Thursday, October 30, 2008

The sign of the song

Like my political views, my musical tastes morph and wander and come back to where I began.... Okay.. maybe not quite back to a four year olds impression of Fruit-Juice Me Tonight by Olivia Newton John.... um... maybe that wasn't the actual song she sang.

Grade 8 it was Depeche Mode - followed by a grunge/Canadian folk/Canadian Alternative phase - followed by a psuedo hard rock/metal - (cough cough.. mostly Canadian Alternative/Folk) There was a Tori Amos phase, A David Usher phase - well... actually I guess I'm really a Moist fan that has stuck around - A dance pop phase (ick! - except when I'm exercising) and this week its Imogen Heap and David Usher. I still really like his new Album... I think its one of my favourites.. I haven't gotten bored of it yet and I've been listening to it lots since my Ipod disaster where I lost a huge chunk of my music - its not lost lost -its just stuff I had on CD back in the south - and so my choices are somewhat limited currently to recently acquired music... And Imogen Heap... I think the haunting sounds suit the terrain here - she has a wintery voice.

I guess I'll admit I like music with energy, interesting layers, descent guitar and lots of keyboards... other current favourites:
Dala, Dar Williams, The Beautiful Unknown, Niyaz, Yoav, Nightwish, Feist, Fiction 8, Sarah McLaughlin, Isaac and Blewett, Stabillo, and I'm looking forward to David Cook's new Album due out in a few weeks.... so... I guess I'm listening to folky alternative rock with a heavy streak of Canadian talent in the list.

Anywho.. I ramble.... but yeah for music.
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Random things I've learned this Week

Still no northern lights :S.

But I have learned a lot about bread and yeast.... like there is this enzyme called zymase that yeast makes to facilitate the fermentation of glucose to alcohol and carbon dioxide and that its actually the protein gluten that gives bread its fluffy structure.

I learned that pyrex is borosilicate glass and that lead oxide is added to glass to make softer, sparklier lead crystal.

I also learned that next time I buy an alarm clock at the last Walmart I'm likely to see for over 4 months - I shouldn't be frugal. My clock while rich in features is poor in workmanship.... and has an annoying alarm. It makes me miss my bright green one - the one I used to have to flip over to make my room dark or alternatively, could use as a reading light in a pinch. Although, the last time it was on the fritz I did stumble accross the new vinyl cafe. There isn't anything as nice as being snuggled up under a down duvet, lying on your stomach listening to Stuart Mclean relate the latest in the life of Dave and Morley.

Anywho, my red pen is giving me a dirty look... so its back to correcting and organizing and trying to come up with something ghoulishly cool related to math......


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Ah.. promise fulfilled. I grabbed some shots in -20 C (-28 C with the wind chill) of the sun setting behind the airport (or Blueberry Hill). I can't believe that tomorrow is Halloween already and my first thought is not to forget one of my friends from Kash's birthday...

The solar wind is zipping along, the sky is clear and all we need is nice little geomagnetic storm.... I'll poke my head out in a bit and see how it is.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Welcome Back Salmo Salar (Atlantic Salmon)

Here is the Cataract stretch of the Credit River - a watershed near and dear to my heart. I found this story and I just had to post the link because its so exciting that they have Salmon returning to the Credit. I have a soft spot for Atlantic Salmon too.
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Canada Day

This shot was taken nearly 4 months ago and 2600 km away on Mount Nemo. Today, I find myself busy, but content. Maybe because I live in a place where the baking of a cheese cake is sufficient reason for a get together on a Wednesday night.... I guess I should have put the pictures of Sherrie and I's adventures in Cheese Cake up --- but I'm not sure I have photos from quite that long ago. Yeesh! I guess I took those with one of those film cameras. I can't even imagine not having a digital camera - especially since I use my pictures nearly exclusively on the computer.

The solar wind is up over 600 km/s - and the sky is even mostly clear - but the k value is at 3 and there isn't much in the way of northern lights. The tempeture has dipped down to -18 C though and so I've hauled out my big old Sears Parka that is likely older than me. I did buy a little Kamik zipper pull from the flea market on Saturday. I should post a shot of them. They are really nice.

