Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Shopping

We've had the convenience of having malls both big and small at our leisure each and every holiday season until this one. It amazes me how long I've spent "Online Shopping" this week. Remember when you used to plan a group outing to the mall. You and a handful of friends, White Hot Chocolates, crossing off items on your list, and of course, complaining about all the people you want to buy for who probably won't buy for you . . . Those were the days. . .

You'll find that this isn't so much the time of season to be jolly, rather, tis' the season to keep a watchful eye on your AeroPlan miles!

How we forgot to mention this, I'm not sure but, if you're planning on coming up here and are reading this as an early survival guide, stop what you are doing and sign up for a CIBC AEROPLAN VISA. AeroPlan points are like blood diamonds around here. Any who travels or shops up here uses their card religiously. When a stores Credit/Debit machine goes down, there is usually a herd of angry humans waving pitchforks and torches in disgust. Seriously though, take advantage of the rewards. Most Aeroplan cards give you a dollar-point ratio of 1:1 on everything you buy while some can offer you even more. I don't work for CIBC or anything, but, seeing as how I must swipe 100 of them a week from people all over, it's just the right thing to do. But if CIBC is reading this and wants to give me an AEROPLAN card with no limits that I never have to pay on the comment link and we'll get the ball rollin'!

In keeping with the topic of shopping, so far we haven't hit any major delays with shipping. Steph's gifts arrived in under 2 weeks and today I finally ordered everything so, we'll keep you posted. For the most part, everything takes a week or 2. I'd love to be more articulate but I just can't. I've seen things take days and I've seen things take weeks; it's all a matter of how fast the product goes out and where it leaves from, just like anywhere else.

We've decided to label November 30th "D-Day" for ordering anything in hopes to have it for before Christmas. We're playing it safe. We also had our Tree up on the 8th of November so, maybe we're in a little bit of a rush!

Carvings, Carvings, Carvings . . . it seems that everyone I talk to from "down south" wants a carving. It's a great idea but, economically, it may not be. Big carvings are heavy . . . heavy weight=heavy freight . . . heavy freight= $$$. The local art is amazing and makes for beautiful gifts but just be careful and be mindful of shipping costs.

Is it just me or does being up north make you feel like this will be the best Christmas ever? Between the glorious white snow that surrounds us and the crisp smell of winter that's filled my lungs since October, it feels like Christmas is more alive this year. Oh wait, maybe it's because we're closer to the North Pole.

Mom, send my Santa Suit!

December tomorrow . . .Let the Countdown Begin!

The Grey Cup

I'm not going to write about the game or remind you how great it was.

Last night was a turning point for me in this journey so far. That warm feeling that everything has come full-circle set in after those Field Goals and last night Iqaluit finally,really felt like home.

Work hosted a special Grey Cup event which we diligently sold tickets for and eventually sold-out. A lot of our regulars and some friends of staff ate up all the tickets and excitedly showed up last night wearing Alouettes Blue and Saskatchewan Green. The cooks spent all of yesterday and the day previous cooking a "TailGate Meal" which ended up being above and beyond what any of us expected. We did a Pool, we sold drinks, we ate, we cheered . . . and all 63 people including the staff were all a part of something special. We were a community; a large group of people from all over Canada. Newfoundland, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick . . .everywhere.

In the dying seconds of the game, the whole bar stood on its feet. The cooks were out of the kitchen, the bar-staff stood behind them. The customers gripped their hats, bit their nails and some even covered their eyes. When Montreal stole the game from the Roughriders in a second attempt at a Field Goal, the walls shook with cheers and sighs alike. And just like the crowd at the game, we all couldn't help but collectively clap our hands and smile because we had been a part of something so uniting and so communal that you didn't care if your team won or not, you just cared that you were there.

It made me miss my good friends from home. I wondered what they were doing or where they were when the game ended. But as I looked around at all the faces in the bar, they suddenly changed from "new" to "familiar" as if a sun had risen on them. Finally, as we were cleaning and stocking, the last group packed up and headed out, they exited by telling us this: "Thanks you guys, I'll remember tonight as one of the greats...see you tomorrow"

What a game . . .what a night . . . what a trip this has already been.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Your Favourite Song


Since get a decent flow of traffic that flows through our blog and since I'm actually obsessed with music, I tought it would be an interesting idea to flag you all down and ask you to leave a comment telling me your favourite song RIGHT now. I know my friends and family read it this too so, don't be shy. Join in

It can be a guilty pleasure, something you can't get out of your head, or a classic the pub band closed their set with last night . . doesn't matter. Hell, i'll even allow versions of Christmas Carols.... I only have 3 rules:

1) no "I've Got A Feeling"
2) I need Song-Title and Band
3) ONE SONG ONLY . . . there can be only one!

