A few years ago we lost one of the most interesting minds of our time. I wouldn't go as far as saying one of the greatest, nor would I commit to anything other than to state that he possessed a very interesting mind. Upon his sudden and unexpected death, I felt sorrow, and a deep loss. I will miss the novels he failed to write and I miss the idea of a world where I could sit and have a pint with him on a Thursday afternoon and discuss a $2,000 dollar gadget that could achieve the same thing as a $2.00 calculator but without any of the style. I have spent many hours of my life (cumulatively, during the tedious moments) considering one of his line's; "the ship hung in the air much the way a gold brick doesn't".
He died shortly before the fulfillment of one of his dreams, the production of a movie based on his works, after 17 years of pitching, it was finally made, and he died shortly into production. I'm not sure this was a sad occurrence, although the movie was not without its merits, many of us grew up with the written word of his vision and the movie could never stand up to 20 years of reading and rereading his works.
Upon my birthday I just wished to express my gratitude to the spirit that created one of the most interesting collections of works I have encountered in the first 39 years of my life. I do not wish to diminish any of the other great loves of my library, from Chaucer to Shakespeare to King, however this man certainly had the gift of the incredibly sublime to create a wonderful experience for all his readers.
Thanks to everyone for the tiny brilliance they bring to their corner of the world, we can all create a blinding light. Remember to appreciate the small smiles in a day.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Its been awhile since we discussed the conditions here and since I keep hearing about the southern weather I thought we'd let our friends know what they are missing.
The sun is rising about 4:00 am (I'll never understand why the north subscribes to daylight savings time) and is turning dusk around midnight. Today the wind is coming from the south at about 50-60 kph leaving the windchill around -17, but the actual temp is only a couple of degree's below zero. We're about a month from the bay thawing and that means with the nice temps that everyone is spending their free time out on the land hunting geese and camping. Snow geese and Canadian geese are the foods of the season. We've even seen a few flies around, although they are moving slowly. It always seems strange to me to watch flies crawling across the snow.
There have been a few recent challenges in this area at work as well. A couple of managers from Inujuak failed to return from vacation so the store is encountering staffing troubles (especially at this time of year), meaning they have had to pull their butcher to work the grocery dept, meaning no more fresh meat for us. The store manager in Sanikillajuaq died suddenly a few days ago, mean just adding to the difficulties in this area. Also the store manager and grocery manager in Salluit have given their notice as they are planning on returning south in June. Our manager here in POV has reluctantly accepted the position to move up there and take over this store. As well as another couple of personal issue's for other managers that means we are running at about %50 staffing throughout the whole district. We have no idea what this will mean for us but I would assume that there will be another round of changes and moves across the district very shortly. Such is life and work in the North.
Hopefully the wind will die down a bit today and I'll be able to take some photo's to add to this post.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
The family that dresses the same.... well, its just sad really.
Saturday morning of the May Long weekend. Locals aren't even heading out on the land to catch a few geese.
Probably just too much digging to rescue you qamituq from the drifts.
On the twenty-fourth of May
Sitting in the sand
To watch the fireworks display
Dancing fires on the beach
Singing songs together...
Though it's just a memory
Some memories last forever"
I was invited to join a old friend at his place (in the south) this weekend for a BBQ and some imbibing in some of our favorite beverages. The idea of such activities while looking out the window right now seems to verge on the absurd. We had a little storm on Friday night and Saturday they made the perfect BBQ weekend seem a million miles away, or at least a thousand. Since we are in Quebec, we don't even get to have the extra day off, I guess at some point in the past Quebec turned down Victoria day in favor of Baptiste day.
This week I also has my first Northern dental work. I had a root Canal performed in the local hospital. Now normally I have lowered expectations of services available in the far north. I did have the idea that they were capable of performing this procedure since they recommended doing it here. Half way through the procedure (after they had drilled my tooth away and scraped out the nerve they informed that they lacked a piece of equipment to actually finish the procedure but next time I was in the south they could just finish it off, I would only have mild pain until then. I then informed them I hadn't been south in nearly two years and didn't think I'd be going in the near future either, at which the response was "WHY?". working for the Northwest company gets you a extra week of vacation against your southern counterparts and a few other advantages but compared to the other southerns up here we get the short end of the stick. Teachers frequently get up to 4 or five trips out in a year, police the same, nurse's usually work 3 to 5 week rotations with the same period spent down south.. due to this common misconception that every quallanut up here is merely days away from leaving leads me to a few months of pain. Such is life in the North.
I hope everyone down south is enjoying their get-together and keeping out of the sun.
at 6:05 PM
Sunday, May 13, 2007
The inside of the Twin Otter taken from the second last seat. Awe inspiring isn't it, the aesthetics is only surpassed by the personal attention you get. Mainly due to the fact that your ticket taker, seat assigner, steward, and baggage handler are all the pilot.
These are the photo's from our move that we have been delaying due to technical difficulties. This photo show;s the ice breakup that was already present at the beginning of April on the Hudson Strait. Not a good sign for the north.
More of the ice break-up. Here you can see previous break lines as well as new one's showing the break up has been happening on and off for awhile.
Riding in the relative luxury of the Dash-8
The view from my seat in the Twin Otter, You can see our luggage and animals in front of the cockpit (possibly a security measure? You can't hijack the cockpit till you get over the animals.)
Looking back from my seat at the Christopher and Melissa at the back of the plane.
Last night before going to bed I switched on the news. It was from a local in the states, I presume Boston, due to the mentioning of Beacon Hill. For the top 12 minutes of the 22 minutes standard schedule, Nothing other than local murders was discussed, Man shoots cop, then is shot by passerby, woman with knife shot in the street, two dead in suspected crack house, 18 year old shot in drive-by like shooting.
