From my Front Window

Saturday, January 31, 2009
This is the sight I woke up to this Saturday Morning ...

Hockey Afternoon in Arctic Bay

Friday, January 30, 2009
This afternoon we all (everyone in the school) went down to the arena to watch a Teacher/Staff/Community Member vs. Students (the boys hockey team - Midget I think .... grade 9+) hockey game.

Both teams 'fought' hard on the ice to claim the title of 'King of the Ice' as the school and community cheered on.

I have no idea what the final score was (and not that it really matters) as I was out in the arena lobby trying to get feeling back in my hands as I was snapping pictures during the game.

***[things that I learned while taking photos of the game: 1) I definitely need mid-range focal length lens as the ones I have were either too limited or way too much for what I needed; 2) a flash would have been pretty useful as the lighting in the arena isn't the best; 3) my camera is not the best for sports / action shots ... looks like I might be looking at investing in a Nikon in the future]

Sunrise in Arctic Bay

Here is a glimpse at the sky a good three hours before the sun 'officially' rises in Arctic Bay - although, we still won't see it here in town for another five days as it doesn't quite make it above the mountains that surround us here.

According to environment Canada, sunrise will be occurring at 12:20pm and sunset will be occurring at 13:28pm for a grand total of 68 minutes of 'sunlight'.

Sliding at Recess

Here are the kindergarden to grade 4 kids having fun sliding on the little sliding hill they made on the playground.

It sure is nice to have this much light again at 10:25am!

Moon and Venus

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It took forever to upload ... but here it is they are.

The things photographers go through for the perfect picture

Today while walking home from school, in up in the twilight above the mountains that surround us here in AB was the wondrous sight of the New Moon and Venus. I booted it home and ran in to get my camera and tripod to set it up in the dark behind my unit, the unit across from me and over behind Clare's (as it was nice and dark over there).

Well, I got my ever so excellent picture of the New Moon eating Venus (looks like PacMan chasing after a dot) ... but in the process I managed to not only freeze up my tripod but my hands as well (even though I had my nice and warm gloves on with me).

Once I get my bandwidth back I'll be posting on up photos of the afternoon sky here in AB... but for now, you can head on over to The House and Other Arctic Musings to get a glimpse at what is hovering above us here in AB.

Exceeded my Bandwidth

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Well ... it's going to be quiet here on Tales from the Arctic for the next 8 days as I have exceeded my Qiniq bandwidth allotment for the month. How I managed to do this is beyond me, especially considering that half the time I can't even get connected to the Internet 'cause Qiniq is having issues with it's service.

Sigh. Me thinks it might be time to start researching for a new Internet service provider ... if one exists for way up here in the high North.

Geek Side Project: Tech in Education

Monday, January 26, 2009
The geek in me needed a side project ... more so of a research project in a way. Since I am a technology educator (and a geek at heart), I love finding new software to use and test out to see if it can be of any use to me personally, to my teaching or my students in class.

So what this this Northern Geek do? Created a new blog. A blog where educators and any one else seeking software that is low-cost / open-source can visit. The whole purpose of this new blog is to search the internet for easy to use, inexpensive / free software that can be used primarily in the classroom, but also for home / work use. Now, no offense to the Windows users out there, but the software I will be featuring will be primarily Mac OS X and Linux based, as these are the OS's that I have access to (unless Dell has an amazing sale on Windows machines .... I can't believe I would consider owning a Windows machine again.... sigh, what is wrong with me?)

For those of you who are interested, head on over to my new Geekdom, Tech in Education. I'm going to be trying to have at least one software review up per week ... more if I'm able to squeeze it in... all depends on how complicated the programs will be.

This Morning's Educational Moment Brought to you By FoxTrot

Happy 25th Macintosh Computer!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy 25th Anniversary Birthday to the Macintosh Computer!!

Although my first use of the Macintosh was 9 yeras latter in 1993, the Macintosh Classic II was my first introduction to the world of Mac's.

