Thursday, January 31, 2008

Kamiks



One of the things I always wanted to get when I moved to Nunavut was a good pair of kamiks (kamiik), or sealskin boots. It took me awhile but I finally...finally....managed to get a pair last night. In the past it either kept slipping my mind, work got in the way, the sun-moon alignment.....yadda yadda yadda. But no more. I'm now the proud owner of some pretty snazzy boots.

I wore them to work today and created a bit of a stir. Everyone had to take a peak at them. I was a little bewildered by it all since it seemed to me that you could always find someone here wearing them just by randomly running into people around town. I think part of the reaction had to do with the fact that no one had ever seen me wearing them before and I know I have yet to see any male qallunaat teachers wearing them in the time I've been here. But whatever. I have them and they are fantastic.

They were a little awkard to have on at first. It felt like wearing some sort of slipper. But I wore them to, from and during work to break them in. When I first tried them on last night, I remember fretting over which kamik went on which foot! As it turns out, it doesn't matter since after you wear them long enough they will start to form to the shape of your foot. All the female staff members had to come and take a look at the stitching and ask me what I thought of them. The only reply I could give of course was "Piujuq!" (beautiful).

A kamik has two parts to it - an outer sealskin shell, the part you see in the photograph above, and, an inner felt liner, kinda of like a big long sock. There is also a bottom part to the boot which fits inside the liner called a pinaraq, which adds warmth and a little padding to the boot. I didn't wear this part of the ensemble (mainly because it would have made the kamik a little too snug on my foot) so I did find it a little chilly on the feet when I was outside. But I'm hoping to either figure out a way to make the pinaraq or substitute with a good pair of thermal socks. At any rate, they are my kamiks and I'm very pleased with them.

....oh yes, and they are water-proof as well. I walked through many a random puddle of melted snow around the school entrances just because I could.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm #4!! I'm #4!!

A big congrats to Jen of "Jen of Nunavut" for winning a Nunie for "Best Blog 2007" and to Jackie of "A Journey Northwards" for winning in the "Best New Nunavut Blog" category. The competition was great and the wins were well deserved. As for yours truly, I pulled into 4th which is fantastic. Truth be told, when I started my blog, I didn't really think it would attract all that much attention. I did notice a small spike in my visitor stats while voting was taking place the past few days which was quite flattering. It was great to be nominated and I enjoyed the friendly competition over the past week. Thanks for everyone who voted for making this a nail-biter. The polls were very tight toward the end.

A big thanks as well should go to Clare for organizing the awards. Some of the blogs which were nominated were not ones I regularly read but now I'm hooked on them. I think it would be fantastic if next year we see the 2008 Nunie Awards! Who know what other great Nunavut blogs will emerge in the future.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The '93 Conservatives Revisited

The big countdown is on. Tomorrow is the last day to vote for your favorite blog in the 2007 Nunie Awards. I'm getting thrashed at the moment worse than the Progressive Conservative Party in 1993. Its all good though. Still, at around 11% I'm pulling in NDP-type results. As someone who counts himself as slightly right of centre that's sooooo embarassing! Therefore, like the shameless politicians I oft-times decry, I must resort to shameful vote begging. Please, please, PLEASE!!! lend me your vote!!! Not only would this help my cause but it will serve the further purpose of sparing my readers anymore of this sad display.

Its okay, though folks. I have a plan. A plan to lift my sagging fortunes in the dying hours of this grand campaign. Something so ingenius and diabolical that it will put me over the top. And that something is.........okay I'm not sure. Wait! I have it! Okay, here goes. Make a list of 10 things you think Chuck Norris could never do and if I pull out an upset here, I will personally come over to your house and do these 10 things for you. (As long as it does not involve heavy lifting, hacking through a jungle canopy or crocheting.) Ha! Beat that Chuck Norris! Now quick, go vote for me! Time is of the essence!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Would It Kill FOX News To Report Anything Positive About Education For A Change?!

