Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My Son Is Weird

Hello Everyone,
Christopher has given up sleeping with his teddy bear, He's adopted a bottle of Tide Coldwater. I wonder if we're looking at a sponsership deal here? Seriously, he carries this thing everywhere. He had a fit today when Melissa tried to do laundry.
Take care,

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

High Noon in Baker

These photo's were taken at 12:00 noon today. The sun gets upto about 5 degree's at its zenith.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Blog thing.

Hello Everyone,
When I set this page up it was because we were receiving too many similiar questions regarding life here and it was taking alot of time to respond to everyone I wanted to in a timely manner. So I thought I'd set this page up to try and better explain our experiences here as well as have the community share the answers they recieve to thier questions. I have answered specific questions in the comments section and I ask that people look there when they have a question. I know I am always anxious to read the comments whenever I join the page so I ask that my friends remember to look there for answers, as well as post any comments they may have. I apoligize that I have taken this short cut to answering questions and if anyone has something they don't want to share, please feel free to email me and I'll answer.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Musings

Hello Everyone,
Its another Sunday and I have to figure out another bunch of things to talk about. Well I've been meaning to discuss the Inuit Lifestyle and white mans perceptions of it. When I've visited other blogs discussing this area I'm amazed at how eurocentric the interpitations are. I know I have made these same generalizations but we have to stop and look at where the people have come from and when.
40 years ago the inuit of this area lived on the land. The hamlet consisted of a store and a RCMP detachment. They came into town and got thier supplies and went back to the land. There is currently a class action lawsuit on the behalf of the local inuit groups against the RCMP. If you read histories of the area they will discuss how there was a outbreak of distemper in this area in the 60's caused the locals into town because they could no longer navagate the land on thier own. The lawsuit discusses how their was a detailed plan by the RCMP to force the Inuit into towns so they could have better access to a modern lifestyle. This plan was alleged to involve the RCMP shooting sled dogs under the guise of a disease.
That being niether here nor there, we have a group of people who were 100% self sufficient, providing themselves food, transportation and shelter as they had for a couple of thousand years. They had very limited exposure to white man, politics, ethics, religion, social expectations, alcohol, and commerce system. Now they are forced into a town, where they can no longer be self sufficient, they don't really have a skill set that matches white culture. They do not have a lifestlye of 9-5, they get up when the sun rises (very late in the day in the winter and they stay awake until thier needs are met. So we have a group of people who don't really fit into our job system niether in hours, expecations or skills. The government offers them social assistance to help meet thier needs. They are still not given exposure to a educational system that would provide them with a future however they are maintained in these communities with limited emplyment opportunities and very limited room for growth, no means of leaving or improving thier standing. Then we provide alcohol. this further impede's their growth into a acceptable european culture system.
Still the system was working Ok as everyone was in the same boat and they didn't know of anything different. The in the 70's we add TV to the mixture and we show them the way others live, we show them the products, lifestyles and alternatives they have never seen before. Now we have a group of people who want things, and yet still have no means of achieving them, even today the average education up here is grade 9, this town graduated 1 student from grade 12 last year. The college in town features coarses of a very vocational nature (hairdressing). Which I think we all know will still limit thier ability to go south and succeed. What we are left with is a culture that has never seen the American dream come true and doubt it can for a inuk in the south. That is why there is so much pride and interest in Jordin Tootoo (local Inuit who was drafted into the NHL), He is being watched closely as maybe he found the way out of the lifestlye and fits into white mans culture.
Anyways, these are my thought on the subject which may all be 100% wrong, lets remember we've only been here 3 months, these people came out of the stone age 40 years ago and this has to create trouble coming into a new world.
Take Care

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Life outside the Box

Hello Everyone,
Well we've had a very cool week. Most of the week we were under a blizzard warning. We didn't recieve much snow but the temp was low and the wind was high . Normally we have 4 flights minimum a day bringing people in and out of B.L. plus a couple of our cargo planes plus a couple with hunters or researchers in a avaerage week. That means we should have about 32 flights in a week, this week we're at 4 due to the weather. The shelves at the store are getting pretty bare, at least the perishables are. Ah well, thats life in the north. Other than the wind and temp it hasn't been bad, its not even the temp thats bad, its the way the wind cuts straight through your clothes to your skin. On Tuesday I think it was only about -26 or so, but in the 3 minute walk to the store I felt my cheecks starting to go numb. This lead to discussions in the office of various people's experiences with frozen body parts, lots of stories. And the one wives tale thats proven true about being here is that the second time to freeze something takes about half the time.
Sunday we're having a Grey Cup party at the 4 plex in the old apartment, that way we can just hire a maid when its over and no one has to worry about clean up. We'll have to call it something like a "female awareness seminar" in order to exclude the fairer sex from this highly informative and educational get together.

Still no pictures, sorry.

