Sunday, July 15, 2007

ongoing going ons...

hellooooooo free world! It's been about a month I know...I I apologize for the delay. I've been keeping really busy as of late. I'm actually much busier here in the north than I usually was in Halifax. It's a good thing, so fret not. Actually I don't even like that word..."fret" we're not even going to use it cause I'm too busy to use words I don't like. I also suck at guitar and I'm still mad at myself for buying a guitar last summer and I gave up so quick that I didn't even buy a strap for it. Are those things on the neck of the guitar even called frets? Maybe I'm mixing up the words. Anyway, enough about my problems. How's you? Where you resting your head these days? me? No I'm still at my brother's place, except I've been resting my head in an all new way...cause I gots me a puppayyyyyyyyyyy!

A lot of you probably already know this, but I've had her about 2 weeks. She's a husky mix, a bit of lab in her, but mostly husky. Her name is Sadie, or at least that's what I've named her. She hasn't told me otherwise yet. This is the first dog I've owned, but I'm preeeeeeeeeeeetty sure they start talking soon after birth. Can you imagine if they didn't? Wouldn't I feel like a chump calling her by the wrong name for weeks at a time! I would be so embarrassed! I remember this one guy that I worked with a long time ago kept calling me "Josh" or "Joshie" for months until I finally told him that wasn't my name. Man was he embarrassed. I guess I could have told him sooner, but I always assumed he was just calling me by a nickname or something. But "Joshie" is a stretch of a nickname for Alex I would think. Ha! Look at me, I'm rambling on now. Where was I....oh yeah, She's from a local home (Sadie that is), but I was lucky to get her when I did, not because someone else would have got her, but because she would have been shot or died of starvation. Lovely I know. Here's Sadie having her first bath of several in the first couple of days as she was pretty filthy when I picked her up, and me very pale and delighted as usual:

Anywho, she was extremely tired the first few days as she was adjusting to actually being fed and given some weird, clear liquid substance (lets call it....water), but now she's a regular bat out of hell! Although that phrase is slightly misleading, because she's a dog not a bat, and I think she came out of another dog. Stranger things have happened though I'm sure. Also, in a very convenient twist, her brother (Chance) happens to live in the other half of the duplex we live in with Amy (RCMP member here) and Malcolm. So they play together nonstop. I tried to stop them one time, but then Chance pulled a knife on me and that was that. Typical cop's kid, no respect for nothin!
Although I shouldn't really talk, as I caught Sadie roughing up the local authorities the other day. Here she is stickin' it to "the man":

Here's Sadie teamed up with her very cool, but obviously not as cool as herself (or her new Dad), brother:

So besides the addition of Sadie, things have been good. Great weather, lots going on in McPherson. I'm having fun. Ooh before I forget, here's the promised photo of the temp differences here in McPherson in a span of just 3 months:

With the good weather, I've been outside A LOT. Fishing quite a bit, out for hikes, and just a lot of socializing in general. The summer solstice was a couple of weeks ago, which is the longest day of the year, which means absolutely nothing when you're experiencing 24 hour sunlight anyways but it does mean that days will be getting shorter. The first sunset in about a month and a half was on July 11th, which was kind of fun. I do believe it went below the horizon for maybe 7 minutes? Regardless, it's still very very very bright here all the time. Here's a shot outside at about 4:30am:

What were we doing outside at 4:30am you ask? err ahh well you see, ummm err...ok fine, if you must know, or as I'm sure you can figure out for yourself, drinking at night is easy when it's always light outside. I gotta say though, for anyone planning on moving up north (hahaha I know, good joke huh?), don't plan on doing much drinking, cause for a 24 of cans of Keith's, you're going to be looking at about $62! (!!!!!!!!) So I don't drink very often, but as the saying goes, when daddy needs his medicine, he gets it.
As I mentioned before, there's a lot of great spots to go hiking or for walks here or just a short drive away. Instead of killing my bandwidth posting pics manually, I'll just link you to an album:

Various hiking pics at James Creek

(James Creek is right by the Yukon/NWT border)
Don't worry, Mike's not trying to kill his dog, although he has mentioned how much he'd like to before....hmmm

Well that's all for now, I have tons of other pictures I'd like to put up, but it takes forever, and well, to be honest, what have you done for ME?! You take you take and you take. But what about meeeeee!? I guess what I'm trying to say some comments! Let me know how you're all doing, whoever is reading this.

