A friendly reminder

Hey folks,

Your friendly neighborhood blogger here.

As you've noticed, I've been posting truncated versions of my entries here on A Journey Northwards, with links to the new blog, Serendipity Now. I might do that a little longer still, but as far as I'm concerned business is closed over here.

So if it's not too much trouble, I ask you update your bookmarks/RSS readers or whatever gizmos you use to bring your fine selves to this here part of the interweb.

The new blog address, once again, is serendipitynow.wordpress.com
See you on the flipside!


Fanfare and such...

I had my last Rankin Inlet hamlet council meeting this afternoon. And it was a strange experience.

I had to check my "story radar" at the door a bit. It seems I've conditioned myself to keep an updated mental list of "upcoming" stories. Now that I know I only have a week and a bit left... I no longer need that. It was weird to almost feel myself THINK the story idea, and then put a big line through it.

But probably what will stick in my mind forever was the very end, just before they adjourned - when I told everyone it was my last meeting.


Making the most of my last month

It's funny. When I tell people up here that I'm leaving, and they ask me when, and I say July 23rd, their response is always "Wow, that soon?"

When I tell people down south that I'm leaving, and they ask me when, and I say July 23rd, their response is always "Wow, that's a while away still eh?"

It's like northern Canada and southern Canada are on different planets. It's like the north revolves around the sun more rapidly than the south. Time passes much faster "up here" than "down there."



Anywhere but here

Actually, that should read Anywhere but here but that function doesn't work in titles.

Reader says...

Regardless of what your little note says, you'll miss this place more than you think.

Let's just step back here a little bit. I don't hate Rankin Inlet. I don't hate living here. I don't hate the people here. I don't hate my job.

In fact, I like Rankin. I like the people here. I like my job.

But I'm not happy here.



Nowhere but here

I was reading my latest obsession today, webcomic Questionable Content, and in the run of a couple strips, a character gets laid off, and part of the conversation runs they discuss what to do with a severance check.

In this case, the character in question was going to blow it all on a European vacation of some sort.

I stopped reading and immediately typed in aircanada.com. What a great idea! I could take my hard-earned severance and go somewhere beautiful.



Serendipity is... Kivalliq Air

I came home just before lunch today to pick up my wallet. As I walked through the door, I heard the end of a message being left on my answering machine.

It was the health centre.

Insert groan here. I just about walked away from the machine, to let it drone on in my absence when I heard the words...

Read more here...


What you've missed...

So yah, if you aren't keeping up with what's going on at Serendipity Now, you're missing out on a lot!

It may look like I've not been posting lately, but I have. In fact just this morning I wrote a little ditty about walnuts.

Don't you wish you could read about the walnuts? Well you can, but you have to head over to the other blog.

So scoot!


The icing on the cake

Extra! Extra! Read all about it:

Rankin Inlet reporter gets facts wrong, leads to demise of local businesses. Young woman gets chased out of town by angry villagers weilding ATV bike pumps.


Issac and Ishmael

I’ve got goosebumps.

I sat down with my laptop this evening, switched on the first episode of the third season of the West Wing, and prepared to write a photo-heavy entry about my last couple of weekends, out on the land.

But that’s not going to happen.



Music, geekiness and veganicity tidbits

Instead of inundating you with a million posts today, all of about 100 words each, I thought I’d be kind and save Google Reader a massive headache by doing what I am now calling a “tidbit” post. Because categories on WordPress are fun. And I’m trying to be better at classifying things on this blog than I did on the past one.

  • The lure of the south is really getting to me right now. It’s so close, but yet so far, which is frustrating because ever since I decided (or semi-decided) that I’ll be making my way home to PEI for the summer (and maybe beyond… that’s to be figured out) I’ve been thinking up all these rad things I want to do…


Moving and general confusion

So I’m moving.

You all know that. Of course you do. When your job gets cut in a town like Rankin, you move. Or at least I do.

Last week I was all hunky dory, beginning the whole process. I was told I had six weeks. And CBC insisted they would have someone pack me up. And my last day of work was the 23rd of July. “But don’t worry. There’s some flexibility there.”




Me as a Mormon, Part 2

Reader asks….

Why does your polygamy have to include multiple wives? Would it work if you had multiple husbands?

Back when I was living in Quebec City (the immediate pre-Nunavut days) I tried dating more than one person at the same time. I wasn’t being a floozy, I just was VERY casually going out for drinks with two different people. And I didn’t like it.



Why I'll never be a Mormon

I could never be a Mormon.

Or rather, I could never be a polygamist. Because as I’ve learned (HBO is soooo educational) while most polygamists are Mormon, not all Mormons are polyamists.

But either way. I couldn’t do it. Maybe it’s deeply rooted in serious jealousy issues… because I really can not imagine sharing my husband with anyone else for the rest of my life.


Make no mistake

I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life. I’ll admit it. Most of them harmless. Hopefully all of them forgivable.

But of all the seemingly silly, possibly dumb things I’ve done in my life… one thing I absolutely DON’T regret …


A fresh start

It’s strange, I’ve been at this blogging thing for years now. It started off with an online diary. Then a couple travel blogs. And then A Journey Northwards took hold. And now I’m hooked. I’m a blogger.



Swine flu cases in Canada: breakdown

Number of cases of swine flu in Canada (by province/territory) 
Data as of June 15th, 2009
Sources: Health Canada and Wikipedia

British Columbia = 172 = (0.0038%)
Alberta = 264 = (0.0072%)
Saskatchewan = 327 = (0.031%)
Manitoba = 154 = (0.0126%)
Ontario = 1907 = (0.014%)
Quebec = 971 = (0.0124%)
New Brunswick = 3 = (0.0004%)
Nova Scotia = 81= (0.0086%)
Prince Edward Island = 3 = (0.0021%)
Newfoundland and Labrador = 1= (0.00019)
Nunavut = 164 = (0.519%)
Northwest Territories = 2 = (0.0046%)
Yukon = 1 = (0.0029%)

Best places in Canada to catch H1N1 (swine flu)

Nunavut @ 0.0519% of population positive with H1N1
Saskatchewan @ 0.031% of population positive with H1N1
Ontario @ 0.014% of population positive with H1N1

Now you know.
Aren't you glad I didn't take my lunch today?

Canada Post: Epic Fail

Dear Canada Post.
My name is Jackie S. Quire and I live in a remote community in the Eastern Arctic.

Mailing things from the north can be difficult, not to mention expensive. And I understand you have to charge for your services. You are a crown corporation, after all... and crown corporations have to stand on their own and not expect handouts from the federal government, even when peoples' livelihoods are at stake...

Oops. Sorry. Got off on a tangent there.

Where was I? Oh yah. Charge for your services.

So I understand you have to make people pay to send letters and packages across our fair country and around the great wide world. And I've come to terms with the fact that you are going to raise the price of stamps even if it's not necessary. Even if gas prices aren't at their peak (I just buy your PERMANENT STAMPS IN BULK mwa hahah).

But what I DON'T understand is why you've gone and changed your fraking Expresspost envelopes. Understand, just for a moment, how bloody expensive it is to ship any kind of package from the north. Or TO the north. Family members don't even send me birthday presents anymore because it's too pricy to send them by mail. The ONLY saving grace has been Expresspost envelopes. Where for a nominal fee (your choice of either 10 or 20 dollars) you can stuff a padded envelope with whatever nicknacks and do-dads your heart desires.

But now, NOW you've gone and messed everything up. And REPLACED the padded envelopes with PAPER BAGS.


Paper. Bags.

This is ridiculous. You can't fit anything into a paper bag without it ripping. They don't come with the patent-pending Glad-flex stretchiness. THEY. ARE. PAPER.

And if I WANTED to mail a package in a PAPER envelope, I would... you know... BUY THE BLOODY EXPRESSPOST LETTER ENVELOPES.

NOT the Expresspost package envelopes.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?


Jackie S. Quire.

Reader says: WTF CBC??

It's horrible that the MotherCorp would cut the only reporter position in a region as ginormous as yours. We are all worse off for this.

There are two ways to look at my layoff.
No. Make that three.

Yes. There are at least three ways to look at the way I lost my job. Wait. Maybe there are more. Hm.

