Friday, 14 December 2012

A Christmas Hike

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, and the boys from Red River Radio are putting on a Christmas special on Tuesday December 18th.

The show will run from 9:00 am until noon.

So if you're in the mood for an alternative voice and some groovy Christmas tunes, make sure to check it out. We also have lots of silly yet interesting segments planned for the show.

Here is a sample of some of the holiday goodness you can expect to hear on the show.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Radio for a better cause

On Tuesday the 20th of November, Red River Radio will host a Radiothon. The Radiothon is being put on by the public relations majors at the college. I happen to be a public relations major at the college, meaning that I get the opportunity to play a vital role in organizing and producing the actual show.

Here is an example of the enthusiasm and commitment that the public relations majors have here at Red River College.

This was the first promotional event planned by the public relations majors for this event, and as you can tell from the video, they have a lot of energy and passion for the cause. The theme of the Radiothon is Rally for Red and the goal is to have over thirty people donate blood. The public relations majors partnered with the Canadian Blood Services.

The Canadian Blood Services has provided our team with much support and resources. The staff have been available questions and excited about the efforts the public relations majors have made.

I'm very excited to see the fruition of all the hard work that my colleagues have put into this blood drive. I'm also excited to participate in the Radiothon as an on air voice with my pal Joe. Joe and myself will be doing a shift from 1-7 pm.

The Radiothon runs from 7-7 and should be quite the experience.   

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Depth over distance

I can now successfully boast that I have done a daily morning radio show at Red River College for 11 consecutive weeks. You might find yourself thinking - oh boy, that sounds rough. And let me tell you, many of my friends and colleagues have expressed this sentiment to me. What I want to remind anybody thinking about taking on a project of this size is yes, it can be rough at times, content can be hard to find and you might not have found any new music in a while.

What I have found to be helpful is to make the show about quality over quantity. What I mean is if you don't have enough content for one day don't force it. Play music that you think people will like, if it's older music that's okay. You don't always need to be pushing the envelope to make a show good. But you do always want to keep your finger on the pulse of what your audiences are wanting. 

To sum it, I believe the quote goes like this - You can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf.

I like that quote, and I like this song, maybe you will to.  

Friday, 26 October 2012



The beauty about doing a morning show on a radio station that allows you to play the music you love is that you get to share the music you love with your listeners. Red River Radio and the Morning Hike with John and Mike are no exceptions. This year I have had the privilege to wake up every morning, bike to school which is about 15 minutes, and then jam out to some of my favorite music for two hours.  Could life get any better?

I also get to talk to a very funny guy every morning, Mike Cuma.  The guy tells a funny story.

I want to pass on some advice that a wise lady shared with me earlier today. Cathy Hanson is a radio instructor at Red River College. I spoke with Cathy today about my show in search of feedback on how I could tighten it up and make things better. The message Cathy left me with is so simple, but I feel important to share with anyone interested in radio.

So today when I sat down with Cathy, she said you guys are doing great, you're just being yourself and that's funny. You guys aren't gimmicky or cheesy at all, which is exactly what your listeners want. She said you boys are authentic. Wow what I compliment I thought.  Not only did this make me feel good but it made me appreciate why I love doing my radio show so much, because it allows me to be me.

My big sister Emily bought me tickets to the Bahamas show on Tuesday, she must listen to my show because she knows I like Bahamas a ton. #respect

I hope you enjoy the track.

Friday, 19 October 2012

You know what you know.

The Morning Hike with John & Mike is now 8 weeks old. If you're unfamiliar with my blog I write about being on radio and my experiences operating a morning radio show at Red River College. The first few weeks were fun but kind of rough at times.  Lately, things are operating much smoother.

Myself and counterpart were not used to getting up at 5:00 am, we weren't used to having to produce material everyday and so many other little things that I will not bore you with them here. After 8 weeks we feel like we're cruising. Everything is getting easier and we're still having a blast doing it.

