12/30/08

Stupid monkey-ass word-purists

University's banned words list offers no 'bailout' to offenders
Published: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 | 6:07 PM ET

Canadian Press NewsItem/NewsComponent/NewsLines/ByLine

DETROIT - A movie about a "maverick," his journey "from Wall Street to Main Street," his "desperate search" for a "monkey" and a "game-changing" revelation about his "carbon footprint" probably would make the nation's word-watchers physically ill.

Especially if it were the "winner of five nominations."

All those words and phrases are the annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness, produced by Lake Superior State University on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

The 34th version of the list, released Tuesday, selected 15 entries from about 5,000 nominations, and the bulk of the entries came from the environmental category - for "green" or "going green."

"If I see one more corporation declare itself 'green,' I'm going to start burning tires in my backyard," wrote Ed Hardiman of Bristow, Va., in his submission.

Nominators had also had their fill of "carbon footprint" - the amount of greenhouse gases an individual's lifestyle produces.

"I'm a maverick, he's a maverick, wouldn't you like to be a maverick, too?" offered Michael Burke of Silver Spring, Md., in his entry for the label embraced by unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Although this year's sluggish economy and record rise in gas prices may have kept people closer to home, the word coined for it - "staycation" - is "idiotic and rootless," complained Michele Mooney of Los Angeles.

An emoticon also made the list for the first time. The strings of characters used in e-mails and text-messaging commonly represent a face, but the school singled out an emoticon heart, formed with a "less than" symbol and the number 3.

"Monkey" was on the list because of what some see as its rampant use as a suffix.

"Especially on the Internet, many people seem to think they can make any boring name sound more attractive just by adding the word 'monkey' to it," wrote Rogier Landman of Sommerville, Mass.

-

Lake Superior State's 2009 list of banished words

DETROIT - Lake Superior State University's 2009 list of banished words and phrases:

-green

-carbon footprint or carbon offsetting

-maverick

-first dude

-bailout

-Wall Street/Main Street

-monkey

-icon or iconic

-game changer

-staycation

-desperate search

-not so much

-winner of five nominations

-it's that time of year again

12/29/08

Photos and shop

So I got a bitchin' camera for Christmas.

Lookie:
Jealous? Well you should be. Mwa ha ha.

I still haven't really figured it all out yet. Apparently - according to the reviews I've read online - this little baby is like a digital SLR camera, without the detachable lenses. And I had been toying with the idea of buying a beginner DSLR for a couple months now, as my little Canon got a grain of sand in its lens (or so we think) in Greece. So My Little Canon is now probably being repaired (cross your fingers the warranty will cover it)... and in the meantime now I have Mini Spy-Camera (all rights reserved to Mongoose :P).

Which brings me to my real point. As part of the casual judging I'm doing for the NWT Blogging Awards, I have been checking out a lot of photo blogs. There's nothing more wonderful than oogling a well-composed photograph... I've become addicted, believe it or not... clicking "next post" for hours on end, oo-ing and ahh-ing at each subsequent photo.

But now I'm feeling disillusioned. Turns out many of the photos I just drool over are doctored in Photoshop. And I'm not sure if I like that.

Granted, Photoshop allows you to take a photo like this and (if you have the skillz) morph it into something quite different. And that's pretty darn cool... but now I have become jaded. Every beautiful photo I see now, I wonder if it's genuine! Am I the only one left who doesn't doctor their photos before posting on the web?

Now don't get me wrong. I can acknowledge that a photograph is just an illustration of a moment in time. To capture that moment, the photographer often takes many different factors into consideration before snapping the shot. Light, composition, focus... all altered to please the eye. It's not "real" even if it looks "unscripted."*

And I'm okay with that.

And its not like I'm a total photo-purist. I crop my photos before I put them on my blog. But maybe it's because I don't know how, but I've never really done any post-production altering on my photos. It's not really my thing. And I feel it takes away from the genuity of the picture.

But that's just IMHO.


*The exception being photos taken by small children when given a disposible camera. But then few of those shots would be widely considered "awe-inspiring" - BUT beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that jazz.


UPDATE: More bloggers have joined the discussion! Who knew one little "musing" entry would spur so much excitement haha. See allmycke's blog, Mongoose's blog, and KC's blog for more discussions on this topic.

For Kara

Reader asks... What is a condiment reunion? I am curious since I am a condimentaholic....


Oops! Sorry to disappoint, but I don't think you'll be very interested in *my* condiment reunion.
You see....

Condiments =
BUT condiments ALSO =


(DAMN I miss my hair looking like that.....)


You see, once upon a time, the three lovely women in the photo above were serendipitously assigned to the same dorm room at university. But it wasn't just any dorm room, it was the newest building on campus, with four individual bedrooms per unit, a kitchen and two bathrooms. It was called a "suite."

So the group of us were not just "room-mates" we were "suite-mates."

After first year, we moved out of the university residences into a town house. Not just any town house, a CONDO. One we would live in for the next 3 years. So no longer were we "suite-mates" or "room-mates" (I think you see where this is going...) we were "condo-mates."

Or, as is more fun, Condiments.

Now you know.

12/28/08

Preparations continue...

Okay, yes I've been slacking on my blogging duties. But there's a good reason:



If you have ANY IDEA how hard it is to type without a space bar, you should feel very sympathetic right now. Because it's pretty near god-damn impossible to do. Instead of having this three-and-a-half inch button that you gently tap to get a space in-between every word...

YOU HAVE THIS LITTLE 5-MILLIMETER NUBBIN THAT YOU HAVE TO HIT SQUARE ON THE NOSE.

So yah, don't think I'm a bad blogger, just think how much it sucks that we don't have a computer repair place in Rankin. And the dumbest part of all? It came off because of that stupid little insignificant white hair you see in the photo.

Sully's of course, and I took off the space bar to clean underneath it, and now I can't get it back on again. GRRR. Trust me, it's harder than you think.

But on to the real entry...

So it took a couple weeks, but my vacation is now more or less together, and I'm just fixing up dinner arrangements and the like.

Unfortunately, despite all my nagging, bribing, and offering of totally-inappropriate sexual favours, the condiment reunion didn't come together (which reminds me, Kara, I still have to answer your question... that will be my next post, I promise!).

Which is too bad, for many reasons... but there's nothing to do but whine about it, and I think the girls feel guilty enough as is.

So after much humming and hawing...

I'm headed on my very first all-inclusive vacation to the pacific coast of Mexico in just 19 days!!!! Eeee!

Yep, I gave in. I spend WEEKS bitching about how expensive all the vacations were... and how they charge that "you suck for travelling by yourself" penalty fee... but when it came down to it, and I did the math, flying to a city and staying in a 1-star hotel (aka hostel with private room) was going to cost the same as going to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. And that's not counting meals. Or any activities.

So instead, I've chosen to be pampered and hassle-free for a week. I can't freakin' wait.

I'll be honest, I really need this vacation. Some junk has been piling up over here in Rankin and I was VERY NEAR a burnout-and-leave earlier in December. I *think* (and hope) that the worst is over, but I feel like in the process I let a bunch of people down, and shirked on some of my commitments. I'm sorry to those it affected, but I need to put me first for a little bit. I hope to come back refreshed and with a more positive outlook.

ANYWAYS, most everything is figured out. I leave on the 16th from Rankin (a friday), meet and greet and have dinner with Madam Megan over in the snow-covered-hills, spend the night with JS v.1.0 (I'm JS v.2.0 - natch) then get on another plane bound for Edmonton in the early-AM. Then I spend from 8:30-5:30 at the Edmonton Airport (not sure what the hell I'll do then, but somehow getting my laptop space bar repaired is on the top of my list) and then I fly direct to Puerto Vallarta, arrive at almost-midnight... then hop on a bus and drive to my little resort in Rincon de Guayabitos - on the beach in a "fishing village".

I'm there until the next Sunday when I leave at 1am direct to Edmonton... arrive in the wee hours of the morning. I then plan to rent a car for the day, spend the night with my cousin and her son, do some damage at the West Edmonton Mall... and call it a day, before heading back to Rankin and work on Monday the 26th.

A week on the beach, good food and good friends ... and I should come back to Skankin' Rankin a much happier person. Horray!

And, obligatory puppy photo - in a rare "sleepy" moment.

12/24/08

Happy Birthday....

Jen! (Okay, so it's not like it's YOUR birthday, it's Ezri's...but you did all the work!!)
Can't wait to see pictures!

PS, Tina, I read your post on Facebook and immediately tried to beat you to the punch with a blog post. Hmm. Wonder if I succeeded haha.


