Sunday, October 09, 2011

Another Sunday - another video.  You can watch from YouTube directly; it will let you watch it full screen mode.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Here are the photos from the video.  Plus - I hope hosting the video on You Tube will actually make it playable.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Scared you to death

I have a new MacBook Pro.  Rather than do what I was supposed to doing this Sunday I made a video for my blog.  It may not stay up for very long.  Also, I apologize in advance for the rough transitions in music and video editing.  Lastly, I'd recommend watching the video on You Tube rather than blogger as you can make the screen size bigger.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The music went unplayed

The memory card for my camera seems to have enrolled in a witness protection program or something.  My camera keeps telling me that the card is protected; I just need to ask it a few questions so I can finally crack this case (ha ha).  So for now there will be no pictures posted.  It's like from 2005, when digital cameras were well beyond the means of a guy who spent about 6 years longer in university then he should have.  Wow - I'm listening to Tasmin Archer sing 'Sleeping Satellite' and I can't really understand what I liked about it so much when it first played on the radio.  Oh - there we go - it's the end part that I like (though maybe not as much as I used to).
Okay - enough with the stream of consciousness - I came here for a reason.
Life in Tuk
First up - a potentially heart breaking story.  Every morning I walk by a dog that's tied up beside the shell of a building (the same one I hid my sunglasses in).  The dog has absolutely no shelter from the rain, snow, wind or whatever else  nature might throw at it.  He's always curled up in a tight ball when I walk by in the morning and in the same position when I walk by at night.  It's hard to look in his direction and the weather hasn't dipped much below zero.  Today I noticed that someone had moved an old jacket, or blanket, for him to lay on.  I really hope it's enough.
Next - a lesson in etiquette.  Whenever there's a funeral the local stores close for a few hours.  I guess the Learning Centre does the same thing?
Lastly, a lesson in word choice.  Don't tell students you're going to get harder (with regards to marking as time goes on). The context will be overlooked.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Work so hard

Tomorrow's a little too close for comfort so I'll keep this brief.  Here's a smattering of photos I've taken in Tuk the past couple of weeks:

 I don't think this old log and I are all that different. 

One day, if pizza delivery is ever available up here, I'll be glad I took this picture.

There are enough of these fluffy seeds around for me to mistakenly think it had snowed last night.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Look the other way

It's been three weeks since I left Toronto.  For one one those weeks I was in Inuvik for some professional development training.

One of the evening activities for the staff was a boat trip up the Mackenzie river to Reindeer Station.  Here's the write up I was given by my supervisor:

Reindeer Station was established in 1932 as the headquarters of the Reindeer Project which introduced reindeer farming into northern Canada.

Lack of caribou in the coastal area prompted the Government of Canada to herd 3,442 reindeer from Alaska to provide a supplemental food source for the Inuvialuit.

Led by Sami, or Laplanders, the 1,500 mile "Great Trek," initially expected to take 18 months, stretched into a 5-year journey beset with perils of severe weather, high mountain ranges, supply shortages, wolves and other predators.  In 1935, the surviving herd of 2,382 arrived in Kittigazuit, NT.  The Laplanders stayed to teach the Inuvialuit how to look after the reindeer herd.

During its heyday, Reindeer station had a population of 90-mainly herders and their families.  It was a self-sustaining community with its own post office, generating plant, school, church and Hudson's Bay trading post.  Situated about 30 miles down river from Inuvik on the Mackenzie River's East Channel, it also served as a supply centre for trappers operating in the area.

Due to a short season for vegetation growth, movement of the herd closer to winter range, and introduction of modern herding techniques, employment opportunities diminished and the population of Reindeer Station dropped drastically.

In 1969 Reindeer Station was abandoned.  Building were relocated and residents moved to Tuktoyaktuk or Inuvik.  In 1974, the herd was sold to Canadian Reindeer Ltd.

An old Bombardier - I guess it didn't make the cut for relocation.  Can you spot the rabbit?

Reindeer Station is being currently being re-built by the Inuvialuit council.  My understanding is that it will be something of a wellness camp for the Inuvialuit - a place for people to go to reconnect with the land if they don't have their own bush camp.  There was lots of construction happening when we pulled in off the river.  The camp cook had just made bannock and offered some to us.  Due to the remote nature of the camp there is the threat of bears and the promise of big game - as the 'just laying around' gun indicates.

Reindeer Station now (as of Aug, 2011)

There are blueberries in the area- this isn't one.  I tried eating one of these and it was largely full of big seeds.

Cranberries are plentiful around this time of year - in places other than where we stopped to pick them.