I mean, really, would it? In the interest of getting balance in my news I read from a number of different sources. FOX (for better or worse, okay usually worse) happens to be one them. I don't know how many times I've loaded up the FOX News webpage only to be served up the latest story of the day about the ills of education. Yes, I know this is American and yes, I usually don't pay that much attention to American education issues generally but it seems to me that the only thing FOX is concerned about is painting the school system in the poorest light possible. The latest FOX offering I came across this evening has to do with some states wanting to pass laws to toughen punishments for teachers who abuse students. Fair enough. Their reporting goes on to note that in the past year there were something in the neighborhood of 2570 reports of abuse. That seems like a high number to me and I'm not going to dispute it, but the report goes on to mention there are something like 3 million teachers in the American public school system. 3 million?! So that means there are 2,997,430 teachers left over. Surely a huge media giant like FOX could spare a reporter or 3 to head out and track down some positive stories from this higher total. But no, play up the bad.

Granted there are times when I can understand some of the stories they run. I've read a lot of stories in the past dealing with abuse or teachers overstepping their bounds and of course these should be reported. Let me be clear - Any teacher or other professional simply doesn't deserve their job if they engage in these questionable behaviours, union be damned.

But truly, in the interest of fairness and balance (and yes I am grinning to myself as I type this as I know these words mean nothing to the FOX News clowns), you would think they would occassionally, from time to time have something positive to report. There are good stories out there about teachers making a difference but sadly they are not told. I played around on their search engine looking for something, anything, that would prove my suspicions groundless but, alas, I conceded defeat after several minutes of fruitless searching.

I know there aren't that many Canadian readers interested in FOX news (and indeed if that network ever got onto Canadian airwaves, I would view it as one of the signs of the apocalypse) and probably feel the same way about it as I do but if anyone, Canadian, American or otherwise, can give me a clear and reasoned explanation for FOX's lack of balance on this issue I could rest well. The only explanation I can think of off the top of my head is that FOX (as a very obvious instrument of right-wing republicanism) simply wants to do away with public education in favour of a privatized pay-as-you-go private system. But then, this is simply my own little theory. I'm just a humble social studies teacher - and FOX hates me.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Where's Waldo?



It's so easy to feel insignificant out in this vast land.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The "E" Word Versus The "I" Word

When I'm travelling outside of Nunavut I tend to get asked what term should be used to describe the majority of Nunavut's residents. The words "Inuit" and "Eskimo" seem to be bandied about quite a bit. Often when people mention the word "Eskimo" I find that they are using it either out of innocent ignorance (understandable perhaps) or, in rarer cases, stupidity. I get the sense from most people I talk to outside of Nunavut that there is a general acknowledgment that "Eskimo" is an outdated term but that they may not know the correct words to ue or may find it too awkward to ask. Anyhow, I thought I would take a moment and address this issue as best I can.

The term most often used in the past (and still used among certain segments of the population) was "Eskimo". While familiar to most, and perhaps not necessarily pejorative (though it certainly can be), this word is rarely used today. In pre-contact times, the word that was always by Nunavummiut (or the people that would come to be known as Nunavummiut) when referring to themselves was "Inuit". Inuit simply means "people" in Inuktitut, the language of much of Nunavut. (Inuk = 1 person, Inuuk = 2 people, Inuit = 3 or more people).

It should also be mentioned that the word "Inuit" does not describe all residents of the polar world. It refers mainly to people of the Eastern Canadian Arctic. "Inuuinnaq" is a word I've heard used to refer to those of the Central Arctic while the correct term in the West (we're heading into Northwest Territories territory here) is Inuvialuit. Inuit can be even further divided down as there are terms to describe smaller sub-groups (Nattilingmiut, in the vicinity of what is now Talurjuaq, or Spence Bay for example). Heading over into Alaska, you have the Yupik and Inupiat.

The "E" word is still employed by linguists, sociologists, archaeologists and various other "ologists". The word "Eskimo-Aleut" may be used but it only refers to the language group of these different peoples and not any one individual sub-group. There are language commonalities between all these smaller groups as one might expect, but I digress. Simply put though, using the "E" word to describe any one of these groups or an individual would be inaccurate.