Take care all you out there in blog reading land,

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Update from way up...

Hello everyone, been quite some time since I've updated this ol' gal, but I have good reason! You all started out with a guy named Jesus, and then, a couple thousand years later, a completely different guy named Alex was really lazy and forgot to update his blog for weeks. See? I told you there was a good explanation.

What have I been up to? Well........lots I suppose. I just moved back into my regular residence (Ian and Marsha's place) yesterday as I've been moonlighting as a house sitter! And you thought you knew the real me. Lesson learned....for you!
I house sat at 2 different places, and both with dogs. I was really more of a doggie sitter, but also to watch the house...but that all sounds so lame. So whenever somewhat asked why I was at Rhonda/Andy's place or Mike/Andreea's house, I just told them I had broken in and was claiming squatter's rights. Much easier to explain you see? Naturally, I have some pics of the previously mentioned doggies for your enjoyment!
First, here's Rhonda's dogs, sled dogs to be exact. Except they don't get many chances to prove their sleddability when there's no snow. Anyways, look on:
(As you can see, they really like to get high)
Here's Dawson, The Killer!:
Juuuuuuuuuuuust kidding! *ahhhwink*

And here's an obvious glamour shot of Kaley (Andreea's dog, and supposedly Mike's too). It's hard to recognize her here, mainly because she's sitting, not barking, and relatively clean of mud.

Rhonda and Andy were also kind enough to host a May 24 weekend box top social back by the dog yard. You can see their house in the background:

haha I keed! That's just a shack that somehow won't fall down.
Their house isn't nearly that nice.
(thank you! I'll be here all week folks! Hey try the caribou!)

There was also the ice breakup of the Peel and MacKenzie Rivers during mid-late May, which, believe it or not, was actually really exciting! (hey when the closest movie theatre is 600km away, you'll take what you can get)
I already posted a bunch of pics from that on Facebook, so you can check them out on there if you haven't seen them already. It's okay, you can go look right now, I'll wait. No seriously I don't mind, go on!.................................
hey you're back! Where were we? Oh right.
I hate to bring up the weather as usual, but I am Canadian, and well it's tough to offend people by just talking about the weather. Unless, of course, you believe that all weather is a Zionist conspiracy created to take over the world. If that's the case, you could offend someone I suppose. But anyways, I'm not here to argue what you believe, as ridiculous as it may be.
So there's been some oh-so-amazing weather in the last month here. It goes from being still very cold and snow being a not so rare occurence in late May, to 30 degree days and the temperature never dropping below 15 degrees in early June. I don't know what to think I tells ya! Maybe I'll be able to do up a side by side comparison of the thermometre when it was -35 in march and then +35 here in June. But then again maybe I won't be able to do that. I'm a very moody guy, and lots could change between now and then, so don't go acting all suprised when I don't do it.
Here's some pics of the good-weatheredness of the always refreshing, never let you down taste of the Hamlet of Fort McPherson:

Hmmm it seems that Blogger wants to make my text go down to the left of the I'll have to oblige.

In the bottom 3 pics I'm travelling across the Peel and MacKenzie Rivers on the ferries. The very bottom picture is at the MacKenzie Ferry crossing which is actually kind of cool, since it's a regular ferry and they steer it around, and well you know, does ferry stuff. But the Peel crossing is a cable ferry, which I figure must be the most boring job ever. You can't even pretend like you're steering that thing! Look I'll prove it to you!

See look! It's not even a neon colour or really explosive or anything! Dum dee dum, nothing to see here folks. Lame!
Certain areas of the Peel River ferry do bring a tear to my eye however...

