Monday, January 21, 2008

Ok enough already.

Hello Everyone,
The media has always been blamed for perpetuating a unrealistic body image causing torment for young ladies. The question I`ve always had is what about young men. When I was growing up my media focused idols were people like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Swhwarzenegger, Jean Claude VanDamn etc. These people were supposed to make me more comfortable with my body image? I mean come on, the above photo is of Sly taken this year, and I realize its not the glory of Rocky's years but the guy is 62 and still looks better than I ever did. Yes, and your going to tell me about the steroids, right and all the negative effects such as uncontrolled aggression, early death, tumors etc. Seems to me I don't remember any of these steroid monsters going nuts the way people like Margot Kidder, Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson and numerous others. I think the social security administration should have kicked in for the purchase of his steroids, I mean come on, I didn't look half that good at any point in my life. The guy is about to start receiving old age checks and he looks like he could still climb that frosty mountain.
Seriuosly, I'm going to be in some old folks home hooked up to respirator excercising bowel functions into a bag and he's going to be doing one armed push ups with a elephant sitting on his back.
Life still isn't fair. I hope the movie really sucks.
Take Care,

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Opps, Missed a couple

The Ferry resting for the winter.

Sunrise from the middle of the ice road.

The church from the MacPherson side of the river.

Hello Everyone,
Sorry missed a couple.

Delta Dawn.

Dawn Over Tsiigehtchic. At 12:30 pm.

The signs as you approach the ice road across the Mackenzie.

Christopher's School.

Local tourism hats and such tout Tsiigehtchic as Little Hollywood, I hope its because of the sign.

The view from the Inuvik side across the Mackenzie.

One wrong turn coming down the hill from Inuvik and your sleeping with the birdies.

Dawn over the delta, You can see a trailer in the left hand side of the picture.

Hello Everyone,
Today I rose bright and early to make the sunrise at 12:30, and ventured across town and across the rivers to capture the images above. Seems late to you down south but I assure you according to traffic on the streets I was the only person above 12 years old out at this time. I had kids chasing me all over town wanted to race, reluctantly I had to say no, they had too much of a weight advantage. Today was a glorious day to get out, we actually reached ZERO briefly until a wind blew into town with a vengeance.
Take Care

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tsiigehtchic (SAy-ga-chicK)

Hello everyone,
Well we really haven't discussed our new home much, so I figured I'd start now. The town has a population of about 175 people and 45 houses. The Native inhabitants are predominately Gwichya Gwich'in Indians, which appears to be a offshoot of the Dene Indians. It is found at the mouth of the Arctic Red River where it joins the Mackenzie river system in the Mackenzie Delta river system.
The town has a school for grades K-9 and 25 students with four teachers. Three teachers from the south, Dan, who is the principal deals with grades 7-9 and arrives to us from a teaching stint in Kuwait. Cindy teaches grades 3-6 and is originally from southern Ontario but recently has been teaching throughout northern Ontario. Annette, is Dans wife and is one of Christopher's teachers and also teaches grades one and two. Renie is our final teacher and a local resident, from what I understand she teaches throughout the school specializing in teaching the Gwich'in language. The school is fairly new and contains three classrooms. It is also connected to the towns gym where the students have their exercise time. The gym is now managed by someone I don't know, she joined us from Moscow and only arrived Thursday, I don't know wheter she is shy or if the language barrier is still holding her back but I've only met her briefly at this point.
We also have a campus of the Aurora college, which is essentially a adult education center, claases vary from month to month, and has included things such as driving licsences, CPR, QED, apprenticship programs are routed through the college as well and Shiela runs this facility until March when she returns to New Brunswick.
We also have a new daycare (for now) that just started in the beginning of december, it can handle 6 children and get this, it only costs $100.00 a MONTH. The drawback to this new venture is that the kids have to get picked up and dropped off for lunch. I think right now that is the idea thats bothering people as last month she was fully booked and this month half of her days none of the kids have shown up.
Other than that we have the usual assortment of government offices, a radio station (located across the hall from our apartment and left unlocked 24/7....) with a announcer monday to friday 9:00-4:30 and the rest of the time they run a direct CBC feed.
We also have a firestation (/garage, as this is where everyone fixes thier snow machine's) and a nursing station. Once a week a nurse comes down from Inuvik to see everyone and deal with any new problems, once a month a doctor will visit and every 4 months a dentist will come to town.
Welcome to our town, everyone is friendly, the town has no police presence and from what we see it doesn't need one. When someone is acting up they are quickly "rerouted" by family or friends.