I just couldn't resist

I stumbled across this on an ubuntu-canada mailing list .... and although 'old news' it is still relevant in our internet world ... where everything is being slapped with a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act - USA) or in Canada the Bills C-60 and C-61 (did anything ever come out of the proposed motions for amendments to these bills?). or our more commonly known 'friend', DRM ... either way, I thought it was quite humorous at this late hour of the night ... or should I say early hour of the morn?

Map of Nunavut

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Canadian Atlas Online

Might as well keep going with the educational resources theme of the day (hehe).

For you geography teachers, or those that just love looking at maps ... head on over to The Canadian Atlas Online, an interactive atlas ... all on line.

The Territory of Unrequited Dreams

In 1999, Nunavut, Canada's newest Territory was created ... and on April 1, Nunavut celebrates it's 10th year as a Territory and it's joining in the Confederation.

In today's mail I received my first copy of my subscription to Canadian Geographic.. and but what was it's feature? Nunavut turning 10.

I thought that it was pretty freaky that my first issue would be one about Nunavut turning 10. At the same time, I was sure that Darcy was gonna snatch the magazine right out of my hands and run into the night (as I think he was more excited about the issue than I was).

And in the spirit of Education, as I know many of you teachers that check in on this blog, in preparation for Nunavut's 10th Anniversary (sounds kinda strange).... you can learn all about it's history and beginnings here at Nunavut 99 - Changing the Map of Caanda.

Also, if anyone out there has a copy of the January/February 1999 Canadian Geographic that had the feature article about the creation of Nunavut, I would love to get my hands on a digital version of the article.

Like... uh .... ikki??!!?

A Great Teacher Resource

When I first stumbled onto, I jumped for joy - as I really don't like having to wrack my brain out coming up with worksheets and exercises for my English students to work on in class.

And not only does make English resources, they have tons of other easily downloadable pdf worksheets covering a variety of subjects (math, geography, puzzles ....).

Currently it is in the beta phase, and is free to all to use. So head on over and check it out!

Oh yes, and don't forget to pass this site on to all of your colleagues!

And the Winners Are ........

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Congrats to all of the participants in the 2008 Nunies! The polls closed last night .... and the results are in! To check them out head on over to Clare @ The House and Other Arctic Musings.

It was a great battle to the end with many of us flip flopping throughout the whole voting period.

So, yet again, congrats and see ya in the blogosphere!

Not too Much Longer Now!

Friday, January 16, 2009
We are about halfway through our countdown to the sun's return to Arctic Bay... And the sky is getting pinker and brighter everyday. Can't wait for the sun's return!

Arctic Bay Sky @ 11:20 AM

Ha-Ha! I've been Tagged!

Thursday, January 15, 2009
Darcy has tagged a group of us in a little 'let's see where these instructions take you' meme.

So this is what I eventually landed on (after doing a little substituting of location names, since I don't exactly keep my pictures in the documents folder .. but locked up safely in Aperture).

And ... here it is!

This picture was taken way back late August when I went on a hike out to Uluksan Point. I initially planned on putting both feet in the water but it was rather chilly and the rocks were kinda slimy and I didn't want to fall in the bay.

So .... I know tag Tina, Kara, Jennith, Alex, Megan and Jackie.

Here are the 'rules'

1. Go to your documents. (or if you are a mac user, go to your pictures folder)
2. Go to your 6th folder.
3. Go to your 6th picture.
4. Blog about it.
5. Tag 6 others to do the same.

Inuksuk and Polar Bear Carvings

My New Qilautii Earrings

Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Qilautii Earrings, carved by Jina Akikuluk

This afternoon after school, I went to the Heritage Center with a fellow teacher who was looking for mittens. While there, I found and purcahsed these beautiful qilautii (drum) earrings made from narwhal tusk.

Extra Extra - Read All About it!

Last week Darcy, Clare and myself were interviewed by Nunavut News/North as part of an article on the upcomming Nunies.

