Traditional Sewing and Skin Preparation

Friday, February 29, 2008

Elders and teachers preparing skin (caribou and seal) for sewing of mittens and kamiiks during PI week.

RIP Netscape Navigator (Nov. 14, 1994 - Feb. 29, 2008)

Today, is another dark day in technology. AOL has finally axed, bombed, but out of its misery .... atl+ctrl+del'ed Netscape Navigator. No longer will AOL offer support or updates to Netscape.

Netscape Navigator was the first GUI browser that I ever used way back on my 486, 25 MHz, 8MB RAM, 320 MB HDD computer. It helped me research school projects with ease, get my first hotmail account, connect me to chat rooms, my first online purchase, .. and yes, it even helped me download mp3s.

Netscape Finally put to the Sword
AOL is Really, For Real Ending Netscape Navigator
Netscape Navigator: RIP

Netscape Navigator, I will miss you.


Thursday, February 28, 2008
EEEE! I received my Kamiik today! And they are beautiful! And warm!


Who would have thought that learning how to use Final Cut Express would be more difficult than learning how to use Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro CS3.

Now, I love my Apple and the Apple software ... but I have to say, Final Cut Express is one of the most complicated things I have worked with ... now mind you, I don't have a manual for it (unlike with After Effects and Premiere Pro).

With any luck, I will figure out Final Cut Express before the end of tomorrow.

Teacher Doubts French Assessment Accuracy

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Teacher Doubts French Assessment Accuracy

I knew it was only a matter of time! And I was thinking this way back in '98 when my French proficiency level was assessed.

Why New Brunswick.... why?

Usually I don't get involved in "political matters" here on Tales from the Arctic, but this one just rubs the wrong way.

Report recommends elimination of early French immersion in N.B.

Bilingual NB fails miserably when it comes to graduating bilingual students

Oh come on NB! What on Earth do you think you are doing? Eliminating the early FI program? What about the plan to make every graduate of the FI program fully bilingual? This sure ain't gonna happen now.

So why oh why are we moving away from the early FI program?? Because two researchers, concluded this (among other things): "early French immersion program, which currently begins in Grade 1, is not meeting its objectives and should be grandfathered out of the provincial education system".

Uh, Iets' stop and reflect here for a second. I went through the early FI program. I didn't drop out of it, I excelled in all of my classes (and even took all of my Math and a couple of Science courses in French in high school), learned a second language, graduated from the FI program .... and then went on and took a four year BA in French linguistics and literature. Now, mind you, I also had tons of parental language support at home too as my parents both spoke French.

Oh, and here is another no-brainer: "Currently, the core French curriculum is a non-immersion program that makes French a mandatory subject for students in Grade 1 to 10 and an elective subject in their upper high school years. About 75 per cent of all New Brunswick students participate in that program". And the other 25 per cent is enrolled in the early FI program right?

And let's also stop and think about the number of students that continue their French studies in high school. For students enrolled in the Core program, they only have to take it until grade 10. THERE ARE NO OTHER FRENCH REQUIREMENTS PER GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS.

What about students enrolled in the early immersion program? Most of us have a couple of options:
1. Take one French requirement and never take another French class
2. Take three years of FILA
3. Take a certain number of courses (any where from 8-12) to get the FI graduation certificate

and then this all depends on the size of your school too - so not all students enrolled in the FI program are even eligible for the FI graduation certificate.

So, what can we do to improve the FI program?

1. Student and Parental comitment - both students and parents need to be comitted to the FI program You are there to learn a new language and culture. You are not there because FI classes typically have a smaller class size and less "problems"

2. Teaching resources - books, magazines, audio, movies, cultural events, anything that will increase and enhance the learning experience

3. Government support - support teachers in what they are doing with the FI program

4. Teachers enforce the "rules" - encourage your students to speak French, don't let them get away with talking in English during class time, make a "French only rule" in the classroom.

The FI program won't work on it's own, and it isn't contained in a bubble - EVERYONE - parents, teachers, administration and government - all need to support the program and work together.

And if it really costs +30k per student in FI and +367k per student in the core program ... the French teachers are way underpaid.

