Author - peever

Greta Van Fleet

I first learned about Greta Van Fleet in 2019 while listening to the Fighter & The Kid Podcast. Will Sasso came on and was talking about this Band from Michigan who sounds a heckuva lot like Led Zepplin. I don’t think he was bad-mouthing them but talking more about how an artist emulates their influences. Strangely, I have never considered myself a Zepplin fan but I have come to love this band. So much in fact that they are now a staple in my car and at home. The kids love their music too so when I saw that they were coming to Winnipeg I wasted little time securing tickets.

This is also the first REAL concert that the kids have been to so I wanted it to be something they would never forget. I remember my first concert and I think I was about Lexi’s age. It was the “Who Made Who” tour in 1986 at the Winnipeg Arena. I was 12 and I went with Dave Clarke and his older brother Ray. It was unbelievable. After the concert, I remember thinking that I might be deaf for the rest of my life, and at the time…I didn’t even care!

When we arrived we went straight for the merch table. Lexi picked up a GVF sweater and Ashlyn picked out this cool chain that we would later see around the neck of lead vocalist Josh Kiszka. When she first saw him on the big screen next to our seats wearing the chain her eyes got all big and she pointed it out to me. It was a really cool find for her and “the most expensive piece of jewelry in her collection”!

We made it to our seats in time for “The Pretty Reckless” who we knew very little about. We found out quickly that Taylor Momsen the lead singer rocks it out pretty hard and has a dirty mouth. The girls liked it and they are actually getting some air time at our place now. It was Ashlyn who pointed out after the show that GVF was all about love and peace and it was funny that their opener dropped a bunch of F-Bombs and hated on men!

GVF was amazing from start to finish. It had great energy, there was pyro, and the band really left it all out on stage. I mean there was 10 min drum solo to end the 2nd song. I have no idea how the drummer finished the show, to be honest. If there was one thing I would have changed it might have been less riffing and more songs. Regardless, the vocals were amazing and when I describe this band I am always telling people that the lead vocals are like another instrument the way he riffs with the band throwing in little quips and yells. It was amazing to see up close and I can’t not see it when I am listening to their music now.

Shout out to Gary and Gavin who helped me get some tickets in advance. Couldn’t have asked for a better show.

Summer 2022

Ask one and it’s the summer of Pineapple and Bacon pizza. To the other, it’s night binging BTVS (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) and going to bed later than dad. Either way, summer has changed for all of us and this year is rushing past in a blur.

Here is a little recap of what I can remember…

Canada Day at Joel’s kicked the summer off as it usually does except this year there was no Lexi! She busted out of school a day early with Kaelyn on a trip to Regina. Gone are the days of our little Blueberry Girls cartwheeling and dancing around Massey park much to the enjoyment of our Windsor Park neighbours. It’s all about the fireworks now and this year’s display tasted just a little bit sweeter on the other side of Covid19. Plus we helped pay for them this year too!

Next in July, I booked off a week for our annual trip to Blue Lake. Five families this year, 8 kids out, one neighbour child, and one Easton, who still counts as a Ratte kid in my books. The only Ratte kid this time sadly. Highlights this year include a rainy Tent City, Play Nine, Mandy’s wings, sunset swimming, multiple bug zappers, an impromptu trip to Rushing River, boat rides with Uncle Paul, wrap slap, getting of the wood, Charski’s 50th and of course the highly anticipated “Jiffy Off”. Congratulations to Shannon “Forearms-on-fire” Peever who took home the honours.

This trip I look forward to all year. I don’t care if I have to sleep on the ground for 6 nights, or if the bathrooms are always closed, or if the bugs are eating my legs to the bone in the first 10 minutes of set-up. It’s the people who make it great. Some of the best people.

Home for a week of BTVS and then Shan took the girls to Toronto to visit her mom and Pad for a couple of weeks. This trip wasn’t in the books for me and to be completely honest I was looking forward to some quiet time at home. Just me, the dogs, and time. It took about 3 days and a few pictures sent my way before I was really missing my family. Of course, they had a blast and Gerrie and Pad went all out to show the girls all over Toronto and the surrounding area. They went to Ottawa to see family, and Collingwood to see Anne & Bill, before rounding out the trip at Casa Quint.

It was really cool to see Pad hitting all the rides with Lexi at Canada’s Wonderland. It should have been me but I thought it was pretty cool how much he seemed to embrace their visit. Two weeks is a long time to host people in your home and show them around town. Hearing about the little surprises he had lined up for them each day made them feel so welcome and at home. I am sure having Gerrie there helped a little too!

