Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Craft sale

My Tumblr has been sort of half-assed, with me reblogging a lot of comic book art, which is fine because I really happen to love that kind of thing and it's never been something I've talked about a lot on the blog. For whatever reason I've always found it hard to write about comic books. It's actually kind of frustrating. If you were to ask me what my dream job was when I was in my late teens or early 20s (I'd accepted the fact by that time I was not going to be an astronaut) then comic book writer would have been the next option.

Anyway, so yes, a chunk of comic book stuff is going to show up there. But I am trying to get better at putting up photos of around Iqaluit. I just keep forgetting to take my camera with me when I go out and about. However, I did have it with me last weekend when I went to the Christmas Craft Fair at the high school. A bunch of those photos are now up on the Tumblr.

I really love that craft fair. It's one of the events I really look forward to each year. It opens at 11 am, but it's that popular it's nothing for people to start lining up more than an hour before the doors open. We showed up at 10 am this year and there were a solid 50-60 people ahead of us. Thankfully they let people line-up inside. I remember the first year going to it and you had to wait outside. It was something like -35C with windchill. Let's call it not pleasant and move on.

Each craft fair tends to be a bit different. There was one a couple of years ago that featured a lot of what I would call "southern" type of items. Christmasy, sure. But it was the kind of thing you could find anywhere down south. If I got to one in Iqaluit, I want sealskin mittens and coats. I want Kamiks and jewelry and carvings. I want fun Christmas decorations (We picked up a sealskin Christmas angel for the top of the tree a few years ago). I want fun stuff that I can't get anywhere down south.

This year wasn't bad. A few too many baked goods, I think. Which is particularly torturous when you're on a diet. I managed to only buy one cupcake and one piece of bannock. What I wanted to do was buy all the deep fried bannock along with all the chocolate cupcakes, find a corner under a stairwell and make scary sounding noises as I ate it all. I managed to resist doing this thing. But don't think the thought didn't go through my mind a few times.

The other challenge is to remember that you are there primarily to buy things for friends and family for Christmas. It's hit and miss on that. We did get a few things for loved ones on the list. And then we see something like this...

...and there goes the budget and the plan. It's a stuffed bear made of sealskin. We walked away, came back, walked away again, and then realized we were doomed and just bought him. There was also a stuffed seal there that I wanted, but just for the irony. A stuffed seal, made of sealskin had me hooked. When the artist told me he was using a design from Greenpeace from when they sold stuff seals as fundraisers (presumably to stop the hunt) then I really wanted one, but contented myself with the warm feeling that such a thing exists.

It's a fun way to spend a couple of hours. There's cool stuff to look at, a good chunk of the town ends up appearing so you're constantly stopping, chatting and showing off the cool thing you managed to find. There will be other events in town between now and Christmas. The Francophone association will have one this weekend. Arctic College will have a Christmas ornament show in about a week's time (all the ornaments are gone in about 15 minutes, so it's not so much a socializing occasion as trying to get what you want without killing anyone). It's a good time for local artwork in town. Not so good for the wallet, but hey, having fun and unique things are worth a few dollars.

Last Five
1. Fannin Street - Tom Waits
2. 45 years (live) - Stan Rogers
3. Barely breathing - The Hold Steady
4. Fine for now - Grizzly Bear
5. Bullet the blue sky (live) - U2

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sri Lanka bound

This has been a pretty strange, and exceptional, year when it's come to travel. One of the reasons Cathy and I moved north was to get the resources to be able to see more of the world. We were deeply envious of our friends who were able to gallivant to different places. We simply couldn't do it for the first four or five years we were together. I remember having a serious conversation about whether or not we could go to the Dominican Republic for a week for our "early" honeymoon (we moved to Nunavut three weeks after we got married. There was no time for a honeymoon then, so we had it before we got married). We could, it just meant we couldn't make any RRSP payments that year.

