Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ah, Iqaluit

We're now a week into the dump fire and, if nothing else, I've grown to appreciate the very dark sense of humour that people around town have developed towards it. These are a few of my favourites so far, with attribution where I can remember them:

Song lyrics: "The dump, the dump, the dump is on FIRE! We don't need no water. Let the motherfucker burn! Burn motherfucker burn! (with apologies to Anne, who will yank my ear for that much profanity) - Vinnie Karetak.

Cultural perspective: "Oh look, Iqaluit now has the world's largest Qulliq."

Tourism signage #1: "Welcome to Iqaluit. (1) days since our dump was on fire." - Chris Windeyer

Tourism singage #2: "Iqaluit Dump Fire Established Sept. 2010." - Kent Driscoll

Contest: Stay tuned for announcement next @NunatsiaqNews contest: predict the date Iqaluit dump fire ends, win a prize. - Jim Bell

I've also heard talk of office betting pools on when the dump is going to stop burning. So yes, we're finding ways to amuse ourselves while the dump goes up in the flames. Of course, it's easier to have a black sense of humour about it as long as the smoke is not blowing into town. Miraculously, that's been happening most of the week the dump has been on fire (It caught on fire on Sept. 24 and might have been smoldering for days before that. So I'm calling this Dump Fire Season instead of Fall).

That changed today, however, when the smoke blew into Apex, forcing the school to close. Then the wind shifted some more, causing it to hover over the town for part of the afternoon. Then the jokes seem to have a bit more of an edge to it. I also heard a couple of businesses might have closed because people were feeling nauseous.

Fire Chief Walter Oliver also sounds like he's getting pretty frustrated over all the comments, criticism and suggestions about putting out the fire if this story is any indication. I confess, his explanation makes some sense and perhaps my idea of using water bombers on the dump fire for three days might be a bit ill-informed.

Still, the chief better get used to the griping if the wind keeps blowing the smoke over town. And the city is probably going to have to come up with something other than close your doors and don't open windows. It's a pretty vile smell, plus you can taste it in your mouth when you breath it in. Get a couple days straight of that and people are going to freak.

The other Iqaluit-related story that was more amusing that dramatic was the upcoming changes to the local cinemas. Yes, welcome to the north where the local theatre getting a digital projector is a news story. I tease, but I actually found this interesting.

I confess, part of me is going to miss the comforting noise of the projector making noise behind me. And getting to see movies in 3D does nothing for me as there have been about five movies, maybe, that have actually looked good in the 3D process (Avatar, Toy Story 3, Despicable Me and, well, I'm sure there are two others somewhere). But getting major movies in a more timely fashion and fewer projector breakdowns, that would be nice.

Last Five
1. Winter (live) - Tori Amos
2. Late in the evening - Paul Simon
3. And now the day is done - Ron Sexsmith
4. The bones of an idol - The New Pornographers
5. Tickle Cove Pond - Ron Hynes*

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's only rock and roll to me

I've lost a fair amount of respect for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over the years when they started inducting a few acts which made me go, "um, but I'm not really sure they're rock and roll." That came to a climax when ABBA was inducted last year.

Like the band or not (I am in the Not camp), but there is no way you can argue they are rock and roll. Pop or dance, sure. Rock and roll? No. Not so much.

I probably wouldn't have paid much attention to this year's nominees either except on a lark I click on one of those online polls about who I thought were the most deserving of being inducted into the Hall of Fame. They are: Alice Cooper, Beastie Boys, Bon Jovi, Chic, Neil Diamond, Donovan, Dr. John, J. Geils Band, LL Cool J, Darlene Love, Laura Nyro, Donna Summer, Joe Tex, Tom Waits and Chuck Willis.

Now, I consider Alice Cooper a given, so when I clicked on the poll I went with my personal favourite choice, Tom Waits, who I consider to be one of the 10 most important musicians of my life. So yeah, he's a given.

He finished fourth in the poll. Alice Cooper has 40% of the vote, Bon Jovi had 20%, Neil Diamond had 12% and then poor Tom had 8%.

Once again I find the world needs a collective head so I can smack it. I'm a little disturbed about Neil Diamond, but really, his last two albums have been good and 12 Songs, I would argue, was one of the best records of the last decade. I would be worried about LL Cool J, but he got something like 1% on that poll and if the Hall puts him in, you might as well shut the place up now.

But man, I hate Bon Jovi. I realize they're probably going to get in there at some point, but if they got in there before Tom Waits, that would be aggravating.

There's no rational reason to hate Bon Jovi. They're a perfectly mediocre rock band that's produced some catchy tunes. The fact that their lead singer is pretty, I suspect, managed to keep them going when other bands of similar talents are playing country fairs (see Poison and Whitesnake).

But I think you get locked in with certain bands at a young age and it's hard to change your mind about them. I hated Bon Jovi with the passion that a 15 year old can have watching his female classmates swoon over them can generate. And 25 years later, that hatred is diminished, but it's nice to see that given the right occasion I can still tap into it.

Waits, meanwhile, is one of the most important songwriters of the past 40 years, not far off Leonard Cohen. And while his voice might not be to everyone's liking (Cathy loves his songs, hates his voice), there's no denying his importance in music. I had the same awakening I suspect many people did when they hit university and someone said, "Hey, you should listen to this" and put on Closing Time.

So yeah, give me Waits over Bon Jovi any day.

Although, and here's another debate, how the hell did Bon Jovi get nominated before Rush?

Last Five
1. Only ones who know - Arctic Monkeys
2. Silent sea - KT Tunstall
3. Hang down your head (live) - Tom Waits*
4. East of the sun (live) - Diana Krall
5. Babooshka - Kate Bush

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday grumpiness

So, slightly grumpy mood today. First bout of grumpiness came via this story about the end of the recycling program in Nunavut. I won't get into this too much for...personal reasons. I just liked being able to donate our beverage containers to Cathy's school, which they could return and get money to help with programs. Instead, we're just going to add more fuel to the still burning landfill.

Speaking of which, bout #2 came because the wind shifted from the dump fire around 4 pm and I had absolutely no problem smelling or tasting it at work. It was only an hour, but I could certainly feel a headache come on. Then there's this lovely story about how if you feel an ill-effects from the fire, you should move. That's grand and all, but I don't think it's much of a long-term strategy. If the wind shifts and blows directly over town for several days and people start getting sick, well, things are going to get ugly.

