rights Museum.

The Forks, from what I remembered, used to be more of a market square, with a lot more green space, surrounded by the small high rise buildings of downtown Winnipeg; their lights glistening off Red and Assinaboine River...

I don't dislike the "new look" of The Forks, and I think it's great that there are plenty more reasons to go there and enjoy what I personally think is the best part of our city. However, I miss the space where many of the buildings now are. The parking garage and the Inn at The Forks seems a little crowded in a area that perhaps should have been kept as green.

 I remember sitting under a tree in that very where the Inn is now on Canada Day with my Auntie and Mom having our packed lunch with Canadian flags in our pony tails.

Last fall, a friend visited me from Alberta, he had never been further East than Saskatchewan before. Naturally, I had brought him to The Forks. I had to explain to him the draw of The Forks: the river walk in the summer (most of the time), the longest ice skating rink in the winter, dancing and ice skating in the courtyard, ice cream, face paint, old locomotives full of candy, Aboriginal art, Chinese art, history, booze at Fin McQ's, Spaghetti, wings, museums, skate parks, snowboard rails, outdoor music theaters, baseball, theater, and children's fun.

I didn`t know that becoming a tourist again in my own city iinorder to show him around would re-kindle my love and appreciation for The Forks, presently and in past memories, and as much as I do love The Forks, I suppose green space downtown is the price we pay for in order to gain for more tourism.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Dandelion-ing-Out: A Social Media Rant

I sit, with my classmates around me. They pound their keyboards, similarly to the way my Grandma used to pound dough when she used to make us perogies.

They all feverishly type away at whatever required blog post we have to do this week for our CreComm Public Relations class.

The long list of topics sits in front of me; “We still need to be on TV to be famous?” “Why Twitter will endure,” “We are the media.”

I sit here, wishing I had a coffee because the thought of thinking of how social media has affected life before nine AM is enough to put me back to bed.

Right now, I live for school, and my program largely based off of social media, which I understand the importance of, use multiple times a day, and in truth, love.

However, ever since the first time I logged onto Facebook when I was in grade eleven; somehow my whole world or rather, the whole world has changed.

Riots, flash mobs, shopping, advertising, news stories, dating and even bullying; all has changed because of social media.

And in turn social media became, and is one of the most talked about subjects in every newspaper, internet story or nightly broadcast.

We watch election coverage on TV in Manitoba, and we have to turn to the live Twitter feed to find out what people are talking about (what’s “trending”), during the nightly newscast.

Twitter has nearly become the weather forecast.

Somehow it doesn’t seem healthy when dating someone, to check their, or have them check my Facebook page to find who is posting on it, who I’m tagged with, or what their status updates are. Although, I know a lot of people who constantly check their significant other’s page just to be sure their ex, or other “threatening” people aren’t posting on it.

“He updates his status, but he never returned my call, at least I know he’s still alive.” (Barf. This could be a blog post on its own: People that use social media as a way to dictate how their relationship is going).

I understand that social media is an infinitely altering and amazing thing, and it truly is remarkable to be able to reach out to anyone in the world, to write something that possibly hundreds or thousands of people can read within seconds.  I understand that lives and careers can be altered for the better or for the worse from using it.

 I just don’t think that the world has wrapped their heads around the fact that this is just the way it is, and that we need to stop putting so much weight on social media.

Twitter, Facebook and blogs aren’t going away, however, why do we, as media broadcasters, media consumers and media junkies, need to put so much importance on it?

I understand why I personally need to be involved with social media.  In order to have a successful career in either Public Relations or Journalism, I am going to have to exhaust every social media outlet.

But, since becoming a student, I have gone on Facebook less, tweeted things that are more ‘user friendly,’ and blogged less about the one thing I know most about and love; my city.

I am excited to live in a world that just accepts social media for what it is. For it not to be such a “new” thing, that everyone must talk about within every given opportunity.

But, until then, I should have my coffee before nine AM and continue to try to understand that my blog rant is not going to change how much the world worships social media.

In the words of Marshall McLuhan “The Medium is the Message,” and in the words of Puff Daddy “We ain’t goin’ no where.”

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

WASTER- Winnipeg Metal Band

My hands were freezing by the time I finished my second king-can in the back alley beside Mondragon. My friends were passing around a water bottle full of whiskey and coke.

 We were wearing our most appropriately "metal" outfits, as we waited for the headlining band, WASTER, to start.

Rocking combat boots, black nail polish and cut up t-shirts; we chugged the remainder of booze and entered the basement venue, “The Death Trap”, below the FYXX in the Exchange District.

The guys of WASTER were already set up, they checked the equipment one more time, and walked around the floor anxiously. They were ready to start.

We found a place on the right side of the stage. Only, The Death Trap doesn’t have a stage, only a rug on the floor and large stacked speakers separating the crowd from the band. 

The walls are concrete and are painted black with glow-in-the-dark spray paintings of cats and demon faces painted on them.

The anticipation in the room started to rise as the audience swarmed towards where the band was set up.
The lead singer, Nick Weibe, grabbed the Mic and stepped up onto the small platform. The platform only put him only a head taller than the rest of the crowd.

He screamed out the first couple lyrics to the song, as the rest of the band jumped full gear of the first song.

The crowd was already sweaty, they started to push and shove each other; the mosh pit commenced.