UPDATE: We hear little Ezri was born at 5 pm Ontario time, 8 lb. 5 oz. according to grandfather (and Facebook comments)

12/22/08

Southward-ho!

That's right, baby, I'm a-headin' down south.

Not permanently, not yet anyways, but for a little MUCH NEEDED vacation in January. Originally, my plan had been to tough it out until May. But then I realized that was just freaking dumb. Why would I do that, if I don't have to?

So I'm not going to. I blow this popsicle stand on the 16th, spend the night in Yellowknife (woohoo! I'll finally see 'the big city') then on to Edmonton.

Now what I do once I get there... I'm not sure yet.

I've been toying with a couple different ideas.

  1. Stay in Edmonton (I have a cousin who lives there that I could visit, and it might be nice just to arse around Edmonton for a week. I could make the inaugral West Edmonton Mall trip - maybe even stay in a theme room).
  2. Go SOUTH south, hit up some resort somewhere and get a wicked tan (oh, and relax till I get antsy - yep, that's right. Relax so much that I can't relax anymore... and become antsy. Yummie.)
  3. Go SOUTH south, and stay in a hotel (I've been really disappointed with the 'single traveller' penalty that the resorts have been tacking onto my reservations. It adds something like 200-300 bucks to the price of my ticket AND THEN there's the 200-300 dollars in tax. Not cool.)
  4. Go SOUTH middle south (aka North Carolina), visit with one of my best friends.
  5. Go SOUTH middle south (aka North Carolina), visit with one of my best friends, and then force her to skip out on classes/her responsibilities so the two of us can hit up VEGAS BABY.
  6. Go SOUTH middle south (aka North Carolina), CONVINCE ANDREA TO MEET ME THERE (are you reading this?), visit with Robyn, then force them both to accompany me to VEGAS BABY for what would undoubtedly be the biggest gong show of all time, and a week to remember.
Initially, I was all for the relax on the beach vacation. I've never done the all-inclusive thing. I've never been south of Florida. I reallllly want to go. But like I said I'm kind of annoyed at this "you suck for travelling alone" thing. Basically, no matter where you go, a single traveller is going to pay 1080. Even if it's a shotty resort. It's like this weird standard-single-fare.

So, as you can tell, I'm kind of all excited about the idea of a condiment reunion. The last time I saw these ladies was Easter of last year, and I used to LIVE WITH THEM. I'm obviously in serious withdrawl. But we're so spread across the country these days, it's painful. Robyn's going to school in Durham, NC. Andrea's working in her hometown of Georgetown, ON. And I'm way the hell up here.

SO.

#1.) If there are any Yellowknifers who want to go out for coffee or supper or something when I'm in town... let me know eh? It'll be the 16th of January.
#2.) Andrea/Robyn if you are reading this PLEASE SAY YES. Robyn, like I said, what's another 500 bucks ontop of the 30-grand you pay in international student fees. And I'm totally worth it. Andrea, how can you be the one variable that keeps us from having a condiment reunion? *GUILT GUILT*

You know you love me.

Top Two

My two favourite Christmas songs are.....

1. Blue Christmas - by the oh-so-divaesque Madam Celine Dion (many a Christmas has been passed with my sister and I serenading our parents with this song, hairbrushes in hand, fancy duds donned, crooning at the top of our lungs).

Celine Dion - Blue Christmas


Found at bee mp3 search engine


2. Baby it's cold outside - by anyone like Dean Martin or Frankie or anyone generally from the good ole Rat Pack days (I'll be the first one to admit this is a nice little song about date rape, but I love it all the same. Okay, it's not REALLY about date rape, it's more about Dean Martin convincing his lady friend to stay the night by the cozy fire even though she 'really should' go home. It's just a tad creepy if you read the lyrics without listening to the song).

Dean Martin - Baby, It's Cold Outside


Found at bee mp3 search engine


What are your fave festive tunes?


Also: on a completely unrelated note...
I forgot to put on deodorant this morning, so I've been doing sneaky pit-checks all day, and running off to the bathroom to routinely scrub them with tap water. I'm such a lady.

12/19/08

Ooh baby, I love it when you smell like beef


Ye-ah.

Sure, I like men. Sure I like BBQ. But that DOESN'T MEAN I want my MAN to smell like a flame-grilled Whopper.

Who the hell thinks this shit up????

12/18/08

Organization

At heart, I am an organized person.

I love colour-coding, I love labels, I love clutter-free spaces, with designated baskets for remote controls and magazines.

But you'd never know that if you were to take a look around my apartment right now.

I have no idea what happened. I used to be a pretty organized person. Even through university, while I would have to gingerly tiptoe through the laundry-landmine that was my bedroom floor... my binders were matched to a folder system for each class, which was colour-coded to go with my white board assignment calender. In high school, my locker was a public health hazard, but my schoolwork was impeccably neat. There has ALWAYS been SOME element of my life that has been flawlessly in order.

Until now. Now I'm just so scattered, it's not funny. It's come to the point where I honestly think the only way out of this hole is to have one of the guys from Clean Sweep come in and save me.

But seeing as that's just about as unlikely as Stacy and Clinton knocking on my door with a free makeover (can you tell I'm taking full advantage of my new satellite package?)... I've become obsessed with productivity and blogs/websites. And it seems I'm not alone. It looks like people are DESPERATE for some kind of foolproof system. Be it organizing their electronic life or otherwise.

Take Gmail, for example. I am obsessed with gmail. I have been since the early days when the only way to get an account was to get an exclusive invite. And at that time, because they were just starting up, an invite was totally coveted. So as the months/years have continued, they have introduced more and more little gadgets to help organize your inbox. First it was labels (as opposed to folders), then they colour-coded the labels. And just last week they introduced the "tasks" feature.

Now this is a keeper. I just 'upgraded' to Vista recently, and one feature that I LOVED over the old XP was the little sidebar gadgets on the desktop. I suddenly found myself writing little notes to myself on the 'stickies' on my desktop. And I installed a similar program on my work computer (shhh, don't tell). But there was a problem. How could I write really effective to-do lists if each was mutually exclusive? I obviously needed something more mobile*.

So this whole 'tasks' thing (basically a little collapsible/expandable embedded window in my email) is the ultimate solution. It's not an independent application like Springpad. It uses the devices I already use on a disgustingly-regular basis.

Okay so I got a bit off track there, but my point is that it seems like everyone is struggling with keeping their lives organized. And you can see this by the integration of little gadgets in email, desktop apps etc.

SO, I'm going to post a couple links to websites/blogs that are (perhaps way too) into all this organization hoo-ha - because, you know, the New Year is just around the corner, and with it many seemingly unobtainable resolutions.

Scott Young's blog
DIGTG
The Zenhabits blog

And, if you guys know of any more (I KNOW I read someone's blog who said they were chronically obsessed with this apartment-systems site) let me know! Tis the season, after all!

*Yes, I know, a little notebook would have fit the 'mobile' bill but I'm terrible about leaving things behind when I leave the house. It just doesn't work for me.

12/17/08

A new addition...

Don't freak out. No fetus here! (Though the way things are going in the Northern blogging world, I can understand why you'd think this).

Nope, I'm petsitting... again. But this time I am THRILLED about it.

A friend-of-a-friend has a little black shih-tzu named Buddy and he and Sully are as thick as theives. I normally don't relish the idea of a second dog (not without a yard of some sort and/or more temperate climates) but any time these two get together I ACHE for a little Buddy of our own.

Buddy is the cutest dog of all time. Well, you can't really see what he looks like because he's got so much fur/hair... but he ACTS cute. He cuddles like a cat, and will do anything you want... and even knows tricks! My favourite is (insert annoying high-pitched voice) "what do you do" - - he rolls over!

Sully is NOT a very rolly puppy. Sully is a rigid dog. So really Buddy is Sully's opposite.

Also, Buddy is not house trained. He is pad-trained (so was Sully for the longest time), but my goal is to return the dog moderately house-trained. I figure if ONE is trained, the other will follow that good influence.

But admittedly, my dog psychology is a bit rusty.

Obligatory photo:

12/16/08

Rideau Canal

I don't really have the energy to write. But below is the first thing I did in journalism school that was actually worth the paper I wrote it on. In first year university, our third assignment was to do a 'descriptive writing piece.' I went down to the Rideau Canal in late-February, and this was the result. I was very proud of it, and still mostly am. There's not much I would change about it, so here it is... largely un-edited (after that 4th draft I did before handing it in, that is).

