Sunday, April 25, 2010

two mothers

Riddle me this - What's brown, smells swampy and tastes like it smells?
I'm not sure just how dedicated I am to my convictions but I do know that I didn't drink any water on the weekend. On Sunday night I broke down and opened a can of peaches just so I could drink the syrupy juice. It was a great idea until it made me even thirstier.
Spring isn't kind to Inuvik. All the snow that covered the ground for so long is rapidly disappearing (Dear Snow, please come back). This has caused the town water supply to turn kind of brown (it's close in colour to the picture I've added). I've been told that the tap water is okay to drink, and maybe it is, but I'm not drinking it on principal.

In other news - I recently received an e-mail from a fellow member of the Canada World Youth 95-96 New Brunswick/ Egypt exchange. We spent a great deal of time together during the program but then Time and Space, those cruel mistresses, dampened our contact. (Kudos to you Jay, for taking the initiative to get back in touch). It turns out my friend has his own blog, with an interesting and often funny slant, about bumper stickers in Jacksonville, Florida. If anyone is interested in his blog you can check it out here. It's definitely worth the visit.

P.S. - I was talking to my English class about conventional families and said ' you know 2 mothers, 2 kids..." It was a strange slip (maybe future me was talking) and I think it made all of my students wonder about my upbringing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

apple of my eye

It's been awhile since there's a been a summer camp memory posted here and the sight of boots in a forest and the word 'nitch' (thanks Sara) brought back a string of consonants and vowels: EC-DC-IC-A.
The months of May and June were reserved for a science camp at one end of Camp Chief Hector (the other end did a social studies camp). Sunship Earth, developed by Steve Van Matre, is an educational program designed to get students familiar with the following terms: energy, cycle, diversity, community, interdependency, change and adaptation. I don't know how many times I repeated that chain of words during the three years I did the program but I can imagine that even if I'm old and senile I'll still be able to pull that one out.
Every term had a corresponding outdoor activity that was supposed to help students learn the concept. I think my favourite one had to do with cycle. Students gathered a bunch of duff and stuffed it into canvas bags; after which I read a story about how duff turns into soil. The kids all had big wooden mallets and pounded the bags while I read. As my voice became louder they had to pound the bags harder. When all was said and done, and my voice was really hoarse, the kids were pleasantly surprised at the transformation of the dead leaves and twigs into something almost resembling dirt.
My least favourite activity had to do with community. I don't really remember the premise anymore; I just know that I found it boring. It had something to do with a guy name Echin (niche backwards). For some reason someone thought it was a good idea to have Echin's rubber boots in the forest. This led me to develop a complicated backstory for Echin. Here's a very abbreviated version:
Echin used to be a lawyer (or some other white collar profession, it changed weekly) and didn't care much for the environment. One day he was struck by lightening (or hit by a car, this too changed often) and had a complete personality change. He became an extreme environmentalist - PETA, ALF they weren't hardcore enough for him. Eventually Echin left the big city and chose to live in the area that the kids and I were now walking through. Some weeks Echin was crazy and others he was not.
My hope was the students would lose all interest in whatever we were supposed to be doing and instead focus on Echin. Unfortunately for me this never happened.
It's kind of funny, and mysterious, that there's a pair of winter boots on the trail near my apartment. Maybe Echin's coming for me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Water water everywhere

Though the angle is different this should give a good indication of just how fast (and how much) the snow is melting. I used to think that stilts were used because of the permafrost but now I believe they're also used to stop houses and buildings from flooding during the spring. No joke - I'm swear the spin cycle of the washer is more noticeable now; in an unsettling kind of way.

One final thing. Someone on this floor is either smoking the foulest weed this side of the Mississippi or has a very sick skunk. It really could be either one.

The Katoni Kid

Here's something I found while digging around the net - some ad footage that was going to be used for the old Katoni system. I guess the company rep wasn't happy that the system didn't actually appear in this clip. The director of the commercial thought the voice actor lacked the appropriate enthusiasm to sell the product, or any product for that matter. I'm not sure how someone sliding down a hill is supposed to sell anything - much less a video game system.

Long live Katoni.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friends forever

In the week since Capital M left there has been a dramatic change in the weather. I've hung up my winter jacket (will I ever wear it again?) and keep forgetting to bring my hat, mitts and scarf home from school.

When I arrived in September all the leaves had already turned colours and a short time after that the trees were bare. I guess I shouldn't be so surprised at the sudden burst of life considering that the growing season is so short. To be honest I had become used to the idea of a perpetual winter.

While not the nicest picture this is representative of what I can only refer to as 'Spring Fever.' Last night I could clearly hear the sounds of a bush party and this may be evidence of the event (there were other party sites that I discovered along my walk). The party sounded like a metaphor for the human condition - I could hear passion, joy, anger (then rage), despair, laughter, jealousy, fear and just about any other adjective one could use. It is unfortunate they burned part of the Trans Canada Trail and I'm at a loss to explain why there are a bunch of 'first place' ribbons scattered about.

The ice road will be closing early next week. I felt unsafe just walking out to get this picture. The significance of the closure means that two towns are about to become accessible only be air. A fellow employee of Aurora College, who lives in Aklavik, called me and asked if I'd like to use her truck for the next two months. She had to bring it to Inuvik before the ice road closed or else her vehicle would be stuck there until late Oct. This would be especially problematic if she moves away from Aklavik this summer

I'm pretty sure all the water won't lessen the structural integrity of my building's stilts. Though I think it may be best if people stop using the washer and dryer for the time being.

Monday, April 05, 2010

nothing's going to stop me now

It's Tuktoyaktuk or bust. I had some ice road trucking practice yesterday in what maybe the largest 4x4 truck available for the everyday working man. Despite my caution at taking the hairpin turns we did fishtail once. Today's experience should be a great one and I hope that I can at least touch the Arctic ocean.