Monday, November 30, 2009


So I'm back in Iqaluit. I suspect I could go on some more about the Dominion, and there is more I'd like to say, but other events have caught up to me. Perhaps once we get the pictures from the event - they had a photographer going around and each player is getting a jump drive filled with pictures and video - I'll talk a bit more about my impressions of the event.

However the other events is simply the house. Despite it being touch and go for awhile there, it seems we have a house. All the money seems to have switched hands, the lawyer has said everything looks fine. The insurance company wants one last bit of information about the fuel tank. And, most importantly, we have the keys to the house. It one last bit of weirdness, I arrived on a Canadian North flight into Iqaluit around 1 pm. I came and there was Cathy waiting for me with the keys. The couple we bought the house from has just went through security and were on the flight down south on the same airline.

While I was enjoying myself in Toronto Cathy has been working like a dog to get the apartment packed up. There's still stuff left that hasn't found a box or a bag, but all the heavy stuff is ready to go. The movers show up on Tuesday around 1 pm and start moving it to the house. We have to get a steam cleaner tomorrow to do the carpets at the new house (the previous owners had hired someone to do it, but didn't show. However, she left us money to cover it). All the utilities have been transferred over, we've bought a receiver for the satellite dish, and, and and...

And there's a lot. I honestly don't know how Cathy got it all done while I was away. Between work and being sick, she did so much of the work that when I hit the apartment there was little left for me to do. And that list got smaller when talking to the building maintenance man who said not to worry about cleaning the walls or doing the carpets...they have to paint the walls anyway.

Anyway, now that I'm back in town and not going crazy in Toronto, hopefully blogging will resume a regular schedule. That's assuming NorthWest Tel actually transfers phone and internet to the new place tomorrow like they're supposed to. I should take bets on that happening.

And now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to get a shower and then go to bed. I doubt I've had more than four uninterrupted hours of sleep in more than a week. Hopefully I'll get a nice, solid eight hours this evening.

Last Five
1. Get him back - Fiona Apple
2. Kiss and tell - Spirit of the West
3. The last supper - Mark Bragg*
4. Steam engenius - Modest Mouse
5. Nineteen forever - Joe Jackson

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dominion Day 4-5

I think the thing that's surprised me the most about this championship is just how flat out its been. I've really not had much in the way of downtime since I arrived here. I had all these plans to go and eat at some restaurants, catch a few movies and do a few other things. But that hasn't happened. Zero movies seen. And a quick trip to Burger King is about the only fast food chain I've hit.

Anyway, let's give you a quick update on what's happened Friday and Saturday here in the land where asking how to get around via public transit is still viewed with suspicion.

So after the disappointing loss to Newfoundland on Thursday it took a bit to get back into the game early the next morning. Then again, most of the men's teams find seem to find it hard to get going for a morning draw given the volume of drinking going on. I'm not being critical, by the way. It's just the way curling rolls. If there's no drinking happening, then something deeply weird is going on.

Anyway, we had the 10 am game against Quebec. We wanted to do well, but we started off kind of flat and missed some chances to get points. We were down 5-3 after six ends and things were looking a touch bleak, especially since we weren't getting many breaks. I was joking that if I had a dollar for every time one of my rocks "picked" (did something weird because it hit a piece of debris on the ice) I could afford to buy a pitcher of beer at St. George's. However, the breaks started to go our way and we got two in the 7th to tie and then stole two in the 8th when the Quebec skip's draw was heavy. So we won 7-5, which felt pretty good.

The last game was against Nova Scotia. It might seem crazy, but sometimes the worst thing you can have happen is get a lot of points in the first end. It can make you cocky and throw you off your game plan. Once we took four on them in the first, we kind of laid back. Plus, they were in trouble a lot in the first few ends. We had a chance for five and only got two. We had two chances for six and came out with one point and they stole one point.

Still, we were up 6-1 at one point, so we figured we had it well in hand. However, they kept nibbling back, getting some points and next thing we knew it was the last end, we were up 7-5 and they were lying two. Ooops. Ed's last shot was a draw which was a touch heavy (or we might have over-swept), but managed to stop about with about two inches to spare. Final score, 7-6 for Nunavut.

Our record for the week was 3-3, good for fourth out of seven teams in our pool. And we could have easily been 4-2, which is what Newfoundland ended up finishing. Everyone is impressed with how well we did. The women's team ended up finishing 2-4, tied for fifth in their pool.

And, I point this out not to rub in their faces, because they're nice people and we've enjoyed chatting with them, but both Nunavut teams did better than the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Another fact that may have been mentioned at some point to Canadian Curling Association officials during the last day or so.

Outside of curling, there was the "gentleman's night" on Friday. No strippers, as I think St. George's frowns on that sort of thing. But a ton of free, and really quite good, food, plus a local brewery did a free beer tasting. Much to the horror of my cousin in Calgary, I didn't drink any because, as I have stated, I hate the taste of beer. I think poor Randy, when he read that I passed on free beer, is preparing to excommunicate me from the family.

We had a bye on Saturday, so I was up at 8:30 and headed to a mall. I had a list of things that needed to be picked up, plus to try and do some Christmas shopping. Oh, and after that to go to the other side of Toronto to see some friends. The shopping was about what you expect. Take a huge mall, which includes a Wal-Mart, and go there with less than a month until Christmas. It was terrible, although not as terrible as I thought it would be, actually. Also, I didn't buy as much as I thought. Certainly having only two hands and no car helped.

Although the best part was when I went to Bell looking to buy a couple of receivers for the satellite dish on the house. The store in this huge mall and none left. Classic.

Then after sadly underestimating once again how long it takes to get anywhere in this city, I arrived a mere 40 minutes late to meet my friends. I got to see Steph again, twice in less than a week after going 17 years without, Hans, who is here doing his Phd, and Tara. I can't recall the last time I saw Tara, but it's been a few years. She's doing make-up and special effects stuff. I was looking at some of her stuff on her iPod Touch. Frankly, if the police ever arrest her, they're going to think she's a serial killer. But her work is awesome, in both a cute (she makes puppets for kids shows) and terrifying (half rotted corpses for zombie movies) way.

However, I really do want to see that short film she worked on about curling zombies. It looks like fun.

So what's left now? The finals are Sunday, followed by the closing ceremonies, the final banquet, a dance and then I'm up at 5 am to fly back to Iqaluit, where I land and get ready to move into the new house on Tuesday.

Oh yes, the house came through. Down to the wire, but on Tuesday, it's apparently all ours. What a deeply strange last few weeks. But more on that later.

Hopefully I'll have some pictures of the week to put up online in the next day or so. For those of you curious to see what Team Nunavut looks like in our team jackets. We're quite stylish.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dominion Day, 3.5

You know the really awesome thing about events like this? You learn things about yourself. I haven't really gone to an event with lots of people like this in a long, long time. I'm really quite pleased with it all. It's astonishing how well I'm getting along with most of the people (well, one of the guys from BC is a drunken asshole), how much curling I'm learning and how much fun I'm having.

I've also learned one other thing...I can't zone out the sound of snoring.

Funny thing that. Cathy snores from time to time, but I nudge her and that's that. I'm not having any luck with my teammates. It's funny how things escalated. Night one involved putting a pillow over my head. Didn't work. Night 2 involved ear plugs. Didn't work. Night 3 involved headphones and an iPod. Some success, but very weird dreams. Night 4 saw the iPod option give up the ghost so I went out and slept in the hall. It was decided that was not good (people in the locker room were wondering who it was sleeping in the hall. I was not on the long list of candidates), so I should switch roommates. But nope, can't zone him out either.

Yes, I know, smothering them with a pillow is an option I've deeply considered. But then we'd have to dip into the spare pool at the Dominion and that's always a pain in the ass.

But here I find myself, 3:45 in the morning, in the business centre writing. My original plan had been to read in the corridor for a bit (I have a copy of Super Freakonomics), but the aforemented idiot from BC put a kibosh on the plan by turning me into a tourist attraction. "Wow, sleeping out here dude is fucked up." Yes, and being drunk 24 hours a day, including while you're curling is, in some circles, also considered deeply fucked up. But at least I was, up until now, polite enough not to say anything. However, now, I cordially invite you to go fuck yourself with a broom handle. Don't forget the lube!

Anyway, here I am in the business centre writing. Might as well do something constructive. Fortunately I managed to take pants with me before I left. I am clever like that when massively sleep deprived. Also, they frown on people wandering the lobby without pants.

However, no sense griping (all right, a little griping). Clearly I've been deeply remiss in my blogging. My apologies, but we really have been quite busy here the last few days. So let's see if we can get caught up.

Tuesday Night
A pretty spectacular opening night banquet. Sometimes these things can get boring, but they kept things right along and wisely served food while people were giving their speeches. Why is that something so hard to master?

We sat with the Manitoba's women's team (arranged seating, honey, honest) who were so clearly over the moon to be there. Plus, they got to meet Glenn Howard. For non-curlers, Howard is a former world champion and one of the favourites to represent Canada in the Olympics. You would have sworn a God was in the room. If Bono had entered the room with the rest of U2, I think they might have been ignored. One of the women gushed loud enough for him to hear "You're my favourite!" But honestly, it was said in such a way you couldn't help but be charmed by it. She loves curling. Good for her.

