Thursday, May 6, 2021

Jollibee's to Open Third Location on Nairn

Jollibee's restaurant opened their very first Canadian restaurant in 2016 at Polo Park to huge success. For several months there were line-ups every day and some Filipino Canadians coming from other provinces just to to get a taste of home.

Since then other Jollibee's have opened in Canada including another on McPhillips in 2017.  Success for the Philippine's biggest restaurant export always meant expanding beyond serving its own community.  It is that confidence that probably led to the decision to expand to eastern Winnipeg in the former Chicken Chef location (2006-2021) at 1130 Nairn.

Chicken Chef moved further east to 1600 Regent from their former location. After 15 years at a site that once was Taco Time and several other restaurants,  Chicken Chef has proved it has a customer base in the area.

 Nairn/Regent is an extremely busy road. The side of the road your business is on can really dictate the traffic seen. On Nairn, it is almost always on the south side. It could be quite busy at lunch and dinner at this Jollibee's location.

Look to see them open in weeks.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Beer Can at the Granite Club

The Granite Club is this year's host for the Beer Can and it is much bigger than we have ever seen it.

The previous location just on Main Street was extremely popular as case counts went down for Covid 19 in the summer but restrictions remained tight for operations inside bars and restaurants.
The Granite Club is a beautiful building and curling (like a lot of sports) has taken a hit this years as a result of closures.
The city has footdragged on patios forever. Still does. Or overcharges. If we want streetlife, it can't be by making everyone go inside. And if we want to stay safe, we need more outside. That is not just from pandemics but having people around leads to a collective watch group. I mean...aren't we all people watching? Hard to be up to no good when everyone is watching. And nowadays...recording.
The view is amazing.
Osborne Village overlooks the site across the Assiniboine River. You have to bet that the patio has not gone unnoticed there.
Danger is still all around us. Outdoors is better than indoors for the moment. Be mindful of those who are vulnerable. Things are still serious out there. We don't want even further restrictions.

Enjoy your patio time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

My Car After Deer Collision and My New Car in the Showroom

On Wednesday, March 10 I was headed home from work. The time change hadn't happened yet and I was even a bit later as I stopped to pick up dinner. At 7:15, it was fairly dark and I just turned off Roblin Boulevard onto the Charleswood Bridge to come home. There were a few cars ahead, a few behind. Some were passing me on the left as they were going faster and I was merging into the lane and had not achieved maximum road speed. 

I was almost at the bridge, still being passed when deer appeared on the bridge! Not just one but a few. They zipped behind me, then far in front. All at once. Before I could react, a deer hit my car with huge force and lifted the car up and to the left and hard back down again. The deer flew past the windshield.
I immediately pulled over and thankfully a paramedic behind me saw what happened and pulled over in front of me. It is hard to see but the door bent, maybe the frame and I had to push to get out. I was already dazed. The seatbelt had broken my zipper and I had a bleeding nose but hadn't remembered hitting my head. As it turns out it was my own hand and arm flung up and back from the wheel that caught. As for my jacket, I hadn't realized it cut me up under it till later.

All this was the seatbelt and force of being lifted up and to the side and back down hard. I was hurt. I filed collision report and took the above pictures. I didn't feel right and was so sore. By Friday I reported my injuries and Saturday went to hospital where it was determined I had a concussion and injuries consistent with the collision. I confirmed with my family doctor and am a week into treatment with protocol in place till April 2.

I wasn't sure about my car until late Wednesday. I got an estimate Monday at repair shop and they felt it was repairable and said I kept my car I good shape. Alas, they said damage, even without airbags deploying was near $7 or $8 thousand and they said the car was worth $10,000. They wrote it off.

I asked around and while I'd have preferred to have it repaired, I worried the car would not be the same anymore. And I asked around a few shops and they said the valuation of the car was fair.

Here is the car I bought.
It is a 2021 Hyundai Elantra. It was returned after only a few months after purchase and was discounted for sale. The tint on windows, the car starter and rims as well as undercoating were all added by last owner. I received an additional $500 from a draw that day which I added rustproofing, paint protection, fabric protection and carpet protection. Car has 9 year warranty and I bought extra insurance for missing key and door dings which I experienced with my last car.

I didn't want to part with my last car but sometimes you just can't keep it because of damage.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek has always been an aspirational series. Despite the conflict and adventure inherent in drama, the idea that humanity would work together past and through it's own difficulties of worldwide bigotry, hatred and war to become galactic explorers was good to see. Issues on Earth that were difficult to process in ordinary television or film formats were given a freer reign in a science fiction format. Race, war, nations and bigotry were all addressed.