The Mackenzie King bridge, the National Arts Centre and the Ottawa Congress Centre form a tunnel through which the otherwise calm wind whips. The benches within this wind tunnel are where skaters sit to lace up, and they emit a familiar smell of pine, bringing to mind the distant memories of Christmas. As the skaters leave the shadow of the bridge, they pass under a banner proclaiming the Rideau Canal as “the world’s longest skating rink”, and the sun reveals itself, staggering in its intensity as it reflects off of the hardened mounds of snow that have been turned grey by sand and salt. The power of the sun encourages the skaters to remove their heavy winter jackets, and a sign that skating season is almost over. The ice is slowly melting, creating puddles of slush, and closed-off sections.

The peaks of little chalets line the edges of the ice releasing sweet scents of pastries and the spicy tang of sausages, tempting the hungry stomachs of passersby. The cars zooming past the Congress Centre create a white noise hum in the background, but it is the scraping of blades on the ice, engraving the surface of the Canal that is distinctive. A man in a power wheelchair draws attention as he glides back and forth across a small patch of ice, etching unique designs of figure eights and circles. Few find him a bother and many stop to watch. There are gasps of shock as his wheels spin out of control and sighs of relief as they grasp the friction of the snow once more. Rarely do people strike up a conversation, but they smile in passing, or give ‘thumbs-up.’

The groups that pass him vary in grace and skill. The children bundled from head to toe in their winter snowsuits, providing protection from bruised knees and boo-boos, attempt his tricks, and although they cannot quite get the hang of it, squeal with laughter. The self-absorbed couples rarely pay him notice as they glide past with incredible grace or clutch onto one another for safety. But not all who pass are skaters, many are enjoying a leisurely stroll on a Saturday afternoon, alone or with their loved ones.

As they continue down the canal, these people fade from being families, friends and lovers of all ages and ethnicities. They are no longer unique for wearing boy skates, girl skates, speed skates, hockey skates or figure skates. Their strollers, toboggans, pets and children become unrecognizable. They become a mass of people, an indistinguishable group of bodies swaying back and forth, keeping time like a giant metronome.

12/13/08

Cold-be-gone

No, not in the -35-degree-weather kind of cold-be-gone... but rather a new power-team that I've developed to help kick the common cold.

First, you need a friend who's moving away and who has a disgustingly large sample of trial-size Advil Cold & Sinus.

Now generally, I wouldn't go around singing the praises of a cold medicine. I actually, generally don't believe in the stuff. Like Cold FX. You can tell me all you want that it helps. But as far as I'm concerned it's just placebo effect. Same with echinacea.

But dude? This stuff works. I woke up this morning at 4am, with snot running down my face, unable to swallow for all the mucus... popped a couple Advil Cold & Sinus and I was good as new.

Gotta love it.

Now the trick is if you don't pop one or two every 4 hours like clockwork, all the pipes fill up again and you're back where you started. But that's all right.

Second, you need to have had a hippie vegetarian live in your apartment before you, and leave random boxes of tea behind (and rice noodles).

Because among the boxes of chinese green tea, sits THIS.

The miracle-tea.

Now the jury's still out on whether or not the tea does anything other than keep you lubricated (aka fluid-filled) but it's got a nice little gingery taste, and smells like mint. What else could you ask for when you feel like a monkey turd? And the box says it helps with the runny-nose bit, so why not?

Also, it helps when your work springs for the expensive brand-name Kleenex. The stuff I bought on sealift is SCRATCHY. It's like using one-ply toilet paper to blow your nose. No fun. Turns out that is just one thing you don't want to scrimp on.

PS, can you tell I'm kinda sick ??? I'm all rambly about cold medicine. Man what has this blog become???

12/12/08

The things that stick with you

I was writing up some Christmas cards this afternoon at lunch, and I was struck by how COMPULSIVE I am some times.

Case in point:

I was using one of MY pens to write the message inside the card. But when it came to addressing the envelope I couldn't bear to scribble the address in ink. Why? Because Mommy told me not to.

That's right. Mommy.

Many many many years ago, I remember my mom telling me NEVER to use ink pens when addressing an envelope. What if it got wet? Then the ink would run, and the post office people wouldn't know where to send it!!!

Horror of horrors!

So instead I switched pens, and used a ball-point pen to address the envelope. Then switched back to my beloved Pilot V5 to finish off the note.

So sad...

Some things stick forever, it seems.

12/11/08

Life's hard

I'm having a life-conflict right now.
I've been given the choice to leave my job and move back down south and for a variety of reasons turned it down.
Lack of a job on the other end is one reason, the boy is another, but overall while I have my moments (and right now is one of them) ... I am not ready to leave.

So I've worked my ass off this past week, "trying to make it work" and external forces are not making it easy on me.
And I may or may not have come to a breaking point.

Someone treated me unfairly today. This is not the first time, nor do I expect it to be the last. But it was just so uncalled for.
I asked a favour, and exhausted all other options before asking said favour, and I got shat on.
And it's just so unfair.
In a rare moment of assertion, I stood up for myself, but I really don't know if it did any good. I don't feel like it did.

All I can say, is thank goodness for Sully.
I walked in the door this afternoon, tears in my eyes and that little waggy tail made me smile so hard they dropped down my cheeks.
I probably don't treat him as good as I should. I should probably take him on more walks.
But he doesn't care. He just loves me unconditionally as long as I feed him and let him out to pee. Why can't everyone be like that?

I think I'm going to go give him a hug.

12/9/08

HOW much??

Reader asks: I can't believe you spent so much money!

Yah, I know. Three hundred and fifty bucks is a lot of moolah... but up here? Well, it sounds quite reasonable.

First: The mitts. I'll have to take a picture of them some time. But they cost me a hundred dollars. Now, when you think about it without REALLY thinking about it, that seems disgusting. I would NEVER spend that much money on mitts if I were down south. Probably because the mitts that I'd be buying would be store-bought, not home made. And these are really well made - double seamed in the same way they make kamiks. My coworker, Betty, says they probably should have been sold for $150, rather than a hundred. So I think I got a good deal. Also, I only buy one pair of mitts a year. And hold on to them for dear life. I'll wear these every single time I leave the house for the next 6 months. Not many articles of clothing you can say THAT about.

Second: The fabric. Well, it was on sale. 30% off. I don't think I could have done better than that. I even went to the Co-op today (they were having a 20% off fabric sale) and I didn't see any nicer colours, or better prices, so I'm satisfied I got a good price. I would have spent less if I bought it down south, but it's hard to explain what kind of fabric you need to someone who doesn't know what you are talking about.

Third: The drawing. Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And I am STILL thrilled with my piece. And I don't care that I spent 70 bucks on a drawing. I'm going to frame it, and keep it forever, and it's totally one-of-a-kind. I'm smitten.

So yah, it was a lot of money. But that's the story of life in the north. You buy things. You often spend more money than you 'should' but as long as you are happy, it doesn't really matter... right?

Here's hoping.

12/8/08

Working Nights

I like working nights.
 
Which is a good thing, because that's what I'm doing today... gearing up for the results of the hamlet election here in Rankin and across the territory as well.

I don't exactly know WHY I like working nights. Maybe I only like it because it's a change of pace. It mixes things up a little bit ... I get to sleep in in the mornings (today excluded, because I didn't know I was going to be working late when I got in this morning, otherwise I wouldn't have)... and I find that I'm more focussed when I work at night.

No coworker distractions. No bank or post office runs.

And most of all... NO PHONE CALLS.

The lack of phone calls is probably what I like best about working at night. Back when I was 'allowed' to answer the phones (it's been decided for me that I should not answer the phones now because I'm not bilingual - even though I basically know what people are asking for 90% of the time - even if they are speaking inuktitut - but that's another story) I would probably pick up the stupid thing about 10-20 times PER HOUR.

It was exhausting.

But after hours, the only phone calls that come in are for me. Little old me. And it's wonderful.

Like I said, I heart working nights.

Run!

Take cover!
Save yourselves..........

12/7/08

Obligatory photos

First, Where's Kitty? (variation on Where's Waldo, of course)


Second, Puppy on Halloween. He went as Air Bud

Third, my new drawing. Which I love even more now than I did 20 minutes ago. For no good reason, I just love it.

Success!

Things that rock about today:

1.) I went to the Christmas craft fair at the arena and finally
replaced my "lubsta" mitts from last year*. Some people have several
pairs of mitts and rotate. Me? I buy one pair per season (home made
pair, that is) and wear the shit out of them all winter long.

2.) I am eating a samosa. Yes, that's right, a samosa. I think I can
now settle down in Rankin because if I can get samosa's here I can be
truly happy. You think I'm kidding but I'm not. I'm actually |------|
close to getting teary eyed about it, because it reminds me of the
farmer's market back home, and how that's one of the things I've said
is an almost-dealbreaker here (the lack of
farmers-market-like-things). And the guy that sold it to me said he's
going to be taking orders to make more batches. I am so thrilled, you
can't even imagine. See? This is what happens when I eat yummie food.
I get all emotional. Yeesh.