Anyway, it was a great speech ("remember the pride you feel wearing your province's coat of arms on your back. It doesn't get much better than that." Damn right), lots of good stories, and a good welcome to things. The best part, after meeting and getting our picture taken with Howard, was that several of the speakers mentioned how this was the first tournament to ever represent all 14 curling jurisdictions in Canada. That got a nice round of applause. Here's hoping the Canadian Curling Association is listening. We'd like to come and play at more events like this. Please let us.

Everybody is very impressed with the organizers. Whether or not the number is true, I can't say, but people have been saying Dominion spent anywhere from $1 million to $2 million on this event. I can believe it.

So, our first games. Let's just say there was a bit of adrenaline flowing through the system. Game #1 was against Ontario. I think we shot pretty good and we were really happy with the first six ends of the game. At that point it was Ontario 3, Nunavut 2.

That would be the point where we gave up four in the 7th end. Oooops. And at this tournament these are only eight end games. So that was pretty much that. However, I think we acquitted ourselves quite well and people seemed impressed we did that good against a team widely considered one of the favourites.

Game two was against Saskatchewan.

Oh holy fuck.

You know, I think I'm not a bad curler. Obviously there is considerable room for improvement, but I'm not bad. These guys play on another plane of existence. I'm not blowing smoke up their ass either. I told them after the game they are, by a mile, the toughest team I've ever faced. They had precise, nuclear take-out weight and just bombed themselves out of any trouble they got into once they had a lead. So we lost that one 9-0 after six ends.

However, we take some comfort in that other teams have faced similar horrors from this team. I think they're the odds on favourites to win this right now. Plus, they're really nice guys.

But the best part of Wednesday came after we left the club. The Nunavut women's team went on the ice at 8 pm. They also had to play Saskatchewan. I think you would have been hard pressed to find anyone in the club who would have given you odds on Nunavut winning.

They won 6-5. They took two in the last end for the win. We were already back at the hotel at the bar. I popped upstairs to chat with Cathy on Skype before she went to bed and checked the score online. When I saw how well they were doing I was running scores back and forth between the bar. When they finally showed up at the hotel they got a massive cheer and, I suspect, many free drinks.

It is, for the record, the first time a Nunavut team has won a national level curling game. So a bit of history there and keep that fact in your trivia pocket. For the record, give it up for Kristy Frampton - Skip, Geneva Chislett - Third, Penny Dominix-Nadeau - Second, and Robyn Mackey - Lead. They deserve it.

The morning began, probably entirely too early for the women's team, with a game against PEI. Which they promptly went ahead and won. This meant two things. First, at 2-1 they were in a tie for second place and in play-off contention. Secondly, it meant when we hit the club, we were getting it from all angles about how they were certainly setting the bar high and it was time for us to step up.

All right, fair enough. All said in good humour, but time to do just that. So our game was against PEI. It was touch and go for a few ends, but we pulled it off, 6-3. So we had our first ever win at a national event. I got to say, that was a pretty good feeling. We didn't do any big celebration on the ice, but it felt good. We'd won a game. I know some people didn't think we would even do that much, but we had. So we have that much.

The women's bid at going 3-1 kind of crashed. Good start with a steal of four in the first against Newfoundland, but things went AWOL and they ended up losing 11-5. Considering three of the members of the team are originally from Newfoundland, I think they kind of wanted that one.

So then it was our turn. Now, since I saw the schedule of games I had this one circled. We were all disappointed not to get a chance at the other two territories, but we were getting a shot at Newfoundland and I wanted to beat them. Badly. Nothing personal, they're good guys. It's just a thing.

It was a good, clean and very low scoring game. We had our chances, they had theirs. After seven ends it was 3-2 Nunavut. They had last rock. The plan at this point was to force them to take one in the eighth, we'd get last rock back and try to take it in nine.

However, as such things are, it went a bit off the rails. Our skip, who is probably upstairs beating himself up in his dreams, through on his first rock a hit on a stone in the top 12. The plan was to roll away, but he stayed there, leaving a guard. Newfoundland drew behind it, but it was still partially open. So all we had to do was hit and go into an extra end.

He through it inside. It wrecked on the guard, Newfoundland drew for two and won 4-3. I couldn't even watch the last rock be thrown. I actually did something that was probably a touch rude. I went and sat by myself for about 20 minutes until I was in a good head space, waited until all the other guys had changed (it gets crowded in the change rooms anyways) and then went upstairs.

Yeah, that sucked. So we're 1-3. It's not bad, but my goal was to go 4-2. We still have a chance to go 3-3. We have Quebec and Nova Scotia tomorrow. Well, in a few hours now, I guess. Hmmmm.

So how am I playing? Oddly, I was happier with my shooting yesterday. I thought I had pretty good draw weight and I was on target for my hits. Today was shakier. Plus I hated the way I played against Newfoundland. Missed too many shots and had to depend on others to bail me out. Kind of frustrating, but there you go.

Is there more? I'm sure, but seeing as how it's now nearly five in the morning and the lobby music is Christmas songs being introduced by John fucking Tesh (I am Clever, I remembered pants. However, I am not a Genius, as I did not remember the iPod). What is getting essentially no sleep for an entire evening going to do to my game play today? Well, that's going to be fascinating to watch, isn't it?

There's actually a "gentlemen's evening" at the club Friday night. It sounds slightly taudry, but given St. George's nature, I doubt it. Although the joke was that there will be strippers who will be wearing denim. And since denim is not allowed in the club, well....

I suspect, however, that I will be missing it and instead in a coma. I may consider sleeping pills tomorrow night, just to make sure any external sound sources do not impact me when I'm trying to sleep.

Hmmm, forgotten how much I ramble when I'm tired. Anyway, more later.

Last Five
Christmas music. It's less than a month away and I understand that by social contract that it's allow now, but I'm clearly still not ready for it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dominion, Day 1

Most regular blog readers knew this day was coming, but for the rest of this week we'll be hitting the curling pretty hard. I know this isn't always the cup of tea for some of you, but this is my life between now and Sunday. Still, for those of you not into curling, I'll try and make it interesting. And for those of you wondering about the house saga, things appear to be falling into place. I'm seriously knocking on wood right now, but it appears we'll be able to move into the house on Tuesday. So that's good.

First things first, if you're interested in following and seeing how Nunavut is doing at The Dominion, go here - You should see on the page a button to press for CurlCast. If you want to follow the scores real time or see how well each player is shooting, this is the place to go. So if I go from shooting 70% to 66%, you can assume something very bad just happened. If I go from 70% to 73%, odds are I did something right.

The schedule for games is the following

10 am - Nunavut vs. Ontario (men)
1:30 pm Nunavut vs. Ontario (women)
4:45 pm Saskatchewan vs. Nunavut (men)
8:15 pm Saskatchewan vs. Nunavut (women)

10 am - PEI vs. Nunavut (women)
1:30 - PEI vs. Nunavut (men)
4:45 - Newfoundland vs. Nunavut (women)
8 pm - Newfoundland vs. Nunavut (men)

10 am - Nunavut vs. Quebec (men)
1:30 pm - Nunavut vs. Quebec (women)
4:45 - Nunavut vs. Nova Scotia (men)
8 pm - Nunavut vs. Nova Scotia (women)

Saturday is tiebreakers and playoffs assuming we get that far. Nobody has a clue what to expect of us at this event. They've never seen Nunavut curlers before. I take that as a small advantage.

As for the rest, we're seriously being treated like royalty. We have our own driver who chauffeurs us back and forth between the hotel and the curling club. We arrived to find two new high quality shirts, a new broom and our team jackets. And when we had a small problem with one of the jackets (Nunavut's coat of arms was on the back, but not the name of the territory. And I should say, that was our fault and not the Dominion organizers), they quickly gathered up our jackets, took them to a company somewhere nearby and had "Nunavut" added to the bottom. No muss, no fuss, didn't even charge us for it.

In fact, all the volunteers have been exceptionally nice and helpful. When I joked I had a long list of things to pick up before heading home, one of them offered to go and get it for me if I was pressed for time. That floored me, although I politely declined.

It's a class event so far. We even got a really nice round of applause when, during the team meetings, practically the first thing on the agenda was welcoming Nunavut to their first ever national curling championship.

As I said, these are nice people. We really appreciated that.

We had a pretty intense 45 minute or so team practice and this evening is the opening banquet. The games start tomorrow. We'll see how we do then, however so far we're having a blast. Although I really wish I could shake the minor head cold I seem to be brewing. I'm popping drugs like crazy, so hopefully I'll beat this down before it goes anywhere.

Last Five
1. Tiny vessels - Death Cab For Cutie
2. Avalanche - Tim Baker
3. Flutter and wow - Elvis Costello and the Imposters
4. Disease (live) - Allison Crowe
5. Alert status red - Matthew Good*

Monday, November 23, 2009

Your quick Toronto recap

So my brain is completely fried...a combination of trying to complete and assignment and some sleep deprivation. But let us see what two days in Toronto can bring in terms of writing observations.

1. As we are out near the airport we are, as the Newfoundlanders might say, in the arse end of nowhere. That made trying to get down to Queen Street West and Spadina an interesting challenge. Trying to figure out Toronto's convoluted bus system in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday morning wasn't in the cards. I tried for 15 minutes, gave up and decided to get a cab to the nearest metro station in Kipling.

Sadly, I didn't realize how far it was away and I'm apparently completely spoiled by Iqaluit's $6 cab rides. So the $27 for a ride from the hotel to the station was quite the shock to the system. It's expensive and takes a long time to get anywhere in Toronto. Go figure.