Towmorrow I'll be driving around town getting some photo's for the blog.
Take Care

Friday, January 18, 2008

If the grounds a rockin'

Hello Everyone,
Today's news is not the weather, Its well the ground itself, seems it doesn't like something in out neighborhood and is trying to shake us off.
Earthquake Information
Thursday January 17, 2008
Local Time: 12:46:42 MST
Magnitude: 5.8 ML
Latitude: 68.14 North
Longitude: 136.60 West
UT Date
and Time: 2008-01-17
This report is summery of three local seismograph stations, Seems strange the Epicenter was actually about 20 miles from here and I for one never felt a thing. Oh, well. Looks like I survived my first earthquake, but the quake wasn't without repercussions on my life. I was supposed to go hunting for moose this weekend, as the weather is supposed to go up to -1 by Sunday. Now, however this earthquake will have made the ice in places unstable and unpredictable. Much of our travels are across frozen lakes and rivers so now our journey is up in the air until we hear how the lakes fared the "big quake of 08", since the temp is so high the ice will have difficulty mending until it gets cold again.
Take Care

Thursday, January 17, 2008

St Swiggins Day

Hello Everyone,
As a symbol of my own ignorance I have risen to #1 in the Google search engine when searching "St Swiggins Day", and actually I do get a lot of hits for it. Since the primary entry for this search actually didn't mention when St Swiggin Day was I thought I'd look it up to help my readers. This turned out to be more trouble than I first foresaw, I searched everywhere and yet I couldn't find him or it, I was on the verge of dragging out the Shakespeare when I thought to myself, "well, I can't remember how it was actually spelled so there's a high probability I've messed this up and others are as confused as I"... This turned to be the correct assertion as when I searched through the record of Saint's he was there all the time staring me in the eye.
St. Swiggins Day (actually this spelling appears to have come from a Simpson's episode) is actually Saint Swithun's Day. It occurs on the 15th of July, and legend dictates that if it rains on St Swithun's Day it will rain for the next 40 days, and if it is sunny, it will be sunny for the next 40 days.

Anyways, there it is, St Swithun's Day (AKA St Swiggin's Day) is July 15th, there's another reason to have a drink in the middle of summer, raise one to St Swiggin everyone.
Take Care

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cold is cold

Hello Everyone,
The temperature all day has been sitting around -44 all day, the good news is there hasn't been any wind, so the actual feel outside isn't that bad BUT there have been some interesting effects of that type of cold we never saw in our previous travels.
First, everywhere else we have been has been Tundra, which is a desert climate with very little humidity, however this location is in the meteorological shadow of the Rockies meaning it has a very high humidity relatively. The practical effect of this fact is when it gets this cold the community sits in a constant ice fog and with no wind moving things around it hangs over the town like a veil. This fog also keeps most of the smoke from the local wood stoves from rising and leaving town, as well as the smoke from the diesel generators at the hydro plant. On the plus side 95% of the cars and snow machine's in town wouldn't start today so their impact was minimal. The smog factor in town today was high.
Second, this cold weather disabling machine affects all machinery today. Meaning the water, trash and sewer trucks all failed to operate today as their engine's wouldn't turn over. Effects are obvious.
Third, due to the fog hanging over town, Internet and satellite services were spotty at best, so no TV and limited Internet.
Fourth, School was optional today meaning it was open but attendance wasn't taken so many people stayed home to look after their kids.
Such is life above the circle.
However, it did keep reminding me throughout the day of the Black fog of London in '52, when 12,000 people died as a stagnant fog hung over London for days trapping the cities pollutants tight to the living surface's of the streets. Guess we can't blame that one on global warming, but if it happened today, guess who would get the blame. Luckily, our is predicted to move on around noon tomorrow.
Yesterday, the cold had a very negative affect in town, a local elder was riding his sled back from the store and apparently something to do with the clutch had frozen up and the sled lurched and stopped suddenly causing some severe injuries to his hand including a compound fracture to his thumb, Get Well soon Peter. Everyone in town will especially miss Peter as he runs the only "restaurant" out of his house, meaning you call him and tell him what you want to eat and anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours later he brings it to your door. And it is a full service restaurant, onion rings, full turkeys, fresh fish (depending on the day he may have actually caught it that day), moose, caribou, if he can find it he'll cook it for you. Its also some of the best cooking I've had since I came to the north.
Take Care

Monday, January 14, 2008

Just one more thing.

