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Northern News Services can suck it

WARNING: THIS BLOG ENTRY IS FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT MALICIOUS IN INTENT. IT IS INTENDED TO KEEP PEOPLE FROM TAKING JOBS THAT ARE NOT EXPLICITLY EXPLAINED AT THE OUTSET. IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THE WAY A JOB IS EXPLAINED TO YOU, PLEASE ASK A ZILLION QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU TAKE IT. LEARN FROM THIS "COMMUNICATION MISHAP" AND GROW.

THANK YOU.

Hello my adoring fans.

Well, after one day of retardedly awful work at News/North (not the Inuvik Drum, by the way, which is what I THOUGHT it was) I quit.

I know, I know, it's shocking.... right. Never in my life, have I been so incredibly lied to as I was with this job.

Never in my life, have I quit a job on the exact same day I started.

Never in my life, have I been given a job that was the complete opposite of what was advertised.

I'll give you a sample of the ad that was posted on JeffGaulin.com

"You will get a wide range of experience -- courts, environment, legislature, business, aboriginal affairs, municipal politics North of 60 -- writing with an emphasis on people. "

Said the ad.... so I applied. Excited that I would be doing a bunch of cool stuff.

(Later on, in a telephone conversation, the man that hired me, said that in fact the ad does sound like it is advertising a job in Yellowknife. Great.)

To credit NNSL, and thank you to the Yellowknifer, I did do a couple of interesting stories in Yellowknife and then I was supposed to continue said interesting things in Inuvik.

No problem, I thought.

My first task on Monday morning was to do the "Neighbourly News" which consists of calling at least 40 different contacts in various communities near Inuvik and finding out what the latest updates are.

It took me all day. Four of those 40 people actually had something REMOTELY interesting to say. And I didn't give a flying crap about any of it. Some kids went on a caribou hunt.... There is a snowmobile safety training... blah de blahblah blah...

I understand that these things are very important to the people involved, and the people in the communities around.

I understand that yes, this is the rock hard soil that good journalism grows out of. But if I have NO CHANCE of ever meeting these people, I will have no empathy... ever.... with anyone that lives there. And they will have no empathy for me in return.

After that was done, I was also supposed to write a profile on a random person. "Anyone who is employed" as long as they don't live in Inuvik.

So, I got out the yellow pages and started calling random people. After about 10 calls, no one was remotely interested in talking to me at all. And why should they? I'm sure they've all been misquoted about a dozen times each.

Fuck.

That.

I wanted to shoot myself in the head by the end of the day.

I also tried to redeem the day by attending town council, because I heard the regional school superintendent was going to be there. He had some interesting things to say, which would have been a cool story, but just thinking about trying to get in touch with another teacher in a community I don't know anything about, leaving a message on a phone whose voice mail might not be checked until next week and waiting for them to call me back, made me want to carve my heart out with a dull blade.

I took a minute this morning to talk to a person, who had this job before me. They told me they were so happy to hear that I had quit after one day, and that they always wished they had left way before they actually did.

They also thought they were going to be working for the Drum before they came up here. They also did a bunch of research and was reading the Drum in the days before they moved to Inuvik. When they got here, they were shocked to find that in fact, they were doing this job. At a publication they had no idea what it was.

After talking to the man who hired me, Mr. X, it was apparent that he had no sympathy for pulling the ol' bait and switch on me, so I am still on the hook for my moving expenses. I'm calling around to various lawyers to see what my rights are and of course, according to my former boss, I have none.

Most of the lawyers I have called so far, are in a conflict of interest, because they either do or have done work for NNSL... lucky me...I'll have to cast my net wider and find someone else. I don't think what they are doing is right, or fair to anyone.

If you've read this far, you are probably thinking I'm naive. I should have never traveled so far, for such vague promises. Who is stupid enough to do that?

The fact remains that I still have a thirst for some sort of northern adventure. I still want to see what exactly it is like here. For some people, curiosity cannot be satiated. Why should I hurry and hop the next plane out of town, when I can grab a quick job and really soak up the lifestyle.

I have a couple of weeks to get out of the apartment, so I'll see how much cash I can raise before the next bus out of town leaves.

I found out the only bus out of town goes to Whitehorse, and costs $280.

The catch is, they don't leave unless they can get six people on the bus. So, I'll have to call again in a couple of weeks and see if they've filled it. I'm on the waiting list now, but I think I'm the only one.