2. I think one of the differences from when I travel alone and when Cathy and I travel together is I'm more willing to take the odd blind leap of faith and willing to get loss. When I travel with Cathy I like to be sure where I'm going. When I'm solo, if I make a mistake, oh well, it's an adventure. When I got off at Spadina I hopped on a trolly by the station saying Spadina South. I wanted to go south, so it made sense, but who knows. Toronto's weird. It might have been coming from the south.

3. I've said this before, but the two smartest decisions I've made in my life were asking Cathy out on a date after we saw the first Harry Potter movie and the day I followed a friend and former co-worker Murdo Messer into the Muse office. I had lunch with two of my Muse friends. John Boggin I've seen fairly recently, just last year. However, I'm sure it has been 17 years or more since I've seen Stephanie Flemming.

Yet both of them insisted on seeing me when I was in Toronto, took time out of their day and hung out and had lunch with me. And it was like no time had passed at all. It's the thing I love about my friends with the Muse....we can go years without seeing each other and when we do it's like no time has passed at all. That paper has bonded us for life.

4. One of the drawbacks of prolonged living in Iqaluit is that it makes you skittish around large crowds after awhile. I went into the Eaton's Centre and managed to barely last long enough to hit the Apple Store and Chapters. After that I was practically running for the doors.

5. I've been accused of doing Death Marches when on vacation. Having been burned on the cab, Death March Toronto was on. I walked around Queen Street West for a bit, then headed to the Eaton Centre, up Younge Street until it hit Bloor, then stayed there until it hit Markham when I went to the Beguiling and after that walked for another 15 minutes or so until I found the next metro station.

I have no idea how long that is, but I suspect I walked a few kilometres yesterday.

6. Who knew that micro mini-skirts with wool tights were big in Toronto this year?

As for today, most of it was spent working on my assignment. However in the morning we went to the Dixie Curling Club. We wanted a practice game and Bob Edmondson was gracious enough to give us one. Bob's a multiple Ontario senior men's champion and I believe he's won the national senior men's championship once or twice. Oh, and Fran Todd of the Canadian Curling Association, who has played in an international championship, also came out to shoot lead against us.

So it was a good game. They were winning 7-6 after seven ends and it went down to last rock. Ed didn't have much to shoot at so they ended up winning. However, it was a great game, we all played well and enjoyed ourselves. But it's also given a boost to our confidence. These were all good curlers and we hung in with them. So hopefully this bodes well for the rest of the week.

Tomorrow is practice at St. George's, some photo shoots, team meeting and a banquet. We start curling on Wednesday. We're pretty pumped. Let's see if we can keep it that way.

Last Five
All from 21st Century Breakdown by Green Day

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ah, Mississauga

I am now in scenic Mississauga....Land of Dreams as I believe I mockingly called it last night on Facebook after arriving. Although I guess I shouldn't mock too much. I just looked out the window and it's sunny. Current temperature is 6C (note the lack of a minus sign in front of the six) getting up to a high of 10C. So sure, I'll take a burst of that.

Today's plan is to head downtown, catch up with a couple of old student newspaper friends - one of whom I'm sure I haven't seen in 15 years - do some twacking around, hit the Apple store and go to The Beguiling, where I was relive my university Drool at all the stuff I want and not buy very much of it because we're kind of broke right now.

I've been trying to figure out when was the last time I was in Toronto and it finally hit me....about 5.5 years ago. When Cathy and I met here on Easter break and then headed down to the Dominican Republic. She was teaching in Rankin that year and the trip to the Dominican was a "I need to see my fiance/get out of Rankin/early honeymoon" sort of trip. But we did have a day to kill while waiting for our charter. So even though we were staying out by the airport, we managed to stumble our way downtown for a few hours. Where, because it was Easter weekend, everything was closed.

So I really have no idea how to get around here. I asked the front desk last night how to get to Queen Street West and Spandina using public transit. He essentially advised me to go out on the street and bug random passing buss drivers until they told me how to do it.

Brilliant. God, I really miss the concierge desks at the hotels in Australia. They were incredibly useful. Then again, this is a Best Western. I should be happy the bed is comfortable and the internet working.

And now I'm off to test to see how the shower holds up. More later on my wacky travels and adventures in the Big City.

Last Five
1. The wind that shakes the barley - The Chieftains*
2. Something so strong (live) - Crowded House
3. (What's so funny 'bout) peace, love and understanding - Elvis Costello
4. Goodnight, California (live) - Kathleen Edwards
5. O Valencia! - The Decemberists

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Turning on a dime

Wednesday evening was a bit of a low point for us. I'd say one of the lower points we've had in awhile. I think we were doing fine, but then a friend told us she couldn't house sit for us anymore over Christmas. And that's fine, if she can't she can't. But it was kind of the final domino. It was one of the few things on an increasingly insane schedule over the next few weeks we had locked down and was sure about that suddenly wasn't.

Then it just became one of those things where nothing seemed to be right. The house was still up in the air. I was still unemployed and even though I had a job interview I didn't walk out of it feeling very good. It's not that I thought I gave a bad interview; I thought I did just fine. And I could certainly do a good job. It was just a hunch (and an accurate one. I didn't get it).

Plus Cathy's health had been wobbly this week. Lots of allergic days that were taking the good out of her. Oh, and I was heading out on Saturday, meaning I wouldn't be able to help in the crunch, leaving a lot for Cathy to do. I'm going to be worried about her down in Toronto.

It was just lots of little things. It might seem trite and foolish, but we've been fortunate to lead a very good life that has gone very smoothly over the past few years. So while we were feeling down, Cathy did what she normally does to feel better...she called her mom.

Her mom's advice? "Fuck off and get zen."

Which might sound a touch harsh, but it made us both laugh and put things into perspective. There are worse places to be then where we are now.

Then a strange thing happened...about 24 hours after all this angsting, things started to fall into place. I got a call for another job interview. I'd applied for the job Thursday afternoon and a few hours later they called for an interview. It also looks promising, so here's hoping that pans out.

Then the lawyer called and we had to go and sign papers Friday night that should give a big boost to the whole house buying process. It's going to be tight, but right now it looks like we can take possession of the house on December 1 as we had planned. So that's a load off the mind.

There's also one other thing going on which I don't really want to talk about, but that's also helping take some of the pressure off.

It's funny. One day things look really sucky and then 24 hours later everything turns around on a dime. We're not out of the woods yet. I still don't have a job and the house isn't locked in. But I think we're feeling better. Or at least more zen...

Last Five
1. Michelle - The Beatles
2. Rock me - Liz Phair
3. Henrietta - The Fratellis
4. All the young dudes - Mott the Hoople
5. In your eyes (live) - Peter Gabriel*

Friday, November 20, 2009

Conversations with Cathy

Me: I really want to dump all over New Moon, but as I haven't read the books and have no intention of ever seeing the movie, I really don't have the right, do I?

Cathy: Nope. You always get mad when religious groups dump on movies you like but have no plan on ever seeing. You think they're hypocrites.

Me: This is true. Oh well. Besides, it's not like the movie is made for people like me anyway.

Cathy: Who is it made for then?

Me: Well, there are three target audiences - teenage girls, soccer moms and gay men.

Cathy: Well, teenage girls like the guys, and I guess gay men like the guys. And I guess the soccer moms have something they can bond with teenage girls with. This might be one of the few things that a mom and her daughter can talk about, especially when they're teenagers.

Me: I guess that's true, but...

Cathy: But?

Me: I just assumed they were cougars and wanted to fuck the guys as well.

Cathy: You're hopeless.

Last Five
1. Sand in my shoes - Dido
2. Never gonna happen - Lily Allen
3. Red light - U2
4. This is not America - David Bowie
5. Caroline - David Gray

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Differing views

I've had a few people, after seeing the view out of the new house, say how lucky we are because it's such a good one. And don't get me wrong, it's a nice view. I like it. However, there are views and then there are views. So let us compare for a minute. The first is a view looking out of the window of the new house.

Not the best shot in the world, but you get the idea. It's pretty good, right? Well, here are a few pictures out my window this morning. I was working on the computer and, for some reason, just turned around and there this was.

And I managed to miss the couple of ravens playing outside the window, using the thermals off the roof to dive bomb each other. That was good fun for a few minutes.

I am looking forward to the new place, once we have all this crap dealt with. However, I will leave this apartment with a bit of remorse. From everyone we've spoken with, we are paying an insane amount of rent, even by Iqaluit standards, but honestly, this is the first place that's felt like "home" to me since we left Bond Street in 2004.

Of course, in the interest of fairness, I should present the view from the other window. On June 4, this was the view out the other window.

The houses were being removed (and being used for firefighters to practice on, I understand) and shortly afterwards they cleared the sight and spent most of early July drilling holes in the ground for the support pylons. Well, this is the view out that window this morning.

Bit of a change, eh? That sucker went up fast. I suspect they'll be stopping for the winter soon, if past precedent is any indication. They'll get the roof on and most of the siding and then call it quits for the year. Hell, they did this much work on the new Komitik Building last year before calling it quits and that still isn't finished. So this new housing unit still might not be finished by this time next year.

But yeah, the view out the other window, not quite so great.

I suspect part of this is just the yo-yoing and uncertainty regarding the new place. I just got an email saying that it looks good for December 1. Of course, I expect another one tomorrow telling me something different. Plus, I'm not going to be here next week, meaning Cathy has a lot of crap to deal with on her own.