Things have changed a lot since then. We've travelled so much this year that I've been getting questions on how we manage. Honestly, we save our money to do that thing. We don't have kids. We neither smoke nor drink (much). We don't own expensive "toys" like ATVs and snowmobiles (and yes, I know many people up here use them for hunting). We don't have many expensive hobbies. My worst one is buying graphic novels and getting some original art.

Still, I think even we've been surprised by how much we've travelled this year.

1. Back to Newfoundland in February for a friend's funeral. OK, that was not a fun trip, but a necessary one and I'm glad we were able to be there for our friend when she lost her husband.

2. Florida for a week over Easter. I keep swearing we're going to go some place different for Easter, but God help me, St. Petersburg is kind of growing on me.

3. Over to Europe for three weeks, including a cruise of the Baltics where we visited Copenhagen, Oslo, Aarhus, Berlin, Talinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm. From there we went to Scotland for several days to visit some friends.

4. Cathy went to Newfoundland for the rest of the summer.

5. A trip to Nuuk, Greenland over Labour Day weekend.

6. I spent a week in New York City in October.

7. And in about a month's time we'll be going to Newfoundland to spend Christmas (we have housesitters, in case you were thinking it's an excellent time to break in. And one of them is about 250 pounds or more of muscle. Seriously). I think it's our first time back there for the holidays since 2009.

I didn't think it was likely we were going to top that in 2013. I genuinely hope we don't have to rush home for another funeral next year. I don't see us going to Greenland again and I know I won't be going to New York (although I'll be pining to go again around October. Maybe in 2014 or 2015). However, we got a little bit of a weird twist a few months ago.

I always swore if my friend, Dups, got married I would go to his wedding. Now, because he's originally from Sri Lanka, this meant a pretty awesome trip. So I was cheering for him to get married one day. I just didn't ever see it happening because, well, Dups is...high maintenance, shall we say. I've known him for about 20 years. I figure I had a good 20 more or so to go before he might settle down.

But then he surprised the hell out of me by announcing he was engaged (I discovered this while checking my email in a shopping mall in Talinn, Estonia. The screaming and profanity may have disturbed the locals). So now clearly there was going to be a trip to Sri Lanka in our future. He managed to further surprise me by announcing the wedding was going to take place in February, 2013.

I don't believe Dups thought many of his friends would make the trip. But a dedicated group of lunatics have decided we're going to do it. He's having a second wedding the summer for friends who can't make it, and I'll go to that as well. I apparently collect major Dups life events, what with me attending both of his university convocations and his citizenship ceremony.

So yeah, as of February 3 I'm on a flight Ottawa-London-Colombo. Which will take about 20 hours, so that'll be fun. I'll be heading back in the 15th, so it's a relatively quick trip. Fortunately, I'll have at least one, if not more, friends to make the trip with me. Unfortunately, Cathy won't be there. It's in the middle of the school year. She asked for time off without pay, but they didn't approve it (which didn't surprise her, but she had to try). It's sad, because I know she'd love to go, but she really pushed me to go when I was hemming and hawing about not going without her. This is why she's awesome.

Oh, and because it's a dig that needs to be made...the Ottawa-Colombo plane ticket? Cheaper than the Iqaluit-Ottawa ticket. So yes, a ticket for travel that will take 46 hours return and get me half way around the world and back (a distance of approximately 27,400 km return) is cheaper than the one for a flight that lasts six hours return (a total distance of approximately 4,100 km return). I don't care who shows up from First Air and Canadian North to defend it, that's bullshit.

Little things like that aside, I'm tremendously looking forward to go to Dups wedding and seeing a country I never thought I would get to visit (mostly because I never thought Dups would get married). So I'm excited by that.

So maybe not as much travel in 2013, but in terms of interesting travel, it's off to a great start.