Anyway, from Whitehorse, I can buy a Discovery Pass on Greyhound and bus it down to Mexico, or California, or some such. I'm hoping to bum around Mexico for a while ala The Refreshments and then help Owen move in to his new place in Mountain View. A longer term goal would be to get some sort of visa to work in America. Doing I don't care what.

In the meantime, I am waiting for Owen's package to get to me in Inuvik. It has a Kindle in it, which will be CRUCIAL if I'm going to bus it all the way to Mexico.

Back in Inuvik, I dropped in to all three hotels and also to the Mad Trapper with my resume. I was hired on the spot at the Trapper to work on the weekends, so that's where I'm going to be for a bit.

Upon leaving the bar, one of the bouncers, who looks like he's about 18, stops me and says that I'll get the real northern experience working here.

I can't wait to find out what he means.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Just a 10 minute stop

I had to run to get back on the plane because I was in the washroom when they announced the boarding call. They had even already locked the doors!

Norman Wells airport

Norman Wells airport


The runway

The runway


Our plane and the runway

Our plane and the runway


Isn't it pretty?

Isn't it pretty?


The "town store"

The "town store"


If I had money... tell ya what I'd do

If I had money... tell ya what I'd do


Town of Norman Wells

Town of Norman Wells


Hello. I am a bear.

Hello. I am a bear.


Nice to meet you

Nice to meet you

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Finally unpacked!

OMG, I am so glad it's all over. Yellowknife totally blew, but I'm super happy to be in Inuvik, where I am master of my own domain.

Kira picked me up at the airport and basically, she's like a northern version of Andrea, I think we will get along. She helped me carry my boxes up the giant staircase, even though we both almost died doing it.

Two out of three of my boxes broke, the ones that weren't "real" Rubbermaid. So there you have it folks. It is a name brand for a reason. Rubbermaid works, even in the high Arctic. There are no imitations.

I only lost a couple of things out of the crack in the bottom of the box, and those three things would've been very useful. A webcam, a power bar type thing and a vegetable peeler. I guess I'll call the airline later to see if they kept them...

As I arrived at the airport, Andrew, who I am replacing, was literally leaving. So the apartment he told me, was supposedly empty. When we got here, there was a mass of boxes everywhere and a bunch of clothes from this Katie May person, who worked there before Andrew. Turns out she was a little bit bigger than me, so I actually kept some of her clothes. She had a few sweet pairs of pants and some nice jackets that she left behind.

I love the landscape up here, and the architecture, etc. etc. It is very much like Iqaluit except there is a road, a more "bustly" atmosphere and trees. This is what I came for.

I called my couchsurfing friend Alexa to see what she was up to and said that we should have dinner tonight.

So, I went to buy groceries to make a veggie stew. It set me back $25. The prices are not as bad as Iqaluit, and there are trees outside my window instead of tundra. I'd say that's a win.

Everywhere I go, people always say that they love my pink fur. They have never seen fox dyed like that before they say. I can't tell if that's a compliment or not.

Inuvik airport

Inuvik airport


Haha, it didn't work

Haha, it didn't work


The vegetable truck

The vegetable truck


My living room

My living room


My kitchen

My kitchen


My bedroom

My bedroom

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Out with Rodney and Bruce

Two years ago, I came here and met the axe murderer Bruce Davidson. When I came back this time, I had to see if he was still in YK. He was, and he came to see me and Rodney on my last day here at the Black Knight. I included some photos of the temperature and Embleton House for your viewing pleasure.

The teddy bear room

The teddy bear room


The teddy bears

The teddy bears


The living room

The living room


Man in the bathroom

Man in the bathroom


It's cold

It's cold


Bruce

Bruce


Rodney

Rodney


Me

Me


Still cold

Still cold


Guy from Welland

Guy from Welland


Playing a game

Playing a game


Me out with Rodney

Me out with Rodney


Yellowknife bar

Yellowknife bar


Yellowknife bar

Yellowknife bar


Music fest at Black Knight

Music fest at Black Knight


The snow castle

The snow castle


Some sort of sculpture

Some sort of sculpture


Snow castle

Snow castle


Snow castle

Snow castle


Snow castle

Snow castle


Snow castle

Snow castle


Snow castle

Snow castle


Me vs. snow castle

Me vs. snow castle

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Cabin Fever Music Festival 2011

Saw some bands, roamed around the town with Rodney.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The giant eggroll... part 2

When I got home, the Australians were ready to eat. We decided on tapas. But when we got in, we found it was full. My next idea was to have one of the giant eggrolls from Mark's chinese food. They were in. Mark's is a bunker type Chinese place, built underneath the Scotiabank centre. I was excited to have the eggroll again, but it didn't taste as good as last time, unfortunately.

