Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Something strange happened on the way to the show

Hello everyone,
I've just spent the last half hour reading strangers most secret experience's and fears through a blog-share (where people post onto other people's blogs anonymously) and I found the whole thing just a little sad. There were thirty people who wanted the opportunity to post their thoughts and feelings in a public forum, but without their identities linked to the entry.
What many of these people felt they wanted to do with this opportunity was fret and share thier fear, hatred from their own personal lives. I realize very personally that throughout life we harm others, we are harmed by others and sometimes we don't resolve these feelings to bring ourselves closure. Many of these poor people have been harboring resentments for 20 years or more, and this makes me sad, that for the last twenty years these are the feelings they lay awake at night feeling, waiting for the oportunity to reveal them to the light and hopefully find resolution.
I can tell you sincerely, that I spent much of my life as a complete ass, I've hurt those I loved very deeply, I've been hurt and dissapointed too many times to count, I've acted callously and uncaringly to those most important to me. I can also tell you that eventually I learned from these experiences (and hopefully continue to)and forgave myself and moved on. I hope that those I have injured have found the same forgivness and moved on with thier lives, enjoying what they have and revelling in the good times of the past.
But listening to some of these tales of woe, left me wondering when and how I moved on. At first I thought it was like a alcoholics Moment of Clarity, but it wasn't. I didn't hit rock bottom, I may have felt the bottom brush against my skin, but I never really hit it with the impact to destroy a soul. I think I just got tired of feeling guilty about what I'd done, and for what others had done to me and just took one step forward, once it was behind me I could live in the moment and coping got much easier. The guilt faded away, the pain receded and I could smile at each new day. There are still bad nights, but they are few and far between. Maybe it was a book I read that taught me to move on, maybe it was one close friend I had many years ago whose incredible personality and tolerance showed me there was a better way to live life than to dwell on your wounds (and I wounded him many times), maybe I'm just a rambling idiot boring everyone at this moment.
Bottom line is... I forgive everyone in my past who may have negatively affected my state of being, hopefully you all already know this. I also pray that you have recovered from the pains I gave you. Now, lets all just hold hands and sing KumBaya by the firelight and enjoy the moment.
Take Care

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

You have to know when to leave.

A ice carving from christophers winter carnival at school today.

Our guest has finally arrived.

Finally cleared the ground.

Half way


Almost but not quite.

This supposed to be a picture behind me during the full eclipse of the very large over cuatious "dogs" circling me, however I guess it just turned into a nice photo.


Hello everyone,
Tonights mission seemed easy enough, and I chose to accept it, See if I could get any good photo's of the Eclipse. This task turned out to be much trickier than I imagined at the the begining of the night. Although I have never shown any real talent for night photography, you only learn by trying? Right. So I started in my nice warm apartment with my tripod taking shots through the window, nice and comfy like. Then as darknes started to set in I was getting too much light from the streetlight outside our building so I snuck across the hall and started taking pictures from the empty office. One minor problem here was that this room is just above the furnace room and the floor vibrates destroying the stability of the tripod. Okay, location 3, I'm now standing outside on the deck taking the shots but encountering the same light problems as before so I fire up the Ski-Doo and resign myself that I have to get out of town to a nice dark non-vibrating place. I drive about 5 miles out of town between the dump and the sewage lagoon. Nice, Dark, Quiet and cold, now I can get down to business.
After about ten minutes of playing with setting I watch two large dogs cross the road about 100 yards in front of me. More shots without any good results when I see those same two dogs off to my left coming closer through the trees. More shooting, more cursing, temperature dropping and just a little bit of curosity. I watch the road behind me and see the two large "dogs" cross the road about 80 yards behind me. It occures to me, if those are dogs why are they not coming to see me directly and why are they not then heading to the dump, but rather it looks like they are circling me. Oh, well, no worries, probably just triing to get behind me to get my scent then they'll move on. More shooting and the fingers are starting to stiffen up a bit. Then the increasing misnamed and misidentified "DOGS" are crossing the road before me again. Rather than get right back to shooting I think I'll just restart the Ski-Doo and maybe turn it around, why you ask, just cause this is starting to get a little boring. That done back to shooting, I start to question if the camera was the right piece of equiptment to bring if I was going to do any shooting. I glance over to my left, yep, Ski-Doo still running good...and two large shapes about a 25 second sprint from the ski-doo. Oddly enough it was at this time when I realized that this was the full eclipse and I've seen it, so I'd like to go home and have a cup of cocoa. I may be a bad photographer but I'm one hell of a packer as I found myself on the ski-doo driving home in about 24 seconds. Mission accomplished. Hope someone out there got some good shots.
Take Care