Friday, August 05, 2011

collect call

I promise I won't do this often but here's a record of my run this morning. If you click on the 'view larger map' map link you'll see the total route as well as the times per kilometer. I'm pretty sure the slower distances were either in direct sunlight or were times with no cool breezes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

the tide is high

It's hard to believe that I've been back in Toronto for just over three weeks. In some ways it feels as though I never left and in others it felt like I was gone for a year. My apologies for not wrapping up the Katoni Challenge earlier. Here are the final results:
First place goes to new mother extraordinaire - Sara. She's been crowned this year's 'Katoni Kid.' She managed to accumulate enough points that not even stopping to give birth/care for a new born could oust her from the top spot. I predict that future viewings of 'Where's Waldo' with young Felix won't be much of a challenge for this year's winner.
Second place goes to Capital M- a serious competitor held back only by an intense need for sleep. The judges have awarded M a lifetime of cinnamon smells.
Third place goes to David - a late addition to the game but one who quickly managed to move up through the ranks. For his efforts the judges have decided that David will be the honourary captain of The Righteous Indignation.
Rounding out this year's contestants is Bronwen. She showed a lot of pluck in this game and has earned the coveted 'Phil Collins' Cup.

As a final farewell to this year's Katoni Challenge here are two more pictures taken at the Toronto Zoo. Can you find the lizard in each picture?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Now my hands are red

We all have crosses to bear, some are smaller than others
20 points. Good luck.

Wrestle with Jimmy

There's nothing to find in this one. I just thought I'd point out where people get wood for their wood stoves or tea boiling contests. It's common to see piles of saw dust along beach- evidence of people industriously cutting larger logs into something more easily carried away.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I took a bunch of pictures today and none of them really turned out. I'm sorry this one's a little blurry but it's the best of the bunch. This will certainly make the challenge harder but it's still possible. One last thing - I took this is in the library room of the Learning Centre. I'm calling these shelves the 'new acquisition' section since all of the books on it were recently donated. If you look carefully you'll see 'Freedom' by Jonathan Franzen. Sara gave the book to me before she moved to Red Deer. If I'm not mistaken Sara gave up on the book and I can see why. The novel had an extremely hard start (it kind of read a like a catty script from Desperate Housewives) and characters that were difficult to like (I don't think I've ever disliked a non-villain character as much as I disliked Joey Berglund. My dislike of him was so strong that I kept reading the book in hopes of seeing something bad happen to him - nothing awful but fitting for his personality) In the end I'd have to say that I was okay with 'Freedom' - it mostly made up for the things that drove me crazy while I was reading it (even Joey).

One of these things is not like the other
(40 points). Good luck!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Neon ghosts

I have no idea what this is. It looks like something out of the "Toy Story" movies - a weird mix of human imagination and spare parts. I've never seen it in action though I wouldn't be surprised if it transformed into some sort of cool robot. It's probably an autobot - the decepticons usually went for vehicles with a little more panache.

Today's challenge will be a little different. I took this picture at the Aboriginal Day celebrations on Tuesday. Can you guess what contest is taking place in this shot?
Look carefully at the fire and the people. I'll admit that this isn't my finest effort - I'm not running tomorrow so I'll have a chance to take more photos around town. Until then - good luck. (30 points)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

None shall sleep

True or False.

There are mirages in the Arctic.

If you're thinking true - you're right. I've seen this effect 3 times since I've been here . I'll let John MacDonald explain:

A spectacular mirage-like phenomenon known as 'looming' is common in Arctic regions during the late spring and early summer. Caused by the refraction of light through layers of differing temperature, 'looming' is generally seen over open water or sea ice. Typically the phenomenon appears as an inverted, distorted image reflected in the sky a few degrees above the horizon. Such images are usually distant land or floating ice, often situated below the observer's horizon.
Inuit call this phenomenon puikkaqtuq, meaning roughly, to 'pop-up' above the level of the sea. The effect has been used by Inuit boating in the Foxe Basin to make accurate land falls at destinations not otherwise observable from their departure point. And during the open-water season, particularly in relatively ice-free areas of the sea, puikkaqtuq mirages are used to locate drifting pans of ice likely to be associated with walrus. In well-defined mirages even the herds of basking walrus can, to the experienced observer, be made out in the 'looming' ice. (The Arctic Sky, page 185).

Basically when the weather changes from cold to warm, objects that are far away may appear closer or larger than they are. It's pretty neat though I have to admit that I wouldn't have noticed this on my own. Now you know - and knowing is half the battle ( G.I Joe never explained what the other half was comprised of).

There is not wind enough to twirl
That one red leaf, nearest of its clan,
Which dances as often as dance it can
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge (20 points x2)
(I took this at the completion ceremony held at the end of May.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Iqaluit siblings finish Northwest Passage ski trek - North - CBC News

I don't think these two received much, if any, publicity down south. They undertook a remarkable journey that could probably be made into a movie (or written about by Jon Krakauer). Feel free to read about their trip (there's a link to their blog on the CBC webpage).

