Category Archives: Breaking News

Polar Vortex: A how to survive primer.

So what I do when I’m caught in a polar vortex of arctic cold?  Would I call the Police Department, Fire Department or a Canadian?  Given a choice I would call the Canadian. But let’s hope it never get’s to that.

Note the location of Winnipeg in this graphic. Source: BBC.com

Note the location of Winnipeg in this graphic.
Source: BBC.com

Hi Glad to meet you my name is Bob, I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba one of the coldest city’s on planet earth.  For example this week Winnipeg was colder than the planet Mars.  If I can do it you can do it. Don’t freak out I’ll show you how.

Source: AccuWeather.com

Source: AccuWeather.com

Question: My Car won’t start in the cold. 

Answer: Plug it in.

Have you ever been driving in the Canada and noticed that almost every car has an electric plug sticking out the grill or from under the hood? It’s not that we have electric cars, we have just developed a simple remedy to keep our cars running in the coldest of temperatures

The easy fix for most of you will be to buy and install a block heater

. It very simply is a heating element that fits into the engine block of your car.  It can be installed by any licensed mechanic and will plug into a household extension cord that has a ground.

Question: How do I go outside if I don’t have winter gear.

Answer: Layers.
We Canadians have learned many tricks from the Inuit (Eskimo) and one of them is dressing in layers.  Even if you don’t have thick clothing, dressing in many layers of loose breathable fabrics will help.  Try to avoid wet layers or layers that absorb moisture.  One fact in winter is that moisture freezes, if you can stay insulated while letting moisture escape you’ll be well along your way.

A simple graphic describing winter layering techniques. Source: clothing to wear.com

A simple graphic describing winter layering techniques.
Source: clothing to wear.com

Fact: Dryness Kills.

The opposing force to staying dry in the extreme cold is staying hydrated.  Every breath you take wicks moisture from your body.  In normal conditions is a good and natural thing. But in Desert and Arctic conditions where the humidity is very low body hydration is crucial.  Just because you are cold does not mean that your body is not working.  So drink lots of liquid water.  Do NOT eat snow. Only eat snow as an ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT.  Yes snow is water but it takes the human body energy to melt and convert that snow to liquid water.   Use fire or other sources of heat to melt the snow to liquid form.

Question: I’m stuck in the snow on the highway and it’s not very cold but I can see lights in the distance should I walk for help?

Answer: No

For a couple of good reasons, your vehicle is shelter, if you go outside of it in the snow you leave that protection.  One fact many people fail to realize is that cold is only one factor.  Canadians have built into our temperature scale a reading of WIND CHILL.  The temperature may read one degree but the way our bodies perceive it is completely different.

The wind can wick away heat from anything warm.  Our bodies, a tent, a building.  The stronger the wind the lower the perceived temperature can go.  DO NOT MESS WITH WINDCHILL!

windchill

Question: My house is freezing what can I do?

Answer: Insulate

Like the above post on how to go outside, your house IS outside.  If you don’t keep the walls warm how do you expect to keep warm?  Now this does not to have to be expensive in the short-term.  First thing I would to is to cut drafts.  If you can put towels under drafty doorways, to keep the wind out.

Silicone or other caulking methods could work around windows frames that may have leaks in them to the outside.  In extreme situations early settlers used “Wattle and Daub” or mud and Straw to plug leaks.  In harsh extreme conditions, paper or cardboard could be mashed with water to fill cracks where combustion is not an issue.

Even covering up leaking windows with a blanket will help keep cold out. But remember on sunny days to keep southern exposures clear to let the sunlight in and warm the surfaces of the room.  Also do not block all sources of fresh air.  DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES use gas appliances to heat your home.  Every year people die trying to use propane heaters and even BBQ Grills to heat their homes.  Gasses trapped inside the home will kill you faster than the cold. So bundle up and tough it out.

Question: Help I’m trapped in the snow. No Help is coming.