You really only know what you know. My point is that play music you know about, stuff you enjoy and talk about things that matter to you. If you do this you will come off as more sincere and your listeners will respect you for it.

                                                  My new motto "Know what you know"

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Sweater Contest

Recently on my morning radio show, the Morning Hike we launched a contest where we're giving away a very comfy and attractive sweater. The premise behind this contest is to have our listeners use our social media platforms to nominate and share a story about a nice person in their lives. We have received positive feedback from our peers and listeners about this contest and are happy to say that the Morning Hike is dedicated to making our costumers happy.

The beauty about running a contest where people get to share a feel good story is that it makes you feel good to win something for a friend or just someone you admire for being a great person. Running contests can be difficult and making people want to enter them can be even more difficult.

Here is what I've learned. Make them about the listeners, make them about the costumers and empower them with the feeling of belonging to your community. Read the best entries out on air and share them on your social media platforms. The world is a crazy yet simple place. I say this because sometimes it's the simplest things that get people talking and sharing stories with each other.

When you run a contest keep this in mind. Simple is good, and feel good is always nice.

Here is a track by The Lumineers, a band we have started to play more of on the Morning Hike. Very good stuff in my opinion. I hope you enjoy this track and have a great weekend.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Hearts of Gold

This past week, The Morning Hike had the opportunity and pleasure to interview two very kind people who are at very different stages in their lives. We interviewed the Dean of Business and Applied Arts Graham Thomson on Tuesday and Jackie Doming, a second year communications student here at Red River College on Thursday.  

The interview with Graham went quite well. We spoke with Graham about his participation in a fundraising effort known as Change for the Better. Change for the Better raises money that supports homeless employment programs. 

Graham participated in what is known as the CEO Sleep-out. Graham explained on the Morning Hike that this is supposed to raise awareness about homelessness and not stimulate it. Graham mentioned that it was a wakeup call on how privileged he is to be able to go home to a warm bed. The thing he said that was the most humbling was all the noise he heard down-town throughout the night. He mentioned that he was surprised at how consistently siren bells rang throughout the night.

The event brought awareness to two solutions to ending homelessness: (1) Employment and (2) housing.

Change for the Better is still fundraising - all year round. And they still hope to reach their goal of $150,000. Currently, they are at $111,595.

Jackie Doming, a second year student at Red River College is doing some fundraising of her own. She has started a project called Threads of Hope. This projects purpose is to raise $10,000. This will be donated to the Children’s Wish Foundation. Jackie explained that she was intrinsically motivated to take on a project like this because she doesn't have any brothers or sisters. She further disclosed that her parents come from the Philippines and that the health care system is not as modern as here in Canada. Both of those things combined with her love for DIY activities sparked the campaign to sell clothing and accessories where the profits generated will go to benefit others in need. This indeed is very inspirational stuff.

You can learn more about this project by visiting Threads of Hopes website.

You learn a lot from talking to people and even more from listening to what they have to say. Radio is a great medium for listening. These two very different people, in completely different stages in their lives, one ready to retire one just getting ready to launch their career are out spreading positivity in their own ways. It made me proud to be a part of something, the Red River College community and to have my part, in helping share their messages through radio.

This song is awesome; it's by The Head and the Heart. It's been getting a lot of air time on the Morning Hike these past few weeks.  Enjoy!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Technical difficulties.

Hello faithful readers,

I know you're out there somewhere, maybe it's your parents basement or maybe it's you office, whatever. Today I'm going to share some advice on how to react when technical difficulties occur. I wont say that I wasn't warned before I started The Morning Hike that technical difficulties happen, but to the extent they happened this morning was a wee bit much.

First of all, my co-host and I couldn't hear each other through our headphones. Lets just say panic followed immediately. Mike, my co-host and myself were furiously phoning everybody we could think of trying to sort out this chaos. It took us 15 minutes to solve this problem and when we thought the madness was over, we were wrong.