I've come across a few different etymologies (entomologies?) for the word "eskimo", either one of which may be definitive. I tried to track down something a bit more concrete but I know there are a few readers of my blog that are more knowledgeable on this subject than me so I invite them comment or correct me. From the different sources, then -

A) "Eskimo" was created by a French priest circa 1611. It was simply a corruption of the word "Eskimantsik", a Cree word for "eaters of raw meat";

B) "Eskimo" derives from an Innu-Montagnais word meaning "people who speak a different language" OR

C) "Eskimo" may mean "snowshoe netters" (source: Wikipedia)

A couple Inuit staff I discussed this issue with told me they see the "E" word as an old-fashioned moniker. They never used it themselves when talking about each other. It was always passed down to them as a word used by others to describe them but quite simply in the words of one of my colleagues, "That was their word for us and we have our own word that we use."

So there you have it. I hope I haven't muddied the waters here. Perhaps there is someone out there that can add to, or clarify, my little ramble. I'm just explaining things the best I can as they were explained to me. It is late here so any mistakes are my own (aren't they always).

Kick This Bucket!



After surviving a couple of 5 day stints without water (one of which was, admittedly, of my own doing) we find ourselves hit with another curve ball. I got word earlier this evening that both sewage trucks are kaput. I actually passed by the one truck outside the Northern on my way home from work. I seem to remember its engine revving up several times while it just stood still at the side of the road. I didn't make much of it at the time until I got this dreaded phone call. All I really know about the truck's problem at the moment is that it is "something major".

Hmm....what to do now? Luckily we had a water truck stop in the past day or two and my neighbor is out of town (we share a tank between units) so that alleviates things a little. My little mop bucket gave me some ideas tonight. I may have to press it into service if only to prevent too much water from heading down the drain (which would inevitably shut off the valve to the water tank once the sewage tank fills). For fear of reviling my readers though, I can reassure them that all is well. I'm not running for the hills yet (my lungs would rebell in the cold weather anyway) but will keep this little blue bad boy handy for kitchen purposes only.

UPDATE - My fears have been alleviated and my nerves calmed. What we believed to be a transmission problem with one of our sewage trucks turned out be much less serious. Yes, the sewage poop truck is working and I didn't have to lapse into god-awful poetry on my blog either. Woo hoo! I can now put my bucket away!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Golly Gee Willickers



The nominations are in and as it turns out, I've been nominated for a Nunie for "Best Blog". Also nominated are

- Townie Bastard
- Jen of Nunavut
- Port Town Ghosts
- Adventures in Medicine

In the category of "Best New Blog", the nominees are

- Nunavut Uncensored
- Tales From The Arctic
- A Journey Northwards
- Northern Chirp
- Inflatable Elvis

Voting is open until January 29. To vote, simply head over to Clare's esteemable blog - The House and Other Arctic Musings - and cast your vote. Good luck to all.


And - A big thanks to everyone who nominated me. Who knew?!

Haha, predictably, I'm getting mercilessly crushed by Jen, Kate and Craig. Help, help!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Skill-at-Arms

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the success of some of our local army cadets this past weekend. A group of them were down to Iqaluit to compete in a Skill-at-Arms competiton. Skill-at-Arms features competitive shooting, athletics, drill, dress and deportment and how fast you can put up a tent. As a team the Arctic Bay cadets placed first in everything except drill, where they finished a very respectable second place. A couple cadets won gold and bronze in shooting. (Good job girls). Now the cadet corps will represent Nunavut at the upcoming competition for all of Nothern Region in Yellowknife later on in March. Nunavut has army cadet corps (and a few air cadet corps) scattered around the territory in places like Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, Repulse Bay and Pond Inlet. I'm not certain how long we've had a cadet corps but Arctic Bay always does quite well for itself against the bigger communities and they should be commended for their efforts. Awesome work!