I've heard some long-term residents downplay things and make jokes about the old days when dump burnings were a regular occurrence. Perhaps, and maybe I should be made of sturdier stuff, but Iqaluit is going to become a singularly unpleasant pace if the smoke from this fire lingers over the city for weeks on end.

The final bout of grumpiness came from, of all things, eBay auctions.

I acquired a little habit there a couple of years ago of falling deeply in love with comic book art and wanting to own the original pages or sketches from the artists. I gave it up after my bout of unemployment and the realization that I was just going in and grabbing stuff I liked without really having much of a plan on what I wanted to do with it.

However, last week I spotted something I wanted - several pages of original art from one of my favourite series, "Amelia Rules". Among that were a couple of covers. Great, a chance to get some original art and I knew exactly what I was going to do with it...hang it on the wall right in front of where I work on the computer. The prices remained optimistically reasonable and I placed what I considered to be safe and large bids on several pieces I wanted this afternoon shortly before the deadline.

I got outbid on every one of them. By huge amounts in some cases. I was floored. And now quite disappointed. I mean, I'm thrilled Mr. Grownley got a lot of money for his art and part of those proceeds are going to Habitat for Humanity, which is a good cause. Still, it would have been nice to have won at least one of those pieces of art.

Thank God for tonight's Chuck, that's all I have to say, otherwise this evening would have been a total write-off...

Last Five
1. Divorce song - Liz Phair
2. First chance - David Gray
3. Travelling woman - Bat For Lashes
4. Weird divide - The Shins
5. Starting to hurt - Ryan Adams

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'm not going to review every TV show as it airs, but I figure a brief weekly recap on Sunday of what I saw and what I thought might not be a bad idea. So let's see what I watched and what I thought of it.

1. Chuck: There's just so much awesomeness in every episode of Chuck that it's a tragedy this show is not more popular. Watching Sarah text use her toes while tied up and in a mini-skirt (bonus to the cameraman who managed to not violate any FCC regulations while shooting that), the new super-spy Buy More, Dolph Lundrigan's character snarling at Casey "I must break you" (I laughed, Cathy didn't get it. Then I wept) and then having Chuck's mom, played by Linda Hamilton kick some ass and be super scary. You get all of that in a hour. Most fun I had watching TV this week.

2. House: The show has been getting a lot of flack and accusation that it has jumped the shark by getting House and Cuddy together. After all, how can the show be good if House is happy?

Well, I'm pretty happy and many of my friends would say that I am, in fact, a pretty miserable bastard when I put my mind to it. I look forward to the show trying this. It's a writing challenge to be sure, but the show has pretty good writers. So why not watch to grown-up try to work together and carry on a grown-up romance. I'd sooner that than another season of why the two of them can't be together. It's off to a decent enough start, so I'm going to keep watching to see how it all works out. Or doesn't. Lay your bets now...

3. Castle: My problem with the season premiere wasn't the mystery, which was a perfectly fine one - three people murdered within a few hours of each other, in different parts of town, with no obvious connection. No, the problem is that when we last saw our mystery solving team, Castle and run off and left Beckett who was just about to declare her willingness to try and give it a shot. He doesn't call all summer, doesn't contact them when he comes back in town and interferes with their murder investigation. Yet, by the end of the episode, all is forgiven and he's back with the team.

A little too easy, quick and tidy. I understand Castle is more guilty pleasure than a deep intellectual exercise, but I think Castle should have been made to suffer a bit more than he did.

4. Hawaii Five-O: The more I think about this show the only saving grace is Scott Caan's Danno, who so thorough hates living in Hawaii it becomes amusing. Thank God for him because without him to try and force some cracks into the granite and boring exterior of Alex O'Loughlin's Det. McGarrett the show would be tedious. Daniel Dae Kim looks bored, and poor Gracie Park looks mortified. Then again, considering she spent 3/4 of her screen time either in a bikini or her underwear, I can have some sympathy.

Add in Irish terrorists as the bad guys (I know the show is a remake from the 70s, but do you have to find bad guys from there as well), a complete waste of the James Masters as a bad guy (he was shot twice in the chest and fell in the harbour, but his body wasn't found, so he'll be back) and more fly-overs than a Republic of Doyle episode and you have something kind of pretty, but kind of tedious as well.

5. Bones: The team gets back together to solve a mystery to help save a colleague's job. Even though she stumbled through it for months, they solve it in two days. Bones is still clueless about human interactions. Booth is moving on with a hot reporter chick, which no one believes will last and fans will hate.

It's a fine enough show, but if there was ever a definition of a show taking one step forward and then one step back, it would be Bones. I've missed a lot of shows the past few seasons, and yet I can step right back into and not be lost at all.

6. Fringe: Easily my favourite show of last year, when they went flat out with the madness. Monsters of the week and Massive Dynamic conspiracies were replaced with war with an alternate version of Earth. It was glorious fun, exciting as hell, and featured some great acting. As I've said before, Walter Bishop is the most fascinating and tragic character on TV right now.

That's why I had high hopes for the season premiere, which saw "our" Olivia stuck in the alternate universe. Certainly a source of tension and drama there. Instead, it was a dead boring hour, of Olivia escaping, realizing there is no escape and slowly losing her mind from the experiments performed on her. Dull, dull, dull.

I deeply hope this is a one episode drop-off and that things kick back into high gear soon. But wow, that was not a great start to the season.

7. The Amazing Race: It wasn't a classic season premiere, like the one a couple of years ago where Swiss bastards laughed at and mocked teams trying to carry 50 pounds of cheese up a hill and nearly dying in the process, but any show that has someone trying to use a glorified slingshot to shoot watermelons at a knight and ends up shooting herself in the face is going to get bonus points with me.

(she wasn't seriously hurt, so it's all right to laugh at it.)

I debated whether that or the truly stupid tattooed couple ("What's a battlement?" was topped only by Phil asking her what country she was in, to which she replied "London?") was the best moment, but after some strong internal debate, I'm going with the watermelon to the face.

As for teams to cheer for, the two doctors have a lot of potential and hell, I have to cheer for the A cappella singers. Anyone who is lost and in last place who start singing "Waiting for Phil to come and send us home" is going to win points in my books. That and the line, "tenors are known as the tough guys in the A cappella world." Awesome.