Take Care,

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunday Musings

Hello everyone,
Another week has come and gone. Not much different than any other week up here. The other day we were talking about the enviroment up here and I was amazed at the locals way of life. As we discussed local families, various things kept reappearing in all the histories, "oh, his brother froze to death on the land", "Oh, his mother was killed by a Polar bear". It was astounding, there was literally no family we discussed that didn't discuss one of these tragicies in some way. We don't have Polar bears this far inland however we do have grizzlies and many people do go to local communities such as Rankin, Arviat and Chesterfield Inlet regulary and this is where the attacks happen. I can't think of a similiar force in the south that touches as many lives as the enviroment here, not drunk driving, crime, or any other than disease which occures to the same degree up here. Its not that daily living is any great challenge, its just that you pay for a mistake alot more drasticly than in other area's, when your vechicle breaks down here, there are bigger problem that what garage to go to for repairs, Do I wait here, How can I keep warm, what can I eat, Which way is town, Whats the weather going to do, what if I get injured, How long will it take anyone to find me? These questions have drastic conseqences. A elder went on the land for a day trip on Thanksgiving day, despite three weeks of intesive searching they still haven't found her (at Rankin Inlet). These are things the locals accept as life but they are very different for myself, I find it amazing and intimadating, the acceptable tragidy factor is amazing.
I've been meaning to talk about local wildlife as to whats around here so here it goes. There are grizzly Bears however they roam the land around town and rarely venture near town. A couple were chased away from the airport this summer however none have made it into town in recent memory. There are wolves, these too tend to avoid town, you can hear them at night. These do come near town but predominately avoid it unless the weather is bad, They realize that every house has a rifle in it and thier hides are worth a couple of hundred dollars. During storms they will come into town and take the occasional dog or scavange when they can. They pose no large threat to a adult as there aren't any stories of the pack coming into town, which would be dangerous to anyone. We have weasels, these are long ferret like creatures that are predominately in town during the winter, They are white in color and about a foot long. We have Sic Sic's which are large ground squirrels, they are about 6-10 inches in height and lack the long tails of southern squirrels, they more closely resemble small ground hogs of the south. We also have artic hare's which are BIG white rabbits at this time of year. We see more of these than anything else right now. You can also see artic foxes in town occasionally, these animals are a couple of feet long and pure white in color. For food for almost all these creature we have a lemming like creature that scurries benieth the snow, I haven't seen these animals yet.
Thats all i have for now
Take care

Friday, November 18, 2005

-52 with the wind chill

Hello everyone,
another wek has come and gone and We've had a week of sickness. Christopher was sick for about a week, Melissa is still sick after a week and half and as of today I've come down with something. Oh well, If its not one thing its another.
We have another blizzard warning, this morning it was just supposed to be cold and windy, apparently its been updated to include snow, which is strange it usually doesn't snow when its this cold. Hopefully everyone will soon feel better and the weather will keep us amused for the weekend. I just realized we have been here 3 months in three days. Doesn't seem like that long. Overall I'd have to say thing have gone amazingly well compared to the Wal-mart transition. Life is alot more relaxing and enjoyable without the needless deadlines and un-nessasary pressure. I'll update more this weekend when I get some photo's to add. Take care.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Cremation of Sam McGee (You knew eventually it would be here).

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ‘round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursed cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ‘taint being dead--it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate those last remains.”

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows—O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked;” . . . then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Robert W. Service

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Another Blizzard warning

Well we're at it again, No photo's, nothing to see but white. I know a few people had questions about how the wind could be so different from that in Ontario. I know wind has no mass however think about this. The wind here hasn't seen a tree within at least 450 miles. This wind is travelling at that speed at ground level, it hasn't had to go around tree's or buildings, it simply races across the tundra for hundreds of miles. The reason we have a new high school is the roof and most of the south wall blew away in the wind, Last year the roof of a house near where we used to live blew off in a blizzard, It landed over a hundred yards away when it smashed into the side of the elemetry school.
After work yesterdayI found out I was right, the locals didn't really think that was much of a storm, in fact we're having a basketball tournament at the high school and during the blizzard over 1000 people went to watch it, Thats 2/3 of the total population.
Oh, well. I thought it was one heck of a wind.
Take care,

Friday, November 11, 2005

Well I couldn't resist

I just got back in, It is WICKED out there. I tied myself off with the dog leash ( a 300 pound test climbing rope and I'll tell you if I lost my footing it wouldn't have helped a bit) and went out to shovel some snow. The snow at the bottom of the stairs was over 6 feet deep. A crater like drift had formed between the store and the house and in places I couldn't see over it to the bottom. The wind drove you around like a rag doll. If you had anywhere to go it better be east cause thats where you were going. The temperature became irrevilant as all you were concerned with was keeping your footing in the wind. I wish I could explain what it's like to those who haven't been here, but I find I can't compare it to anything you'd understand, the worst storm I ever saw in the south doesn't even desearve the same name as this beast. And the greatest part is this isn't even a blizzard as far as the locals are concerned. I can't wait for a big one!!! That was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced. All I can say is WOW, mother nature rules.
the recently awed,

Storm Update

I have never seen anything like this. The wind is coming from the east at 60-80 kmph, I know this doesn't sound that bad but you should see it. I'm tempted to go out and feel it but to be honest I'm scared. We have about 4 ft of snow piled in front of the door (there was no build up yesterday). I can't describe the scene out our front window and photo's can't do it justice. Its -18 right now with the windchill and going to get alot colder. Its going to be difficult sleeping as the sound of the wind slamming into the side of the house is quite loud. This is really cool if your inside.
Take care everyone.

