Rare moment: for Jackie and Boats

For Andrea and Robyn...

The only people in the world who could convince me to sing on the web for all to hear.

I warn you, I'm NO Kate Nova.

Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

LOL dogz

This one's for YOU Mongoose (and Tinky-Winky of course)

Of course, you can't read my witty comment, unless you click on the photo to make it larger... but it says

"cumoonahcaitchun: yer dewinz eet wong"

I'm so funny


I haz yer soulz

Non-reader comments:

"Just don't put this up online. We're anti-internet. Don't put it on Facebook."

So I had my camera with me today because I went out before work to take some photos of a windmill for a story.

And a girl I know came into the office with her new baby (well almost-new... he's probably about 7 or 8 months old now), and everyone was oo-ing and ahh-ing. And I just thought he was so cute, so I snapped some pictures with mini-spy-cam.

If I can say so myself, I thought they were beautiful pictures. A couple candid ones of father and son, and one giant-smile one. Very cute.

As I showed the mom, she made the above comment. And I was like "oh no, of course not" because I didn't want to be rude. I have some friends who don't want photos of them on Facebook if they are in various states of intoxication etc. No biggie. But a beautiful photo of father and son...

What's the matter with that?

I guess there's the whole "every photo taken is a piece of your soul removed" idea... which personally, I don't believe (I think that a photo taken is a slice of time - or soul even - preserved forever). And I guess maybe it could be a "I don't want to pimp out my child" thing too.

But does that mean Jen, Kara, Tina, Megan... you've been pimping out your now soul-less children all these years?? Just for my entertainment?

Hope not.

Save the drama for yer llama

"Our agreement is ratified; the future starts now"

That's the message that greeted me this morning from my Gmail inbox. The Canadian Media Guild and the CBC are going to hold hands and be friends this time around.

And frankly, I'm pretty happy with that. I was not, in any way shape or form, interested in striking/being locked out in -40 weather. That would just plain suck monkey balls.

There's not a whole not in the new collective agreement. Probably what I'm most interested in is that we can FINALLY buy a week's vacation per year... for a girl who likes to travel (who? Me?) that's a biggie. I don't relish taking leave without pay, but (now that I have most of the furniture etc. I need) if there's anything I'm going to spend my money on, it's travelling.

Now, unfortunately, I don't think it will be something I can take advantage of for my NEXT vacation (yes, I am less than one week back, and I'm already planning the next trip...) but certainly makes living up here a bit more appealing.

There are still a couple things I'm not impressed with though, there's not really any big change in the "northern allowance" ... OUR northern allowance is a fraction of what the Feds get (yes, yes I know, we are not ACTUALLY part of the federal government, but we are an agency/crown corporation... and it's like we take all the crappy parts of being part of the feds and not many of the benefits...) AND I really would like to see a shift in the way the cbc.ca online stories are done: I think both the web writer and the reporter should get bylines, instead of neither. The only time I get online credit for my work is when I take photos for my stories, which is TOTALLY not my job at all, but I'm happy to do it anyways.

I honestly thought being on the Nunavut union executive would give me a chance to work out some of those "glitches" but I didn't feel like I ever had the chance to voice my opinions. And if someone who is *elected* to be a union rep feels that way, I can only imagine how disconnected the regular membership must feel.

But that's just IMHO.


Los Photos dos Mexicanos

I speak good Mexican eh?

For those interested in seeing some of my pictures from Mexico... click HERE!

You guys freakin' suck

I go away for ONE WEEK, and THIS is what I get when I return??

Screw you bloggers, screw you.



Foto Filler

I don't normally DO memes... (where the hell did that name come from anyways?) but as my access to internet will be sporatic, I'm caving and doing a "Kennie-tagged-me-in-a-meme-but-it's-now-a-scheduled-post-that-will-not-be-timely-anymore-because-its-a-week-after-getting-tagged"

Here it is:

This is a photo that a friend of mine took at the Beaumont-Hamel Memorial in Northern France. I worked there from May - August 2006, and hopefully will go back some day soon. I lucked out when I was there, because it was the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme... a ceremony and a landmark event I will never ever forget.

My room-mate at the time went back to work a second term the following winter. He was actually there for the 90th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge. I was |---| (< href="http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=feature/bh_somme2006">here
From Wikipedia, click here

Oh, and I'm pulling a Tina and saying that I'm not "tagging" anyone, but this is actually a neat little exercise, and encourages you to write something that you otherwise wouldn't talk about. At least that's how it worked for me.

The rules are:

1. Go to your documents. (or if you are a mac or vista user, go to your pictures folder, )
2. Go to your 6th folder.
3. Go to your 6th picture.
4. Blog about it.

Inspiration in Yellowknife

When I thought about my flight down to Edmonton, I never guess that I´d spend the first 20 minutes with a sad smile on my face and tears cascading down my cheeks. But the worst part was that as I sat, wiping them from my face, I couldn´t figure out for the life of me what I was so upset about.
Sure, the less than 10-hours sleep in 3 days probably had something to do with it... exhaustion can do funny things to the mind and body...
But then I realized something:
I wasn't crying because I was sad. I was crying because I was happy.
That night in Yellowknife was one of the best nights I'd had in a very long time. I've not laughed so hard, smiled so big, ate so well or felt so naturally COMFORTABLE in months.
But the kicker, the icing on the cake, the part that made the evening just unbelieveably worthwhile... was I got to know two amazing, inspirational women just a little bit better.
Now I'll stop myself before I get too mushy, but I was just so overwhelmed by it all... the thought of how lucky I am to have these smeart, strong, beautiful women in my life. And I can only dream that some day I might 'grow up'  to be even a fraction the person they are.
So thank you, MH and JS. You have shown me what kind of person I could be.. and renewed hope I thought I'd lost for good so many months ago.