I'm getting confused. Why don't we just look at the "facts:"

  1. Poor Jackie: she doesn't have a job anymore. And now has to leave the place she's called home for the past two years. Moving is hard. Moving from the north is harder. Leaving people and places behind you may never see again is difficult. Leaving without a job on the other end is even harder. Poor Jackie.
  2. Poor Rankin: there are a handful of reporter positions for the territory. One in Rankin Inlet. One in Cambridge Bay. About 5 or 6 in Iqaluit (giving half-points to the news reader and senior reporter etc.) The position in Rankin will soon be gone, leaving a huge gap in news coverage for the territory.
  3. Poor Regions: while there is *supposed* to be a reporter position in Cambridge Bay, this isn't the case, really. The reporter assigned to the Kitikmeot is actually currently based in Iqaluit. The plan *was* to move him to Cambridge Bay, but there are some logistical issues that have been tricky to work out. That means there are only reporters in the Baffin region now. All reporting outside Iqaluit will now have to be done by phone.
BUT there are a couple good things going on here.
  1. Locals doing local news: For the past couple months (and especially since I left for vacation) my coworkers here in Rankin Inlet have been doing more and more news clips. Instead of me taking clips from the interviews they've done and writing them into a story, they're doing it themselves. This means more chances for bilingual stories. And more stories grounded in the culture of the regions. This is a good thing.
  2. Jackie gets what she wanted: to head out of Rankin sooner rather than later. And she doesn't have to pay her own way to do it.
So reader, while I agree with you on principle... that cutting the only reporter position in a geographic area as stupidly huge as the Kivalliq is a real shame...

Having the local people here in Rankin do that job is probably the direction we should have gone in in the first place. Have them trained to do the reporting, or at least job-shadowing the reporter for a couple months so they know how things go.

The PROBLEM here isn't in eliminating a job (because in reality, though not in name, they are going to have others fill that void). The problem is that yet again we're going to have people in the Rankin station thrown into doing a job they've not been really trained to do. Sure, more often than not, you learn by doing. But there's journalistic theory involved in reporting. Guidelines and rules that need to be followed... and until you get someone up here to hold a session on Journalistic ethics and practices... the station's going to be at a bit of a loss.


New Blog: Serendipity Now

So I've started my new blog up and running.
After hearing Megan rave about Wordpress and how it's god's gift to bloggers, I thought I'd give it a try.
I'm still going to be posting here for a bit, but eventually that will stop and I'll be fully moved over to the new site.
I like the look better. It's cleaner, I think.
Let me know what you think...


Inuk music and altered states

Well I already wrote an entry for the day.

So this is just a bonus one. And not a real one. So there.

My sandbox. My rules.

Neener neener neener :P

  1. I was helping out an amigo of mine figure out where there's money to be had for budding recording artists (incidentally, the same talented woman who drew my Sedna picture) and I came across a "new" blog - one that exclusively features arctic musicians. Pretty neat photos and articles. Check it out here! (Clare, is this on the database?)
  2. I have become dangerously intrigued by The United States of Tara. It's a Showtime series exec. produced and created by Diablo Coady of Juno screenwriting fame. Though from what I've seen of it so far, it's NOTHING like Juno. The series is typical Showtime fare: take something somewhate out there and place it in a typical suburban setting. The show follows Tara, a woman dealing with DID (dissociative identity disorder) and her various "alters." I'm now hooked on reading the blog that belongs to a woman who worked as a consultant (holy qualifiers batman) on the show. She has DID, and it's just facinating to read about "integration" and "splits" from someone I can only describe as the most stable instable person ever. Check that blog out here.
  3. A friend of mine now has a shop on Etsy. (Please tell me I've told y'all about Etsy). If you are into earrings and do-dads I'm sure she'd appreciate your support. She's a pharmacy student who just happens to be the most creative and crafty person I know (besides my babysitter from when I was like, 4 - but then who can ever really hold a candle to Shelia?). Her site is here.
Okay, that's all. Buh-byyyye!

Non-reader asks: Did you go out?

As I was walking to the story meeting room this morning...

Co-worker: *mumble-out*?
Jackie S. Quire: wha?
CW: *you-mumble-went-mumble-out*?
JSQ: *giggle* whaaaat?
CW: You. Look. Like. You. Went. Out. Your. Face. Out!
JSQ: ohhhhhhhhh yah, I went out *squinch face*

So I went on a 2.5-week long vacation "down south." And came back nice and brown.

I went for a weekend at a friend's cabin. And came back with my skin feeling a bit tight, but not looking all that different.

And my co-worker can tell I've been out on the land.... and I don't even have the tell-tale hat/goggles tan line.

Go figure.

** I should mention said co-worker speaks perfect English, I just was feeling geriatric and he was mumbling a bit too haha


Reader & non-readers ask: Oink Oink?


I. Do. Not. Have. Swine. Flu.

So what the hell happened when I was gone? Seriously, I leave town, the GG snacks on a seal, creates a international ruckus and the entire territory comes down with H1N1.

Looks like we're not getting along very well with animals lately :P

According to yesterday's report by the GN Department of Health, the count's now at 140-something, split 60-40 between the Kitikmeot and Kivalliq regions. For some unknown reason no one's tested positive in the Baffin yet. But frankly, I'd say that's just a matter of time.

Seriously though, we're okay. Yes people have H1N1 (in fact, my skidoo buddy/inuk boyfriend was sent down to Winnipeg because of it) but it's still pretty much "business as usual". With a little bit of Purell thrown in for good measure.


I don’t believe in fate. I never have, and probably never will. As some of you know, I’m just too much of a control freak to even consider the possibility that I don’t have the power to choose my own destiny. I believe the choices I make affect the future. But I also acknowledge I can only control my own future, not that of others. Autonomy, you know?

But even though I reject fate, and I reject destiny, and I reject other notions of pre-ordained paths….

I do believe in Serendipity. I believe it, because I’ve seen it. I believe it, because I’ve lived it. I believe it because it basically describes everything my life has been and continues to be.

The CBC has cut the reporter position in Rankin Inlet.

My job has been eliminated. And my time in Rankin is up.

And that’s where Serendipity comes in.

I’ve been ready to leave Rankin for several months now. That probably comes as little surprise, I don’t hide my unhappiness very well. There have been some good times, I recognize that whole-heartedly. I made some good friends, had a fulfilling relationship (that has since ended, as some may have guessed) and dipped my toes in the waters of news reporting.

But Rankin is not my home. I think maybe I knew that from the beginning. I still remember with painful detail how scared I was, how panicked I felt that first night in town. Looking around at my “cat-lady” apartment and feeling utterly alone. But I adapted, and I got swept up in the “new-ness” of it all… and I think genuinely enjoyed it for awhile. It was hard, but it was new.

But eventually the novelty wore off. And now it’s just hard.

And while the timing is maybe awkward (I found out when on holidays), I’m looking at the whole layoff as a closing-a-door/opening-a-window situation. My union’s got my back. The Mothercorp is paying my way out (and moving all my belongings), and they have to try to find me another position somewhere else before I am COMPLETELY jobless. And I’m on a recall list for the next 15 months.

Basically, what I’ve been trying to do on my own, finding another job somewhere else in the country, has just been accelerated on my behalf.

So don’t cry for me, (Argentina). I’m doing just fine. Maybe the pup and I will find a place we can really call home this time. A place with grass, and trees and some of the many familiarities I’ve missed this past year and a half.

It’s a bit scary, and things could move quite fast in the next month or so. But I’m ready. I’ve got serendipity on my side.






I love new challenges.


Standardization, please!

Some things really should just be standardized already.

Seriously? I’m 24 and starting to get crotchety in my old age.

And if the world could somehow come together on a couple of these things, I would be eternally grateful.

  • Electronics cords. I cannot for the life of me figure out why there are so many little attachment do-dads out there. You can have two cell phones from the exact same manufacturer, and the jacks will be COMPLETELY different. And even when the bloody things LOOK the same, sometimes the voltages are different. To the naked eye, my two laptops have the same power cord… but unless I’m careful I could blow one of them up, because the voltage is significantly different. Yah, okay. Maybe I shouldn’t own two laptops and avoid that problem from square one, but still. It’s ridiculous.
  • While I’m on the topic of power cords, let’s talk plugs. Why why WHY do we need to have different types of plugs between North America, Europe, the UK… and beyond? I gather it has something to do with the infrastructure and less with general flighty-ness like the power cord conundrum, but you’d think we could come up with a better solution than converters and adapters, in this day and age.
  • Security procedures. Okay. So you go through security in Canada and you have to remove your liquids and gels and laptops/camcorders. In the states, it’s your shoes. In Europe, you are allowed to bring in liquids with more than 100 ml as long as it’s been sealed in a duty-free bag. Not the case in North America.
  • Airline rules. Same deal. If they are going to make such a big deal of what you can and cannot do when on board, couldn’t they see to make it a general code of practise? This one isn’t even standardized by country! West Jet allows you to have pets on board, Air Canada doesn’t. You can use your cell phone as soon as the plane lands on United Airlines, not until you get into the terminal for others. Air Canada lets you use earbud earphones (to enjoy their on-board entertainment system, of course) at all times, but no other airline I’ve been on recently lets you wear them during takeoff/landing.
  • Debit Cards/Interac: everthing else is so fluid across borders, but the rules about bank account access cards just don’t follow from country to country, it seems. Maybe it’s just that Canada doesn’t have bank cards linked to major credit cards, or the right security chips… but it seems so odd to this debit-card addict that cash or credit seem to be the only option when travelling.