We have real snow now. It even snowed lightly all day and the sunset was beautiful. The lake froze over last night and the ice is covered with a patchy dusting of snow. There were heavy clouds near the horizon, but the sky above was clear and tinged in purples and pinks and I was away from my camera. Tomorrow.. I'll manage to get out when there is some light... It makes me think things like Merry Halloween :D - but definately.. you'll need a costume that'll fit over a snow suit here. Its no place for skimpy costumes.

In science class, we made bread and we repeated my science fair that got second place in grade 5 - losing out to crystals in the life catagory no less.... shouldn't they have lost because they thought crystals were alive... It was pretty fun all in all... and the only thing that smells better than 2 loaves of bread baking is 8.

I wanted to post this link for my mom. It was definately worth the precious bandwidth to watch - especially since I've been pretty much starved for the real thing so far. - I also found a nice new to me Aurora prediction site for the Yukon -

And in another random direction... 2 days ago I logged onto my blog to find that I was the 20,001 hit. Now, granted that is actually not all the hits on my site because I didn't add stats counter for quite a few months and also granted that I probably make up at least 40% of my traffic - less lately, but still I'm a significant piece (I use my blog as a portable favourite's page). Still, not to shabby considering that I mostly ramble whatever comes out of my brain as fast as I can type it with only limited editing and no real purpose.

So.... I'd better get back to test and assignment writing before I get sleepy. Honest... pictures soon. I'll have to take some on Halloween.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Some other Sunday

Well, its been a productive weekend in some ways. I've caught up on my sleep, and then some (what a waste of time to just sleep). I've tidied my room, baked bread, watched a movie (I can't remember the last time I did that), made a stir fry, wound 4 or 5 skeins of wool into balls, went to a flea market, went on a walk, tried out Kathy Smith's Step Video, and restarted my socks.... So now it is time for a cup of coffee and a red pen and quantity time trying to organizing my boxes.

I am totally guilty of failing to take a picture of the new fallen snow or my wool or my sock....


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Thursday, October 23, 2008


Here is a nice hummocky chunk of frozen tundra. By tomorrow, unless Environment Canada changes its mind again, should bring our first real snow of the the year - maybe 15 cm. My skis are calling... maybe a little bit of skiing will be in order... probably not, but I'm excited. I always love the first snow of the year... and a I'm a bit miffed that I move up to the 64th parallel and they get snow on the 46th before we do here... it just isn't fair - is it??? LOL.. I bet they get spring first though!

Other random thoughts -

When we scrutinize ourselves too sharply, we always find plenty to criticize. You are striving to compensate for what you suspect is a personality defect. Grant yourself permission to be who you are. You have nothing to apologize for.

This is today's horoscope.... I guess this could apply every day, but I think I've been giving myself a hard time a bit more often in the last week than before... So... I made an extra effort to be myself and not try to be what I thought anyone else wanted... and it was nice and oddly... it worked better. Go figure.

Since I've started teaching again I've noticed a few changes about myself. The most amazing is that my printing and handwriting are neater. I won't lie and say that it is anywhere near what I'd call neat, but it has become consistantly ledgible - which is a monumental achievement for me.

I think I may have made a lasting educational impression on some of my grade nine's. I don't think they'll forget what a parasite is..... nothing quite like a photo of a cat intestine spilling nematodes from an incision to leave a lasting impression.... Okay... I think my parasitology lab has probably left more of a lasting impression on me than most of my other labs combined. Save maybe plant evolution and wood products - but only because 4 hours of drawing pictures of things through a microscope usually ends with me curled up with a splitting headache wishing that there was some other way to draw cross sections of phloem and xylem - but I don't think that increased memory. Parasitology lab was at 8:30 am on Friday mornings - Thursday night is pub night, and while I didn't usually participate in the festivities of pub night - I worked as a Foot Patroller until 3 am, so searching through the intestines of thawing roadkill 5 and a half hours after I got off work was... rough and we had to use microscopes.

And I keep forgetting to mention/photograph my knitting related stuff. My Yarn Forward order came and I'm loving the Cascade 220 colours. I have to remember to follow up and order some more. Photograph coming soon. I also need to photograph my sock... I started the second one, but had a stupid moment and knit the tail in the wrong direction on the cuff... so I think its time for some frogwork for sure... sigh and I hate casting on.

