Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tim Hortons in the north

Here's something to put things in perspective: I am an airplane ride away from the nearest Tim Hortons.

This doesn't bother me, personally, but it's interesting to see how other people are affected. In fact, one of the nicest things people do here is bring back a 40-pack of Timbits whenever they go to Yellowknife. It's kind of like a tradition.

Here's my million-dollar idea for a commercial:

Title reads: Tuktoyaktuk, NWT.
A small plane is landing. Blowing wind, howling. It's the arctic, in the darkness.
A man wearing a fur-trimmed parka exits the plane, it's cold.
He comes into the airport, meets his wife and kids.
"Back from Yellowknife?" asks the wife.
And the man hands the kids a 40 pack of Timbits, and gives his wife a (somehow still hot) coffee.
"Yeah." he says. "Good to be back."


Monday, November 27, 2006

The Friendship centre

One interesting building in Inuvik is Ingamo Hall, aka "The Friendship Centre."

It's a community centre made of logs which hosts dinners, dances and talks.

Last week was National Addictions Awareness Week, (Nov.19 to 25) and I played drums and bass for the country band there.

Monday, November 20, 2006

This one is wolf fur.

From Wikipedia:
"An Ookpik (sometimes spelled Ukpik) is the Inuktitut word for Snowy Owl. Also, an Ookpik was a popular toy (a small, round ball of fluff with two eyes and a beak, and small black talons). They are often made from wolf fur and other traditional materials.

Many middle-aged Canadians and Americans remember owning an Ookpik, and remember the Ookpik as a popular symbol of Canada. The figures are still available in several forms at a cost of about $30. Several children's books have been written about this popular owl, including Ookpik Visits the USA which, when available, is valued at more than $1,500.

The Ookpik was famously featured in Douglas Coupland's book and film about Canadian culture, Souvenir of Canada."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Muskrat mitts

There was a traditional craft fair on November 18 at the high school, where artisans from Aklavik, Tuktoyaktuk, Fort McPherson, Paulatuk, Ulukhaktok/Holman, Tsiigehtchic and Inuvik gathered to sell their wares.

I got these handmade Muskrat fut mittens from a woman in Aklavik. They are very warm!

The best part about fur, by the way, is that you can rub your nose or ears if you get cold.

North Mart and the availability of food

Inuvik has been landlocked recently due to the closure of the ferry. Until the ice roads freeze up, it's accessible only by plane because of the Mackenzie River has no bridge. (This is actually about 40 minutes out of town, but there's only one road so it applies.)

Anyhow: I have been telling people about food shortages recently, but it's actually not that bad.

Sure North Mart is almost out of milk...but as you can see, it has plenty of other stuff including powdered milk.

Sunset at 4pm

This photo was taken just before 4pm today! The sun continues its retreat...

Friday, November 17, 2006

The new Mackenzie

This is the new Mackenzie hotel. It has a bar and restaurant which is quite nice....I sometimes stop there for lunch.

(But I realize I should add some colour to this blog!)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A package from New Zealand!

I was delighted today to discover a package from Auckland, New Zealand!

My aunt Renee sent me a gift and a very kind letter. It's amazing how much distance this represents...this package has traveled a long way.

I should note the package contained organic radish, broccoli and alphalpha seeds, which are intended to be eaten after they germinate. It's very healthy and a very good gift for me because vegetables are comparatively expensive here.

Thank you Renee, I will send you something from here!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

XP (But I'm still a level 1 mage)

(Pictured here: The Charlatan, Ottawa Citizen, Beyond The Hill, Orleans Weekly Journal, Glengarry News, Yellowknifer, Inuvik Drum, News/North...etc...)

Tunnel vision

I hate to publish two posts on the same topic -- and especially the topic of a coat, of all things -- but I discovered a new feature which is great.

If I zip up the collar, the hood forms a nearly foot-long 'tunnel' which protects me from wind.

I am one toasty guy these days.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Photos wanted!

I am thinking of creating these signs and mailing them to communities I can't reach, such as Ulukhaktok/Holman, Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour and Paulatuk.

It might encourage people to e-mail me photos, which I desperately need!

If only I had a helicopter to reach these places myself...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Roasted goose

It's my 23rd birthday today and I've bought myself a Canada Goose parka.

As they say in Quebec, I am very "frilleux," meaning I get cold easily. But not anymore!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Kulluk rig

I didn't take this photo myself, but it's a striking portrait of the Kulluk rig off the coast of Tuktoyaktuk.

The rig was built in 1982 and pumped oil for a few years. But when oil prices dropped in the mid-1980s, it was abandoned. It simply wasn't worth the trouble!

Now, with oil prices rising, Shell Oil has bought the rig and they're going to tow it to Alaska for drilling.

Try to imagine that huge rig all quiet and abandoned for 20 years, sitting there in the middle of a frozen bay. Kind of a wierd place, eh?

The Youth Centre

Inuvik has a Youth Centre which is open almost every night. About 80 regulars go there to play pool, draw and listen to music. It's often busy and usually loud!

Last month, the centre was awarded charitable status, which means it can accept tax-deductible donations and so forth.

I think it's a good idea, because the place gives kids something safe and maybe even educational to do.

Let the sun shiiiine...

Here's a sign in Fort McPherson, which tells visitors about 24 sunlight.

We currently have less than 6 hours of sun per day, and that window is closing by about an hour a week.

Today, on November 8, the sun rose at 10:39am and set at 4:36 pm...which means darkness before and after work!

Soon, it will be 24 darkness for about 30 days...which basically means you can watch movies without that annoying TV glare, am I right? :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dez in a fish-eye lens

Here's Dez Loreen, 23, editor of the Inuvik Drum. He and I are the only two employees in the Inuvik News/North building.

He writes the Inuvik Drum every week, while I cover surrounding communities for News/North.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The mobile office

I bought a pelican case in Yellowknife earlier this year, and I now use it when traveling to communities. It's usually left on the passenger seat, so I have easy access to everything I need packed in foam. This includes...

  • Camera
  • Fish-eye lens
  • Lens cleaners/brushes, etc.
  • Dry paper
  • Pens + Pencils
  • "Alphasmart," aka my writing computer (for writing stories in the car)
  • Business cards
  • Camera flash
  • Extra batteries
  • Emergency money
  • Minidisc recorder + microphone
  • Cell phone
It's heavy to carry around but it's good protection against moisture and (earlier this year) fine dust.

Plus, when it takes 3 hours to get somewhere, you don't want to forget anything!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Inuvik Community Greenhouse

One of my favorite things to discover here was the greenhouse. It's an old hockey arena, which was given a glass roof.

Now, anyone in town can book a space during the summer.

The Apartment, p.2

By popular demand! (And my this, I mean posts from Pat and Alex :) ) I here present another photo of the apartment.

What can I say...Lindsay and I both like bright colours and crazy decorations!


Here's a leftover photo courtesy of Lindsay's parents, who visited at the end of summer. These are young sled dog pups, at Inuvik's "Arctic Chalet."

The local tourist attraction brings people on dogsled rides in the winter. I'll be first in line!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hey Jean-Leon

Here's Morgan Blake, 15, from Fort McPherson. He works at his father's tire shop, and was working on the town's water tankers when I took his picture.

He reminds me of my brother Jean-Leon!

"Lord of the Rings" size scenery

Getting to Fort McPherson isn't just a drive; it's a QUEST.