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Its the journey, not the destination

Sunday Musings

Here are our sleds, our sole albity to find release from the normal confines of town. Now, we just have to figure out how we're going to deal with the other 4 months of the year.

This is the "shortcut" behind the school, it travels about 15 minutes behind the school and delivers you about 4 houses down from the school. Total walking time, under five minutes, total ski-dooing time 15 minutes. Not exactly a shortcut but a lot more interesting than driving along the road.

This is the cliffs across the river from Tsiigehtchic taken from the ice road.

This is a trail on the Inuvik side of the river, As you can see the trails aren't exactly wide, meet someone on the trail and one of you has a desicion to make, and if you meet me on the trail, you have a desicion to make, cause I'm staying right on the trail.

One thing I can assure everyone is that I am not a good enough photographer or snowmobile driver to be able to focus while driving. I did find a setting that works okay, but my throttle hand is also the hand I would like to use to take the picture, add that to the fact I tried to stand up to clear the windshield and this photo isn't exactly what I hoped. This truck is just leaving the ice road and making land on solid ground.

This vista is taken from the Fort MacPherson side of the MacKenzie river. with the lack of tree's I'm betting there's a lake here, but I won't know for another 4 months, so stay tuned.

Christopher's new hat and shirt from Grandmom. Can you guess what Christopher's favorite color is. I think this year we'll send him out at halloween as a frog.

Hello everyone,
It official, Inuvik is running out of fuel which means they're starting to truck fuel into Inuvik via trucks on the ice road, which I'm using as a poor transition statement into a discusion or ice road travel. For most vechicles the ice road is a very safe and fast way to travel, Its not often you get to travel on a 75 foot two lane road. However, for trucks and heavy equiptment the risk of the road are singular. The ice is thick enough to support the weight of almost any vechicle, the danger arises when you actually have to move these heavy vehiclces across the ice. They must keep their speed's very low because they produce a pressure wave in front of thier vechicle due to their weight, if they catch upto their pressure wave they will crack the ice beneath them with obviuos tragic results. This is not a daily event but neither is it rare, some drivers who carry extremely heavy loads wear survival suits throughout their journey. These speed are usually limited by the weight of the load, how would you like to drive 500 miles at a staggering speed of 5 miles a hour, Its a lot of time to have your nerves on edge, and if you lose concentration and speed up, terrible thing will happen.
Our weather has finally warmed up, hence you can now find photo's again on this blog. You may not be so lucky if you try to find me at home, the sleds are getting a lot use since the freeze ended. Today has been a gloriuos warm day with many out and about across the land, across the river we have a herd of Caribou as well as a large pack of wolves and some moose. Thats where Christopher and I are heading in a few minutes to see what we can see. We're working on finding a source for country food in this town, starnge being that we know a lot more people than we have previously by still are having difficulty finding that kind soul who has a good stream of country foods.
Looks like in a couple of weeks I'm going to be able to see the land south of 60 as I'll be going to Winnipeg for a week at the beginning of March for a conference. Nothing like Winnipeg in the beginning of March, it'll be just like the tropics (not).
Take Care

