Monday, December 29, 2008

It was the best of times it was the blurst of times...


First off...happy holidays everyone!

That's right, I'm doing the unthinkable and using one hour of my 500+ hours of vacation to do a blog update!

Where to start...

I've been in NS for a little over a week now, and it's been quite busy believe it or not. A time of contrasts, if you will. The excitement to see family and friends was fueling me as I took off from the Simpson airport last Thursday afternoon...and unfortunately I was running on fumes soon after. Massive delays at EVERY AIRPORT on the way home will do that to a guy. I know! Beneath my rugged, ridiculously impressive exterior is a regular person just like you! A regular person who wanders about aimlessly while contemplating selling off all of their possessions in an act of defiance at the Calgary airport.
Let's see...there were weather delays at the Yellowknife airport, the Edmonton airport, the Calgary airport, and Toronto airport, and then yet another delay in waiting to be picked up at the Halifax airport. Although, to be fair to my brother and cousin who picked me up, it wasn't really their fault as they didn't have a clue of what time to pick me up. I think being in Simpson where theres only 2 flights a day has led me to believe that every airport is in the same boat. The only piece information I relayed onto my family in regards to my flight was that it was on Thursday. Apparently, there's more than one flight that comes into the Halifax airport on any given day. Who knew!

Anywho, so come Friday afternoon, I was finally back in Nova Scotia. It was a time of glee! Friends! Family! No snow! 12C weather! Rain! Getting jumped on my way home from downtown!...

yeah....sorry to make that into a bit of a downer. But yeah, without going into too much detail I was sucker punched/jumped on my way home Saturday night by several cowards, which led to me acquiring several holiday cuts/bruises and 2 damaged teeth. I suppose things could have been much worse had I been knocked out as a result of the sucker punch but luckily I made it out relatively unscathed. Will the Christmas miracles never cease!?!

Needless to say, my face as a result of my Saturday night has not helped to alleviate the perception that I live in the bush amongst the natives of the isolated north. But is that really such a bad thing?
As much as I'm against the over usage of the term "irony", I will say I do find it a bit ironic that I've yet to ever have any problem while living in the NWT, where crime supposedly runs rampant and out of control, yet the 2nd day I'm in a sleepy little town in Nova Scotia I have this happen! The ironing is delicious, indeed. (obscure? maybe)

You may also have noticed in the picture above that I appear to have lost a mustache bet. Not true! I have decided to not shave at all while on vacation. Take THAT, (the) man
I'll be the first to admit that I absolutely suck at growing facial hair, although I'm not quite sure how much skill it actually takes. (Am I not rubbing the correct amount of motor oil and gravel on my face before bed each night? Is that what it is?)
Regardless, I still have the opinion that guys who can grow kick ass beards are better than me. Things are looking up for me though; last night while sitting at the local pub with some friends I was voted as being 4th Best At Growing Facial Hair!
And get this: There were more than 4 people there! (There were 9! And only one of the 9 was a girl!)

In more visually appealing happenings, I've been down to Peggy's Cove (and the area surrounding it) 2 times already. This is a good thing because I have lots of family there and I love the scenery there. For those not in the know...go there! You will love it! Or at least have a good, commitment-free night with it.
I hope the following series of pictures can help to convey the sense of beauty and awesomeness that is Peggy's Cove:

+

=

WOOOHOOOO!

But I gotta be honest with you, all this excitement has made me tired. Time to go lie back down on the couch with one arm and one leg hanging effortlessly off the side and let the drool accumulate on my shoulder. (Hey, don't hate)

I hope everyone is having a break as good as mine!

P.S.
That was not intended to be a threat against you. It hasn't been THAT bad for me! I promise.

Monday, December 15, 2008

There was something I was supposed to do...


hmmm okay so maybe I am a bit of a procrastinator. You don't have to go making a big deal of it! I'm sure you have faults too. I'll get around to pointing them out some other time...


Anywho, so the time for my holiday vacation is quickly approaching, and I still have a frickload of things to get done before I go. In typical Alex fashion, I've been talking about these things I need to get done for several weeks, yet I refuse (forget, whatever) to complete them until the last second in a raving lunatic-like manner. What to do...

-Finalize Sadie's dogsitter plans: __ (This one is driving me crazy! I dun wanna leave muh baby gurl!)
-Wrap up work related projects/tasks: __
-Pack for the trip to NS: __
-Clean the house before I go: __
-Fix several items on my truck: __
-Purchase Xmas gifts: __
-Make a pointless list that only makes me feel worse about being such a slackass: CHECK!
-Whole whack of drinking and say my temporary goodbyes to everyone in Simpson: Can you really ever fully check this one off?


Regardless of what the next 2 days of mad-dashing-around-trying-to-get-shit-done have in store for me, I'm definitely looking forward to the trip to Nova Scotia. (Minus the actual trip to Nova Scotia that is. How I love thee, Edmonton Airport)
I haven't been to see NS in almost a year, so who knows what it'll look like! New haircut?? New shirt!? Who knows! I sure don't.

I've had a few people down south already ask me how I'm able to take over 3 weeks off work for vacation, and not one of those days are actually annual days. Well, for those inquisitive minds, many of the offices (Government, First Nations, a couple others) simply shut down for 2 weeks over the holidays, all of which is paid time off! A wonderful system I like to think.
Of course I'm sure there's the select few that work gov't that either will still be required to work or don't get that time off with pay. Yes...you select few...uhhh ummm well...I'm really sorry I brought it up at all. Is that Christmas Rage I see on your face? Wow, that's definitely more intense than regular rage...