We were in The Thunder Pit.
WASTER, is a five-piece metal groove band from Winnipeg. They were recently signed to Gold Stock Records, and release their first 10 song-album “Thunder Pit.” This past week was the kick show for their 9 gig Western Canada tour.

Michael Fardoe and Nic Herzog’s quick riffs, Tim Halbert ripping bass, Casey Fiorante’s heavy drums, and  Nick Wiebe’s tearing voice come together to make a full bad-ass sound.

If you get the chance to check these guys out, at The Death Trap or elsewhere, I strongly suggest going. Even if you aren’t the biggest metal fan, the energy this band gives off is worth checking out.

Their album is also available for download on iTunes.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Short Story I wrote at Bus Stop about WPG

My poor city; her limestone face stained with the memories of what she used to be. “The Gate Way to the North,” “One Great City,” “The Chicago of the North,” you wouldn’t have believed these were her nicknames before the Panama Canal was built.
 Maybe that’s why this city meant so much to me; she and I could relate so well. We both were exposed; still living out our lives in the day light, but the bare bones of heart aches are apparent for all to see.  At night we were left to stand, cold and tired waiting on eventual winter morning light.
                Her citizens were just as tired as she was, they would pass as quickly as possible from destination to destination, clutching their roll up the rims, hoping to catch a break.  The winter nights would stretch on long into the winter mornings; sometimes it seemed no end to the season was in sight.
                The winter I returned home, I would cower in the bus hut that smelt like wet Big Macs, slightly willing the bus to not be late today. While I waited, I would try to ignore the homeless guy staring at my iPhone, at the same time, trying I would my own guilt of owning one.
                Having a broken heart could be the second worst part of living in the Paris of the prairies during the winter months. The worst is having to step outside your door every morning; to have your breath instantly taken away by the wind, your eyes tear incessantly as your face into the neck of your jacket- I’d take a broken heart any day over having to deal with that shit for the rest of my life.
                Waiting in that bus hut day after day, I would think of him while I would slowly lose feeling in my fingers and toes. I didn’t see the point in pining over him anymore, so instead I would just create scenarios in which our lives may have been different; if I hadn’t fucked that guy after the punk show, maybe I chose not to send that e-mail, sometimes I never get on the plane. The end result was always the same: get home from school, put on my slippers with the grippies on the bottom, eat Chunky soup and talk on the phone for hours to my friends that I never got to see.
Livings to forget a memory is like walking on hallow floor boards; with each step you’re anticipating the possibility of falling through. Some of the memories are so heavy; they cause the hardwood to snap under your feet.  Walking becomes difficult when you’re always afraid of falling.
And so the winter months passed me by, and spring came around at some point without my recognition.  My heart never mending but the resilience to the memories became stronger, instead of my fingers freezing with the thoughts of what could have been, instead, they started to thaw and the sun began to last longer in the sky.
                Planes flew through the sky to destinations I wished I was going. But I am was there, in the bus-hut, but at least I wasn't alone.  My city was and always will be with me.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Downtown Progress Hindered by Air Canada

If you have read my blog before, then you may have noticed my fascination, and sometimes mixed feelings about downtown Winnipeg.

In other posts, I have mentioned how I had a slight stigma with my past memories of downtown Winnipeg. However, I would also like to point out that I have mentioned the positive changes to the downtown area that have caused its reputation to change.

A recent news release from Air Canada demonstrates how long it takes for reputations of a city to change, as well as how sometimes reputations will digress with negative press.

On September 23, Air Canada released a statement claiming that The Radisson hotel in downtown Winnipeg, is too dangerous for the pilots and staff to stay on over night layovers.

"Recent environmental issues have forced approximately 1,000 displaced people from rural Manitoba to numerous hotels in the downtown area. Instances of public intoxication, resulting in several downtown locations being susceptible to crimes of violence and opportunity, have been observed by local Police" said Captain Jeff Dennis Manager, Flying Operations for Air Canada.

My first question was; who are the police officers that have gathered enough information in order to make reports causing changes on such a large scale?

I also grew concerned for our city's reputation: Someone living in Toronto may have read about Air Canada's decision. They may have made judgments about our downtown area without visiting Winnipeg.

Also, it is possible for people with existing skepticism's about our downtown to have their doubts solidified by Air Canada's decision.

"We will certainly revisit the downtown area once the present situation improves. Authorities anticipate displaced people to be an issue for another 12 months" said Dennis.

This statement reveals a bigger issue with the company's then where the crew sleeps at night. Statements like these cause bigger societal problems.

Displaced people as a whole should not be categorized as a "issue". They are a group of individuals, some may possibly be impoverished, and who are affected by unfortunate circumstance.

By making generalized statements about the displaced people, it causes damage to the reputation to our downtown, to how society feels about these displaced people, as well as damage to the people whom Air Canada is speaking about. 

I was listening to the radio during the drive home the other day, the host on Hot 103 was talking about this very topic. He made a comment that we, as Winnipeggers, can diss downtown Winnipeg because we're from Winnipeg, but a CEO from Toronto disses Winnipeg then that's not cool.

To me, this is much more then a diss. It is a slap in the face for those who are in a time of need, and news releases like the one made by Air Canada, hinders the progress of our downtown reputation on a national level.