3.) I'm having a parka made JUST FOR ME! I've been thinking about it
for awhile now, and have been asking around when I see a parka I like,
who has made it... and have settled on my co-worker, Betty, to make
mine. She makes really nice decorative parkas, and I loooove the one
she made another co-worker of ours. And I've been thinking about it,
and I really just want one that I can wear down south, and have as a
memory of my time up here. I don't need a hunting parka, or an out on
the land parka. I have a system that works so well I was WARM today
even though it was -30 and I was on my snowmobile. So there was a sale
on at one of the stores this weekend, 30% off all fabric... and I
bought my fabric and liner. I'm really, honestly, very excited about
this. It will be baby blue with a white liner and I don't know what
kind of trim yet. But it will be beautiful. I know it.

4.) I am making my dad's home made mac n' cheese for me and the boy
tonite. It doesn't seem like I've seen him much since he got back 2
weeks ago... and I've basically given this dairy-free thing the giant
EFF YOU, so I'm celebrating by eating pizza all weekend, topped off
with the cheeziest, creamiest, tastiest dinner ever. Can't wait.
(Though what that means for what else could be making me sick, I have
no clue).

5.) I bought a GORGEOUS drawing today, at the craft fair. I think I've
said this before, but I'm reallllllly picky about art. Not just inuit
art, but all art. I enjoy photography, but most paintings etc don't do
anything for me (the one exception being Dali). But I bought this
absolutely beautiful Inuk-mermaid drawing this afternoon, and I'm
having the girl do another one for me too. I'm thrilled. It's without
a doubt my favourite piece of northern art to date. *HAPPY*

So today is a good day. I ended up spending about 350 bucks on the
mitts, the samosas (I stocked up - - who KNOWS when I'll have them
again FOR SURE), the fabric and liner and the amazing drawing. A
pretty successful day, IMHO.

*For those who don't remember, my lubsta claw mittens were bright
orange pleather with beaver fur, and looked really funny... like
lobster claws. Fitting for this island girl, and a running joke.

Puppy

Puppy is sitting on my bed.

I like it when he sits on my bed.

But not when he destroys kleenexes while sitting on my bed.

I have a cute dog.

I lurve him.

12/5/08

Save me from the furry things!

It's official.

The animals are out to get me.

Okay Mom. Here's where you stop reading the blog.

Okay. No. You can read the next two sentences or so which state NO I HAVE NOT GOTTEN ANOTHER DOG.

Instead I am pet-sitting.

(Okay, I think she's gone now)





Okay, everyone else, I am typing the following with in good faith that you all will not contact my mother to tell her that I have been pet-sitting Jeff's cat since he left... and she's still here.

Not that I'd be surprised if she knew, because the stupid feline keeps meowing any time I'm on the phone with Mom.

Anyways. So Puppy and Kitty have been co-existing for the past month+ (really? That long? Wow.) For the first two-ish weeks I hardly saw her. She never came out before 9-ish and even then just to eat and then go hide again. Which was great for me. I'm actually (normally) deathly allergic to cats (this is why mother can NEVER KNOW). But for some reason, I have either grown out of it, or I've met 2 cats now that I'm not actually allergic to.

So all was quiet for the first couple weeks. But now puppy and kitty are friends. It took awhile, but it's happened. And it's as an unlikely... and unfortuneate partnership as they come. Why? Because Kitty is EVIL.

Case #1.)
When? Constantly, but mostly the second/third week of pet sitting
Where? The puppy's area
Why? Who the hell knows
What? Kitty jumps over into Puppy's area. He gets excited. Comes over to investigate. Kitty is not impressed. Kitty hisses. Puppy trots away to the bed I made FOR HIM. Kitty decides to be evil. When Puppy gets up to check out Ball (which has been there on the ground, across the room for YEARS, but he only finds interesting SOMETIMES), Kitty springs into action. She streaks across the laundry room/pen and plunks herself down ON PUPPY'S BED. Then when Puppy comes back to his bed, she hisses at him.

That's right. She ENTERS HIS AREA. She HISSES at him. She SLEEPS IN HIS BED. And then HISSES AT HIM EVEN MORE.

Case #2.)
When? Last week (we're now probably in week 5 of pet-sitting)
Where? Puppy's pen, again
Why? Because Kitty's EVIL, possibly hungry, but DEFINITELY very sneaky
What? Kitty jumps into pen. Says "hi" to Puppy (They sniff and 'wreasle' with each other). Looks in Puppy's food bowl. Sees no food (no surprise, Puppy eats food VERY fast, it's like a hot-dog-eating-contest but with kibble). PRIES OPEN CUPBOARD WHERE I KEEP PUPPY'S DRY FOOD. TEARS OPEN BAG. And proceeds to feed herself AND puppy a late-night snack.

I could have sworn when I caught them the second time (yes, this happens often) that I saw her PICK UP a piece of dog food with her paw and FEED IT to puppy. But maybe I was hallucinating. That's pretty freakin' weird.

Yes, this cat likes dog food. I thought cat's were supposed to be PICKY EATERS?

Case #3.)
When? Wednesday night
Where? Puppy's pen (see a pattern?)
Why? Because Kitty is feeling restless (and because I didn't feed her immediately - - my bad).
What? Again with the food. Kitty jumps into Puppy's pen. Spies the half-empty can of dog food that I forgot to put back in the fridge. KNOCKS the can off the counter with such ENTHUSIASM that she actually DENTS it.

Yah.

And all night, the cat's been tearing around the house like Tom Cruise in Risky Business... and I keep hearing noises that sound eerily like pop cans being opened, and carbon dioxide escaping. So enough blogging, I have to go take care of the zoo.

But first, a photo:

12/4/08

Oh no, not another...

Yep, it's true.

I've joined the esteemed ranks of TownieBastard and will now annoy you readers with incessant chatter about CURLING.

Except I'm less likely to actually bore you with the details of the curling matches... and much more likely to bore you with the details of ORGANIZING a curling club. Because that's what I've somehow been hoodwinked into.

Organizing Rankin Inlet's Co-Ed Curling Club.

I'm still not sure exactly how the hell that happened... except that the boy and Good Friend Sarah decided to take on the project, but both of them travel extensively for work... and both turned to me to help 'administer' things.

Now I'm certainly more involved than I wanted to be, but there's nothing I can do about that now. It's like no matter how hard I try to stay away from this sport, I get sucked into it. My younger sister is some kind of freaky curling guru... at one point she was known as "the next Suzanne Gaudet" and the hours upon hours of curling I've watched/ignored when I lived at home is remarkable...

Anyways. So my inaugural curling post (fittingly I write it on the night of our first curling match) is about all the fun little hiccups we've had over the past 3 months, when we first put this plan in gear.

This whole thing started back in February of last year. It was Good Friend Porter's birthday, and somehow curling came up. The boy, ever-enthusiastic after a couple brewskis, got everyone excited about a curling league in the fall. Then we all forgot about it for 6 months.

At the end of the summer, him and Good Friend Sarah began talking about it again. They talked to our local rec co-ordinator, he set the date of November 25th for our first night. He suggested it, we thought it sounded great. The rec staff would handle the ice and equipment all we had to do was organize the teams and show up.

Riiight. 

Now at times, I suffer from this little character flaw called "eternal optimism."  As you know, this isn't always the case. Sometimes I'm a little blue-er than others. But I believed this would happen, no biggie.

We held a 'registration bonanza' at the arena at the beginning of November, had a bunch of signups... strangely enough getting PLAYERS has been the least of our problems. We are constantly getting new teams/individuals sign up, and we're thinking we need to add a second night so that everyone can play once a week.

So we're all hyped up. We're ready to play. November 25th rolls around.

The ice isn't ready.

So we hold a little meeting. A meet-and-greet (that later turned into an impromptu AGM - we found out that there was a good chunk of change left over from the last curling club, but we had to hold and AGM to get it signed over. So we did! It lasted less than 5 minutes).

And "the executive" set up a schedule. We would curl next week, we'd only have one sheet of ice, so we'd have to do it on Tuesday AND Thursday. We were set.

By now you know that when I write something like that, disaster is always around the corner. And this is no exception.

Tuesday comes. It's 3:30. I get a call from Good Friend Paul, who also works at the hamlet.

"Bad news, the ice isn't ready"

This is about when I thought I was going to lose it. The rec coordinator PICKED THE DATE for when we could start playing. And TWO WEEKS past that date and it wasn't ready.