I'm going to throw any and every contribution on my iTunes and happily listen to them all, I love new music. Good music is good music, I don't care what style it is . . .

Fire at will!

Friday, November 27, 2009


...that's how cold it was today.

On the day where I shouted from a platform that I would no longer be using the $6 a day convenience of Taxi's, Mother Nature threw me a curveball. So, another $12 gone!

It was honestly so cold today that you couldn't stand outside with skin exposed for more than 10 minutes. Now, we've heard of horror stories that involve 30-second frost bite and winds that blow so cold and so fast that the gloss on your eyes freezes them open but, rest assured, we're not at that stage yet.

I take comfort in the fact that some of the local people, who have come to be my friends, laugh at my amazement with all we discover. To them it's just another day in the place they've called home for years. To me, it's all a revelation. They brushed off today's weather with a mere "...just you wait until January...". Troopers.

It's making me wonder if we'll really be able to handle this cold. I know we're equipped but, are we prepared?

It's a dryer cold than we've grown up with. At home (home being Ontario), -20 will actually make you feel like Hell is freezing over. Up here, it's cold . . really really cold . . . but how it feels cold is different. I can never explain things properly and I'm not scientist so, all I can tell you is that my bones don't ever feel cold. Does that make sense? My face gets dry, red, and cold but, my core isn't shivering underneath my hoodies and jackets. Follow?

I'm going to get way ahead of myself and say that for anyone in Southern Ontario, or out West, your -10's and 20's feel a lot colder, even though they aren't. Damp = colder. So, although it's really alarming to see numbers up here like -23 and -36, it's not like we're frozen-in and are huddled around a Garbage Can Fire praying for sunlight. It's livable and functional. So, to anyone worried about the weather up here . . . so far, so good.

I think it's appropriate to once again press the issue of intelligent preparation. We read every possible blog post and every possible piece of safety information possible in preparing for our trip. It may have cost A LOT more than I first thought but, every penny has been worth it. Some people will tell you that you don't need a "Canada Goose" or "Baffin" style of Arctic-wear. There is no right or wrong answer. Put it this way: Just get it. It's pricey, it's big, it's overkill but, your asses are covered.

The old saying "it's better to be safe that sorry" applies perfectly here. YES, you can find cheaper jackets that will get you through winter; same with boots. But these products are built to be "All or Nothing" kinds of gear. In -36 windy weather, I can throw on just my jacket over a Golf-T-Shirt and be perfectly warm, and I could probably wear my boots without socks. They're just that good.

Now, on the flip-side. . . I haven't worn my boots yet. I haven't needed to. The snow isn't high and the winds haven't been all that crazy just yet. With my new ambition to quit cabs however, I'm sure a daily regiment of boot wearing will begin in the days to come.

Oh, and Operation: Celebrity is still a "Go"!

Stay Warm Everyone.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Project: Celebrity

Steph will tell you that (at times) I'm the world's most naive person. Steph's also an avid People.Com and reader. So, the lives of celebrities alike are something we often talk about. Naturally, the duty of a bartender is to engage in somewhat interesting conversation with your patrons. It got brought up today at work that celebrities are completely unapproachable and think they're above the rest of the world. I'll admit that everyone is entitled to their opinion but, I hate generalizations sometimes, especially when they aren't justified. Steph will also tell you that I sometimes go out of my way to prove points and also have the reputation of using dramatics as well!

Let the record show that this all started when the topic of Oprah was greeted by a patron with a response of "Good, it's about time."

To keep things fair, I'm going to leave the patron's name out of these accounts. Not their quotes though...Here are a few of my favourites.

"...they don't even know how the rest of the world sees them. They just get told their cool..."

"Probably never graduated high school."

"Pay people to like them"

"wouldn't lend somebody the time" . . I think he or she meant "give"

So then there was a back-and-forth debate on individual celebrities and stories that prove both opinions. Then I brought up "Ellen" . . .who in my opinion is the greatest thing on television. She's genuine and fun, giving and generous. She's just great. And what was said by my opponent was "She only gives to people when other people are watching. Just like Oprah . . . just like any other celebrity, big or small, it's all for ratings or for their own benefit."

I've decided to test that theory. I'm going to find mailing information to any and every celebrity I can think of. I'm going to make a list, check it twice, and we'll see who's agencies or which celebrity is naughty or nice.