Here is a CTV video with more details about the news release:

Friday, 30 September 2011

Page One: Inside the New York Times- Movie at the Art Space

This past Friday, I attended "Page One: Inside the New York Times" with the CreComm clan. As a student of journalism; the movie gave me both a realistic and exciting insight into the life and times of a journalist.

Sitting in the small movie theater next to my peers, my eyes were focused on the quick witted pros of The Times, such as the star of the movie David Carr.

The story of The Times is a prime example of how instant information has changed the way we; read, interpret, and receive news.
The way the director explains this change is by comparing the Watergate scandal to WikiLeaks YouTube Iraq video.

When the Watergate scandal broke, the journalists were needed to get the information to the people; in contrast to now, the information is simply transmitted over the Internet without the use of the newspaper.

Another difference is; the information that is being transmitted without the help of the newspaper has a not-so-secret agenda.The use of fairness and balance journalism has become far more skewed because WikiLeaks claims to be "activist-journalists", but really it is journalism with an agenda and an edited video.

"It's a collision of two words, classification , privacy and wanting to take it down" said the other star of the movie Brian Stelter.
The movie was a glimpse into the very busy, and changing world of a journalism in an age where the future of traditional media, like the newspaper is at risk.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

"Welcome to Winnipeg: We were born here, what's your excuse?"

Here are some funny YouTube videos mentioning Winnipeg:

The best clip is the last one, The Simpson's "That's it, back to Winnipeg!"

SNL with Zach Galifianakis

"The roads were closed."

"The concierge is a Winnipeg equivalent to a Geisha"- Michael Scott (Steve Carell).

The last clip of The Simpson's says "Welcome to Winnipeg: We were born here, what's your excuse?"

Friday, 23 September 2011

My Favorite Small-Stage Music Venues

Winnipeg has a pretty great music scene, the only problem is; unless you pay attention, sometimes it's hard to find.

However, if and when, you do go out to a show, there a bunch of great small venues. Whether it's Mother Mother at The Garrick, Sloan at the Pyramid, or Xavier Rudd at the Burt, Winnipeg's converted movie theaters and cabarets provide an awesome atmosphere for partying and listening to great tunes.

Not being a musician, well not one that plays in a band in front of an audience, here are my favorite venues as a audience member.
Face To Face at the Garrick, 2011

3. The Burton Cumming's Theater: 364 Smith Street in the Exchange District. This converted movie theater has a rad dance floor and lots of seating. However, if you get a cheaper seat, then you better not be afraid of heights.

The dance floor is a little small, but there are seats on the first floor that are great for intimate concerts done without microphones, like the Hawksley Workman show in 07.'

The stairs leading to the last section, on the third floor, at the top back of the theater is like climbing a step ladder. When you finally do get to your seat, its like your sitting on the edge of a cliff.

Be careful not to have too many drinks when sitting in those seats. The theater has a great intimate atmosphere and the stairs just add to the theater's charm.

It was also the first venue that I was allowed to go to a concert without parental supervision: Sum 41 in 2003.

2. The Garrick Center: 330 Garry Street, also in the Exchange District, and is also a converted movie theater. This year was the first year I attended shows at the Garrick, and it was nothing short of amazing. The acoustics are awesome; it's not a big venue, so its easy to fill the place up with sound.

The front of the venue used to be front row seats for the movie theater, but the seats have been removed and now it is a big open dance floor. For shows like Face to Face and Strung Out, it is essential for mosh pits.

The venue is only two stories high, the seating is spread out and over looks the dance pit.

The only problem with the Garrick is, that the dance floor is sloped downward, so you end up with sore knees after long shows.

Jason Cruz from Strung Out at The Garrick, 2011

1. The Pyramid Cabaret, 176 Fort Street, downtown Winnipeg. When I was younger, perhaps underage, before the drivers licenses were so difficult to copy, the Pyramid was the place to be Thursday nights for MOD night.

Since being of-age, the Pyramid has quickly become my favorite small-stage music venues.

The venue is really just a large bar with some tables and seating at the back, a big side patio and two bars; one beside the stage and the other at the back of the bar. But something about its grungy-ness, the posters of old rock groups on the walls, and the weird mummy dolls hiding in different places around the bar, make you feel like New York rock and roll in the 70's, even if it's The Rural Alberta Advantage (2011) playing on stage.
Mother Mother at the Garrick, 2011

*Sorry all the pictures are of the Garrick, I'll post more of the other venues when I get some. Also going to add two more venues at a later date: The Death Trap and the Park Theater.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tweeting My Life Away


What used to be an new outlet where I could post about the mouldy bread in my fridge, or the strange things that I overhear people saying on the bus, is now an outlet for professional life.

I always kept in mind that I should be cautious of what I write on the Internet, I mean, Mama didn't raise no fool. But now, I feel as if I am leaving my carefree days of being the first generation of Facebookers behind, and moving on to the new days of tweeting my life away, with some caution.

Downtown Winnipeg Mural

My life from here on out is, and will be, tracked. Anything that I post could possibly lead me or inhibit me from a potential career. I suppose it shouln't be an issue if I don't post anything that could cause any issues, however, it's a little unnerving.