What about me you ask? Well, Paul was able to come in on the weekend and we feasted with Joel, Al, Puncher, and Brey at Carnaval. We hit a few pubs, and had some late-night nachos…you know the drill! I got some chores done, saw the dentist, and all that fun stuff.

Joel waving goodbye to Puncher.

Regardless I am glad to have them home or had them home. Home for a week and now off to Echo Bay for some Spicy Banditos weekend at Pat and Carla’s. Little travellers this summer. When they get home Shan is back to work and it’s only two weeks before school starts.

Hardly any top-down days left.

– insert photo of Jeep here –

Hockey Helps the Homeless

On December 3rd, I will be participating in the 2nd Annual Hockey Helps the Homeless Winnipeg Tournament, raising awareness and funding for 3 very deserving local homelessness support agencies in Winnipeg. RAY Youth Centre, Willow Place, and Red Road Lodge.

Each player in the tournament has a minimum goal of $500 to get on to the ice. I am lucky enough to have the support of GB Agencies to help me reach my initial goal of $500 but I am pushing for $1000 total to go above and beyond. If this is something you might typically support I can tell you that all the money raised stays in Winnipeg and there is a tax receipt for all donations $25 and over.

You can support me, or someone else on our team who might appreciate the boost toward $500.

If you’re like me, I never support these things unless the person asking has also made a donation. You won’t see my name on my list of supporters (maybe Shan’s), but I have already donated to a team member and will likely support another to reach their target.

Couple of good old G-Wood boys.

I am very excited about the event and look forward to being out with good friends, for a great cause, playing the game we love. I can’t promise any goals on the ice, but we all get a win with your assist!

Things I Wish I Had Known

Cancer is a thief. It robs people of their livelihood, their bodies, their independence, and their dignity. It creeps in and relentlessly takes people away. People we love.

When my Dad got sick it all happened pretty fast. I mean, he didn’t feel well for a long time and by the time any proper testing was done he was already on death row.

“Stage four cancer Mr. Peever, it has spread to your lungs, bones, and liver.”

Here are a few things I wish I had known:

#1 – Advocate for yourself

If you are not feeling well and in pain somewhere in your body, go see your doctor. When you are there insist that they take some blood and look for anything that would suggest cancer. It really should be a no-brainer these days when it seems like most people either have cancer, don’t know they have cancer, or don’t have cancer yet. Google says 40% of the population has had a taste.

My Dad was in pain for a long time. Lower back, neck pain, increasing fatigue. He was getting up there in age and was also a long-time smoker. He had gone to the doctor many times in the last couple of years before he passed. He was admitted to the hospital for 2 weeks with pneumonia in 2019 and never really recovered. I assume they looked at his lungs during that visit but never reported any signs of cancer.

I am sure he saw his doctor 10 more times for various pains in the year and a half after that. The stabbing pain in his side and lack of breath was treated with steroid puffers and inflammatory creams. Just a month or two before he passed the pain was intensified again and during this visit to his doctor, he was diagnosed with Shingles. The kind you can’t see on the outside but under the skin Shingles. He was given large blue pills to take every day and the grapefruit-sized tumor continued to grow, and be a pain in his side. Perhaps it was only the size of an orange at that time like the one they found in his other lung at stage four. My Dad was a heavy smoker for most of his life. His doctor talked to him many times “about the smoking” but never looked for cancer on his visits? Just seems odd to me.

Ask your doctor to take blood and look for anything that might indicate cancer might be present. Catch it early and act.

#2 – Nurse Navigators (204) 784-0237

Once Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and released from the hospital, it was hard for us to keep his information straight. Due to Covid, we weren’t able to visit so if we needed to know something we would have to call Dad or try to get through to his nurse at the hospital for more detailed information. Once he was released we didn’t know who to talk to. Once you leave the hospital you are no longer in their care. We weren’t sure who to contact for things like oxygen tanks, home assistance, and treatment appointments. We didn’t know who to call for what!

Al told me about “Nurse Navigators” so I gave them a call and talked to someone there who immediately took all of his information, contacted Dad, and took on all things related to his care. Basically from that point on we could call them any time there was a breakdown of communication or we weren’t sure about something. They were a huge help throughout this process in the realm of “what do we do now?”.