Oh, Kids Just Wanna Have Fuh-un

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Some of the local kids have turned the hill behind one of the RCMP houses into a makeshift climbing and sliding hill.

Looks like Nunavut get's to keep their lightbulbs

Monday, February 25, 2008
Lights out for Nunavut's proposed incandescent bulb ban

Now I am all for reducing green house gasses ... but when I look at the price to get those compact fluorescent bulbs from the Northern (26$$$ for two!!!) compared to the price for a pack of 4 normal light-bulbs (3.99$), guess which bulbs I am going to go grab? Now only if they could do something with those florescent-tube lights in school ....

Nothing much to report

Nothing much to report on about life up in the Arctic right now. This weekend was pretty quiet for me. Friday evening the girls plus Dave all gathered up at Alesha and Petra's and just chatted / vented for a while and just had a good time, as the boys weren't feeling too well or up to playing poker (which was fine by us). Saturday I lounged around the house playing with photoshop and video games. Sunday night we had an Oscar's night back up at the girls with a ton of munchies.

Today was our first day of PI, where I spent half the day at school reading up on Photoshop and learning how to do some of the more advanced techniques, and in the afternoon I ran around town with my Camera getting pictures and footage for a project that I will be working on throughout the week.

For my southern readers, enjoy the snow that is heading your way! HAHA! Glad it's you and not me!

Lunar Eclipse

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse as seen last night up here in Arctic Bay.

Above 60 Photography

Monday, February 18, 2008
Since arriving here in Arctic Bay my camera has never been too far from my side. And to help spread the mystery and beauty of life up in the Arctic, I've created a photo blog where I will be posting some of my favorite photos that I've shot while up here.

Where are Mulder and Scully when you need them?

Sunday morning, Arctic Bay was visited by some unidentified object from space .... .... sadly, i don't think it was a UFO :-(. Around 7:00 am, a loud bang could be heard throughout the community (for those that were awake at that hour or who sleep with a window open as their furnace has a mind of its own).

A large trail of strange orange "light" could be seen over the mountains slicing through the early morning darkness.

Early speculation was that it was the AWOL US spy satellite re-entering orbit, but nothing in the news today has indicated that the satellite has re-entered Earth's atmosphere. However, through the Arctic Tundra Telegram system up here, apparently it was the satellite and it crashed some where's around Mary's River ... but yet again, nothing about this in the news....

So readers, what exactly is this mysterious glowing light in the sky above Arctic Bay? And did anyone else up North see something similar in their community?

photo: Ron Elliot

photo: student

photo: student

Saturday Skidoo Ride

Saturday, February 16, 2008
Today I went out for a skidoo ride with Dave (one of our relief RCMP members), Monty, Petra and Nick southward down the bay towards the sun. When we left Arctic Bay it was a nice outside (only -33!) with no wind ....... then we went past the point ... and it got cold as the wind picked up. Not being discouraged as we all did wear several layers of thermal gear we kept going.

On our way we passed several dog sled teams out on the ice, can't wait until I get to go for a dog sled ride! .. (next weekend I think), although I"m not too sure about sitting on a qamutiq (might have to bring a blanket to sit on).

We kept going out for another 30 minutes or so (and I think 50 km) to see what else was out there, and decided to head back into town as it was getting cold out there as the wind was picking up ... but first we had to find Nick to let him know we were heading back as he skidooed off ahead to see if there were any other icebergs. So this was prime time to try to nab a couple of other quick photos (and I mean quick as your fingers froze up pretty quickly out there).

While we were waiting to see if we could at see Nick in the distance, a lone sled dog, that some of us (I'm not going to name names, but it wasn't I or Dave) thought was a polar bear, came on up for a quick visit and a rub.

Dave and the sled dog

Once we were all together again, we started our trek back to Arctic Bay ..... but this time is was cold out there as we were skidooing into the wind (now, it's -36 outside, we are going at least 60km/h, and the wind is blowing at maybe 30 km/h ... which puts the temperature from what we could guess around -55 - yes, that is pretty [insert your own word of choice] cold).

