Sunday, November 30, 2008

Everything is Relative.

Hello everyone,
Tonight I sit in front of my laptop in a hotel in Inuvik. Something strange just struck my eye reminding me that this is not the south. Sometimes it seems we forget and fail to appreciate the differences that life offers in the far north. Tonight, I glanced at the door of our hotel room. I have stayed in a lot of hotels of my years but never have I read anything similar to what I just did. Every hotel has to post the emergency procedures on the back of the door exiting all hotel rooms. They all offer standard fair and I won't bore you with the usual stuff, but its the first line that I found to peak my interest. As such I shall quote it directly:
"In case of fire alarm
1. Immediately put on all winter clothing".
I don't imagine this type of warning appears anywhere else in the world. I can't see a hotel in the Caribbean with the warning "Immediately put on all available sunscreen". The difference is, well quite simple. Respect mother nature, cause she sure as hell has no respect for you, You can die simply going for a walk up here.
This lead me inevitably to review how my life has changed as opposed to 4 years ago. For the first time in a few years I needed to buy some clothes recently. I noticed a change in my shopping habits, this time I was looking and bought items with Ad Lines such as "Nail Biter", "indestructible", "fire resistant", "the best pants you'll ever sleep in". Instead of shopping at Harry Rosens, I now shop at places in catalogues where within three pages of my dream pants you can purchase a wolf snare and that really cool new Remington Boss with the suppression muzzle (hint, hint for Christmas). My pants must have a weight beside them and anything less than 10 oz is unacceptable. Anything, lined with flannel goes immediately to the top of the list, I now have over $400.00 in thermal underwear. I still have over twenty silk ties, and they remain vacuum sealed in a bag in my closet from when I sealed them nearly 4 years ago. Any boot rated above -45 is a waste of money. I still love my Italian leather shoes, and they look terrific in my closet, I used to polish them weekly, Now I dust them. The weight of my indoor clothes on any given day exceeds three pounds for a shirt and pants, outdoor clothes included, 16 lbs. I have six different styles of face and neck warmers, and I wear them based on activity and weather, snowmobiling is different than walking, walking is different than working freight, etc. I have three different types of emergency heating equipment in my house, propane, kerosene and electric. I would much rather spend 24 hours outside in -30 than 4 hours outside in +30. I personally know three convicted murderers (two of which have been pictured in this blog and I consider to be two of the most reliable friends I've ever had), 6 people who've been attacked by bears, 80% of the people I know have lost a immediate relative to the environment, I no longer see frost bite as a injury but rather that someone had fun on the weekend, I find the "city" of Inuvik to be too metropolitan for my liking (it has a population of 1,200). I like planes where I get to sit within six feet of the pilot, and depending upon the weather he may ask everyone to look out the window and see if they recognize any of the lakes.
Everything is relative,
Take Care

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

School Photo's

Hello Everyone,
   We finally got our school photo's back and were hoping to send them out for Christmas.  They were in our hands for a hour before we had to send them back to the studio.  Many of the photo's had a problem that you can see in one of the above photo's.  Can you spot the problem?
    Take Care,

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Is it just me?

Hello Everyone,
I have a confession, I no longer watch tv. Not at all, really. I do however watch TV on DVD, I found myself this weekend buying a few TV series that I have never seen. I've heard they were good but rather than being committed to a certain day, at a certain time, I'd rather just buy the damn thing on DVD and watch it when I'm available and willing to dedicate my time. I've noticed this trend over the last two years, other than news and children's shows I really don't care. I watch a lot more movies than I ever did in the south and I own a lot more TV series than I ever thought I would. After all why would I pay for something when its for free at someone else's convenence... Cause it's damn inconvenient. I also hate commercials, and above all else I hate commercials on DVD's I've purchased that use stupid little tricks to convince my DVD player that it should play the whole thing. Damn those marketers.
Take Care

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Reflections in the Snow Covered Hills

Hello everyone,
For awhile I've been thinking about "interviewing" another northern blogger to figure out what makes them tick. I chose Megan from one of my favorite blogs because of her dedication to her blogs, her interesting views on a variety of topics and her very diverse counter blog. Also, she seems to like being insulted, which you have to enjoy, cause I like insulting people. Hopefully we'll be doing three separate sections and here is the first insight into this very interesting lady.