#3 – Treatments (Quality VS Quantity)

Once my Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, doctors told him that without treatment he had about 6 months to live. Maybe a little longer with treatment. It was difficult to talk about this as a family because everyone was dealing with their own emotions. Selfishly we all agreed on quantity because not accepting treatment just seemed like giving up. But Dad still had his mobility at this time and there was a good chance that treatments could make him sicker much sooner. He loved to get out in the car and visit my sister, his people, his dogs. He also feared that rejecting treatment meant that Cancer Care would no longer be there for him, and in a way he was right. He decided that he would do the radiation they suggested in hopes that it would shrink the tumors in his lungs and help with his daily stamina and getting around. He opted out of the chemotherapy that followed and his file was transferred from Cancer Care to Palliative Care.

I will talk more about Palliative Care moving forward but the most important takeaway from treatments is to make sure the decision is ultimately made by the patient. My Dad would do anything for us, even suffer longer to save us the pain of losing him. More life isn’t worth living if the quality of life is the compromise.

#4 – MAID (204) 926-1380

Medical Assistance In Dying – I don’t think a lot of people know about this because doctors aren’t really allowed to talk about it as an option. Doctors are under oath to do everything they can to keep you alive for as long as possible, even if you would rather be dead.

Medical assistance in dying occurs when an authorized doctor or nurse practitioner provides or administers medication that intentionally brings about a patient’s death, at that patient’s request. This procedure is only available to eligible individuals.

For Dad, this was just a tool in his toolbox. When/if it got to the point where the suffering was unbearable he could play this card. He never had to use it but at least not dying a slow painful death was an option he had. I am sure this could be considered controversial but cancer is merciless. There is no need to prolong suffering, it’s a choice now.

#5 – Pallitative Care

I can’t say enough good about Palliative care. We were given a contact after Dad finished his last bout of radiation and they did everything toward making him as comfortable at home as possible. They paid for and managed all of Dad’s prescriptions while he was under their umbrella. We were to contact them for anything Dad needed and a nurse came out twice a week for home visits.

Dad wanted to be at home for as long as he physically could. If there was an emergency we were to call them and they would send someone out to assess the situation. If he needed to go to the hospital it went through them which was good to know. I had called a couple of when he had a rough day and we weren’t sure if we should take him in or not and they were very responsive. They were on call 24 hours a day if we needed them.

One of the first things they ask for when setting up Dad’s file was “who do you have to pick him up if he passes at home?”. You are required to make those arrangements right away so that there is a plan in place. This brings me to…

#6 – Cremation (204) 808-4490

Alterna Cremation

We had to have a plan in place as a part of the palliative care health directive. We had to make arrangements for someone to be on call to pick up my Dad in the event that he passed at home. Initially, I just started looking online for places that were close and found that very few websites had pricing on them. When I called everyone I talked to wanted me to “come in and have a sit down” to talk about arrangements, and receptacles, etc. I just needed someone on the books to pick him up, do the cremation, and call me to pick him up. That’s it. When I pushed over the phone for pricing it was starting at $5000, which seemed a little steep to me. I finally found Alterna online and what appealed to me was that they were the only place I could find that had transparent pricing right on their website.

Our $1395 Direct Cremation package includes everything you need except an urn; And you don’t even need to buy one from us. We do have very affordable, quality urns available, but you can also choose to have your loved one’s remains returned in a basic, dignified container provided by Alterna at no additional charge.

We were very happy with everything they provided and the price was exactly as stated. They took care of all the paperwork, made sure Mom’s forms were all filled out for CPP and PPE and down with OPP, and provided a few copies of the death. certificate in case we needed a few extra. We also opted for them to submit the Obituary and that was expensive but I don’t think they added anything other than their cost.

#7 – Probating the Will

We found ourselves in a very unique position with my Dad’s new car lease. He has been leasing a Honda CRV for the last 15 years or so and his new lease was only about 6 months old when he passed. I called the girl he always dealt with there and she knew who I was right away and gave me her condolences. I expected that I could just bring the car back there and they would take care of it but it wasn’t that simple. She told me it was a Honda Canada issue and gave me a number to call. I really just wanted to get the car back to the dealership. In short, HC told me that we were responsible for what was still owed on the remainder of the lease even though my mom’s name wasn’t anywhere on the lease. Our options were to sell the car, have someone take over the lease, or take over the payments ourselves. None of which we were willing to do I told the nice lady on the phone. She asked me for a copy of the death certificate (which I sent), and a copy of the will (which is none of their business). I called a second time to speak to someone else, maybe they didn’t understand the circumstances but they made it crystal clear we would be responsible or it would come out of his estate.