Yesterday in Puvirnituq, there was also a rash of shootings, and many were killed. Of course the major difference is the only thing shot here were geese, and the worst consequence of this may have been that someone had too much to eat and went to bed with a stomach ache. Surely, nothing to lead off the evening news, but you sleep better.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
OK, seems like a simple problem. a little bit too much to the right and the road disappears below you. In this case right in front of our house. The problems arise with the fact that the vehicle that slipped off the road is one of the heaviest in town, but this is something that's dealt with regularly.
This is how you start, with a shovel and a assessment before you have to make that embarrassing call for help.
News travels fast in a small town, it doesn't matter if you make the call, everyone knows shortly and here comes the "Calvary". Also the beast you see reviewing the scene is our local hobo, must be a retired sled dog as this dog never stops moving day and night he's on the go.
So here we have the front end loader, hook up the chain, throw it in reverse and problem solved right?
Plan a doesn't come to fruition as the tires just spin behind the weight of the Fire truck. easy solution, clear the snow from in front of the Fire truck, add a little manual labor removing the snow from the tires and let them drive out. Excellent plan B, brilliant in its simplicity.
Just a bit more, and I should get those front wheels on the ground while I'm at it.
Minor complication, the front end loader is now stuck in the snow. So, now we have two of the heaviest vehicles in town stuck within 5 feet of each other. Our front yard the black hole for million dollar vehicles.
Enter the next of the heavyweights, the digger. This time a tracked vehicle will be able to get everyone out of this mess before anyone gets embarrassed.
One down, one to go.
Now seating a table of one...
two for the money,
And away we go...
And now we are back in service for snow removal, fire and , digging. Shame that Christopher had already left for daycare as all his favorite vehicles came out to play.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Yesterdays post was premature and the reports of springs arrive may have been greatly exaggerated. To assist our southern readers I made sure to include a weather widget on my Blog, why, I have no idea. I check it every morning as weather up here is very important to daily life. However, I trust it as far as I could comfortably spit a dead cat. Yesterday weather Canada reported that our temp was -4 at it's highest and it was raining. Yesterday was a beautiful day that must have been zero with nice clear skies. Today was supposed to be 4- and lovely as well, and apparently all this nice weather (according to enviro Canada) has ticked mother nature off, and make no mistake she can be a vicious mother. This afternoon around three, a system blew into town with the intention of blowing the town a couple of miles further North. environment Canada still insists as of this minute that it is -4, -14 with windchill and the wind is blowing at 38 kph. I would invite that person to come on up here and enjoy this balmy weather with a gentle breeze.
This house is the furthest I have lived from a store, a total of 372 steps. Now once before in Baker lake I experienced an interesting phenomenon, when your drink something really cold you get a pain in the middle of your head starting in your sinus's and radiating outward. In Baker I experienced the same sort of thing by walking to the store, it literally felt like my brain was rapidly freezing, and I experienced the same thing today. So in today's glorious spring day I experienced this very painful and annoying stimulus. Thanks to environment Canada for advising me of the wonderful day it was going to be so I could leave my toque at home.
I will continue to have my Widget at the side of this blog, but don't take it serious, its for my own amusement.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Preparing the team to head out on the land, Needs to be enlarged for details.
The local parking lot (our front yard) for qamatiq's, since the snow is melting throughout town more and more machine's and sleds are being left on the outskirts of town rather than dragging them across the pavement.
The usual mandatory picture of Christopher. He doesn't like me to blog without putting up his picture.
It's been a very mild week temperature wise, and today the temp is zero and they are calling for rain. Due to the increasing temperature's there is a daily exodus of locals making their way onto the bay, Soon the bay will start to thaw so there is a sense of urgency to make hay while the sun shines. Another interesting thing we learned this week is all the roads in town are PAVED. We didn't realize this earlier due to the fact they were all covered in snow, but with all the thawing we're starting to see actual pavement. Its amusing watching the locals putting snow back on the roads in places so they can have crossing area's for their Ski-Doo's.
On a side note this week I had to go to the town's dentist, I had been avoiding this for the past 2 months or so. The good news (at least for me) was the dentist was a incredibly beautiful woman, the bad news was her diagnosis was far from being attractive. Looks like that discomfort I've been having for the last couple of months is a severe abscess meaning I have to get a root canal. The facilities of Northern dentistry leaves me a little apprehensive of this prospect, but we must do what we must.
We've been told we'll be doing another inventory this week, so at least we'll have both of them out of the way before the sealift season starts.
I'm still waiting for my replacement back-up drive to arrive so that hopefully I can save all the previous photo's from my last laptop and get some photo's back on this site.
Thats it for today,
at 10:03 AM
Saturday, May 05, 2007
This evening I have spent allot of time of reflecting on where I am and what brought me here. I reflect upon Kafka's "Metamorphose" and the illusions we can live under without full awareness. I love the north, but its amazing what we can grow accustomed to in a short period of time. Its quarter to two in the morning and I just came inside as the sounds of the children playing on the island out on the bay 1/2 mile into the Hudson's Bay were starting to get on my nerve's. Its -4 out and I didn't think I should bother with a jacket as its so nice out. As I return into the house I find Melissa has turned the temp up to a sweltering 72 and sleep seems impossible with the current state of mind and temp. I wonder about raising a child in a strange environment, where the first three years of his education will be solely in Inukitiuk. I read a story today about a 6 month old child was starved to death by her parents who were strict Vegans and thought their child should share their same choices. Am I making that same choice for someone who cannot speak for themselves?
at 11:37 PM