Hello Megan,
I'd like to thank you for entering my living room so that we may
discuss ... well, you.  I've hoped to do this interview for quite a
while but I haven't been able to find the time (my military commitments
within the Holy See, have taken up much of my time recently). I'd
like to do this interview in three parts, all will be strictly
defined, so if you deviate from the line of questioning you will
receive a quick light shock (actually, the chair your sitting on is
actually made from a grouping of 78 car batteries that I'm running
through a step up transformer, but I'm sure the 12,000 volts will be a
pleasant experience for you). I have tested this system before so do
not be afraid, In late July, I tested my interview system with Sarah
Palin, and although the resulting brain damage was unfortunate she's
been wearing it well with good results.

You currently manage two very distinctive blogs, "Reflections of the Snow-covered Hills" and "Uriel-flame of God". Please characterize
these blogs for us, give us a idea of your agenda for these blogs, who
is your desired reader and what is your message?

Megan-Reflections in the Snow-Covered Hills is my main blog. I started it years ago, and my original idea was that I would use it to stay in touch with family and friends who live far away. At the time, it was called "Steve & Megan" (hence the URL). I renamed it two summers ago and I plan to move over to eventually. I write about whatever's on my mind: journalism ethics, personal struggles, questions from readers. I don't really have a message, but I do hope to contribute to the blogosphere in my own small way. If I have a goal beyond amusing myself and my readers, it's to improve Canadian journalism, but I don't write about journalism every day. My readers are really eclectic, but many of them are current or former journalists. I also have a lot of readers with legal training.

Flame of God is a satirical blog. I originally did those posts on my main blog, but many readers didn't get the joke, so I banished Uriel to her own space on the Interweb. I usually only post over there when someone's hypocrisy has really gotten to me. It takes time to work up that much anger. The whole thing's a gag, much like the David Hasselhoff stuff on my main blog. Even now, I will occasionally get questions about Uriel from someone who's not totally sure if I'm joking.

Curtis- I read very few blogs regularly however I find myself attending and participating in your blog more than I wish. Its very well done and interesting, Uriel however, confuses me.

Uriel seems to be initiating controversy without offering its reader “a out”. I'm not a religious person and I find her comments to be the absolute in religious bias, but without the reward system of the christian church. Let me cut through the chase Since your blog is presented in a serious format, and the satire is for the reader to interpret rather than written, is this blog not furthering the negative stereotype of the christian zealot? I've read that your father shares your sense of humor, but with his lifelong dedication to the church has Uriel ever caused any friction between the two of you?

Uriel is not really a Christian. I think of her as a member of a splinter sect that meets only on the Internet. Clearly, the Bible is one of her holy texts, but she bears no resemblance to any Christian I know. She's more like the weirdos I see on online forums.

Every blog reader has an "out": he or she can simply choose not to read one of my blogs. And the comment section is always open. But Uriel's critics prefer to contact me directly. I have a few Christian friends: one thinks Uriel's funny but is careful to mention that she doesn't actually believe the things Uriel writes about. Another thinks she's insulting, and pointed out that I probably wouldn't like it if he wrote as the stereotypical woman. He might be right: it would really depend on whether his satirical blog was funny.

My dad understands that it's a joke, but he did say once that I should just let Uriel die. (Wait a minute! I thought he was a right-to-lifer! What would Jerry Falwell think?) I don't spend much time in his company because he lives far away, but whenever I crack a joke as Uriel, he laughs. So I think he's OK with it.

  How much time do you spend blogging in a average week?  What do you
take from the experience?   What other web communities or activities
do you participate in?

It usually takes about an hour to write one of my posts once I figure out what to write about, but I spend a lot of time reading other blogs, responding to reader mail like this interview, and commenting on other blogs. I hardly ever watch TV because the blog takes up my evenings.

I'm not a member of any formal online communities, but the northern blogosphere is a really nice informal community. I purposely stayed out of it for the first year, mostly because I wasn't sure what Name of Paper Withheld would think of me. We now know what they think: They believe I should not point out their errors in grammar and journalism. Also, they suspect that my blog is increasing their taxes. I don't really understand that one, but my brother the Philosopher King is the expert on logic.

Is it fair to hold “the Name of Paper Withheld” to your southern standards of journalism? Working in the north you must realize that many of the staff that we can employ do not use English as their first language and have had limited exposure to higher education, further adding to the difficulties of the editorial staff that may not be present by their southern brethren.