Markets and Mexican Mores

Nearly had a bit of a crisis today. And my nearly, I mean I did... but managed to get myself out of it with just a very minor loss. And a renewed faith in the goodness of people everywhere.

So I went to the neighbouring town, La Penita today. Every Thursday the town has a market with vendors hawking everything from silver jewellery to donuts to sombreros. I had put off buying much of anything until today because I wanted to see what the grand selection was before settling on one single item.

I took a shuttle there, and a good chunk o' money was spent. I left with many shiny things and some cozy things and a couple pretty sculpture things.

I even "haggled" a bit, but not in the way I think of haggling. For me, it just means striking up a conversation and only paying what I can afford... and getting a discount for "pretty blue eyes." LOL. Those vendors really know how to flatter a lady :)

When I decided to leave, I meandered my way up the main street, snapping photos as I went. I reached the public bus back to Rincon de Guaybitos, and fumbled for my bus fare while stepping on the toes of a surly Mexican woman... before cramming myself in with the rest of my fellow bus riders.

It was a quick 10 minute ride back, and pretty uneventful... up until I reached the lobby of my resort and realized I was down a bag.

No, not the bag with the colourful Mexican blankets.

Not the bag with my pretty sculptures.

But the bag I brought WITH me to the market... yep, my purse.


Luckily, I had PURPOSEFULLY emptied my wallet of all ID, credit cards, bank cards, valuable documents/passport when I first arrived... anticipating some sort of worst-case-scenario. I stored them in my room's safe. So all that was in my purse after the market were 1 bank card, 1 credit card, my keys and 100 pesos (aka 10 dollars).

So that was good...

Except for the keys part. My room keys and safe keys were also in my purse. NOT good. That meant if the person who found my purse was sneaky they could break into my room (has the room number engraved into it) and get into my safe.

So I talk to reception, they go into crisis management mode, calling the bus company... and I sit outside on the street curb waiting for the bus to make its way back.

After an hour, and enlisting a bellboy's help to speak with the bus drivers... and many false alarms later... I finally *think* I see the bus I took... climb aboard, make the international sign for "sad pathetic tourist who forgot her purse" ... and the unilingual-spanish driver points to the corner of the bus... where my PURSE LIES.

Yep, unreal.

I rifle through it; credit card, bank card keys and water bottle are all intact. My 100 pesos was missing, but I didn't care. As far as I was concerned I was going to give it as a reward anyways... so whoever turned it in just helped themselves. The bellboy says he thinks the bus driver took it, because he said something along the lines of "I don't know if the money is still in there..." which is kind of shady, but frankly I don't care.

It seems I dodged yet another bullet (I once actually left my passport and travellers cheques in a Marks and Spencer change room when I was in Colchester, England... and they came back to me in perfect shape), and I'm reminded how people really are inherently good. Oh, and how lucky I am.

Oh, Meh-hee-co, mi amore....


LOST in Mexico

Okay, I admit it. Like KOTN, I too... am a Lost-addict.

Maybe not to the same degree, but I've been watching the show since it first aired (I think I actually saw the premiere live... I'm a sucker for shows that are a little bit mystery, a little bit paranormal, and a lot intense) .

Lost has gotten a bad rap the past couple years. The show has a lot of potential, but they have drawn out some of the plot lines for YEARS. And I'm not talking about on-again off-again relationship plot lines (though, plenty of those too). I'm talking about "secrets" that we first were given a taste of in Season 1 ... and now entering Season 5 are only beginning to get answered.

Last year's writer's strike didn't help. I basically gave up on trying to figure out when the freaking show was on (back in the days when I didn't watch much TV, unless it was to watch something SPECIFIC) and said "whatever, I'll just watch the DVD when it comes out."

It was going to be the show's next-to-last chance. If Season 4 sucked, I was on my way out the door. Off the island. See ya.

We finished Season 4 before Christmas, and I tell you... truncated season or not, I was impressed. I was back to the tried and true tradition of yelling "WHAT?!" at the TV screen, and watching multiple episodes a night because I was so hooked.

The show premieres this Thursday, for it's fifth (of seven? That's what I've heard anyways) season.

And I'm in Mexico.

Without my laptop.


So I have a couple options:

  • I could wait till I get to Edmonton and try and download it there.
  • I could try and find someone who has taped the episode (but I don't have a VCR so...)
  • I could try and locate a TV with an American channel in Mexico...
But none of those feels all that likely right now. Here's hoping I solve THIS mystery (ha-ha) before Thursday comes....

Lost without LOST in Mexico.


So, whereya from?