Can you tell I’ve been flying around a lot??


Edmonton Airport: FAIL

So I'm not too impressed with the Edmonton Airport right now.

First of all, the airport is located waaay the hell outside the town. And you have three options to get from the airport to anywhere else in the city.

  • rent a car
  • take the shuttle
  • take a taxi
Car rentals in Edmonton right night are about $100/day.
The shuttle won't take me to a private residence, actually they will, but I have to rent out the whole van.
Taxis cost $58 dollars each direction.

Talk about unreasonable.

Edmonton, you are now on my black-list.

Error 401

So believe it or not, I've been posting to the blog over the past couple of days.

You just wouldn't know it, because none of them showed up on the site. And I was sending them via email, so now they are lost somewhere in virtual purgatory. Booo.

So I'm back on the island, for the rest of the day and tomorrow morning. Then I hop on a plane tomorrow afternoon, spend the evening with my cousin in Edmonton.... then am back in Rankin on Wednesday.

Pretty whirlwind trip all around, definately one of those scenarios where I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. And that could be in the works as well, it's hard to say.

But for now, the pup and I are enjoying the totally REASONABLE weather (I love how PEI is the perfect happy medium between the silly-hotness and humidity of New Orleans and the depressingly cold-ness of Rankin), and are going to go visit with a friend from Rankin who is now back on the island too.

Wish this could last forever...


Take a tour of the Garden District

That's right, new photos from the New Orleans trip are up, this time of the BEAUTIFUL Garden District area.



Sully's famous twin

These "blue dog" paintings are EVERYWHERE in NOLA. There are galleries dedicated to him. There are huge paintings on the exterior walls of hotels. There are books in the local bookstores.

Who knew Sully had a blue-hued doppelgänger ?

First set of photos: New Orleans

They are up! Your first glimpse of New Orleans can be seen here! Enjoy!


Viva la New Orleans


Takin' it easy in the Big Easy

So let the grand ole time in Nawleens begin, I say!
Jeff and I arrived in NOLA this afternoon, after minimal drama (considering the terrible luck we've had in the past with lost baggage and such en route to Greece). The worst of which was probably the fact that they changed MY tickets to a later flight, but not his... meaning I'd arrive 5 hours later, which while not a BIG deal, messed with some of our plans.
We're staying in an old OLD hotel at the east end of the French Quarter, called Le Richlieu. Paul McCartney stayed there back in the Wings days, which sold me on the place(I'm ignoring the seal thing, okay? The Beatles were my first fave band). It's dated, but charming, and has a private courtyard and pool.
First thoughts on New Orleans:
  • Bourbon street scares the crap out of me
  • You can walk from our hotel to Jackson Square in about 8 minutes - I had no idea it was that close
  • Muffelattas are freaking gigantic, and totally not something I will have again
  • The Big Easians like their coffee-flavoured beer
  • Mixed drinks are expensive, beer super cheap
  • They are right when they say the French Quarter was largely untouched by the hurricane
  • It's freakin' hot here
  • Everyone calls me "baby"
  • Southern drawls make everyone sound friendly
  • I think this is a place I'm happy visiting but likely wouldn't want to live in (no offence, NOLA, I just don't think I fit in)
  • No one visits NOLA for 9 days, it's unheard of. But who cares. It'll be full of relaxing and sunshine, and that's all I need.
Well that's about it. We're off for dinner and some drinks, and hopefully some good music. Frommers is leading the way, of course. I didn't hilight and bookmark the sucker for nothin' 
Peace OUT!

I have seen the axis of evil....

And it takes the form of a fouton at my sister's house in Fredericton.

No joke. While I appreciate the fact that the contraption wants to give me a full-time hug while I sleep... the whole Jackie-taco effect isn't really what I was looking for in a sleeping arrangement.

Three hours and counting till I board the plane for NOLA! (Can you tell I'm pumped, totally wired, and likely not getting any more sleep in the next hour?)


Be it ever so humble

You know, "they" are so wrong.

"They" say you can never go home again. And while a couple years ago, I would have agreed.... "they" simply just don't have the right place to go home TO.

I miss the island. I really truly do. The reason I've not been online blogging since I got home was because I've been outside enjoying the green life.

Make that lovin' it.

It's been hectic this past week.

80th birthday celebrations. Driving across provinces in mini-vans with extended family. University graduations.

And tomorrow I'll be touching down in the Big Easy for some good eatins. And excellent times.

But really, I kind of wish I were just going back to the island for another week. Because its just been glorious. Walking around on sidewalks. Playing ball with the pup in - IMAGINE - the GRASS. Reading on a spring morning out on the back lawn.

If ever I understood, it's now. Really.

There's no place like home.


Toroonto Pearson: thoughts

  • I could reaaally go for one of those expressi-pedis. Me dawgs are ever tired
  • The Starbucks Grande green tea frappichino looks like mint chocolate chip ice cream, but tastes like an odd combination of milk and ice and grass
  • When you spill said beverage on the ground, it looks like mint green vomit
  • Mint green vomit is sticky
  • The Air Canada back-of-the-seat entertainment system heats up the plane like its going out of style...and the air vents are like a weak trickle of lukewarm air
  • I really should have just gone for a doube shot of espresso because I am tired and have a big day(week) ahead
  • Red eyes that only last 3.5 hours so aren't worth it
  • In my old age, I've become much less tolerant of airport and airline hooey
  • I hope puppy is still alive


I heart Oakley

Remember when Oakleys were cool? I do. And I swore I would never buy them, because they were overpriced.
Seriously. Who would spend two hundred bucks on a pair of sunglasses when you could get them at the drug store for 20 bucks?

Well about a year ago I broke down and bought a pair. Actually "broke down" isn't really the word. I wanted a good pair of sunglasses. Once March arrives up here, I really can't handle going outside without a pair plastered to my face. The sun + the snow + 20 hours of daylight is just too much for these little eyeballs. And I was tired of the cheap ones I'd been chronically buying, breaking and losing. 

So I went to good friend eBay and found a nice pair for about 100 bucks. Brown frames. Brown lenses. And I wore them so much last summer I actually ended up with a sunglass tan line on the sides of my face. That was a first.

But then something terrible happened. I was wading through my kitchen, strewn with jackets, splash pants and Muck boots... and I heard "crunch." My heart sank.

I had crunched my beloved sunglasses. I was screwed. Luckily it was the dead of winter, and had little need for sunglasses with just a handful of daylight hours each day.

After a bit of web searching, I found a guy in the states who says he repairs sunglasses "as good as new" for about 30 bucks, including shipping. So I sent them off, and a couple of weeks got them back. Hardly good as new... (he basically just put a piece of black putty on the inside of the bridge to support it) you could still see the crack on the front, and wiggle it around. Not good. But I stood by my glasses. And have been wearing their decrepit-ness with pride...

Until today, when just for shits and giggles, I looked up the Oakley customer service line. I didn't have much hope that they'd help me out. It was my fault that they were broken. I didn't buy them from an authorized dealer. And I'd probably voided any warranty they DID have by sending them to Mr. Fix-it.

Imagine my surprise when they offered to replace the frames FOR FREE, and ship them back to me in Nunavut, also, FOR FREE. And they even apologized for not having the exact same frame anymore (discontinued).

Unreal. I heart Oakley. Best. Customer. Service. EVER.


Sweet, glorious sunshine....

HMMMM.... Where would I like to be right now?

Blogger status update: FREAKING OUT


Wallet has been found. Co-worker put it in a 'safe' place (aka on the top of a bulletin board). But that was after I already can canceled a credit card and went to the banks in town for new debit cards. Sigh. At least I don't have to arrange for another license, because that would have been tricky.

And to be fair, the co-worker wasn't in this morning, and thought it was a business-card case, not a wallet.