From there, we went home and then it was time for the par-tee.

The living room

The living room


The garish kitchen

The garish kitchen


Rush hour in Yellowknife

Rush hour in Yellowknife


Outside Thorntons

Outside Thorntons


Luke, Amanda, Neil, Me

Luke, Amanda, Neil, Me


Me vs. giant eggroll part 2

Me vs. giant eggroll part 2

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

It's -30

Today was a mishmash of phone calls, I am averaging about 1.5 articles a day. I'm supposed to be up to the 2 article per day mark by the end of the week. So far, it doesn't look like it's happening. But hey, you never know.

It was -30 when I went to work and then it went up to -20 by lunchtime.

My direct supervisor, Chris is pretty cool and helpful and I think we work well together so far.

I got some new roommates today from Australia, a couple with the guy's dad.

They are smart people, so it's good to talk to them. They didn't want to venture too far for dinner, so we went over to Bruno's deli and pizza, about 100m away. It's open until midnight and there's a sign on the cash that says you have to pay for your pizza BEFORE they cook it. It's probably because they are open till midnight...

We think it was snowing, but it was so windy we couldn't tell.

While I was at work, they went mushing and ice fishing in the day. They hated the ice fishing. And while I was taking a bath, they hopped on a bus and went out into the wilderness to see the aurora borealis.

Mission for tomorrow: Groceries, Shafic's surprise party.

One of my first articles: http://nnsl.com/northern-news-services/stories/papers/feb24_11den-nwt.html

Me vs. Bruno's pizza

Me vs. Bruno's pizza

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Staying put for another week

I guess I didn't catch on fast enough, so my move to Inuvik has been delayed for another week.

The amount of new things I have to learn is insanity.

Today though, I drove on the ice road for the first time. Across a giant lake from Yellowknife to Dettah.

There was a meeting about the latest "devolution" processes in NWT.

The territories are slowly being turned into pseudo-provinces, and usually the aboriginals are opposed.

A bunch of them were calling for the aboriginal MLAs in the cabinet to resign today.

So, my brain exploded over that one.

Then, I wrote it when I got back and didn't have time to do the other 10,000 things I'm supposed to do today. But really, I think they just assign too many things so that you do more than you were planning on doing in the first place. Most people work late and hand their stories in after deadline, I am finding. Not as late as I have been handing in mine... but whatever.

Tonight, I am going once again to the Black Knight, but this time, I don't have to watch Keith scarf down yet another hamburger and beer, because I am actually hungry this time.

It's wing night and I'm getting the Yukon Gold and pineapple curry flavours with a Guinness!

Rodney and his roommate Laurence met me at the restaurant and we had our wings. The waitress was a dummy.

I forgot my long johns, so the walk home was ridiculously cold. The one thing that is awesome about the cold is that there is no slush. Dry boots = warm, happy feet.

The snow crunches under your boots with every step. That also makes for happy ears.

Me vs. Yukon Gold

Me vs. Yukon Gold


Laurence and Rodney

Laurence and Rodney


Ice road to Dettah

Ice road to Dettah


Welcome to Dettah

Welcome to Dettah


The ice road to Yellowknife

The ice road to Yellowknife

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Party at Shafic's house

We had a party, I have nothing more to say. Haha.

I made curry chickpea soup. It was delicious. So glad I bought my giant box of spices up here.

We danced in the kitchen until midnight and still I wake up really early. Must be still living on Ontario time.

Shafic

Shafic


Satomi

Satomi


Mark, Nicole, Rodney

Mark, Nicole, Rodney


Satomi and Yojiro with ketchup rice

Satomi and Yojiro with ketchup rice


Jane?

Jane?


Satomi and Yojiro

Satomi and Yojiro


Guy I don't know who it is

Guy I don't know who it is


Jane?

Jane?


Skylar

Skylar


Jin

Jin


Yojiro

Yojiro


Rodney

Rodney


Skylar

Skylar


Rodney picking his nose

Rodney picking his nose


Guy I don't know

Guy I don't know


Rodney

Rodney


Satomi and Yojiro

Satomi and Yojiro

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

First day at work

OK, so I got up way early because I guess I haven't adjusted to the time difference. Then, I was almost late for work, because I thought I had TONS of time to kill and I was looking for my battery charger for my camera. I never found my battery charger, but it didn't matter because I can't use my camera without a flash anyways...blasphemous!