Eventually we could hear each other again, and we were on top of the world for about half an hour. Fantastic right? Wrong. No, it wasn't fantastic because we had lined up an interview with the Dean of Business and Applied Arts from Red River College, and needless to say we were stoked. However what we weren't anticipating was for more technical difficulties, especially after the fifteen minute fiasco we had already gone through earlier in the morning. We never ended up having the interview, the dean could hear us but we couldn't hear him, so we lost are opportunity to interview the dean.

If this was a swat analysis I'm not sure if this specific scenario would fall under a threat or weakness, I don't know if anybody really knows. Either way the dean is a nice guy and he has agreed to another interview some other time, which is awesome.

Advice: Don't lose your cool, or at least try to recover as quickly as possible once you do. Trust me, I was sweating. I was bummed out for a few hours after my radio show and let me tell you this, being bummed out is not a productive way of being. You're angry, frustrated and to sum it up nicely, you're pissed off. I walked into an image editing and design course I'm taking and started a fire storm. John are you al-right people kept asking me. No I'm steaming was a response of mine. Was I legitimate for being angry yes, should I have let it ruin my morning, no. Advice, relax, you'll live another day.

Next time, I'm hoping to practice composure. Composure is something I value but really need to work on, and if you're on radio you should focus on composure too. Composure is your friend, study it, practice it and act like you have it even if you don't, because it's unattractive to be that guy who loses it over minor things that are really out of your control. That angry guy for no reason, just isn't cool.

I hope this helps you in your journeys to becoming radio personalities, It is something I now know to expect in the future. Will I behave more maturely, maybe, or at least I sure hope so.

I will once again leave you with a track. A track by a band I quite enjoy Local Natives. This song I believe is about his grandfather and for some reason it speaks to me. Maybe it will speak to you too.

Friday, 21 September 2012

What I wish I knew before I started my morning radio show.

Producing a daily two-hour morning radio show has many challenges, especially when you’re new to the medium and have little experience at waking up everyday at 5am. one of many skills you need to have is being able to paint a picture in your audience’s imagination, tell them a story that is either entertaining or that provides useful information. You need to be able to execute this skill during every music break. And when you're show is two hours long, you need to prep about 15 talking points which can be quite challenging especially when juggling the rest of your life duties.  You need to be able to conduct interviews effectively, and make them entertaining or interesting and have the skill of being able to bring out the best in the person you are interviewing.

You need to know about the music your playing, know about up and coming artists and concerts that your listenership would want to know about. You must be able to run contests effectively, contests that engage your audiences in ways that’s easy for them to act on. The contests should be interesting enough that they should motivate your audiences to share them with friends. A recent study shows that 92% of people trust recommendations from people they know, which I don't think is a big surprise. For more on this please follow the blog link below.

I know this all sounds like common sense, which in many cases it is, the trick is being able to integrate this into one show that makes your show unique and different, which then should have the potential to build a loyal listenership.

The first thing I wish I knew before I started the Morning Hike is to just relax, practice makes perfect and perfection is the enemy of good. You only know what you know and being honest with your listenership will create trust and help build authenticity for your show. Authenticity is my number one, always be yourself, it's better for you and actually way easier. You don't need to impress people with your music knowledge or charming personality all the time.

The second thing I wish I knew would be to be on social media, and connect with your listeners by having contests where they can interact with your show through Facebook and Twitter.This makes it so easy for your listeners to participate in your show, and is easy to monitor and can be fun for everybody involved.

The third thing I wish I knew before starting would be interview techniques. Practicing and knowing the fundamentals of interviewing cannot only make an interview, but also make sure that the person you interview wants to come back to your show, and feels comfortable in your presence.  Here is a link to the book I bought that when I have had time done some research on how I can become a better interviewer.

Here is a link to the podcast from the Morning Hike. If you haven't listen to it yet then why not listen, if you have I would love some feedback.

I will end this blog post with a song. This is just a great track from Billy Bragg & Wilco's album Mermaid Avenue and was released in the late 1990's. I hope you enjoy this track and remember to be authentic when on air, authenticity is the key to developing a successful radio personality.