Saturday, February 16, 2008

On writing

Hello Everyone,
For twenty some years I have known I was a writer (not a speller, or grammerician, or editor). I have always felt though I wasn't actually ready to write, that the story I need to tell hadn't been revealed to me yet. I've periodically demanded pieces from myself but they never felt right, but rather forced and formulated. Writing is hard work and to this point in my life it has felt that the story hasn't been worth the effort put into it. I have watched others write and while I have seen some jewels written, I have also seen a lot of the same forced pieces that lacked the beauty and poetry of the inspired word. I have read those gifted writers from our and from other times and the flow of their prose seems beyond imagining. My favorite line ever was "The ship hung in the air in much the way a brick doesn't". To me that simple line speaks of a brillance that is beyond mere mortals to instill upon a page with the simple pen.
It is with much trepidation that at this point I must announce that I am ready to write my story. I've needed to live a certain amount of life, to meet and enjoy the company of a wide variety of people throughout my life, to live the life that is not the same as the Jones's nextdoor, to make many more than my share of mistakes, to live life beyond the edge of good reason, and to behave poorly despite my best intentions through much of my life. I wish I knew where the story is about to take me from here but I do not know, how this story is going to affect my ability to maintain or enchance this blog I also do not know, but change is in the air, I can smell it.
To all the people who have helped, hated or fought me to this point I offer my thanks.
Take Care

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines Day Concert

Curtis getting ready to go for a ride, for the first time in 17 days our temp took a nice dip below -40. Both our sleds are in the picture and yes they're identical.

John Norbert in Sepia (just north of Tsiigehthic)

The band at the concert- John Norbert-guitar, Noel Andre- fiddle, Bob Mumford-Bass, Christina-keyboard.

Hello everyone,
Melissa spent this evening at the concert at the Aurora College campus in town.
A good time was had by all I am told. Games were played, songs were sung, food was eaten and chatter was exchanged.
Take Care

Friday, February 08, 2008

The truth about Global warming.

Hello everyone,
We live in the north, ergo its supposed to be cold however with global warming its supposed to be warmer right? Wrong, Today marked our 13th day consecutively below a natural -35 or a adjusted -44. Today peaked at -51. THIRTEEN DAYS, thats a long time for a cold streak, and according to the elders I was speaking to today, the last time would have been around 1968 (or by thier recollection around when TV came up north). The forecasts all call for temps in the low thirty's and have for the last 13 days. I wonder if this data is the data used to measure records and the overall warming trend that we are supposed to be undergoing. Daily, we get up look at the internet for the temp, then out we go. The difference arrive's when you actually look at a thermometer, the forecast have been overestimating the temp, without windchill by at least 8 degree's daily (Its not just one thermometer either they all agree to a single temp that varies from Eviroment Canada reports). Currently, they believe its -29... Not even close guys, its - 40 out there if its a degree. I can't finish writing this without going out and confirming...BRB.
Ok, I'm right and they are wrong, digital as well as "old" fashioned thermometers agree, Its damn cold out. Everyday, I go to bed hoping that they realized they are wrong and the temp they listed for tomorrow will actually be the begining of the warming but a new day breaks and the freezing continues.
Which leads me into the top ten things you learn in the real cold.
10. Frost is a creeping monster that grows in your home the longer the temp holds true, the back door to the store rests beneath 1 inch of ice frost that has spread around the door and walls. Locks freeze from the humidity in the air.
9. A can of pop at room temp will cool to a nice drinking temp in about 6 minutes outside. Ice cream will start to crystalize in about ten minutes. A can of pop will explode around 25 minutes.
8. Exposed or lightly covered skin will "smoke" consistantly for the amount of time you are outside. I wear light gloves to work frieght and after 20 minutes of work they are coated in frost to the point that they'll stand on thier own.
7. Polaris Ski-doo's can't handle temps below around -32, after that the starter spring stiffen to the point where pulling them is extremely difficult and pull cords snap under the pressure and cold. In this cold snap I've counted 3 frozen drive belts snap, 8 recoil rope's snap, 2 ignition coils freeze and crack and the screws holding my windshield to the sled have shrunk to the point where you can remove the windshield without any difficulties.
6. Frostbite will start to develop beneath well covered skin in about 25 minutes outside (Christopher is now limited to a 15 minute walk home).
5. Frost burns hurt and feel just like heat burns. A couple of days ago I opened a door with a metal handle with my bare hands and the pain still lingers strong when I make a fist.
4. If your fly is down, you'll realize it in about 2.5 seconds.
3. It takes about 2 more seconds to remove your gloves, zip up and reach for a metal handle to get back in.
2. Things that are broken outside at this temp tend to stay broken till the temp changes.
1. Lots of people find perfectly reasonable reasons to head a few hundred miles south for a indefinite period of time when its this damn cold.

