Accounts of living in Yellowknife (a work in progress, this site and my life)

Sunday, April 30, 2006


More like Brokeride.

It is Spring. All the snow is pretty much gone... it only took about 2 weeks for that to happen. Its still not too warm, but i am not expecting +30C any time soon. About +6C today.... down to -1 last night. There is an incredible amount of sunlight up here.... it doesn't seem to rain much (rained for 10 minutes on friday night) or even cloud over often.

So last week went and this week will go. Work contuinues to be relatively interesting... enough that I am ok with getting up for it. I applied for the city to pay for me to do a distance ed masters program. I have to get my manager to sign off on it, then the HR departmnet, then the S.A.O (senior administrative officer).... I am worth 16,000CAD, right? I figure its either they pay for it or I leave sooner rather than later.

Friday was fun. I went to a housewarming party all on my own, and met a bunch of random people who were more or less my age. I actually knew some through work, thus the invite. After that party was the bar... which closed at some point. Then it was to some place called the 'Boom House'. Basically some random house with a basement full of random drums, guitars, amps, drunks, and stoners. So, basically everything required in the making of a good time.

I met some guy who works in Iqaluit. He was really happy to be in Yellowknife - the centre of the northern universe.

I got home from friday night on saturday morning at about 5am. Apparently the sun comes up around 4:15am. Making for some loooooong days. It feels like 3pm right now, even though its coming on 6:30. At 12pm last night I was coming home from somewhere and there was still a glow on the horizon... made it feel a lot earlier than 12. So bedtime just gets later and later. And now I know i have to move because the kids living above me were up at 8am running around screaming and doing their best to wake me up. An example of an incompatible land use is me and noisy kids.

All this light makes me feel like i should be outside. So, I went for a long bikeride today which turned into a short one when my chain snapped (thus the brokeride joke... get it?). With some luck and much skill I managed to repair it enough to slowly get on my merry way. But this means I probably have to change my gearset now too.... thats no fun.

So here are some pictures from Sat night. I went to the Pilots Monument to watch the sunset because I could. Have at 'em.

the Pilots monument

Some houseboats.... i wonder what happens when the ice hasnt broken up, but its too unsafe to walk on?

Houses, ice, hills, sky.

Seen here is some of old town (where the City first started growing...) and some of some island owned by the natives. N'Dilo? I cant remember the name.... must be something wrong with me.

Those buildings centre picture combine their super powers and become downtown Yellowknife.

Pre-sunset clouds.

Sunset pic. Around 10pm i think.

So, apparently this is the float base. Float planes, or just floaty things in general? I guess we'll never know.

This sun is going down.

Same view point, different time, same clouds. I am too lazy to make the edges square on this picture, you just have to deal.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

How soon can I retire?

31 years, 6 months, 1 week. So, to ensure that I last that long I am pretty sure that every week needs to include only 4 work days. Its the number 5 that is the killer. I will test this hypothesis when I go back to work tomorrow, the first of 5 days in a row after two 4-day work weeks.

How was my 4-day work week you may wonder? Well, short and I did some after work public meetings which meant me sitting there with co-workers waiting for the public to not show up for 3 hours so we can go home. To be fair we did have a few people drop in, but I am pretty sure they were just in the wrong place and we looked so forlorn at having no audience to talk about zoning to that they couldnt just leave.

Friday was boring excepting the hockey game. Go Sens. There are a lot of leaf fans at work. I like laughing at them. Sens had better not tank again.

Saturday was ok. Drank some beer and went to the gold range. That place is pretty trippy... anyone who visits should make sure I take them there.

Today I went on a tour in the afternoon. It was +5C so nice and melting warm. Another month and it should be dry enough to start mountain biking I hope (not that we have mountains, maybe i should call it hill cycling).... it should be amazing.