During my time out east I won't likely be doing any updates, mainly because I assume my social calendar will be packed to the gills and anything that doesn't involve PURE AWESOMENESS, such as this blog, will simply have to wait. No no, you're correct, this blog does contain AWESOMENESS, but the pureness of it is lacking. (Fun fact: This blog has an aluminum alloy frame...helps to keep the weight down while maximizing durability!)
But seriously...I do expect to have a lot of free time, I just don't know that my motivation will be making the flight east with me. We shall see.


In other news:
I traveled to Fort Nelson, BC this past weekend with the basketball team and the other coach for a small tournament. It was actually my first time seeing BC in any form whatsoever. So while you southernites would likely hit up Whistler or another lame locale such as Vancouver, I got to pop my cherry with Fort Nelson! I don't fuck around! (Tone it back Alex...easy now)

Err...sorry.

It was a nice drive down from Simpson, about 5 hours south of here. I had never seen the mountains down that way, and gosh darn it, they sure were purdy. See here y'all:


Nice, yes? No? NO?! I see...

As for the tournament, we placed 2nd out of 4 teams. So a mostly successfull weekend for our team. And by team I'm referring to all 5 players. Yes...we were lacking in players for the weekend. But regardless, we had a good time and impressed the Fort Nelson fans so much that their heads exploded!! HAAAHAAAAAA YEAH! ...a lot.


Well I should go going and add more things to not do to my list.

P.S.
If you're wondering about the blurry photo at the top of the post, it's one of the 3 caribou we saw alongside the road on the drive home from Ft. Nelson on Sunday, along with 3 moose, and a fox. Wahoo!
And you're right, it does seem out of place at the top of the post. Hmm....

Just to make things clear...

Let it be known...I am NOT a procrastinator! When I start something I see it through to the end. I go down with the ship baby!

In fact, I would bet that if my friends had to describe me with one characteristic it would be that I am not a procra

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Confessions of a pedestrian...


Let's get a few things out there:

It's cold outside.
It's slippery.
The entire length of the island of Fort Simpson is a little more than 3000m.
I only live about 500 metres from my work as the crow flies. Or about 750m as the man walks.
I have 2 feet.
I have a heartbeat.
I'm a sheep!

Keeping the above in mind...

Fort Simpson is a relatively active spot...you tend to see lots of pedestrians at any given time of the day. However, once the mercury starts dropping below -20C that number magically shrinks as a lot of people will retreat to the confines of their massive F-350s and Ram 3500s. I can't really blame them...it's tough to even fake a smile or act like you're not experiencing an exorcism when you're walking down the sidewalk and a blast of -30C snow and wind hits you smack dab in the face. I too must admit guilt as I've been driving my (also needlessly oversized 5.7L V8 gas-guzzling) truck to work more than I'd like to admit.
To remedy this, I decided that I'd only let myself drive to work maybe once or twice a week, and even then, there would have to be other factors present for me to do so (such as having to get groceries that day or need to drive to the airport for work or whatever). Needless to say, even if I have absolutely nothing else required that day besides the straight drive to and from work, I've been known to quip: "fuck it! I'm driving anyway. Yeeeeehaaaaaaw!".

But back to being a responsible citizen of the Earth.
Whenever I do actually walk to work, it tends to go something like this:

*DOOR SLAM*
"Good morning Mother Nature! Another beautiful day you have given us today don't you think? What a great day to be walking to work!"
*puffs out chest, gleefully strides down front steps*
"And now to continue placing one foot in front of the other in a continuous succession of movements that will allow me to make my way to my place of work! What a grea-"
*Passing truck stops*
"huh? Oh hey, no no, everything is alright, I decided to walk today! No really, everything is okay. No, my doctor did not recently recommend that I get more exercise..."
*Truck drives away slowly with driver giving a concerned look to our hero*
"hmmm that was awfully nice of him to stop, but he sure did look concerned. Anywho, where was I? Ah yes! Walking! La dee daaa!"
*Passing by truck stops*
"...Oh, good morning. No no, my truck is fine, I've just decided to walk to work today instead. Please, keep your money, my truck already has gas in it. But thanks for offering..."



or something like that anyway. I mean I think it's awesome that everyone in Simpson is that nice that they will offer rides to anyone and everyone at any given time of the day, but I also find it a bit ridiculous that nobody can accept that I chose under my own free will to walk to work that day! Actually...now that I think about it, I'm positive I've done the same thing to other people that are walking to work too. Except that I usually throw out more expletives, ask them what they're trying to prove, and am more relentless in my demanding that they stop walking and let me give them a drive to work/home.
Dammit!
*palm to forehead*

Thursday, November 27, 2008

ah ha! the path to success!

There it is! Now to just calmly walk down this quaint path and I'll be well on my way to becoming a fully responsible adult! *slips on ice* whoaaaa whoaaaa ahhhhhhh! *twists maniacally from side to side in futile attempt to save self* UGH! *eventually falls and knocks self out on ice*

...ta da!