Last Five
1. Cologne Cerrone Houdini - Goldfrapp
2. Jimmy standing in the rain - Elvis Costello
3. The Burroughs of carbs (comedy) - Patton Oswalt
4. Skip the youth - Frightened Rabbit*
5. England - The National

Monday, November 12, 2012


I watched a lot of my friends get excited in the past week because it looked like there finally might be an end to the NHL strike/lock-out/general fuckery. Of course it didn't happen. Because neither side has lost enough money yet to make it worth while.

Look, I'm not the biggest hockey fan in the world. The only reason I followed it when I was a kid was due to peer pressure more than anything else. A kid who did not like hockey when you're eight or nine years old is targeted. And really, kids can dig and find ways to make your life miserable, so why give them an easy target.

But it's just never been my sport. I think I've written that you follow the sport your father goes for and my dad was never really a hockey person. I haven't asked why, now that I think about it, but he was always baseball. So I grew up a Montreal Expos fan and later, grudgingly, a Blue Jays fan. But I just wasn't interested in the sport. But I have to admit, over the last few years, I've had a steady growing dislike of hockey. I suspect it's going to escalate into loathing and hatred in short order.

That's because it's a dumbass sport, with dumbass players, run by dumbass owners and watched by dumbass fans.

The only part of that sentence above you can argue with me about is the sport. I may concede that point. The rest of is pretty well spot on.

Look, I'm still bitter about the 1994 baseball strike. That strike cost the Montreal Expos an almost certain play-off spot and possibly a World Series. They were that good. The Expos were never the same after that year, to the point where they eventually left town. The main reason they left is the fans never forgave the owners and the players. It's easy to remember the laughable crowds of the late 90s and early 2000s, where free hot dogs still only generate crowds of 10,000 people. But back in the mid-80s, the Expos were huge. I remember my dad going to catch a four game series against the Cardinals around '84. All four games were sold out; more than 50,000 people in attendance for each game.

Montreal fans punished the Expos for their sins. It took a long time for baseball to bounce back from that strike. Some would argue they never recovered. Baseball went from being America's #1 sport to #2, maybe even #3 behind football and basketball.

But, hockey fans need their fix.

Look, I get you love the sport, but if you don't punish these silly bastards once this is all over - and I honestly hope the season is lost at this point - then you're nuts. Because they'll do it all over again in a few years time. Because they're deeply stupid people. But the best part is they think you're even stupider than they are. Because they expect you to forgive them. They view you as ATMs on legs and nothing more.

Seriously, punishment needs to be dished out. Love your sport if you must, just ignore the NHL. That means no buying of tickets to games. No buying licenced merchandise. No watching games on TSN. If at least two franchises don't fold because of this idiocy, then you haven't done your job. The punishment needs to last at least until the next set of negotiations, so that they actually remember the cost of being this stupid.

By the way, I'm really serious about not watching hockey on TSN. I blame TSN for a lot of the sins of sports in Canada right now. I've enjoyed watching the silly bastards put on old hockey games and sports movies because they have nothing else to put on, because they've spent so much time focussing on hockey to the exclusion of almost anything else. And don't point out the CFL to me, because if TSN put 1/100th of the money and energy into the CFL as they do hockey the CFL would have 16 teams by now. They deserve to spend the winter suffering for their sins.

Harsh? Maybe. But as I don't see a Fan's Union starting up anytime soon to represented at the negotiating table, this is the only option. Players and owners may not have given up on the season yet; as a fan, you owe it to give up on them for this year...and longer.

Last Five
1. Be the one - The Ting Tings
2. Crazy - Me First and the Gimme Gimmies
3. Original sin - INXS*
4. But, honestly - Foo Fighers
5. Love is nothing - Liz Phair

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Re-post: Remembering Enos Welsh

I first put this up in 2009. I still think it's one of the best posts I've ever put on this blog, even though I never wrote most of the words in it. So for Remembrance Day I can think of nothing more appropriate to put up on the blog then my great-grandfather's words about what he went through in World War 1.

