Monday, July 28, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring, forest fire smoke prevents me from breathing well enough to be snoring

Just a quick update for today (and you damn well better be grateful for it too!):

It's back to a full work week for me today, and it's gonna seem like a hella long one too because the first 6 weeks of work have been full of 4 day weeks with Treaty Day, Aboriginal Day, Canada Day, a day booked off to travel, annnnd then a day being forced to stay in Yellowknife.
Perhaps I should explain my Yellowknife kidnapping of sorts: A few of us from Simpson drove down to Yellowknife for a big music festival last weekend (Folk on the Rocks) and then when we attempted to make the drive back Sunday night a forest fire outside YK closed down the highway and we were turned back. Not that I could really complain about staying in a hotel and eating restaurant food an extra day. Speaking of driving, I bought a truck a few weeks ago too. So what if it's only "new" to me. Don't judge me! Please! You can't! For anyone wondering, it's a 2000 Ford F150 Supercab Lariat. That's right. 5.4L V8. I'm talking downtown baby. Vroom Vroom. And it loves gas probably about as much as you think it might. No wait- more. But with gas being at the low low price of 1.64/L here who can complain! To the moon I say! Or at least drive to that Space Elevator that will take us to the Moon. They built that, right??

Anyway where was I...right, new automobile likes petrol. I'll post pics of it once I take some. I do have this one though, taken as we drove through the smoke of a forest fire:

It even has a winch! No, I don't have any immediate uses for a winch...but I do have a plan: Go to a big party at somebody's place (who I don't really know that well, and to be honest, I don't even like them!), be a complete dick to everybody there, and then get asked to leave. I'll be all like "yeah okay, I'll leave alright, you won't have anymore problems from me man". But secretly at some point in the evening I will have secured the winch around the guy's deck or his tent or dog house or something he likes, and then I'll back out of his driveway with the truck and start tearing the hell out of whatever I hooked the winch to! I'll casually turn back forward in my truck, reacting to the party-goers mad screams. I'll do a kind of eyebrows half-raised look of "oops", and then haul ass outta there! I also hope that by this time I have installed a novelty horn in the truck so it makes my departure that much better.

Moving on, I also have a roommate now as of last week. For the first 5 weeks here I was living in this 3br with just Sadie, so it was kind of empty. She's a nurse here in Simpson who just moved here from New Brunswick. There's another nurse moving in too in a few weeks, also from New Brunswick. Maritimes to the extreme! I know.

Hey I forgot to mention yesterday, the bad ass looking guy who picked me up at the airport when I got here turned out to be my neighbor. What a small world. (or you could say it's really not that unlikely when there's only 1200 people in the middle of nowhere)

There's another forest fire burning close to Simpson right now so it's been really hazy all over town and people have been dying and falling into the ditches. True, I don't have any proof whatsoever of anyone dying and falling into a ditch as a result of this fire, or anyone dying in general, but you just don't know with Mother Nature. You just don't. It does smell like a campfire 24/7 though, so if you like that kind of thing...yay!
I know I've mentioned "forest fires" 14 times too many already in this post, but apparently there's been something crazy like 140+ fires of a substantial size so far this season! There's several new ones everyday.

That's it for now. Bye!

I think what I like most about the picture of the Park Ranger in the picture at the top of this post is that either the Ranger shot the bear and is now looking the other way, perhaps in mourning or as an ultimate fuck-you to the bear he just killed;
he pulled off an amazing trick shot where he held the rifle behind his back and still got the bear right behind the head!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fort Simpsonitis!

After much delay...I finally am able to do an update from the confines of Fort Simpson! (It really is a fort you know. Okay I lie, it's not really a fort, but someday soon I do plan on making a pillow fort in my room. It's gonna rule!)

The reason for the 6 week delay was mostly (completely) due to the fact that I didn't have a computer besides my work computer to use. I don't know about you but when there's a policy in place to not do personal tasks on company time I listen! And also I didn't have any pictures on my work computer. Blee blah bloooo

So I feel like I should start from the beginning in regards to Fort Simpson, much like I did when I first started this blog last year when I moved to Fort McPherson. (If you can't tell yet, I have a fetish with forts. rawr!)

I didn't really know anything about Simpson (you see how I can drop the "Fort" just like that? Yehawww!) before getting here besides the population and location, but even those were just numbers (or coordinates as the case may be. *pushes glasses up nose*). Having been here now for 6 weeks I think I have a pretty good lay of the land. It feels much bigger here than McPherson, both people wise and the area. Simpson is actually an island in the MacKenzie River that is connected by a causeway. It's serviced by the Liard Ferry a few minutes south of the island where the ferry crosses the (you guessed it!) Liard River. Most of the main roads here ARE paved (chip-sealed, whatever) which is a definite plus. The highway outta here is paved until you get to the checkpoint (a gas station that is at the junction where you can head east towards yellowknife or west to Ft. Liard and B.C.). Then it's back to the lovely dirt and gravel highway. But as shitty as the dirt road is here I still feel eleventy BILLION times better driving on it than the Dempster (hwy that serviced McPherson)
ANYWHO....this is getting boring, even for me. Back to Simpson:
Lots of young people, lots of tourists, lots of things to do. There's bball a couple times a week, there's 2 (TWO!!!!) bars, and if you have the money (lots of money that is) you can take tours into the Nahanni National Park. Okay so that doesn't sound like a lot, but remember where I moved here from. There's also a big Northern store here, and a small convenience store. And...*ahem* a liquor store...not that I know where that is. I read a pamphlet about it somewhere I think.
As for getting here, the trip made for a long day as I had to drive from McPherson to Inuvik, fly down to Yellowknife, wait a few hours, then hop on an Air Tindi (classssy baby) flight and then it was another 1.5 hours to fly into Simpson.
Here was my ride into Simpson:

oh it was this one, my mistake:

When I first got into town it all seemed so maybe I had made a huge mistake. I got in late in the evening, the airport was basically closed so I was blindly wandering around until I met up with the guy who was giving me a lift to the place I was setup to stay for a few nights. "Ernest" was his name, and he's a huge Dene guy with a long grey ponytail and a handlebar mustache. Kinda like a native version of the guy from Orange County Choppers. Anyway, the first few days were kinda weird, the people I was staying with were awesome and everything but I still was kinda unsure.
That was a long time ago (friggin 6 weeks, come on!) and now Simpson seems like paradise! Give or take a luxury or 2 of course.

I plan on updating a bit more regularly than every 6 weeks, just for future reference, so I need any readers of this to dial their "give a shit about Alex meter" to semi-regular updates. Thanks! Let's be friends.

This update is taking forever, and I'm lacking any pics of Simpson itself. I got to go into Yellowknife 2 times since moving here, so I haven't really had a chance to really "go without" for any length of time yet. Except for the 4 continuous months I was in McPherson before getting here...hmmm...

Sadie says "hi" too. She talks! She also puts the toilet paper back on the roll backwards.