His estate? I wasn’t really sure how that all worked but when I asked our lawyer he said to think of it as anything my Dad would have had that my mom didn’t already have access to. Like if there was a cottage in his name that he had left to her in his will or in this case a car that she was no part of. If there were some assets to be gained by “probating” or accessing the will then you don’t get to pick and choose which ones you want. You couldn’t just accept the cottage, you would need to accept the car lease too as a part of his “estate”. So because my Mom is still alive and well, and there are no assets she doesn’t have access to there is no reason to access the will. Meaning there is no estate.

I called back HC a third time and asked again “where can I drop off the car” and again they told me to try and get someone to lease it, or sell it if I don’t want to take on the payment. By this time we had already made a stop payment on the car. I told them very clear that it was my full intention to return this vehicle and just need to know where to bring it? Again I got some pushback. Next, I asked if the call was being recorded and I told them again it was my full intention to return this car. Finally, she told me to bring the car back to the dealership. I was to call them and make arrangements and let HC know when it was done. For ass-covering I had drafted up a receipt that I had them sign on its return and I took pictures and video of the car on the lot.

Not long after dropping off the car Mom got a letter in the mail addressed to “the estate of Brian Peever”. It was a bill for the cost of the car. Not just what was remaining on the lease, the cost of the car along with some handling fees and storage now that the car was on their lot. $45,000 needed to be paid in a month’s time. Our lawyer said not to worry, there is no estate. Just last week we received another letter this time to the estate of Brian Peever letting us know that the car was sold and that we need to pay the difference of $4500 or they would be contacting a 3rd party collections agency.

I wish I had known how shitty the dealerships could be when something like this happens. My Dad was a loyal customer for 15+ years and now instead of trying to be empathetic, Honda Canada is sending a collection agency to shake down his estate after already re-selling the car for who knows how much? Used cars are in HUGE demand right now! Makes me sick to my stomach.

Good luck with that Honda Canada. Kick rocks.


My dad used to do this thing at the dinner table that is literally burned into my memory. After supper, he would always have a cup of hot tea. He’d bring it back to the table, add a little milk and sugar, and give it a little stir. Then he would randomly pull out the burning hot teaspoon and casually rest it on my arm or hand until I noticed. I would scream and then we would all laugh. It never got old and this went on well into my adult years.

Family is everything to my dad and he would do anything for us. He used to “tuck us in” at night and if I was cold he would lie across my blankets until they warmed up and was careful not to crush me. We had meetings in the bathroom that mom and Marcy would just never understand and despite a nagging back issue I always had someone to throw the ball with. I remember being like 11 years old playing football in the front yard with my friends and my dad was returning a big kick-off. He pumped a couple of fakes, juked left when he should have juked right, and then down on the grass hard. I remember him lying there on the grass holding his knee when I heard the front window slide open and my mom pressing her face up against the screen – “yooooooou aaaaaaasshole!” she said.

Marcy & head-to-head football

I watched him like a hawk on the weekends doing yard work on that double lot we used to have on Handyside. Mowing that football field of a yard dripping sweat and then still making sure to do the Thorpes. He also did their walk in the winter and made sure the public sidewalk was clean in front of our house. He looked after people like nobody I have ever known and always put the needs of others before his own.

During my glory days, I played hardball for Glenwood CC with the likes of Riel, Clarke, Dowhy, Boychuck, and Serridilla. I used to pitch some games and my dad would find a spot tucked right behind the umpire and every time I was locked into a full count with a batter, or 2 strikes in, I could hear him yell “THAT’S THE ONE…” as soon as I launched off the mound. Didn’t matter what I threw, the batter would swing and I had so many strikeouts that year. Guys on the team always wanted to ride with us after the game because he would take us all for Slurpees! I come by that naturally.

We never had a lot of money but I don’t remember ever going without. I don’t know how many quarters he gave me growing up to play video games at George’s Burgers at the end of the street (enough to finish Double Dragon and master Karate Champ). He even took us to the Ex every year and we all know what a rip-off that can be. He replaced every hockey stick I ever broke. I sometimes found money in my jeans before school if I needed something off the grid. School supplies were sponsored by Manitoba Hydro and we had all the colors of white-out.

The old Hydro truck & Granny Peever

Relationships were his currency and friendships were gold. He would do anything for his people and it seemed like they were always there for him. The furnace is broken? He called a friend. Need a sidewalk poured? He called a friend. Need a tree cut down? The list goes on. It wasn’t until I was older and I would walk into a place to rent a tool and they would see my last name and ask if I was related to Brian Peever. “Just take it…” they would say, “your dad does a lot for us”. When I went for my driver’s test I was met by this huge man who would be taking me on my road test. When it was complete, he said I did really well and started to fill out my paperwork. “Peever?” he said. “Are you related to Brian Peever by chance?” – Then he went on to tell me about a time some guy was giving him a hard time at a pool hall and my dad stepped in. Told me he was badass back in the day and I was like “my dad?”. Sweetest guy I know!