Stay with your vehicle, run it for limited periods to keep from freezing. NOT just to stay warm.  Go outside only for limited amounts of time, to eliminate waste (Pee, Poop). Collect water in the form of snow if you do not have water.  Clear exhaust pipe so the engine can run, and to keep vehicle visible to rescue crews.

Question: Help I’m Trapped outside in a field, and no help is coming.

Answer: You’re still not dead, keep your wits about you and you can live.  Read everything above, if there is snow and you have a means to build a shelter there are a couple of options.

A: I’ve got trees around me.

Start taking branches and making a shelter. If you have big branches make a lean-to. Taking the sticks and propping them against the tree to make a space for yourself.  Line the ground with branches to stay off of the cold ground.  Make it as small as possible for you to fit into but thick so it will keep out the cold if you do not have fire.

B. I’m in a bald field of snow.

Don’t panic.  You can survive. If you have the time and energy try to build Qunizhee, a mound of snow. Do it slowly and don’t get to exhausted in the process.  Let the mound sit and settle, then slowly dig into the mound of snow to create a cavity.  Snow an insulator, it’s really fluffy and has lots of air to trap heat.  So the center of your little mound may keep you nice and warm.  If you have a candle  you have a heat source that can keep you alive for the night.  But make sure you leave an escape for any gasses that are created.  Like a small vent made by a stick in the top of your hut.

The most important thing to remember in the cold is to stay warm, and stay calm.  Panic will kill you faster than cold.  Stay calm and access your situation and act logically.  Do not run for help if you can not see it, if you have shelter use it.  If you can make fire or stay warm do so.  Help will come to you.  Stay warm and make water from snow if you do not have water.  Eat to keep your strength up.

Stay sane and stay safe

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Sir Paul McCartney to play Winnipeg.

Breaking News!

Paul McCartney Out There Tour

Paul McCartney: Out There Tour

Less than an hour ago Kevin Donnelly and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced a major concert event for Winnipeg.  Sir Paul McCartney will play Investors Group Field on August 12, 2013.

This is Sir Paul’s first appearance in Winnipeg since his New World Tour played the Winnipeg Stadium in 1993.  I was a wide-eyed 23-year-old at the time and it was the biggest show I had ever been to.  It’s long been a night that I hoped to repeat. With luck I’ll be in the crowd August 12th at Investors Group Field.

Tickets go on sale April 29, 2013 at 10 am local time.  Ranging in price from $35 to $250.

Goodbye Winnipeg Blizzard, Hello Mexico Sun!!

As many of you know all ready Winnipeg is in the grips of a terrible winter storm.  With winds howling out of the north-west at breakneck speeds and the snow sure to come pounding in tonight by the bucket-load.  The temperature is set to drop from the balmy -2 Celsius we have been enjoying (T-Shirt Weather) to a skin freezes in under a minute -25 to -30 next week.

A typical Manitoba winter drive.  Burrr

A typical Manitoba winter drive. Burrr

Strangely though, and those of you who know me will think this odd, I don’t give a rats ass.  Because by this time tomorrow I should be en-route to the Mayan Riviera, Mexico.  Buried to my knees in sand, surf and senoritas, (Shhh, don’t tell Dar) for a family wedding that they had the good sense to book in the middle of our coldest season here in Winnipeg.

We are planning all types of activities; they include laying on a hot beach, drinking beer on a hot beach, drinking margaritas on a hot beach, drinking tequila on a hot beach and finally passing out on a hot beach.  Hopefully being found by a kind staff member and escorted back to my room with an IV drip to avoid the impending hangover.

Ahh, Good times!!!

Ahh, Good times!!!

But I jest, we actually do have all types of excursions planned exploring the Mayan runes, trying the indigenous cuisine (street food), and exploring the cenotes (caves in the Yucatán).   We also hope to go zip lining and maybe catch a catamaran to the island of Cozumel.