Other things of coolness:
1. It gets dark here at around 10pm or a bit later and light earlier than i care to find out.
2. I had a nothern moment: I was walking to the bar on saturday night at 11:30 and there was still a blue glow on the horizon as though the sun had not quite decided to set, the northern lights were flickering in the sky overhead strong enough to see in town, and there were 5 drunks sprawled out in the road, some on their backs, laughing and shouting at each other.
3. Its finally Spring.
4. The turn in weather seems to make all the social dichotomies in this city more apparent - the rednecks and the environmentalists; the locals and the "even more" northerners; people who love the city and people hate the city; and, the people who work and the people who sit around drinking sherry and pissing in alleys (guess which one I am).

Here are some pictures.

Here is one of the newer trailer parks in town... if i bought a house here all i could afford would be one of these if i was lucky. These newer ones are about 200 - 250K.

Trees and snow. Walking around I could already feel how bad the bugs are going to be when it gets warmer and they start feeding. There are so more lakes and boggy areas than real solid ground. Mosquitos as big as my head and twice as smart.

What we have here is a surveyor carving out what seems to be a property line or something. Not that you can see the stakes in this picture... so youll have to take my word for it.

Greg walking on a lake.

These are the dog trotter association's kennels. There are probably well over 200 dogs on this one property and another 5 or 6 large kennels in this area.

Lots of dirty dogs

Dirty dogs.

I like this picture because it looks like a mud puddle and that's what it is.

A pair of the baldest of eagles. Stood and watched them for a while.... an indescribably sedate and simplistic atmosphere with their gliding manouvers in concert with the wind in the trees, sunlight and vast empty spaces.

Telesat somethings. Geodesic beacons? Greasy Bacons? Goofy Beagles? Honestly, who can tell?

Music is my aeroplane.

Monday, April 17, 2006

What keeps you sane?

Tom told me it was time to update my blog and suggested I take pictures of where I live. I decided that was somewhat mundane and took pics of what it is that keeps me sane in my apartment. I spent this long weekend holed up in my apartment save for a journey to the gym, grocery store and a walk yesterevening. It was a grey weekend. I am actually bored enough that I am ready to go back to work. I never did end up going out on saturday.... someone was supposed to call but never did.

So its late here now... coming on 12am so I leave you with a few pictures taken on my walk on a grey day and sanity pictures. Enjoy, Im going to bed.

One of many trailer parks in town. These ones are near old town and this is a bad picture.

A couple trailers. There are also a bunch of squatter shacks in this are... no pics right now. Basically, these are like trailers except one step lower on the food chain...cobbled together with local cheap construction materials and no legality as a land use. Interesting way to live.

Air Tindi.... if you want to charter a flight talk to these guys.

Quintesenntial northern shed.

Last of the walk pics (sanity pics after this one) is a weird structure.... i am not sure if its a residence... I cant figure out how that slanted structure would work on the inside... (the one on the hill.)

Absolutely essential to sanity are coffee and scotch or jamieson's (which i have had to abandon due to incredible costs for it up here). I dont drink them at the same time, but imagine that I could should the occasion present itself. The one thing worse than running out of scotch it not having any at all.

Sleep keeps me sane. Got to sleep.... its the getting tired enough to sleep that's the difficult part. Sitting at work all day leaves me oddly energetic and tired at the same time... so days I dont go to the gym are days I sleep less.

Cutlery... see comment below.

My dishes dont really keep me sane... but, coupled with my cutlery ensure that I am one step above a person who eats off the floor with his hands. Cousin Jen if you read this, I am sorry, but i forgot the one's that you gave me back home and its not worth mailing them to me so I bought the ugliest ones that I could find.

Keeping me sane are my guitars. Actually, the red one sucks and goes out of tune.. so its only the good one. Someday I will buy an electric guitar and massive amp and be promptly evicted... i cant wait. I bet my upstairs neighbours already hate the fact that I play, but I hate the fact that they seem to be really f-bombing noisy.

Integral to my sanity are electronics. I need to be w-i-r-e-d.