When I say he would do anything for Marcy and me, it was almost to a fault. You almost had to watch what you said around him because he would always want to help. One time I told him I really liked his new padded toilet seat and a couple of days later I came home after work to find ours had been replaced. He would pop into our house while we were at work to “let the dogs out” he would say. Sometimes it was multiple times a day and we always came home to a tidy house with dishes put away and kitchen swept. All the poop in the yard was taken care of. In the summer he would mow the lawn and in the winter he would clear the driveway the best he could. It didn’t matter how many times we told him not to bother. One time we were heading out somewhere and we saw Papa in his car at the stop sign at the corner. We gave him a wave as we drove off and I said “I wonder where Papa is going?” and without missing a beat Ashlyn said, “he’s probably going to clean our house!”.

He would leave the girls treats and little messages. When Lexi started coming home for lunches he started bringing her McDonalds on Fridays so they could have a little visit. He loved the dogs and they loved seeing him even on weekends when he dropped in with donuts the dogs would go bonkers and he would pull something out of his pockets for them. In fact, when we were going through his things I opened up the top drawer on his dresser and there was a sock toy ready to go for them. It was just like him to leave something behind for “his puppies”.

He used to pull up in the driveway and pop his hatch and he would have all kinds of things in there. Stuff that people had given him, or things that he had for other people. It could be anything! “You need a vacuum?” and he would pull one out of the back of his car. When he would take Marcy shopping he would wait in the car and drive around the lot looking to see what people forgot in their carts. “You’d be amazed what I have found in carts…” he would tell me, “will you guys eat these pizza pops?”.

My dad was a guardian angel to so many people. If I believed in all that stuff I would say he was put on this earth to take care of people. He told me about how he used to look after his grandpa Bannister when he was battling cancer. It seemed like such a huge responsibility at such a young age. As a kid, we would go to visit my grandma Phillips and he had such great banter with her. He affectionately nicknamed her “Shorty”. When she was in the care home fighting dementia he used to visit her at least a couple of times per week and would do things like trim her nails and comb her hair. Maintained her dignity and I always thought about how special their bond was. I went with him often to visit Art and Tilley and after Art passed away he would often check in on Tilley to make sure she was doing well. He would often drive Marcy to bingo where he met Lil and he soon became a friend and caregiver for her as well. Driving her to appointments and taking her shopping became a part of his regular routine. He took care of people, that’s what he did.

He took care of my mom for many years and saw her through her aneurysm and knee surgery. Taking on the cooking and cleaning for two as she continues her battle with fibromyalgia. He loved her unconditionally through all 50+ years of blissful marriage. He would visit Marcy almost every day and would bring her coffee and take her out to run errands, buy lottery tickets, and just hang out. He was my “go-to” if I forgot my lunch or Ashlyn needed dry clothes at school because she “fell in a puddle”. He spent nights sleeping on my couch while we were away so that the dogs wouldn’t be alone overnight. He was always there and you don’t even realize how much you take that for granted.

50th Anniversary

When we realized he had cancer it was all so sudden. None of us were prepared. He put on a brave face for all of us in true dad fashion and took it head-on. He continued to make his rounds, oxygen in tow until he was physically unable to do so. His independence was everything to him because without it he felt like a burden. It was our time to take care of him and he would hardly let me drive him to his radiation appointments. His sisters and family were there for him sending love and food and he would say “you don’t have to do that.”. He never wanted people to fuss over him. The day before he passed he got in his car and drove over to Marcy’s place for a drop-in just like any other day. For some reason, this time he stayed for a couple of hours and Marcy made them both breakfast. The following night he fell asleep in his chair watching TV and never woke up. Independent to the end, just how he would have wanted it.

I found a book I gave him for fathers day 10-15 years ago and it was the kind that gives you a sentence and you have to fill in the blanks. On page 32 I found this…

In my teens, my dad used to take me to Garry’s Billiards on Pembina for some good father-son time. From what I understand he used to spend a lot of time (and money) at the pool hall in his teens and it was there he taught me how to play Snooker. One of the things he said to me while lining up a shot I will never forget. He said…

“It’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”

Looking back now I can see this is as much about Snooker as it is about life.

Love you dad.

The Tree of Life

I found this tree one morning at Blue Lake when I decided to lie down on top of a random picnic table before the campground was awake. My mind has been so full lately that processing anything has been such a task and I really just wanted some quiet time alone with myself.