I think I'll be glad when this year is over. Too much crap and uncertainty going on in our lives now. Getting back to the clear, calm waters again will be nice.

Last Five
1. Distant sun (live) - Crowded House
2. I am talking to this flower - Camper Van Beethoven
3. Dare - Gorillaz
4. Lady - Regina Spektor
5. Just - Radiohead*

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

House keeping

So, first things first. We're looking for someone in Iqaluit to do a spot of house sitting/dog sitting for us over the Christmas holidays. We had someone lined up to do it, but she bowed out today. You get to stay in our brand new house and take care of the world's cutest dog. And honestly, wouldn't you want to spend a couple of weeks playing with this little guy?

If you live in Iqaluit (we're not flying you up) or know someone in Iqaluit who might be interested, please drop me a line.

Let's see what else we have today. A couple of big stories, but from different parts of Canada. There's this one, with G7 finance minister coming to Iqaluit in February. Apparently there was interest by the ministers during the last meeting to see some of Canada's north. Not entirely they knew what they're asking for when they made that suggestion. It is a touch brisk at that time of the year.

Although as one friend pointed out, coming up here does kind of diminish the likelihood of anarchists and protesters coming here to disrupt things. Although I think it would be vastly amusing to see a bunch of anarchists coming up here to do just that. It would be far more entertaining than a bunch of stuffy finance ministers kicking around.

The big news back in Newfoundland for me was the MUN finally announced a new president - Gary Kachanoski. I know virtually nothing about Mr. Kachanoski so I'll be curious to hear what he has to say about education and his views about the university and especially its relationship with the provincial government. There's going to be a lot of scrutiny about this hire, given what a staggering clusterfuck the provincial government has made of the entire process. I hope he's a good president, but I guess the details will come out in the wash in the days to come.

And finally, this has nothing to do with anything, but I'm grabbing this link from John Gushue's Twitter feed because it amused me. If you've ever been tired of the crazy lady in the car for the Grey Power insurance ads, trust me, she's pretty tired of it as well. I was actually sorry to hear she never made very much money off the ad. It's annoying as hell now, but everyone remembers it and that's basically what you want in an ad.

Still, I'm glad to hear they're finally killing it. It's way past due.

Last Five
1. Happy - Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins
2. Dancing in the streets - Mick Jagger and David Bowie*
3. Summer kitchen ballad - Josh Rouse
4. Houston - REM
5. Books of Moses- Tom Waits

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Air Canada comes to town, part II

In case you were ever wondering why the airline industry always seems hopelessly confused and run by people who were kicked out of the keystone cops, a couple of stories for your consideration.

The first
showed up last Friday on the CBC. In it an aviation expert essentially blames Canadian North and First Air of price gouging. That they were simply making so much money off this route that it became inevitable than an airline like Air Canada would come in because the profit margins are irresistible.

This will not exactly come as a surprise to anyone following the little fiasco from last year over massive bonuses given to the airlines board of directors. That's kind of when most people up here got an inkling just how much money the airline is making. No one up here is going all socialist and expecting the airline to operate as a non-profit, but when you hand out that much money in bonuses, people tend to notice. And not be very happy. Plus, it seems, you get companies much bigger than yourselves noticing how much money you're making and deciding they want a cut. All of which could have been avoided if only Canadian North and First Air had cut prices.

So that's why you see some of the cackling over Air Canada's arrival in this part of the north. Because more competition is good, right?

Yes, but if only Air Canada wasn't apparently run by idiots. A couple of reasons for this. First, there is this lovely line in the CBC story. It's paraphrased, so I don't feel comfortable assuming Manon Stuart actually said it. However, the airline is operating under the assumption that since it rarely gets colder than -40C it's perfectly all right to run Bombardier CRJ-705 up here.

Now, there's a couple of delicious bits of vagueness in this statement. First, what's -40C? Is it straight air temperature or is that windchill? If it's straight temperature, they're probably right. If it's with windchill, well, they might want to redefine their idea of "rarely". Because that's the difference between maybe a dozen flights a year and a couple of dozen flights a year.

But if you want a full bore dose of stupidity on Air Canada's part, then this story will certainly leaving you gasping in awe. Air Canada hasn't actually called the airport yet. That's right, they've announced when they're starting flights and what time they're landing and taking off, but they haven't run those little details past the airport's manager.
“I have no idea at this point in time what Air Canada even wants,” (John) Graham said.

I swear to God, if the people running this airline aren't the stupidest sons of bitches on the planet then I want a list of who tops them. But confidentially. If it gets out in the open Air Canada might hire them for senior management.

I used to think the worst public relations job in the world would have to be working for the tobacco companies. Because you're trying to make a company that sells an addictive, sure-to-kill you product look good. You're trying to make evil look good. However, PR has found a way to spin that....they make evil look cool.

But with Air Canada you have to make incompetence and a genuine loathing by the general public into something likable. So far it hasn't happened. And lord knows Air Canada's upper management doesn't seem to be making things any easier for the public relations division.

I really don't think this move to Iqaluit is going to work well for Air Canada. They're doing it far too half-assed. They making a lunge for some quick money without thinking through what they're doing. Short term gain, long term stupidity; that ought to be on the cover of Air Canada's business plan. Like charging $15 for a seats next to the escape doors. Yes, you make a few extra dollars, but it's that kind if nickel and diming that causes such a black, poisonous cloud to hang over them.

It could work, but I wouldn't bet money on it.

Last Five
1. A boy and his machine gun - Matthew Good Band
2. Big Indian - The Dandy Warhols
3. Telling stories - Tracy Chapman
4. Got to be more careful - Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster
5. Some days are better than others - U2

Monday, November 16, 2009

Crazy train

So I've been kind of waiting for this to happen. Ever since I got back from Australia in August, things have been kind of....laid back. It's not that I haven't tried to keep myself busy, what with job hunting, doing some writing, keeping on top of things in the apartment and whatnot. However, things haven't been really crazy.

But I've been waiting for it. Lo and behold, I think it's coming. Because I see lights at the end of the tunnel and I suspect it's a big old train coming to shake things up.

First of all, we still have house things to deal with. My friend Mireille asked for an update and I guess the update is not much is happening. That, in and of itself, is bad. We dropped the lawyer a line on Friday asking what was happening. They were wrapping up the paperwork and are sending it off this week to the appropriate registries and whatnot in Iqaluit.

After that then it is "in the hands of the appropriate people in Iqaluit." Surely God, those are some of the most terrifying words you can possibly here if you are an Iqaluitmuit. Right now, we're not optimistic of all this getting cleared up by December 1. If it doesn't close in time we could move into the house anyway and pay the current owners "rent" until the deal closes. We'll have to deal with some of that this week.

However, the packing continues apace. Dear God we have a lot of books.

Next up is the Dominion, which means I head down to Toronto on Saturday. Now that's going to be the good, crazy kind of fun. But it will be busy for the week I'm down there between curling, catching up with a few friends and trying to do some Christmas shopping.

I get back and then, theoretically, move into a new house.

On top of that I've accepted a freelance gig with a deadline of around December 5. That means seeing if my journalism writing muscles have completely rotted away over the past four years or if there is something left in there. Here's hoping...

Oh, did I mention the job interview I have this week? I'd really like this one, it sounds like it would be fun.

So yeah, I knew after several months of relative ease that the freight train would come rumbling down the tracks. It just seems to be a bit bigger than I'd anticipated.

Last Five
1. Jesus stole my baby - The Fratellis
2. My mistakes were made for you - The Last of the Shadow Puppets*
3. Everything is good for you (live) - Crowded House
4. Momsong - The Be Good Tanyas
5. Mona Lisa - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Who do you trust?

So I've been observing a fascinating little Newfoundland blog war going on between Geoff Meeker and Peter Whittle. Now, the origins of this little blog war, like all these online skirmishes, is kind of weird. It involved whether or not Geoff slandered a local CBC reporter, and what should journalists do when they've made a mistake on a story online. Should they correct it and, if so, how should they go about doing it.

Peter jumped on Geoff, he took it personally and we're off to the races. Now, for those interested in such things, there is an interesting debate in the mix about correcting mistakes online. Should you leave the story as is, run a strike through the offending text, change it without telling anyone, put up a notice letting readers know there have been changes made to the original story. If you're into that sort of thing, it's interesting reading. Once you get past the bile, of course.

No, the interesting thing for me was why I was immediately willing to give Geoff the benefit of the doubt and assume Peter was being a git.

It's not like I know one better than the other, I don't think. If I counted the number of times I've met each of them in person, I would suspect Peter would tip the scales as I served on student council with him back in the mid-90s. I stand to be corrected but I've only met Geoff a handful of times.

However, I think I understand Geoff. When I read their last two salvos in this spat (Geoff's is here and Peter's is here) one feels like as if it is written by someone clearly angry, but still measures that anger with a well reasoned argument. The other reads like it was written by a smarmy high school student who thinks he's much more clever than he actually is.

I think I simply "get" Geoff better. I don't pretend to know if he has any political allegiances, but if I had to hazard a guess, I suspect it might be something like mine - he's a professional opposition member. Some anonymous idiot posted on either Geoff or Peter's site that Geoff was simply jealous of Premier Williams wealth and power. It's a statement so ludicrous and off-base that I hesitate to mention it.