I don't think I ever really realized what a difficult question "where are you from" is to answer.
Especially for me, at this point in my life.
I mean seriously:
  • I was BORN in Moncton, NB.
  • I moved to Hammonds Plains, NS when I was 5.
  • I moved to Cornwall, PEI when I was 9.
  • I went to school in Ottawa.
  • I live in Rankin.
Most people have never heard of Rankin Inlet. And it's not like I'm FROM there anyways. And I'm not FROM Nunavut. OR Nothern Canada (though that's the easies thing to say).
My family still lives in PEI, but I haven't lived there for almost 6 years (holy crap, that long?).
So I guess I'm just homeless. Or in Mexico, I'm just "from Canada."
That's broad enough, right? :)

Last chance

To vote in the Nunavut Blogging Awards...

Head on over to Clare's site: kiggavik.typepad.com!!

PS, I'm totally losing so go vote for ME! What other blogger is begging for votes while in MEXICO??? (And yes, this is NOT a pre-scheduled post. I left the beach to write it. I'm dedicated).


Pretending to be Megan

Reader asks:

How do you tell your coworker to STOP REWRITING YOUR STORIES and putting your name back on them, when you don't want to sound like a whiny child, and you don't want to start a confrontation?

I swear to God, I sent this story I'm working on to my coworker to check over, and he COMPLETELY rewrote the whole thing, INCLUDING the quotes. Now, I only semi-recognize 2 paragraphs, and most of the quotes were never actually said by the interviewees. I'm so frustrated I'm actually close to tears.

Any advice/calming words would be appreciated.

I just about puked all over my desk. That's how sick this whole thing makes me. I can't believe that someone who calls themselves an editor would butcher copy like that - let alone ENDORSE changing quotes.

Here are my thoughts:

You may not want to start a confrontation, but if you do not recognize the piece, your name should not be on it. Imagine if it was even a mildly-controversial story. And his rewrites made your writing inaccurate. You would be held accountable. It's your name on the copy.

You need to talk to this person. He is so out of line. I've read your writing, I know that it's good. You have flexible style. You are a good journalist. It's not that you are a bad writer or a bad reporter. You have a bad editor on your hands.

I remember back in j-school, one of my fellow students was working for the Charlatan (the school's weekly news publication). She wrote a semi-technical article that required some calculations on her part. When she passed it into her editor, the editor made changes without properly researching.

The article was published in the second-last issue of the year.

The following week (the LAST issue of the year), the "readers comments" section blasted the reporter for poor research, calling her "yet another incompetent Charlatan writer" and so on.

Because of the changes her editor made without double-checking.

And because it was the last issue of the year, she basically never got a retraction, never got an apology, and ended up feeling (rightfully) REALLY jilted.

Now the woman has obviously moved on from the incident. She never went back to writing for them, and has been a television reporter in Edmonton for a year... but I advise keeping this in mind next time he "over-edits."

But that's just IMHO.

Maringue, Tequila and Donkeys

Haha, I drew you in a bit with THAT post title, didn't I!!
So it turns out there's this little internet cafe-style thing here in reception, so I will have the opportunity to post from time to time...
But I've imposed a half-hour per day limit on myself, for all computer activity... otherwise I'd spend valuable sun-time inside staring at an LCD screen.
So I've officially gone though an 80-degree Celsius change in temperature in just a couple days. In Rankin last week, including wind chill, it was -55. It is +30 (WITHOUT HUMIDEX) here in Rincon. Crazy how the human body can adapt so quickly to rapid and intense changes in climate.
Obviously I was MADE to be in the tropics, haha.
So yesterday much beach time was enjoyed, and I learned how to meringue. I also probably walked a good 2-3 kilometers and went on a short bike ride. It's amazing how when it's not minus infinity outside that really makes me want to get out and enjoy the weather and be active. I expected to want to just lay on the beach all day, but there's a lot going on ... and who am I to say no?
And it turns out that going on my own was actually a VERY WISE idea... it leaves me free to get roped into potentially embarrassing situations without fear of actual embarrassment or other repercussions, haha.
You see, the meringue dancing was set up by the activities co-ordinators at the resort. And I just happened to walk by at the right time. They encouraged me to come and dance, and who was I to say no? When else was I going to learn how to do the "coochie coochie" (HA)?
But then the dancing became an international paper airplane contest (apparently precise folding trumps form... my little dude got third place!)... and THEN they tricked us all into GARGLING TEQUILA WHILE SINGING 'LA CUCARACHA'. ON A MICROPHONE. IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE.
All I can say is next time I have a cold or a sore throat... I'm going to break out the tequila. That stuff will clear out any mucus you've got going on in record time.
In just an hour I leave on my "outdoor excursion" - - a trip I saw online and they happened to offer here at the resort. We're going to Puerto Vallarta, then into the jungle for some zip lining, donkey riding, and rappelling down a waterfall.
Freakin amazing.
But for now I'm going to go stuff myself with some brekkie. I hear donkey riding can be exhausting :P


Staggering numbers

I am officially terrified of my Google Reader.
I neglected it for ONE DAY (okay, maybe two) and it's ALREADY got over 20 unread items.
Guys, if you could all just stop writing for the next 7 days, that would be great.


Basic blogging questions

Non-reader asks: So... what IS a "blog"?

So I was sitting at the Kissarvik Co-op, enjoying one last meal with friends before three of us fly away to different parts of Mexico... when the topic of my blog came up. I didn't MEAN for it to become a topic of conversation, but it did. I was saying what I was doing in Yellowknife, and one of my friends asked "So, you have friends in Yellowknife?" (somewhat aghast, because if I did have friends in Yellowknife, she'd be sure to know - I'm a talker, what can I say?)