At first, I didn’t see anything. I just laid there on my back and stretched out my body, working out the aches that come with sleeping in a tent for a couple of nights in a row. I raised my arms over my head and felt a surge of pain in my right shoulder leftover from an old dancing injury. I struggled to bring my hands together as I extended past the edge of the table and relied solely on my own strength for support.

I closed my eyes for a bit and pulled my arm back in to ease off the pain as it has become such commonplace. When I opened my eyes all I could see was the tops of the trees and they immediately personified against the backdrop of the smokey-blue sky. Metaphorically each tree seemed to resemble a human life. At the top (the beginning) there were bursts and clusters of action like fireworks! Strong memorable moments of firsts, accomplishments, and relationships sparking a range of emotions in all directions. Looking at that tree like a timeline I reveled at the picture it painted of my own life and how full it has been.

Looking down the tree those bursts became more sparse. Still hits of happiness and joy but seemingly less. When I think about getting older and what that looks like it seems like those bursts come from the family you have built around you. Seeing your children succeed, attending a wedding, a grandchild. Eventually, you have lived your life to the fullest and your cup is full and memories are what feeds you.

I think the tricky part for anyone is knowing where you fall on this tree so you can fully appreciate those sparks. Claw your way as close to the top as possible until your body just won’t have it and know that you have loved as much as you are loved.

Thanks Tree.

Walter Gretzky

Heaven is a better place today and it seems like I have been saying that a lot lately. More and more is quickly becoming my personal obituary. Maybe more of a place to remember people in my life that will always be missed.

I hardly even remember the year I met Walter Gretzky (pre kids). We were planning a trip to visit our good friends Mel and Jeff in Wellesley for New Years and Jeff promised to take me to see the house where Gretzky grew up.

I remember being really nervous for some reason too. When we first arrived Jeff pulled up to the house and parked out front and we all just stared out the window of the car. Jeff was egging me to get out so that I could get my picture taken in the front driveway. There was some hesitation but I finally got out and I think I was taking one of Shan when Walter stepped out on the front steps and politely asked “Hey whatcha doing?”

Of course, we didn’t know what to say and asked his permission to take a couple of photos in front of the house. It wasn’t cell phone days so we had the old school cameras and Jeff’s was as big as Walter’s mailbox. He must have thought we were the press!

Next thing we know Walter invites us into the house “for a visit”. It’s all a blur after that but I do recall sitting in the living room “visiting” and I tried to tell Walter the story of when I met Wayne in Toronto, in his restaurant and Walter wasn’t having any of it. “Wayne who?” he said. Then he told us all about his golf game the other day and this one drive that went for days.

He showed us around the house a little bit and introduced us to Glen who I think may have been just visiting. Glen wasn’t very happy to see us and said something like “…he does this all the time…just don’t take anything” – which is funny because Jeff and I were both eyeballing the TV guide with the Gretzky address sticker on the cover. WHAT? They were just going to throw it out anyway!

We thanked Walter for having us and insisted that we should be on our way and not take up any more of his time. Before we left he insisted that we get some photos around his Christmas tree with Santa. He orchestrated the shots for all of telling us where to stand and seemingly enjoying the whole experience. Then he suggested we finish up the pictures we started outside and posed for a couple out there.

Sidenote: Since that day I have heard all kinds of stories like this so I know I am not special. But Walter is. To say he was GREAT is an understatement.

Thanks for the memories Walter.

100th Meridian

I love the Tragically Hip.

I don’t love that the remaining members of what used to be the Tragically Hip are suing Mill Street Brewery for a beer Mill Street trademarked “100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager” over six years ago.

The former band claims that fans are being misled and are confused in thinking that the beer is in some way associated with the band. So what? When I saw the beer it immediately took me back to every semi-sober Roadside Attraction, arm-in-arm with my besties, belting out the chorus in unison “…at the hundredth meridian…where the great plains begin…”.

Gord, Johnny, Paul, Rob, thanks for the memories. Name a song and I have a memory to go with it, a connection, and a feeling. The playlist of my youth that I am forever grateful for. Mind if I buy my beer now?

The former Hip is suing Mill Street because guys like me might buy that beer simply because of its name and what it means to them. Why should Mill Street benefit from a visceral reaction deeply influenced by The Tragically Hip and good old Canadian geography?

Because “100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager” has nothing to do with the Tragically Hip. The same way the song “Islands In The Stream” has nothing to do with Dolly Parton’s boobs. People just think about them when they hear the song. The Hip wrote a song about it, and Mill Street labelled a beer after it.