If it was Roger Grimes or Brian Tobin in there, Geoff would be doing the exact same thing. Maybe it's not the most noble or glamorous of political callings, but someone has to tell the emperor he's wearing no clothes. That's what Geoff likes to do, be it with politics or media. And good on him for doing that.

I've just never gotten a handle on Peter. I know where people like Ed and Wally are coming from and measure their comments and statements accordingly. But I can never get a feel for Peter. And I'm a touch distrustful of people whose writings I can't trust but I don't know where they're coming from this week.

I don't mind people being persuaded by a powerful argument. That's good. I like people who do not follow one political party with blinders no matter how far off the path they go. You should think and consider the policies and the people in a party and not just blindly vote for them just because they're wearing the right badge.

However, I just keep wondering what the angle is with Peter. I keep wondering what the angle was on this blow-up. Because what started off as a simple debate on a statement on an energy corporation and the role of media escalated in a pretty big hurry and Peter is at least partially responsible for adding the extra napalm. I wish I could say it was genuine intellectual curiosity by Peter and willingness to debate the issue.

But that's the problem with someone whose writing you don't trust. There's always that hint of suspicion about what they're really up to. Quite frustrating, really.

Last Five (four of these five songs are awesome and I can't choose)
1. Blackbird/Yesterday - The Beatles*
2. Lowdown - Tom Waits
3. No you girls - Franz Ferdinand*
4. Go back to your woods - Robbie Robertson*
5. Galician Overture - The Chieftans*

Friday, November 13, 2009

Easily spotted

I think one of the things that people forget about former President George W. Bush is that in the months leading up to the 2000 presidential election, there were lots of quite intelligent and reasonable people who liked him and thought he would make a good president. He didn't come across as a moron. He didn't come across as a religious whackjob. And in terms of the experience he could bring to the presidency versus Al Gore, there are certainly similarities between the 2008 election between the relatively inexperienced Barack Obama versus the "been around since the dawn of time" John McCain.

I mention this to put in perspective that we all kind of look at the Bush years now and go "how the fuck did that happen?", however a lot of people thought he would make a good president. They tend to forget the sputtering end of the Clinton presidency and that Al Gore ran a campaign in 2000 that made a log look lively. So yes, there was a certain degree of sense in him getting it in 2000. It was completely illogical for him to have won in 2004 since it was pretty clear he was an idiot by then, however that's getting off the point of this post.

The point is that details are beginning to leak now about Sarah Palin's biography, Going Rogue. And it's pretty apparent that if you ever wanted to see revisionist history at work to try and redeem your political fortunes, I suspect you would be hard pressed to find a better example than this.

That Palin is clearly not fit for higher office in the United States should have been pretty obvious in 2008. That she's considered a front runner for the Republicans in 2012 says more about the state of the Right in the United States than I care to dwell on. Even if she had went away, got herself better educated and prepared for a run in 2016, I might have some respect for that. Instead, she quit her job as governor and is making a pile of money on the speech circuit and writing this apparently inane book.

Politicians have never been shy about rewriting history to serve their own needs, so I guess one shouldn't fault Palin too hard for making the attempt. However, Palin has never exactly been one finely in tune with reality to begin with, one gets the feeling, so her lies seem especially odd. This bit, and I'm quoting from the Globe's story, is particularly....weird.
She writes at length about Ms. Couric. She says that the idea to meet with Ms. Couric came from McCain campaign aide Nicolle Wallace, who told Ms. Palin that Ms. Couric — also a working mother — liked and admired her. It would be a favour to Mr. Couric, too, whom Ms. Palin notes had the lowest ratings of the network anchors. Ms. Wallace said Ms. Couric suffered from low self-esteem. And Palin replied that she almost began to “feel sorry” for Ms. Couric.

She alleges that Ms. Couric and CBS left out her more “substantive” remarks and settled for “gotcha” moments. She writes that Ms. Couric had a “partisan agenda” and a condescending manner. Ms. Couric was “badgering,” biased and far easier on Ms. Couric's Democratic counterpart, Joe Biden.

One gets the feeling that Palin is never going to find a media outlet, outside of Fox News, that she can't blame for her own massive shortcomings as a political leader. The whole world is out to get her, after all. The fact that she blasts McCain, who lifted her from political obscurity should also give you some idea of the character and personality we're dealing with here.

I guess there is a segment out there who will believe this, that Palin's "folksy" charm means she's perfectly qualified to lead the United States despite the quite evident lack of intellectual curiosity. I would like to hope that most would see through all of this and write her off as a blip and bad joke in the history of American politics.

Bush idiocy managed to sneak up on some people. If you can't see Palin coming from a mile away, well, that's quite a set of blinders you're wearing.

Last Five
1. There is a war - Sean Panting
2. Everything to me - Liz Phair
3. She - Elvis Costello*
4. Double life - Matthew Good
5. Shore leave - Tom Waits

Thursday, November 12, 2009

One step closer to power

A couple of days ago we finally managed to get our AGM in at the curling club and I threw my name in for the position of vice president. And after a fierce battle involving knives and much blood letting (all right, the two candidates went in the kitchen while the vote happened. But there was a knife in there), I was elected vice-president of the club.

In the great scheme of things, it's no big deal. It's a small club, in a small city in a territory entirely too many Canadians don't know exist. But it makes me happy and on Tuesday evening I popped that in as my Facebook status, suspecting the kind of reaction I would get from my friends.

The reactions ranged from sarcastic - "Wow, what does one wear for coffee with the V-P of the Iqaluit Curling Club?" (a tartan skirt of some kind would be appropriate, I think, Stephanie) to Patricia (which is a kind of purified form of super-sarcasm) who asked "Do you have groupies now?" The answer, by the way, is since at least 1998 when Pat and I became friends.

Then there was the more conspiratorial, such as "so when does the bullet end the Pres so you can take the mantle of power?" Thank you, John. I would give you the answer, but alas, then I would have to take you out when I'm in Toronto at the end of the month.

And then there was this. Make of it what you will. "What is the point of rising to the (almost) top of the power structure in a small local volunteer organization if you don't go mad and try to do something insane? I say start overdosing on the barbiturates and give the folks at the nationals something to talk about."

For the record, I am deeply scared of my friends, and if you are at all reasonably sane, you should be as well.

What does it really mean? Well, learning from the president, organizing bonspiels, teams, leagues, begging for prizes, dealing with a few constitutional issues, promoting the club in the community and that sort of thing. Traditionally, the veep takes over the job after the president has served a year. So I might be president by March (our AGM should have been held last March, but was delayed).

All I want if for more people in town to get involved in curling, to have lots of fun and to try and get teams from Nunavut participating in more national events. When this is all over and I've managed to do just that, I'll be a happy man.

A happy man with deeply disturbed friends, but you get the picture.

Last Five
1. Hymn of the medical oddity - The Weakerthans
2. Her majesty - The Beatles
3. Reunion tour - The Weakerthans
4. Sisters of mercy (live) - Leonard Cohen*
5. Within you, without you - The Beatles

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering Enos Welsh

It's a bit late on Remembrance Day to be posting this, but I still think it's appropriate to bring this up. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned my great-grandfather fought in World War I. Last year I was discussing this with my father and then he mailed me this thing he had been sent several years ago. My great-grandfather made a prisoner of war statement after he was released and it was placed in the National Archives of Canada.

Reading it always gives me a chill. It was so close to everything changing. The chaos that comes from the creation of families over generations all nearly undone in one act, by one one bullet. Now when you think about that, multiplied by all the men who died during that war, you can only imagine how much more different the world would be today.

Anyway, this is what my great-grandfather, Enos Welsh, wrote about his time in World War 1 in his Prisoner of War statement.

Pte. Enos Welsh
Age on Enlistment 19 years, 9 months
Occupation: fisherman
Enlisted May 11, 1916, proceeded overseas September 27th, 1916.
Company in France - "A" Company

We landed at Rouen Dec. 1st, 1916, and after two weeks of training was drafted to the "Firing Line" on the River Somme. Took part in several raids near Chateau, marched to Arras on 13th April and on the 14th attacked the Germans at Monchy-le-Preux. At 5 am was wounded in the thigh, and a few minutes later was shot in the head by a German Officer and became unconscious for about three hours, was then captured as a prisoner by the German Red Cross and taken to an Advanced Dressing Station.

My wounds were dressed with my own field bandages and I was treated fairly well. Was then taken on a rubber sheet and carried to the nearest village where I lay on the sheet from 4pm to 8pm without food, drink or attendance of any kind. Was taken by box car and carried to another village and placed in a little chapel, used as a hospital. I was then inoculated by a doctor at 11pm, was take to Douai in a Field Ambulance arriving there at 3am. April 15th I then entered a hospital where they robbed me of everything I possessed and placed me in a bed without sheets. This hospital was in charge of Russian prisoners who were acting as orderlies. At 10am, April 15th I was operated on by three doctors without chloroform and suffered severely, they only laughed at my suffering.

I was then taken back to bed and was given a little barley water, the first food after being captured, was there till the 18th April without having my wounds dressed. From there I was taken on a hospital train and carried to Osnabruck (Germany), where my sounds were attended to and I was given paper bandages to put on them. Here I received a little more food. Was in hospital for four more months and was very badly treated - no nurses in attendance.

In August 1917 I was sent to Hammel and put in a prison camp where I received very little food till the Red Cross parcels arrived from England. My wounds were still giving trouble and were seldom attended to. After two weeks I was ordered to work but refused, as I was unable to work. I was then placed in a dungeon for four days without food or clothing. I was ordered to work, which I tried to perform. I worked on a small railway for four days and was then laid up for a month. Received very bad treatment from the sentries.