Geez, I should start a new blog just about this . . . I'm not going to though.

I'm going to ask for an autographed picture and nothing more. The postage will be fair trade and when I request this photo, I'll simply state that I'm a huge fan and am in an area that prohibits me from ever getting the opportunity to get an autograph myself. When or if I receive anything, I'll promptly bring it into the pub and show my fellow regular! In a perfect world, I'll get a picture from everyone and rub his or her face in all my findings. I just find unnecessary criticism annoying and one of my biggest pet-peeves are people who label, judge, and preach without rhyme or reason. Everyone is an individual and deserves to be without prejudice . . . celebrities included.

I'm calling it: "Project: Celebrity"

Hell . . .maybe I'll start with Ellen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dear Toronto Townie!

THIS is such a fun read.

It's amazing to read such an amazing account of our city!

It seems like forever since we've been there and to hear someone like TB talk about the transit and the chaos that Toronto can be, only reminded us of how badly we need a Toronto fix. If we weren't so busy the past week, we would've taken the time to list off some great places to visit for our Blog-Hero. However, since he is a diligent writer and reader of all things Northern Blogging . . .and since we now have the Internationally Recognized, soon to be rewarded, crown-achieving, HUB of Blogging . . . We've thought of a little last minute list for Townie and Co. to try and fit in to their visit. Feel free to add via comment . . .

- GRAZIE. The greatest Toronto restaurant in our opinion. Head to YONGE AND EGLINTON . . head north, green sign!

- SILVER SNAIL - T.B. . . .I know you love comics and all things comic related. THIS is your one stop shop! 367 Queen St. W.

- THE IRISH EMBASSY. Maybe the greatest T.O. pub . . . Amazing food . . . amazing Guiness.

- SOMA - Chocolatemaker. For a cup of the best Hot Chocolate known to man.

Grab some fresh Tim Hortons . . . Use High Speed Internet . . . get a "PINT" of Beer!

And just a note to the transit. If you get on, there are maps everywhere. Sure, it's flooded with people but, give it time . . . it'll come easy. Cab drivers are RIDICULOUS . . . don't even bother.

Toronto . . . we miss you!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Sun Sets Around 3:00pm

. . .it's a fact.

I've decided to make this blog more of a regiment. I doubt I'll be able to write everyday but, I think one or two posts every 2 weeks is pretty lazy. I've written before about the lack of inspiration at times but, I think that phase has passed. Tonight I was blinded by snow and I felt inspired by it.

How do I paint a picture of what it's like here in November?

It is always cold. I was early on the "Canada Goose Jacket" sporting but I'm chalking it up as a Pre-Season activity. We wear our jackets everywhere we go. You have too. There have been days where any bare skin exposed hurt within seconds. Maybe we're both still suffering from being Southerners but, the cold up here is very dry and it hits your skin first. In Ontario, you felt the cold in your bones first then you dealt with your skin. The night that was coldest so far, was the 9th. The night of the Olympic Torch relay. Which (by the way) I was an alternate for! I also arranged for the torch to be brought into the pub and most of the evening staff as well as some of our regulars got their picture taken with it. I'll post it when I scan it!

Check this slogan out for my next paragraph:

"The snow is so white, they might as well call it Dana!"

The snow is a majestic and beautiful white. When it falls it's graceful and when it sits it is peaceful. There isn't any slush or grimey snow. Since you don't have a lot of pavement and Zero curbs, you don't have that sludge build up everywhere you look. The perma-frost makes for a very slippery ground but, the walk around town is visually stunning. You look into the distance and see the hills and small mountains all covered in snow. It truly is a blanket of snow.

We've been keeping warm and staying in a lot these days. Home-cooked meals are becoming more and more frequent and hoodies are a household favourite. The cats have become really really animated. Penny seems to like to be in the kitchen with us and we've developped somewhat of a theme song for her. We've taken the "I've Got a Feeling" line from that song a few people have heard the odd time on the radio, and replaced it with "Cookin' with Penny". Much to our amusement, the "Ewwww-Ewwww" that follows in the song, Penny sings . . .with a Meow. Follow by a somersault . . (if you know Penny, you'd understand better)

All is well and all is warm.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Remembrance Day Everyone

To those who get paid for their day off . . .

To those who have to work and get paid double . . .

To those who have relatives who fought bravely so that we have this great country to live in. . .

To any and all Canadians, Happy Remembrance Day

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting "Blogged"

We were warned.

