Tag Archives: Winnipeg

Mid-Winter Mardi-Gras: Let the Good Times Roll!

Well, here we are again Winnipeg, mid-January with the cold and snow firmly entrenched and no end in sight. For those of you, like myself, unable to travel somewhere tropical, there is a reprieve in sight. The good folks in The Vatican came up with the idea of Lent a couple of centuries ago and wouldn’t you know it the industrious citizens of New Orléans know an opportunity to eat and carry on when they see it. Fat Tuesday, or Mardi-Gras to our Creole and Cajun friends to the South is just the excuse to let loose, eat and drink till you can’t do that no more.

Tom McGouran lampshade at the ready with Alix Michaels rocking out with an Aligator at Mardi Gras Media Night

Tom McGouran lampshade at the ready with Alix Michaels rocking out with an Aligator at Mardi Gras Media Night

Held at The RBC Convention Centre February 13th and 14th this Mardi Gras celebration marks the tenth anniversary of the event in Winnipeg. Fabulous food, entertainment and two themed nights are planned to please and surprise those who have a shine on their shoes and spring in their step.

Announcing the festivities for Mardi Gras at media night.

Announcing the festivities for Mardi Gras at media night.

Friday, February 13th is Zombie Night. The living dead will be roaming the room at the RBC Convention Centre. Come dressed as one of the living impaired and join the Undead Newlyweds as they seek fun, dancing and brains!! Those who dress to impress the undead get free admission to the Friday the 13th event.

Tom McGouran and the Zombie Bride 2

Tom McGouran better eat quick he’s being sized up for lunch by the Zombie Bride!

Don’t have a date or a mate to bring to Mardi Gras on Valentine’s Day Saturday, February the 14th? Don’t worry, you can wear your heart on your sleeve and maybe meet that special someone who will sweep you off your feet and rock the night away. Cut out hearts will be available at the door to pin to your outfit and mark yourself Looking for Love! I can personally attest to hearing some very heartfelt testimonials from people who were looking only to dance the night away and found that special someone to make the night magical.

Tom and Alix

Tom McGouran and Alix Michaels

Speaking of magic, back by popular demand, all the way from New Orléans, Louisiana is Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellrasisers. The perennial party band is a sweet treat for your ears and your feet. You’ll be jumping and shaking with music so good you’ll want to slap yo mama!

Even Country Girls like Mardi Gras. Leanne The Boss Lady Cater in full plumage at Mardi Gras Media Night

Even Country Girls like Mardi Gras. Leanne “The Boss Lady” Cater in full plumage at Mardi Gras Media Night

If that’s not enough for y’all, don’t forget The Lindsays will be performing throughout the night.  Featuring Sword Swallowing, Juggling and feats that will  amaze and surprise young and old alike!  Showgirls and yes ladies Showboys will be on display for your roving eye.  Of course we can’t forget Beads! Thank goodness it’s an adult party with no children to protect from the giving of Beads! Wink Wink Y’all!

Fresh shucked oysters

Fresh shucked oysters

Now all that moving and shaking is going to be putting a fierce hunger in that belly. Why not try some of the flavours of Louisiana. The menu this year includes fan favourites such as Deep Fried Pickles and Sweet Potato Fries, screamingly fresh P.E.I Oysters, shucked just for you and of course Peel and Eat Shrimp. New to Winnipeg Mardi Gras, sample Authentic Alligator Fritters, be careful though these may bite back!

Freshly flambéed Shrimp with Pasta

Freshly flambéed Shrimp with Pasta

Looking for something a little more hearty? Try the Louisiana Style Shrimp with Pasta, French Quarter Gumbo or Bourbon Street Creole Style Jambalaya! I’ve personally tried all the above and they are spectacular.

Jambalaya

Jambalaya! Need I say More?

Gentlemen, why not treat your own zombie bride to be or Valentine date to a sweet treat. This year’s desert special is Basin Street Pudding with Bourbon Laced Caramel Sauce.

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

With all of this activity y’all are going to have a mighty powerful thirst going on. Don’t worry, they have you covered. Major drink sponsors include Fireball Canadian Whiskey, Wine O’ Clock, Diabolica, Molson/Coors and Heineken. Naturally, you can’t have a party Louisiana style without Jack Daniel’s or Southern Comfort so they’ll be there as well!

Come visit Kristjana the Fireball Girl at Mardi Gras

Come visit Kristjana the Fireball Girl at Mardi Gras February 13th at the RBC Convention Centre.

I know that personally I can’t wait for the chance to shake off these winter blues and dance till my feet can’t dance no more. Come join us, it’s going to be one hell-raiser of a good time.