Friday, 14 September 2012

A nice article about Red River Radio

The Morning Hike with John & Mike is happy to say that we survived our third week. Producing a morning show can be tough and challenging but when you're having fun time fly's. This week I will keep my post short, however next week you can expect an update about how our first contest is going.

This week I wanted to share with you and article that I'm featured in that was written by John Gaudes from the UNITER. I hope you enjoy,

I still want to include a song in my post this week. The Morning Hike has played this song a few times this week and we have received some positive feedback from our listeners. This song is by Of Monsters and Men and I feel is just a beautiful song. I hope you enjoy this song too!


Friday, 7 September 2012

The Morning Hike launches a contest.

The future of work consists of learning a living..." Marshall McLuhan

If you’re like me at all and believe the above words to be true then you would agree with me that it takes time and practice before mastering a skill. This week the Morning Hike has announced that it will be launching the shows first contest next Monday. You might call this initial announcement a teaser. We're doing this in an effort to help promote our new show but also to try and create some interaction with our listeners which will hopefully engage them in a meaningful way.
The contest is simple. It requires our listeners to make song requests through Twitter, Facebook and the telephone. Every time someone makes a request they will earn 1 Hike Mile. The winner will receive 100 dollars and we will be doing a draw at the end of the month. The contest is simple and the “what’s in it for me principle” is the principle of persuasion we used for this contest. The idea was make it easy for our audience to enter and provide them with enough incentive that they will enter more than once.
I have approximately 1 year of experience running contests for a not for profit environmental company under my belt. The best way to learn how to run a successful contest I have found is by trial and error. This will be my first ever radio contest so I’ll make sure to post what works and what doesn’t just in case any of you would like some insight on this subject. Something I think would work well for radio is a photo caption contest. The idea here is to post a funny/interesting picture to your Facebook page and ask your audience to come up with clever captions. This challenges your audience to innovate and get creative and if the prize is right you know people will participate.
That is all for this week. I will finish by playing another song for you. I will also let you know that even though we’ve only been doing the Morning Hike on Red River Radio for two weeks it feels like two months. It’s a lot of work but if your passionate about radio you will find doing a show of this sort both rewarding and fulfilling. The song I'll leave you with is by the Alabama Shakes, and is off their debut album Boys & Girls. The entire album is great and I would suggest checking it out if you like this track.  

Friday, 31 August 2012

Red River Radio

The Morning Hike with John & Mike can officially say that it’s first week on radio was a success. We ran one contest, did two interviews and played a lot of good music. This blog post will walk you through our journey to become Red River Radio’s first ever morning show team.

I was first introduced to radio last year, when two colleagues and myself decided to do a weekly sports comedy show on Red River College’s radio station which was 92.9 KICK FM at the time. Now days the college radio station is known as Red River Radio.

It never occurred to me when I first started doing my sports comedy show that I would be hosting a morning show on a radio station, especially not one year after my first taste of radio.

I first realized that I wanted to host a morning radio show after about two months of doing a weekly 1-hour show. I enjoyed the back and fourth banter and liked the energy and adrenalin I felt during and after every show. I was hooked on the feeling and inquired with the station manager about what it would take to host a regular morning show on the College’s station. I knew there wasn’t currently a morning team but that the station had had a team in previous years. I discussed with the station manager about the idea and received positive feedback that they would be open to having such a thing.

Preparing to launch a morning radio show took lots of planning and brainstorming sessions. We would meet regularly with the station manager and other morning show hosts here in the city of Winnipeg, ask for advice and the dos and don’ts of the radio business. After we came up with a general theme for our show we had to pitch our idea to the station manager and with some convincing we were told that we were going to be able to do our morning show starting in the fall. This was exciting and scary because both Mike Cuma and myself were told about the hard work and dedication required producing such a show.

Mike Cuma, who is co-hosting the morning show with me, had both decided to take the summer off radio. However we would meet up regularly and talk about ideas, express the fears we had as well as talk about all the exciting opportunities that our show would provide us. Our biggest fear was waking up early, 5:30 am every day. However we were both generally excited about the thought of talking on the radio, playing music we like, as well as delivering friendly banter back and fourth.