So that's basically what my life as of late has been. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as I don't want you getting the impression that this will be another negative Ned (Alex) ranting post. I swear I'm generally a pretty positive guy! But it is more fun to rant than it is to gloat.

right right, so, moving onto the meat:

More so than I think I have ever been in my life, I'm attempting to be involved and active, not only from a fitness standpoint but also in the community. As I have mentioned previously, I've been coaching the high school boys basketball team, which is going great, minus the fact that I now make it seem like a good thing when we have 6 guys show up (6 is better than 3!). In addition to the 2 practices a week, a bunch of us also scrimmage another 2 times a week. I still hit the weight room 3 or 4 times a week, and then I've been trying a couple of new things the last couple of weeks. I went to volleyball on Monday, which, despite my loathing of all things volleyball in high school, was actually pretty fun. Last week a judo club also started in Simpson, so I tried that out Saturday morning. That was also kinda fun.

"Yo fool, what about your dog? Where does she fit in all this?"

I'm getting there! geez....

There has been a bit of a snowshoevolution in the last couple of weeks in Fort Simps-*record needle scratch*

hooooooooooooold up! Snowshoevolution?? You gotta be kidding me man. That's the last straw, I was only reading this blog of yours to be nice, and to be really honest with you, I really only ever enjoyed the times when you talked about your dog...but seriously, that was straight up lame, I'm outta here!


hmm....point taken. Sorry everyone, I'll try and keep the Alexisms to a minimum from here on in...
okay okay, so as of late there has been a bit of a renaissance of snowshoeing (suck on that diction!) on the island, and a group of us have been going snowshoeing at least a few times a week right after work or on the weekends. I love it! At the risk of sounding slightly geeky (and incriminating the people who I snowshoe with) most of us have purchased headlamps to make it possible to trek around despite the lack of daylight.

So anyway, we usually take our dogs with us too, so as you might have guessed, Sadie is one tired canine. When I get up in the mornings for work she doesn't even budge! Sometimes I'll get a head lift out of her but then she always just goes back to sleep without a care for me whatsoever. (disloyal mutt....)

Work has been interesting lately since this past week was National Addictions Awareness Week (NAAW) and I had the opportunity to organize a few different events to take place during that time. Has definitely allowed me to meet lots of people from other organizations/businesses in Simpson that I otherwise would not be aware of.

So when does the other boot drop?

Well even though I am (well, was) feeling amazing physically and socially, other areas of my life have been suffering. My laundry has been piling up to a level where all of my attire choices for the day are based upon the process of elimination rather than choice. I have been without a window blind for well over a week because even though I just got a new one in from Sears, I tore down the old one, but then kinda lost the motivation/energy to put up the new one halfway through. So now I just wake up each morning with the sun in my eyes and I just look in spite towards my uninstalled blinds.
annnnnnd now, well, as of this morning anyway, I'm sick. Me! Sick! This is not good! Do you realize how much whining I am capable of when I get sick? You've been warned.

Anywho...in summary: I love being active, I hate being sick. And uhh..happy American Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I ain't built for this shit!

Coming from the safe, warm womb of my Nova Scotia upbringing, I tend to have a difficult time adapting to the cold, dry climate that western/northwestern Canadians seem to be better suited for. When I first moved to the NWT I kinda figured I'd find the dry air a bit different, but figured my (supposedly) adaptive body would, well, adapt. But ohhhhhhh no, 2 years in and my body is still a mess of "gimme more hand cream!" proportions.

I really love the cold, at least my mind does, but god dammit my body just ain't listening!

My face always has a somewhat comical shade of red-rosiness to it, my skin has asked that I know refer to it as "scales", and my eyes constantly feel like I have vacuum cleaner hoses attached to them. uhh I did say my eyes feel like there's a vacuum attached to them. You sickos!
On top of all that, most of my finger tips are rather grotesque looking (split open as a result of dryness and playing basketball), I wake up every morning feeling as though someone pulled the ol' "dump kitty litter in his mouth while he sleeps" trick on me, and my vision suffers from temporary sun-spots if I catch a glimpse of myself when stepping out of the shower in the morning.

Having an ill-designed lifemobile (I feel as though I've used the word "body" too many times in this post already) does have some benefits though. We stick together with other unfortunate people. At least I do. I know that when I'm walking down the street and I see someone else with a rosy, dry face I kinda give a nod. THEY KNOW what I'm talkin about. It's our signal. Oh sure, they don't return the signal, but that's the code. I nod, they narrow their eyes and stare at me suspiciously.

Regardless, I friggin love this place!
In more non-ranty news...here's the sky outside of my office this morning:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Freeze-up is in effect!


Just to get this out there: The main reason I'm feeling the need for an update is that if I die in a horrific ice-falling off my roof and killing me so that the end result is a comedic ball of arms and legs sticking out of a giant snow bank, I don't want the final post of my blog being me jumping on hotel beds with my shirt off in Yellowknife. I think that's a pretty reasonable desire. My fears are very real given my experiences in the past...
and now that I think about it...the snow and ice on the roof outside my door has been looking more hostile...


