Thursday, August 31, 2006

Inukshuks: blocky robots of the North.

There's an Inuktitut-style statue outside the Mackenzie Hotel, right across from the post office.

It's about eight feet tall, and it's a pretty interesting thing to see. Kind of childlike in it's simplicity but also meaningful.

Instead of representing a famous person -- whether a politician or humanitarian or general or what have you -- the Inukshuk merely says "people were here."

I think it's what Neil Armstrong should have placed on the moon.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The water slide is especially fun

Here are some pictures of Lindsay's work, the Inuvik Family Centre pool. As you can see, it's quite tropical.

The outdoor angles are also very interesting. Strangely enough, they remind me of Ottawa's war museum.

Operation Beaufort, p.2

Here's another picture from the recent military press tour near Aklavik.

Sergeant Jerry Vanhantsaeme accompanied the Canadian Rangers and explained the operation on this map.

Since it was getting cold near the water, he was nice enough to lend me a tuque. "That tuque has been to Afghanistan, Bosnia...all sorts of places," he said.

It's getting darker...

Well, it had to happen eventually. The season of 24-hour sunlight is over and Inuvik now has short nights, which last from 10pm to 6am.

It's strange how I'd become used to constant daylight. I was driving the truck last night with the dashboard lights illuminated, and suddenly realized I hadn't driven using headlights for almost three months.

This is another view from the apartment window. I anticipate things will soon be like this all the time.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Unusual lake formations

The Canadian military flew me to Aklavik recently for a press tour. While in transit, I had a chance to examine the landscape from a Twin Otter plane.

Notice these lake formations, and how improbable they seem.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

"hey, something's burning!"

I rushed to the scene of a fire the other day, after seeing it from my apartment window.

It turned out to be a training excercise, held by the Inuvik fire department.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A breezy day..

Here's another picture from Tsiigehtchic, which is a town of 150. I really enjoy my weekly visits.

Can you imagine living in a city of 150 people?

On the one hand, there are scenic views, breezes, and plenty of fish and peace.

One inconvenience, however, is that the grocery store is 1 1/2 hours away by car. (If you own a car.)

Smoke break

While travelling to Tsiigehtchic on Sunday, I met elder Noel Landry, 76. He was having a cigarette on his porch, after spending the day making dry fish.

Those coveralls protect his clothing from getting fishy.

What can I say: He makes smoking look cool.

Hot steppin' at Midway Lake...

Jigging contests are everywhere in the Beauford.

This type of traditional dance is very popular here, with contests often held in bars or outdoor jamborees.

The aim of the jig is simple: Just move your feet as fast as possible, while keeping your upper body still. Fastest feet wins!

This photo is from the Midway Lake Music Festival, which is outside Fort McPherson.

p.s. -- That yellow powder is corn dust. It makes jigging extra difficult, because it's slippery!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Apartment window...

This is the view from my apartment window. You can see a river in the far background, as well as some of Inuvik's industrial park.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Ghost dog..

Look at this dog's eyes! They're practically white. He was the friendly but smelly guardian at the dump.

Dead letter department

I used my day off to clean out the office. There were hundreds of unread newspapers which needed to be thrown out.

Dez and I loaded up the Blazer to the roof, and I drove to the dump. (The suspension was low, and I couldn't even see out the back mirror!) There's no recycling in Inuvik, so I tossed all those papers away and drove off.

That's a lot of paper...but bear in mind this is the result of several months.

Still playing after all these years...

The band "Trooper" came to Inuvik for two shows this week, at The Mad Trapper pub. It was great fun! One of their lyrics was especially appropriate, considering they are playing in Inuvik.

We're here for a good time
Not a long time
So have a good time
The sun can't shine everyday

...or every month!

Views from downtown..

Here are some places I visit often, including the library. I like the wooden raven at the News Stand!

That other building is where orders are picked up from the Sears catalogue.

Yes, but are there alligators?

There metal pipes connect every building in Inuvik. They are sewers/water conduits, connected to a hilltop water supply.

In fact, nothing is built into the ground here: There are no basements, and most buildings rest on stilts.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Newspapers and the "suicide taboo"...

Here's a serious topic for today: Did you know newspapers don't write about suicide?

When a person kills themselves, it is never the subject of an article. No obituary will mention someone "took his/her own life." (With famous people like Kurt Cobain or Hunter S. Thompson being the exception.)

This is a common policy throughout Canada. It stems from the belief that coverage might inspire copycat suicides, who would also want their faces and eulogies in the newspaper.

I have been thinking about this idea, and find myself perplexed.

On one hand, it might be tasteless to write about suicides. It is certainly not a topic anyone wants to read about over breakfast.

Yet, on the other hand, I don't see how suicide coverage would be less traumatic than murders or car crashes. In these cases, it is said there is a value in having the families speak to the press, because it helps the victims become "not just another statistic."

Is the copycat suicides argument reasonable? It seems odd that media would publish every detail of the aforementioned stabbings and murders, while choosing to shield its impressioanble readers from suicide.

What do you think? A legitimate concern? An old-fashioned taboo? I feel it's an interesting debate which is especially relevant in the north.

Office space; the filing frontier

Here's a tour of my office, from MacKenzie street to my desk. Pictures include a traditional drum on the office wall and my beloved whiteboards.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Looks like I'm staying indoors...

These signs have been posted all around Boot Lake, which is a scenic walk around Inuvik. It's pretty serious.

An example: In the last two weeks, three bears -- one black bear and two full-size grizzlies -- have been shot by rangers. All were causing trouble at the dump, looking for food and threatening to move into town.

The encyclopaedia says grizzly bears can weigh 400 to 1000 pounds.