The reason? "We were using it as storage, and it's taken awhile to get that stuff out"

Riiiiight.

I'm sure he's a busy guy, but seriously... 3 months notice is MORE than enough to make a couple sheets of ice.

But as one of the team members said, and I agree...

"If it's not Hockey, it doesn't matter"

So we emergency-cancel the games. Tell people to stand by for more info on Thursday's matches.

The yesterday I get an email from Good Friend Paul. Title: new rocks. I excitedly double-click, thinking maybe there's some good news inside. Baaaad optimistic Jackie.

Turns out we have 26 rocks. Not 32. Twenty-freaking-six. Now where six curling rocks up and walk off to, I have no sweet clue. But it's going to be a problem.

You see, even if we were a little curling club in the south... rocks (that is EACH INDIVIDUAL ROCK) are expensive. Like REALLY expensive. Like 500 bucks for a cheap rock. 1500 for the higher-end ones. But being as we are a little curling club from the NORTH we also have to SHIP the heavy buggers up here, which will be no cheap venture.*

So that's going to be a problem. But I figure we'll suck enough that we'll hog a couple or over-shoot a couple each round... so it won't be too bad.

Then this morning The Boy and I went to the rink to check out the ice that we *hoped* would be ready for this evening's first match, at 6. And I tell you, the ice looked like SHIT.

I was standing behind the glass, looking at the ice, and I could see not only a GIANT CRACK down the blue-ring of the house closest to me AND serious variations in elevation across the ice. But in talking to the two guys hanging around there, they said they were going to scrape and pebble the ice so it'd be ready by tonite.

I went by this afternoon at 3pm  and lo and behold....

IT WAS READY! And it looks beautiful!

So tonite we curl. Tonite I throw my first rock, after avoiding doing so for ... 10 (?Okay, maybe 8) years.

I can't believe it, but I'm actually excited.




*We're currently working on finding out if there is anyone with extra rocks up here, and maybe negotiate some sort of deal with one of the airlines...


Backroom deals with separatists

Okay.

So I WASN'T going to write more about this. But then I read this article (I was at work, working on a LOCAL political story during the actual address/s).

In case you care, here's my thoughts:

In his five-minute, pre-recorded statement, Harper spoke bluntly against the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition, saying the federal government must stand unequivocally for keeping the country together.
Recorded? Really? Even Bush has gone live on less pressing issues than a coup d'etat.
In a pre-taped rebuttal broadcast shortly after Harper's address, Dion defended the notion of a proposed coalition government "as normal and current practice in many parts of the world."
I don't know guys. IP, I know you have written about this extensively... but if it was THAT normal to hold an election, get a minority government, then have the opposition governments team up and try to "de-throne" you... then why haven't many of us heard of such an option before? My argument is that it is NOT normal, it is used in SPECIAL circumstances. So please, people, stop calling it normal!!!

Moreover, the Conservatives have lost the confidence of the majority of members of the House of Commons, meaning "they have lost the right to govern," Dion said

Fair enough. He has lost the confidence of the house. But I'd really like to hear what THE PEOPLE think. I've been hearing so many freakin' politicians as of late, but no "the Canadian consensus" polls or anything. Granted I guess you could call the election an opinion poll... but when people voted, they thought they were voting for ONE governing party. Not a coalition.

He will visit Gov. Gen. Michaƫlle Jean, who returned to Ottawa on Wednesday from Europe, Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET to discuss the issue, although it was not immediately clear what Harper will ask her to do.

WHAT? The current government is crumbling and the GG is going to make sure she gets her bagel with cream cheese and latte before discussing it with the PM? WHY are they not meeting tonite? She's already in Ottawa? Have a dinner date. DEAL WITH THIS.

Now before y'all jump on me for one thing or another, I don't pretend to completely understand what's going on here. I also don't really subscribe to any of the Canadian political parties (I can't actually, it says in my job description). So I'm just here to spew out CAPTIAL LETTERS and give My Humble Opinion.

But you guys are more than welcome to argue about this in my comments section (as you've already done on my last post hahaha).

Until we hear more...

12/3/08

Lucky Me

So I'm one of those lucky people. I had three of my four grandparents for most of my life, and all four up until I was five or six years old.

And I grew up near those grandparents all my life. I was never more than a couple hours away from them until I moved to Ottawa for school.

But I don't just have grandparents. No, in fact for some reason my Dad's side of the family (though it doesn't look it in recent years) has largely been blessed with some sort of radioactive longevity gene.

My grandmother's mother, "Grammie Sullivan" (where the name Sully comes from) lived to be 99 years old. I actually have memories of her, which is pretty remarkable. Granted they were all in the hospital... but still.

And my grandmother's sisters are all in the eighties and nineties ... and many of them still kickin'.

Now a couple months back, one of "the sisters" passed away. I say "sisters" because Grammie S. actually had twin older sisters who were also nuns. Well, one of them still is. So Sister Anne has moved on to a better place (I honestly believe that, I'm not a HUGE religion-fanatic but the lady was a nun, for crying out loud. If anyone gets to go to heaven or wherever, it's her). And Sister Mary ... while she certainly felt the loss, I'm sure, she is still buzzin around the convent almost as actively as before... just without her other half (literally).

I got an email from my aunt today, with the following message:

Last Sunday when I visited with Sr. Mary told me she heard "Jackie, Jacqueline S* on CBC"....she seemed to say it with pride, yet disbelief...she always listens to CBC :)

Isn't that just the cutest thing? My 96 (?) year old grand-aunt randomly heard me on CBC. And realized it was me. And told people about it.

I think that's just amazing.


*Yet again, trunkated to preserve the iron-clad identity of the blogger

:(

My favourite pants are about 5 wears (maybe less) from being dead.

Not even my tried-and-true crotch-patches (you know, those little iron-on thingies that patch holes) can save them this time.

I'm sad. Now what will I wear when I roll out of bed at 7:00 to go to work to do an interview at 7:30, and then nap for an hour before work REALLY starts?

12/2/08

My dog is SMART: S-M-R-T

  1. A year ago, probably longer, I placed the inner leaf from my dining room table across the entry way to my laundry room. At the time, puppy was small. Very small. He couldn't even climb up stairs by himself. He did not jump over. Now puppy is bigger. He still doesn't not jump over the divider. The divider is short enough that the puppy CAN jump. I've seen it. It happens every day when I put his leash on, and take him outside. He jumps over, he jumps back. Then the leash comes off. And he stays inside. He CAN jump, he just chooses NOT to.
  2. Puppy hates the rain. Not the snow. Just the rain. I don't think he likes the bitter cold much either. How do I know this? Because when it rains, or when it's unbearably cold, Sully hides under my front steps (sometimes actually burrowing down INTO THE GROUND) and loses all control over his waste functions. It's sooo frustrating. But he's not really losing control over his bladder/sphincter (wow, never thought I'd work THAT word into my blog ramblings). No, my dog is being passive-aggressive. You see, he's SHOWING ME that he doesn't have to use the washroom, by DOING IT IN THE HOUSE. "C huuman? I no has 2 P N E more"
  3. A variation on point #2: sometimes, if I catch him before he graces the house with his bodily functions, and take him outside, but think it's too freaking cold to go out myself... he'll just sit on the top step. And whine. Such a painful noise. But he won't actually MOVE DOWN THE STEPS TO TAKE A SHIT until I come outside too. Misery loves company.
So yah, my dog may not be able to do all those circus tricks like "shake" or "roll over" but he IS capable of thinking at a higher level.

Or so I tell myself.

Unravelling...

I don't know why, but I have this insatiable urge to do something wild, crazy... even irrational.
I just want to pick up and go.

Where? When? How? I don't know. I don't care. I just want to go.

Part of me wants to go far away. To escape.
Another part wants to go somewhere very familiar. To be home.
And yet another part wants to go somewhere that ISN'T home, but ISN'T completely foreign. Some place comfortable.

So what's keeping me? Ummm. The fact that I have to bring home the bacon. Or is it bread? Bring home the bacon, put bread on the table.

Oh mixing metaphors. So much fun.

But really? This whole "working for a living" is pretty dumb. You work away so much of your life, and why? Besides paying non-fun things like bills... the point is so that you have the means to do the things you like... Right?

At least that's the way thing were when we were kids. Want something? Get a job. Earn some cash from that paper route, buy that doo-dad. Rinse. Repeat.

So if we carry that logic over... we work so we can do the things we DO want. But WHEN? When when when?

Maybe I just have it all wrong. We don't work so we can do what we WANT. We work so we can LIVE.