The original Star Trek set the stage, the Trek films showed it could be box office and this paved the wave for a fully funded syndicated series not dependent on networks for financing or site to show all the episodes. Star Trek: Next Generation broke a lot of rules in 1987. It would go to run 178 episodes over seven seasons with rising ratings throughout that period. From it would spawn additional series set on the same time line and even one going back before the Original Series.

When the original series began, I only recognized two names. One was Levar Burton from Roots fame and the other was Patrick Stewart who I knew best from Dune. It was a large cast and the promotional material made it seem like it would be an ensemble work and it was. The glue that held it together was that character of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

Patrick Stewart, after the last movie, said that he would not reprise the role of Captain again. However, streaming TV, the money and the chance to tell a different type of story drew him back. The Shakespearean veteran did have a few demands. The series would not be him in uniform presumably captaining the Enterprise. It would be in the Star Trek world but one reflective of his age.

Hollywood routinely has a problem portraying age on the screen. They either make the characters play the role as if they were 30 or 90. There is hardly an in between. For women it is often worse. The new Trek series struggles with this mightily. Two new characters, Dahj and Elnor in their 20s, play the young, naive but amazingly skilled members of the ensemble.

The Next Generation series was poor at portraying young people. For example, the Wesley Crusher character or Worf's son never rang true as growing, fully realized characters. The closest the Trek universe ever did present a family was on Deep Space Nine but even that was a bit of a reach for the series. As far as older people went, there was never any room for them in the cast except as guest stars.

So...the Picard Trek was something out of the ordinary for a televised series in that it featured as its lead an almost 80 year old man. Since Next Generation had a more cerebral captain than the Original Series with an action packed, cavorting captain this is not a huge change. Still in a limited series, a story arc should have something that drives it forward. To that end, this Trek does.

However, Star Trek fans can be a prickly bunch. And in recent years fan boys and fan girls have been pretty vocal about what they want to the point of attacking the actors as if they were one the ones that produced the scripts that cast too many girls or denied a relationship some wanted to see on screen. Woe is the showrunner who ignores this or gives too big a nod to to those who only have single mindedness for what a character should be.

So...for the purposes of this review I am going to judge the show on this criteria of it being faithful, unfaithful or innovative to the Trek story. Not every story has to be canon. The animated series was great Trek fun not connected to story canon on Trek. Likewise, the latest Star Trek movie series is a re-imagining of the series while Discovery and Picard are canon. It can be confusing for casual fans.

The plot for Picard is that the great man has been in retirement for years at vineyard in France after resigning his commission. Since the captain has always been a man of principle, this could be regarded as a faithful version of Trek. He is drawn into an adventure to save lives along with the Federation but finds he must do it as a civilian with a new crew and a new mission.

I enjoyed the series but find that it has a hard time balancing drama and humour. This may be remedied with additional episodes but one wonder if there is patience for it to find its footing. Many Star Treks TV series seems to have to re-set themselves because they can't seem to be grow without loosing their way. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Renovations of Grocery Stores all Over Winnipeg- Charleswood

Even as the pandemic continues, it seem every grocer has been renovating. The need for pick up and collect, delivery and other service needs is undeniable. Walmarts took over their auto sections to make way for this service and almost every other grocer/merchandiser is doing the same. Safeway/Sobeys and Real Canadians Superstore/Extra Foods had too much redundancy in the market and too much corporate exposure to newcomers Red River Co-Op Grocery and Save on Foods. Hence, the conversions all over the city to Fresco for some Safeway/Sobey's locations and some No Frills for Extra Foods locations. 

Charleswood Safeway in the picture is getting a makeover inside and out. Most Safeways have had alterations inside for their produce areas as well as deli but many have not had the full exterior and interior work we have seen going on nearly everywhere. Tuxedo Safeway is also going through it.
Red River Co-Op Grocery has new buildings going up at Seasons of Tuxedo and St. Norbert. There probably won't be a grocer that hasn't had a makeover by spring. And at that time, we might be out of the pandemic but will we have created new habits of click and collect or delivery.
Food prices have spiked and it has been bad but hopefully, a lot of of competition into the new year will see Winnipeg benefit in having better prices. A vaccine can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

646 Kingsway

From fall of 2019 till mid October 2020, I went to my parent's house and spent hours renovating, clearing things out and preparing the house for sale. Yesterday the check arrived a month after possession. The last thing cleared today. Thanks for all the help people have given when I really needed it.