Monday, January 21, 2008

You Have Been Randomly Selected

Arctic Bay was visited by a couple of people from Stats Canada today and I found myself randomly chosen as part of the 20 residences they planned to visit. Not a census this time but rather a look into how households spend their income over the course of a calendar year. (How much do you spend on this? How much do you spend on that?) Normally, I can't be bothered with government types but the lady was very personable and since the information was to be used to calculate things like Northern Allowances for government employees and to gauge overall costs of living I gladly stepped up to the plate to contribute my two cents (sorry...I know that's a horrible pun). Northern Allowance is simply an amount of money (based on what community you reside in) that helps to offset the cost of living. The amount hasn't gone up in the past couple years to keep pace with inflation and I suspect this will become a major water cooler conversation if it isn't already. Northern Allowances are also sometimes refered to tongue-in-cheek as a Northern bribe.

Our visitor dropped by the house around 5:30pm and though the interview lasted longer than I expected it was an eye-opener as to how your pay cheque is expended. I had a pretty good idea of what the biggest expenses would be. I know there was been a lot of chatter at work and on the blogosphere about living expenses in the North. I debated commenting on this myself but didn't want to start throwing numbers around. What I learned tonight though provides good fodder for a future post on this topic. Suffice it to say, my biggest expense was (and I suspect this is the case for many many other Nunavummiut as well) airfare. Flying out for vacations and to visit relatives takes the biggest chunk out of my bank account. I laugh at myself now as I remember freaking out over student loan payments after graduating university. How silly I was.

The biggest surprise came at the end when the lady informed my roomate and me that the margin of error between our estimates of expenses and our actual incomes was essentially zero. She let the two of us know that this was the smallest margin of error she had ever come across. I'm still shocked by this as I had to take some wild guesses on a few questions (but don't we all?) I figured my sister had all the financial and money brains in the family. But apparently my financial genius isn't too shabby for being a social studies teacher (and government employee to boot!)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

House Fire

I was sitting on my couch enjoying the quiet when I heard the siren from the fire hall start to scream. I didn't think much of it at first (it tends to ring for drills, false alarms and other reasons unknown to me) until Monty came in the door and told me there was a fire across town. We jumped on Monty's skidoo and as we were cutting across the bay it looked to me like the school was on fire. It was pretty dark and all I could see was an ominous glow coming from somewhere behind the school. As we got closer we could tell that it was in fact a residence up the hill behind the school engulfed in flames.

The blaze produced a great deal of smoke which changed direction a number of times due to the shifting winds. At one point, I felt it prudent to watch the goings-on from behind a few houses. The heat began to cook off some rifle cartridges which punctuated the general chaos with some loud cracks.

Fortunately no one was hurt though I did come across one young lad crying uncontrollably who seemed to hint that there were people inside. I did my best to calm him down until I found a few community members in the crowd of onlookers who were able to speak with him and settle his nerves. I discovered through some quick conversations that no one was hurt, which was a big relief. Our community suffered the death of a young baby yesterday so I was relieved that we had averted further tragedy.

I came to appreciate the unique challenges facing firefighters in northern communities. We have one small pumper truck which was being supported by a water truck from the community. The second water truck is currently out of commission. It didn't take long for the water truck to run out at which point it had to return to the water lake to re-fill. In the meantime, the fire flared up again. A fork-lift was brought in to remove the fuel tank from the side of the house. The water truck returned and after a few more minutes it looked like the blaze was finally under control.

I headed back home up the hill once it looked like things were under control and I would only be in the way. I did stop into the school just to see if I could smell any smoke since the wind had blown quite a lot of it down the hill. I noticed a bit of a smokey smell in the foyer and down in the high school end but nothing too bad. I have memories of a neighbor's house burning to the ground when I was 12 and of a fire during school hours when I was teaching in Saskatchewan not all that long ago so I am greatly relieved that no one was hurt.





Slowly, slowly

The amount of daylight is increasing incrementally every day. We won't see the sun for at least a couple more weeks but the anticipation (mine at least) is building.