I have NO idea where the bloody thing is at. I know I had it this week. I bought groceries at the Northern. But it's not in any of the usual places. I ransacked my house and desk. And. I. Can. Not. Find. It.

And my passport is expired.



Bogger status update: Quilt-master

I just finished my first-ever "real" quilt! And I'm so impressed with myself. This whole quiliting thing just kind of came out of nowhere, it seems. But I really do like it... I like that I'm able to use some of my "fun with colours"/creative side, with a project that is SERIOULSY time consuming (I'm doing most of it by hand, mind you) and even be able to see a finished project I can admire.

I will take a photo of the ACTUAL finished project soon. When I say I finished it, what I meant to say was I finished the really time-consuming part, and the part I can do here in Rankin. I'm going to bring it with me to PEI so I can buy fabric for the trim/back, because there's nothing I really like here.

That is all.

Round-about route

Yep, that's the route I'm taking from Rankin Inlet to Charlottetown on Friday/Saturday. And I MEAN Friday AND Saturday. I leave Rankin on Friday after work, arrive in Edmonton at 9pm, depart Edmonton at midnight, arrive in Toronto at 6am before taking off 3 hours later and arriving home in the lovely, quaint, Charlottetown airport at noon.

I'm certainly making my aeroplan points work for me on this flight. I just checked it on Expedia, and it came to $3100. Yikes! I really honestly think that the best value-for-dollar Aeroplan tickets are through Canada's north. Shit, for 25,000 points, the farthest you can get is a "long-haul" flight within North America. And you could fly from Newfoundland to Los Angelas for less than $2000 (off-sale).

But when I booked the tickets, First Air didn't have their flight to Winnipeg... and Calm Air wasn't accepting Aeroplan redemptions... so I really had no choice (though I would have preferred to go through Ottawa). It will be hard for the pup, I'm sure (and probably for me too) but I'll just pass out on the plane once I get to Edmonton. It's not like Air Canada feeds us anyway.

So I'm heading home, sweet home. To my dear, fair isle.... and I'm waaay too ready. I'll be home for a week or so, before darting off to New Orleans for about the same amount of time. Then back to the island for another day or two, to pick up the pup and head back up north.

Yet again, zooming across the country. What can I say, I like to travel :)


Blogger status update:

Jackie finds it amusing when power goes off in all of Rankin Inlet for just 10 minutes... but means the afternoon show broadcast is cancelled, and she gets to spend the rest of the afternoon reading because one of the servers is down.

Forward and back again

So I was looking through some archival photos this weekend, as part of a bigger project I've taken on (yeesh 800 photos to edit, what did I get myself into?)... and it really hit me how much I've missed in the past 7 years.

Seven years ago I left home, left everything I knew, for university.

Left my baby sister behind to grow up without me.

Left my parents to feel empty-nested.

Left my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, my grandparents (only to lose one of them a month later).

And I never really looked back.

I spent so much of my adolescent life trying to escape PEI. Escape it's "close-mindedness," it's lack of variety, its SMALL-ness (ironic that I find myself here, eh?) And once I left I just kept going. Going to France. Going to Quebec. Going to Rankin Inlet.

And life moved on. Of course it did. The lives of those you leave behind always move on. And fast.

I can't believe it's been a YEAR AND A HALF since I've been home. A year and a half since I've seen my own father. A year since I've seen my mother.

Where did the time go? What did I do with the past year? It feels like nothing has changed, the puppy's a bit fatter (maybe I am too, haha). The snow's still here. And the rest of the world seems to have sped along at break-neck speed.

My sister has a new apartment.

My grandmother turned 80 last week.

Friends are graduating from post-grad.

And I'm here. Moving at half-speed. While everyone else is on fast forward.



You may live in Nunavut if ...

***Disclaimer: I hate forwards. I really really do. I think for the most part they are dumb dumb dumb and just clutter my inbox. But today I got the following from my coworker (who is much more fond of forwards than I am). And it's hilarious... because it's true. Finally a "You may live in X if..." for Notherners. Enjoy!***

If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 96 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you may live in Nunavut
If your snowmobile, truck or ATV is a front yard ornament, you may live in Nunavut
If you walk like a penguin for nine months of the year, you may live in Nunavut

If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time for any damn reason, you may live in Nunavut

If you know Red Top isn't a hair color, you may live in Nunavut (Rankin to be exact)
If you check the expiry date on your pop, chips or kukuk (chocolate), you may live in Nunavut
If you know that Tootoo's aren't 4, you may live in Nunavut
You Know You Are A True Nunavummiut when:
1. Vacation means going out on medical
2. You measure distance in days
3. You know what time radio bingo starts
4. You often switch from a Honda to a snowmobile in the same day and then back again.
5. You walk in a raging blizzard to go pattik (card game)
6. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit (so he can go to the rich people's houses and get lots of goodies)
7. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
8. You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and flies
10. "Down south" to you means Yellowknife...
11. You have "on air" on your speed dial (for bingo)
12. You have more miles on your qamutik (sled) than your truck.
13. You find -20 degrees "NOT COLD, just a little cool."
14. You know AGM means free food
15. You go to the health centre because you are out of Tylenol or condoms
16. People walk their dogs & let them poop in your yard, but you don't say anything about it
17. Your kid throws rocks at any wild bird/animal, and you think they're real hunters
18. You have fresh-water ice (FOR TEA) in your porch
19. Your milk costs almost $15 for a 4-litre jug
21. You have to make your family's winter clothing, and they're better than "store-bought". 
22. You actually understand these jokes, and you forward them to all your Eskimo friends from the North.


How to thank an Inuk?

I pride myself on being one of those people who's "really good" at giving presents. I even keep a year-round rotating list of "gift ideas" for my friends and family. Seriously. It's on my desktop with a passcode and everything. I have had my mother's and father's day presents picked out for months.
Yes, sometimes I slip up and give something lame as a cop out. But I really do try to find things that are useful and relevant and even a little bit luxe.
But I have to admit I'm a bit stumped right now. There's a person - an acquaintence, really - in town who has just been a godsend this winter with my ski-doo. I've jokingly named him my "new boyfriend" because he just caters to my ski-doo woes like it's going out of style.
He'll pull over to the side of the road in his dump truck (yes, he is the garbage man at times too) and asks me how my machine is running. Earlier in the winter, if he saw me walking some where he'd ask if it was okay. He thawed out my skidoo when its innerds were frozen solid. Today, as I was walking to work he stopped by in his work truck and asked what had happened to my skidoo (it's been stuck at the Northern for a couple of days now). And without me asking said he'd pick it up after work. He's never asked for anything in return, and he really goes out of his way to help me with my machine.
And I want to thank him. But I don't know how. Some of it is a general "I never know what to get men for gifts," some is a cultural thing, and some is a sensitivity thing (the old thank you fallback would be a nice bottle of wine or something... but with the rampant alcohol issues in this community, it's hard to say if that would be offensive or not).
So that brings me here.
How do you thank an Inuk? Thoughts?


Confidante by force

Over the past couple days, I've had something strange happen to me... not once, but TWICE.

TWICE in the past week, I've had OLDER MARRIED MEN talk to me about their relationships with their wives. And the conversations always go like this:


OMM: So we've been married (9/7) years, and I love my wife, I really do...

JSQ: (silent, nodding)

OMM: And she's a great woman, and things between us are great...

JSQ: mmhm

OMM: ... but some times, I swear. Like she's got ISSUES.

JSQ: oh?

OMM: YAH. I mean, she (doesn't like that I travel for work/totally spoils our adopted Chinese daughter), and it DRIVES ME CRAZY.

JSQ: hmm, I see.

OMM: But seriously, things were REALLY ROUGH for a couple of months there. She was just being totally unreasonable, and I couldn't take it anymore. And of course, the fact that she (doesn't like that I travel for work/totally spoils our adopted Chinese daughter) is actually just ONE of the many many things that are getting to her, but of course she's taking it out on ME.

JSQ: yah, that's too bad.

OMM: So eventually, I just snapped. And told her that I couldn't take it anymore. And either we settle it or I'M GONE.

JSQ: oh no

OMM: Yah. But things are better now, she has chilled out a bit. And now things are totally fine.

JSQ: that's nice.


Yah. Okay. Weird, no? In both situations, it started off like the men were being sleezy and bitching about their wives to impress the young gal... but in the end... no... that vibe was gone, and it turns out they just wanted to have someone confirm they weren't totally arseholes.


Well, I'm not sure if I fufilled that role or not... but whatever.




World's dumbest criminal

So I went to Walmart over the weekend.

Kind of.