That is if winter lets us out of Winnipeg.  We do indeed have a large storm bearing down on us at the moment but by all accounts it should clear by morning.    Fingers crossed, expect some tales of grand adventure from my very first trip to a sunny destination!

Adiós mis amigos, te veo pronto. Ariba Ariba!

Oh shit, here comes the snow.

Well I guess Winnipeg was due. After all of the grief of Sandy and the blizzards out west.  It’s finally our turn, I hope that the bulk of you who read me in the Winnipeg area have gotten your chance to see the latest James Bond 007 flick Skyfall.  Because according to the forecasts you will not be getting out to see it this weekend.
I apologize to the Winnipeg Public Library, I won’t in all likelihood be able to return my books this weekend. If we get the record setting, 40 cm of snow and blowing conditions that we are expecting you can bill me for the late charges.

Stay safe and sane people.  We are Winnipeg, it’s just a bit of snow after all.
Chill out

Bob

 

FIRE, in St. Boniface

 

There is a huge fire raging just outside my door tonight.Just over a block away a building is exploding and sending huge plumes of black smoke up and beyond.

I felt a fireball, with the heat and the pressure rise up and try to burn my eyebrows off.   I was standing at least a block away.   It was the freakiest thing.
A mushroom cloud of gasoline or other propellents went off as Dar and I stood on the street in front of our house.

The whole crowd backed off,  as  huge fireball ignited the fumes and  smoke climbing into the evening sky.

I stood firm,  judging the distance and awaited the heat.   We were bathed in a good blast of sub atomic heat.  But the effect was none the less, quite effective.

Our home seems to be safe at this time as fire professionals have arrived on scene.

We are safe and hopefully sound for the night, should more happen I will let you know at first chance.

Bob

 

Redemption!

As many of you who follow my little musings will know I am a staunch Canadian.  A promoter if you will of our way of life and our culture.

One thing that is deep in our marrow is the fact that we will not quit.  From being shock troopers in the first and second world wars.  To besting the world with sometimes antiquated equipment (the schooner Bluenose) to winning bronze at in Olympic soccer today at the London 2012 games.

After a hard fought match filled with controversy and lactic acid our fine ladies Canadian national team brought home our first medal in soccer EVER!  Yes it was a bronze, but just think about this for a second.  Hmmmmmm.  When you think of Canada what do you think of.  For me personally soccer doesn’t exactly leap off the page.  I think hockey, snow, beer, incredibly sexy ladies and a warm and relaxed people.

Diana Matheson battles France’s Gaetane Thiney for the ball in the 2012 bronze medal soccer match. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

These talented and incredibly resilient women brought home not just the bronze medal but also a huge amount of pride to our humble nation.  The talk everywhere at work today was, have they started yet, what’s the score, who are we playing, did we win?

Diana Matheson puts the ball in seconds away from overtime! (AP Photo/Jon Super)

No one had to ask what the conversation was about we were all on the same mental wavelength.

This game was all about the defenders, France by all accounts out shot us by a huge margin but failed to find the back of the net.  Goal keeper Erin McLeod and Winnipeg’s own Desiree Scott had brilliant games keeping the score nil to nil until the dying minutes of regular time.

This picture says it all! Canada wins! (Jean Levac/Postmedia Olympic Team)

Diana Matheson potted home the lone goal of the game with ten seconds remaining before a grueling overtime would be required.

It’s not gold and it’s not silver but yet these fine ladies managed to do what so many other teams could not.  They found the podium and they found it with pride.

Good on you girls, you did yourselves and your nation proud.
You may have only won bronze but you’re as good as gold to all of us back home!

Home sweet home

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Anyone that has been on vacation with any kind of extended family knows this immovable law of the universe. The joy of being away is conversely squared to joy of being home again.

Humans in my experience love home.  It’s our comfort zone, it’s our cave with a little home fire burning.

Having said that the trip out west was a blast. Here are some of our pictures from along the way.