Media Celeberties laugh it up at Mardi Gras Media Night

Media Celeberties laugh it up at Mardi Gras Media Night

Authors Note: I do have a few free passes to give away for both Friday and Saturday nights. So to win, leave a comment detailing what night you’d like and what you’ll do to get them. For example, if you want Zombie Night, tell me what your costume plans are. If Valentine’s Day is more your style tell me why you absolutely need to meet that special someone this year. Winnipeg and area only please, I will be in contact with the winners to arrange pick up of the tickets.

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Winnipeg Indie Music Lovers Rejoice: The Real Love Music Festival is Almost Here!

Real Love ButtonWinnipeg has always been a hotbed of musical innovation.  From the 60’s community club scene that saw The Guess Who and Neil Young dominating the Rock and Roll charts.  To smaller bands like The Jury who never quite got the big break they deserved.  Some music scholars have theorized that it’s all part of the isolation Winnipeg enjoys geographically and meteorologically.  Let’s face it although Winnipeg is in the center of the continent we’re in the middle of nowhere and our winters can be brutally extreme.

What this does to people is debatable but one thing is for sure it breeds creativity.  The Real Love Music festival, happening June 6-8th, is proof of that in spades.  Taking place at Gimli Motorsports Park in Gimli, Manitoba The Real Love Festival hopes to give people of all ages and backgrounds an affordable and memorable music experience.

Real Love Festival Poster
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Go Go Godzilla!

godzilla_2014_poster_51784

As luck would have it the fates have smiled upon me once again and gifted me a set of passes to the Winnipeg première of Godzilla.  I have high hopes that this incarnation of the giant fire-breathing lizard will be head and shoulders above the craptacular Mathew Broderick version of a few years ago.

From what I have seen so far from the trailers on-line there very well could be a battle royal between Big G and what appears to be a Rodan like creature.  In any case I will have all the goodies in my head as of May 14th with a movie preview post on May 15th.

So grab your dinosaur slippers if you have them and stomp around to the musical madness of Blue Oyster Cult as they sing Godzilla!!

Godzilla Slippers

Oh No There goes Tokyo. Go Go Godzilla!

 

 

1954 Godzilla

 

2014 Mardi Gras is shaping up to be Mardi Great!

Being a blogger to my mind is its own reward. When I write I normally have something to say or to bring to the attention of the masses, however now and then there are a few side perks that pop up.  Last night Dar and I were the guests of RAS Creative who are doing the promotions for the upcoming Winnipeg Mardi Gras celebration.  It was a media and blogger night to get a taste of the event, the colours, the atmosphere and of course the food!

Mask with feathers From jugglers and drag queens, zydeco dancing, fancy southern cocktails and of course heaping helpings of Cajun and Creole food favorites straight from New Orléans.

Masks on Table

Two Beauties

Our evening started out simply shaking hands and getting to know the assembled crowd.  It turns out that one of Darlene’s co-workers is also a Winnipeg blogger and writes the webpage PegCityLovely.  From there our grumbling stomachs lead us on to the amazing food. I decided just to work my way around the room and try a little bit of everything.  My partner in crime Darlene humbly accepted the challenge of being the night’s beverage taster since I had to drive us home.

DSC00238

PegCityLovely

The first selection of the evening is a New Orléans classic sandwich, the fried oyster po’ boy along with a side of deep fried pickles the combo knocked it out of the park.  Crunchy and rich in flavour paired with the acidity of the deep fried pickle matched incredibly well together.

Oyster Po' Boy Sign

Deep Fried Pickles

Next up was a stop to my most frequented stand of the evening.  Raw shucked Glacier Bay oysters, peel and eat shrimp and the most decadent rich and velvety smooth gumbo this wordsmith has ever eaten.  I love a good briny oyster, nothing fancy just meaty slippery goodness.  Even more than the taste is watching people’s reactions as you wolf down a dozen or so of these beauties.  Revulsion and abject horror often flash through their eyes.  Yummy!

Oyster Bar

Rounding the corner another set of tables loomed ahead, spaced perfectly with food, beverages, and food.  Needing some serious sustenance now a pasta dish looked to be the way to go and we were not disappointed.  The rosé farfalle pasta was amazing.  Complex flavours in a creamy sauce covering pillows of perfectly cooked pasta. The dish also included a oven dried tomato and a cheese crisp (chip) that added just the right zip to the velvety pasta and sauce.

Pasta Dish

Pasta PlateFireball 1

Dar seemed to be up for a challenge as we worked our way around the room and was game for a shot of Fireball whiskey.  The lovely bartender encouraged her saying that the shot tasted just like a cinnamon heart candy.  Dar did the shot like a trooper and even got a souvenir flashing shot-glass to mark the occasion.