Maybe I'm just lazy.

Maybe I lack "drive"

Maybe I'm just in a slump.

And before you go blaming it on the weather... no. It's not the weather. It's got nothing to do with this town, it has nothing to do with the arctic. It's just... I feel restless. And listless. How can you feel both restless and listless at the same time? I have no idea. But it's happened.

Maybe it's a natural part of the Jackie-cycle...

"I want, I want, I want..."

Gawd I'm such a whiner. I'm annoying MYSELF. Why do you guys come here to read / listen to me whine?

So I'm feeling restless. I'm feeling listless. I'm feeling stir crazy. I'm feeling like I need to get out of town for a bit. And I have the money to do it too... but I just don't have the TIME. I am saving up my vacation days for a trip "out and over" (aka home) in May. And the way I have it worked out is perfect ... I think.

So I can't really leave. Not really. Even though I could use it, need it, not to mention want it etc. So I guess I'll just dream of it for now. But six months does seem like an awful long time to wait. And dream.





Okay. I'm done bitching. This might have to be nominated for "most incoherent post ever" but then, I did kind of warn you with the title.

12/1/08

Of coalitions and such... (or, Risk: Canada)

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/11/30/canada-coalition.html

I have trouble believing this is LEGAL.

More thoughts to follow...

2:30PM:

Okay, so good point IP... and you/this has finally answered a long-standing question of mine: when casting a ballot, does it make more sense to vote by the PARTY, the LOCAL CANDIDATE, or the POTENTIAL PRIME MINISTER?

Well, if you can just randomly half-dissolve government (because really, that's what they are threatening... it's not a TOTAL dissolution, they are just changing who gets to sit where), then you might as well just be selfish. Vote local, baby.

(I am quoting from IP's comment on the original post I made, which can be seen above)

And I'm having trouble believing that so many Canadians don't realize that this is not just legal, but a perfectly normal way of salvaging untenable situations in parliamentary democracies around the world.
Seriously?? This is "normal"? Have I really just been living under a rock all this time? I really don't think I've seen something like this happen before. I'm not disagreeing, more just shocked that this might be such a regular, not to mention democratic, happenstance.

But really? Here's what I think.

I think it's 100% entirely too much like a game of Risk Good Friends Sarah, Paul, Porter and I played a couple weeks ago. Especially the whole 30-month timeline.

Porter was the Green party, he didn't have a hope in hell.
I was the NDP, I knew I was valuable, but it wasn't immediately clear who I'd screw over.
Sarah was the Liberals, the only one with a fighting chance out of the three of us...
And Paul was the Conservatives. Everyone wanted to see him go down in flames.

Not unexpectedly... Porter was the first to go. This happened after ... maybe 5 rounds? I was actually the one to eliminate him. My those NDP'ers can be fiesty! But really, I was just after his cards.

Several rounds passed. Nothing too remarkable. Except, predictably, the NDP(me) is losing ground against the Tories(Paul) and the Grits (Sarah). And the Tories/Paul are sitting just a little too comfortably for my liking. So I SABATOGE THEM. The NDP/me approaches the Liberals/Sarah with a proposition. It goes something like this:

So Sarah. I have a proposition for you. I don't really stand a chance of winning this thing, but I really would like to see someone other than Paul/Tories win. So here's the deal: for the next 3 turns, we act as a team. To take Paul/Tories down. After that point we can act as free agents. I'm pretty sure I'll lose, but I'd like to take him down before I do.

Sound familiar?

Now our game ended a bit differently than I expect our political one will... Paul was a good sport and didn't really hold it against us that we talked through the entire first round ("we're neeew to the gaaame" we pleaded), and played to the end.

But the similarities are a tad eerie, IMHO....

11/28/08

Ow, Ow! My arm!

Remember? I'm mysterious!

Yeesh!

So I didn't talk about this widely for a couple reasons.

  1. I didn't want to get MY hopes up, nor my friends and/or familys'.
  2. I didn't tell my current employer, because it was kind of random, so I didn't want to write about it here, and have that be the way people found out.
  3. I was really conflicted about the outcome, I didn't know what I wanted.
  4. Maybe I WAS being a bit superstitious and didn't want to talk about it too much "or it wouldn't happen"
So here's the deal. A couple months ago... I was having a bad day or bad week or whatever, and was surfing the CBC Jobs board. I do this pretty regularly. Just to see what kind of options are out there, and where. I saw a posting for the type of job I was doing in Quebec City. In Halifax.

The kind of job I want to get back into doing. In the city I've often said I'd like to settle down in.

If there's anything I've learned over the past year and a bit is that I'm not a natural reporter. Sure, I can do it. Hell, I can do an okay job of it, but it's not where my heart lies. And I'm not cut out to spend the rest of my life in the North. That's just life. And I've accepted it.

So I filled out a couple forms, and pressed "Send."

Last week I heard from them. They wanted to interview me.

Not being one that's able to say NO...
(especially to a potentially great opportunity), I had my interview on Wednesday. It went okay, but I didn't really feel qualified for the job. There was a significant technical aspect, and I am not a trained technician. Yet.

They interviewed four people, they were going to let me know today.

As the days wore on, I became more and more anxious and conflicted about the whole thing. Sure I have my moments, but I wasn't really ready to leave. I just bought a snowmobile. My sealift just arrived. Not to mention the fact that I have little interest in starting up another long-term LDR*.

So when the producer called this morning, I actually found myself repeating "say 'unfortunately,' SAY 'unfortunately'" in that little noggin of mine.

I got my wish...I think.

I didn't get the job**, and I'm actually un-naturally okay with it. I didn't really expect to get an interview, and now I have a little more experience in selection boards...

And like I said, I don't think I'm ready to leave. I've got a bunch of things coming up that I want to see through.

Spark has asked me to do another story for them, which should air mid-December.

I'm gearing up for my first Northern Christmas (MY TREE ARRIVED YESTERDAY HORRAY!).

And I'm planning my next vacation (which is ... 6? months away? Haha).

So yes, Clare, some day you will most likely say "I knew her back when..." but that day's not today. Nor is it tomorrow.

I'm still here, if you guys are. So don't give up on me yet :D


*Long-distance relationship
** They ended up hiring this guy who is a journalist with 18 YEARS of teching experience. No way I can compete with that lol.

Like waiting for ketchup to come out of the bottle

There's not much you can do but wait.

If you didn't catch that obscure reference, it was that Heinz ketchup commercial from the '70s (which I believe they brought back in my lifetime, because how else would I know THAT pop culture nugget) where a person is looking dumb-ly at an upside-down bottle of ketchup, waiting for the red condiment to grace their fries... while Carly Simon's "Anticipation" plays in the background.

So what am I waiting for? Some big news that I'm completely torn over. One half of me really really really wants one outcome... and the other half dreads it.

So today should be one drag of a day. My stomach twisted itself in knots as soon as I woke up this morning, and has been angrily cinching tighter over the past 48 minutes.

Here's hoping I survive the an-tic-a-paaation.

11/27/08

Too Nice

So apparently I need to step up my bitchiness factor.

I never in my life thought that would be necessary, because trust me, I have my snarky moments...

But I received an unintentional piece of advice this morning, and it struck a chord with me.

I had an issue with one of my clips last night...following hours of stuggling with my work computer, which IMHO is a rotting piece of monkey feces.

ANYWAYS, I sent the clip, crossing my fingers it would reach Iqaluit safe and sound.

Well it didn't, and I didn't know this until I got in this morning. So first thing this morning (in a much better mindset than the previous evening) I set out to figure out what the heck made my interview come out as stereo instead of mono. I figured it out, sent it again. All was not lost, they could use it on the newscasts this afternoon and evening. No biggie.

But I got a phone call from one of the tech guys, and he says to me "You've been BAAAD".

Naturally, I'm extremely confused. I don't THINK I've been bad, but I screw up all the time so while confused, I'm certainly not surprised.

I tell him the sob story of my dumb computer and my even dumber messed-up-settings... and he interrupts me and says "Why didn't you tell me about your computer before?"

Now I've been not-so-subtly whining about my work computer to my co-workers for weeks. But I just thought you make due until the stupid thing breaks down OR we get new Dalet (our audio-editing software that rumour has it will require brand new computers for all!) OR I leave the North. Personally, I think the stupid machine has it in for me, and will die the MOMENT I get on a plane southwards.

And to be honest, said tech can be a little brash at times, but we seem to have worked out a system where I summon all my patience, and so does he, and some how we get troubleshooting done.

My response was that I didn't want to bug him about my stupid computer. Which is true. I don't bug him unless I really am screwed. Also, I am stubborn and don't like to ask for help.