Oh Canada indeed!
A lot of things around here remind me of that..umm well I guess you could call it a music video that used to play (or maybe still does) at 5 or 6am on TV where it plays "Oh Canada" and shows a bunch of otters and wheat fields and other sterotypical Canadian things like that.

Anyways, just thought I'd do this brief update to let you know I haven't been eaten by a Grizzly yet. Give it time...ah yes...give it time.


Friday, May 25, 2007

The post that almost wasn't...

Count your lucky stars folks, I almost didn't survive to make this post. You see there was this giant, blood thi-...ah better yet, I'll just let the pictures tell the story:

It was a typical, sunny day here in sleepy old Fort McPherson.

Up was up, down was down, and powerlines crossed every whichway! Oh what a time to be alive! But that was all to change. Something was stirring in the air. Something just wasn't right.
Then I saw it.

Instantly, I knew he wasn't there to sell magazines. In a paranoid rage, I was all like, "Step off!", and he was all like "Stop looking at me swan." Confused, I shouted back "Hey man! Quit the jibba jabba! Can't you see that I am not a swan!?" He didn't respond. Already, I could tell that he knew he had got inside my head. Was I a swan? What's a swan anyways? I didn't even know anymore.
For reference, here's my head:

Soon, he had recruited more buddies, and they had formed a murder of ravens.

I'd like to say I handled it in stride and didn't show any fear, but what can I say, I freaked! What was I gonna do?! All hope was lost.
I heard someone shout out, "Won't someone think of the children!!?"
(He's being terrorized)
A BBQ was being ruined!
( it's being ruined, really)

But soon, despite my lifelong ignoring of them, it was to be the seaguls who would come to my aid on this day!:

As you can see, things quickly escalated from that point on. No human or vehicle was to be spared!

Some inspirational music began playing so I thought for sure we were going to be okay. I even tried to throw out some witty one-liners to demoralize the ravens, but I was so nervous and scared that nothing came to mind! Things only got worse from there, because the music had changed over to the theme song from That's So Raven.

I knew this was a bad sign.
Sadly, my best friend and guardian of the wild, Seagullian IV, was killed during the altercation.
So then it came down to just me and him. Raven. The Raven.

Oh sure he looks bashful, maybe even a little cute, staying partially hidden behind that stump. But he's a monster I tell you! Beware, for he may be closer to you than you think! He has begun adapting human characteristics, in an attempt to blend in with the humans. Here he is "celebrating" Christmas:

Looks convincing doesn't it?? But it you look closely, you can find flaws in his charade. That's right, he's sober! No self-respecting person would remain sober on Christmas Day. Nice try heathen!

So then, after confiding with my comrades and the local authorities...

...I had devised a plan. A plan so devious only Satan himself could think of something so good!
Cautiously, I gave him a piece of food. Turns out that's all he wanted anyway! He should have just asked.
And then he flew away, but not before he reared his head around and slyly remarked..."Nevermore!" and then cackled as he flew away with a strut like only a raven could.

Damn, why couldn't I have thought of that line during the fight? I think it's the only quote I know that has anything to do with ravens. Oh well, next time I guess.

(Today's post is dedicated to the memory of Seagullian IV. You've gone to a better trash pile, friend.)