Fireball Girl

Seafood is definitely a way of life down in New Orléans so a dish like bourbon flamed garlic pepper shrimp on a bed of rice pilaf is a natural. Like everything else we had tried up to this point the rice and shrimp were simply mind blowing. The aromas coming from this table were incredible, frying garlic and briny shrimps being flamed in top shelf bourbon I’ll let your imagination do the rest.

Garlic Pepper Shrimp

One last turn and we were into Dar’s favorite stand of the night the mixed cocktails.  liking a sweeter beverage Darlene tried two of the house favorites.   The Agent Orange and the Southern Hurricane.  Darlene preferred the Agent Orange due to it’s fruity flavour and deceptive power.  “You can’t even taste the booze in this, it’s dangerous” she exclaimed!

Southern Comfort Menu

But don’t think that’s where Mardi Gras stops as I said the party planners are bringing in top notch entertainment in the form of Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers.  Playing the best in washboard music and swamp pop that your ears have ever heard. I guarantee!

Two masks

Social Media Page

Come for the food, come for the fun and flamboyance. Come for the Ambiance and the Zydeco, how’s that for an A to Z fun time.  Come on down I guarantee you’ll have a great time.  It’s taking place at the Winnipeg Convention Center February 14 and 15th

If you live in Winnipeg and are a fan of Exploring Winnipeg and Beyond, I have some free passes to give away. But there is a catch.  Comment on this post and tell me how I got my start blogging.  It’s easy just go into the archives and look it up.  I’m looking for where I went (City) and the reason (event) I went there.
Comment on this blog posting an I’ll hook you up with some passes for Mardi Gras at the convention center.

Now do yourself a favor and check out the musical madness of Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers!

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

Big City Boy, With a Small Town Heart.

I don’t know if it’s just the way I was raised or just the good feeling I have for those around me.  But it just feels right to give back or give forward everyday.

Today Winnipeg got hit with a shitload of snow, not a metric shitload or even an imperial shitload but a good dump none the less.  Around a half meter or so, with drifting and the like.  Not anything Winnipeg has never seen before but a good dump.

Dar and I live on a pretty quiet block, a river to the back of us and an industrial park that tends to explode from time to time. So we tend to know our neighbors.  If not by name but at least by sight.

I know that there are some down our block that are too old to shovel heavy snow, so before I did our lot out I went and did theirs.  Not for cash, or even for recognition.  Hell I don’t even know if half of them are even home. But I did it because it was a nice thing to do.

Over the Christmas holidays, I think it’s just nice to help when you can.  I deliver hampers, shovel snow and try to be a good person.

Don’t look to me and ask Bob how can I be like you.  Well you can’t be like me, but the point of the matter is to be the best you that you can be.  Even if you are lacking in funds to help the smallest gesture can mean the world to another.

Just think, if I were in that situation, how could someone help me.  And do that, or something close to it.

It Never hurts to help.

Happy Christmas and a very Merry New Year to one and all.

Bob

Christmas Giving: The Gift That Gives Back.

Hey folks, I know it’s been a while since I’ve been around.  But I decided to poke my head out of my hiding hole for a little while and get on my hickory stump for a bit of an old country lesson.

The theme of this message is… It never hurts to help.

Now people I am not saying that you have to give up the family farm or put yourself in hardship.  But given the things people all around the world are going through it hardly seems wrong to chip in a little in any way to help those that have less than yourself.

It could be a dollar into a Charity Hamper, or a nickel into the that Salvation army kettle with the singing Santa. It could be donating some time to a worthy cause, like serving soup for those less fortunate.  All I am saying is that in this economic climate everything helps.

You may ask Bob…What did you do to help those in need.  Well my friends I deliver hampers to the less fortunate in Winnipeg.
I take a few nights out of my year and grab some like-minded friends and go spread the Christmas cheer.

I throw on a Santa hat and knock on doors for a cause, I don’t do it to help me but in some way I do.  I give my time and my effort for free, and all I get in return is the smiling faces of children who would otherwise have no Christmas.  I get the respect and hearty handshakes of immigrant fathers who have fled war-torn countries in search of a better life.  Not understanding the generous ways of Winnipeg or even the tradition of Christmas.

In giving back to those who have less, we see more than just poverty.  We see the kindness of faith and the redemption of the spirit of charity.

I think that in giving back we can all grow, It does not have to be Christmas, but all faiths can give and become greater.

In the words of my faith Merry Christmas One and All

Bob