Cavalcade of Castles

I'm not really sure why I became so fixated on castles last summer. Its not something I really had an interest in in school and I didnt' go out of my way to read a lot of books on castles, knights, dragons and all the other images that we like to associate with them. I think for me it was purely for photographic reasons. These buildings (to me any way) make for a good picture and was quite pleased with the way most of them turned out. The other (and main)reason I suspect is simply that visiting them allowed me to walk into the steps of Napoleon, Franz Ferdinand, Mozart and many other historic figures I've read about and studied.

Prague Castle



Kinsky Palace in Prague's Old Town Square



Konopiste Chateau outside Benesov - former summer home of Franz Ferdinand.



Krumlov Castle in Cesky Krumlov - the 2nd largest castle in Czech Republic and my personal favorite of the bunch.



Telc's Water Chateau



Hradec Castle in Jindrichuv Hradec- owned by the same family that owned Krumlov Castle. The Lords of Rozmberk sure knew how to build some nice houses.



Another Renaissance gem - the chateau in Mikulov.

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The forbidding Spilberk fortress in Brno. It was converted into a citadel in the 17th century and gained a notorious reputation as a prison, used by both the Habsburgs and the Nazis.



Karlstejn Castle - not the best of pictures but it had quite the fairytale feel to it. It served as home to Charles IV, the Czech's greatest king and used to house the Bohemian Crown jewels. Unfortunately these treasures, like many others from this time, now sit in Vienna museums.



The Italian Court in Kutna Hora, the former Royal Mint.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Reading

I've been a bad boy but I'm making a serious effort at getting back into some good old recreational reading (darn those travel books). I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. Too many years of university pulled me away from the wonderful world of fiction but I'm determined to get back into it. Even a social studies teacher can only read so many social/political tomes before his head explodes.

Having bashed academia though, I did pick up an interesting book at a university book shop of all places, just off Prague's old-town square during my little European hiatus. "The Good Soldier Svejk" by Czech satirist Jaroslav Hasek is very different from any other war novel I've read. I know I'm losing a lot in the translation but I'm finding it a good read. Hasek, a corpulent little anarchist, gathered a number of short stories about a fictional Czech soldier in WWI and wove them into a novel. Given the level of invective hurled at the Austrian authorities, I'm amazed it was published in his short life time. Essentially, the good-natured Svejk, keeps trying to join his unit on the Eastern Front, but gets side-tracked by misadventure after misadventure. Fittingly, Hasek died before completing the novel so Svejk never gets where the authorities want him to go in the end.

I can't really compare the book to Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front". Hasek uses dialogue to drive the plot forward. The book lacks Remarque's descriptive language and is much less personable. At times, new characters just seem to pop out of nowhere with little introduction so I did find it a bit confusing at first until I adjusted to the author's writing style. At over 750 pages I can't see it making its way on to a high school reading list, which is just as well given some of its vulgarities. In the end though, Svejk is not just a Czech, but any person upset with his leader's blind folly in leading a country into war. Hmm.....something tells me a copy of this book would be hard to find on George Bush's shelf. At any rate, its good read and I'm glad to back into a non-technological pursuit.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Life is Precious

I'm not sure what to think tonight. To be honest, I'm still quite stunned. I knew that if I stuck around the North for any length of time things like this were bound to happen. I read an article a few days ago about a young girl who was seriously injured in a snowmobile accident in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. The article caught my attention since Fort Smith was where I began my career. At the time, I read it, reflected on it and then paid no more mind to it. Tonight, however, I read a follow-up article on the CBC News North website and it turns out I knew the family. I taught both of her older sisters. I'm really stunned.

I only vaguely remember the girl as she was very young during my stint there. I do, however, remember her two older sisters quite well and it really shocks me and makes me pause to think about the really important things in life. They were two of my favourite students - polite, on the ball, keen to do well in my music classes, athletic, all-round nice people - basically the kind of kids you'd just LOVE to have in your class as a beginning teacher, the type you like to brag about in the staff room at lunch hour. The kind of kids that had a real zest for life.