What does he say?

"If you are ever going to get anywhere you are going to have to step up the Bitch-factor"

And you know what, he's right. Sometimes, I just let people walk all over me.

I can't say "No" and I'm constantly reassuring the other people in my life, trying to take strain off them... and I just end up carrying everyone else's loads. And it sucks.

I think the worst part is that (some) people just don't CARE. They expect everything and give nothing.

So, here. Instead of whining, I will take a page from my new Bitchiness Day Calendar... and send a message to a friend.

Enjoy.


Dear friend: If you intend to come to my house and stay the night, please don't just send me an instant message telling me when you'll be in. You actually didn't even ask if you could stay, just assumed since it was okay to ask me to pick you up, drop you off, house you and be ignored while you spend time with your family on the way OVER here... you can do the same on the way back. Maybe I have things I want to do. Maybe I don't want to have to clean my house again. Maybe I just want to be alone tonite, or with the boy alone tonite. Maybe I don't want to entertain. But because you need me to, I will. But hey, could you at least call? Or at least stay online long enough to chat, so it doesn't seem like you are just using me for transportation and lodging?

Thanks.



11/26/08

Night and Day

It's actually kind of funny. In my first year in the North I somehow managed to be down south on vacation during both the winter and summer solstice. So I missed the longest and shortest days of the year.

In all my years in "Southern Canada" I never really acknowledged these landmarks.

Sure, the days got shorter in December, I'd get home from school and shortly thereafter it would be dark. At 4 pm! Imagine! And crawling out of bed at 6:00 to get movin' on the paper route was more difficult in the winter months, than the summer (though that could have equally been because of the cold, not the light).

But really? It was no big deal. But up here, everyone's SO SERIOUS about the daylight change. People warn one another to purchase sun lamps, they openly talk about getting depressed from the lack of sun...

Stuff we'd never really consider back home. Hell I'd never heard of Seasonal Affectedness Disorder before I moved up North.

So this year, I'm here for Christmas. And I think I'll be here in June. So while I may have missed those seasonal landmarks last year... I'll be damned if I miss them a second time.

11/25/08

Monkey Ass

That is how I feel today.

Monkey ass with a cut finger because when trying to cure my monkey-assed-ness I reached into my sealift pop, and sliced my fingee on a broken can of "Diet Choose-Up"

Next time, I will NOT "choose-up" I choose an intact finger instead.

So I feel gross. I'm not at work today. And our first curling meeting is tonite, and the boy just got home yesterday.

C'monnnn immune system!

11/24/08

Turning tides

I've been waiting for InsideTheCBC to do something about a recent email we MotherCorpians received at the end of last week. I didn't want to write about this until I made sure the letter was public record, and not solely for the eyes of CBC staff.

In a plainspoken message to employees yesterday, CBC President Hubert Lacroix, announced that there would be no layoffs at the CBC if there’s “any way to avoid it.”

“Where others are contemplating and predicting layoffs, we are looking to put in place and push forward with solutions that won’t involve cutting jobs,” Lacroix said yesterday in a email to employees.

Lacroix said CBC employees are the foundation of the corporation “and we don’t want to chip away at that foundation.” This comes in the wake of layoffs announced at Canwest this week, with CTV predicting similar measures.

Nevertheless cost-cutting measures are being put in place immediately:

  • All new-hires will have to be reviewed at the vice-presidential level;
  • Significant reductions in travel, hospitality and entertainment expenses;
  • Additional reductions in overtime.

Lacroix also appealed directly to employees to help. “You know the details of your particular operations best. Look around; think hard about what it is you do. If you have an idea as to how your unit or department could cut costs over the coming year, pass that idea on to your director."

(...)

A couple things of note.

First: The email came amid THIS. Which Lacroix also defended earlier last week.

Second: The Canadian Media Guild collective agreement with CBC expires this March.

Third: The CMG and CBC start yet another full week of collective agreement planning/discussions today. According to a recent CMG newsletter...

... we will be tackling the issues of Workload, Performance management and staff development, Training and Job security.


Both parties continue to seriously pursue the goal of achieving an early renewal of our Collective agreement and are encouraged in this pursuit by our improved relationship and our new problem-solving process.

All this is a little un-nerving. Actually I've been feeling uneasy about this whole economic shakedown for the past couple weeks now. I can't seem to decide which is more foolish: living in Canada's most expensive province/territory during a recession OR trying to find a new job during a recession.


Thoughts?

PS, I've just decided that Life is a High way is a song I simply don't hear enough of. It reminds me of summers on PEI at my cousins' house, rockin' out to our parents' casette tapes. That and Rhythm of My Heart.

Excuse me while I go have a moment to myself.

11/21/08

Fun with search engines

Normally my search queries are pretty boring. A lot of "Jackie S.* Rankin Inlet" ... normally a couple snowcone references, and for some reason a lot of traffic from an aerobics graphic I used back last year...

But when I checked my search queries today on my statcounter, I came up with a couple interesting ones.

Observe:

Num Perc. Search Term
12 48.00% jackie "s*" rankin inlet
2 8.00% twitter blogger
2 8.00% rankin inlet
1 4.00% corgi sheltie mix
1 4.00% 450-627-7999
1 4.00% rankin inlet blog
1 4.00% midnight sun midi
1 4.00% newfoundland dog fur hat**
1 4.00% the transient life in canada
1 4.00% its not a toomah***
1 4.00% nunavut mines
1 4.00% no wood in my penis****
25 100.00%

* Changed to protect the iron-clad secret identity of the blogger
** Ew. Poor puppies.
*** Robyn? Andrea? Are you searing for toomahs on my blog?
**** I can only imagine how disappointed this person was in my "Wood" post. *Shudder. Oh, and I just clicked on the "more information" on this person: poor sucker's from India. I don't think he found what he was looking for.

11/20/08

Reflections on a Sealift order

So while I sit here and gulp down bottle two of FORTY of Cranberry COCKTAIL (Horray! Got the right one!)... I thought it might be fitting to evaluate the stack of no-name cream soda boxes that have set up camp in my kitchen.

I did my sealift through Sealift Express. That's the sealift set up by the Northern. I did this for three reasons:
- You could order online (and they had little pictures of the items - I'm a visual person)
- You didn't have to pay upfront.
- I (naievely thought) it seemed simpler

And the boy and I did ours together, which we THOUGHT would be easier, but in reality just turned out to be more difficult, and probably wasn't worth the measly $100 bucks we saved in crating fees.

The first problem was that while our order had to be in for the beginning of August, we only received it yesterday. That seemed like an AWFUL long time... but maybe that's typical.

The second problem is that MONTHS after making our order - and 3 days before the final sailing date for the ENTIRE YEAR leaving Churchill - they sent an email saying that we weren't going to get all of our Diet pop (aka, all MY pop) nor the kitty litter we ordered. I was NOT impressed. I did sealift for two reasons: Dog food and pop. Now I wasn't getting any pop. And it was too late to try and get any on any other sealifts. We were screwed.

So I had accepted that, and moved on... the sealift arrived at the end of October... * and they just got around to delivering mine this week - guess they had a lot of orders.

We waffle a bit on a delivery day, and finally pick Monday night. When the grocery guy calls he asks which batch they can deliver first: mine or Jeff's. I think how amazingly organized they must be to know which items from our combined order go to his place, and which goes to mine. Keep in mine the boy's still on vacation until next week.

Waaaait a minute. That's not possible. There is no way they know that HE ordered cream soda, and I ordered kleenex. That the bleach is his, but the toilet paper's mine.

Turns out when Jeff was figuring out what items he wanted, he created a "basket" on the site. Then, the Northern approved and shipped his shopping basket, even though he never fully "checked out".

So we have doubles of some things: like air freshener and grape juice... and they gave HIM diet pop - - MORE than I had ordered, but they couldn't send me because they "ran out."

But I have to say, the Northern took care of it, and told us we could have whatever we wanted from the accidental order, and that they'd absorb whatever we didn't want. So I'm going to buy the diet pop back, and I think Jeff's going to keep some garbage bags or something... and then they will keep the rest.

And another really great thing about the Nothern's sealift is they take it right into your house for you. Four poor sweaty teenage boys lugged all my cranberry juice (and MUCH MORE) into my place after work on Monday. I put most of it away, but a bunch still sits in my kitchen, blocking my way to the sink. That's okay thought, its not like I like doing dishes anyways.

So, would I do it again? I'm honestly not sure yet. What COULD have been a really big hassle turned out to be no big deal, so that was nice. But I'm not convinced that we're really saving all that much money. Shipping after all was .55 cents/lb . But we'll have to see. I definitely don't regret buying all that cranberry juice, and it's nice to have paper towel again... and the dog food is really nice to have too...