Paper copies of the article have made it here to Arctic Bay (finally) ... I still don't have my hands on a copy though, but was able to read it while over the other side of town at the Arctic College instructor's house (as a group of us got together for a spagetti supper - yum!). I'm going to have to make a special trip to the Northern tomorrow to grab a copy.

It's a two page spread about the Nunies (founded by Clare) and us blogggers here in Arctic Bay (head on over to Darcy's if you want to see part of the article.

I was hoping to find the online version as sometimes Nunavut News/North does put up whole articles .. but alas, no. I did make the "front page" of the website! Thanks to Clare and Daron I now have the link to the article!

Let the Voting Begin!

It is time!

Clare has released the top 5 candidates for Best Nunavut Blogs, Best New Nunavut Blog and the candidates for Best Post from 2008. Head on over to the polls to cast your vote now!

If you were a box of software ...

Monday, January 12, 2009
.... where would you be hiding in my apartment?

It's hard ... being a geek ...

way way up miles above the Arctic Circle. ** changed due to "legal" demands ... infringmemnt my *** :-P

Piled Higher and Deeper Comics (a.k.a. PhD Comics)

I admit it. I am a geek. Not a nerd, but a geek [for a geek vs. nerd definition and a guide on how to tell the difference between a geek and a nerd]. I love my tech toys. But living way up North can be a little painful for a geek like me.

It's not like I can hop on the bus and head to the local Futureshop, Apple Store or homebrew computer center. I miss being able to stop in at those places and play with what ever new tech-toy just came out, to scope out what is coming through the pipes, and to decide what I am going to drool over for the next three months while I save up the $$ to get it.

There aren't too many other people here in the north that get the geeky things in life (at least up here - I can count them on one hand). It's hard to talk geek to anyone, most of the time I just get blank looks and the do I need to know this stare.

My geekdom is pretty limited here. I can look at and research all of the new tech-toys, but I'm a tactile geek - I like to be able to hold it in my hands and see how it "feels" and "works" before committing myself to a relationship.

Even the process of trying to get tech-toys up North is painful. Futureshop, BestBuy and The Source charges an arm and a leg for shipping, Dell can't seem to get a package to you, my local independent computer shop back home wants to charge me UPS rates ... at least Apple half of the time can get things to us up here relatively quickly ... unless they ship it to your southern address instead of your northern address.

Heck, I can hardly even download my favorite technology podcasts ... as they push me over my measly 2GB limit way too quickly. I have no idea what is going on in the world! I don't even know what was said at the last MacWorld!

Yeah, I could just send a list of what I want down south to my mom or some of my other geek inclined friends, but then I have to wait for them to get up to the shops, shove it in the mail, and hope that Canada Post/First Air doesn't loose it in the process.

So, until I make it down south, I guess I will just have to continue my tech-toy withdrawl ... oh, it's so painful .. its like giving up coffee during exam week.

Moon over Arctic Bay

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Night Time Pictures

Saturday, January 10, 2009

First Week Back Wrap Up

Friday, January 9, 2009
The first week back to school was a crazy one. Things started out pretty rocky right off the bat with some unexpected events at school ... but we all pulled together and made the best of it. Wednesday, the kids came back to school - excited and happy to be back at school ... but oh so exhausted as their sleep patterns are still all topsy turvy from the holidays.

My classes are going well ... they keep getting larger each day. Soon, I really am going to run out of space in my classroom. It's pretty tricky fitting in 31 high school students in a classroom. We have to go on a chair hunt each day and steal chairs from other high school classrooms (usually Darcy's) as during my English class (the last period of the day) I have about 40% of our registered high school students in it. We are having fun though, being crammed into my classroom.

This afternoon during the last 30 min of school we held our second Staff vs. High School Students volley-ball game. It was a fun and challenging game, with us teachers diving and ducking to avoid being beamed in the head with a volley-ball at times. Our high school students sure can hold their ground in sports.