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.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Post election glow

It's been a good couple of days, I must say. Yes, there was the pleasure of watching the right man become president. There was the pleasure that came from a pretty successful congressional campaign as well. Democrats picked up seats in the Senate, including an openly gay woman in Wisconsin and, hell, just a woman senator from North Dakota makes me happy. Same sex marriage being approved by voters in four states (don't really care about marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado, to be honest). They even picked up seats in the House of Representatives, although not enough to get a majority. The only way it could have been better is if Michele Bachmann had lost her congressional seat. She won by 3,000 votes in a district that's apparently gerrymandered to within an inch of it it's life. Oh well. Maybe in two years time.

I also had the pleasure of being spot on in my state predictions. Florida and Virginia were trying to kill me most of the night, especially when Virginia was showing Romney with a massive lead early. Oh, and at one point there was a 300 vote difference between Romney and Obama with about 70 per cent of the polls showing. So that was fun. I tried to stay up late enough to see Obama's acceptance speech and see if they would declare Florida, but gave up at 1:30. Just as well, I think they only declared Florida this evening, which would have been a long time to stay up.

But the thing I've been enjoying over the past two days as been watching Republicans set their hair on fire over the results. Now, one shouldn't get too cocky...Obama won with by about three million votes. When you have about 120 million cast, that's not a hell of a large majority. But seriously, some Republicans have seriously lost their shit. I can't even link to a fraction of it, but a few highlights would probably include:

1. White People Mourning Romney tumblr
2. Andrew Sullivan sums up the reaction of the Republican pundit class to the results.
3. The reason why Obama won? Sluts. Seriously.
4. Karl Rove, who if is not the devil most certainly has him on speed dial, blames Obama for suppressing the vote. Then again, after his meltdown on Fox News when they called the election for Obama and the fact that the many rich people who gave money (about $400 million) to his PAC are slightly pissed that not only Obama won, but that every race Rove's PAC got involved in, the Republican candidate lost.
5. Donald Trump losing it was matched byVictoria Jackson losing it.
6. This idiot.
7. And while everyone was talking about what a gracious concession speech Mitt Romney gave, he was apparently cancelling all of his staff's credit cards at the same time. Which is not gracious, but not unexpected, given his background.

And that's just a sampling of it. There's been a ton of coverage about what Obama did right and Romney did wrong, just as I imagine if the opposite had happened, Obama and his crew would be raked over the coals right now. Although I think my favourite quote, which of course I can't find, was an African American voter saying that while 2008 was historic, this election was personal. The number of black voters went up in some states, which I find almost impossible to believe. But if you've spent the last few years watching the president treated in way that would never happen if he were white, it's hard not to take that personally.

I hope the Republican party gets their shit together after this, I really do. I mean, Fox News and their pundits are basically in it for the money and not to actually do anything helpful for the country. The fact that so many people were shocked Romney lost when it was pretty clearly showing that's the way the election was going means too many people were in a bubble. I have some Republican senator said people were crazy if you thought you were going to attract more people to the party by being even more hardass. There's a place for sane conservatives in the United States; they've just been drowned out by the lunatic fringe. I've linked to it before, but John Rogers "I miss Republicans" remains as timely now as it was when he wrote it in 2004. They need to start purging some of the crazies. Let them go and form a Tea Party. They can preach all the anti-woman crap they want; they'll be justifiably looked at as loons and will quickly fade away without the blanket of the Republican Party to make them look "respectable".

Maybe they'll get their act together. Maybe sensible conservatives will take back their party after spending too many years cowering before bullies. I hope so, but I guess time will tell.

Last Five
1. Invisible riverside (live) - Ryan Adams
2. Let me live - Queen
3. Bargain - The Who
4. Rush - Big Audio Dynamite*
5. Bite hard - Franz Ferdinand 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Election prediction

A number of months back I predicted Barack Obama would win the presidency pretty easily. That might not have been the smartest thing I've ever written because anything can happen in politics, including the president taking a nap during the first debate in Denver.