You see, I was very "colour me flustered" because I'd spent most of the morning stressing out over passport application issues (seriously, I STILL can't believe that in the country's biggest city where 24-hour services reign, there is really genuinely no one available to take my photo after 10 pm.). To avoid future frustration, and hopefully enjoy the rest of my trip... I decided I would begin to tick off some of the items on my "in Toronto to-do list" over lunch.

First order of business: hit up Walmart. I had noticed a sign for a Walmart as I whizzed by en route to the course training centre, it was less than five minutes away, which was good because I only had an hour off. And these people are STRICT about tardiness (something I'm notorious for, of course).

So as I pulled up, I noticed they had adopted a new sign - the new "softer" side of Walmart. And there were tons of people outside enjoying a charity BBQ. But then I noticed the sign had fine print, specifying that this was not just a Walmart store, it was a Walmart Home Office store.

So I was a little disappointed, but no biggie. I decided I would pick up a new notebook for work, and browse. I heart office-supply stores.

I walked in, and immediately noticed the funny layout, saw a Tim Horton's in to the left, and assumed it was the same idea as the "McDonald's in a Walmart" scheme. I head towards the internal bank of doors, and notice one that was designated specifically for VISITORS.

How nice, I think, for them to have a special door for non-Torontoians. Maybe they have nice greeters there or something.

So I head through the door and come up short. Aka do a faceplant into the door. I step back, look up at the visitor sign, and give it a more tentative push. Hm. The doors appear to be locked. So much for welcoming.

So I gradually come out of my Jackie-centric daze to notice I'm standing beside a security desk.

I turn to him, and give him a trademark winning smile:

JS: Um, where am I?
SG: Walmart
JS: Yah, okay, I get that.
SG: Are you a visitor?
JS: Um, yes, I would like to visit.
SG: Are you here to see someone?
JS: Um, no.
SG: Are you a vendor?
JS: NO. I just saw the sign and came in. I want to visit the store.
SG: Oh! You think this is Walmart??
JS: uuuuhmmm YAH, that's what it says on the sign.
SG: Yes. This is head office. The Walmart head office for Canada.
*cricket, cricket*

Yah, so it turns out I tried to break into the Walmart Canadian Headquarters. And wasn't successful.


But I did learn four things from my misadventures:
Walmart is sneaky
Walmart Home Office does NOT sell "home office" supplies
Walmart is is safe from the World's Dumbest Criminals
The REAL Walmart is in the opposite direction.


Heaven is

  • a two hour plane ride direct to Winnipeg from Rankin
  • Wired magazine's May issue - guest edited by JJ Abrams of Lost fame
  • Fried calamari and a green apple martini
  • A new haircut and color that make me feel pretty again

I love travel.



Nothing makes me laugh more than a MC HAMMER slide.

Oh baby. I'm sooooo doing the MC Hammer Slide allll the way around Toronto this week. Did I mention I'm going to Toronto? Yes. Yes. I did.

I'm going for union training (talk about fun timing, downsizing anyone?) but have many excursions planned with one of the condiments including a Jay's game and Medevial Times. It will be a gong show, and I can't wait. And I leave tomorrow.

See y'all on the flipside, suckas!


The placating smile

So I've gotten really good at an invaluable skill lately; one I call "the placating smile."

You see, sometimes people bug me. Generally, I'm okay. Generally I don't let people get to me. Actually, if we're speaking generally, GENERALLY I'm actually pretty fond of people. I like people-company. But normal people can be hard to come by in Rankin Inlet. There's this theory I have that the people who come here (here, as in the north) are either being pushed or pulled north. Often running away from something else. It's not an iron-clad theory. But it explains some of the whackos we have (probably myself included).

Seeing as "normals" are getting hard to come by, and I'm tired of being crotchety, I've developed "placating smile" to help defend me against the nutsoid masses.

It's a great response to "HOLY CRAP YOU LOOK TIRED" (um, no, I feel fine, but thanks for saying I look like shit) and "Do THIS totally unnecessary busy-work chore."

So next time a dingbat asks you to do something they think is PARAMOUNT, just raise your eyebrows and make your eyes medium-wide (think: a "really?" expression), and give the sweetest little half-smile. Then blink your eyes a couple times, like their request is taking some time to process.

That mix of disdain and innocent sweetness is enough to convince the eejit that you have heard their request/comment, and processed it. But also lets you snarkily but silently tell them you think it's dumb/rude.

Try it out.

Before I trademark it, yo.


Good for a laugh

So I was doing something disgustingly nerdy Friday morning (reading random articles from Merlin Mann's website - - seriously, how someone with such a TERRIBLE name can become so well known is freaking beyond me) when I discovered a new blog/website: "5ives"

I don't consider it a blog, because for me, blogs feel just much more personal than this (but maybe that's because I primarily read personal blogs). But that doesn't mean it's not incredibly entertaining.

Premise: random lists of five, anything from "Five Web 2.0 ways to break up with your boyfriend" to "Five terrible fake names for villages in England"

And I think my personal favourite?

Five terrible fake astronomical pickup lines
March 13th, 2008
  1. Ever wonder what’s happening under Orion’s belt?
  2. Hop in my van, and I’ll show you something else that’s constantly expanding.
  3. Was Democritus the first one to postulate your mysterious Milky Way?
  4. I’d like to Sagittarius your Pisces, and that’s no Taurus.
  5. How about we go outside and discover Uranus?


Another reason to listen to Q

As I think I said back when that whole BBT thing was going down (yes, I'm still making references to it, but it will forever be enshrined in my memory, so deal with it :P) I think I made reference to the fact that I'm not really a "Q"/ Jian Ghomeshi fan.

Not normally anyways.

But we only get 2 hours of national programming in Nunavut during working hours: the last hour of The Current and the first hour of Q. So whether I want to or not, I listen to both shows on a regular basis, because it is piped through our phones and other various hot spots in the office. Which is good, because it lets us know when there's something bad going down (like the other day when our host was being cut off by African drumming every 4 seconds).

So as I think I pointed out, the whole BBT incident gave me newfound respect for JG. I still think he can be slimy and pretentious... and I really really don't like the "reflections" sections of his show (where the music goes all weird and JG provides us with some kind of golden nugget of knowledge he's gleaned over the years as a seasoned entertainment broadcaster).

But. BUT BUT BUT. You will NEVER GUESS who is going to be a guest on the show next week.



BOB BARKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes. Seriously. Bob Barker is going to be on Q. I think I'm dying. Dying a happy death, but dying all the same.

See, like many, I've always had a very very special place in my heart reserved for The Price is Right. I'm one of those people who would go up on stage and promptly tell B-squared that I have loyally watched his show for 23-odd years. That I was even watching it through the glowing red of my mother's womb (okay. I dont' really remember what it looked like, but on TV wombs are glow-y red. Okay, on House all interior body parts are glow-y red. And House is king. okay?).

I would look forward to days off from school NOT because of the day off factor, but because I could then sit down with a bowl of KD and watch The Price Is Right. Always KD and TPIR. And if I could convince my sister, we'd play along with these Price is Right templates I made, that I'd force her to fill out with our bids, and actual retail price... and then I'd do the math and determine a "winner" when the show was over.

And when B-squared left TPIR ... it just wasn't the same. Drew Carey bugs me. He's all creepy and now he's growing out his hair so he's not such a nerdy square-head... but instead he just looks like a used car salesman.

But now he's BACK! With a book! And on Q! And I couldn't be more excited, haha.

It's like my own dream showcase. And not a crappy one that has bedroom furniture (as I kid I remember thinking how people really got the short straw when they won dining/living/bed room sets). A good one, with a convertible, a party boat, a full-sized RV and Bob Barker driving.



Warm heart

I called my old office in Quebec City this morning... looking for a phone number for a throat singer living there.

And that black-cloud that had settled around me was briefly lifted, and the sun just shone through as my former co-workers yelled cheerful hello's across thousands of miles of telephone wire.

One even saying that he wants to fly me in to play softball with them this summer.

I don't know why I'm blinking back tears as I write this, but it was just so nice to feel... I don't know. Missed? Man that's selfish. I know my friends and family miss me, just like I miss them. But feeling so isolated and alone makes you forget that stuff. And it was a wonderful, beautiful reminder of a really good time in my life. Not always an easy one, but a good one... even if it just lasted 5 months.

So thanks to them. Whether they know I'm thanking them or not.

Wanted: Word detective

So I've not been posting much lately. You all know that. You are the ones who have loyally visited, only to find nothing new.

I don't know what to tell you folks. I can't even really scold myself for being a "bad blogger." It's not that I don't want to write. It's that my words have up and vanished.