I missed The Event (four hours of TV on Monday night is enough for me) and Blue Bloods because I had Clare over visiting and he was busy watching his beloved Blue Bombers break his heart again. This week I might try and catch the premieres of No Ordinary Family, Human Target and Body of Proof. We shall see.

Last Five
1. Ice age - Hawksley Workman
2. It's a hit - Rilo Kiley
3. See when you're 40 - Dido
4. Give it away - Red Hot Chili Peppers
5. We got the clap from capitalism - The Kremlin*

Friday, September 24, 2010

Burning bright

So yes, at some point last night, Iqaluit's dump decided to catch on fire. I woke up this morning, poked my head out between the curtains and noticed the smoke billowing up from across the bay.

"Huh, the dump is on fire," I said, perceptive as a person can be who has been awake for about 45 seconds.

Cathy and I both went about our day and it was when we were coming home for lunch I noticed the dump was still on fire. Which I thought was a bit odd, but I guess it was being a particularly stubborn fire. And as no one was running around town screaming and freaking out about it, I thought no more of it.

Then when coming home, we noticed the dump was really on fire. Previously there was a lot of smoke, but you couldn't see much in the way of flames. But now there were lots of flames. And as you can see from this picture taken around 10:30 this evening from my front deck, the dump fire is still rocking and rolling.

The CBC is reporting the fire might last several more days as it has probably been smoldering for days and it is taking place in an area filled with construction debris. The saving grace so far has been the wind blowing all of the smoke and fumes out over the bay. But if that wind shifts from the west to the south, this house is going to become very unpleasant to live in. Because all of that smoke will blow right on top of us.

I suspect the smoke being blown out the bay is the reason why so many people in town seem to be viewing it as kind of cool and a form of cheap entertainment. Different Iqaluit Facebookers are reporting people going to the dump to watch the fire. I'd make fun of that, but really, as long as it's not their shit burning people will always turn out to watch a fire. However, if that smoke starts to linger over town, we'll see if the slight blase attitude towards it lasts.

Still, I get to watch a massive dump fire from my front porch. Ah, Iqaluit...

Last Five
1. Save me a Saturday night- Neil Diamond
2. Taken away by the fairies - Colleen Power*
3. The back seat of my car - Paul McCartney
4. The crane wife 1 & 2 - The Decemberists
5. Snow is gone (live) - Josh Ritter

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Removing blogroll

The astute among you might notice a change on the sidebar. I've removed the Newfoundland and Labrador blogroll listing. This isn't me annoyed with my fellow NL bloggers or streamlining the blog sidebar (which some of you have suggested). It's just that there appears to be, at best, something weird going on with the list. At worst, there could be something malicious going on.

I can't speak for others, but I've noticed it's not been coming up properly on the sidebar for a couple of days now. I thought it was just a glitch that would resolve itself. Except I've now had two people drop me lines telling me they're getting warning when they visit the blog. It reads: "Warning: Visiting this site may harm your computer!" One of the two mentioned a "rpc.blogrolling" notice thrown in there as well, which I've noticed anytime I've clicked on a link to a NL blog in the last year. I think it's meant as a way to generate a bit of advertising revenue for the blogroll moderator.

Which is fine and all, but if my readers are getting warnings about visiting the blog, well, the list is gone until the blogroll is fixed. I don't care if it's just a silly warning, people aren't going to take the chance of visiting here if there's a piece of malware buried in the blog somewhere.

If you're still getting the warning when visiting the site, please let me know and I'll move on to the next bright idea.

Last Five
1. So nice - Diana Krall
2. Fatty wants to dance - Hawksley Workman
3. Trying to pull myself away - Glen Hansard
4. Shape of my heart - Sting*
5. Don't give up - Peter Gabriel

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I didn't blog yesterday because it felt a bit weird writing about the topic I had in mind (Monday night TV shows) while watching my home province get smacked around. The thing about people from Newfoundland and Labrador is we tend to talk big about the weather and how it is frequently awful. Which it is, but we never get truly extreme weather. We just get lots of rain, drizzle, fog and wind. It's not nice, but on the upside, we don't normally get tornadoes and earthquakes.

And we don't normally get hurricanes. I believe one went through a couple of years ago. I certainly remember the one I experienced back in 2001 because it happened only a few weeks after September 11. I remember walking around Quidi Vidi Lake after see the banks being blown by metres and thinking it was surreal; that I had never seen anything like it in my life.

Goes to show what I know. I don't know if it's a climate shift or just short term memory, but it does feel like Nova Scotia and Newfoundland are a little more on track to get these kinds of storms. That they're hanging east instead of driving into the southern US. And that they're keeping their strength for a lot longer. Normally when they hit Newfoundland they tropical storms and weakening quick. Igor was obviously something else, what with winds going over 150 km/h in some spots and a device to measure rainfall in Bonavista actually breaking around 200mm. So it's possible the community got something like 250mm of rain in less than 24 hours.

Fortunately most of my family and friends seem to have escaped relatively unscathed. Some flooding, a few uprooted trees and power loss, but that's about it. I'm still a bit worried about a couple of close friends in the Clarenville area. I know one actually got stuck in Gander and couldn't get home, even though her basement was starting to flood. Another is likely stuck on Random Island. She also certainly knew the man who died (it's a small island), so I hope she's doing all right

By the looks of this it looks like Iqaluit might get a reduced taste of what Newfoundland got. It appears Igor is coming to Iqaluit to die. Well, in the general area at least. We're not going to get a fraction of what Newfoundland got, but enough to make it less than pleasant on Thursday.

Igor sucked, no doubt about it. Although I wonder if this is just a sign to come. If these hurricanes keep tracking this way, Newfoundland is going to need to do more than just clean up after the mess; they might have to start taking into account these kinds of storms might become more common and adjust infrastructure and emergency plans accordingly. Something to think about, at any rate.

Last Five
1. Slow down Jo - Monsters of Folk
2. Junkie song - The Be Good Tanyas
3. Al you need is love - The Beatles
4. This town - Blue Rodeo
5. Streets of fire - The New Pornographers*

Monday, September 20, 2010


I've been reading a few articles lately by Lawrence Smith talking about the changes coming to the North by the time 2050 rolls around and how awesome they're going to be. That the countries that border the arctic, like Canada, are going to be in the position to become the next global super powers. This one, that my friend Chris linked to, is just the latest example. And my thoughts are, once you get beyond the unseemly cheerleading for global warming as an awesome development opportunity, is always this: "I wonder how the Inuit are going to handle all of this?"