That being said, its Follow Friday, and keeping with the theme of my blog- here are some Winnipeggers that are must follows in my books:

@themanitoban, @RRCProjector: The University of Manitoba and Red River College's student newspaper. Well written articles posted by these very creative and articulate students.

@WinnipegFolk:  Upcoming festivals, music workshops and reminders of the fun in the sun that is the Winnipeg Folk Festival (my favorite time of year ).

@WinnipegNews: The Winnipeg Free Press, my favorite local newspaper.

@sandboxmag: What started as a OPP project for a couple CreComm graduates, is now a graphically pleasing and intellectually stimulating magazine involving local, fashionable Winnipeggers.

@CanStreetStyle: I believe the creators are graduated CreComm students, and judgment by their twitter, they obviously have an excellent sense of style. They're website is under construction, but hopefully we'll see these guys back in tweeting action soon.

@greenappleshop: Two rad local dudes, one rad skate shop. One is into skatboarding, the other is into filming and skateboarding, both are super friendly and sweet. It's always great to support your local skate shop! I just wish they would tweet more. :)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

What to do in Winnipeg: Friday and Saturday Nights

Time Brings Change: Downtown Winnipeg

The day after I got home after travelling for five months around Central America, my younger sister was getting ready to go downtown to meet with her friends. I warned her that downtown Winnipeg is a terrifying place and that I feel uncomfortable with her going there.

My sister replied with "You just backpacked Central America alone, and you're more terrified of downtown at night than El Salvador?"

My simple reply was yes.

Growing up as a kid in the city, I was always told that downtown was a scary place filled with homeless people that want to rob you blind, and since my first year University three years ago, to me, downtown was still an ominous place.

It has been a little over a year since I've returned home, and downtown Winnipeg has seen some major changes since I've been gone.

These changes have not only shaped our downtown core architecturally, but it seems these buildings has breathed new life into our city's downtown culture.

Between the MTS center, The Winnipeg Hydro building and all the new apartment and restored buildings; life downtown isn't scary at all, it's thriving.

Downtown used to be sort of a only day time hour's place, with business people and empty buildings waiting for someone to inhabit them.

Downtown at night was deserted, and the people that were out were less than desirable to run into. But now, downtown on a night, when there's a concert, or if it's a nice summer night; is hardly desolate or scary.

Of all these visible changes, my favorite new change is the downtown day time clientele; the students.

The University of Winnipeg's four new buildings, and two new ones in the works, brings many eager learners to the downtown area.

Paired with Red River College's Princess street campus, and soon their new Culinary Arts building with student housing; downtown Winnipeg could quickly become a hub for post-secondary activity. These campuses create many job opportunities, activities, and the need for restaurants, cafes and bars. 

After moving home, fearing the worst for our downtown infrastructure, the new changes are refreshing, beautiful to see and it make me a proud Winnipegger.

My childhood fears of downtown Winnipeg will hopefully soon completely fade, and be replaced with new, exciting school memories.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Winnipeg Terminology Part 2

A Social: An event uniquely Manitoban, that consists of dancing, drinking and prizes. Socials are a fundraising event usually for a wedding, hockey team or community event. They are usually held at a community center or legion. Tickets are sold in advance and usually snacks like pretzels, chips, Kubasa*, rye bread, pickles and cheese are served. Once inside the social, one may buy raffle or 50/50 ticket in order to win prizes. Prizes are provided by the people hosting the social. If you haven’t done the boot scootin’ boogie at a social, then you truly haven’t lived ‘toban style.

Kubasa Sausage (pronounced Koo-ba-saw): A traditional Ukrainian garlic sausage and comes in a variety of grain textures from very course to finely ground. Kubasa is usually served with perogies and cabbage rolls for traditional Ukrainian holidays, such as Easter and Ukrainian Christmas or as a snack with pickles, cheese and crackers. If you eat too much of it, like my little sister did when she was five, you will smell like garlic sausage for days. Manitoba is known for its high population of people of Ukrainian decent.

Standard Lager: Since 1877, Standard Lager is brewed especially for Manitoba and is only sold in Manitoba. It is known for its mellow, easy drinking taste. Brewed and bottled only by Carling O'Keefe Breweries and sold only in bottles, it contains 5% alc. /vol. While the label looks similar to that of a Budweiser bottle, make no mistake, this beer in NOT a Budweiser.

Winnipeg is Swggerville

According to Urban Dictionary:
"Swaggerville: Winnipeg, Manitoba. Renamed swaggerville after their football team the Blue Bombers.
Dude 1: Man have you ever been to Winnipeg?

Dude 2: Yeah it's like the swagger capital of the universe!

Dude 1: No wonder they call it swaggerville..."

Not to be confused to SwaggARville otherwise you'll be swag-less, "Swaggerville" has quickly become Winnipeg's new nickname.

So, really? Are we Swaggerville?

I hate to be the hater on the subject, and I understand that the Bombers are doing well this season, but when, let's say, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats start doing well next season, are they going to be the next self-proclaimed "Swaggerville?"

What really gives us swagger anyway?
 If anything it could be our rad new downtown appeal, the chat-topping heat this past summer, the fact that we now have an NHL hockey team or, in this case, a winning CFL football team.

At first I honestly was not the biggest fan of the term "Swaggerville," and I know I am one of many who aren't on board with our city boasting about it's swag.