Iqaluit siblings finish Northwest Passage ski trek - North - CBC News

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Like a ladybug

I just like the way this looked
I totally would have been in that puddle with or without rubber boots (probably without).
Some sort of Arctic flower - whatever it is, it's nice to see signs of life up here. Update - my roommate has informed me that these are lupins. I'll call them lil'lupins.
Fredrick Fleet would feel right at home here
20 points. Good luck!


It's National Aborginal Day tomorrow - a stat holiday for anyone working in the Territories. I believe there will be a town barbecue with traditional foods and, for the less adventurous, more standard fare (the memory of muktuk still haunts me).

Curiouser and Curiouser
30 points. Good luck

Monday, June 20, 2011

I can go twice as high

Here's another, closer view of yesterday's challenge. The clue is: It's a bird, it's a plane...
The point value is still 50. Good luck.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Please don't look away

Yesterday was a special day in Tuk. There are four teachers retiring from the school at the end of the month - two of those teachers have taught up here for 25 years each. I've been here for a few months and it's felt like at least one year. (From what I understand most southerners don't last more than three years.) In celebration of the long and valued careers of the two teachers the school, the hamlet and few other organizations threw a town feast/retirement party. It was a huge fete with steaks, burgers, hotdogs, and cake. I cooked hundreds of burgers, in the rain, over an incredibly smoky fire (my bedroom now smells like a fire pit). My favourite part of the evening was seeing a dog brake free of its chain and come charging over to join the party. There were a few hot dogs that had rolled off the grate so I fed them to the dog.

No snow - no problem. Actually that's a lie, it was a problem for this guy towing a 'boggin full of wood. The would-be snowmobiler had to get off and push his ski-doo, several times, over some bushes that stopped his progress. I tried to secretly take this from my office window.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's....
I think this is probably the toughest one yet so I'm saying it's worth 50 points. Good luck.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A lot to learn

Goldilocks and the ___ Polar Bears (20 points)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Name dropper

Tuk was cut off from the rest of the world for a few hours today. Some work was being done in Whitehorse and a line for NorthWest Tel was severed. I feel far away enough on regular basis but having no phone or internet access really made me a little squirrelly.

I thought I was hard core (I mean I am, but in a different way). If you're able to zoom enough you'll see these guys are just wearing bathing suits. I put my feet in the water today and had to step out about ten seconds later.

Our shiny inn extended

This one is worth 40 points. Good luck!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Come home

I took some pictures while walking along the beach after work.

It's a pretty rocky beach but it's a beach all the same.

I was thinking I could use this for the 'find the thing' game but there's only water, ice, sky and a bird - all of which are pretty obvious

It wasn't long ago that people were skidooing on the ice/water.

#1 Shooter McGavin could probably use one of these (10 points)
#2 There's a dog in this photo - can you find her? (20 points)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just as easy as an egg

He perdido mis botas!

Admittedly, someone who lives with a Spanish speaking boyfriend may have an advantage with this one. I'll pump up the point value to 15 - that's right, 15 Katoni Points. Good luck.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


This is a very special day here at Wasiata Industries - for the first time ever there is a real, honest to goodness guest contributor. Capital M, or Marcia as she's known to the world at large, has graciously decided to take up the slack for this (and future?) Sundays. She has skillfully hidden something in the subsequent pictures, can you find it? (10 Katoni Points per picture) Here's a hint - you're looking for something with a trunk.
I'm not only grateful to have some help with this newly developing game but I'm also really happy to see pictures so full of life. I know the rest of the world isn't quite as barren as my immediate surroundings but it's easy to forgot sometimes.
Good luck!

-both photos were taken in Toronto by Marcia

sick as a bat

Sorry this is coming a little later - I was invited to dinner. I took this on my way home (at midnight) because I think it sums up the weather for the past week - overcast, foggy and cold. It has snowed pretty much every day and I even went so far as to put on pants the past two days (you know it's cold then). The persistent fog has made it difficult for planes to land which means that people and supplies can't make it in. One of my roommates was due back today after a three week training session in Yellowknife. Maybe she'll have better luck tomorrow.

The Beaufort Delta is more water than land -this may be an exaggeration but not by much. It was interesting for me when the snow started to melt because I had no idea which bodies of water were permanent and which were just runoff that would soon disappear. I still don't really know the answer because there's water everywhere.

There's something different about this scene. Can you figure out what it is? (10 Katoni Points to whoever gets it). Good luck. I'm taking tomorrow off but I'll back on Monday.

Friday, June 10, 2011

favourite sweater

There are lots of dogs in Tuk. I think this one was as weary of me as I was of him as I approached to take the picture. However, I think we were both feeling a little lonely (he's tied up outside - nowhere near a specific home) and in time we cautiously approached one another. I think he may just be the first friend I've made in Tuk.

This section of the grocery store always me makes me think of M. I threw a package of crayons in the mix - can you find them? (I don't think this one is very tough).