Hopefully... pictures of snowcovered tundra soon.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Okay.. no real thoughts to add at this time... but here is an extra picture.
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And rabbits the size of cats

I must have a better picture of an arctic hare somewhere... but seriously... they are at least as big as an average raccoon, definately bigger than cats. I think my dog would think about it a bit before chasing after them... but then chase after them anyways. This one decided he didn't want to stick around for a photo session. We kept an eye out for him when we we got around the corner... but no visible sign of him anywhere...

Its been busy lately - I think its going to stay that way. Look for northeren lights (maybe even down south) on Oct. 31st and apparently they have more snow in Central Ontario than they do here... go figure.
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Standing in the wind

Last post... I have a long laundry list of things to accomplish today. I actually took yesterday completely off and didn't even let myself feel the least bit guilty about it. I went for a hike, got some good exercise in and spent some time hanging out with various folks and didn't even enter the school. Here is a nice little patch of snow with seed strctures poking out of it. I was telling a good chunk of my students about fireweed last week. Its odd... I guess it would be a bit like dandilions back home... it totally dominates the landscape here, yet when I put up a picture of it - most kids did know much about it. Which is about what I know about dandilions - or at least that I would know about dandilions if I was a normal person and not a hobby naturalist and an ex-camp nature coordinator.
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The Verge of Winter

Frost grips the soil
Snow dusted tundra hollows
Against bare ridges

Crisp air flavoured with
The spice of snow falling soon -
The verge of winter
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Baker Lake Hamlet

This is it... our town nestled on the shore of the lake in the last week or so before the snow comes and we settle into winter properly. It is growing pretty fast - I'm sure by this time next year there will be more buildings and this will likely continue for some years into the future. So... here it is.. a snapshot in time - Baker Lake has grown on me pretty quickly. It is a good place.

I'm caught between wishing for snow so that I can try out the skiing and knowing that I'll likely be sick of snow by June. I guess since my wishing has no real effect on the weather (similiar to the prediction of the weather folk) - I can wish whatever I want and the weather will likewise do what it wants. Snow seems inevitable at this point - its about -6.8 C right now, overcast with flurries.... But the snow is late. I guess by now its usually nearly snowmobilable.

Well, I promise to post a picture once we do get the snow.
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Put on your tinfoil hats

This is known as the VOR. It sits on a ridge that can be seen from town and I must admit that I honestly don't know what it is for - possibly it is the relay station for phones or satalite or some device for the airport. It is an impressive and somewhat intimidating installation. It did make for a nice walk on a seemingly rare sunny day. I even got a chance to wear my MEC sunglasses for the first time here.

Alternatively... if there is anywhere in town where a UFO might feel at home landing... this is it.
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Standing at Attention

Well, I'm off to bake some banana bread now that I've obtained the most excellent recipe from my agent in the south.... ummm.. thanks mom for going hunting through my junk again.

It was getting dark when we ran across this flock of 40 or so ptarmigan... I love their feathery feet. No snow yet... but some is promised soon... until then these guys do really show up against the tundra.
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Clouds, clouds, go away

Well, the sunspot activity finally starts to be picking up. We've actually had a few form and leave in the last 2 weeks - compared to the blank blank month of August. The current kp is 6 - which means that if it was dark and clear I'd be able to see the northern lights in southern Ontario. Unfortunately... its not dark right now and the weekend that the weather-guy promised would be sunny is still grey and overcast and looking to stay that way. I hope it clears for a bit tonight. Not that there is a garentee that the geomagnetic storm will continue. But - I'd really like to see a nice display.

There is a nice picture of the new sunspot on

As for me, the sky doesn't look good for pictures today so I'm postsponing my hike until tomorrow. See if Ican't finish up all my report card related work today and actually hike without that worrying me tomorrow - when its intermittantly sunny and all.

Well... sooner started, sooner done.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Last shot of the beached barge


The barge is still floating around Baker Lake harbour - but it is no longer beached... so I may yet get one last picture of it before they haul it out completely.
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Sundown Spectacular

The sun is quickly dipping behind the hills earlier and earlier these days.