It all seemed so cocky and annoying bosting about winning a few football games, but after watching the YouTube interviews with the "Mayor of Swaggeville," Odell Willis and reading about the team joking about who's the city council and the CEO on the CFL website, I am starting to not mind the nickname.

If it gets people into the game, keeps fans in the seats, and gets the team playing better; then what's the harm in a little extra swag Winnipeg?

Good on the players for coining that catch phrase before one of the bigger cities with bigger sports teams did.

Sadly enough, and all the jokes aside, I have a feeling this trend may die when the Bombers start to lose games.

As for that woman who got "Winnipeg is Swaggerville" tattooed on her arm... well, let's hope they win the Grey Cup this year.


This interview with the "Mayor of Swaggerville" Odell Willis, it's pretty funny-

Monday, 1 August 2011

The Political Battle of the New "Jets" Logo

What's in a logo? 

According to many Winnipegers a new logo can mean a lot, especially when that logo has negative connotation and when it is representing our NHL franchise. 

The new "Jets" logo, announced last week, can be argued that it resembles that of the Royal Canadian Air Forces emblem, which, to some, can be argued that it is supporting the armed forces and in turn supporting war.

In my humble opinion, there is a difference between pro-armed forces and being pro-war.

I saw a thought provoking t-shirt the other day that said "Peace needs no Generals or other killing things" which means to say that with peace there would be no need for an army.

 The sad truth is, there is no such thing as peace and therefore there will always be a need for armed forces. This does not mean the armed forces provoke or monger war, it just means that we can protect our country and its people if need be. It is unfortunate that these "killing things" get used and lives are lost but it can be argued that a lot more lives would be lost without it.

As for a logo, I personally do not think that the logo should have been so closely matched to that of the armed forces. However, I do not think that this was a politically changed move by the True North company. I also commend them for attempting to find symbolism in the name that accurately represents our city's history.

 A valid point brought up by a friend of mine; In contrast to some other sports teams such as the Toronto Raptors, at least our name has a strong historical foundation.

I will be buying a retro 80's Jets jersey, not because of the "pro-war" antagonism that the new logo ensues but simply because I prefer the design of the old Jets jerseys.

Royal Canadian Air Forces Emblem

The new Winnipeg Jets logo

For those that didn't know:
"During World War II, Royal Canadian Air Force Station Winnipeg became a major Air Force Base as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan which trained more than 130,000 pilots, navigators, observers and wireless operators at various locations across Canada. Winnipeg also became a major wartime centre for supply and repair depots and ferry and inspection units." 17 Wing History

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Winnipeg Folk Festival: Getting you STOKED to folk.

Being an experienced Winnipeg Folk Fest camper and festival go-er, this upcoming year will be my sixth year camping. I could call myself a bit of a folk fest enthusiast ie. going early, waiting all night, getting the good spots, hitting up the festival and partying hard.

The way I have described folk fest in the past is as peaceful anarchy. There are people who run the festival and those who volunteer to keep everyone safe, however people do not generally steal or fight. There are no real over authoritative figures bearing down ensuring that everyone obeys and despite thousands of people in one area with booze (etc), it is still a peaceful place which makes this festival so unique and wonderful.

My favorite things about the festival experience are;

When someone yells "folk fest!!!" and then the echo of yells of excitement roll across all the camp sites. Literally thousands of people are sharing the same feeling of how excited they are to be there.

Popes hill at dawn with all the people cheering on the sun as it begins to rise.

Going to sleep to drum circles and waking up to drum circles.

The parade that anyone can join and consists of a marching band, random instruments and a strange assortment of costumes that circles the camp ground day and night.

Having a nap after not sleeping all night, in the festival, in the shade, while listening to good bands and waking up to good bands.

Preparation for Folk Fest:

There are a few essentials, besides the basics of food and lots of booze (etc), that I strongly recommend getting in order maxamize your festival enjoyable-ness (not a word).

-A tarp and rain gear: without fail, every year it rains, even for just a minute. I promise you the festival is always more fun why you and your tent is dry.

-Glowsticks: Lots and lots of glowsticks so you can find your friends and because they are awesome. Glow Frisbees are the best.

-A Wagon: cars are not allowed on festival grounds and for the first time this year, cars are no longer allowed to drive in on Monday morning. So make sure you have something to lug your stuff for the week from you car to your site because it is a long walk.

- A Blanket or Low Chair:  Either are good for when you're in the festival during the day. It is always nice to find a shady spot and take a nap, or have a home base during the day to go back to when you get tired of dancing.

-Water Bottle, water jug: It is hot in a field during the day time, remember to stay hydrated and not just on beers! Sunstroke is such a downer on the week. Sunscreen is good too!

-An Alarm Clock: I have slept through shows that I wish I hadn't. So I now use an alarm clock to wake myself up if there's a show that I would like to see earlier in the day (and by earlier in the day, I mean around 3 PM).

The Basics:

Getting in: The old school way of doing it was getting up at 4 AM to line up on the high way until the gates are open. This year they've disallowed this, so the traditional line up can only commence at 7 AM. Once in the park, the cars are put into a field where some get to drive in further depending on how early you come, while others park in the field and have to hike their stuff in.

There are two festival camp grounds: the quiet campground (filled with families and children aka not as much fun) and the festival campground (more fun then possibly imaginable).

