Tag Archives: winnipeg

Taras – Winnipeg DJ Phenom

My flight from Winnipeg to Vancouver last week was on one of Air Canada’s older planes. No spiffy personal televisions, so I was forced to watch the communal movie. The sound cut out and they put on some crappy romantic comedy from the 80s – it was so bad my mind has blocked out all memories and I can’t even tell you the title. Anyway, I had nothing else to amuse myself, so I alternated between the movie and listening to music on my iPod and the Air Canada radio stations.

A song on the Dance station caught my ear and eye. It was by a Canadian artist called Taras. I went to school (elementary and high school in Winnipeg) with a Taras Harkavyi who was very musical and into dance music. I wondered if it could be the same person. Taras came to Canada when I was in grade 6 and both his parents were musicians in the Ukraine. I remember at one our high school dances he played a dance track that he had created. Given that Taras isn’t exactly a common name in Canada, I thought the odds were high it was the same person.

When I got home I did some quick searching, and sure enough it was him. The song I heard is his first single, I Love You. It’s a good song, but his second single, I Will Love Again, is rocking! Check out the video. If you’re curious, he makes an appearance in the middle. He’s the guy who walks in on his girlfriend in bed with another man.

You can purchase his album Lift Off(in MP3 format) from his record label’s website. I bought it today, and I’m quite impressed.

I went on a bit of music buying binge today. I don’t mind paying for music, I just refuse to pay for DRM infected files. I picked up Taras’s album, and 5 other albums from Audio Lunchbox:

A few of the albums I already had acquired by other means, but I wanted to support the artists who make their songs available for MP3 download.

Christmas = Feasting, Lynching, and Burning

My Christmas break was everything I was hoping it would be. I spent most of the 6 days back with the family out at Baba’s farm, in Sandy Lake, Manitoba.

Food was the central event. We feasted on the usual Ukrainian fare and enough food to last months. You’d think after 5 days of perogies and holubtsi, I’d be sick of it, but I brought back a ton of left-overs that I’ve been slowly putting a dent in over the past few days.

For me Christmas is about 2 things: seeing family and playing boardgames. Presents are only a side show. We had a blast playing Sequence, Mafia, poker, crokinole, and cribbage. Mafia was my new addition this year. It took some convincing to get a game going, but once we started the family was hooked. It was a bit worrying to see how enthusiastic they were about lynching their relatives. Once the mob zeroed in one someone, there was no persuading them.

We also had the traditional Boxing Day bonfire. Not as large as previous years, but still an impressive sight. Mom and I found brought in dead tress from the Ponderosa and Aunt Sheryl and I picked dead branches out from the bush at the farm and built a decent-sized teepee to light. When we lit it at night there was no wind, so it burned evenly and neatly collapsed in on itself.

On Wednesday, Uncle Uke, Aunt Sheryl, and I went snowboarding at Manitoba’s premier ski hill – Asessippi. I enjoyed it, but I think I’m becoming a BC snow. I couldn’t help but notice how small and unchallenging it was. I was able to make it down the black diamond runs without killing myself – I still fell, but not any worse than on a green run. Oh well, back to Cypress soon.

The pain is starting to fade, but I still need to mention how ridiculous the travel regulations are at airports now. They confiscated my jar of sealed peanut butter. My peanut butter! What the hell is with that? And then they threw it in the garbage. At least give it to the food bank, people. And why can’t take water on the plane? Actually, I found a great way around this on the way back. Bring an empty bottle through security and fill it up at one of the water fountains before boarding. Water problem solved. On the way back I almost missed my flight because the Air Canada employees at the baggage check-in decided to hold a work slow-down and all take their lunch break at the same time, or something like that. But I got through eventually.

Ponderosa Collage  Solar Panels  Snowmobile Tracks  Board Games!  Christmas Morning  Yellow Snow  Christmas Morning at the Ponderosa  The Mafia  Guilty!  Boxing Day Bonfire  Mesmerized by the Fire  Bonfire Watching

Convocation – Our 0th Reunion

This weekend felt like our 0th reunion. Although we’ve only been out of school for 2 months, this weekend was a last chance to get together before everyone spreads across the globe in search of success. And now, after many emotional farewells, I’m on my way to Vancouver to begin the next phase of my life.

The past 2 weeks were spent relaxing, spending quality time with my family, and reconnecting with old friends in Winnipeg. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to or spend as much time with some people as I had hoped, but it was a fulfilling two weeks. Thanks for everyone that took time to meet up. It was good to see everyone and hear about all the exciting adventures you’re going through. Congratulations Erin and Aaron on your engagement.

On Friday, I flew down to Toronto with my parents, my sisters, and Baba Coulson. I was quite impressed that they were willing to take time off work to spend a weekend with me while I received my diploma – none of them knew I was the Valedictorian. We had fun squeezing all 6 of us in a large car and driving to Waterloo – luckily we’re a skinny family.

On Friday night I decided to tell my parents I was Valedictorian. It was a carefully guarded secret and I was hoping to surprise them at the ceremony. But a few perks of giving the speech made it impossible to keep them in the dark for long. First, I was invited to the fancy Chancellor’s lunch with my parents. We got to hob-knob with the President, Provost, and Chancellor of UW. None of us like fancy dinner parties, but everyone at our table was friendly and the food was scrumptious. Sitting across from me was Sheena Luu, the Governor General’s medal winner for Engineering. I couldn’t believe it when I found out she was from Winnipeg too – Winnipeger’s Rock!

After lunch, I gowned up and went to the ceremony. Kelsey and Kerry found out I was Valedictorian when they were seated in reserved, comfy chairs in the front row of the gym. Perplexed, Baba told them to look in the program, and they saw that I was giving the Valedictory Address.

The speech went well. I’ll include a copy at the bottom of this post. The speeches before mine were boring, so that helped mine look better than it was. I was super nervous, so I talked a bit faster than I wanted too and rushed some parts, but I spoke loud and clearly and got laughs at the right points. Although sometimes the only person I could hear laughing was Baba. 🙂

After the speech I had several people congratulate me on my speech, including many I didn’t recognize. Three really hot girls came up to me and congratulated me. I should give speeches more often. 😉 I’m glad people enjoyed it.

After the ceremony, we took lots of pictures, and had a reception for the SE students. It was good to sit and chat with everyone. Other than the West Coast crowd, I’m not sure when I’ll see everyone else again.

On Sunday, we took father out for a big Father’s Day breakfast. As Dad commented, it was nice to have everyone together for Father’s Day. I’m not sure when the last time that happened was. Even when I was in Winnipeg, the past few years of Father’s Day have been spent at the Manitoba Marathon.

Sunday afternoon was spent celebrating Chris and Ayelet’s new marriage. The wedding was held in the park and involved a simple, but meaningful ceremony. It was great hearing stories about Chris and Ayelet and the speeches from the parents were all really good. I especially enjoyed Chris’s mom’s speech when she talked about the day Chris was born. It was also nice to hang out with so many university friends – kind of like an extension of the graduation from the day before.

Graeme kindly gave me a ride to Markham after the wedding and I spent the late evening talking with Erin and her family. We had a great time sitting on the deck and chatting. This morning, Erin’s mom cooked up some fabulous omelets and hash browns and we played cards until Erin had to drive me to the airport. I always have a great time hanging out with Erin and her mom.

Valedictorian Speech