Monday, May 7, 2007

I'm back

Ok, finally I have got a pair of sunglasses and I'm back to my old (sight-abled, non snowblinded) self. As you may have guessed, not a lot has changed here in sleepy ol' Fort McPherson. Carnival (the first one) has come and...well, been cancelled because a guy died. But THEN, they tried the whole carnival thing again in a couple weeks, and it too has come and gone. I didn't really get too involved in anything to be honest. Yes, of course I played the radio bingo, and I also had my name mentioned ON that very same radio. Though I will admit, I did sound a bit out of place. "Thank you to Shirley Snowshoe from Tsiigehtchic, Charlie Charlie from Aklavik, Francis J. Koe, Francis K. Koe, and Francis L. Koe all from Tuktoyaktuk, annnnnnnnnnd Alex Campbell from Nova...Scotia?....umm for checking tonight's bingo balls."
The outdoor events were held on the Peel River for the most part, and there were tents set up smoking caribou and moose meat too.
(This pic was taken when the tents were just being set up the night before...hence there being no people to see)
Being the only white person I could see anywhere, I didn't stay down on the river all too long. Not because of fear (cause I mean, come on, have you seen me curled up in a ball? I'm preeeeeeeeeeetty tough to budge), but cause I stuck out like a sore thumb. And we all know how tough it can be to do up buttons with a sore thumb...need I say more!? (The correct answer is no)

I've also worked at the school here a couple of times, being.........ok get this.......a subsitute teacher! I know, hurts my head too. But seriously, they're very short on having... qualified *blows on nails, polishes them on shirt* teachers to fill in.

(I don't remember Alex ever having obtained a teaching degree...)

Ok, ok true, I may only have a BA in something completely unrelated, but often it'll be someone who just barely has their grade 12, and really could care less about being there to teach, so having someone who will actually show up on time is always a benefit for the school I suppose. Annnnnnnyways, it was actually pretty fun getting to be a sub. The kids are all pretty relaxed, and I don't think I could ever get sick of working 7 hour days where I get to read off a preplanned schedule for that day's class.
Hmmm what else is going on......well the rivers and ice crossings have begun to melt, thereby closing down the only road routes to get out of here. For another month or so until the ferries are able to make it through the remaining ice, it's simply not possibly to leave Fort McPherson (DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNN) unless you want to pay big bucks to get a flight to Inuvik from here. Even then, the flights only go maybe once a week. Sooooooo I could definetly see myself going insane and joining a pack of wild dogs. (I hope I can get in good with the alpha male)
Before the breakup a little over a week ago I did get to drive to Inuvik on the Dempster Highway to pick up the son of one of the RCMP members who was arriving at the airport. The following is a picture aided telling of my great journey. Yes, the pictures may be out of focus, and yes, there may not be many of them, but until they invent a robot that goes with you on drives and sits in the passenger seat and takes pictures for you and doesn't grill you about how it doesn't approve of your direction in life and your friends and constantly begging you for more oil because it's hungry, these are the best pictures of my solo road journey that I've got.
So driving along the Dusty Dempster, as it's known, you have to have a steady hand on the wheel, especially when this is what you see every few minutes:

No, the road isn't any wider than it looks there, and yes, you literally drive blind for the first few seconds after passing the truck.
I soon arrived near Tsiigehtchic, and it is conveniently located at the intersection of the Arctic Red River and MacKenzie, and is where the ice crossing is. Here's the approach, and you can see Tsiigehtchic over towards the right side if you look really close:
(you might have to click on the picture to bring up a larger size version)
Next is the ice crossing in itself, which I have ever so nicely taken a picture of for you here:
(you can see where it changes from land to ice if you look closely)
And here's the ice road crossing:

It may be bumpy as hell and you're sliding all over the place, but it rides like dreeeeeeam. There were fun times to be had on the way home when I let the guy I was picking up drive home and he put us into a 720 spin in the middle of the crossing.
About 2 hours after my journey began, I had arrived in Inuvik. Lookie here!:

I like to picture that guy in that episode of The Simpsons when he says "Ennnnnd of the LINE!", only in my mind he replaces "LINE" with "DEMPSTER". Good trick huh!?
Then, what's this off to the right of the road?:

Doesn't look like much eh? Well since you asked so nicely I'm happy to inform you that it's actually a golf course. It's only 9 holes and I can't really see it being a world class venue, but like the saying goes: When life gives you lemons, make dirty, cold, rocky, barren lemonade.
So moving on to the town itself, you can see the hustle of downtown Inuvik. (Although oddly enough, there was no bustle to be found)

You might be asking what that nipple shaped building is in the background, because I mean come on, it sure does look like a huge, enormous nipple right? right?!?!