My advice for anyone who is considering working in radio in any capacity would be to relax, enjoy it and make sure it is something that you really want to do. I would also advise you to plan, plan meticulously but to be open for anything. As the old saying goes planning is guessing and you never know who might call in or what might happen so you do never really know what you will be talking about on air.

If you enjoyed reading this I will be blogging weekly about the heartaches and joys of hosting a morning show on radio. I will be discussing challenges, opportunities and the planning involved in producing a morning show.

That is all for now, but I will leave you with a song that I played on the show earlier this week, it was one of my favorites this summer. 


Thursday, 19 April 2012

You might find this interesting

"Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the life boats." Voltaire
A little girl teaches us a big lesson. If you have an extra 8 minutes you might want to check out this video.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Teemu visits the theatre.

Dionysus In Stony Mountain is a play that I attended as part of a school assignment. The play ran from March 29 to April 8 and was located at the Rachel Browne Theatre, 211 Bannatyne.

Part of my assignment is to write about my experiences at this play, which happens to be uneventful. The theatre is a small theatre that requires you to walk up some stairs before you reach the main stage. Once you arrive you will nestle your way into a cozy spot that I imagine would be quite uncomfortable for those taller than 5-feet 10-inches.

The play challenges middle class liberal values, at least from what I understood. The play makes a call to action for those from River Heights to challenge the way they think and to step outside their comfort zone.

It was funny, being a middle class male from the Wolseley neighborhood I had run into people who I had grown up with who have their Masters in Sociology or some other social sciences and told me how lucky I was to be attending this play and how much they had enjoyed it. All I could think about was hockey and what was happening in the hockey world that night.

The thing about sports fans is that you can’t take your mind of something that you are passionate about and obsess over, especially when the playoffs are in arms reach.

Now back to the play. The play, right, didn’t leave much of an impression on me, I like funny, simple things and this play I believe has a good message for its audiences but just makes it way to complicated. I believe this was actually a contradiction to what the play was trying to accomplish.

I feel that the play was trying to portray the message that middle class people need to think critically about society and especially about our prison system. I think the tone was a bit stuck up and left me uninterested after the first 15 minutes.

The one thing I enjoyed about the play was telling people I was attending the theatre, it made me feel smart. 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Journey for Justice

Journey for Justice

What works in this book? What does not Work? Why?

The book is easy to read and follow. McIntyre provides the reader with an abundance of background information about the case and the people involved in the case. I enjoyed reading the facts and learning about the Derksen family. This allows the reader to feel connected with the family adding to the overall experience.

Sometimes the book seems to drag on, especially with the actual court trial of Mark Grant and when Doctors diagnosed him. This was a bit lengthy at times and more work than leisure.

What can journalists learn from the book, the presentations or the case in general?

Journalists can learn a lot from McIntyre’s presentation. He talked about taking chances and that it never hurts to ask when you’re trying to get your hands on a story. He spoke confidently about what he did and was obviously content with the final product. He showed that journalists can help tell a larger story in the form of a novel and that this can be quite rewarding. It also teaches journalists that writing a novel is something you can do on the side of your regular journalistic duties and how the two of them can be combined in some cases.

How does this book compare to another non-fiction work in any medium?

I find this question a little tough to answer. I’m going to compare it to March of the Penguins which is narrated by Morgan Freeman. March of the Penguins is a video documentary that provides its viewers with everything they could have possibly wanted to know about the species of penguins. Not only are you amazed by the grueling life these penguins endure year and year out, but you come to garner a certain amount of respect for the species. As for Journey for Justice, the readers learn a lot about what happened to Candace Derksen and how the community initially reacted and continued to react over the years. Both are similar in that they are full of details, both have a beginning, middle and end. In both cases you gain respect for characters involved in the story and in Journey for Justices sake you gain distaste for Mark Grant.