Because the author of this piece, and others I've seen like it, always portray it as a good thing. More development and prosperity for the north and lots more people. However, from my perspective the Inuit have always had a love/hate relationship with the idea of a booming economy. I suspect they're for it, but very much on their own terms. And these articles tend to show that's not likely to happen. Instead, if this is the future they're predicting, there's going to be huge pressure to dictate those terms to them. And call me a cynic, I don't think that's going to go over big.

It leads me to another question that's rattled around in my mind since we moved here. The Inuit are by far the majority in Nunavut. I believe the breakdown of the population is along the lines of 85% Inuit and 15% non-Inuit. And under the Land Claim Agreement, the Inuit have numerous special rights that protect them and their way of life.

However, the population of the territory is barely more than 30,000. Yes, the Inuit population is growing fast. I suspect in a decade or so Nunavut will no longer be the least populated territory. It'll likely overtake the Yukon. But if people start to view Nunavut as the land of opportunity and immigrate en mass, what happens then? What happens if that ratio goes from 85/15, down to 60/40? Or 50/50? Or even 30/70? Are all those newcomers going to be happy with the LCA and those special rights, or are they going to kick up a racket about it? We'll see.

It's a nice piece of science fiction Smith is weaving. I think if mass, rapid development of the north is going to happen because of climate change, it's going to be a tricky bit of business, welcome by some, but fought against hard by others. And I will not be at all surprised if some people get trampled on in the stampede.

Last Five
1. Tape song - The Kills
2. Wait for you - Lindsay Buckingham
3. Mushaboom - Feist
4. Gypsy - Fleetwood Mac
5. The end of medicine - The New Pornographers*

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Next season starts tomorrow

So not dead, merely uninspired. And I really didn't feel like writing another post about how I have nothing to write about. You can only dip into that well so many times before people starting rolling their eyes at you.

It could be the typical blog fatigue. It could be the fact that I've been going flat out at work for nearly three months now. I know I have Rule #2 about the blog, which is "Thou Shall Not Talk about Work" (Rule #1 is: "Thou Shalt Not Write Anything That Pisses Off The Wife."), but I think it's a safe thing to say that after a settling in period, my job has been running me pretty hard. Not that I'm complaining. I think I'm enjoying this job more than any other one I've had the past 10 years.

Anyway, enough about work. On to other things.

Monday marks the start of the Fall TV season. I know there are those who argue that television is a dying medium and the concept of the big four networks is a dying one. But I still like sitting down in front of the TV and watching a good program. If I lived down south maybe I'd like the idea of watching a show on my iPad as I commuted to work. But I have a lovely, high tech TV set so why not take advantage of thing. Besides, there's actually a lot of good TV on these days. Yes, there's a ton of dreck, but that's always been the case. It's just now there's a lot of good programming to watch.

One of the things I used to do back in the day with The Express was to try and review all the new shows. I never managed to succeed, but I tried (I also tried to get sent to the Fall upfronts that take place each May. Those who know Transcontinental know what a fool's errand that was). I'm really not even going to try this year. Instead I depend on sites such as Zap2it and Entertainment Weekly to provide information about shows that I'll at least give a chance and see if they'll grab me.

One things is for sure, I'll need to invest in a PVR for Monday nights. I was already watching House, Chuck and Castle, which nicely kills three hours of my night. Except I'm also kind of interested in Hawaii Five-O and the CBC is airing Men With Brooms. It's a curling show; you know I want to check it out, even if the movie the show was based on was terrible.

The Event also looks interesting, but pitching it as the next Lost is kind of scaring me. Besides, I already watch one deeply complicated mythology show in Fringe. I think I can pass on a second.

Seriously, though, can anyone recommend a decent PVR? I checked at the Source and they want $600 for the Bell HD PVR, which seems absolutely insane. There must be something better and cheaper than that out there somewhere.

Tuesdays, I'm going to give No Ordinary Family a try, although I'm sure Cathy will want to watch Glee. It's a total The Incredibles rip-off, but I like the idea of a teenage girl with telepathic powers. If you can't have some fun with that idea, you're just not trying. After that, meh. Maybe Running Wilde, we'll have to see. I'm not much one for sitcoms these days.

Wednesday nights are pretty much a waste land. Lie To Me, if I'm desperate, perhaps Undercovers, but that's about it. Pretty much the worst night on TV, which is fine with me. Odds are I'll be at curling.

Thursday is pretty simple - Bones at 8, Fringe at 9. I might take a look at Nikita, but I suspect that even with Maggie Q starring, this is going to be a deeply stupid hour of TV.

Friday there is Human Target, which I really quite liked last season. However, the ratings were low and it barely got renewed, which means they've tinkered with in the hopes of boosting its appeal. That and the fact its on 8pm on Friday, on Fox, means I'm not hopeful of it still being on past November. I'd like to be able to like The Good Guys because I'm such a fan of Bradley Whitford, but the first time I tried to sit and watch I wanted to pour Javex into my eyes to make the pain stop. Body of Proof is worth a look, just because I like Dana Delaney. There's also Blue Bloods at 10 pm, just so I can watch Magnum, er, Tom Selleck again. I suspect it's going to be too stuffy for its own good, but we'll see.

As for Sundays, I just have The Amazing Race. Oh well.

As for my prediction of the first new network TV show to be cancelled, I'm going to go with....$#"! My Dad Says. Yes, it's William Shatner, but it looks awful. Besides, if you're going to go with a show with that title, but use $#"! instead of actually saying the word "Shit" then you deserved to be canceled. Or at least moved to cable where you could open the show up and unleash the full glory of the Shat.

Anyway, that's how I'm spending my fall, when I'm not curling. Which might seem like a lot of TV, but I honestly didn't watch that much this summer. And I suspect of these shows I'll get bored with and move away from. But we'll see how it goes.

Last Five
1. The fake headlines - The New Pornographers
2. Jealous guy - Youssou N'Dour
3. Illegal alien - Genesis
4. Me and my hand - Broken Social Scene
5. C'mere - Interpol

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


If you grew up in Newfoundland you have an odd relationship with Detroit. Since about the mid-80s it's where we received our primary exposure to the United States. Until satellite TV started catching on big time, it was pretty much our only TV exposure to the US. For those of us old enough, we can remember getting US station from Bangor, Maine (Long live The Great Money Money and All-Hit Videos), but for most it's Detroit.