Hello Everyone,
Well, the saga continue today of the now infamous ski-doo repair (I know I haven't mentioned it before however if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing). Well, after three attempts at the same repair yesterdays actually took and everything was coming up roses....Until. Today was cold, -39 to be exact, and as I was trying to pull start the sled (without checking the temp, cause trying to pull start in -39 just ain't gonna work, stupid) when I accidentally touched the ignition cable which instantly snapped. I believe at that moment I muttered to myself something about how happy I was to have bought a ski-doo and how this act had enhanced my quality of life greatly. Back inside to try and find parts... Ok the place in Inuvik is out of business, Fort McPherson out of business etc... Closest part dealer Whitehorse Yukon, Ok I can do Whithorse. Part estimate $400.00 and its not in stock, give us a month. Ok, I can come up with another idea, and that idea was, well, I bought another ski-doo identical to the first one, Now I have my own parts supply.
Lets go pick up my new ski-doo. Now I'd refer you to the first paragraph where I discussed starting a snow machine in -39 degree's, I'd ask you to refer back to it because I didn't. 45 minutes later, still pulling the damn cord, a friend has joined the battle with the sled and Albert has used ALL the local tricks, the hair dryer in the carburetor and all, and he gets it started briefly. And we fail to get it restarted it's time for plan B (actually sub plan B of primary plan B), we'll tow it to the fire hall and let it heat up in the garage there. So we hook up my new ski-doo to his and try to pull it to the garage, Now this seemed like a good idea, however did I mention it was -39 degree's out, that means that even when a ski-doo is running it takes it a few hours to actually warm up enough to tow another ski-doo of equal size. So this attempt involved Albert riding his Ski-doo at a very strained 8 MPH while I try to push mine to a speed where we'll have enough momentum to keep going. It didn't work by the time we got to Martina's house (1/2 mile and the location of my first heart attack) we didn't have enough momentum when we climbed the hill to my house (3/4 mile and the location of my second heart attack) but we did have enough momentum when we finally reached the fire hall (1 mile and I celebrated with a quick stroke followed by 15 minutes of wheezing and wishing I could buy a third ski-doo to finish myself off). My new ski-doo is currently resting comfortably in the fire hall and I hope that the future is brighter than today.
Take Care
PS the pict's are Christopher trying on Daddies new helmet.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2007 Roundup

Hello Everyone,
Its that time of year when we waste a lot of time reviewing the past year and informing everyone else of the useless things they don't want to hear cause they are thinking about their own problems, but here we go anyways.
Our Year started off pretty rough in Kangisujuaq, with problems of abuse for Christopher at his daycare, short staffed with everyone in our family enduring prolonged illness's, this was probably one of the worst times we've encountered as a family since we came north. No matter how hard we tried to resolve any given issue the situation seemed to compound itself and aggravate the situation to a new level. We reached the point where we just had to give up on our new community and move on to a situation that would allow us to control our own happiness to a higher degree, so we told the company to get us out and as soon as it could be arranged we moved on to yet another temporary solution. Kangisujuaq was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been but oddly enough I've met several other people who have had similar frustrations with the actual living within this community in ways that haven't come up for us in other northern communities. We also met some incredible people in this community that I would hope I could call friends throughout the future.
Our next home was the village of Puvirnituq also in Quebec on the Hudson's Bay coast of Nunavik. Since this was a temporary location we endured a few hardships with this location, but overall it was a wonderful break from the trials of the previous 4 months. The community had a pretty bad reputation due to its past but we enjoyed almost everything about the town, from the work environment to the people we had the joy of meeting while joining this community. Christopher slowly came back out of his shell and regained some of the skills he's lost since the incident in Kangisujuaq. He met some new friends and encountered the death of a child friend of his as well, and he still misses and talks about Asai. We also faced the death of our beloved "puppy" Juneau, whom we still miss dearly. These event were challenging for us but through everything I believe we all enjoyed this leg of our adventure. Finally, in August when the dream was coming to a end we were forced to apply a challenge to the company to move us to a location where we could settle down or we would be forced to return to the south in order to gain a little stability as a family. And we also got to go on a long awaited vacation, upon the return of which we would be moving to our newest home.
On October first we started our journey 5000 km westward towards our new home Tsiigehtchic Northwest territories. Since we arrived here, we have made more friends who we hope will be with us for a few more years to come. The community is the smallest we've ever lived in but its nice to know every one's name, and to feel the sense of community this brings. The store is a challenge, the company just adopted this store in the spring in order to continue to bring services to the community after the old store was closed for financial reasons. The store is tiny and the challenges are greater than anywhere else we've been due to 2 simple reasons, there is no airport and for 3 months of the year you cannot get any product into the store. So this has actually increased the enjoyment of the store but it makes the store a little harder to get a handle on than others for me as the ordering and procedure's for these times are greatly different and we are just flowing out of one into the other so now I have to change the way I've been doing things since I got here. But change is the spice of life. Christopher is in school and seems to be enjoying his new role and well as his recent discovery of video games. Melissa has started working in the store as well for a few hours a week and this is a nice change for me as I can get a few hours during the week without the phone ringing off the hook.
Overall, 2007 came out to be a pretty interesting and fun year, but as always tragedies can mar some memories until time heals the wounds. I hope everyone has peace and prosperity in the new year.
Take Care