I have posted many of the pictures of the renovations. Possession was October 15. Hit snags on that day but it is finally over.

My cat appreciates that I'm not there hours every day,

My mom and dad really didn't get to see it those last days. My dad was able to have a tour but he was anxious. My mom would have cried about the stairs and then have forgotten about it and ask to go back.

The last day I went to every room and looked at it. The last of the family in 50 years of ownership to see it. It was sad.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Burger King and Tim Horton's Coming to Seasons of Tuxedo

Even in the pandemic, construction in Manitoba never abated. And at Seasons of Tuxedo north and south of Sterling Lyon  there was no let up even as the Outlet Collection Mall was closed or on reduced hours.

On the south side of Sterling Lyon, adjacent to the Rec Room and across from the mall is construction of a Tim Horton's with drive-thru. It is likely that from an apartment window, you will be able to see two and possibly three Tim's already.

Just south of the Tim's (which this week is just working on the drive-thru part) will be a Burger King also featuring a drive-thru.

It might seem like no big deal but keep in mind the majority of River Heights and Tuxedo has no drive-thrus. No Tim's till Charleswood and that has only been in recent years. It is for this reason that two Tim Horton's are so close to each other on Kenaston. Demand is high for those who work, shop and live in the area.

Even with the pandemic on, work has not stopped on the Seasons of Tuxedo north and south of Sterling Lyon. Retail and restaurants is the least interesting from a demographic point of view. What has been interesting is how many multi-unit housing units have been going up. Since the population in the area 10 years earlier was zero, this represents a significant lift in density and is affecting transit in ways that is likely to see growth. 

Still, this is a car world we live in and without a doubt this will cause more cars to pull in and out of this side of Sterling Lyon. While there is talking of synchronized lights, you cannot turn off Kenaston heading west without hitting two lights that will always stop you. And the wait times are getting longer.
To date, there is still no sidewalk or bikepath on the northside of Sterling Lyon at Seasons of Tuxedo. It is an oversight that is having real consequences for safety because it means unnecessary crossing just to use the east/west sidewalks and bike paths.
I have no problem adding restaurants to the area but more has to be be done for those who now actually live right in this retail hotspot.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Music Man February 26, 1982 Kelvin High School

I was not part of this production despite many years in musicals over the years. In 1982 I was played on three soccer teams and one hockey team. I wasn't even in the choir till the 1982/83 year. Most people probably don't know I was attending art school at Forum Art for credit in Mr. Cramer's class in addition to my course load. That, and working for VPW on camera and location work starting at River Heights Junior High and throughout my entire Kelvin High School years.

Still, many of my friends were in this production of the Music Man based on the Broadway musical of 1957 by Meredith Wilson. I heard the music so much that I bought the LP of the musical featuring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones from the 1962 movie.

I will let those who were part of the production tell their stories about it. I was periphery at best although Doug Finlayson and I can tell some stories about the choir exchange and a later bus trip and week of holidays in Burnsville in 1982. It was he and Tom George who encouraged me to take up choir again in Grade 12.

The Burnsville choir came in from Minnesota and wowed Kelvin with Birdland by Manhattan Transfer. I think a few dozens students went and bought the album after. I know I did. Kelvin wowed Burnsville as well. Mr. Standing had several numbers that each year that were tops at the Manitoba Music Festival.

It was there that I learned that whoever felt the most guilty for disruptive behaviour in Mr. Standing's class got the boot. I recall one time we were using paper over combs for some harmonica type experimental number we were doing (kind of like the PDQ Bach we used to do). I remember saying aloud: Don't blow, suck.

Mr. Standing bellowed: Get out!

He stared at the boys in the back and pointed at the door. Doug felt most guilty and left. Think we all took turns in the doghouse.

Kelvin would sweep awards at the Manitoba Music Festival in 1983. The school would go on to win the nationals as well when the recorded program at The Playhouse went to Ontario for adjudication.

To the troupe of Music Man, I want to say how expert the costuming, make-up, performances and overall show was. The humour, the tremendous acting were all a credit to the highest level of commitment and I was pleased to have been in the audience.