Sometimes its just like this blog has grown beyond my comfort zone. Which is a strange phenomenon when you think about it. We spend so much time linking to others, and trying to draw readers to our websites...

But at a certain point it's like this once-pet-project took a life of its own. And now I don't know what to do with it anymore.

It's like I've lost my words and lost my voice. And I don't know where to find them.

Maybe I need a break... and it's a good thing one's coming up I guess. I'll be heading to Toronto next Wednesday for a couple days. I'm there for union training... but luckily I'm staying just about 20 minutes from where one of my best friends lives now. So festivities are planned, and it will be nice to finally be around someone who actually "gets" me.

I've been feeling quite lonely lately, it seems. Lonely and stuck and insecure. And it will be hella nice to be un-stuck, un-lonely and with someone who can basically read my mind. I miss feeling like I belong.

It'll be a nice change.


The new template


So things look a little different around here eh?

As I think maybe you remember, I was pretty happy with the old theme. I felt it was just sooooo "me" it was disgusting. Not bad disgusting, mind you. Good disgusting.

Like Wendy's fries with mayo. Yum.

But over the weekend something bizarre happened. I think the Photobucket account that hosted the images for the template expired or something. Or I used up all its bandwidth or something like that. I don't know. All I know is the images were all wonky on Monday. And may or may not have given me a seizure.

So I had to change it. Fast. And I temporarily switched to good ole trusty polka-dot template in the meantime. That is, until I could find a suitable replacement. I spent ALL YESTERDAY AND ALL TODAY* coming up with this one... and customizing it "just so".

And of course, as soon as I had done that, I found another non-corrupted version of my old template.

So because I'm incapable of making a decision on my own... LET THE VOTING BEGIN!

*Yah right. I love my blog, but I have a life and a job. Get real.


Pool party time!

So, I've been invited to a pool party!
Yes! Me! Pool! Party!
Don't believe me? Here's the e-vite:

Hi Everyone,

Please save the date and join us for the 2009 Hoffman Summer Pool Party

When: Saturday, June 2
7th at 12:00 noon
Where: 1512129 Manor
Lake Drive
Rockville, MD 21853

(301) 555-0836

We hope see you all!

Eileen & Warren

So Eileen and Warren have invited me to their pool party, and I can't wait! I bet I'll have even more fun than these people are having:

I'd say the goofy-looking guy is Warren. He looks like a Warren to me. Or maybe a Neville. Definitely a Warren or a Neville.

Oh wait.

"MD". Does that stand for Maryland? Shoot. I won't be able to make it guys. Even though you have given me three months notice, to "save the date" I really don't know if I'll be able to swing it.

Sorry guys.

Maybe next year?

But seriously, "Eileen and Warren." This is at least the fifth time I've replied to your emails with the following message:

Hi there,
I believe you have the wrong "Jackie S. Quire." Please update your address books.
Thank you.
Jackie S. Quire
(email address here)

And you keep ignoring me and copying me on all your stupid events. I don't want to be a part of the Full Moon Family Reunion. I don't want to be copied on your latest resume. Please please please stop sending me emails.

I can't take the heartbreak of another pool party I can't attend.


Puppies need "regularity" too

So, I have a fun story for y'all.

It's a puppy story. And I know how y'all like puppy stories.

Okay, maybe it's just me who loves puppy stories. But whatever. They are fun. And I've not had enough fun posts on the blog as of late :) So here we go:

So I was hanging out with the pup the other nite. When I say "hanging out" I mean the pup was out of "his area" (during the day and at night he's got limited access to the house - he hangs out in the laundry room) and bouncing around all over the place. The little beast has finally figured out how to play "fetch" and now it's all he does. Which is fine. I like to throw things, haha.

So I'm throwing platypus. I'm throwing flamingo. I'm throwing green ball. I'm throwing little white dog. He's throwing platypus up in the air and catching it again in his mouth. I've enrolled him in a travelling circus. We're having a grand old time.

So he comes up on the couch, and drops a toy in my lap and looks at me. I look back. He nudges it closer. "Duh hoomin, throe dah toi!" I notice he's got this funny little reverse-mustache thing going on - aka... he's got this bizarre substance on his bottom lip, like a soul-patch, but it goes all the way across the front of his bottom lip. So a reverse-stache. So I wipe it off.

The substance is like a beige/brown/grey colour. And it's sticky. Not like sugar-sticky... but flour + water sticky.

So pup and I go on a mission to find what the hell he's gotten into. I love the animal, but he's notorious for eating things he shouldn't and chewing random bits of plastic and other not-intended-for-puppy-consumption objects. But we can't find anything. So I figure he's eaten all of whatever it was. 

So that's fine. Life goes on.

*smack, lick smack*

Puppy is smacking his lips. Why? Lord knows. I look inside his mouth... and find that THAT SAME CREEPY STICKY STUFF HAS COATED THE ROOF OF HIS MOUTH AND HIS TEETH.

And not like a thin coat. I'm talking a half a centimeter thick coat of sticky-browny-beige gook.

Now I'm freaked out. Some mysterious substance is *everywhere* inside him. Coating his insides with its stickyness. Ew. Ew. EW! So I do the un-thinkable. I reach my finger inside his mouth and scoop out as much as I can. EW.

I examine the substance. Okay, it's definately sticky, but not runny. It's light brown. And probably STRANGEST OF ALL...

It. Has. No. Scent.

That's right, no smell whatsoever. I'm baffled. I have no clue what in the world this is. I am a little worried too because who knows if it's poisonous for puppies or not... and I can't find the source ANYWHERE. There's nothing mysterious on the floor, nothing.

So I cut my losses, get out the little travel-toothbrush, and scrub his little canines like there's no tomorrow. Problem solved.

The night goes on. And what do you know, about an hour later, he comes back smacking again, and I open his mouth... and the crud IS BACK! So the mystery-crud is still around. And the only thing I could think of was this bone he found outside that I'd been letting him chew on. I figured it was harmless, and he seemed to enjoy it, but I don't like the look of this twisted-marrow gunk. And that's the only thing he'd been chewing on that was different from normal.

So I threw them out. Enough was enough. And I got out the toothbrush and scrubbed the inside of his mouth again. And go to leave him in his area for the night... but because I'm paranoid and exhausted and scared he might die... I took him in my bed for a couple hours. And he didn't seem himself. He seemed more reserved than usual. I was very very worried.

Who knew those bones contained poison-marrow?!?

Now of course, the puppy was fine the next day. And I just kind of shrugged off the whole event.

Until Sunday. Easter Sunday. And I've cooked a "cute turkey" (that's what the checkout girl said about my chicken at the Northern haha) and stuffing and spuds and the like for the boy and I. As we sit down to dinner, the pup is milling about, and starts licking the top of the lobster-pot that's been on my kitchen floor for months now. I wonder to myself what he's licking...

Only to remember how a week ago, a long-forgotten bottle of powder-Metameucil fell from my counter and spilled onto the floor. I had cleaned it up... but didn't notice a bunch had fallen on the lobster-pot.

No smell. Brown-y beige in colour. Sticky when wet.

And my dog, best-in-show specimen that he is... decided it was a tasty snack. Poor thing. He probably consumed a human-sized portion of the powder... no wonder he felt a bit green in the gills.

But he sure didn't have to put much effort into the next day's "deposit!"


More BBT fun!

I have a sneaking suspicion my Billy Bob Thornton obsession will become akin to Megan's Hoff fetish (oh god, I can only imagine the keyword searches I'll attract from THAT sentence).

Except I'm not sure if BBT's dipped into the world of psychedelic music video graphics... but there's still time. I understand he takes his music career very seriously. And every serious musician uses flying scenes in their music videos. Duh.


I've not been writing much lately because I'm a big ole bag of stress-fetus right now.

You'd think I would have calmed down over the long weekend, but nope. Not in the least. Instead I spent most of it trying to fight the little thoughts that were creeping into my mind ... forcing them out of my head until Tuesday.

What's the day again? Oh. Right. Tuesday. Damn.

So all the little things I feel overwhelmed by have swamped me today. So for (one of) the first times since UNIVERSITY I feel like just curling up in a ball on my bed and avoiding it all - - deadlines be damned. It's like all my tension and anxiety has welled itself up in a softball-sized lump in the back of my throat. It keeps me from breathing normally and even swallowing. It's not just a nuisance but kind of painful too.

Not to mention it's a tad tricky to swallow. Please please please let this stress-session end soon....