The Festival campground is divided into four separate zones which are divided by trees. This is how you find your friends. Ex: "I'm in site three, in the trees, beside the spaceship and the hummock city" (legit quote).

The spots that are most coveted are in the trees because that way if it rains you are protected and when it gets too hot, you are cool in the shade.

The walk from the closest campground to the festival is about 10-15 minutes, and from the furthest sites probably 20ish. This depends on how many people you run into, how many people you wait for and how many pee breaks/ how fast you can chug your drink before getting onto the path takes.

Popes Hill: The hill is where the all night drum circles happen, besides the random ones that sporadically happen around camp fires through out the camp ground. The hill is where you can watch fire dancers and other shows earlier in the evening, aka 12 or 1 AM. It is also really amusing to watch all the messed up people roll down the hill and the glow people walk up the hill.

Castle Boys: Every year the boys put together a structure with a theme for everyone to play music inside. For example it has been castle, a saloon, a pirate ship and a rocket ship. Always a good spot to meet people and always a popular late night destination.

The Trading Post: straight up, an old school trading post with a party around it. Rad.

Make the most out of your fest:

A lot of people get caught up in the camp ground culture, which is amazing don't get me wrong, however, folk fest should be about the music. Don't just show up for main stage, or rather, at least make it to main stage.

Do the research before hand, figure out what you want to see and go check it out. Once you're at the show with your friends and your schedule, someone will suggest going to check out another stage with another show, where you will find more music and so on and so forth. You can always sleep and drink and eat in the festival!

The booze and the, ahem, other stuff will be there the whole week, so don't over do it the first couple nights and it is pretty normal to take one night off to just sleep. I usually choose the night that I get the drunkest during the day.

I come back every year, no matter where I am living. In my opinion, this week is better than Christmas.

To quote my friend Eric Parent, aka Pee Pee Parent, another Folk Fest enthusiast whose motto for partying at folk fest is: "Safety and Teamwork."  Which is hilarious and true.


P.S. Remember to NOT bring glass bottles :)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

What to do in Winnipeg: Monday Nights

Last night, a Monday, I confirmed my belief that Whiskey Dix for is the place to go for a dance party.

The Monday night hot spot used to be Alive but we walked down there and it wasn't even open.

After having a lovely Winnipeg afternoon consisting of shopping and patio hopping, I had a good day drunk-buzz on, which is obviously the best kind of buzz. Of course this led into a sloppy night drunk, which turned into all night party.

Bar I patio, which is always a good time in the sun shine, then the Toad then Whiskey Dix, where the average age of the clientele is 19, was filled with beautiful, well (kinda slutty) dressed people and mostly ladies at that.

The outdoor patio, the largest in the city, was filled with people and the latest music filled the air.

Having to leave early because of an unfortunate situation involving my friends I.D. being expired, we cabbed over to the Village and hit up G martini and the Toad once again. Both places were filled with people because, after all, it is the village and the village is rad but nothing really compared to the straight up party atmosphere of Dix (if that what you're looking for with your Monday night, and we were at the time).

I am excited to see this city and Dix when NHL players come to town, my prediction is that shit is gonna blow up.

Moral of the story is; Monday night are in fact a good time. Whiskey Dix for a dance party or the Village for a chill time, either way get out and party yo.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

What to do in Winnipeg: Thursday Nights

Thursday nights are quickly starting to become more fun than Friday nights in Winnipeg, and I have three top reasons why I can justify this statement:

1. Big Dancing (Osborne Village)
2. The Red Cactus  (Corydon)
3. Half off bottles of wine at Original Joe's (Kenaston and Grant)

Big Dancing is a rad, dingy club in the basement of Ozzy's where most phones don't get reception. If you kids are the same age as me, then you might call it the The D Machine of its time.

With its very cheap drinks, Molson Canadian's for $3.50 and Jagger on special, everyone is in the same sweaty, drunk boat around you.

Hosted by Cypha Dias and with music by The Hosers and Ric Hard, and guest DJ spots such as Shuttle from Passion Pit this past Thursday. The DJ's will rock your socks with the newest beats and jams.

There is also Tiny Dancing upstairs but it just seems like purgatory until you get downstairs to the Big D. Be sure to get there early to avoid the line, especially when it's cold outside.

For a more chill but still dancy atmosphere there is the Red Cactus on Corydon.

The Red Cactus is a small awkwardly shaped two level lounge with a patio in the front.
Thursday nights hosts “The Grind” Grant and Nazim, who play in a two man- one man band style show. They play lots of the classic hits and provide good ol' fashion boot stoppin' tunes.

The Cactus likes to get packed on Thursday, so be sure to be ready to bump elbows with your neighbours when getting drinks at the bar and get there early so you can get a table.

Finally there is Original Joe's at the corner of Kenaston and Grant.

Oj's has a restaurant-business feel by day but a lounge feel by night. With its large, spacey restaurant/lounge and patio out front, overall it is a very laid back place with great food.

Half off bottles of wine, the cheapest bottle being Naked Grape, runs at $11 before taxes. The cheap wine paired with the chill atmosphere makes for a very social place filled with lots of young and young-ish people.

Thursday nights are usually busy right until 2 A.M. but if you can't finish your bottle by then, or your table's second or third bottle, then you can always re-cork and take er' home.