I don't want to mention names to respect the family's privacy but suffice it to say they are all in my thoughts this evening.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Waiting for Sun

A pretty quiet weekend here. Now, that the sewage truck has made an appearance, giving us much-needed water, I've been bitten by the cleaning bug and spent some time tidying up. I had a feeling my little poem from the other day would do the trick.

The rest of the day was given over to music and a bit of summer planning. I have a rough idea of the areas I'd like to explore so I've been checking out hotels on-line and trying to memorize some basic Hungarian words and phrases. I'm glad I have a few months to do this. Its proving to be a bit more difficult than learning words in Czech.

We are all counting down the days until the sun comes back. After 4-5 years I should be used to it but I do find that I get a bit lethargic and irritable this time of year. My music tends to work wonders. Music really does soothe the savage beast. I had it in mind back in the fall to slowly work through my collection. For some reason, I came down with a dose of musical OCD. I'm fixated on Bach's harpsichord concertos but I could easily listen to them everyday for the rest of my life and not grow tired of them.


January sunset in Campbellford, Ontario.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ode To A Sewage Truck

My sewage tank is bloated. I haven't had a sewage truck stop by in 4 days. Because my sewage tank is full it means my water tank shuts down so I have been without water since Monday night. I keep 3 plastic containers of water in the fridge for emergency situations like this. Of course 6 liters of water doesn't go very far. My room mate and I have been reduced to taking our containers to the school in the morning in order to top up our meagre supply.

Some problems out at the water lake have meant the water trucks are unable to keep up with demand. I'm not sure why the sewage truck hasn't made an appearance lately. Apart from farmers, most Southerners likely have very little if any dealings with sewage trucks. Up here, however, they are powerful, omnipotent beings. Never poke fun at them for their odor no matter what. (They are very sensitive about this.) I think this may have been my faux pas. Perhaps I have offended ours in some way. If that's the case then I offer the following plea for forgiveness.


Oh great Adonis of steel and plastic,
how my heart aches for you
The last few days have been agony
now that you are gone
I eagerly await your return
Whenever I here a rumbling engine,
I rush with eager anticipation
over to my window,
hoping to catch sight of you.
Your parting has been such stinky sorrow.
If I have offended you in any way,
may my heart bleed a thousand bleeds.
I shall forever be in your debt upon your return
Would that I could tenderly wash your windows
and top up your oil if only you would bless me
with your presence.
You are greatly missed.
Please, please, please return to me
I beg of you.

ps - My washer, shower, toilet and sink of dirty dishes join
me in wishing for your speedy return.


UPDATE - My little ditty worked! The sewage truck returned. And what a glorious sight it was!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Wall Hanging



Here is a wall hanging I picked up for my parents when I was down in Iqaluit for a tournament. It's a one-of-a-kind from a Hall Beach elder who, unfortunately, passed away not too long ago. I've always been partial to wall hangings. I've seen quite a few good ones at the Pangnirtung airport when I used to pass through there. I wanted to post a picture of this wall hanging before I went away for the break but since it was intended as a Christmas present and because my parents frequent my blog from time to time, I didn't want to spoil the surprise for them. It might be a little difficult to see in this photo, but the braids on the two female figures are made out of real muskox hair. I bet it took many hours and skilled hands to create this beautiful work of art.

Back Into The Groove

Yesterday we had our course registration for the new semester and with that out of the way, we hit the ground the ground running today. I'm a bit tired but that's nothing unusual. It was a good first day of classes and its good to be back.

I haven't heard anything new about the frozen water pipe out at the water lake but apparently the trucks are running so it looks like there isn't a big water crisis here. Whew. One less thing to worry about. Growing up in the South, I never really paid much mind to where water came from. You just turn on the tap and poof......there's the water. Up here, with trucked water, I think a little bit more about where water comes from and how it gets into my sink. I don't get paranoid about it...well, only when I run out.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Water...........?