And it's an odd exposure. I think for many Newfoundlanders the experience was one of "thank God we don't live in Detroit." When you live in an isolated place and you're exposed to Detroit's evening news, where it felt like someone was being murdered every other night, well, it was surreal.

I can't say I grew up liking Detroit all that much. For what we saw on TV it didn't seem like a very nice place. Plus, I hated all their sports teams. The Tigers, Pistons, Lions and Red Wings - never liked any of them.

But after the unending economic horror show Detroit has endured for at least the past five years, if not longer, it's hard to keep hating on the city. I read somewhere earlier this year that the area of Detroit that's been completely abandoned would be roughly the equivalent of a city the size of Las Vegas. Detroit is being gutted, there's no other word for it.

That's why I found this article in the National Post interesting. It's desperate times for the city, which requires desperate measures. Spending $100 million to basically rip apart abandoned building and homes and then consulting to see what citizens want to replace them with is something that caught my eye. There's talk of turning some of the land back into farms or wilderness areas.

I suspect if Detroit pulls this off, you might see it happen to other depressed areas, not just in the United States but also in other parts of the world. It's not often you get to watch a pretty bold social and planning experiment develop in front of you. Normally I tried to avoid paying much attention to Detroit and when I did, never thought much of the place. But now, now I'm curious how this will all work out. And for the first time, I'm kind of cheering for Detroit. They've had more than enough bad luck. It'd be nice to see them bounce back.

Last Five
1. Waiting around to die - The Be Good Tanyas
2. We might as well be strangers - Keane
3. Razz - Kings of Leon
4. Death of an interior decorator - Death Cab For Cutie
5. Some people - Hawksley Workman*

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dorset preview

So yes, definitely fall in the air out there today. The high today got up to about 5C or so, but with the way the wind was howling around town, it felt a lot cooler than that today. And God help the poor bastards running barges back and forth between the boat in the bay and the beach...assuming they were running today. It was not a nice day to be out on the water.

So yes, Fall. There have been reports of snow flurries by some, but I haven't seen it, therefore it hasn't happened. I'm taking a bit of my wife's famous logic with that argument. And I know it's the arctic, and September, so I should just get over the whole impending arrival of snow. However, that doesn't mean I wouldn't mind a few more weeks before it blankets the ground, meaning the start of the long winter.

Fall does bring things that I do like. I've already mention curling, so I'll spare you that. But the other thing I enjoy is the annual Cape Dorset Print show. I believe it's Saturday, October 16th this year. As regular readers know, we already have two Dorset prints gracing our walls and I'm always on the lookout for more.

But while the print show is still a month away, you can get a preview of what's available. The Dorset website hasn't updated yet, but the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver has the 2010 collection online.

So far there isn't a piece that's making me jump up and down and thinking I need to have it like there was two and three years ago. Even Kenojuak Ashevak's pieces aren't grabbing me. However, it's also difficult to get a proper read on the collection until you actually stand in front of the art work and take a proper look at them. There were pieces in previous years we thought were awesome, but once we looked at them, we lost some of our enthusiasm. And other pieces we didn't think much of but we're blown away when we saw them up close.

The three that are catching my eye right now are:

"Seal Hunter" Cathy and I both like the detail on this one. Also, this one and the next one were done by Ningeokuluk Teevee. We already own her "Owls in Moonlight" so we like her style.

"Blue Walrus" I like this one, I suspect Cathy won't. She didn't like a similar walrus a few years ago that was red. But we'll see. It's also the most expensive and largest of the three.

"Ethereal Flight" We both like this one as well, although Cathy has concerns about putting yet another bird picture up on our wall.

So, what grabs you in this year's collection?

Last Five
1. Ahead by a century - Tragically Hip
2. Bang the doldrums - Fall Out Boy
3. Testimony - Robbie Robertson
4. Like a hurricane - Neil Young*
5. Gimme a sign - Ryan Adams

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Some assembly required

If there was a just God, I would be able to find the person who came up with the idea for this ad, tie them to a giant sheet of ice with a big sign next to him (or her) that read "Tasty Treats" and let nature take its course.

I'm not going to get into the debate over climate change or if polar bears are endangered or not. However, what does piss me off is the humanization of animals to sell things. It always has. Polar bears are not cute and cuddly animals. They are, in fact, some of the scariest animals on the planet. Because, you know, they have the habit of occasionally attacking and eating people.

I posted this link up on Facebook yesterday and a friend quipped they must have cut the scene just before the polar bear bit the guy's head off. Cathy has had a guy come into her class to show students what happens when you don't treat polar bears with the respect they deserve. His head was nearly chewed off by one years ago. It's not a nice sight. yes, the ad pisses me off. Let's just say I won't be buying one of those cars any time, oh, ever.

Anyway, in less foaming at the mouth news, Cathy and I survived one of those Tests of Marriage that come up every now and then. Today's Test of Marriage came in the always challenging form of Assembling IKEA Furniture. Yes, lesser marriages have collapsed when faced with the horror of.....this.

Yes, a single piece of furniture so large, so complicated that it came in three boxes. What would happen?

Well, as it turns out, not too much. A couple of "ooops, fuck, that's the wrong way" moments, but easily corrected. It was also damaged a bit at some point during its journey, although at what point it's impossible to say. But here is the result.

Not too bad, really. We'll be using to hold some of our carvings, books and other odds and ends. That's the last of our sealift to find a find home, which is nice. Although the relative ease in which this went together does nothing to ease my terror over the thought of putting laminate flooring in all three bedrooms. I'm pretty sure death or divorce is going to be a result of that little adventure.

Last Five
1. See the sun - Dido
2. Home - Foo Fighters
3. Baby, now that I've found you (live) - Allison Kruass and Union Station
4. My, my, hey, hey - Neil Young*
5. My music at work - The Tragically Hip

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Somehow I completely managed to forget to post that today was Mass Registration day in Iqaluit. I meant to toss it up here so that any locals who read the blog but didn't know it was coming up could go. Ooops. I blame the fact that my life has become insanely busy the last couple of months. Which is good, by the way. It's kind of like exercising...once the muscles stop screaming at you and ask what the hell you're doing, it feels kind of good.