So anyway, as the post title suggests, the ferry has been out at the Liard River for a bit over a week, so freeze up is on! For those not in the know, you should be ashamed. But don't beat yourself up, Alex is here to help pull you out of your miserable days of ignorance! Freezeup is basically (well, essentially, well, completely) the time each Fall in the north when it gets colder and enough ice starts forming on the rivers that the ferries can't continue, but the ice isn't thick enough to allow for an ice road/crossing. What does it all mean? Empty shelves, high prices, and social gatherings to the extreme! In my almost 2 years in the north, I'd have to say that freeze-up and break-up are some of my favourite times. From what I've seen, Fort Simpson doesn't seem quite as isolated during freeze-up as McPhoo did. I guess that could be attributed to daily flights (sans Sundays of course. I assume the hands of God that give planes the privilege of flight is also resting on Sundays) in Simpson.
Back to the point: I've been coping well enough with the disadvantages so far, although I am still just a taaaaaad peeved at having to resort to shitastic Wonder Bread as the Northern has been out of my beloved Country Harvest Whole Grain Bread for the past week or so. As for the higher prices, I'm sure I've mentioned this before on here, or at least to other people new to the north...DON'T LOOK AT THE PRICES! You'll go nuts if you try to pinch pennies. It sounds careless, but seriously, as long as you don't go trying to buy the ridiculous items (aka the $25 watermelons) you should be alright. On a side note, I am royally pissed that the Nahanni Restaurant (one of the 2 places to eat out in Simpson) has raised the prices on a can of pop AGAIN, this time to $2.60. Are you fucking kidding me!? (Nahanni: "Why yes you little shit, I am quite serious. Bend over and pay up! Also, have you tried my $11 grilled cheese sandwich?")

Annnnnnd on to the positives. The social atmosphere has been amazing for the past couple of weeks as everyone hunkers down and parties until the ice road is in. Last weekend, Halloween, was the scene of a couple of great parties and a big night at the bar where just about everyone in attendance was in full costume. There may even be a few pictures floating around out there of me decked out in a spandex suit with modified 2L pop bottled harnessed to my back. I was supposed to be Steve Zissou, but everyone retitled me as "Scuba Steve" so I stuck with that.
Yesterday was the Inaugural Birthday Hockey Tournament for a guy in town, which was insanely awesome. He lives right in the middle of town and the street was completely blocked off with boards for an all day street hockey tournament. See here you:

He also opened up his house and had tons of beer, coffee, hot dogs, cake, and even a P.A. system setup! Good times indeed.

We also had a solid week of straight snow here, which has covered the island nicely. Sadie has hardly been able to contain herself!

Believe it or not, I have taken notice of the beauty all around me during the past couple of weeks as well. No no, you're right, I am still the epitome of masculinity and brute strength, but I do have a sentimental side. I apologize for the frozen tears that may or may not be on any of the pictures. Anyway, before I get completely weepy, I'll just post the pictures:




Otherwise life has been fun: work is busy (North-busy mind you. For those who know, it's completely different from actually being busy), and I've been eying up the calendar a bit for my trip home at xmas. It'll be my first time home in almost a year! I can't wait to show my parents how much I've grown! ooh ooh and then I want to jump off the really really high diving board and make sure they're watching!
This is all in addition to the regular duties of coaching the bball team and taking Sadie snowshoeing whenever possible.

What's everyone else up to? Shucks, here I've been spending the last few hundred words just talking about myself.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Greeting from Yellowknife! Next up...Blue Spork!


First of all...what's your deal YK Inn!?!? Yes I get it, you've renovated your rooms. I appreciate it, believe me. I agree, it was a big risk in going with the white duvets.
But come on, who decided that it would be a great idea to have 4 lamps in a room that could easily be served by 1 overhead or possibly 2 bedside lamps?! I feel like if there's ever a tungsten shortage that my room will be the first place invaded by those in need.
And that bathroom door? I literally had to turn sideways a la Tim Taylor on Home Improvement to get through it.

I want names.

Especially the name of the guy that said "nuh uh, no bottle openers will be present in this hotel."
No matter how funny I may find it in retrospect, I still didn't enjoy losing a beer out of my window as I attempted to pop the cap off on the window ledge. I want answers goddammit!

ohhhhhh what a cruel world!

Well, regardless of my own (valid) personal tribulations, I will be heading back to Simpson late tomorrow morning.
Also, just to get it out of the way, my apologies go out to anyone on the First Air flight from Simpson to YK with me on Monday. I may have been overly cautious with my butter/applesauce/water/dressing when I opened them. I can now see that I may have looked like a man who had arms minus elbows and a mouth minus a bottom lip. I'm not used to getting meals on non-pressurized planes! Usually I get humiliated because I brazenly open my yogurt with no regard for the great amounts of pressure dwelling within the yogurt and then I spray yogurt all over myself and the immediate 3 rows.

Glad we cleared that up.

P.S.
I realize that Keiths does not require a bottle opener (Oh COME ON). Alex in YK for 2 nights MAY (or may not) equal 2 trips to the liquor store....

P.P.S.
I know! I still can't believe I managed to fit in a reference to Tim Taylor either.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Tad Cramped...