I am more than fair with Name of Paper Withheld. I hardly ever write about them unless they've done something really ridiculous or a reader has asked a question about them (like you've just done). Everyone makes mistakes: I'm not going to pick at the minor details or occasional typo. That really wouldn't be fair.

But neither is it fair to suggest that their staff don't speak English very well. I know their staff. They speak English and they have access to higher education. Even if they didn't, it's the copy editor's job to fix those mistakes. Name of Paper Withheld's main problem is with editing. Editors have overall responsibility for the product that goes out every day. They are supposed to hold stories that haven't been fully researched, think critically about issues before writing editorials, and make sure that the details are correct, right down to spelling and grammar. They don't do this enough. I think this is because they are desperate to prove that they can play with the big boys: they can find a scandal every day, just like the New York Times! Unfortunately for them, this is a small territory and there really isn't a scandal every day. They've forced themselves into a situation where they are railing against ridiculous things.

Newspaper publishing is a tough business. I think they'd produce a better product if they cut the number of pages in half, but they probably can't afford to do that. I haven't seen their financial statements, but I'm guessing that they're in the same situation so many other papers are in. I'm going to write about the economics of newspaper publishing eventually, but the Cole's Notes version would be that in general, costs are going up, advertising is shrinking and readers are abandoning dead-tree versions for the Internet. Newspapers haven't figured out how to make money off the Web yet. They've got to find a business model quickly, or we'll all be worse for it. The news media is critical to democracy

   As a American infiltrator within Canada you have obviously gained
vast levels of foreign political experience, you have made obvious
attempts to subvert our recent political election, what is your
ultimate goal.  What are your intentions in regards to Hockey and the
Canadian brewing industry, is it your intention to regulate our
brewing industry until it produces a product like your homeland brews?

That is an EXCELLENT idea. Let me call Sarah Palin. I hear she's taking calls from Canadian radio personalities, so maybe I have a shot at getting her number.

Funny you should bring up Palin as you have made a poorly executed attempt to deflect the question, maybe you'd like to discuss your gay friends at this point? Canadians want to know about our Hockey and Beer, stay on topic or you'll make McCain mad.

I'm going rogue. I DO have gay friends. Actually, at times I have felt that I have no straight friends. After high school, almost all of my male friends came out.

    How long have you lived within our borders?  What factors
influenced your decision to move to the northern regions?   Is your
working in the media industry a personal choice or is it simply the
first stage of the American invasion?   How does your handler feel
your progressing towards your goals?

I moved to Canada in 1988, influenced by the fact that my parents were moving here. At the time, I felt I had no other choice. Believe me, I would rather have stayed in Maine at the time. We lived in Montreal for a year and then moved to Newfoundland. I spent the late nineties in university in Halifax and came north to work for CBC. I was not forced to work for the MotherCorp: it had been a dream of mine and I felt very lucky to get a permanent job. I still miss it and think about going back, but I'm happy where I am (I'm a writer/editor for a government agency).

WHICH GOVERNMENT? Is this the beginning of a confession? Why would anyone dream about working at CBC, I thought that was where careers went to die?

I work for the territorial department of justice, but I don't blog about it because my blog is personal and not affiliated with work in any way. Actually, I think this may be the first time I've ever mentioned where I currently work. It's irrelevant to my blog: I'd write about the same things if I was a flower arranger or gravedigger.

CBC has done a very good job of promoting itself as the ultimate place for a journalist to work. This is interesting (perhaps it's worth a blog post) because at the same time, they treat their staff like garbage and many of the journalists who work there are miserable. So we have this push and pull: People who work for the CBC are desperate to find other jobs, but what would that say about them? Anyone who's a great journalist will want to work for the CBC! If you work for the CBC, that means you are a great journalist! What would happen if you quit? Maybe the magic would be lost!

My American parents say I am a Canadian. I think they meant this as a friendly insult.
    If you were a tree what kind of tree would you be and do you feel
that new developments within particle physics are going to finally
facilitate time travel through the development of nano-computers?

I suppose I'd be an apple tree, wouldn't I? I'd probably be an apple tree that's half in the shade and half in the sun, so only half of the apples would be sweet. The others would make people send me hate mail and incoherent threats.