Anyway, yes, Mass Registration today. It went, I think, pretty well. There was a good turnout and at least this year there was space to move around. Last year it was at the Cadet Hall, which is a bit too small for this kind of event. This year they were able to use the Arctic Winter Games Complex (which is no longer sinking into the tundra, which is good) which had a lot more space for people to wander around and socialize.

And yes, this is a backhanded way of sneaking in a curling post. First, if you're interested in curling but didn't get to Mass Registration, no worries. We'll be having some curling clinics next month. It's for beginner curlers to get some help and more experienced curlers to show up and knock some rust off. If you want to circle the dates on the calendar they are Oct. 19, 21 and 23. Or drop me a note and I'll give you more details.

The regular season begins the following week.

It's early, but the season is shaping up quite nicely. We actually ran out of registration forms at the event today. There was a lot of interest and a lot of people pleasantly surprised that we're running free clinics beforehand. We know not everyone knows how to curl, so we figure a week of showing them how to do it and giving them some practice is better than throwing them on the ice and wishing them good luck.

Plus there is the matter that we're starting to make big steps on the national level. Last year we sent teams to our first national championship - The Dominion. We have teams going to that again this November (not me, alas). Also, thanks to a decision by the Canadian Curling Association last summer we will now, slowly, start to gain access to other national. We'll being holding play-offs this season to send a team to the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship in November 2011. Next season we'll be able to send teams to the Senior Men and Women Curling Championship.

We continue to build from there. I don't think we'll be at the Brier or the Scot anytime in the next couple of years, but there is considerable more light in the tunnel now than there has been at any other time. Which is pretty cool.

Now I just have to come up with a team. The heart of my team disappeared last season when Stephanie and Brandon moved away. I essentially have to start from scratch and build a new team. Which is a pain. That was a great team and I had a blast curling with them.

Just a little over a month until I get back on the ice. I was ready for the season to be over in March, but I am looking forward to getting back out there.

Last Five
1. Ankle deep - Tom Petty
2. Paris nights/New York mornings - Corinne Bailey Rae
3. Folding chair - Regina Spektor
4. The good in everyone - Sloan
5. She only loves me - Matthew Hornell and the Diamond Minds*

Friday, September 10, 2010

The ship is in

So a little more than two months after we wrapped up our shopping spree in Ottawa, our ship finally came in on Wednesday. Literally.

This is exciting and all, but the ship being in is hardly enough. Depending on how much cargo they have to unload, where our crate is on the boat, weather, tide and who knows what else it could be days and days before we heard if our box had even made it onto the beach.

Except when we came home to lunch on Thursday, there it was.

And there was much rejoicing.

Except now we were faced with a new problem. In order to get all of our belongings up to Iqaluit safe and sound, TSC put so many nails in that box that Dracula wasn't getting out of it. Plus there was the matter of the metal bands used to secure it as well. We were told a simple claw hammer on the bands and the proper use of force would get the bands to pop. Alas, that was not the case. So after about 20 minutes or so of looking generally like idiots, a couple of neighbours took mercy on us. One brought over a pair of big ass cutters to snip the metal bands. Another came by with a crowbar to help wedge the box open. Finally, we got it open so we could see everything packed inside.

Which, as you can see, is quite a bit. The biggest pain in the ass was all the laminate flooring that had to be moved into the house. But finally, after more than an hour, we emptied the crate. And then we rested. Or at least Cathy did.

But just because it was all taken out of the box, doesn't mean it was all put away. There was a lot of stuff in that box, which means the house looked a bit...untidy.

The original plan was to just leave it alone for the evening. We were both beaten out getting the case open and dragging all that stuff inside. Trying to find homes for it that night all was out of the question. Absolutely.

So naturally when I ran out to get some Chinese food for supper, Cathy started putting some of the stuff away. She just can't abide a mess. Once she starts, well, I could have sat back and let her do her thing, but that would be wrong. So we ate and then squared away the groceries and the other odds and ends.

Now here's where things get a bit frustrating. Despite all of that stuff, Cathy began noticing some stuff seemed to be missing. So did I. Shampoo we bought wasn't there. My razor blades were no where to be found. Cathy couldn't find any of the mangoes she bought. We consulted the Costco receipt that came with the box and figured out there was quite a bit of stuff not there.

We figure a shopping cart of stuff went missing somewhere from the time we paid for it until it got here. Or more than $500 worth of stuff. Cathy and I started emailing and placing calls today to both TSC and Costco. As best we can figure at this point, Costco simply didn't have everything packaged and ready for TSC when they arrived to pick it up. No one is stepping up and accepting responsibility yet, of course. But that's the way it looks. We should know more on Monday.

I suspect Costco is probably going to offer a refund. I think we're going to counter with giving us our stuff, but they have to fly up here. I'm sure that's going to go over well, but I know Costco ships heavier and bulkier items to Iqaluit for free (like mattresses) for no charge. So I see no reason why they can't do this. However, we'll see if my logic prevails.

But at least we have most of it. At least we don't have to buy stuff from the local stores we knew was coming up on the sealift but needed now. And it's good that it all arrived safe and sound. We'll likely end up doing the same thing next year with our order, although hopefully with less drama over missing items.

Although now we have to get rid of the big bloody empty crate sitting in our driveway. sigh...

Last Five
1. Uniform - Bloc Party
2. A sailor's trade is a weary life - Anita Best and Pamela Morgan
3. Neon gumbo - Janelle Monae
4. All the young dudes - Mott the Hoople
5. Always on my mind - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies*

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

20 years later

For some reason this seems to be a time of anniversaries for me. I mentioned that Cathy and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary back in July. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how we just marked the fifth anniversary of moving to Nunavut. And now I have another one on me. Except I can't remember the exact date. But I know it was around this time because MUN is back in session this week. And this particular anniversary always coincides with the start of classes with MUN.

By the way, I am in no way diminishing the importance of my wedding, which is obviously a huge day in my life. But to me the bigger day there was always in November, which is when my friend Suzy first introduced me to Cathy. The wedding doesn't happen, obviously, without that day. Moving to Nunavut is obviously big in shaping how our lives have been the past five years.