Take Care

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Everything is Relative

Hello Everyone,
Tonight, while closing the store there was a emergency. I knew this because 20 minutes after the store closed someone started pounding on the back door saying "Open up, its a emergency". Ok, as I head to the door, I check the location of the fire extinguisher, remember where my gun and ammo is and recall where I can find a lot of blankets fast, That should cover all the emergencies that come to mind in the time I have. Ok, I`m ready as I open the door too the two young ladies in distress, The door opens, the look in thier eyes tell me its bad.... How bad, Real Bad. The explain to me that they need to cash a cheque RIGHT NOW, I explain to them, that everything is locked up and I`m not reopening the store since they were in the store 10 minutes before closing and they didn`t need it cashed then. They explain to me, they just found out there`s a bingo tonight, I explain to them I`m going home for dinner.
Take Care

The end of Selections

Hello Everyone,
For those who are unaware the Northwest Company (my employer) ran a mail order catalogue for northern residents offering everything from houshold goods to gun and trapping supplies. Today it was announced that this catalogue will be disbanded. Its sad really, well maybe not sad, lets look at a recent conversation I had with a customer service specialist at our selections office.
"Hello, I'd like to check the status of one of my customers orders.
ME: Here's the name and reference number.
CSS: Ok I have the order for this person for these items.
ME: We'd like to know when it was shipped.
CSS: Ok, this order hasn't been shipped yet.
ME: Is it out of stock?
CSS: No, it appears to be instock. Maybe we haven't recieved payment yet?
Me: Payment was sent five months ago, here's the transaction #.
CSS: Yes, I see we cashed that now, ohh there's a note on the order, that must be the reason.
ME: Whats the note say?
CSS: RUSH ORDER confirmed for delivery for OCT 31 before freeze up.
ME: So maybe thats not quite the reason that we haven't recieved it yet.
CSS: Yeah, thats probably not slowing it down.
ME: So any idea when you plan on shipping this product?
CSS: Oh I see it now, we cancelled the order.
ME: why? and did you refund the customer, or tell him?
CSS: I have no idea why we cancelled the order, maybe the item was out of stock. We didn't refund the customer and I don't think we informed him, there's a note here saying the store should inform him.
ME: And was the store told this?
CSS: Probably not.
ME: and what about the refund?
CSS: No, we didn't refund the item, Do you think the customer would like a refund.
ME: Yes, I think he might want either his product or his $500.00 back. BTW can you check if the product is actually out of stock?
CSS: Yes, I just looked it up, we get it direct from the manufacturer so its never out of stock.
ME: So any other idea's why we might have cancelled the order?
CSS: No.
Me: How about processing that refund for me right now?
CSS: Done, Thanks for calling"

I swear before the almighty that this is how the conversation actually went. I'm sure I could have gone on for hours with her like this if that had been my inclination but the subject matter was starting to bore me, and realizing I wasn't going to get any answers I decided to count my loses and get out while I still could.
Good-Bye selections, here's to better days.

Take Care