Still, I stick by my prediction. I think President Obama gets a second term once all the votes are counted tomorrow. I wouldn't be shocked if he lost the popular vote, mind you. Turnout is going to be low in New York and New Jersey because of the hurricane, Florida appears to determined to make itself into an electoral punchline again and there are rumours turnout in California could be low because the president is up by as much as 20 per cent over Romney in some polls.

Oh, and by the way, while I really do try and see both sides of an argument, Romney would be a disaster as a president. And I still maintain my argument that President Obama has done a remarkable job given the challenges. Not a perfect one. There are things that could have been done better. But I think he's done a good enough job to get another four years. With no reelection to worry about, hopefully he'll take a few more chances on the environment and energy policy.

Having said that, I think I should make my prediction over how many electoral votes he gets. Now, each candidate has certain states locked in. They are:

Obama: Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Illinois, Hawaii, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland, Washington DC.

Romney: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana.

So that leaves the toss-up states. And this is where pundits start going on about how tight it is. Except in most cases it seems like those states have also made up their minds. Of the remaining battleground states, I'd break it down like this:

Obama: Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida
Romney: North Carolina

So if that happens, the final electoral college total would be Obama - 332, Romney - 206

Not as big as 2008, but still not bad a margin of victory. I could be wrong on a couple of those, particularly Colorado, Virginia and Florida, but I don't think so. A lot of people have been making a big deal about the impact of Hurricane Sandy, about how Obama looked presidential and having the Republican governor of New Jersey standing by his side saying nice things helped him. Which may well be true. But I think Romney's comments about reducing FEMA to the point of giving disaster and emergency relief to private companies gave people in some key states - like Virginia and Florida - some pause.

Aside from it being a mostly dumbass idea, both of those states regularly suffer emergency situations. It doesn't require much digging back into history to find occasions where FEMA was needed to help with hurricanes. Even in mid-west states such as Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa - which were close up until this week - FEMA has played a large roll helping after tornadoes.

So yes, there will be drama tomorrow night, like who controls the Senate and the House. I'm really hoping Michele Bachman, as loathsome a human being that walks the earth, loses her House seat. But I predict the drama over who wins the presidency will be over relatively early in the evening.

Last Five
1. Dead leaves the dirty ground - White Stripes
2. Monday morning - Death Cab for Cutie
3. Square one - Coldplay
4. My Oklahoma home (live) - Bruce Springsteen*
5. Foot shooter - Frightened Rabbit

Friday, November 02, 2012

Bring on the cable

I mentioned in the last post, the Moving to Iqaluit FAQ, that internet in Iqaluit is a shaky proposition. I'm not sure if it's the top thing that drives people nuts when they move here from down south, but it's probably top five. People get used to certain levels of internet quality...hell, I've heard people complain about how bad their internet is down south and it normally makes me laugh. It doesn't come close to how bad it is in Iqaluit. But then again, I have friends in other parts of Nunavut who would love to have what we have here...

Which goes to prove, no matter how much you whine about how bad things are, somebody always has it worse. For that matter, some would argue that given the many social and economic challenges that people face in Nunavut, is not being able to properly play World of Warcraft in Nunavut really the biggest problem we face?

I would argue having a proper telecommunications infrastructure is pretty vital to the development of the territory. Yes, there are negatives associated with that, and yes there will be frivolous uses, but for the positives will far outweigh the negatives.

For most of the time we've been here, better high speed internet has been a pipe dream. NorthwesTel and other northern communications providers have been unable, or unwilling, to make the investment in better satellite internet. And the notion of getting a fibre optic cable to Nunavut seemed laughable because the Government of Nunavut couldn't afford it and the Government of Canada certainly wasn't going to pony up the cash.

But then a funny thing happened. Arctic Fibre announced they were building a submarine fibre optic cable connecting Tokyo to London via the Canadian Arctic. It was going to cost about $600 million, but no worries, they already had the investors lined up. But seeing as how the cable was going right through Nunavut, was there any interest in doing a few branch lines to hook up some Nunavut communities along the route?