Blizzard Update

Well, A storm is here. I don't know if its really qualified as a blizzard yet. The locals keep telling me it's only a blizzard when you can't see 10 feet or less. Here are a couple of before and after photo's. Yes, the store opens through all weather, in the last thirty years it has closed early once. Actually thats what causes alot of trouble, the locals get the day off from their government jobs, they look at it like a child's snow day and immediately start going out and doing things when they should be indoors, this leads to a few death by exposures as someone takes a wrong turn and freezes to death 50 feet from civilization.
Further updates as the weather progresses.
P>S> same camera-same shot

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Weather Warning

Looks like we're in for some fun. We have our first Nunavut Blizzard warning. The storm is scheduled to hit this evening and go through tommorrow, I hope to get photo's however from what I've heard I won't be able to.
Take care

Customer service desk

Just another shot

Little fun with Helium

Assorted characters, a helium tank and a paging system, fun for 5 minutes annoying thereafter

Inuk Santa

This is our delivery guy. Shawn

Brain the butcher

This is our butcher at the front of the store

Christmas Decorating

Well, we decorated the store for christmas. We brought all the staff in for a couple of hours on Monday evening while we team attacked the store to get the job done ASAP. These are some photo's from the event.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Cold weather training

Just a note about the new guys in town. Last Thursday the Canadian military's Rangers arrived in town. This is the second or third time they've been here since we got here. There is a local defence force that is supported by the Rangers. These are local people who are supposed to watch the land for invaders The rangers come into town every so often, look around, talk to the locals, re-arm the local force, and recruit new memebers. In truth it apparently involves alot more of showing the rangers where the good hunting is and drawing a cheque from the government.
However every January or early Febuary we are invaded by the rangers getting their cold weather training courses. The numbers usually range from a 50 or so to a few hundred, They pitch thier tents on the lake and spend a week living on the land (with the exception of prepared foods from Northern and Pizza hut most nights. A couple of years ago we apparently had our biggest invasion ever as 2 C-130's few into the airport to deliver the rangers to town.
Anyways, I just thought this was cool, so thought I'd share it.
p.s. Last year training ended early after a couple of them set themselves on fire sleeping too close to the heaters
p.p.s. The photo's are of a friends carved antlers, he has them carved by a local.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A couple of quick thoughts

Just a couple of things I've been wanting to mention. Anyone who supports PETA or animal rights in that manner should be forced to come up here in January. I know my Parka from down south is starting to crack around -20, Everyone lines thier hoods and wears gloves made of fur, why? You don't see alot of animals frozen to death in the wild, but if your out there for 24 hours thats how they'll find you. Protesting fur is a luxury of the south. Second, Fashion is for Ski hills, up here is doesn't matter to anyone what you look like- the important question is are you warm? Ok I just wanted to say that, have fun everyone.
Any yes, the lining for Christophers coat is white fox, and when the winds blowing its warm.

Sunday Musings

We have had another enjoyable weekend. It started snowing early on Saturday and hasn't really stopped yet. Its not alot of accumulation but its continious. I've got a couple of photo's of Ravens to post with this entry. I thought that Ravens and crows were pretty much the same thing, but when you see a raven you know there is a difference. These suckers are BIG. they are at least double the size of a normal crow. These photo's are taken from about 50 feet away.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Another weekend report

Hello Everyone,
Well more computer fun this week, For some reason I got locked out of my router and the settings changed (yes, I had changed the password, yes to a secure password (23 alph-num)) I think it was a glitch rather than a hijack. It still took me awhile to unlock and rebuild it.
Anyways, This week we made all our store plans for christmas, Its amazing the role the store takes in christmas celebarations up here. We have 18 events and celebrations leading up to this holiday. the events usually involve sales, celebrations, food, contests and games as well as prizes. We wil be holding events such as Elders night, womens night, save the temp day, etc. Apparently, shopping up here is a little different that down south, everyone here does not shop for christmas as they encounter gifts, they save thier money and wait for thier celebration day. Everyone will buy what they need during these events. Last year on womens night, the store re-opened at 8:00 for womens night. They started to line up at 6:00. At 8:00 they are admitted and they will maim and destroy anyone between them and a shopping cart. We have around a 150 carts, we will have at least 500 shoppers this evening who will arrive at 8:00 and leave after closing at 11:00, apparently no one will leave inbetween, they all stay the whole time. We close the restuarant and serve free food during the evening, as well as have eating contests, lets make a deal games, draws, bingo's, dress-up contests etc. Christopher wants me to build a choo-choo with him so I have to go... I'll finish this later.
We'll end up giving away alot of product in draws, TV'S, DVD'S, a Laptop, a PSP and other assorted items.