I bet that if done right Journey for Justice could turn into a great movie.   

How does it compare to other work by McIntyre, e.g. his stories in the Winnipeg Free Press?

Well I am not all that familiar with McIntyre’s work but after reading a few of his articles I can say that his story although professional is much more conversational. The opportunity he has to tell a story in a novel is greater than in a newspaper publication. His newspaper publications are heavily fact based and don’t seem to have the same human interest aspect that Journey for Justice has.

What was your reaction to the book and the presentations?

I was very happy to hear Wilma Derksen speak. She is a very upbeat and positive lady. I found McIntyre to be very passionate about his work and quite serious in nature. Wilma has a very soothing voice and said just the loveliest things about her daughter Candace. Hearing Wilma speak was refreshing because she demonstrated grace, sophistication and humbleness all at the same time.

The book was okay, I didn’t mind it but I generally don’t read much outside of the sports and political world. Crime stories have never been my thing; I do however enjoy the old episodes of Law& Order.

It was nice to read a story that I was familiar with its settings. It really adds to the experience because I know this community and understand where everything actually took place. This helped me visualize what I was reading.

The book was good and it was nice to hear the author and mother of the victim speak. 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Feeling Groovy

Knowing what you like and don't like usually takes some trial and error. I have error'd many times in my day and with experience have discovered the beauty of finding things that I enjoy in this simple existence I call living.

So if you apply the above rules to Twitter like I have many a times you assume because you like someone in real life that you will like following them on Twitter. This is not always the case as I'm sure you know. I like following sports stars, funny guys and people who have some influence over society only to find that their Tweets are Boring yes with a capital B.

However if you're like me and enjoy thought provoking Tweets, I would suggest you follow John Winsor.!/jtwinsor

This guy seems like a real nice guy who is interested in promoting creativity and sharing ideas that make you think. His Blog is also kind of neat.

So if you have a moment and feel like checking something out that I think is cool,

here you go.

Friday, 2 March 2012

The broken vase

Dear blog,


Was all I heard late Wednesday evening when I returned home from my hockey game. I was bumbling in through the doors of my apartment when my hockey stick tipped over the nice vase on the counter.


I should mention that this vase was a gift to someone who lives in my building, a nice lady who is always pleasant to bump into in the halls or laundry room. She had decided to place a vase on a table right at the entrance with a nice little bouquet of flowers.

Yes it looks nice. No I wasn't be careless, I was just being a little bit thoughtless.

As I gently tapped the vase with my hockey stick, I noticed the vase had started to make its plunge to the unforgiving tile floor. I tried desperately in a panic to stop the vase with my leg, and pushed my leg up against the table that the vase was sitting on, and circus balanced it back and fourth for a few seconds before the lovely decoration met its fate.


That's what the moral of this blog post is, if you break it you buy it. When I talked with the lady who owned the vase she explained to me that the vase was very precious, and that she had received it as a gift. This sentiment never makes you feel good about yourself, because no one likes being the barer of bad news. We made an agreement that she would go vase shopping this upcoming weekend and find a suitable replacement for her prized possession.

I can only hope and wait that this ladies taste in vases isn't expensive. How much can they really cost? I guess I will soon find out. But from the research I have done they can range from over 100 bucks to less than 10.

Fingers crossed 

Friday, 24 February 2012

Learning to love the radio

I recently watched the film Pirate Radio. A film that demonstrates radio's struggle with the government in the early sixties in England. These radio disc jockies lived on a boat where they would broadcast live from in order to avoid breaking the law. I don't want to give too much away but if you have time check it out, the movie has a feel good vibe.

Another film featuring Bill Nighy that I saw recently is Wild Target. A bit bizzare but also worth checking out.