Heading back into town we wound up having to cross some tricky snowdrifts and little "icebergs" jutting up. For the most part we made it through them nicely without incident .... until we had to cross a thicker patch of looser snow. Yes, readers, Dave and I managed to tip our skidoo. Now, don't you worry, I remembered John's words of wisdom to me the first time we went out for a trip together: "If we tip, you just remember to let go and push off, then tuck and roll .... cause if we both get stuck under the skidoo we are screwed". Well those words of wisdom partially worked. I pushed off just a little bit too late from the skidoo and wound up landing on one of those jutting pieces of ice and getting my right foot (more my boot than anything) stuck under the side of the skidoo. Don't worry mom, I'm fine, I got checked out. Just a little bruised and sore that's all. Luckily, we were not going very fast, heck I don't even think we were moving when we tipped ... We just got up, brushed ourselves off, made sure we were both ok, checked the skidoo and started off again. The ride back was pretty uneventful after that, other than quick stops every 10 minutes to defrost goggles / eyes. All I can say is that I am glad I had my last pack of those instant heat hand warmer pouches in my parka (so Mom, if you are reading this .... I need some replacement hand warmer pouches ...).

The Point

Although it was fricken cold out there (this was one of our many words of choice to describe how cold it was while we warmed up at Darcy's upon our return while we waited for the RCMP truck to warm up), it was still a fun time, and it was also nice to just get out on the ice and go for a ride for a while.

Wall Art

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Toasty Warm Mittens

My hands are nice and toasty on these -48 days with these ultra warm seal pelt mittens!

White Rabbit Fur Trimmed Seal Mitts
These ones have a nice thick fleece lining

Dark Fur Trimmed Seal Mitts
These ones are a little more roomy and the lining isn't as thick so I can get a pair of thin gloves on my hands too for skidooing


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Educ/Info Links

Monday, February 11, 2008
This is for all of my southern teachers/school readers who are (or were) studying the Inuit and life in the North ... and also for those that are curious too.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
This site contains a lot of information about the Inuit, Inuit Syllabics, Arctic Wildlife, traditional knowledge and other info about the North.
This site contains information about the Inuit and their origins.

Library and Archives of Canada - The Kid's Site of Canadian Settlement
This is a Government of Canada initiative for youth / students to learn more about the Inuit. Contains lots of Educational resources, activities and links to other sites.

Arctic Adventures
Grassroots project from Grade 3/4/5 at Earl Grey School in Saskatchewan.

Inuit Art of Canada

Inuit History

Inuit Games and Songs

More to come
Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fun with the Sun

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The sun came completely over the mountains today in Arctic Bay .... ever so briefly ... and just as it crept up over the mountain, it crept back down.

The Sun!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The Sun has returned to Arctic Bay!!

This shot was snapped during lunch around 12:40 pm ... and at that time it was also -46 degrees outside (ikkii! - yes, I did go back to my classroom and put on my parka and moon boots to go outside - I did not go outside in a hoodie and birks). From here on in we will be getting about 15 extra minutes of daylight per day until we reach the beginning of our 24 hour light period which should be in the first week of May.

The town was covered in a nice layer of ice fog all day and you really couldn't see too much in front of you - especially this afternoon when the mountains across the bay mysteriously disappeared.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Sliver of Sun

So close .. maybe tomorrow the sun will peek over the mountains?

T minus 36 hours (give or take)

Monday, February 4, 2008
Ahh, in 36 hours (give or take) and depending on the angle of the Earth / Sun and where I am positioned at the right moment, the sun should be making a much waited for appearance in Arctic Bay, peeking over the mountain tops ever so briefly sometime between 11:00 and 2:30 pm on Feb 6th. I SO CAN'T WAIT!!!!

So much for the "heat" wave

Sunday, February 3, 2008
Well the balmy weather in Arctic Bay has come to an end. Gone is the wonderful warm temperatures of -3 to -12 ... back is the wind and the frigid temperatures of -30 to -43 .... sigh. And I was really looking forward to not having to wear three layers to walk to the Northern for milk.

Morning Clouds

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Bay in January

I Feel the Temperature Rising

The Drummer

Friday, February 1, 2008