On December 7th, 1917 was sent back to Hammel and was marked for Manheim to be examined by neutral doctors. I was then sent to Chateau Dix (Switzerland) arriving there on Dec. 28th, 1917. Was three months in Switzerland. Arrived in England on the 24th, March 1918 and was there about two weeks and on Empire Day, May 24th, 1918 I arrived at St. John's.

Last Five
1. Manhattan - Kings of Leon
2. American idiot - Green Day*
3. Clever not beautiful - Hawksley Workman
4. One flight down - Norah Jones
5. Then end of all rivers (live) - Bruce Cockburn

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Republic of Doyle long trailer

I get a lot of traffic coming through the blog these days searching for "Republic of Doyle". I guess that's a good sign for the CBC, although they went and killed the video trailer on their website for some reason shortly after I linked to it. Stupid, but there's the CBC for you.

Anyway, Robert found two new YouTube links for the show (plus an interesting idea for a travel show that's just under the trailer for "The Republic of Doyle - a show about finding the best places in the world to go skinny dipping). So thank you, Robert. I will now shamelessly steal one of those YouTube videos and put up here.

This is the longer of the two and contains pretty much all the information in the first one. The shorter one is just a touch snappier. Regardless, it looks fun. And honestly, if you can make Gordan Pinsent a reoccurring character, I'm going to be following you for quite some time. The best thing about "Due South" was always Pinsent's appearances.

Here's hoping this is as fun as it looks. Although I do find all the gunfire amusing. I suspect there are more bullets fired in this trailer than in an entire year in St. John's.

Last Five
1. Don't give up (live) - Peter Gabriel*
2. Night watch - Tegan and Sara
3. Science fiction double feature show - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies
4. There is (live) - Alison Crowe
5. I want it all - Queen

Monday, November 09, 2009

Air Canada comes to town

So in a shocking turn of events Air Canada announced it's going to start flying to Iqaluit starting March 2010. They're using a Bombardier CRJ-705 jet. This is something I've been wanting to happen for some time, so this should make me quite happy, right?

Oddly enough, I'm kind of underwhelmed by the news. It looks good at first blush, but when you dig a little deeper it's a disappointing launch by Air Canada.

First of all, in a very rare instance of the message boards on a news story being useful, several commentators mentioned Air Canada has been having all kinds of problems with their flights out of Yellowknife when the temperatures dip below -35C. If that's the case, Air Canada is only going to be able to run from March until November anyway. And even then they're going to have problems on some days.

Let me tell you, they're going to have a customer service nightmare up here if there are people standing up in the airport waiting for the flight to leave and being told its too cold while friends hop on a First Air and Canadian North flights and head south. I wouldn't want to be a customer service rep while that's happening.

Secondly, their flights are arriving and leaving at the Iqaluit airport at the same time as Canadian North and First Air. Yes, Air Canada is going to be taking away passengers from the other two airlines. But at peak times it's going to be madness in that airport. Three airplanes loading passengers and luggage at the same time. It can get crazy with just two planes. Three is going to be extra special fun, I can tell right now.

But the final thing that does little for me is the price. After you throw in fees and taxes the cost of the ticket will be about $1,500. With the other two airlines charging about $1,900 for a return ticket to Ottawa, it might seem like a great deal. Except, there are seat sales around that price a couple of times a year. And both the Nunavut Employees Union and the teachers' union offer up codes that give discounts that large. So it's not that hard with a bit of digging to get a ticket for around $1,500.

So if you're not saving that much money, then Air Canada isn't as big a deal. The service is going to be better on Canadian North and First Air. Plus you get a 70 pound per bag allowance with those two airlines and I'm assuming Air Canada is going to stick with their usual 50 pound limit. That's a big deal, especially when coming up from Ottawa.

I think Air Canada is going to be disappointed with the response to their coming to Iqaluit if that's the best price they have to offer. They're going to need to drop their ticket prices another $300, at least, before they're going to seriously catch the attention of people up here.

Last Five
1. Firewalker - Liz Phair
2. Carolina drama - The Racounteurs
3. Rag & bone - The White Stripes*
4. The frog prince - Keane
5. Life in the D - Brendan Benson

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A change is comin'

For those of you wondering how things are going with the house, well, we're currently in lawyer limbo. I've emailed and asked if there is anything else I should be doing, but I've been told this is just the process and it's now hurry up and wait. I would bug more, but I have the sneaking suspicion I'm being charged $100 every time she reads an email and probably another $100 if she needs to answer it.

I would say more disparaging things about lawyers, but I have four good friends who are lawyers. Once is the nicest guy in the world. The other three are among the most terrifying women I know and I try my best not to cross them if at all possible. And yet, I have tremendous affection for all three of them. Yes, I'm odd that way.

Anyway, I'm hoping to hear from the lawyer this week who will give us good news that things are progressing smoothly and that it looks like we will get the house on December 1. As Cathy noted today, it's only 22 days until closing. Time is flying like a fruit, as it were.

Although we have have made some progress on the furniture front. We had been planning a fairly massive furniture shopping spree in Ottawa over Easter break because we don't have much in the way of furnishings. Plus, it didn't look like the current home owners were going to part with much of their furniture. However, after getting an estimate from a moving company on how much it would cost to ship it out (let's just say a lot) they agreed to sell some of it to us.

So we've picked up a leather couch and love seat, a dining room table and chairs, a 5-piece bedroom set, including the box spring and mattress, a tall dresser and a book shelf for quite a reasonable sum of money. So that's good. At least we won't be living in a spartan house. Also, depending on how the furniture works out, maybe it means we don't need to go on a massive furniture shopping spree anymore. Although I suspect Cathy will manage to find her way to an Ikea at some point.

Oh, and Cathy spent part of the weekend packing. Just the way she works. The whole idea of waiting until the week before we go to start this isn't possible. I think her mind would explode if she waited that long.

I get the feeling this is just the quiet before the storm. It's less than two weeks until I head to Toronto, there's a house we are theoretically moving into in barely three weeks. Plus, I've applied for several jobs and the way things work, with all that going on, one of them is going to hit, I can just feel it.

A big change is coming in the next couple of weeks. That much is obvious. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how big.

Last Five
1. The long day is over - Norah Jones
2. I only want to be with you - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies
3. On your wings - Iron and Wine
4. Say it isn't so - Hall and Oates*
5. Purple rain - Prince

Saturday, November 07, 2009


So I was a good boy on Friday and got my H1N1 shot at the middle school. Overall, a pretty smooth process. I showed up about 15 minutes after the doors opened and I was already #85 in line. All told I only spent an hour at the school, and 15 minutes of that was spent sitting after I had the shot making sure I didn't have a bad reaction.

So how am I doing? Just fine for the most part. Yes, both of my arms feel like someone has been punching them for several hours, but it's nothing too bad and a couple of extra strength Advil takes care of much of that. I was actually feeling a touch woozy this evening, but I don't know if that's from the shot or the fact I spent nearly three hours at the curling club this afternoon. I figure I probably threw 50 or more stones during practice and then we spent some time working on the ice. So that might have been pushing things a bit.

Oh, and according to the Curling News, I am now a "Nunavut curling insider". I have no idea why that amuses me so much, but there you go.

So anyway, the world did not end when I got the shot. I have not turned into a zombie or now have a sudden craving for blood. Although I will say that reading The Strain - a book about a vampire viral outbreak in New York City - was perhaps not the smartest reading material to bring with me while waiting. I've had smarter ideas.

The people who said to go and get the shot were right. It's a minor discomfort and given how bad things are back in Newfoundland and that I'm going to be heading to Toronto in a couple of weeks it was the smart thing to do. And kudos to Nunavut health people. I haven't heard a single complaint about how they're run these inoculations. Trust me, if there was even a single mistake being made, I would have heard. People love to complain about the health department, but everyone is giving them high marks on how they've handled this so far. So good for them.

Last Five
1. Ol' 55 (live) - Tom Waits*
2. Missionary man - The Eurythmics
3. Tears, tears and more tears - Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint
4. Victory lap - Sean Panting
5. Must get out - Maroon 5

Friday, November 06, 2009

Criminal masterminds of Iqaluit

When Bruce Wayne mused that "criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot" he also forgot to mention "deeply stupid." Now, not all criminals are deeply stupid, of course. But for every criminal mastermind you're dealing with a lot of real idiots. I don't have the exact ratio, but I suspect if you picked one mastermind for every 1,000 criminal idiots, you would likely be conservative on the idiot side of the ledger.

After all, you're not too bright if a guy in tights and a cape with a habit of wearing his underwear on the outside is something that makes you piss your pants in fear.

So with that mind, I present to you two people not likely to make the shortlist if there is ever a reality program called "Iqaluit's Next Criminal Mastermind." It would be the men who robbed a Snack delivery driver last night.

We first noticed something was up when we got home last night. Cathy had a jewelry making class and I was at curling. But since we live next to the Snack we noticed the RCMP presence, with lots of photos being taken. So we wondered what was up. Lo and behold, both the CBC and Nunatsiaq News provide the information. A female delivery driver was robbed at rifle point by two men wearing masks. They got away with less than $100, which is the maximum amount drivers are allowed to carry.