Wrong you blasphemous pervert!! Get a hold of yourself! It is of course the igloo shaped church.
So that pretty much wraps up my (not so) grand journey last week.

As you can see, I didn't really take many photos during my trip, and haven't really taken much in general over the last couple weeks. I'll try to take more so that you greedy bastards can get your fill. I keeeeeeed with you of course. Today, I leave you with a picture of some smiley, happy, and innocent children playing outside, taken just before I told them to scram and to get off my lawn. Damn punks!

Hope everyone is doing well back home,

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Big Book of Baby Names anyone??

Something you might be quick to notice here is that there seems to be a distinct lack of names. First names, last names, nicknames, etc. Or maybe it's all just a big joke that I don't get. But for some reason, it seems to be a requirement that all kids born here must have the name Charlie, Francis, Kay, Blake, or John/Johnny. Doesn't matter if it's the first or last name, they just need it. Sure, maybe I'm stretching the truth a bit, but isn't that what being a good neighbor is all about? (It isn't? Since when?...Oh, I see then)
To be honest, it's kind of fun since you're never more than 3 tries away from guessing a person's first and/or last name.
As always, I've provided you with an example of the fun:

The names of most geographical sites or features are all pretty generic too. Well the English names are anyways. I'd try and say a couple of the traditional Gwich'in names but I haven't eaten in a while and I don't feel like hyperventalating and passing out. No lyin! Lets see...there's Rat River, Stoney Creek, Bear Creek, "the foothills", and so on. Again, while I may be a bit unnecessarily critical, I love it all the same. Sometimes I feel like an adventure star when I get to say things like, "Gee wiz Cap'n! I seen some poachers coming down over the foothills on their way to Stoney Creek! Whatayasay we cut 'em off at the Rat River??"
(okay, so maybe I haven't been able to say that yet, but summer is coming, and you just know that evil gold prospector from 3 towns over is going to pull some crazy scheme! Remember when he tried to steal all the drinking water? Or when he tried to ban dancing all over town? Oh sometimes I think he'll never learn.)
Where was I? Ah yes, nowhere. So there's maybe another good week or 2 of skidooing left here, so I've been lucky enough to get out a lot in the past week or so. And of course, that luck was short lived. Although there was a couple amazing trips back into the mountains and in some good powder, there were some rough spots. Such as getting lost:
(notice the puzzled look of "I'm lost!" on Jason's face. While I, taking the picture, was completely not lost.)
And then there was yesterday when the shock snapped in half. Here's my brother showing off his lowrider skidoo:
Or the time when I was chased home by a pack of snowmobiling outlaws and their invisible leader:
(Or was that merely the broken skidoo being towed home?...hmmm my memory grows hazy)

Despite the setbacks, I did get to see some great sites. On the weekend a group of us travelled to a spot called Millen Creek, which is named after the RCMP officer who was shot and killed by "The Mad Trapper" back in 1931. You should look it up on wikipedia if you have the chance, it's pretty interesting. It's a tough spot to get to, but then we were fortunate enough to have one of the RCMP officers who was on the trip spot the memorial. It was in rough shape as it looked as though it was mangled by a Grizzly, but we were at least able to get a couple pics at the site:

And here's another group shot of everyone trying to spot some caribou up in the Richardson Mountains:

I know the days are going to get a hell of a lot longer, but already I'm finding it a bit odd. As a right this at 2am I can still faintly see daylight over the mountains in the distance, and at 11pm the light was just starting to get darker. But it does make for some great sunsets and twilight hours. I shot this one off the back deck at 10:30pm about a week ago:

Well, apparently there's Carnival happening all this coming weekend, so I should have lots of pics to put up after that. I don't really know what to expect, but I've heard rumors of snowmobile races, tea boiling contests, and last but not least, tents set up smoking caribou and moose meat down on the river. Now THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what you would call a shindig.

Have a good week,