This has no effect on my sanity - but it is still funny. My old roomies (you know who you are) sent the pimp hat, handcuffs, and a bunch of porno mags along with all my moving stuff, hidden poorly in a see through plastic box. Oddly enough, the porn was missing when it arrived here. Im betting jeremy stole it before it all got moved. I somtimes wonder what the guy who changed my fire extinguisher thought about having to remove these from hanging on the old one.'

This weekend and last, aunt jamima and cinnamon waffles kept me sane.

My crumby toaster keeps me sane. It took me about a week to find a toaster that was less than $40.00 - props to walmart. Without it there would be no waffles.

Keeping me sane is the realization that I am smarter than whoever saw fit to label the friggin' elements on the stove. I mean, they already ARE labelled....argh!!

It's sometimes the memories that keep me sane. Understanding that the bad times join the good times as memories makes anything bearable. Depressing is that the oxford exchange was clearly and undisputedly the best time I'll probably ever have... something to judge everything else by...

Should the occasion arrise, I'm not above reading a book now and then.

Watchin t.v. from tha couch. Since its so frigging small I fill it with blankets and pillows and sort of manage to drape myself over it in some fashion that is comfortable.

This is my window at 9:45 pm.... engaging isn't it? But now it's 12 and time for bed because I have to work tomorrow. I cant decide if that's good or not.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Where's the Easter Bunny at?

Do your own math - Bunnies are white (the easter one's anyway). It's snowing. Snow is white. So, I don't know where that camoflaged bunny is at. For the record: if and when the Easter bunny is determined to be real, it should be noted that I would not have been able to see it on this easter long weekend were it in fact in Yellowknife as it would be under snow. So, when you ask me if I saw the easter bunny on this weekend in yellowknife... well, dont even ask.

You may have inferred that it's snowing and has been all day. You would be right. I was mostly ok with this, until my cable stopped working. Most cable/internet is satellite based up here... so, it would appear that when the snow reaches a critical mass the reception stops. I am mostly ok with this in that I don't mind that it's snowing, but not so ok when I hear of the nice sunny patio weather back home Ontario way and when my cable goes out.

Spring here is a lot like winter back home. The temperature reaches a reasonable range, such that it no longer hurts to be exposed to the wind. And it seems to snow a lot more than in the colder, deeper parts of winter. We again have slush, mud and dirt everywhere. Dog crap piled up for the better part of a year begins to unleash an olfactory assault, and I write a report on kennels as a land use.

Today's grey day was introduced by a different grey day and will hopefully change to something more brilliant at some point like tomorrow. I think I am going out tonight. In fact I had better go out tonight... I'm kind of bored.

That's all. I'm still going to take pictures of some trailers, just when its not nasty out.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

How about a trailer park?

It sounds like a good idea to me. Some recent comments have indicated that readers are decidedly interested in trailer parks. As such, I strongly feel that I should do a photo expose on some of this city's lovely trailer neighbourhoods (of which there are a number). Maybe ill do it next weekend.... a nice looooooong weekend so Ill need something to keep me busy/out of trouble.

The parks up here are a necessity as they provide an easy and cheaper alternative to normal stick build homes. There are few trades people and servicing new lots is incredibly expensive so the preferred alternative (for some) is the creation of trailer parks. The pc term for trailer is single-wide manufactured dwelling unit. You can also get double-wides, which actually look a lot like normal homes.

Another benefit is that these things dont need a foundation which would most likely just sink into bog anyway, unless it was tied to bedrock. Unfortunately, due to a relatively static housing supply and other reasons, a new trailer will/can run you 300K+, dont even ask about a real house.

I was talking to someone at work about the fact that Red Green is, after 1o years, not making any more shows. It followed into the fact that Canada's best ambassadors to the states are the red green show and trailer park boys. Given that other than our representation as 'cold' on their weather maps most americans have little contact with us, its no wonder many of them think we are right out of our collective trailertrash duct-tape gourd.