So, can we count the ways in which they guys were idiots? Let's see:
1. I was originally going to say that the rifle, which they abandoned, probably cost more than a $100. But having looked at it, I don't think so. Plus, as Cathy pointed out to me, they probably stole it.
2. Even I know that Snack drivers don't carry much cash on them. You have to be an idiot to not know that.
3. They committed a $50 crime for a $1 profit, essentially. Go figure, the police don't like the idea of robberies occurring at gunpoint by masked men. I suspect catching these guys just became a priority. They're already saying it's a minimum four years in jail for this kind of crime. Four years for $100. Dead brilliant, that is.
4. If they're stupid enough to think this was a clever idea, they're stupid enough to get caught. Ten bucks says the RCMP already have a good idea who did this.

So, to sum up, the got a less than $100 in their clever scheme, but then threw away clothes and a rifle. That certainly cut into the already slim profit margin. And remember, that $100 gets split two ways. The police have the gun and clothes and are making it a priority to catch you and are already saying it's four years in jail for this piece of detailed planning.

We'll see, of course. All kinds of stupid ass crime happen around town that goes unpunished. But I do think the combination of rifles and masks does not bode well for our criminal masterminds.

Last Five
1. Lighthouse - Ron Hynes
2. Madame Geneva's - Mark Knopfler*
3. Fake tales of San Francisco - Arctic Monkeys
4. The trouble with normal (live) - Bruce Cockburn
5. Odette - Matthew Good

More murder mysteries

Oh God, I hate my brain sometimes.

So I make a casual comment about, perhaps, wishing some physical harm to happen to some people at the curling club. It was a passing thing, vented in a moment of frustration. I'm sure people at the club have had similar thoughts about me from time to time.

Then a friend suggests I should write a murder mystery at a curling club. And immediately my brain makes the leap that the victim should be found in the house, with his head bashed in by a curling stone.

"Hah, that's kind of funny," I thought. "It's a start."

And then I pushed it away, because I already have a book that I'm struggling to finish. The last thing I need to do is start a new one. Besides, if I ever do finish this one, I have notes on three other books I'd like to try and do. And I know squat about murder mysteries.

Except now the guy dead in the house is named Mike and he was the best curler in this club, and the most hated. He once curled lead on a team that made it to the world junior championships and has lorded it over everyone at the club for years. So there's no shortage of suspects.

And while I was in the shower, this scene came out. I'm writing this just to get it down more than anything else right now, because I don't want it to slip away. But understand, I want to punch my brain to make it go back on the right track and finish the other book instead of playing with this idea. Stupid brain.

"Oh dear Jesus, what happened here?"

John turned around, annoyed that there was another person out in the curling area. It was bad enough he had gawkers looking through the glass at the body, now he had someone actually trying to get out onto the ice. He grabbed him before he could step out on the ice. The last thing he needed was the crime scene contaminated.

"There's been a murder, Ken. Someone murdered Mike," Peter said. John noted that Peter didn't seem all that upset when he broke the news. For that matter, glancing back through the glass, he didn't notice many of the gawkers looked all that upset either. Mike didn't appear to be all that beloved by his fellow curlers.

And then Ken confirmed that.

"Oh, the bastard. He was a pain in the ass in life and now he's gone and ruined my bloody ice. We have a bonspiel in two days and the ice is completely screwed up. You son of a bitch!" Ken yelled, pointing his finger at the corpse.

The RCMP constable was having a hard time believing his eyes. There was a man lying out in the middle of a sheet of ice. His head had clearly been bashed in with one of the curling stones. There was brains and blood all over the place. And he was watching a man have a mental breakdown not over the corpse, but what the corpse was doing to the ice.

Curlers, he was beginning to realize, were deeply weird.

"Ken, perhaps now is not the time to be yelling at the corpse," Peter said, trying to calm the man down. Ken flopped down on a bench next to a wall and just stared at the ice. He looked like he was ready to start crying.

"Sorry about that," Peter said. "Ice makers are very protective over their ice. Ken is one of the best and we do have a major bonspiel this weekend. Curlers coming in from all over the province. So if it's not in top shape, well, he's the one who gets blamed."

John shook his head. "He's not worried about looking like a suspect by cursing on the dead man lying out there."

Peter laughed, not unkindly. "I don't mean to tell you how to do your job, constable, but there's no shortage of suspects in this club. Mike was not exactly beloved by the membership. However, the last person that would kill Mike like this would be an ice maker."


"Because look at this bloody mess!" Ken yelled. "There's blood and brains all over two sheets of ice. So that's got to be cleaned up. And the heat from his body went and melted the ice underneath him, so I'm going to have to do a controlled flood. Then there's the scraping to level things out. The ice will never be right for the rest of the season in that spot. And they're going to blame me for it, just you watch. 'Oh, that Ken. Thinks he's such hot shit, but couldn't even fix the ice after it gets a little blood and brains on it.' Wankers."

"Plus, you got to think that sheet of ice is cursed. No one is going to want to play there now. Not for years," Peter added as an aside. Ken nodded in agreement.

"Cursed?" John asked. He was beginning to wonder if he was being taped at this was all an elaborate prank being played by his boss.

"Constable, a man died on this sheet of ice. What's left of his head was pulped by a curling stone right on the button of the house. Clearly, someone was making a statement. But also, well, curlers are superstitious. No one is going to want to use that rock or be on that sheet of ice for years. A skip died there. That's got to be seen as bad luck."

John could only stare at the two men. This was going to be a deeply weird case.

Last Five
1. Que' onda guero - Beck
2. From the ritz to the rubble - Arctic Monkeys
3. See the sun - Dido
4. Solid - The Dandy Warhols
5. Uptown girl - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies*

Thursday, November 05, 2009


There was another point to things when I was rambling on and on about memory yesterday...which was that I can no longer really remember with accuracy what I've written about on this blog. I vague ideas, but I've resigned myself to the fact I'm going to repeat myself from time to time. I've written a lot on this blog and, frankly, I'm not that creative and my life is a little dull at times. So there is going to be some repetition when you've produced 1,500 blog posts.

Yeah, 1,500. Officially. It only took me more than four years, but I finally manage to churn out 1,500 of these suckers. Never thought I would make it, but here I am. So by around 2013 I should have 3,000 blog posts.

Oh God, kill me now.

So in honour of reaching 1,500 posts here's something I'm not sure I've done on the blog before. I can't find it, so I'm assuming I didn't. I'm going to post the prologue to the book, Paper Trails. It's short enough that I think it will fit. The first four chapters are going in the mail come hell or high water tomorrow and being sent to several Newfoundland publishers. And then we shall see.

At least if it doesn't get picked up I might do something like what Warren Ellis is doing right now. He just put out a collection of his online writings, called Shivering Sands using Lulu, which is an online Print On Demand service.

Now, I'm nowhere near his level of popularity, but I find it interesting he's giving it a try. I'll be buying a copy, but probably not until the new year. It makes no sense to buy a book now and just have to move it in a few weeks.

Anyway, here is the prologue.

Prologue - 1995

When I went to journalism school there was this total bastard of a professor whose class was mandatory. He taught Ethics in Journalism, which was a class that nobody wanted to take and he knew it. And because of that he hated all of us. That’s why classes frequently veered from “what should you do as a reporter if put into this situation” to “why all of you miserable, ungrateful little fuckers are doomed.”

Or worse, doomed to become public relations flacks. Death was a better option in his brain.

So the old bastard would sit there, pitched on the edge of his desk in a sunless concrete bunker in the basement of the administration building. It was not unusual for him to have gone several days without shaving and he was normally twitching from a nicotine fit. It still infuriated him that “those stupid sons of bitches in administration got all PC and took away my God given right to kill myself with tobacco wherever I want.” From that lofty perch he would tell us there was no chance in hell any of us were going to be the next great reporter.

“Every one of you thinks you’re going to leave this place and become the next great investigative reporter. You will go and work with a great metropolitan newspaper and bring down devious politicians on a regular basis with your cunning and writing flair.

“But you won’t!” he said, pointing at someone, normally a particularly shy female. The old bastard considered the year a failure if he couldn’t get at least one student to drop out. “And do you know why? Because they are all cleverer than you are. And how do I know they are smarter than you lot?”

When no one answered, he dropped his voice and notch and sneered at all of us. “Because they did not become fucking journalists, that’s how I know they’re smarter than you.”

He would then take a big gulp from his coffee mug, which often smelled of things stronger than coffee, and then slammed it back down on his desk and glared, defying us to prove him logic anything other than completely, infallibly sound.

I have to admit, as much as I hated the old bastard there were two inescapable truths about him. One, he was vastly entertaining. I swear he would have leapt from his desk and strangled me if I had said that to him. He wasn’t there for the amusement of “little fuckers not smart enough to go and do something else.” He was there to bring some sense into our skulls.

But how could you not be entertained by the man. The fact that he looked a good 15 years older than his reported 50. The thin scraps of hair that still clung to his head. The ragged suit with the poorly knotted tie. It was like watching a wax dummy from a journalism museum come to life every day.

How could you not have some affection for something like that? I spotted him in a pub in downtown Halifax once, sitting by himself and tried to buy him a beer. He told me to piss off. There was no ever getting to know the man. I often wondered if there was one specific event that so badly damaged him and what it might have been. But obviously there was never going to be a chance to ask him about it.

The other truth about him? He was the most useful professor at the school. He might have been vile and terrible, but he never lied to you. He never gave you anything less than the truth as he saw it. No sugar coating about your chances of success after school or your abilities. Just brutal honesty.