It seems like every time I talk to someone from out East I am telling them about a new person that has moved into my place. Unfortunately, that's really not that far from the truth. For the first 6 weeks I was livin' large and in charge, as I only had Sadie to answer to in my big ol' 3 bedroom fourplex (a new word for me too since moving to Simpson. I always envisioned it meaning some sort of multi-staged wrestling suplex). Buuuuuuuut then I was feeling kinda ridiculous having that whole place to myself so I thought "awww heck, couldn't hurt to have ONE other person living up in this maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah". Just like that, a new to town nurse moved in. Life went on.
Then, after a couple more weeks, I thought to myself "weeeelllll golly gee, this here ol' place still got lots of room. Got that there extra bedroom just sittin' up there lookin' all smug!". And just like that, another new to town nurse moved in.
Life was good. 3 people! 3 bedrooms! We had reached a state of equilibrium! The gods were no doubt pleased by this.
Then, the clouds darkened, the ground trembled! Another person moved in! I'm sure I even saw a piece of what looked to be the sky fall down and put a dent in my truck! But it didn't stop there, oh no, another person moved in! Surely I had pressed my luck.
I will admit, my wallet was seen to be frolicking around the backyard, hugging strangers and telling them "I love you man. I love you."
But as for me, my days usually consist of trying to find an empty corner where I can curl into a ball. What's that? You need this corner? Oh. Do you know if anyone is in that corner upstairs? He is? Oh. Well then, basement it is!

At least we have an excellent spread of ages in the house. Statistics Canada will be so delighted! We cover just about every age from 19 to 50. Literally!

Please keep in mind a lot of the things I say aren't to be taken literally. It's actually pretty great as I'm paying next to nothing on accommodations cause of the influx of roommates. My food bill, however, has gone way up. I have to keep my strength and energy levels high! You never know when a riot will break out and a survival of the fittest bloodbath will ensue. So I eat and look all squinty eyed at those around me until that day comes.

and on that note...
seeya!

P.S.
I'm going to Yellowknife for a few days at the start of next week for work. I've already got lots of great games planned for when I'm in YK. Like "Blow as Much Money as You Can!" and other family favourites.

Friday, October 17, 2008

WOOOHOOOO! IT IS SNOWING!


Yahoooooo!! When I first woke up yesterday morning at 7:30 it said there was a chance of flurries...but by the time I showered and went out the door for work at 9 it was SNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGLALALALALLAAAAAAAAAAAA! Perhaps you can't sense my excitement simply by reading text, but I think the most direct comparison I can think of would be if I had just had a baby. A cold, temporarily lasting baby.

It has been snowing pretty much nonstop since yesterday morning....slowly accumulating....but it's getting there! I'd guess about 5cm so far. But even so, how I love its powdery goodness! Oh snow, I would eat you for breakfast, lunch, AND supper.
Speaking of eating, I've noticed that since I let Sadie out for the day in the snow yesterday (followed by a run with me after work where I was so delightfully giddy that I'm sure I alienated at least one person) that her appetite is veracious! Through the summer she eats her food more casually, as if she knows that she must consume a required allotment of calories to sustain her body mass. This is about her level of excitement to eat.
But come the winter...hoooo boy! I just let her in from being outside and she's more along the lines of: "WOOOOOOOOOO! AWWWWWWWWW YEAH! That's some good shit out there Dad! You shoulda seen this one snowflake! Woooooooooosh! I thought I was gonna catch it in my mouth but then kablammmmo! It was all going the other way and everything! Hey...seriously!?! awwwwww hells yeah pops! Food! I fuckin love that stuff! *NOM NOM NOM*"
(I do believe that NOM NOM NOM is universally accepted as the sound one makes when eating food)

I'm still skeptical if this snow fall will entirely last, as the ground wasn't frozen as solid as it will need to be. If it gets anywhere around zero degrees in the next few days I predict mud. Lots and lots of mud.

Anywho, I'm off to go rub snow over all my belongings. I LOVE SNOW.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Today wasn't the day, but I came close.

I had one of those moments today that you always hear people talk about (at least the people I talk to) where they literally allllllllllllllllmost lose it and go insane. Almost.

I was walking into the Northern today, wait, no make that strutting into the Northern today. As I approached the magical sliding doors (side note: Ft. Simpson Northern has notoriously slow-to-open doors that make you literally do a stutter step to time it so that you don't cause a disturbingly embarrassing door-rattling bump) I was immediately greeted/confronted by a large bearded man wearing an all white lab coat covered in blood who yelled in my direction, "So youueeeerr the bloke who bough up all mai steeeewing beeeeef?"

I froze up, mid-step in between the now open sliding doors, not quite positive if he was actually talking to me or perhaps someone in behind me. Obviously I didn't want to commit myself by giving him a response only to have someone directly behind me begin speaking at the same time as they were the intended recepient of his message. That would only cause a whole new set of problems.

Anyway, I stood there mid-step, wide eyed, slack-jawed, kind of half looking behind me slowly as I still wasn't sure what was happening. Hell I wasn't sure if he had spoke English or if he was choking at this point. I gave him the eyebrow raise as if to say "hmm? Whassat?" and again he said "I sas so youuueer the bloke who bough up all mai steeeewing beeeef?"
At this point I was pretty sure he was talking to me, so I nonchalantly nodded at him. I think this was the right response because he smiled and then said something about it being "no worries".
It also turns out he was Australian, and that he is the meat cutter for the Northern store. Of course these things only came to my attention several seconds after he had walking away. And I should also mention that I did in fact buy 8lbs of stewing beef from there yesterday. But come on, surely you can see how traumatizing that would be for someone for that one instant! When did Northern get a dedicated meat cutter? There's an Australian in Fort Simpson?

I'm slowly recuperating now, but my nonsensical ramblings may take some time to fade...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

No snow and too much rain makes Alex go something something...