Tonight, everyone is laying pretty low as were all pretty wiped out after this first week back. It's always a struggle getting back into the groove of teaching after a lazy holiday.

Interesting Musings in an Uninterested World

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

If you need a good break from the norm ... or just a reality check, head on over to Interesting Musings in an Uninterested World, a blog that has been created by a friend of mine in NJ.

"Announcing ...... the 2nd Nunies"

Its that time of year again, award show time. Nominations are now open for the biggest and best blogging awards in Nunavut (well, okay the only one) - The Nunies. Once again there will be three categories which are:

1) Best Blog
2) Best New Blog
3) Best Blog Post

Nominations for Best Blog and Best New Blog can be made by anyone. You can nominate up to five blogs in both categories. Nominations can be sent by email to nunavutblogs AT yahoo DOT ca and must be received by midnight January 12, 2009.
[nabbed from Clare @ The House and Other Arctic Musings]

So yes readers, it is that time again. The Nunies are back. Send Clare on a message nominating your favorite Nunavut blogs!

Here Comes the Sun

Exciting times here in the North! School has started up again ... and... wait for it ... the sun is beginning to make its presence known! Over the last couple of days we've been having an ever increasing pink glow on the horizon - which can mean only one thing ... we are exiting from the dark side of the moon!

This was what it was looking like just before noon today here in Arctic Bay.

Call for Backup

Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I don't normally get 'political' on Tales from the Arctic, but over the past two years here in the North I have met some amazing Members and their families, and also have many university friends who joined the force as well.

Call For Backup Canada

Airplanes and Waterfalls

Monday, January 5, 2009
Well, most of our southern staff that went out for the holidays (minus the Northern Newfie, our SST and our grade 4/5 teacher) made it back to Arctic Bay today .... slightly delayed, but back. So, we of course can start the new term since we have a) enough teachers and b) enough supply teachers to cover for the missing teachers.

However .... someone / something out there (Murphy's Law perhaps?) decided to grant us an extra day off. Some time during the last 24 - 36 hours, one of our sprinkler pipes decided to burst, flooding the elementary wing. I haven't seen the 'damage' yet, but our custodial staff is working hard to get things cleaned up so we can open school as soon as possible. I think I'll be heading down tomorrow to clean up (or at least see what the 'damage' was to) my classrooms. I'm hoping not too much.

At least I get one more day to get my body back on a proper sleeping schedule so I won't be a walking zombie when the kiddies hit my classroom. Oh, who am I kidding, I'll probably still be a walking zombie. "Brains ..... brains.... need to find brains....."

Quick New Years 2009 in Arctic Bay Overview

Thursday, January 1, 2009
New Years in the North is a pretty amazing sight. Starting at 5:00 pm Dec. 31 and running until the wee hours of the morning on Jan. 1 there were activities all around.

At 5:00pm there was a feast in the gym followed by some games and the New Years Eve church service.

At 12:00 am everyone (that has a skidoo, quad, truck....) goes out onto the ice out towards the point to organize themselves into a long parade of vehicles that snake across the ice in huge 'S' patterns. Then there is the parade around town where everyone who was on the ice rides around town.

After the parade, games and dances continue at the gym. And this was just amazing to watch. I do have video footage, and I'll get to editing it soon and get it posted up for everyone to see some traditional dancing up here in the North.

So, how am I spending my New Years Day? I'm currently curled up on the couch waiting to be put out of my misery - as some one either a) sent me the flu or b) gave me the flu. At least I'm getting it out of the way before school starts up again .... although, a couple of days off with the flu wouldn't be a bad thing either :-P

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years Readers!

Yes, 2008 came in strong and went out strong .. and in good fashion 2009 is coming in strong too. This is just a little note for now as I am beat - just got back in from the gym where we were brining in 2009 just like if we were partying as if it were 1999. It's now 3:45 am and they are still going strong down at the gym. I was nodding off and turning into a walking zombie so I packed it in and headed home.

So here it is, 2009.

More on this mornings events later on today (when I am capable of typing with both hands again).