An almost-complete transcript of Billy Bob Thornton (and The Boxmasters) on CBC's Q

Okay. I'm still stuck on this whole Boxmasters thing.

I'm listening back to the uncut interview from the beginning. And apparently transcribing it. Enjoy.

"Mod Billy" is the name of the first record by my next guest, The Boxmasters. If the name "Boxmasters" sounds familiar, there might be a couple reasons why. First, "Mod Billy" is the Los Angelas trio's third album in the last year alone (yes this is a band with ambition). Second, the Boxmaster's principle songwriter, singer and drummer is a man by the name of Billy Bob Thornton, whose day job (some of the time) is oscar-winning screenwriter, actor and director. While Billy Bob Thornton's name is most often linked to his cinematic endevours, The Boxmasters is anything but a diversion from the silver screen. He's always intended to make music, he just got sidetracked. These days, music is a major priority in his life and something he's obviously embracing. The Boxmasters are currently on tour with country legend Willie Nelson, and I'm pleased to have all the members in studio here, Hello boys!


JG: Three albums in the past year, that seems ambitious!
(Someone else) That's the ones that have been released. We've got about five.
JG: There's more? Billy-Bob. I mean you guys just formed in the past couple of years, right?
BBT: I don't know what you are talking about.
JG: *chuckle* How so?
BBT: I don't know what you mean by that.
JG: Well.. well.. when did the band form?
BBT: I'm not sure what that means.
JG: Oh. Well when did you guys first start playing together?
(Someone else) We started playing about two years ago, and we haven't stopped since we got the ball rolling.
JG: And you've made three records in that time?
(Someone else) We've actually made about five records. And the first one...
(... talking about the tour with Willie Nelson... general normal interview talk)
JG: What do you learn from Willie Nelson, Billy-Bob?
BB: *silence* I've never met him.
JG *awkward chuckle* Are you being ironic or are you being serious?
BB: I don't really know him.
JG: You've never really met him?
BB: I sat down with him once. He's a nice guy.
JG: But you don't really hang out on tour.
BB: uh.
JG: You don't know what I mean.
BB: no.
*more awkward chuckles from people*
JG: Why do I get the impression that you are going to answer "I don't know what you mean" if I ask you...Did Willie choose you guys to go on tour with him?
BB: shit, I don't know.
JG: Right. Uh. Alright. Well this new record, double record. Tell me about your decision to include a whole record of covers.
(...Other band members answer... about being inspired by different types of music etc.)
JG: And that was true for you too, Billy Bob? Growing up, it was sort of a combo of Stones and Monkeys and Buck Owens?
BB: I just liked baseball as a kid.
JG: And you almost became a professional baseball player, right?
BB: I don't know. Maybe.
JG: Um. But you didn't love music when you were a kid?
BB: Um. Well I subscribed to a magazine called Famous Monsters of Filmland. The publisher was a guy named Forest J. Acherman who passed away recently.
(long awkward silence)
JG: Hm. Do you remember what you were listening to as a kid?
BB: They had a contest where you could build your own model. And it could be like a King Kong or anything from something you created yourself to one of the monsters that was actually in the magazine (goes on to talk about model monsters and entering this build your own model monster contest)
JG: And where does the music fit into that?
BB: Uh? Music? No. It was a monster magazine.
JG: Right, but being as you seem to be so passionate about music, I was wondering about your ...
BB: (interrupts) Would you say that to Tom Petty?
JG: Would I say that he's passionate about music?
BB: Yah.
JG: Yah
BB: Really? Would you explain why it's not a hobby?
JG: (repeating... kind of confusedly) Would I explain why it's not a hobby? ... Are you reacting to the fact that I said...
BB: Yah I am. Since you are instructed not to talk about shit like that. Yah I am reacting to that. Yah.
JG: Instructed? I'm not really instructed... you guys are here as a band, and you're preforming but I...
BB: Well your producer was instructed. Somewhere along the way.
JG: Because I mentioned you were an actor and a screenwriter?
BB: Well first of all that wasn't supposed to be mentioned either.
JG: But that's just giving context, right? I mean I'm happy to interview you guys as a band, but for the listeners, we're giving context for who you are. That's part of your trajectory, isn't it?
BB: Not really.
JG: It's not.
BB: No.
JG: You would prefer I only do this interview not mentioning at all - just to clarify - at all that you've ever done any acting, screenwriting, directing ..
BB: That's right.
JG: But you know people are listening across the country and across North America and they might think that's odd that I would not mention anything to do with your past.
BB: Well I think it's odd that you have to smoke inside a white strip outside.
JG: That is also odd. But that's a little different. That's a rule and regulation. I'm just trying to do a show and give people context for who you guys are.
BB: Well there's pleanty of context without all that.
JG: Right. Okay. Well it does occur to me that the producers did say that you didn't want to ... focus on questions around your acting career etc. And I'm cool with that. Because I'm happy to talk to you as musicians. But it does also occur to me that you are a pretty new band and one of the reasons you get attention is because of the career you had.
BB: We're not really new.
JG: You're not? It says...
BB: I made eight albums.
JG: I know *you* have made a lot of albums, but how long have The Boxmasters been around for?
BB: I don't know.
JG: (long silence) couple years? Maybe? So even the greatest bands in the world... part of the great success you've had is because of the career you've had in other ways. What I'm explaining is that I'm not trying to be insulting to your musical...
BB: (interrupts) What I'm explaining is we said to not talk about shit like that and we also said we didn't want to hear anything about how this is my "first love." You wouldn't say THAT to Tom Petty, would ya? "I understand music is your first love" Well my first love was a chick named Lisa Cohen. You know what I mean?
JG: Alright. Well I think the only reason we would do that is as a point of entry. So do you want to continue this if we talk about music?
BB: Tha'd be great.
JG: Ok. Well if we can call a truce, then I can ask you questions about music. Because when I was asking, you didn't seem to want to answer. But I'm cool to talk about that. So can you talk about your musical influences? Because there is an interesting fusion on this record.
BB: Yah it's a mixture of the British Invasion with hillbilly music. Something that I know more about than a band that was 20 years old, that you wouldn't say that to. I grew up as pretty much a music historian, so. Yah. Cosmic cowboy music.
JG: Can you think of other bands who have been doing what you guys have been doing here.
BB: Not lately, not in the last 30 years, no.
JG: You're opening for Willie Nelson. I'm assuming that's an older crowd. Do you find different audiences react to you in different ways? Because this is quite the ecclectic double-record. You run the gamet from songs that sound kind of country to songs that sound like rock n roll.
BB: The good news is that Willie's audience is pretty ecclectic.He has everything from bikers to old people to young people. So somewhere in there you find an audience. Or at least we do in Europe and the US. Canadian audiences tend to be kind of reserved.
JG: Yah, we've heard that before.
BB: We tend to play places where people throw things at each other. Here they just sort of sit there. And it doesn't matter what you say to them.
JG: And you're playing theatres, right?
BB: Some are theatres, some are like stadiums or whatever you want to call it. But it's very um, well... mashed potatoes with no gravy, you know what I'm sayin'?
JG: Aw, well we've got gravy up here as well .
BB: Yes you do. You've got it on a lot of things.
JG: You might even consider it a national dish.
BB: Absolutely, I've seen that in a lot of shops.
JG: Alright so you guys are going to play a tune for us. What were you going to play?
BB: Well the boys are going to play an instrumental version of a song called Turn it Over.
JG: And you're not going to play?
BB: Um. I'm the drummer.
JG: And you don't have your drums here.
BB: No. We don't cart those around at 6 in the morning.
JG: Okay. Alright. Well lets hear the instrumental version from the Boxmasters. You guys up for it?

One singly solitary voice: Sure.


So the only thing Jian and Billy Bob could talk about amicably was gravy. Interesting. And now I have a new Facebook status.

Holy Boxmasters Batman!

Seriously? I can't NOT write about this.

I don't know how many of you were listening to CBC Radio this morning... but Jian Ghomeshi had The Boxmasters in studio. Now I've never heard of The Boxmasters. I'm listening to them play a song in-studio right now... and the band sounds good. It's an instrumental tune. Kind of twangy, but not bad.

So The Boxmasters are a sort of country-pop-hillbilly band. And here's the big part. Billy Bob Thornton is their singer (and I think maybe plays the drums for them too? That's what it seemed Ghomeshi was saying anyways).

We all know who Billy Bob Thornton is. Right? Well most of us do, anyways. We know him as the kinda creepy guy whose blood was slung around Angelina Jolie's neck in a vial for a little while. Oh yah. He's also an actor and screenwriter.