Like Tom Petty said,

"Love is a long road"  

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Why I should never own a cat

My love hate relationships with animals goes back as far as I can remember. Growing up in the Winnipeg neighbourhood of Wolseley there was never a shortage of cats on the streets. My family in fact had two cats, Rosie and Rumpel. Rumpel was that cat that all other cats feared on the mean streets of Wolseley. Rumpel was a predator, who on many occasions would come home proudly with his latest catch, usually a bird or small rodent of some kind. Rosie was friendlier and everybody's favourite cat on my block. She was lazy, and did the things you expect a cat to do like lay around and wait for people to make a fuss over her as she relaxed in cozy nooks she found in the shade and sun.

Having cats growing up you would think that I would appreciate their company. This is a false assumption because I never enjoyed the purring and cuddliness of their character. In fact I am allergic to cats and become quite grumpy in the presence of these feline creatures. My eyes begin to water and my skin becomes extremely itchy. Are my parents bad unthoughtful people well the answer is no, they're kind and generous souls who have always wanted the best for their youngest child. They do however enjoy the company of an animal companion and bask in the soothing indulgence these felines offer. I am still surrounded by cats at all of my family dinners and at many of my friends homes. People love cats, I can't stand them. Cuddly warm creatures yes, annoying needy and plenty of work is also some words I would use to describe them.

I may be bitter because I am currently stuffed up and experiencing the negative side effects that come with being around cats. This is unpleasant and my character can be related to that of Scrooge or the Grinch when I am in the presence of one of these adorable creatures.

This is why I should never own a cat, not because I don't like cats but because they make me unhappy.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Teemu gets philosophical

Forest Gump once argued that life is like a box of chocolates, further suggesting that you never know what one you’re going to get. While I do agree with the thought behind this analogy of life being like a box of chocolates I will argue that you do know more or less which one you’re going to get. Lets say for the sake of the argument that you’re in the need of a gift for someone and you find yourself at a local Winnipeg treasure Mordens’ Chocolaterie on Sargent Avenue; You are dumbfounded by the abundance of chocolates that are at your disposal and are considering which box to get. At first glance your eyes catch the delicious and popular Russian Mints but keep looking because you’re unsure if this would make the best gift. You keep looking and decide on the variety pack that comes with a delightful range of candy and also, a guide explaining which chocolate is which.

I apologize for the rant above however I deem it necessary in order for me to get my point across. Yesterday when I was at one of my favorite Bay locations in Winnipeg getting a new black built for my trousers there was a young women causing a big fuss. She was screaming and shouting at two of the employee’s who were of about 40 years of age and was obviously upsetting them and making everybody in the general vicinity uncomfortable. I thought to myself that this would be a great time to practice my tiny amount of chivalrous behavior that I posses and wondered over in a gaily manner and asked if everything was all right? The lady simply responded with “I need to pee” and pulled down her pants in the middle of the store putting on quite the spectacle. This provided me with the perfect opportunity to ask this lady to behave like a grown women and remind her that she was embarrassing herself. She then sat down and used one particular finger to express herself about how she felt about me at that particular moment and said, you’re not doing anything for me. She repeated this sentiment over and over as I reminded her that she shouldn’t pee where she was sitting. By the time the security showed up she was in full out tantrum mode that had generated a curious bunch to take in the afternoon festivities. The lady eventually pulled her pants up and was escorted unwillingly out of the store. In the midst of all this it came to my attention that security guards must have some interesting stories to share if you work in a busy metropolis such as the Winnipeg downtown region.

As I continued on my way to purchase a belt, the main purpose of my visit the two ladies who I had originally rescued for lack of a better word came up to me and thanked me profusely for my deed. At this moment I remembered why we choose to do things and why we don’t. I remembered how important it is in life to realize that even if you believe in faith or karma you still need to make decisions that will impact who you are as a person. I made the decision to check on the situation at the Bay, that lady made the decision to pull her pants down and threaten to pee all over the store. These weren’t random acts of unconsciousness but decisions we chose to make.