I hemmed and hawed and finally spat out "Well, they are blogging friends"

And they all laughed.

One person even joked, (nearly choking on his french fry, I might add) "are you having a BLOGGING SYMPOSIUM"

My response: Yah, absolutely we are.

Then his girlfriend asks "Okay, but what IS a blog?"


I've discovered the only thing more difficult to explain than "I *know* such-and-such a person through their blog" is "What IS a blog."

Because blogs aren't the same thing to everyone who writes them.

Some people write for themselves, and only themselves. These rarely see the light of day, and may-or-may-not include the intimate details of a person's life that they may-or-may-not share with others in their non-digital existence.

Some people write for family: I liken these to a less-invasive mass email update - - I had one of these once, when I was in France.

Some write for a "small" audience: Targeted ramblings like a "Recipe blog" or photoblog...

While others write for a wide audience: I think a lot of the Nunavut Bloggers have seen their blogs reach this category... we started out writing for ourselves or our families... but now we have widened our scope. Now we even write for other bloggers, people looking to move to the North, people who want to live vicariously through our writing...

And that's pretty cool. But it's not an easy thing to explain. Neither is:

"So, what do you write about?"

But that's another post. :P


Bloggers unite! (and then tie-one-on?)

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I used to have a running tally/casual competition with a fellow blogger/friend re: how many of the Nunavut bloggers we had met in person/"knew" (and by "knew" I mean... outside the Facebook/blogspot domain).

At the time I think my tally was... five? Maybe six? Not many. And most were unintentional... and either through work or my month-long-stay in Iqaluit.

Well, all that's about to change.

Tonite, is the inaugural "Name of Town Withheld" blogging symposium. It is to be held at one of the finest establishments NTW (also known as YK) has to offer... complete with food NOT from the Co-op Inns North (where your food is guaranteed to be over-salted and under-cooked)... AND BEVVIES WITH DINNER!

For those who have never been to Rankin, there's something you should know: we don't have any bars or restaurants that serve alcohol in town. We have the legion that is (sometimes) open on Friday nights, but beyond that you have to supply your own liquids (and not from a normal liquor store either, you have to order over the phone or in person from Churchill or Iqaluit).

Now I'm not a CRAZY HUGE drinker, but sometimes a girl just wants a pretty drink. Or a mojito. Or an icy brewski. Mmmm or a daiquiri.

Okay, I'm getting a little carried away here, I'll have plenty of time for that (and more) in MEXICO, but I'm really crazy pumped for our blogging dinner.

Can't wait to meetchas all!!

And also, I may or may not have decided that Megan is the grown-up version of me. I hope you're not weirded out by this (*creepy creepy creepy* - you have to say that in a sinister voice, while drumming your fingers on your lips, all creepy-like. Just so you know) but that's the truth.

So yah, because the older version of me won the NWT BLOGGING AWARD FOR BEST BLOG... you obviously should go VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE NUNAVUT BLOG, HERE!

**Finally, not sure how much internet access I'll have in Mexico. I'm trying to avoid taking my laptop etc. so I've set up some random posts and if I have internet I'm sure I'll be able to find something to write about**

The delicate art of packing (and other pre-travelling tales)

All my life I've had this nasty habit of staying up WAYYY too late the night before I have to travel somewhere.

When I was in university, this was usually because I was taking at 6 am flight out of Ottawa bound for Charlottetown.


So I would leave the actual packing until... oh about midnight. Then spend at least three to four hours watching episodes of Family Guy on my computer while further procrastinating. Then I'd go to bed just an hour or two before needing to wake up and get my butt on a plane to that fair island of mine.

Now, I think you get the DEGREE to which I HATE packing...and the legnths I'd go to avoid it.  But here's another little (ha) known fact:

If I HATE HATE HATE packing ..... I HATE HATE HATE HATE (to the sideways-8) cleaning.

Unfortunately both are a necessary evil when leaving on vacation.

So I spent most of the early part of this blizzard-y week packing. Yes it took me several days, but I am only taking a carry-on and another big purse. After my Greece baggage headaches (I never did get that bag back...) if I can at all avoid checking baggage en route to my destination, I will. Way back? No biggie. But the very idea of having to go shopping for bathing suits (when I already special-ordered the ones I have... long story) in a little fishing village in Mexico? No thanks.

So the bag's been packed. So you'd think I would have gotten a good long night's sleep last night, riiiight?

Yah, not so much. I had SO MUCH cleaning to do, it's not even funny. My neighbour is looking after Sully when I'm gone, and so I couldn't exactly leave the place in semi-disarray. It had to be cleaned, mopped, tidied, washed... and whatever other verbs one can associate with an immaculate household.

I didn't get to bed until 3 (or was it 4?) am last night, and the cleaning's still not done. I woke up at 7 to finish... but ran out of time and now have to leave work early so I can throw out the junk in my fridge and take out the garbage. Oh and do the dishes. Eek.

I am burning the candle at both ends folks.

Want proof?

Well, I just looked down at my top, to make sure it wasn't doing anything scandalous... and noticed that one of the two shirts I'm wearing is INSIDE OUT.

Yep. Wonder who else noticed.

(And here's where I'd insert the quirky theme-song music. If I win a Nunie this year that is what I want as a prize. I want Kate Nova to compose me a quirky theme song that I can play at the end of these "sitcom" moment-posts. Oh. And a million dollars. That should do it.)