Oh sure, other might give you more practical knowledge. The best way to frame an interview. How to ask questions. Editing techniques or photography skills.
But those professors all tried to be encouraging and supportive. Yes, it was going to be hard once you graduated from school, but with hard work and perseverance, you can make it was the line most of them said.

“There’s no reason why you can’t work at the Globe and Mail one day, Derek,” one of them told me. “You’re good enough. And people will forget what happened before.”
I have no earthly idea how it got back to the old bastard, but the next day I was singled out for special attention in his class.

“You, Mr. Prescott, will never work for the Globe and Mail, no matter what some of my misguided and delusional colleagues might like you to believe. None of you will,” he said, addressing the rest of the class. “The absolute best most of you are going to be able to do, when you leave this place is go work at some shitty community newspaper in the middle of buttfuck nowhere. You will cover county fairs, and municipal council meetings. You will do stories on how little Suzy’s pet rabbit had a litter of 12 and take photos of her and the cute bunny.

“And you will do this for years. Because this is your punishment for not being smart enough to do something other than fucking journalism. For those lucky few who do not go mad, or kill yourself, or succumb to the siren call of public relations whoredom, you might get a job as a reporter in a daily in some God forsaken place like Saskatchewan. And it is there that you will live out the rest of your days, writing stories about crop yields and interviewing people who don’t think evolution should be taught in school because the Good Lord did not make us out of monkeys.

“None of you will work for the Globe, or the Star or any of the other important papers you dream about working for. You are not Woodword and fucking Bernstein.”

Then he zeroed back in on me. “But you’re especially fucked, aren’t you? I honestly don’t know why you even bothered to come to journalism school, let alone my class on journalism ethics, of all God damned things. Most of these poor doomed bastards didn’t know they were fucked before paying the ridiculous tuition this places charges. I can almost forgive that level of ignorance. But you knew for months before you ever came here that you were doomed. My colleagues are trying to be supportive but they’re lying to you. You are smart enough to realize that, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” I said. I managed to put some strength into my voice, even though he was slowly killing me with every word he said. Killing me with the truth.

“So why bother when you know that you will likely never get a real journalism job or that the best you can aspire to is writing about the tides for the month and what boats are coming into port in some rural backwater in Newfoundland. Why put yourself through this expensive waste of time?”

My whole class was watching now. Months of rumours and stories about me had been swirling at this point. The head of the department had practically begged some weekly in New Brunswick that owed him a favour to take me for a month long internship. Everyone in the class wanted to know pretty much the same thing the old bastard was asking. Why I had bothered coming to journalism school in the first place given my history.

So I gave them the truth.

“I don’t know how to do anything else,” I said.

In the previous months I had seen the old bastard be enraged, disgusted, impatient and bored. But this is the first time I had ever seen him look sad. He stood up, walked down to where I was sitting and leaned over and whispered in my ear. His breath smelled of cheap coffee and cheaper rum.

“And that’s why you’re as completely fucked as me, son.” Then he walked out of the classroom, the lesson over for the day, apparently.

Most of my classmates, upon realizing he wasn’t coming back, gathered up their stuff and left without looking at me.

I sat there alone in the bunker, gathering my thoughts. I didn’t hate the old bastard. How could you hate someone who was at least honest with you?

Still, it didn’t bring me much comfort. I had the sneaking suspicion I might have just seen my future walk out of the room moments ago. And it was fairly ugly.

Last Five
1. Shut your eyes - Snow Patrol
2. Hey Jude - The Beatles
3. Fated - Matthew Good Band
4. Help! - The Beatles
5. Flying down juniper - Lindsay Buckingham

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I was talking to my friend Dups the other day, who expressed concern at what he views as the staggering loss of memory he's having. He's having difficulty remembering things from his past, but not more recent events. Now, for those of you who know this fine gentleman, you might suspect that the extensive qualities of alcohol he's consumed over the years might be playing a factor. Being a nice guy, I suggested just the sheer volume of life that he's lived might make it more difficult to recall some of the events in his life. Of all my friends, Dups is probably the one least likely to settle for an ordinary life. He's constantly out there taking risks and doing things that most of us consider insane. Like climbing mountains. Or hopping on the Trans-Siberian railway. Or climbing Kilmanjaro. Or quitting a safe job in this economy to launch his own business venture. And so on and so forth.

I kind of admire him, really. And I'm not doubting he's having some problems remembering stuff. However, I've noticed a certain...tendency among my circle of Muse alumni friends to have little mental breakdowns when certain big age numbers pop up. Dups, for example, turned 35 last week. For a man who once said to me with all sincerity he doesn't think he'll make it to 40, I can understand how the clock might be ticking a bit louder now. I had to talk another friend down off the edge a few weeks before he turned 30 because he had not, shockingly enough, completely altered the very foundation of western society already.

And so on, and so forth. I'll be turning 40 in a few months, so I'm almost curious to see what kind of mental breakdown I'm going to have with that. Alas, I can't continue the family tradition of buying an insane car when I turn 40 - father bought a Camero convertible and my uncle bought a Corvette convertible - so I'm going to have to think of something else. I'm not sure if the house really counts in that regard. It's entirely too practical.

Hmmm, all of this was going somewhere......oh right, memory.

Ahem. The point I was going towards that my own memory has always been a touch shaky at the best of times. I have a horrific one for remembering people's names and faces. That made my chosen profession for many years - a journalist - a touch tricky. Not quite so bad now...when I worked in my previous job and forgot someone, people just thought I was being an evil PR flack. Good cover, really.

So I mentioned the curling novel yesterday and attributed the idea to Clare when, in fact, it was Geoff Meeker who offered up the idea, although Clare did come up with that choice piece of dialogue. Sorry about that. For that matter, I've noticed a few other things I've put up on the blog as political fact later got corrected. So clearly my days of just going my memory on things I put up on the blog is coming to a close. Got to be a little bit more careful.

I actually had another point to this blog post, but I think I've rambled enough for now. Maybe I'll put up the thing I was actually going to write about later today.

Last Five
1. A girl called Johnny (live) - The Waterboys
2. Sliver - Nirvana
3. A message - Coldplay
4. Sunday bloody Sunday (live) - U2*
5. Birth (comedy) - Patton Oswalt

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Murder mysteries

So yes, with all my talk of making sure you write every day, this month has been a bit of a touch go so far. I blame this on the combination of doing stuff for the house and trying to get the curling season up and running. So clearly I need to try and refocus on the important things, like this blog.

It is also with a touch of irony that I note that this is also National Novel Writing Month, so I guess it's a good thing I'm not trying to sit down and write a novel right now. I didn't really have an idea for one anyway, at least until this morning. That's when I casually mentioned on Facebook my desire to start killing people at the curling club (the urge passed. It's safe to come out this evening). That's when Clare suggested a murder mystery set in a curling club.

I honestly don't know if it's been done before, but it's such a brilliant idea that I want to kick myself in the head several times (the victim is found lying in the house, with his head bashed in with a curling stone). It didn't help much when Clare also added a line of dialogue - "Get out, the call is coming from inside the house. Hurry! Hurry hard!"

I came up with the title "Murder on Ice", but that's exceptional lame. I'm sure given enough time I could come up with a much better curling related murder mystery title. If not for the fact that I know nothing about murder mysteries and could probably count the number of them I've read on one hand, it sounds like it could be fun. In fact, I think my favourite is a novella by Neil Gaiman called "Murder Mysteries", about a murder in heaven before the Fall. It's quite clever.

However, I'm not allowed to do that until the first, long suffering novel is taken care of. And a step is being taken this's being sent off to publishers. Most say they only want the first four chapters sent to them, so fine, I'm sending the first four chapters off to a bunch of Newfoundland publishers. So then we'll see what happens.

Honestly, it's all I can do at this point. The ability to deal with the book rationally is gone right out the window. It's time for some outside guidance if it's going to go anywhere. And with a great deal of luck, perhaps someone will be willing to talk to me about it when I'm back in St. John's over Christmas.

In the meantime, maybe I should start sketching out some details for the curling club mystery....

Last Five
1. Waiting for the world to change - John Mayer
2. Earth died screaming - Tom Waits*
3. Everyone's at it - Lily Allen
4. Slow hands - Interpol
5. I'm so lonesome I could cry - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies

Curling update

For those of you reading this blog who also happen to have signed up for curling, I beg your patience. The team lists were drawn up Thursday night, but because of the volume of people who signed up, there appears to have been some delays. There could be up to nine teams on Tuesday night and anywhere from 11 to 13 teams on Thursday night. So there's a lot of people we're trying to juggle and find places for.

Plus I think the person who is handling putting together the schedule had some kind of computer problems, just to make life more interesting.

So if you had signed up to play on Tuesday nights, please show up this evening around 6:30 and we'll get things straightened out, if not before then. Also, this evening is when we elect a new Board of Directors for the club. That means a new president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and eight other "directors" who help out at the club. If this is something you think you might be interested in, or even if you just want to have a say in who is running the club, I encourage you to show up this evening and take part, even if you aren't schedule to curl.

Again, I'm sorry about the delay. I hope and pray the team list and schedule goes out before this evening. Thanks for your patience.

Last Five
1. Who are you - The Who
2. Ghost dance - Robbie Robertson
3. Good man - Josh Ritter
4. In the cold cold night - The White Stripes
5. Atlantic Blue - Ron Hynes*