But I think I'll just have to reserve judgement until I find out how long these supplies will last me.


*PS, Thanks alot Megan, I've now become hyper aware of every time I do that little "tap tap tap" with my right ring finger.

11/19/08

Lactose sucks

Stuuuupid Jackie.

The first thing I checked for lactose was my favourite snack food in the world...

Lays.

Salt and Vinegar.

Chips.

#@$^%$@$$%!!!

Other things in my fridge/freezer that contain dairy/lactose:

  • The GIANT brick of old cheddar I bought this week
  • The quesidillas in my freezer
  • The bag of cheezy-broccoli in my freezer
The list goes on, but I'm too sad to list them all. Basically everything I own and love to eat involves some kind of dairy. You could put grated cheese on a rock and I'd eat it. I'm starting to think I may have to take back my "it won't be so bad" statement.

At least the 40 1.89L bottles of Cranberry Juice I ordered are lactose-free. Can a person live on cranberry juice alone?

One week

That's how long I have to go without dairy.

Not because I really want to, or because it's some sort of bizarre challenge... but my stomach has been bothering me for the past month or so, and the nurses at the Health Centre have decided that based on my family history, this was the best place to start.

Oh wait. I don't HAVE any family history of lactose intolerance.

But apparently that doesn't matter.

So I'm on a dairy-free diet right now. And it kind of sucks. Granted, I only started it at about 2pm... so it's been 5 hours, and I've not eaten anything since then... but just the IDEA of no milk, no ice cream, NO CHEESE (?!?!) is causing some deep dispair.

But honestly, with the exception of the cheese part... (and if it were long term, the ice cream part too - - I do love me some Scotsburn Peanut Butter Fudge Crunch) I don't think it will be TOO hard. But then I've never really had to exclude a food group before.

And if it saves me the pain, anguish and sick days... then bring it on.

11/18/08

I just can't BEAR it anymore!*

So for quite some time... actually since bloody Kate Nova was in Rankin Inlet back at the end of this summer... I've been on bear-duty.

Actually, I take that back. I was on GRIZZLY bear duty months before that when they were hanging around outside Rankin, breaking into cabins etc...

But ever since she came up, and we attended the NWMB board meeting... I probably do about one bear story per week.

But then the polar bears invaded Arviat. Because of the way the town's situated, the bears have to come quite close to town to get to the sea ice on their migratory path. But this year, well they have made themselves comfy in town. Lots of seal and caribou meat, don't you know.

And now.... shit it's only Tuesday and I've already written 3 polar bear stories.

The one that creeps people out the most (myself included)? Yesterday, this 18-year old girl and her 15-year old sister were walking to their grandmother's place, when a polar bear appeared in
front of them, and began to chase them until they got to the closest house. Not long after, the bear was shot.

I don't know, man. All I can say is I'm glad I live here... and bears are much less likely to come near... let alone into town.

I'm not sure how effective a bear-hunting dog Sully would be.


*Okay, well that's kind of a gross exaggeration, but I thought it was punny and couldn't think of a better blog post title. Bet you are jealous and want to steal my wittiness, eh TB?


UPDATE: KARA! I THINK YOU WON SOMETHING IN THE SPARK CONTEST. CHECK IT OUT.

11/17/08

Bandwagon-ing

Everyone else is doing it, so why not me too?

So the Canadian Blogging Awards nomination period is closing fast...the last day to nominate your favourite blogs is a week from today. For more information on the awards (and to check out what blogs have already been nominated) go to http://cdnba.wordpress.com/ ... I've seen a couple northern bloggers have already been nominated.

Could be an exciting "race" !

An unusual post...

So while I write about a lot of things on my blog, one thing I never really get into is relationships. I'm not a big fan of publicly dissecting what's going on in my romantic (or un-romantic) life, as the case may be. It's just ... that's what I consider the "private" part of my "private life."

And while this is hardly a start of me talking about my love life... this post is kind falls under that label.

Anyways, I was having a discussion with some friends about the following two points, and I was curious what you people - in all your various commitments and relationships - think?

  1. Do you think when people get married they are actually as gloriously happy as they seem in books and movies and in your dreams? Or are doubts and glitches and all that stuff that is a part of "other" relationships is actually a part of "every" one?
  2. Do you think there ever becomes a point where there is just too much history between two people, that the relationship has no choice but to die?
And yes, everything is just fine... just lots of thinking time, combined with a weekend at the cabin, and 4-6 very chatty people, leads to deep thinkin', YO!

11/16/08

Shhh...

Okay, so I've been a bit quiet this weekend, but such is often the case as of late.

I do a lot of writing professionally and for this blog during the week... and tend to spend my weekend time with friends or out on the land (for you newbies, one of our big 'hobbies' up here is going out of town for drives on our ATVs and Snowmobiles - - I never thought I'd be that kind of person, but when the opportunity's there... why not?).

So this weekend, we went out to Sarah and Paul's cabin (aka, VERY rustic cottage). It's a good 45-minute drive via snowmobile... and the longest I've ever driven The Beast (official name for the Skidoo. Not very original, but oh well)... and in the coldest weather too. It was about -25 today (luckily, very little wind) and the faster you go, the colder it feels on the machine.

But for the most part... I can honestly say... I was warm! I was trying out this new combo I dreamed up when I was searching for a good "out on the land" jacket/parka. I have a BEAUTIFUL Canada Goose jacket... that I absolutely LOVE, but I just can't bundle up as much as I would like to, it's just not big enough. (Don't even get me started how tragic that whole story is).

So I thought I'd experiment. I bought a 650-fill down jacket from Cabela's (it was a freakin' steal - only cost me 50 bucks or something) and a wind-proof top layer. I did the research, and tried to figure out, given the measurements how BIG that top layer would have to be, to fit over the down jacket... and sweaters... and my bib-snowpants .... etc. Anyways, it was ACTUALLY warmer than my Canada Goose (for some reason, I always found my shoulders/arms got cold). So I'm stoked. Now all I need is a nice fur for the hood, and I'll be set. So for a fraction of the price of my original jacket, I've found an even better solution. I'm just SO smart haha.

Anyone besides me notice how much frickin' time we spend up here in search of the ULTIMATE WARMEST WINTER GEAR? Shit, back home, its like "Columbia? Okay, no prob, ring it through." Here, there's so many factors. I must own over a thousand dollars worth of winter gear ... and I'm still on the search for the ULTIMATE BALACLAVA and the ULTIMATE MITTS.

Finally, yes. As I'm sure you figured, my skidoo is up and running again. It sat at work overnight Friday, still wouldn't run come Saturday. Then Good Friend Paul suggested we try new spark plugs. AND IT WORKED. Man, when that machine turned over, I just WHOOPED, and was jumping up and down hugging him. I think he was a little surprised. But honestly, there was a point there when I SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED selling the thing. It just was THAT depressing.

Bottom line? "Eights rock" (Nope, don't really know what that means, but I know my new spark plugs are 'eights' and whatever was in there before was NOT eights. Therefore, "eights" rock.)

11/14/08

Temper Tantrum on the Tundra

See? Alliterations are fun!

So yah, I threw a classic "temper tantrum on the tundra" this afternoon at lunch. At 11:45 my coworker kindly suggested that I go start up my skidoo so that it's nice and warm when I go to drive it home. I tiptoed out (I was wearing sandals inside the station. The only way to walk in the snow while wearing sandals is to tip toe) and started the beast. No biggie.

Then at 12 when I sauntered out to drive myself home to puppy and a nice lunch, it had stalled. And was NOT toasty warm

AND THE BLOODLY THING WOULDN'T START.

I checked the 'on' switch.
I check the choke.
NOTHING.

I kicked it.
NOTHING.

I pretended it was a computer and turned it off, then turned it on again.
NOTHING.

Then I screamed "you frikin' piece of SHIT!"
It didn't respond.

Then I burst into tears, and ran into the station to try and find some kind of solution online.
NOTHING.

Well, not NOTHING, but I don't necessairily understand anything ABOUT snowmobiles, so reading about what could be wrong is like someone who has a rash looking it up in WebMD. NOT A GOOD IDEA.

So I reached for the only form of sustinence at my desk: the candy cane my coworker gave me yesterday. I had left just the "U" part ... to savour at a later date. Today was that date.

So I slowly unwrapped it.....

AND THE BLOODY THING SNAPPED IN HALF IN MY HANDS.

And now I can't wear it like a retainer.

Man, life is hard.



Also? I think I may have deleted the interview I need BADLY today. Frick.