Nunie update

Just so you know, the voting for the Nunies will wrapup January 20th at 11:59 PM EST.

So get your votes in, NOW!




Is it bad that I spent the past hour anxiously refreshing Clare's personal and Nunavut Blogs sites... because I snooped around and discovered that he's be posting the TOP FIVE AT OR NEAR 11:50.

Gawd, I'm a stalker.

PS, Me and my ramblings** made it to the second round of voting. Thank you guys all so much for nominating me. I wasn't joking when I said there would be stiff competition. And that competiton has only begun. I don't pretend to have the photographic talent, singing voice, readership or uncanny ability to piss off the door gods like my "competitors" do... but I guess I do something you like. Thanks for stickin' around, guys :)
* Stolen from email conversations with Megan and Laura this eve
**Jackie cowers in the corner so Megan won't punch her for bad grammar

Backup flight plan

Just in case Canadian North cancells my flight on Friday to Yellowknife... my Mom has offered to attach a couple balloons to this sucker and float the thing up to me as an escape plan:

Yep! Dug up from the archives of my parent's photo album... My First Bike (complete with My First Training Wheels, My First Banana Seat and My First Clicky-Wheel Beads)!!

Contrary to what it might look like in the above photo, I actually loved that bike. Man I was a pouty kid, couldn't even muster up a grin for the camera. Brat. :P

In case you are wondering, I must have been maybe 5 in this photo. Where did all that cuteness go??? Also, I had some indisputable fashion sense.

The torture continues....

I went to bed last night with the following parting words bouncing around inside my head:

"Looks like the blizzard's spilling over to Thursday now"


And BECAUSE the weathercentre (the Federal environment weather service) essentially stops forecasting at about 3pm, I had to wait for this morning to check if it was true.

So instead, I spend the evening reading... INSURANCE POLICIES!!! Yep, I'm a wild one!

Because I'm a neurotic fool, I actually purchased TWO SEPARATE travel insurance policies for my trip: One because the Air Miles service agent basically bullied me into it

(Her: "What if your flight get cancelled... that's an expensive flight to replace"
Me: "I know, but I want to book the rest of my trip before I buy insurance."
Me: (cowering) "Yes ma'am")

And the other because ... well... better safe than sorry (and I had the sneaking suspicion that if my Air Miles flight was delayed, I would be screwed for the non-airmiles portion - - and I was right).

So after passing out with my Travelcuts insurance policy clutched tight within a death grip in my meaty little hands...

I wake up to the following prediction on Weather Centre:

The blizzard will last well into Wednesday in most locations. The worst of the blizzard conditions will continue through today and into tonight with some slight improvement possible through the day Wednesday.

Near zero visibilities, winds of 50 to 60 gusting up to 90 km/h, and bitterly cold wind chills for most areas. Winds will slowly ease overnight and through the day Wednesday.

HORRAY!!!! There IS a blizzard god!!!!

Okay, I'm going back to bed. Waking up at 6:30 just to read a weather forecast is ridiculous. It doesn't even look like we're going to work today (again), haha.

Peace OUT!

(Oh, and Happy Birthday, Robyn! Enjoy your quarter-life-crisis... 25 is ANCIENT!)


I'm having a stroke

"You know, I really think this is going to be one of those week-long blizzards"


No, you, did-ainn't! You did NOT just say that the blizzard that
started last Friday looks like the kind of storm that will stick

Because I KNOW you know that I leave on my MUCH NEEDED AND MUCH
ANTICIPATED vacation in four short days...

And I KNOW you know I KNOW that when I can't see the houses across the
street from the whiteout conditions... and the wind has been howling
at my bedroom window for the past three days non-stop...and gusts are
reaching 90 km/hr... that we are entering dangerous territory.

AND I KNOW you know I know you know that I know that you ...

Okay, I'm done,

But here's the deal.

The "end day" of the blizzard keeps moving back, which is
all-too-reminiscant of our record-breaking blizzard last year...(which
by the way happened within a week of today, the 16th or so, if memory
serves me right)... and environment canada is all wiggin' me out with
their non-commital "clearing at least temporarily" forecast for
Tuesday night/Wednesday...

All I want is for it to clear up before Thursday. Is that too much to
ask, REALLY????

PS, today is the last day to vote for your NUNIE NOMINEES. I'll be
sending what I think is the best blog post of mine from the past year.
You guys go nominate your fave blogs NOW! Okay? Go! And then send
some good vibes to the weather gods because I really want to get out
of here on Friday.


After all, "Who WOULDN'T be proud of their kid, the pimp?"

Oh. My. God.
Ohhh, myyyyy, gaaaawd.

And I quote from the product description:

Who wouldn't be proud of their kid, the pimp. This funny halloween costume for boys includes: jacket, pants and pimp hat. Be sure to add some pimp jewelry to finish off the outfit. Comes in three child sizes.

Nunavut Blogging Awards... 2008!

So it's every Nunavut blogger's favourite time of year again... the NUNIES are up and running for the second year in a row. Aren't you excited??? I am!

Okay, I'm a *little* bit excited. Why? Because we've got a really cool thing going on up here (wa waaa). Something that's a little unique, and a lot interesting.