Still no snow. NONE! There was a couple of times late at night when I was out walking Sadie and I think I saw a flurry or two (flurry...McDonalds....snack wrap.....*drool*.....sorry, sorry I'm back) but then I'm starting to wonder if I actually even saw them. Hell for all I know there could have been a business tycoon further down the road riding a golf cart and tipping the ashes from his cigar into the air. I'm starting to think the chances are about the same as having actual snow right now. After talking to friends in Fort McPherson, my brother in Lutselk'e, and seeing all the other northern blogs, it would appear that everyone else has received at least some snow. But nooooo Fort Simpson has to be all high and mighty with it's unofficial nickname as "The Garden of the MacKenzie" and bring down liquid water from the skies. I want snow dammit!
(That really is the nickname of Simpson. Kind of nice I guess. I would have preferred it to be something with some spice though. "The Tank of the MacKenzie". "The BASE Jumper of the MacKenzie". I really don't think I'm asking for too much here people)

I've slowly been bringing out my winter gear (and ordering more from MEC, naturally) in the hopes that I can trick Mother Nature into bringing us some snow.
"Oh shit! Did I blackout?? I knew I shouldn't have had that last round of shots, that guy has his winter gear out! I must have melted all the snow when I was hammered."

I even was down in my basement earlier just staring at my snowshoes for a while. Soon my pretties, soon.

You can be sure that once we get a good downing of snow I will return with a pic-tacular update chronicling my descent into in a state of snow-induced naked running around the streets joy-fest.

PS
You've probably already figured out that the picture is NOT from this year....but it helps to make my agony all that much more real by posting snowylike pictures

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The darker side of dog walking

Not really an actual full fledged meaty posting, but I was looking through my pictures and I came across this one from a few weeks ago, you may have to click for the enlarged version to fully see it:

Sadie and I were mindlessly walking around down by the Papal grounds when I stumbled into what was most likely the most intense standoff I have ever witnessed.
The 2 of them remained like this for quite some time. Nobody dared flinch! Eventually the little guy backed away, but not before he first made the throat-slit motion with his paw. Needless to say, we've been avoiding that side of town.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

...do this don't do that can't you read the siggggggggggggnnnnnnn!....

After that last post I was looking through my pictures and I realized that I unknowingly seem to have a sign fetish. I have lots of pictures of signs. hmmm....
Here's the golf course:

The sign that leads the way further north to Wrigley:

An oddly highlighted sign down at the Papal Site, with help reading it being provided by Sadie:

annnnnnnd last, AND most likely least, the intersection sign heading towards my house:

The village of Fort Simpson is highly innovative and progressive don't you know.

I also just realized that I seem to have a fetish for posting any pictures of signs in my possession.

PS
I promise I won't post any more signs until I get sexually frustrated again. I LIE!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Signs...signs...everywhere a sign...



Lots of interesting signs around Fort Simpson...care to join me in viewing a few? Of course you do!

One of the more peculiar signs in town is the signpost next to the golf course when you first get on the island. I hope Watson Lake (Yukon) doesn't catch wind of Simpson's attempt at a Sign Post Yard or else we'll be the laughing stock of medium sized northern communities! A cool idea, but it seems to be lacking in its execution:


Here's the start of the appropriately titled "No Fun Trail" which runs along the MacKenzie River on the east side of the island:

What next!? No bipeds?! No kinetic energy!?!?

(I could be off about the name of that trail...for some reason "MacKenzie Walking Trail" seems to ring a bell...)

Take a look at this next scene, which is along the back road on the west side of the island:

Notice anything? Well upon closer inspection you'll find there is a resident who apparently doesn't enjoy life in the fast lane. You'd think whoever that person is would lighten up a bit! I'm sure the kids who exit the elementary school onto that road would really enjoy seeing some cars drive faster along here:

Moving on...we have one of the churches which is down by the Papal Flats.
I'm sure that if my church at home growing up was like this one I'd have taken more interest. Actually I still don't think I'd go. But I would at least tell people I did. Talk about wild west badassery!:


Next up, we have what could quite possibly be the more informative sign I've seen in some time:

I quite enjoy its ability to answer all those stupid questions we all want to ask but never actually do...such as "hmmm I wonder what's being built there? Oh, it's a New Office Building. Wow!" or "gee whiz, I wonder how much a big ol' building like that there one would cost? Wuh? $6,540,868? Oh, I guess that settles that then."

This pretty little gem is one of the signs you'll find plastered around any campground in the area. I assume it was the product of a Grade 5 drawing contest:

Look out campers! Those evil zombie embers are sneaking away to rape and/or kill the forest! Noooooooooooooo!

But then maybe I shouldn't be so critical. I still haven't figure out how to properly draw a foot with no shoe on in my drawings. My trees with a black hole in the middle are coming along nicely though. You can practically sense that there must be an owl living in there!