But the day 20 years ago when I saw my friend Murdo Messer walk into the Muse office and I decided to pop in and say hi to him has shaped everything that's happened to me over the past 20 years.

I know I've written about the Muse, MUN's student newspaper, before. But hang in there with me a minute.

The simple story is this. In the fall of 1990 I was start my third year at MUN, working on a history degree. For at least a year or so I'd been getting restless to do more at MUN then just go to classes. I was thinking of running for student council or perhaps joining the Muse. I'd always wanted to review movies and thought I'd be pretty good at it. However, my girlfriend at the time, Pam, vetoed the idea pretty heavily. Part of it was her being worried about how much time I'd have for her, what with me working 20 hours a week at Pizza Hut and doing five classes a semester, how much time was I going to have for her?

However, she also just hated the paper. Not uncommon as a good chunk of the student population hated the Muse for one reason or another. It was pretty left wing, what with its Gay and Lesbian issue, it's environmental issue, women's issue and arts issue. Some students just loathed it and considered it a waste of money. But I always read it and enjoyed it.

But on this day in September of 1990 I was walking out of the area on the second floor of the Thompson Student Centre where they sold used text books. Across the hall was the entrance to the Muse. And that's where I spotted Murdo walking into the office. I knew him from the couple of years we worked together at Shoppers Drug Mart. I'd lost track of him since I left Shoppers for the Hut and figured I'd just pop in for a second to say hi.

Here's the thing about the Muse. You never just "popped in" for a second. Once you went through the doors and someone noticed you were a new person, they were all over you. "Do you like to write? Have you ever thought about joining the Muse?" And the big hook, "Have you seen this huge pile of free music we have over here? All you have to do is review a tape and its yours."

And I do like free music...

I spoke with Murdo for a few minutes and then the paper's editor at the time, Dawn Mitchell, grabbed me. She quickly sussed out that I wanted to review movies and, in short order, I was the paper's movie critic. It's a bit of a whirlwind, when I think about it. The first thing I actually wrote for the paper is so bad I keep it on hand just to curb any hubris I might develop about how great a writer I am. Hideous.

(Staff photo, Fall 1990, taken weeks after I joined the paper. Note the hair I possessed back then.)

It seems odd to say that joining a student newspaper changed everything for me, but it did. Pam, the girlfriend? Gone within six months. There were any number of reasons for the break-up, but let's not kid ourselves, her seething contempt for the paper I was spending so much extra time at, and that she refused to spend one second in the office if she could help it, contributed. It was devastating at the time, but nine months later I met Kirsten through the paper and Pam became one of those "what was I thinking?" lessons you learn as a young man in university. I was thinking of marrying Pam at one point. If I hadn't joined the Muse, if I hadn't met Kirsten, I might have. That seems insane now, but who knows.

(Staff Photo: Fall 1991. Taken in the lobby of the Engineering Bldg just to piss them off since they hated us so much. The guy in the black hat in the front row is Murdo. It's all his fault I joined the paper. The girl with the short blond hair to the left of him is Kirsten. This was taken a few weeks before we started going out.)

I was studying history at MUN at the time and under increasing pressure from my father to do education because "what can you do with a history degree?" But I hated education. Then, one day, while sitting in the Muse office waiting to write an education exam I knew I was going to fail I had an epiphany. I loved writing. I loved writing news. There are people who do that for a living. They're called journalists. Why not do that for a career?

And so what surely would have been a doomed and ugly career as a teacher was nipped in the bud and a career as journalist began. I don't think I even knew or understood how much I loved writing until I joined the paper.

But just as importantly, I met some of the best friends of my life at that paper. It's not exactly a secret on this blog that high school was mostly a disaster for me. My circle of friends tended to be pretty small. I often felt like no one understood me.

By god the people I met at that paper got me. I made sarcastic quips and people laughed. I might go on a bitter rant that would scare away others, but these guys would join right in. They helped shape my politics, my taste in music and probably in dozens of other ways I can't even imagine. When people tried to storm the newspaper and trash it because we wrote something they hated, we weathered it together. We got each other pizza at 4 am on an endless production nights. They made me feel better when I got dumped, I drove them home when they were drunk and had no money for a cab. But mostly we just laughed a whole hell of a lot.

One of the saddest days in my life was when I graduated MUN in 1994 and realized I had to leave the Muse. You have to, of course. You can't spend forever at a student newspaper. But it hurt a lot when I had to leave that behind and move on to the next phase of my life.

You can move on, of course, but that doesn't mean you leave everything behind. Twenty years later my friends from the Muse remain some of the most important people in my life. The MC at my wedding was a Muser. My best man and one of the groomsmen was a Muser. One of Cathy's bridesmaids was a Muser. We joke we're all going to end up in the same retirement home one day. God, I can only hope so.

(Our wedding in 2005: From l-r, Ted, Lorie, me, Melissa, Hans, Dups, Chris, Andrew, Lisa, Corey and Donna. All Musers. Chris and Lisa, along with Corey and Donna, got married the same week as Cathy and I did. This is one of my favourite photos.)

I don't know if it's the smartest or most important thing I did in my life, but it's certainly got to be top two or three. I grew up at the Muse, in every sense of the word. I became a better writer, a better person because of the Muse.

I once quipped that I learned more at my time at the Muse than I did in all my years going to classes at MUN. My father didn't think much of that quote when it got around (some bright lad used it as a marketing quote to get people to join the paper), but it's true.

So to my friends at the Muse, scattered all across the world these days, thanks for four of the great years in my life. Twenty years later, it still means the world to me....

Last Five
1. Blitzed - The Raveonettes
2. Time's arrow - The Weakerthans
3. Skeletons - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
4. Cruel April - Sean Panting
5. Are we waiting - Green Day

Monday, September 06, 2010


It's probably never a good thing to come to the end of a long weekend deeply knackered, and yet that's where I find myself. Plus it's going to be another busy week for me. I write this not to ellict any kind of sympathy, by the way. I'm quite happy to be busy and tired. A year ago I was bored quite a bit of the time, and I'm enjoying this quite a bit more.

But I am writing it to explain why there was no blog post yesterday and this one is going to be quite brief. There are actually a couple of things I want to write about this, but I'd like to be a little more coherent when I sit down to write them. For example, I wasn't entirely happy with out the blog post on the judge came out (nor entirely surprised by the traffic looking for naked pictures of her).