I have started and more or less abandoned 4 other blogs in my lifetime. Two of them were for my time in France (I actually thought I needed to have two one that was parent/family-safe and one that was for friends) and while I had some people comment, neither really ever took off and both ended when I left France. No biggie. Also, I wasn't really very good at the blogging thing at that point. I wrote REALLY long entries that would recoup all the events of the past week's travels etc. It was my first go at it, what can I say. The other two I abandoned more-or-less for the same reason. No one read them. And if I didn't want people to read my writing, it might as well be in a journal under my pillow.

And that's why I think the Nunies and our little Nunavut-blogging-community is so great, so important. We are an active part of one another's lives. We give advice, we lend an ear - even though we may live thousands of kilometers away. And that's pretty darn neat.

Like all the other bloggers have said, there are a lot of really great writers up here. And this year's is going to be a stiff competition, I'm sure. Some (like mine) have "graduated" from New Blog status, and have joined the ranks of the senior blogs (wow, write the word "blog" enough and it loses all meaning...).

But I digress.

Because just about all the Nunavut bloggers know the contest is on, I'm actually writing this for my southern readers, because they likely don't follow the same blogroll, and don't know the "rules" for the nominations.

So this is the deal:

There are two "rounds" for the blogging awards. The first is the nomination round. Any person, anywhere in the world can nominate up to five blogs in each of the two categories (Best Blog and New Blog). The blog MUST be written by a current or former Nunavut resident and/or be ABOUT Nunavut. If you are nominating for the New Blog category, then it has to have started up in 2008. My blog is NOT eligible for the New Blog category.

BUT only the TOP FIVE NOMINEES will actually get to the second round, the voting round. So if you like a blog, and you want to see it compete against other Nunavut blogs for the crown, SEND YOUR NOMINATION TO... nunavutblogs@yahoo.ca

You can send nominations up until the 12th of January (that's next Monday, folks). Shortly thereafter the voting will begin.

One last thing:

There's a small change in the Best Post category. A blogger nominates what they think is their OWN best post from 2008. Only the blogger can nominate a post from their OWN site.

Here's where I'd like some input. I've written a disgusting amount over the past year. 300+ posts, and frankly... I really can't remember most of them haha. I plan on going through my archives, but I wanted to ask YOU, READERS, if there is anything I've written that stuck out in your mind. That you remember in particular. That would make this whole self-nomination process a lot easier for me.

So, thanks to you, the readers, thanks to Clare, for the contest, and thanks to the many dedicated bloggers out there who tap away at their computers day in and day out, giving me ample material to read, think about and write on my own blog.

You rock.


Vacation nit-pick-ing

So I've been stressing out about my vacation.

Yep, that's right. I'm a complete-and-utter-moron for doing it, but for some reason I couldn't help myself. It's like a little scab. If I were wise (and listened to mommy) I would just leave the bloody thing (ha-ha) alone. But no. I'm a turd. So I pick-pick-pick.

Okay, it's not QUITE like picking at a scab. Stressing about my vacation planning doesn't make me bleed (yet). But it's totally not necessary. The vacation would have been fine if I didn't start nit-picking. But I did, and so I got all stressed, and had to start writing down an "agenda" for my 9-hour stay in Edmonton.

Yep. I've lost it.

Okay, but here's the deal. I arrive in Edmonton at 8am (assuming Canadian North takes off and arrives on time) and then take off for Mexico at 17:50. I want to do some running around town (hair cut and general "southern transformation" activities - come on, you know we all do it. We wear ratty sweats in the North, then pretty shoes, blazers and cashmere scarves once we reach "civilization" once more) so I rented a car. No biggie. 30 bucks. I can handle that. That's how much it would cost me to take the shuttle into town and then back to the airport - not to mention the misc. running around, that would probably have to be done in cabs. I pat myself on the back for the wise choice.

But then I get to thinking. I don't have a lot of time. And I have a lot of things on my to-do list. And I've never been to Edmonton. And I HATE getting lost. Maybe I'll rent a GPS unit. But then I thought some more (yep, burnin' rubber all around). There have been MANY occasions recently where a GPS would come in handy. The UK trip comes to mind. As well my Winnipeg visits. I seem to be spending a lot of time in unfamiliar cities as of late. And renting adds up. We didn't get one in the UK because it was going to cost more than the rental did. Ridiculous. And post-Christmas sales were good... so I started (just this week) looking into them.

Okay long, (boring shopping) story short: Futureshit doesn't let you pick up in store. Bestbuy didn't have any of the ones I wanted in stock. The Source was being a turd. Amazon only had ones that were more than 300 bucks. There was no guarantee I'd be able to find a reasonably-priced GPS by just driving around the Edmonton outskirts (probably getting lost and missing appointments on the way). So time was ticking. I start plugging in random key words like "gps, canada, fast, ship, PLEASE!" and hit the jackpot. Expresspost shipping. On sale. And more than enough time for it to get here.

So that's good.

In the end, I think I have it all figured out. One appointment at 10. Another at 2. Hit Shopper's Drug Mart before appointment. McDonald's in-between, Walmart on the way back (maybe). And little Tom-Tom to get me there seamlessly.

Now I just have to decide what the hell I'm packing for clothes(Canadian North and Air Transat have VERY DIFFERENT baggage allowances), what books I'm going to bring (probably the hardest decision... got to have the right "mood" and I'm a big reader, so who knows how many I'll go through, sitting on the beach)... and I have to figure out what I'm doing with the dog...