I think too many people were trying to pick their jaws up off the floor to react properly at first. I confess, my finally tuned bullshit sense (you develop it young when you grow up in Newfoundland and people you've never heard of before promise you the moon and the stars) went off. Especially since they were spending what seemed like an insane amount of money to shave a few milliseconds on the information transfer time between London and Tokyo.

Two things changed my mind about the seriousness. First, the satellite providers in the north went after Arctic Fibre as if they were the Spanish Inquisition. They were calling into question whether they would be able to get the funding, pointing the potential for the cable to be damaged by ice and not being able to be repaired for months, and that it wouldn't be able to service all of Nunavut.

The second thing was this article in Wired. It's not about Arctic Fibre, although the cable is mentioned a couple of times in the article. Rather it's about how some companies are willing to spend a lot of money just to get a few extra milliseconds advantage when it comes to trades on the financial markets. Milliseconds might not mean a lot to the average person waiting to watch a YouTube video, but it means millions to these guys.

(By the way, if you don't have the urge to pull every cent out of your RRSP and any other investments you have after reading that article, then you've a stronger constitution than I. It scared the crap out of me that this is how business is done. No wondered things are so fucked up.)

The last few months it's becoming pretty real. There's plenty of articles and editorials going up (Here, here, here, and here for some of Nunatsiaq News coverage. Even the Globe and Mail has noticed). At this point, I'm pretty much sign me up. Seriously, someone has just handed a gift wrapped package to Nunavut. You would have to be batshit crazy to pass it up.

Yes, there are risks. The cable could be damaged. But seeing as how it would piss off people with a lot of money invested in this, I think we can count on them taking a lot of steps to make sure that doesn't happen. There's the argument that since the cable will only service about half of Nunavut, we shouldn't take part unless all of Nunavut gets the same service.

That one makes me want to smack my head on a wall. Look, if a cable came from Manitoba and serviced Rankin and the Kivalliq, but nothing for Baffin Island, I'd be jealous, but I wouldn't say "You can't have it if we can't have it."It's so unbelievable selfish and shorts-sighted that it drives me crazy. Plus, there's the potential, with some government investment, to fix that problem. Maybe everyone doesn't get it, but most can. I believe towers with microwave repeaters could solve some of the problems.

Which comes to the last problem...someone is still going to have to invest some money from either Nunavut or the Government of Canada. The cable is going through Nunavut, but unless someone comes up with some cash, it's only going to land in two places, as I understand it. That being Iqaluit and Cambridge Bay (I find it amusing that the Iqaluit cable will link to Milton, Newfoundland, which is right outside of Clarenville. A place I mocked for years, even while working there, is potentially providing my internet. Oh lord). The cost could run more than $100 million.

Do it.

Seriously, I don't know who makes the decisions, but it's a steal. The Government of Canada makes a big deal about arctic sovereignty and economic develop in the north. Well, here's a gift. It's a big investment, but it can change the future of the territory more than just about any other investment they could make.

And seriously, screw Telsat and anyone else who provides satellite internet. It's been bad and getting worse for years. Xplorenet, which is what I use, is a fraction of what it was when we first got in 2.5 years ago. My three year contract is up in May, 2013. I'll keep using it until that fibre optic cable lands here. The day I can get internet via that route is the day I rip the dish off the side of my house. Satellite internet providers have had years to improve things, but did next to nothing because there was no competition and they were making big bucks off crap service. Now that there's serious competition, they're freaking out.

If all goes according to plan, there should be a fibre optic cable in Iqaluit by the end of 2014. It's two more years of this crap. But hey, it's a lot less years than I thought it would be. It's a gift. Please let us not be so stupid as to pass this up.

Last Five
1. Do you want to - Franz Ferdinand
2. A round again - Once
3. Don't tear me up - Mick Jagger*
4. On the bus mall - The Decemberists
5. Instant karma - Duran Duran