So, when you have a blog, especially one with you mug plastered in the left-hand column, you may get recognized in the "real world". When you're a part of a community like the Northern Bloggers, you automatically become a part of the incredibly resourceful group of people who have shared with the rest of the world their struggles, findings, journeys and insights into a world not many see. So, needless to say, if you blog, you're gonna get "blogged".

How does one get "blogged"? It's Easy.

When someone stops you and says "Hey, are you Jordan from the Blog?" . . . you've been blogged.

If someone asks your name and you say "Jordan" and they say "Jordan? The Jordan from the blog?" . . . you've been blogged.

If you're in the middle of the busiest lunch rush of your life and you're walking through the bar doors with 4 hot plates (if you're a server, or have ever been, you know how hard that is!) and someone passes by you and says "I love your blog" . . . you've been blogged.

I've been blogged 4 times. Yes, the above 3 and once last night. Last night however, it was an altogether new experience. Without a lenghthy story, let's just say that a wonderfully charming couple from Steph's home town stopped me and thanked the both of us for helping them through their journey to get up here. They told me that some posts helped them decide to make the trip and others were just the information they were looking for. As red-faced and blushing as I was, I really felt something fullfilling. This whole adventure came full circle with a bullet.

We're so glad to have assisted anyone with even the slightest bit of information. We don't write as much as we'd like but, we do make a big effort to provide a somewhat un-bias side to being here and/or getting here.

We wish C.&S., the Whitby Northern Newbies all the best of luck, and to anyone out there who may be on the fence. Get off it and get up here . . . don't hesitate, just diligently prepare. It's an experience like no other and one that you'll regret not trying.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Astro Theatre

Does anyone else remember their first movie theatre experience?

I do. Milton had this tiny little 3 screen theatre right beside Highway 25 and the 401. I saw Twister and was afraid of rain for a month, I had my first boy-girl date there, and I remember hating the rebellious teenager who yelled out the surprise ending to Scream 2 as he exited the 7pm show (when I was standing in line for the 9:15)just to peeve everyone off. It had Character. I didn't realise how AMC/SILVERCITY I was until we started frequenting The Astro Theatre here in Iqaluit. It's so small, so unique, so privately run and owned that we can't help but love it. Even my favourite theatre from Toronto, The Varsity, is a bit "corporate". The Astro is 100% independent. As we left the theatre last week, we even saw the actual reel's in their hard cases just shipped up and sitting by the door. We thought "how unique?". It went from Universal Studios (as read the shipping address) right to Iqaluit. Amazing. The cases looked old and rusted but, it had the same character beauty as the theatre did.

Oddly enough, it's actually cheaper to go to the Astro than any movie theatre we've been to in the past 4 years. So, if you're reading this and your fever is breaking due to all our writings about prices, here's your breath of fresh air. MOVIES!

The Astro changes their line-up every week. Movies that don't do well, don't stay. Movies that do, do. "The Informant" lasted 2 days . . . "Jennifers Body": 4 days (much due to Townie Bastard's crushing review!) but G.I. Joe and District 9 had good two or three week runs. The shelf life is completely dependant on how well each movie does.

Lastly, every visit, as you're leaving the theatre, someone who I can only assume is the owner always asks everyone . . .individually, how they liked the movie and follows that up with a "Have a good night". Try finding that at any theatre down south.

Oh yeah . . . and after you've spent more than 60 days in the North, you are legally allowed to refer to anywhere below Nunavut as "Down South"!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

So . . . we Curl now!

Bad Blogger, Jordan, Bad Blogging. First post in two weeks!

In the land of all things "Shelter", we have somewhat hit a stride in our life up here. We're out and about, socializing, making friends, making acquaintances, and now, we're Curling. Not only are we Curling, we LOVE it.

At "Mass Registration" Steph signed us up and since then, we've been pretty excited to start but, never did we ever imagine just how much fun Curling would be. The atmosphere is so welcoming and the instrustors are so insightful and fun. It's something everyone should try once . . . put it up there with Skydiving because believe us, when not careful, you could probably plummet to your death on the Curling Rink!

We can remember reading a lot of Nunavut Newbies blogs on how important it was to be involved in the community. This is so incredibly true. You really DO have a choice. You either waste away your days staying in and complaining that there's nothing to do or, you go out and find the activities, pressing your finger to the pulse, and truly enjoying your time up here. In 2 months we've experienced more than we would in 2 years in Ontario and it's all due to the fact that we read ads, ask questions, and try everything this great city has to offer . . . and it IS a city.

And what would you know, our Townie Bastard is a pro Curler . . .