So he's in a band now. And the band was on Q. And he couldn't have sounded more ... bored... by the subject matter if he were talking about bland porrige. And then. THEN the shit hit the fan. What seemed as an innocent contextual question by Ghomeshi about the man's past work... turned into this shit-slinging diatribe by Thornton about how Ghomeshi wouldn't dare ask such questions of other artists, and his past work was completely off-limits to talk about... and the producers knew this and on and on and on.

I swear, I was all anxious just listening to the inteview. But somehow, SOMEHOW Ghomeshi managed to turn it around, go to a live song (Thornton notably absent, by the way) and the next guest.

Thornton was smug. He was arrogant. He was rude. He was ignorant. He was self-righteous. He was obnoxious. HE WAS A DICK. And he was wrong.

And me? Well I have, for the LONGEST TIME had this sour taste in my mouth about Ghomeshi. I find him a bit too ... slick alot of the time. And sometimes a bit pretentious. But I have to give the man mad props. He kept his cool. He had a truely volitile guest on live radio and dealt with the pressure beautifully.

And I hate to say it. But I now have a new "idol" when it comes to handling difficult interviews.

And as for BBT? I hope your bandmembers kick you out. Because they sounded just fine without you.

If you are interested in listening to the whole interview, check it out here. The show's not up *yet* but I'm sure it will be shortly.


Curling schmurling

I think when I signed on to this whole thing I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what a royal pain in the ass it would be.

Actually, I take that back. I KNOW I had no idea. Because when things started, I made it very clear that I would be a contact-point person. That was all. I'd help with things when the other two organizers weren't in town. Because they both travel extensively for their jobs, and I'm always in town.

Of course, I'm talking about curling, here. The bane of my existence. 

I swear to god. I now totally understand why things never change in small towns. Or at least in this small town. And not so much change as "start." You really have to love it to put all the work in.

Since the very beginning (as I'm sure some of you remember) this whole thing has caused me nothing but headaches and heartaches. Headaches because of team drama (not showing up ever for games... is shady and sucky). Heartaches because for the longest time it felt like it was US(curlers) vs. the rest of the sporting world.

But finally, with just three weeks left in the season, our second ice is ready.
And we're planning our first bonspeil.
And both of those are great things.

But now one of the members of our executive wants to quit. And I'm just furious.

The problem with starting things in these small, transient communities is that the people who operate them tend to come and go too fast. The member knows that. I know the member knows that because the member is my friend. And they know the importance of their position. And it was THEIR BRAINCHILD. NOT MINE.

And I really feel like I've been doing all the freaking work lately anyways.

So holy hell. Don't abandon us with just three weeks left. Finish out your term, we'll elect someone new in the fall.

I can understand if you are busy, but I've been doing everything lately anyways, and I just need you to call the rec. coordinator from time to time because we're not exactly on speaking terms. So what's the difference?

We are a TEAM. We are supposed to work TOGETHER. But I guess all for one and one for all doesn't apply in curling.

*bitch whine moan*


Sink your teeth into a good book

Townie wrote a post the other day about some of the insanity surrounding the Twilight series. For those who aren't familiar with the books, it's a super-popular (think Harry Potter) series for young adults. As Wikipedia puts it...

Twilight is a series of four vampire-based fantasy/romance novels by the American author Stephenie Meyer. It follows the life of Isabella "Bella" Swan, a teenager who moves to Forks, Washington, and finds her life turned upside-down when she falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen.
The part of Townie's post that caught my attention was the criticism surrounding the series. Stephen King has been quoted as saying that the difference between the Harry Potter series and Twilight (besides the subject matter - we're talking fan obsession here) is that the Harry Potter books are actually well written. And Meyer can't write worth a damn*.

Now... I'm not sure about that. Stephen King himself can be hit or miss. Sure he's got a number of best-sellers... but you don't find any of his books on Time's "Best Books of All Time" list. I like some of his novels (The Green Mile and Hearts of Atlantis to name two) but you'll not catch me reading Cujo any time soon.

But I think critics are missing the point. There will always be waves of "teenage trash" novels. When I was in elementary school it was the R.L. Stine and the Goosebumps** series (yes I am that young, shut up). For my sister, it was Sweet Valley Twins and Gossip Girl (yes it was a book first :P) and countless other books our parents may-or-may-not have "approved" of***.

We were both readers, and I still am. Danielle's in her last year of university these days, so if she's anything like me, I'm sure she hates books right now - - but she'll get back in the groove eventually. The point is that from a very young age both of us (but more noteably, Danielle) would save our money to buy books. Not video games (not that we had a Super Nintendo until I was in the 12th grade), but BOOKS. On trips off-island, there were no two ways about it. We were going to Chapters, and DD was going to spend 2-3 hours there, and she was going to spend all she could. That was just the way it was.

So really... who CARES what they are reading. If kids are devouring books, that's what matters. If they seek books out as a choice, they'll stick with it. Anna Karenina will come, in time (maybe... I still haven't gotten around to that).

And on a totally disjointed note: Go read The Glass Castle. Best modern book I've read to date.

*I should clarify that I have NOT read the books. I don't really intend to read them (no matter how many times amazon.ca recommends them). I'm not really a vampire kinda gal. The only think that appeals to me is the covers. They look pretty neat.

** Which, by the way, I never read. Actually that's a lie. I read the first chapter of one about bees and a roller coaster when I was in grade 3 and thought it was dumb. So I gave it back to my friend and never cracked another. I don't know why I felt the need to defend myself, haha but I did.

*** Their concern, of course, was the two of us were reading below our reading level. Which was true. But they didn't stop us. They let us read/be.


Strange outsourcing

I made the following observation today while reading back on Darcy's blog about the Nunavut 10-year anniversary.

He linked to two news stories on cbc.ca:

One about education
One about mining

Both articles are on the longer side. So I'm not asking you to read them all the way through (but they are pretty interesting, and fairly well written). But here's the thing. Check out the byline.


It strikes me as odd (yes, sure, that's the word) that the Corp would post stories from a rival news source when it has many many reporters in the territory who live and work here. Seems like a strange use of resources to me.

Am I just out to lunch on this one? Or is this as bizarre as it seems?


I bee sewing

So. After my reality-tv post... or maybe as I was writing it... I decided I needed a hobby.

Of course, because its me we're talking about, I went about it in the most ass-backwards way possible. Most people don't look at a list of "--- for Dummies" books on Amazon to help decide what they are going to do as a passtime (seriously, who does that?).

I wanted something that would keep me busy, but didn't require ALL my attention - - like reading. Don't get me wrong I LOVE to read, but I can't multitask when I read. I can't even listen to music and read. I've even tried those classical music CD's with titles like "Reading on a Sunday Morning" or "Classical Solitude" and they still distract me.

Also, it had to be something that had a finished product. I can be very goal-oriented... but I want to know there's an end in sight. Stamp collecting? I don't think so.

Finally, the supplies for said hobby had to be easy to find. Model train sets aren't exactly a dime a dozen here.

So after much internal debate, I settled on.....


Yes, I'm officially a very very old lady. But sew what? (yah, I know. I've only just started and I'm breaking out the hobby-puns). But I'm only old in the nature of my hobby, not the product. Nope. I'm going to have the most rockin'-est quilts around. They'll be super modern with cool fabrics... and all the emo kids will want them.

But lofty goals aside, I know how I am. I know I can be ADD. Hell, I taught myself to knit once upon a time... and was terrible at it. The only thing I ever really produced was a scarf for my sister... and even that was an embarassment. I can't believe she wore it. It wasn't that the scarf was lopsided or anything... but was ONLY MADE OF PEARL STITCHES. Because when I taught myself to knit, I followed an online guide. And it only taught me the pearl stitch. Not the actual knit stitch. Oh, and I did it backwards, as in, for left-handed people.

Anyways. So keeping that in mind, I ordered a little "mini quilt" kit. Sixteen patchwork squares, backing, batting and MOST IMPORTANTLY instructions. It arrived yesterday afternoon... and I spent my lunch hour piecing some of the squares together. And I finished the rest last night. (of course, while watching terrible reality TV - gotta combine the hobbies doncha know?) And I'm really really really impressed with the result. The only thing I didn't really get and I think will be a challenge is the "quilting" part. I'm doing the whole thing by hand (I don't have or need a sewing machine) and getting the three layers to "stick" together is tricky. I didn't like how you could see my somewhat sloppy stitches on the backing. Maybe I just need matching thread. Or better technique.

Because I can't make them ALL into pillows haha.