*** Note: Since this blog has been posted, wine night at Original Joe's has since been moved to Tuesday nights.

Friday, 24 June 2011


Announced, or leaked, today that Winnipeg's NHL franchise will take the name JETS back home.

A trade party will be happening at the MTS center and hopefully there will be no riots. Today or ever.

Yes. All the tweeting, online petitioning and pressure from the Peggers' has been worth it.

The online petition held over 13,000 signatures.

It now feels like the NHL is back in Winnipeg for real.

Welcome home Jets, welcome home.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

What to do in Winnipeg: Tuesday Nights

Oh Winnipeg.

Here is what I love about Peggers': No matter the rain or the snow or the wind or the in between, they will go out and be social. Not only go out but girls will still rock short skirt in minus thirty degree weather.

Tuesday nights in Winnipeg, one might think that perhaps this is not the most exciting night of the week but that is not true at all and this is because of;
Soul Night at The Cavern in Osborne Village (below The Toad in the Hole pub).

Last night was my first time attending the "Soul Night" but it was not my first time hearing Sheena and The Solutions play.

Soul Night has been around for awhile but this shit is now blowing up.

Some may say it is a very "scenester" scene, with the skinny jeans, big glasses and snobby attitudes but I think it was just plain ol' dancy fun.

Sheena (who switches off with Marty, but I have yet to see her sing), is the part time lead singer of The Solutions. Sheena's voice along with the horns, drums, keys and bass makes for a full, solid sound. Her voice could be considered mix of Aretha Franklin and Florence from Florence and the Machines and paired with the unbelievably talented Solutions, this band is fun without comparison.

While the band likes to have fun with their outfits, along with their funny little dance routines, it is songs like "Shout" and "Respect" that really get the dance floor going.

During "Shout" the band brought the crowd up and down, literally, while Sheena playfully teased the audience when they sang the wrong lyrics.

The closing song "Hey Jude" was epic in proportion as the dancers sang the "Nah Nah Nah Naaas" and Sheena belted out the "Judes."

The Solutions play every second Tuesday switching off with "Dr. Hot Bottom and the Soul Prescriptions" whom I have yet to see play.

If you are in the mood to sing and dance to the soulful oldies and get good and sweaty in the underground bar, this Tuesday night you should hit up the Cavern.

Check out The Solutions and support local music-

Note***Since this blog has been posted, half priced wine night at Original Joe's has been moved to Tuesday nights. See "What to do in Winnipeg: Tuesday nights" post for details.

Scotch Eggs

"Scotch eggs!?" I thought to myself as I read the description on the menu at the Kingshead Pub in the Exchange District. "Why, it must be just like green eggs and ham?!"
No, it is not just like green eggs and ham. Someone did not just use food coloring to dye over easy eggs and honey ham green. And no I did not enjoy it the way that Sam-I-Am and that other disgruntled character both enjoyed their green eggs and ham.
Scotch eggs are hard boiled eggs, wrapped in ground pork, breaded then deep fried and sliced in half.
People may have said “Why the eff would you ever try that after reading the description?” I say, try everything once or until it does you wrong.
Dear Scotch eggs,
you did me wrong.
While eating it, I thought, “This isn't so bad. It tastes kind of like a really heavy, rubbery, salty breakfast... I'll just add pepper”... but afterwards, it feels like you just ate ten big macs.
Truthfully, if you get the chance to try Scotch eggs, I’m going to say go ahead and please do, because I will never discourage anyone from trying anything. But just don't eat a full plate of them and then try to function like a normal person
Moral of the story is- if you eat Scotch eggs, your butt may fall off.
The End.

PS. If you are looking for a pub in Winnipeg that is always busy, no matter the time of day. With a great atmosphere, hilarious staff and delicious, greasy food at fair prices (including Scotch eggs)- check out the Kingheads Pub in the exchange district. It is one of my favourites, especially on a Saturday night.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Winnipeg Jazz Festival

This weekend Jazz Winnipeg held its festival kick off in Old Market Square in the exchange district. This free outdoor concert was the beginning of the week long Jazz festival which occurs at various clubs and venues around the city.

Not being one that has ever attended the Winnipeg Jazz Festival before, I was pleasantly surprised at not only the large turn out in the Square on Sunday evening but at the mass of young people in attendance.

Only making it to the two closing acts on Sunday night, The Lytics and Moses Mayes, I walked up as the Lytics were rocking the audience (as per usual).

People were dancing from the streets, the pit and in the beer tents. The cube stage in the square was lit up and the performers were having a great time.

At one point Moses Mayes's man on the turntables, Grant Paley yelled out "We are officially a crowd surfing band!"

I'll be the first to admit that I am not someone who knows a lot about jazz or I may have categorized it as kind of an old persons thing on the CBC radio, but I was happily proven wrong. My only regret is that I had known about the festival sooner and I would have attended all weekend long.

If you want to check out any the Jazz Festivals club, lunch or theater series, check out their website for times and performers.

Its great to see that Jazz is alive and well, and that Winnipeggers are fulling supporting festivals within our fair city.

Also, check out The Lytics and Moses Mayes - support local musicians!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Save Our "Jets"?

As an avid hockey fan, I was very happy when I heard that I no longer have to cheer for the Ottawa Senators anymore.