Not much exciting news here - I'm looking forward to a weekend of marking books and stuff - but the weather is supposed to be nice, so I'm planning to squeeze at least one hike into it. And maybe a night hike on Saturday when then Northern lights are supposed to be active again.

I have voted. I have no idea if my ballot will count or not. If it'll make it to the place I've mailed it before the deadline given the vageries of northern mail. Actually.. I'm a little worried I messed up my ballot because I was worried that I didn't know the correct spelling of my candidate's name, so I wrote the riding name on it in addition to the name of my candidate - and they only gave me one ballot. Then I finished reading the instructions that only the one name should be on there and I figured that scratching off something was more likely to spoil it than the alternative of leaving the riding name written... I guess I'll never know...

So aside from the mysteries of democracy... there isn't much to write. I had stuffed squash and crescent rolls for supper. It was some good.
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

boom and budge

This shot captures a bit of our local building boom as Agnico-Eagle's mine prepares for opening in a few short years. As for the budge, they've actually managed to tug the beached barge off the bottom of Baker Lake and past town... it looks like its escaped a second winter frozen in. Probably this is a good thing for all involved. I think its a testament to sheer will power since they've had as many as 3 tugs working on it at various times for the last few weeks. Its definately going to be a change to the landscape.

I missed getting a neat sunset this evening, but I figured by the time Igot down and outside dressed for the weather it was going to be past. Its report time... so I'm probably going to be laying low the next few days... however... look for some last pictures of the barge taken a two nights ago. We've actually had fairly warm weather the last few days... but its looking like we are headed for sunny and chilly over the next few days.

However, the weather report changes so often... well... I guess we shal see.
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Saturday, October 04, 2008

The whole picture

Well, we've lost the sun we had earlier today. Hopefully we'll have clear skies tonight. My fingers are crossed.
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And the sun rises

I realized looking at my blog that I've been posting mostly old pictures (haven't had much sun here for the last few weeks or time to take new pictures). We don't have a nice mountain behind where the sun rises, but here is the power plant and a crazily pink sky.
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Friday, October 03, 2008

Agawa Sunset

I honestly didn't mess with the colours.... Definately a nice start to the trip.

I watched the debate tonight. I don't know if it was exciting, but I'm somewhat relieved that the lot of them at least say they are less crazy than they are.... I feel some hope that we aren't facing our doom at any rate - something interesting might come of it afterall.
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Rustle Lake

Okay.. one more for the road. This was taken on an unfortunate hike (cough, cough... bushwhack) where most of the trail was under water - however.. the mist on the lake at dawn made it very much worth the scratches, wet feet and risk of falling in.
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Let Sleeping Giants Lie

As you might be guessing... I've finally been reunited with my photos - and happiness is lots of pictures of places I love.
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Superior Alone Tour Memories II

I don't know that I ever posted this one.... It was shot on a morning hike in Lake Mary Louise Campground. The weather was wet, but we had a tent trailer - so no worries.
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ooops.. No Superior Alone Tour Shot afterall

I was going to post a picture to commemorate the one year anniversary of my "Superior Alone Tour" (I even have a tshirt somewheres).... Unfortunately, I don't have most of my photos handy... infact the only old stuff I have is related to my thesis field work... so Merry Travels and here is some late september shots of CWD in Wilmot.... which is also beautiful if not yet in fall colours. This time last year was probably my last day in Thunder Bay or second last before I headed back to TO. It might have been the evening that I went to the Bluffs for the the first time and centennial park.... all those places I never went to when I lived there because I didn't have a car or even really know that they are there. Instead you can follow this link to my journal from my trip and all the photos that I posted already.

In reflection, I have to admit that trip is one of the coolest things I did.. rain and all. I had a blast camping with Mhari and trying Sven and Oli's Pizza (even if I experienced Minasota in total downpour conditions). I think I hit every major waterfall between Pidgeon River and Sudbury (that was off the highway) and I made it to Jackfish, Port Coldwell and Rainbow Falls and tonnes of places that I've never even heard of. Hopefully, I'll make it to the beach in Neys Provincial Park and maybe get to hike a bit of the Cascades trail this summer and I still need to make it to the Agawa Canyon.... :D Everyone should do a solo road trip once in there life...I hope this isn't my last either... I have many hills left to climb and roads to drive and niches to find... night
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