Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I managed this little doozy of a picture a few days ago during a particularly frigid night. I spent several minutes transfixed by my thermometer as the number went down, down, down. Not the coldest I've seen by any stretch but it does make me thankful for my big winter parka. Actually, at the moment, its merely -33. It's kind of a game among some Northerners I've bumped into to compare the coldest temperatures that you've experienced. I'm sure that to the Inuit, this all sounds pretty silly. But still I like to compare my numbers just for the heck of it.

On a completely different topic, the boys culture teacher at our school (that would be a shop teacher in the South) is putting the finishing touches on a qamutik. I'm looking forward to raffling it off to raise money for our school soccer teams. I'm hoping to be able to have a 16-and-under boys team for next year in addition to our 14-and-under girls and boys teams which will mean having to buy a 3rd set of uniforms.

On another positive note, according the weather website I check to get my daily weather fix, the sun actually rose here today - for 30 grand minutes (12:39pm to 1:09pm). In a few more days we will actually be able to see the great orb in town here once it gets high enough to clear to mountains to the south of us.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Back On The Air

After an unintentional hiatus, Way Way Up is back. Turns out all services for wireless internet were conked out for several days due to a broken part which obviously (because of where we are) took a bit longer to fix than expected. We could still get on-line at the school using dial-up but I found myself too busy and impatient to use the old computers in the lab there. Initially I thought I just screwed up my own connection because the day it quit on me I had done some major re-arranging of furniture in my living room. I thought I had a disconnected or ruined wire at first but turns out our whole community was affected.

Anyhow, its not like there have been too many blog-worthy things of late so no matter. We are waiting here for the sun to return over the horizon which I believe should be somewhere around the 5th of 6th of February. Guessing the exact date and time of the suns re-appearance makes for an interesting little exercise and I've noticed a few classes in the school are having their own little contests to see who can guess the correct time.

I remember trying to do exactly this when I was living in Qikiqtarjuaq. As a newbie, I had no idea of what the date would be so I tried using my GPS unit to figure it out. My GPS turned out to be not very accurate however and I believe the day I ended up choosing turned out to be quite overcast anyhow so it took an extra couple of days before I actually saw the sun.

Once the sun returns we will gain roughly 15 or so minutes of daylight everyday until the first week of May when the sun will be up for 24 hours. I am noticing everyday how much more light we get. The change is really quite drastic. Though our temps have hovered between -30 and -35 for most of the month, I look forward to being able to spend more time outside very soon now rather than being indoors much of the time.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Bird's Eye View of Arctic Bay

I got messing around with Google Earth and thought I'd see if the satellite image of town had been updated. Turns out it has and I figured out through trial and error how to get a picture of it for a post.

So here you have Arctic Bay, likely taken back in the summer of 2006 or thereabouts when we had much more light than we do at the moment. (Slowly I notice changes in the duration of light each day as we creep toward summer solstice). If you click on the image you can see Inuujaq School (brown roof) just below the red dot. Its about a 10-15 minute morning walk in the morning, which I actually don't mind.....even in -30C.

If I start my diskman as I leave my house I can listen to the entire 3rd movement of Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto with time to spare by the time I reach the door of the school.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Back To School With A Sign

My class was abuzz with high school students registering for their new morning courses for second semester (our afternoon courses run full year). It was well past my time for the other high school teachers and myself to use my classroom for registration. Tomorrow we're back to regular classes. We started out this year offering 6 high school periods a day rather than 4. I really like this new schedule since it gives us maximum flexibility with course offerings, always a challenge with such a small high school wing. It also allows for smaller classes sizes which is always a big plus with predominantly ESL students.

I hope we can keep this same scheduling format for next year since we have gotten some good feedback from students and parents. I also hope to be able to offer a grade 10 advanced level social studies course next fall. There are a couple students interested and I have never taught this course before so I would love to see them take it, especially since this will open up the future option of university for them if they choose.

Perhaps I can attribute my relaxing first day back to the strange sight in the sky this morning. A number of staff rushed to the windows this morning to see what appeared to be a comet low on the southern horizon. Either that or it was a piece of space junk returning to earth or passing low through the atmosphere. It did have a small tail to it so who knows. At any rate, it lingered for several minutes before disappearing so, like the ancients, I will take this as a sign of good luck.

I'm glad at least this mystery object wasn't a plane since I was expected a number of parcels I had mailed up to myself last week from Ontario. After forking over $427 and change to Canada Post to get them here I wasn't keen on seeing them explode in the distance.

Hats off to Canada Post and First Air though. My parcels actually arrived today after only 6 days. Not too shabby considering the distance involved.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Home Sweet Home

After a restful break, I'm back in Arctic Bay and ready to start the second semester. It was great to see family, especially my new nephew whom I had only seen back in July.

It feels great to be home after 3 days of travel and I feel I'll be ready enough for Monday. The flight back (2 flights actually) made for a long trip. But I'm rather used to that by now. Perfect timing (which I had little to do with) put me into Iqaluit in time to catch the entire IIHF Junior Hockey Final in my hotel room.

I grabbed a bite to eat with a colleague while overnighting in Iqaluit and was able to pick up a couple of nice prints. At the bar, local artists can be found selling their work and I've gotten some nice work. I've scored some nice carvings but never any prints before, which I thought was odd considering the number of times I've been through Pangnirtung onroute to Qikiqtarjuaq. (Pang has a good rep for prints). No sooner had I commented on this than a man showed up at our table with a couple of prints that caught my eye. We worked out a good price and I managed to get them both home in good shape. (I was glad they were on canvas and not paper). Now, I just have to find a good place to hang them.

We still have about another month before we see the sun here but I've made it through the longest part of the dark season no problem. It sure is refreshing to see snow again.