And CRAP. I have to get my keyboard repaired on my laptop too. Yeesh. Apparently the stressing out has only just begun...



Point and shoot

And now for something a little bit different...

A product review!

I've been thinking about this for a bit, there are a couple of things I've purchased since I've moved to the north that I think are just great amazing finds... that would be useful to share with others. Sure, I tell my friends / acquaintances here in town, but there's a whole world out there that's yet to discover the world's best rubber boot ... or ipod... or photography guide... the list goes on.

Of course, there's lemons out there as well, but I'm not really interested in dwelling on the negative right now (surprise!).

So this is one of (hopefully) several product-review posts that I'll be doing in the near-ish future. So enjoy!

Upon receiving mini-spy camera for Christmas, I realized that I really don't know anything about photography anymore. I say "anymore" because waaayyy back in Jr. High we had "shop class" and one of the sessions we did was studio photography. Granted it only lasted a couple weeks, but we learned many things I've since forgotten, and I've got a beautiful black-and-white photo of myself ( stuffed somewhere in the depths of my parent's basement) to prove it.

So I set out on a search on Amazon.ca to see what the world of how-to photography might have for me.

Tangent time: I've noticed a pattern I've developed as of late: a book-buying addiction. Any time I go on vacation I pick up a handful of novels, and I've got something like a 100-item-long 'wish list' on Amazon.ca. Hi, my name is Jackie, and I'm hooked on knowledge, haha. But here's the great thing about buying books online: you get to read what OTHER people think of them. There's no way I would have selected the photography book I did if I were to have gone into Chapters. Okay, maybe I would have, because I would have seen some of book's guts... but I bought the book based on the customer reviews. Something you just don't get at bookstores (though, granted, you do get the 'human expertise' from time to time). <end tangent>

So I ordered Scott Kelby's "The Digital Photography Book". Pretty basic title, but it's set up unlike any other "how to" book I've seen. Each page is a shooting technique, complete with an illustrative colour photo, and it's broken down into popular shooting "subjects." For instance, a couple pages into the "Taking Travel and City Live Shots" section, I found something I've ALWAYS wanted to know how to do: "Show movement" in a photo. I figured the answer was to slow down the shutter speed, but I didn't really know how to do that or how "slow" it needed to be.

Kelby explains the suggested shutter speed (1/16 1/8 or 1/4 of a second), exposure time (30 seconds) and other necessary tools (aka tripod) to create the shot.

I also love the helpful-but-snarky tone he uses. It's like if I were to write a photography help book, it would look and sound a lot like this book.

For example, here's an exerpt from the Landscape section called "The golden rule of landscape photography":

I'll never forget the time I was doing a Q&A session for professional photographers. The other instructor was legendary National Geographic photographer Joe McNally. A man in the crowd asked Joe, "Can you really only shoot at dawn and dusk?" Joe quietly took his tripod and beat that man to death. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but what Joe said has always stuck with me. He said that today's photo editors (at the big magazines) feel so strongly about this that they won't even consider looking at any of his, or any other photographer's landscape work if it's not shot at dawn or dusk.

Now I don't really plan on submitting my photos to a professional magazine, so I'm taking that with a grain of salt... but upon reading that page I had to stop and think... about the photos I took in Rafina, Greece. I was "suffering" from a severe case of jetlag, waking up at 5am just about every morning. So I would take my little point-and-shoot and walk around, taking photos. Those are among some of my best photos to date.

So anyways, the long and short of it is this is a great little book (emphasis on "little" it's a paperback-sized book, about 200 pages long), that I really recommend for anyone who's interested in improving their photography. You won't use every tip - some are only applicable to people with SLR/DSLR cameras - but even if you just have a low-end point-and-shoot camera, much of the information is useful.


Rationalization, smashionalization

And the moment you've all been waiting for... the winners of the NWT Blogging Awards!! Our panel of judges (Kennie, Clare, TB, Jen, Tina, Kara and myself) have been working like crazy monkeys over the weekend, electronically battling it out for our favourite NWT blogs. Nothing was going to stop us this time. Blizzards, power outages, viral infections and fetuses arriving ahead of schedule were no match for the determination that burned inside the judging panel (no, not as a result of the viral infections, yeesh guys).

So without further ado (what IS an ado anyways....) I give you the WHYs behind our winners.


First, I give you the NWT's BEST BLOG(s)

Thoughts and praise for Reflections in the Snow-Covered Hills

Megan has a wonderful variety of postings. Her posts are easily read and very witty at times. She is the modal blogger, posting frequently”

“She never seems to take herself too seriously and you never know what you are going to see up there from day to day. Never a boring read.”

Every post is like a box of chocolates - you just never know what you are gonna get. Always a good read.”

Granted, the fixation on The Hoff is deeply disturbing, but Megan is funny, controversal and never shy from backing down from a fight if someone wants to be starting something with her. The fact that she's a top notch and engaging writer certainly helps.”

Reflections in the snow covered hills is very consistent in both its delivery and its posting. Certainly the best written of the bunch it is blog out of the top 7 that I most consistently visit. Combines humour, incorporates video, responds to its readers.”

Thoughts and praise from the judges for Alex Up North:

He cracks me up with his humor and witt.”