I'm not as well versed in the arts of some my talented high school grads are. I've seen great plays and musicals in a  number of countries. I've worked in TV and film occasionally but I can say beyond doubt that I was privileged to see such talent at Kelvin in such a short time. The Music Man was simply a great night.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster Party 1983 in River Heights

At the end of of June of 1983, the graduating class of Kelvin High School was not done. Many were headed off to university at U of W and U of M in the fall, some further afield. Some were working already. 
However, there were a few concerts to attend, a few house parties to go to, work to earn money before school and 60 days of renting Star Wars to watch.
The concerts attended. Some local acts too. Think I saw Elias, Schritt and Bell several times. 
August 27, 1983 The Police
September 14, 1983 David Bowie
I took a miss on Hall and Oates which had a reputation as one of the worst concerts in years and made fans of the group turn into critics. Smarmy was used to describe Hall at that event.
Like a lot of high school students, Kelvin kids watched the re-packaged BBC series Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which began in December of 1982 and ran through the winter of 1983. That, and a whole lot of Monty Python, Fawltey Towers and some Doctor Who gave the class a plethora of useful material to disrupt classes. 
Run away! Run Away!
What? Behind the rabbit? It iiiiisss the rabbit!
Every sperm in sacred.
Upon graduation in 1983 from Kelvin High school and the interim to what was to come next, Tom George had the Brock Street home address to himself as the parental units made a pilgrimage to the home land. The result of this was a determination to bbq and to find the formula for the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, the drink favoured at Milliways, a bar at the end of the galaxy. 
It was described as thus:
"...having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick."
At the time, there was no way to know what the recipe was. Lots of experimenting ensured.
This is what some say it is:
  • 1 oz vodka (that Ol' Janx Spirit)
  • 1 oz Clamato (oh, those Santraginus fish)
  • 1 oz ice cold gin (Arcturan Mega-gin)
  • 4 oz Zipang Sparkling Sake (Fallian marsh gas)
  • 1 oz Creme de Menthe (Qalactin Hypermint extract)
  • 1 Jalapeno (tooth of an Algolian Suntiger)
  • Sprinkle with lemon zest (Zamphuor)
  • add an olive
We used several of those ingredients minus the sake. Somehow a Tom Collins ended up being made many nights.
Regardless, a formula was devised, tickets were sold to the initial tune of $115. However, more tickets were sold at the door when supplies ran out. In the end the tally was north of $300 for a high school/university party. A punch bowl was filled, the formula made and the dress code of bathrobe and tie loosely enforced on a lovely night in July.
Tickets were printed up on Jeff Thomas' ancient printing machine along with our business cards of Angus Corporation which caused problems at the border a few times.
Angus Corporation hosted the party. Angus was Tom's dog who was more less held together by steroids and alcohol. He was a springer spaniel with perennially blood shot eyes and pissy attitude about how his dinner was prepared.
Road construction was taking place on Brock so it was a mess on the street with hundreds of students coming to Tom's house. Cars were parked down three streets.
All in all a successful event except for one neighbour who called early in the morning and got hold of Tom's brother who took the heat for the late night festivities. Tom was fast asleep. And would remain so till mid-day when we would watch Star Wars rented from Video Zone on Academy for the 17th time of 60 days of rentals.
In less than six weeks, university would start for many. I'd be off to University of Winnipeg, Tom and Jeff off to University of Manitoba and some off to work and places beyond. 
You never really think where everyone might be. For many, it would be the last time we'd all be together for those that made it.
In the end, Milliways will always be there and perhaps will be again. I have my bathrobe ready.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Dale Hawerchuck Memorial True North Square

Had to go. Very warm night in August in a square with a newly minted video wall. People grieving Hawerchuk who came to the Jets as a teenager and never lost the love of the city the rest of his life.

People coming and paying their respects, laying flowers and posters, watching the video wall of an impossibly young Hawerchuk in Jets uniform and Team Canada uniform.

Hawerchuk came to Winnipeg in 1981 after the Jets spent first years being punished by the NHL with expansion rules aimed to humiliate the team and the city. The arrival of number 10 would mark the beginning of and end of the bottom ranks.

Hockey sticks being laid at his memorial in True North Square. Lots of security present. Always is there. Hawerchuk's number and jersey is just legendary. I suspect more sticks all day tomorrow.

Jets players generally don't live in the cities that drafted them anymore except during the season. Hawerchuk was a legend in the summer too tearing up at his golf club. He probably formed as strong relationships on the course as on the ice.

One note: Just before the sun went down Mark Chipman could be seen sitting on the steps mourning. We all were.