I argue that life may be like a box of chocolates in some ways, but at some point you do choose which one you’re going to get.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Blogger Paradise

Something that has come to my attention recently is that I haven't blogged in a long time. I thought I would share a movie that I recently watched that was a real tear jerker. This movie is called The Help, and takes place in Jackson Mississippi. This movie brought myself a grown man to tears more than once. I am not ashamed of this because it is okay for a grown man to cry from time to time. I don't make crying a habit of mine however I must emphasize that this movie touched me and I believe it has the potential to touch you as well. This blog post may be short but it is from the heart. I was raised to believe that quality is more important than quantity, and I stand by that thought. If you have a few hours to check out this movie, I highly recommend it. 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Feeling Irish

My family like many North American families has been on this continent for hundreds of years. Studies show that the first Conklin's to arrive on this continent arrived sometime between the 1500 and 1600 hundreds. Members of my family have done extensive research about my specific branch of Conklin's and came to the conclusion that we were glass makers in London England before we migrated to North Eastern United States. They also found that the name Conklin came from the word "Conk" which is British slang for big noise. This doesn't seem all that far fetched when looking at my immediate relatives noises and the character that each noise seems to possess. 

Knowing where we come from is something that many humans take pride in. The debate within my family is are the Conklin's Irish, English or Dutch. Evidence points to all three. Something I found doing a Google search as a boy was a Conklin family motto. The motto read "Glory is the reward of valour". This motto was taken off a website that claimed Conklin was originally a Dutch name. I always liked to think that Conklin was an Irish name. However someone pointed out to me recently that Conklin's may in fact have originated in Cornwall England. I have nothing wrong with being from England don't get me wrong, I just always liked the thought of being Irish. Is it possible that Conklin came originally from the Netherlands, moved to Ireland and then ended up in England before crossing the Atlantic to Boston. I guess these are all possibilities. One thing that is certain is that the Conklin's have been on this continent for over 400 years. The Conklin's it is said were loyal to the British crown and fled north when the Americans claimed their independence from the crown, more evidence showing that we were in fact English.

All I know is that it is fun to think about all of this stuff, and not knowing were you come from will always be the case for many who live on the North American continent. I do hope one day to travel back across the atlantic and visit these places where maybe my ancestors once lived hundreds of years ago, but until then, I just have my large noise and Canadian patriotism to satisfy my curiosity.     

Friday, 13 January 2012

Wasabi on Broadway

Wasabi is a popular sushi destination for many Winnipeggers. There are many rolls one can choose from as well as many different sakes. I personally enjoyed the Tortilla Sushi, Spicy Mango Prawns, Spider Roll (soft shell crab),  Veggie Caterpillar and a couple martinis. The atmosphere is very sophisticated and the serving staff is knowledgable and friendly. There are three locations in Winnipeg all offering a different spin on Sushi and drinks. If you want to take your taste buds on an adventure and get silly while doing so, check this place out.


Johnny Eats

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Usually I post a recipe about simple home cooked delicious fare however today I'm going to write about a place I like to eat at in Winnipeg. My favourite restaurant in Winnipeg is easily the Bonfire Bistro. You may be asking yourself what is the Bonfire Bistro or more importantly where is the Bonfire Bistro. Well those are both good questions.

First of all the Bonfire Bistro is located in the heart of River Heights on Corydon Ave between Waterloo and Niagara St and across from the also delicious Greek Market. The Bonfire Bistro has a lovely wood burning oven which gives a large portion of their food a wood smoky taste (hence the name). Bonfire Bistro is a sister restaurant to the popular Cafe Carlo Which is located on Lilac St between Corydon and McMillan Ave. Bonfire, is the more casual of the two although it still serves up some real tasty treats.

When at Bonfire make sure to try a pizza and don't hesitate to share one as an appetizer so you can enjoy a dinner entree. Personally,  I love the Paella but everything is good and made fresh here so if you're hungry dive right in. The portions are large and the prices are reasonable, which is perfect for the bargain savvy type. I think this is a must try for anyone interested in deliciousness.  

I think that is all I have to say about the Bonfire Bistro for now but I do want to add that it is locally owned and the service is very pleasant. Everything about the place is easy going so next time you feel like relaxing head down to River Heights and check out this gem of a bistro.