So, no new pictures this weekend. I was going to do something and take some, but ran into the slight problem of having a really tremendous monumentally bad hangover on saturday and then today couldn't get motivated to do something other than go to the gym and watch tv. Friday was a celebration of three coworkers birthdays and suffice to say I went to almost every bar in town and am not allowing myself to spend any more money this week.

This short week is going to be nice. And the long weekend even nicer... Working makes one appreciate not working. 25 years and 8 months until I can retire (maybe) if I am lucky - the year will be 2031 and I'll be king or maybe a pirate who kidnaps one.... verdict is still out.

So enjoy whatever it is you are doing and stay tuned for more garbage...and trailer parks

(Quote of the week: "Let's get drunk and eat chicken fingers").

Here's a pic of Joe Nethery sporting Pmans hat. Joe whined to me about not being included in last weeks archival purge. Here you go Joe - happy?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Do you miss anything from 'tha south' yet?

In short, yes. Today I went to a conference/forum put on by CMHC (look it up all you non-planners) on housing in Yellowknife and providing solutions to barriers to affordability. Was interesting as this was my first conference not as a student... Funny thing is that even given my remote location it was a same shit different pile of the usual problems save for the land supply/claims issue. Oh yeah, and I actually said something...intelligible.

To get back to my original self-directed question (you can answer it, but i was posing it to myself) I miss twooney tuesdays (cheap drinks are $4.50 here per bottle of beer); freshest of fresh produce (everything comes on plane or truck and deliveries only come once every few weeks it seems - I get tired of wisened mushrooms and rotted peppers); cheap everything (no monopolies on markets - its barely a free market situation up here at times); variety (of everything); cheap(er) jamesons; patios (no patios here, sigh); spring (wonder if we ever get it); bigger than 20,000 people in it Cities; more than 1 city (there's no driving an hour to Toronto from here); chillin' with my homies; and mostly, not working while living the life of a student.

Random news: I read in the paper that J-Roc from trailer park boys was in town teaching grade 8 kids to rap. This made me laugh. I wonder if they used the f-bomb. If I had young kids that's definitely the sort of rold model/tv character I'd want teaching them.

Change in topic: I was talking with someone when I went out last saturday and they were from ontario... somewhere near ottawa... and we were standing outside waiting for someone to go home to get keys so that they could unlock their car, retreive their other keys and get our jackets. So, it was cold and we had been imbibing and some local cougars came over and asked us where we were from. We told them Ontario. They said "[CraZy laugh], we knew it was either Ontario or Newfoudland. " We asked why they knew this. They said "Because of your smiles." I didn't know this, nor do I corroborate on the issue, but apparently people from Ontario tend to grin like jackals. Maybe when we've had a few? Or. maybe they were crazy and this other guy and I were grimacing because it was cold? I have no idea.

So following are a few pictures from the archives... I have more and I have better, but some are just too incriminating and most require more digging into my random archival system than I'm prepared to do at this moment... so be happy with these and all the typoes that Im not planning on fixing (I saw at least one).

No northern pics tonight... Wait for the weekend.

Carefree times in europe. Who needs a career? We're learning how to drink like an englishman/woman.

Jeremy always was a special case. This is the day when we built our bar in waterloo.... changed the course of our lives and the grades of our courses that did.

The only and fruitiest picture of Mike that I could find. If you want a better one instead of this to put here send it to me. Actually... its level of fruitiness must be greater than this pictures level in order to replace it.

Paul in action.

Pretty much the beginning to the best party ever... hands down. Ryan and I hadnt even started drinking at this point... Just really excited. (3rd year university block party i think).

Sometimes nothing is funnier than an anatomically correct sock/stocking deer named Buck (its halloween... so its ok right?)

Too much fun, or drink, or something - home crew from perth.

Stupid times call for stupid faces - and we had the stupidest.