Alex is terribly amusing. A lot of the content is about living in the north”

Alex is Up North is the most humourous of the bunch. It is an enjoyable read that also takes us into the writer's world with in the NWT (probably the most local content of all the nominated blogs). Could post more often for my taste.”

Posts that make me laugh, just wish he would post more often! I like a good sense of humour.”

Alex is just hilarious - blog is multi sided, photography, comments, thoughts.”

“The writing isn't bad, although a touch too meandery. He also needs to update more often. This is more of a friends and family blog than one that will attract a larger readership.”

Thoughts and praise from the judges for the Failed Mommies Club

Personal writing and talking about your family can be a delicate minefield to navigate. It can get boring and navel-gazing in a hurry, so that only family and very close friends would have even a passing interest. But the writing is good and there are clever takes on every day things that keep things engaging.”

A parenting blog that doesn't take parenting itself too seriously. I like the tone of the postings, though admittedly, I'm a new reader. I like how it sometimes interweaves with the Snowcovered Hills blog.”


Thoughts and praise from the judges on Getting over my Heterophobia

Great post; very thought provoking and can be applied to a variety of circumstances here in the North that many of us face”

Solid writing about things working out differently than expected. It's a pity he doesn't appear to have done more writing. I'd like to read it.”

This post makes me want to get to know its writer. I notice he hasn't posted again, here's hoping our comments encoruage that!”

I feel the same way about the north sometimes being small and charming and nonjudgmental...at times anyways...lol I think we have all been discriminated against up north at one point or another. But that most people are brought together in a similar situation and forced to forget any previous labels they might have had while living in the south.”

A well written post that made me think about stereotypes and acceptance in the north.”

Quite a thoughtful read. I was surprised to learn that Yellowknife is a tolerant place. Well thought out, and written. Fairly recent blog, only two posts. Again possibly too esoteric for a larger audience but who knows.”

Thoughts and praise from the judges on The Sunshine Club

I was just happy to see that there are good people out there who do good things expecting nothing for themselves in return. Inspiring!”

Very nice combination of personal story and philanthropy. Reads well.”

Thoughts and praise from the judges on Death and Dying

I just couldn't stop laughing while reading this post.”

“Having my own small rodent pets dying story, I can appreciate a good one, which this one is.”

This is exactly why I like this blog. It looks at parenting from a realistic and humourous perspective.”

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

Well I've surfaced from the depths of wherever in the world I've been this past week.

Actually, the truth is I've (no joke) been pretty busy.

Busy sleeping, busy catching up on my HBO-produced television, busy with the NWT blogging awards, busy prepping for the upcoming trip...

IN JUST 10 DAYS!  (Wow, I just counted them on the calendar, and for some reason I genuinely thought there were more days left than that... oops!)

And while I blog a lot (apparently I wrote 300-odd posts in 2007, preeeettty crazy if you ask me), I try to avoid posting for the sake of posting. I write when I have something to say.

I have been thinking a bit about the next year, and how my life could be very different this time next year. Lord knows a lot has changed since January 2008. People I have been quite close with have left Rankin, and some solid friendships have been made. I've actually, for the first time in my life, saved a bit of money (and I'm serious about it being "a bit" but hey, some is better than none, right?). I think the best financial move I've made in the past year was upping my Canada Savings Bond. I started contributing to CSB about ten years ago, when I first got my paper route... but had to cash those in before I went to France in 2006 due to limited cash flow. I started up again when I got the job here with CBC, and they do automatic deductions from my paycheque... so I never really notice that the money's not there. I hadn't planned on making it my "travel fund" but that's what it's become. I last drained it when I went to England/Scotland with Nanny and DD so I should have a hefty chunk of change accumulated by the time May rolls around (my next-next vacation) but I have no clue what I'm going to do with it, haha.

I'll be going to PEI/New Brunswick in May, for my sister's graduation from UNB and *maybe* a little voyage. I'm not sure yet though. By the time I get there, it will have been a year and a half since I've been home. A year and a half since I've seen my Dad and my grampie (my mom came up in May of last year, and my sister and I went on a trip to the UK this August with our grandmother). That is a long freakin' time. I hope I never have to do a long stint like that away from my family again.

Which brings me to my next point. By September of 2009 (just 9 short months - holy cow!) I will have completed my 2-year stint in the north, and I've basically decided that I'll be moving on shortly thereafter. I don't know where I'll go, or what I'll do... but I know I want to be closer to the people who mean the world to me. My family, and my friends. As my mom has pointed out, I could be clear across the country in Victoria, BC and I'd STILL be closer to home than I am now. And she's very right.

So as I look ahead to the next year (hey, I've been asking all the local politicos to do just that these past couple weeks at work) I see one major priority: keep focussed on my own needs and interests. Sure, that sounds selfish... and in a way, it is, but sometimes I do things that aren't in my OWN best interest, and I'm going to work to get better at that.

And I do have ONE blogging New Year's resolution, to dream up better titles for my posts. Normally I just stick to one-word or two-word titles, that don't really tell you anything when you go back through the archives. I think my problem is that I normally write the post title BEFORE I start the post. It's easier to be more descriptive in a title when you already know what you have written about.

Oh, and my final New Year's resolution is to make ice. That's right, ice. You'd think that wouldn't be a big deal, but I've never been able to keep ice in the freezer but gosh-darnnit 2009 WILL be the year of the ice cube. I promise! Haha.