A lot of people that I talk to about this like to bring up that Mill Street is profiting off the Tragically Hip by using their likeness to the sell the beer. I have yet to see any blatant examples of this.

Here is a post I pulled from Mill Street’s Instagram page:

Mmmmmm Doritos

There are quite a few like this and admittedly the first thing I thought of when I saw this one was “Mmmmm Doritos”, beer second, and Hip third.

The former Hip said that they tried to “sort things out” with Mill Street for months but were unsuccessful. I can only speculate that “sorting it out” meant the former Hip felt entitled to some beer money or asked them to change the name of the beer. I think the use of their image to sell beer is a simple cease and desist. Looking at their social media it has already been tended to. Even the examples posted by the former Hip were confusing to fans because one was promoting the Hip’s last concert, and the other in question was posted by another Instagram account and just shared by the brewery. Not even their post.

This is where I could be swayed. If the argument was that Mill Street (not its customers) are blatantly using images of the band or Gord Downey to promote their beer then I agree with you, it’s not OK at all. They should have to remove those posts. However, if you are convinced that trademarking and naming the beer “100th Meridian Organic Amber Ale” is not OK because it makes people think of the song “At The Hundreth Meridian” by the Tragically Hip we don’t agree at all.

In fact, if the former Tragically Hip wins this lawsuit it leaves me with so many questions…

Like who is next? Little Bones Wings?

Little Bones Wings named their whole business after a Hip song. Not convinced…make sure you try their Bobcajun CLASSIC DRY(ISH) the next time you order.

Just a quick look and I found a tribute beer called “Tragically Hopped“, multiple “Fiddlers Green Restaurants“, and a beer called “Trois Pistoles” in which the description insists it gains its fans with “complex character” not the Tragically Hip. Maybe Mill Street should have gone with “100e Méridien” to avoid any backlash.

What about cover bands…ahem…”tribute bands”?

Bands” like the Incredibly Hip and Strictly Hip get to sell out shows dressing like Gord and singing his songs. They make money directly imitating the band and performing their lyrical property and nobody cares. Or do they?

Artists? Are they exempt?

If this guy makes bank going around painting murals of Gord on buildings is that OK? Should he be able to profit by painting the likeness of a Canadian Rock icon? Or does he need permission and if so from who? The former Hip doesn’t mind…

I bought this sweater on Redbubble and it’s the most expensive piece of clothing I own. I bought it because I love Gord and the Tragically Hip.

I am sure the sweater cost the artist $6 and I paid $80. The band got $0, is that OK? There are all kinds of Tragically Hip art on RB so maybe there is some kind of agreement I don’t know about. Can I make a Hip shirt and sell it online?

Would this be happening if Gord were still alive and the band was making music?


Why do I care so much when I haven’t even tried the beer?

I think it’s because the Tragically Hip I know and love is gone and life will never be the same. When I see a beer label, or any tribute to the band (intentional or not) it’s a reminder of my youth growing up and I feel like that is what is being attacked. I went to all the concerts and called in sick the next day, I bought the albums and inflated merch at the shows. I genuinely supported the band for what feels like a lifetime. Throwing them in the face of everyone I could who couldn’t name a Hip song let alone get a feeling from seeing one on the side of a can.

Ironically (sorry Alanis can I say that?), it feels like the very band that gave me so much of my youth is working at taking it back. All for what seems like nothing more than recreational outrage.

It’s just so un-hip.

Ying Yang Two-Week Cycle

These numbers scare the crap out of me. 146 cases in one day in Manitoba? What happened? We were doing so well.

It seems like we got a good handle on things during code red. I know that was really hard on people, business, and education. I feel like we are headed back in that direction. When schools close you know it is bad! People are at home looking after their kids, they can’t go to work, kids and parents alike are mentally and physically taxed.

Don’t worry, last night I woke up with a migraine at 3am and as I was falling back to sleep I figured out what we have to do. I call it…

The Ying Yang Two-Week Cycle.

I propose that the Government mandates two-week cycles of “code red” shut down where EVERYONE is encouraged to stay isolated.

For those two weeks, non-essential business shuts down. Those who can work from home, work from home. No more than 10 people in the grocery store with social distancing and mask mandates in full effect. Don’t shop unless absolutely necessary for two weeks.

Schools too. Closed. Remote learning with your classroom teacher online at a set time for an hour or two each morning and afternoon on teams or zoom or whatever. Just for two-weeks at a time.

After the 2 weeks are up we go back to code orange. Business and schools back up and running following distancing protocols and mask mandates. Get your shopping done, hit up a restaurant, go for a drink with friends. Get your in-person meetings at work. Just for two-weeks.