And last, but certainly not least, we have the sign that fall is in full effect:

*cues soothing piano music*
awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww


P.S.
In case you haven't already figured it out, the sign at the top of the post would be that of my workplace...known locally as LKFN. The full name can also be spelled in a few different ways, none of which I can consistently remember.
The more you know...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hayyy River, you sure do gots a purdy mouth

Annnnnnnnnnnd just like that the (outdoor) soccer season is over! We left first thing Friday morning and drove a little over 4 hours south east of Simpson to Hay River. It was a mostly uneventful weekend, with 4 mostly unsuccessful attempts at achieving NWT soccer fame, several mostly unsuccessful shopping excursions, 2 mostly successful attempts by youths to stay out and party all night and make the coaches then search on foot all over town to find them, annnnnnnd then a completely successful bus ride back home.
Speaking of success, if anyone out there reading this has been feeling that lately they simply have far too much energy and vitality, I fully recommend my new lifestyle plan. Lemme layout the basics:

1. Find a nice hard piece of cold floor to sleep on. A small school classroom is preferable.

2. Fill said classroom with approximately 15 guys who were recently playing soccer for several hours, making sure that all of their soccer gear is carefully distributed throughout the classroom. Please note: For optimal results, ensure that the majority (the vast, VAST majority) have not showered. Those who have not showered can be recognized by their claims of "nahhh I'm alright, I didn't really sweat that much" and "Yeah I showered".

3. Spend several days in this setting, and be sure to fully take in the aftermath of the soccer players' excellent choices in diet during this time.

4. ...

5. Profit!

(Please keep in mind that my definition of "profit" may vary slightly from your own)

As for Hay River itself...well I don't really know what to say. Besides the "skyscraper" there (15 stories) and the ridiculously self-confident bright purple school, it looks pretty much like any town you'd see down south. Not saying it wasn't nice, especially since I didn't see all of it. But still....seemed kinda "ho hum". HO HUM!
Then again Simpson probably doesn't seem "dee dah da doo" upon first glance either.

Anyway...we arrived back last night, and I am exhausted! It's also getting very cold...there's even been a few light flurries in the early morning or late at night. But then looking at other Northern blogs and talking to my brother in Lutsel K'e it sounds like Simpson is one of the few places to actually not get hit with a dump of snow so far.
Not much else new to speak of...bball season is starting soon (both coaching and NBA. yahoo!) so that should be keeping me busy. I've also been considering a second d-o-g...but that's just between you and me, I don't want s-a-d-i-e getting suspicious.

I sure hope hope her spelling hasn't improved. She never did see that s-p-a-y-i-n-g coming...mwahahaha!

Hope everyone is doing well!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

So...tired.....must stay.....involved...in...community....*collapses and dies*

What can I say other than that I am beaaaaaaaaaaaaat! (speaking of beat, one thing I have not missed having readily available at the local grocer is beets. Man, does anyone really like those?)

As mentioned previously I have unknowingly committed myself to coaching both the soccer and bball teams at the high school. I have also let my stupid stupid male pride get in the way of just being a regular coach. What do I mean? Well, it should be no problem to facilitate 3 soccer practices a week in addition to my regular fitness/dog owner responsibilities, but for some reason I keep doing all the drills with the players, attempt to win every sprint, put extra effort into regularly humiliating the weaker players with verbal and physical taunts, etc etc. (You know, that whole "lead by example" mantra).
I would considering myself active, but by no means would I say I am any sort of fitness guru. I take Sadie running a couple times a week, lift weights a couple times a week, and do jack-shit all for the rest of my free time. (see: computer games and sleeping on couch)
And now, after a single, solitary week of soccer practices in addition to said routine, I am cooked! I don't know how many calories one is supposed to consume, but obviously I'm not there. Maybe I need to start adding vast quantities of lard to my diet. hmmm...
Even my office has turned against my body cause it seems like the hallway to the copier rooom that was once a measly 40 feet long has seemingly transformed itself into a 2 mile journey. Oh when will it stop! The humanity of it all!

/girly man rant

P.S.
Does anyone know a good comeback for "You're the world's worst coach! You suck!"?
Any contributions are appreciated.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cougars on the prowl...

No, unfortunately it's not that 42 year old that you work with who still knows how to party, there's a real live Cougar/Mountain Lion/Puma on the loose! I don't have much else to tell you about it other than there's been a lot of bad horny older women jokes going around and reports of some guy's dogs getting harassed by said cougar. (Or so says the receptionist at my work, and SHE heard it from a very VERY reliable source...at least that's my understanding)

I'll do my best to get a picture! That is, if this cougar decides to walk into my living room while I have my camera turned on and pointed in his/her direction. If it tries to be any more cunning than that though...you may be outta luck.

In other news, you may have noticed my lack of pictures from the float plane ride I was gloating about last week. Wellll ya see....that didn't happen! Bad weather caused the MacKenzie to be extra choppy and the lame pilots were too scared to try taking off. Ha! Imagine that. What do they know anyway!

In one final piece of news...I should also mention that you are now talking to the head coach of both the Senior Boys Soccer AND Basketball teams! *coughs, adjusts self*
I don't know how I fell into that, but I'm certainly knee deep in it. The soccer season looks to be an extra grueling one...with a demanding schedule of 5 soccer practices over the next 2 weeks, and then a tournament in Hay River on the 19th.

...

...

...

Wha? Nope, that's it! That is the soccer season here. ha!
I'll be laughing all the way to the partial-service bank! (I assume I will be getting paid for this high school coaching gig. That IS why people do this kind of stuff isn't it?...)


I do have a question for any blog readers out there...anyone have a good set of plans for making a modest dog house? Keeping in mind that I don't really have any access to lumber and woodworking materials. But I'm willing to ask around for odds and ends if need be. I'm trying to look out for my baby girl, winter is coming you know.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Go Buddy Go!


Nothing really to update about...and I only posted that picture of Sadie smelling Pantera's bum to get you in the mood for dogs.