It was announced on May 31, 2011 that Winnipeg will be welcoming back the NHL this upcoming fall season, however, True North Sports and Entertainment have yet to announce the team's name.

This has caused an uprising among the citizens of Winnipeg who are protesting the name change by using the social media and email petitions. Also, The Winnipeg Sun has been adding fuel to the fire by featuring Jets related articles on the front page of their paper almost everyday (exaggeration but not by much).

When I was 8 years old I went to the fifth last Winnipeg Jet's games back in 1996. I remember my mom telling me to chant " Cheveldae," and "Teemu." I vividly remember the fans standing in their seats, refusing to leave at the end of the game as they chanted "Save Our Jets!"

I'm sure most people, like myself, that were born and raised in Winnipeg have the same sort of nostalgia attached to the Jets name.

On June 1st, Truth North kicked off the "Drive to 13,000," campaign to sell season tickets in order to prove that Winnipeg has the desire and funds to support a team.

The goal was met within 17 minutes.

 If the people come out to support the league, then the league should support the people by giving them what they want and what they've earned: the rightful ownership of their name-

The Winnipeg Jets.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Winnipeg: Known For Its Attractive Women

Is it not uncommon to hear that Winnipeg is known for it's very attractive girl population. If one was to google the question under any topical website, the answer will come out the same.

Winnipeg overall does indeed have very attractive girls.

I'm sure the same can be said about many cities, however given the rich heritage of Winnipeg with its many different backgrounds such as Metis, Aboriginal, Franco-Manitoba's, Filipinos, Icelandic and Mennonite; people were bound to meet, mate and produce pretty people. It is pretty much science.

Not only does Winnipeg have attractive girls but Winnipeg also has a higher girl to guy ratio, which leaves us single girls at not only a loss but a challenge. Of Winnipeg's population of 600 thousand, according to the 2006 census, 48.3% of the population were male and 51.7% were female.

Not only that but one quarter or 24.3% were 19 years old or younger, and another quarter of the population or 27.4%, were between 20 and 30 years old (Wiki). Young. Attractive. Single. Women.

Don't believe me? Walk into any Joey's, Earls, Moxie's or really any bar, mall, book shop or Starbucks especially in the Corydon-Osborne area and you will find attractive women. If there was some way to prove this then I would but just look around and see for yourself.

Winnipeg: Come oonnnnn down!
(Old School Winnipeg Kern Hill Furniture Co-Op reference, may he rest in peace).

Friday, 10 June 2011

Winnipeg: "One Great City?"

This past week I journeyed to Vancouver; a beautiful, clean, shining port city that I had never been to before. Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada, with just over two million in population for surely beats Winnipeg with its whopping 700 thousand people.

Not being one to have travelled to many North American metropolises in life, I was surprised at how clean Vancouver's downtown core was.

The transit system is wonderful for exploring the city, and the tram system is great for getting to and from the airport. The public transport system reminded me of a cleaner, newer version of London's great bus, tram and subway system sans the "mind the gap."

Vancouver's success and beauty then started to make me question Winnipeg's flaws.

Despite population size, what makes a city a city?
And a great city at that?
Sky scraping buildings brushing the clouds and causing awe and wonder?
The many opportunities presented by the city its self?
A well operated transit system?
Many shops, restaurants and boutiques?
 Finally I came to ask myself: Is a city ultimately defined by its downtown core?

Vancouver's warm climate yet expensive rents and property taxes provides positive and negative reasons to live there. Whereas Winnipeg's low rent, taxes and cold weather also provides positive and negative aspects as to why one may inhabit here.

 Both cities have their pros's and con's, but what keeps Vancouver's watch ticking at a faster, more advanced rate than Winnipeg's? Despite population size and economy, what else causes Winnipeg to be less "|advanced"?

After taking the ol' Transit Tom downtown this morning to my favorite area of the city, the exchange district, then walking over to Main something struck me as surprising; how deserted our downtown core is.

Further down toward U of W's and the Hydro building, there are plenty of people but get to Main and it became a lot more desolate.

 Vancouver's streets and transit system is always bursting with life, encouraging citizens to take to the streets and thus put forth more consumerism. Whereas Winnipeg's downtown core closes off the area by providing bad parking, not being easily accessible and gives off a dangerous and desolate feel.

As Jane Jacobs may say in her famous book "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," that sidewalks primary uses are "safety, contract and assimilating children." By providing a public/private ratio people may find comfort, and safety with the many people around them.

Winnipeg has done the opposite, by closing off downtown specifically Portage and Main, making it less accessible and almost deserted in some areas; the city has caused itself to become more dangerous. Crime in the downtown area of Winnipeg, rather than in Vancouver, is much more likely despite the lower population.

 This is because less people are likely to go there, thus providing less protection to others by simply having people walking around there.

In this respect, Vancouver has taken Jane Jacob's first chapter in her novel to heart and provided a thriving, safe and ultimately great downtown core which makes Vancouver the great city that is.

Portage and Main's way of forcing people below ground to promote consumerism in the underground mall has done the opposite Instead of people going downtown to shop, they're rather go elsewhere.

Winnipeg downtown core is lacking, in turn makes me wonder: if a city is defined by it's down town core, then would Winnipeg be considered "one great city" after all?