After hearing of some water woes down in Igloolik from Ian and Jennifer, it seems Arctic Bay might find itself in the same boat. I was told this afternoon that both water trucks were broken down, which at first I didn''t give much mind to. Given the frosty temperatures we've had since I got home, its understandable that trucks can break down from time to time. Troubles with our water and sewage trucks (Arctic Bay has 2 of each) happen on occassion and I've come to accept it as one of those quirks of life. As far as I know, at the moment, we are only down one water truck. So no big deal really. No, the bigger problem is that the pipes, or possibly the pump, out at the water lake are frozen solid which means........I'm not really sure, just that we may have to become very finicky with our water usage. A local staff member told me they can pump water from a nearby stream outside of town as a temporary measure. This is a much slower process and the tanks at our school need 7000 gallons or so to top up. Hmmmm.

I recall melting snow (carefully avoiding yellow areas) for coffee during my year in northern Manitoba. Partly this was because I was having a few problems with the pipes in the kitchen. This only realy lasted a day or two so it was no big crisis. Plus, I just wanted to see if I could do it and what the coffee would taste like. Pretty good as it turned out actually. Anyhow, as I said I'm not sure what will happen here with the water situation over the next few days. Hopefully, this is all just a misunderstanding. Hang on folks, things could get interesting.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Random Ramblings

1) Congrats to our juniors on their gold medal performance at the World Juniors! I managed to catch all the games on tv over the break except for the gold medal game since I was somewhere over Baffin Island during game time. Thankfully, I can watch replays of the big game to my heart's content on TSN (as I am doing right now acutally). Given Canada's 3rd period implosion I can at least watch the game with a lot less stress knowing that we end up winning (heh...especially since the Swedes have just tied it up here).

2) I got back into town late this afternoon. I didn't get much sun in Ontario but the milder temperatures were a treat, especially as I got blasted with a -51C windchill in Iqaluit on my way back up. At any rate, I am looking forward to starting off the new semester and feel more (or less) ready to go.

3) I mentioned in my last post about the Nunie Awards, the Academy Awards of the blogging world. You can vote for your favorite blogs by visiting Clare's blog. Here are my choices for Best Nunavut Blog in no particular order

a) Nunablog
b) Townie Bastard
c) Matt and Kara in Kugluktuk
d) Nunavut Newbies
e) North of Nain

These are the blogs I've tended to read the most, and Nunavut being as small as it is, I've met the authors of 3 of these blogs on my short list . Having said this, there are many good blogs on my sidebar you can check out if you feel the urge.

4) I haven't posted too many pictures on my blog lately due mainly to the lack of outdoor light but with the sun returning in a mere 32 days things should get better.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My Little Mishap at 30 000 feet.

Time to start another year and I look forward to getting back into the swing of things. I head out for Ottawa tomorrow and (weather permitting) arrive back in Arctic Bay Saturday afternoon. My flight home was uneventful other than the fierce turbulence landing in Montreal and Ottawa. I also had a dental mishap at 30 000 feet when my root canal decided to unattach itself. (I could blame the air line food except in this case, I know it wasn't). Fortunately I was able to get to a dentist to get things fixed up. At least the root canal came out on the flight south and not on the return trip. I don't even want to think about how I would have handled that.

I had a nice little break here to recharge the batteries. I spent much of the time visiting my parents, sister and 2 young nephews. And also planning for my summer vacation. I love Lonely Planet. Their guides are fantastic and as long as my travel ADD doesn't kick in too much, it looks as that moment that I'll be headed to Hungary this summer (of course I haven't started reading my travel guides for Slovakia, Poland, Romania or Croatia yet). Sigh. Yes, I must be decisive! Hungary or bust..........maybe! I'm glad I have 5 more months to figure this all out.

I also noted that Clare has a competition for Best Nunavut Blog. Head on over and check out contest details. And vote for your favorite Nunavut blogger. Clare isn't eligible (sigh) but I'm hoping to make my picks in the near future. And you should too.