So tomorrow or Wednesday you'll get a more coherent post once I get over the next hump.

Last Five
1. Camaro - Kings of Leon*
2. Mardy bum - Arctic Monkeys
3. Pretty boy heaven - Drive
4. Sweet talk, sweet talk - The New Pornographers
5. Don't give up - Alicia Keys and Bono

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Late summer

We're in the middle of what could almost be classified as an Iqaluit heat wave. It went up to 15C in town today. To put that in perspective there have been years where it has snowed during Labour Day weekend and while people might have wept, they were not at all surprised.

So for it to be at 15C today and with the forecast predicting it to stay that way until Tuesday, well, there are a lot of happy people around town. Assuming you can find many people around town, that is. This is pretty close to idea weather. It's late enough in the year that most of the bugs have gone. The tundra is starting to show fall colours and it quite beautiful. And what with it being a long weekend, well, everyone is out camping, off to a cabin or boating. Iqaluit wasn't a ghost town today, but it wasn't far off of it.

While we didn't go out camping or anything, we did decide to go out and do a bit of berry picking. So, a few pictures from a nice and relaxing Saturday just outside of Iqaluit. It's going to get cold soon enough and it won't be long before snow starts falling. But for the next few days, at least, we can enjoy a late summer blast of warmth in the north.

Last Five
1. Amsterdam - Crowded House
2. Shadows, part 2 - Blue Man Group
3. What about now - Robbie Robertson*
4. Den of thieves (live) - The Trews
5. Militia song - Camper van Beethoven

Friday, September 03, 2010

Judicial shenanigans

When the story about Judge Lori Douglas broke earlier this week I probably had a similar reaction to a lot of people. Snickered a little bit, perhaps sent a joking reminder to some lawyer friends reminding them to delete any naked photos they might have of themselves and wonder how this could happen.

But the more I thought about it, the more it kind of pissed me off. Christie Blatchford, as usual, knocked it right out of the park in her column. But there are several things I just want to touch on myself.

First of all, I have no idea how on earth this is her fault. So she allowed some sexually explicit photos to be taken. Last time I checked, she was a consenting adult. How this impacts on her ability to understand and interpret the law is beyond me. Besides, at the rate things are going, if nude pictures on the internet disqualifies you from holding a job, there's going to be a lot of people finding themselves unemployed, especially if you're under 25 years old.

Plus, none of this is her fault. "Oh, she shouldn't have allowed the photos taken." She's a grown adult, it's not illegal and she never apparently had any intentions of allowing them to be made public, so what's the big deal? Also, I'm sorry, I don't see how it impacts her ability to be a judge. So she likes some slightly kinky sex in her private life. Why should people care?

Her husband has a little mental break from reality and posts photos of her online, presumably without her consent or knowledge. Then he carries on a frankly bizarre relationship with a client. Then said client, years after an agreement to keep quiet, decides to come forward for reasons that couldn't hold air, much less water. And because of all this her career suffers. Alexander Chapman is, quite frankly, setting off ten kinds of scumbag alarm bells right now.

Nope, sorry, I'm not going for it. To the best of our knowledge, right now, she didn't do anything wrong, inappropriate or affecting her ability to do her job to the best of her abilities.

So I call shenanigans (and not the kind the judge was up to). I hope she gets reappointed to her post because some pictures taken a decade ago and released without her knowledge shouldn't derail her career.

Last Five
1. House of smoke and mirrors - Matthew Good
2. Sand in my shoes - Dido
3. Tango 'til they're sore (live) - Tom Waits
4. I am vision, I am sound - Bob Mould
5. Rumbolt - Figgy Duff

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Hit jobs

A lot of my friends have been posting up this article on Facebook and Twitter from Vanity Fair regarding Sarah Palin. It's the second major skewering of a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate in the past few weeks, what with Esquire doing a pretty effective hit job on Newt Gingrinch.

(The Gingrinch article, by the way, has my favourite sentence of the week. "Sitting in the Florida sun while she annihilates a long series of Benson & Hedges, Marianne Gingrich paints a very different picture." Isn't that a marvelous descriptive sentence?)

Here's the thing about the Palin article. I don't understand it. I mean, it's a lovely hit job. The author clearly doesn't care much for Palin and there are some spectacular cheap shots in there (she's a crappy tipper. All right, and what does that mean with regards to her being a presidential candidate?) and the not so thinly veiled idea floated out there that she may well be mentally ill.

But here's the thing...there's very little middle ground about Palin. Most people either view her as one of the greatest Americans living or think she's everything that's wrong with America. Those that love her are just going to dismiss this article has more slander from the "lamestream media" and offer it up as more proof that people are out to get her.

Those who hate Palin will obviously lap it up. I've read quite a bit of the criticism about Palin over the last two years and there's nothing new here, aside from the author's implication that she's mentally ill. Which, given the volume of anonymous sources he uses, can be pretty easily dismissed. Yes, the anonymity may be needed because people are scared of Palin, but also realize that it makes it much easier to dismiss what you're writing.

So I'm trying to figure out what the point of it is. Look, I would be thrilled if Palin disappeared from America's political debate. I think she's a poisonous best. And yes, work needs to be done to prevent her from ever becoming president. But I honestly don't know what this article is attempting to do. It rehashes old ground and won't convince anyone who is a Palin supporter to reevaluate her. It might make some people feel more smug, but that's about it.

Palin may run for president, but I don't think anyone gives her a serious chance. The cunning and ruthlessness may be there, but there's no way it happens. She may have her cult, but too many people hate her for it to happen.

I do kind of like the Gingrinch piece, though, just because it's an interesting take on a man who had power, who may well be an under-appreciated player in the economic boom of the 90s, but who is clearly deeply damaged. I don't think he has a chance in the 2012 presidential election, not because there's too much dirt on him, although there is, but because I think he has a destructive streak a mile wide. I think here is a man who gets to a certain level of success and then manages to find a way to destroy himself. It'll happen again.

Man, the presidential election is still more than two years away and I'm already getting hooked back in. It's hard to resist though. There's no more entertain show on earth, as long as you try very hard to think about the consequences if the wrong person wins.

Last Five
1. I believe - Chilliwack
2. Love runs deeper - Lindsay Buckingham*
3. Mother - Emmanuel Jal
4. While my guitar gently weeps - The Beatles
5. Canyon - Mark Bragg