At school kids will re-connect with teachers. Make sure any technical or device issues are taken care of so that remote learning is running smoothly in the off weeks. Focus on kids that need one on one during that time to make sure those learners are advancing. Implement plans to take work home on remote learning weeks so that parents can assist and continue those efforts at home. I like this idea much more than just shutting down suddenly for months at a time with no plan to return to the classroom to check-in. It also allows schools to put some focus on the remote learning concept instead of just winging it when their hand is forced.

Rinse and repeat these two-week cycles until the Covid numbers decline significantly or a vaccine is in place. I feel like this is a better alternative to plowing forward until we need to completely shut down again.

Without knowing what I am talking about I would think that numbers would decline simply because of incubation period (14 days) and less people spreading over the two weeks of isolation.

It gives business the chance to thrive in the two weeks they are open and makes subsidies more manageable for relief efforts. I think it would save some jobs in the long term because people could collect EI in two-week periods and work for the other two weeks. Less burden on the “system” and employers would be less likely to unload staff.

People can work from home for two-weeks and can plan to return to the office in 14 days to check in with co-workers and meet with customers. On the work from home weeks some may have kids at home to look after but at least they can rest assured that their kids are looked after and will be returning to school for the next two-week cycle.

It goes without saying that if you are sick or show symptoms during the open weeks that you should stay home. Worst case you are home for more than 14 days if you are sick in between cycles. This should take the burden off the testing stations because people will be less likely to test if they are isolating for 14 day periods. Less urgency to run out and test a runny nose or sore throat if you are not missing work or school.

I assume this plan would be more economically viable than long term closures. Minimizing subsidies and stretching out liable terms.

Of course, there will be a lot of holes in the Ying Yang plan. I don’t science, read the news, or know the politics of all of this works really but in my head, this seems like it could work. Right?

Brad Pitt Birthday

It’s taken me some time to even write about this because I am still partially at least stunned and in disbelief.

I have been working on getting a Jeep since I was about 14 years old. People would ask things like “if you won the lottery what would you buy?” and my response was always “take care of my people and a Jeep!”. Even when the kids would say “Dad, what do you want for your birthday?” the answer was always a Jeep.

Then a couple of weeks ago I was leaving hockey late at night and Sweet Len was piling his goalie equipment into his convertible Porsche. His pads in the passenger seat and bag in the mini trunk. At that moment I thought to myself, good for Len. Probably not the most sensible ride for a goalie but how many times in your life are you going to buy a Porsche? What if all we ever did was just what made sense?

The next day I went to my financial advisor and asked him to talk me out of it. Instead he asked me if I wanted to spend the next 4 years and $22,000 plus repairs into the car I am driving now that already had over $100,000km on it? With a trade in I added my payments would be likely close to what they are now!

The next step was to talk to Shan. It took some time and in the end, she came on board with some pretty significant bottom lines. I started talking to dealerships to see what I could get for my car and found I could get a decent trade value despite the mileage.

That next week I had found a 2018 Jeep Sahara at a dealership called We Sell Autos (they are crooks and I won’t even link to them) and after some back and forth they came back with a number we good with. It was the day of my birthday and I talked to Shan about getting in there to talk to the guy and she kept making excuses to wait. “Let’s sleep on it one more night…” and I gave her some sass about dragging this out. What I didn’t know was that Paul was coming in for my birthday!

It was the perfect visit and the timing could not have been better. I have been struggling a little and really needed that time with Paul. He brings me back to a simpler time. Shan arranged for Paul, and I to go to Thermea on Friday to spend the day. She even arranged for me to be off work and Al caught up to us when he was off. It was perfect.

Friday morning though we had made arrangements with We Sell Autos (crooks) to talk more and even sign off on a Jeep. Well somehow the payment that we had agreed on over the phone was up an extra $50/bi-weekly and the term had gone up by a year. I was devasted, Shan was just pissed off.

On the way home, we stopped at Murray Jeep Winnipeg on Pembina, close to confusion corner. I went in pretty hot after the experience we just had and the staff worked hard to help me out. We talked about buying new and hitting our bottom line because of the lower interest rate. I never intended to buy new but they found my Jeep in Morden.

A 2019 Jeep Wrangler Sport with 600km on it. The next day we drove to Morden and picked it up. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough that I even turned down the free gas!

I love it.

Who knows what the world will be like in 4 years. I am going to enjoy this now with my family. It’s time!

Technically I got a Jeep for my birthday…

– Brad Pitt –