Anyway, just now on my way home from work I saw pure awesomeness! Right "downtown" (in front of the Northern) there was 3 dogs in the middle of the road, and then they all started seriously scrapping! What made it so remarkably awesome (as opposed to mediocre...ly awesome) was that everyone was just clearing out of work (5pm) so everyone simultaneously stopped and were crowded on the sides of the road watching! A few people even yelled out cheers! "Go Buddy! Take em!!". And to top it all off, I know for a fact that one of the dogs involved in this scrap is actually named "Buddy". How could you possibly describe that situation with any other word besides "awesome"?? That's what I thought.

As for the long weekend, I'm hopping on a float plane tomorrow morning to fly out to a wedding for the weekend! yeeehawww! Have a....hard-working (?) Labour Day weekend!


P.S.
All the dogs appeared to emerge OK from the scrap. In fact, Buddy even followed me home! We're friends.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Danger is the new boring...


I think it's just because I haven't lived in the North long enough, but I still (quite often) run across situations or things up here that strike me as distinctly "weird". The funny thing is, nobody else seems to notice, which makes it even more weird.
Take for example: Over the past couple of weeks there's been a large number of Grizzlies in and around Simpson. Which, for one thing, shatters my understanding that this is supposed to be a fort (after all, it is called "Fort" Simpson).

We have a kick ass moat (the McKenzie River surrounds the island of Fort Simpson), and then we have the first line of defence on the edge of town, the trailer park, followed by the bottleneck of the causeway, and last (but certainly not least) the heavily armoured Fort Simpson Visitors Centre. But even still these bears (which have no doubt been sent from hell or by a super villain) managed to impregnate the defenses and run wild all over the island. I just realized I've gone off on a bit of tangent. Sorry. But I can't help it! Now that I think about it, just about every place I've lived I've given at least several minutes' thought to how we would defend the community against an attack. Hey! I just thought of something else, seeing as how Fort Simpson is classified as a village, I have now lived in a city (Halifax), a town (Windsor), a village (Ft. Simpson), and a delicious hamlet (Ft. McPherson).
Hey! I need to work on staying on topic...

Right, so back to daaa bears. They've been prowling all over Simpson, and they've been scattin' all over the place! (and no, not in the "bee-bop-badoodaadoooo" sense unfortunately)
There has even been 2 bears shot right in town, one across the road from the health clinic!
So there's been live bear traps setup all over the place, such as this one:

(You can almost sense the identity crisis that the trap must be going through. "I just absolutely love this camouflage paint job! Ohh but I do really think this florescent tape and bright warning sign are simply fabulous! What to do...what to do....oh heck, why not both!")

...

No wait! Don't leave! I promise I'll get to the point...as I was saying, bears everywhere! Now if I was in NS I know this would be a major crisis, lots of panic and whatnot. But as far as I can tell, nobody seems to notice besides the occasional "I dunno, I guess I might tie my dog up tonight, that bear is still around town isn't it?"
What I have heard lots of people commenting on during this same time period is the return of T.V. bingo! But can you really blame everyone for going nuts about that? hmm?
O.K., I don't think you heard me: T.V. BINGO !!!

Hmm...it turns out I didn't really have a point after all....yeah....how about that.... Weeeeelllll... time to hit the dusty trail.....*dives through window*

P.S.
I am aware that bears can swim, but to sleep at night I have blocked this knowledge out of my mind. I recommend you do the same unless you want to continue living in a world of fear!


P.P.S.
That road sign at the top of this post is the actual sign posted as you drive out of Simpson. I like it! It kinda tells you: "All or Nothing! You either drive like a little girl and go to the airport...or you be a MAN and go all the way to Edmonton!"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Canada Post, you just made my list...


...list of people and/or organizations that I would hold a grudge against if I was the kind of person to make a list like that! But lucky for you, Canada Post, I am not that kind of a person.

There's a number of items I'm waiting for in the mail that have been taking weeks! I know that I'm in the North and all, but if it's gonna take this much longer for my crap to get here then the least they could do is put an asterisk beside my expected delivery date! And then at the bottom of the page they could have a little legend that explains:
* = Where the hell are you? You're where!? Ha! Oh man, you are gonna wait and wait and wait for this sucker. And you can even call us and we'll tell you it'll be there tomorrow and make you open up your little P.O. Box and then weep and whimper as you see it's still not there...and there's nothing you can do about it! What's that? You want to use Fedex or UPS? Nice try, even I, a webpage, knows that they won't take your sorry little package way up there. We're your only option! haaaahaaaaaahaaaaamwahahahahah
(and the maniacal laughter continues for some time after)

And as a final slap in the face to me, the CP people on the phone keep referring me to Online Shipment Tracking. On it, you can conveniently see the exact date, location, and time of your package being picked up and processed at various locations throughout Canada, only to have it eventually arrive in Edmonton where it will sit...sit...sit...sit...and then eventually, one day long into your future (you know, like once your kids start thinking your crazy cause you keep mumbling about something you bought back before they were born), the package magically arrives in your P.O. Box!

I should mention though, I heard from a friend of a friend's Dog Sled trainer's half brother that they once received a package in 4 day one time! Throughout the North it is known as The Legend of the Online Shopping Package That Arrived in Four Days. Of course it's just Dene Folklore. But interestingly enough, the myth also resides in Inuit story telling circles as well...

I'll keep you updated on the status of my package...*snicker*