All the pictures in the Yellowknifer are taken with a flash. Imagine...

Now I'm working on three stories. Collisions at a high traffic intersection Energy drink ban Army training on Jackfish Lake

The Yellowknifer

The Yellowknifer


The Yellowknifer office

The Yellowknifer office

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Back in YK, babay!

After all my years of writing exactly what comes out of my brain, I have learned one thing. It works the best once you have had at least a week to think about it. I have had two weeks to think about Yellowknife, and this is what I think.

So here I am again.

I jumped off the plane in Yellowknife to a balmy -8C late winter afternoon. I squinted into the reflected sunlight and finally made my descent onto the ground. Like a sub-zero Jackie Os and JFKs, but minus papparrazzi, sunshine and palm trees, we all had to walk down the pull-out stairs across the blustery runway to get to the terminal. When we got there, most of us knew who we were meeting. I saw a guy who had obviously been here and back more than a few times. He wore a salt and pepper beard, with a grizzled, skinny and frantic look, carrying nothing but a beat up schoolbag, yelling into his indestructible satellite phone. "Hey Jack, I'm back! Should i just start walking or what?" and he belted out to his co-worker on the other end. I looked around, dazed, tired, rudely awoken from a peaceful nap, not recognizing anyone. Out of the small crowd of family and friends, acquaintances and taxi drivers, I noticed someone who I hoped was not waiting for me. He had Stephen Harper hair, he was thin and pale, wearing a giant black Canada Goose jacket, he was wandering slowly around the terminal, obviously looking for someone. Please, don't be waiting for for me. I wandered to the back of the terminal, hoping I would find someone else who looked like the "journalist" type. In the back of my mind, I had an uneasy feeling it was him. There I was, in baggy jeans, a short black, wrinkled skirt thrown on top of them (a last minute addition because I knew I'd want them once temperatures rose to spring-time levels), a grey puffy vest and my disheveled hair and falling-apart roller-blader backback. "Louise?" "Yeah, it's me," I said, disappointedly, trying to look happy I was here, starting a new job in the middle of nowhere. I was the only one who had five checked bags. I was the only one who had fixed them together with duct tape. People looked at me and smiled widely, clearly thinking, "She doesn't know what she's getting into." And clearly I didn't.

I remember the big polar bear in the baggage claim. I remember the Yellowknife sign, that I took a photo of two years ago, with my former boyfriend. I remember laughing because when we set up the shot, we missed the Y.

"I'm Derek, I'll help you get your stuff." "Oh, thanks," and I forced a smile.

Like a devoted puppy, he helped me bring all my boxes to his car. Then, fulfilling his duties of official Northern News Services tour guide, he brought me around town in his giant Black Escape. Showing me the Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire and outrageous residential architecture.

He drove me around town and showed me all the places to shop, along with old town and other things.

I got a tour of the new office. It's huge and they do the printing on-site. I found out that I will not have to do layout anymore! That blew me away. I will just be writing and taking photos, I suppose. Calling people, writing writing writing... calling more people from surrounding towns and begging them for photos.

I like layout a lot sometimes, but this will be a nice break.

We dragged my giant blue boxes down the stairs to my room, there were signs advising everything posted up all over the place "Please do not drag your bags across the walls when you carry them down the stairs," "Going out? Do your small part! Help save the planet! Turn off yor TV and lights! Tanks!" You can imagine the rest. There was a statue of an man, with his pants down in the washroom. My room was appropriately called the teddy bear room, the rest had equally saccharine names. I don't want to stay at Embleton any longer than I have to, so I am looking for a place to couchsurf tomorrow, if I'm allowed.

There are a four Japanese tourists here as well as me, but they don't really speak English so I leave them alone.

I have to use this public computer so I won't have much time for emails or chats this week.

After I wrote this, Rodney called me and asked if I wanted to go out for a beer/coffee.

First, I couldn't get out of this place. The door had frozen shut and when I rang the doorbell to their house, the owners couldn't be bothered to answer the door. I heard them moving around in there too!

Anyway, Rodney eventually came and bashed the door open and we went out on the town on a Sunday night.

I had flashbacks of Shawville when we went to the Black Knight and found that it was closed at 8 p.m.

We ended up at the coffee shop, where I got some almond milk and he talked.

Funny guy, he makes his own fun. I felt like I didn't have to be there and he would have had the same amount of fun without me.

Mission for tomorrow: Work and sushi with Rod .

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

To Yellowknife

I ran from my flight to the next flight, but it was delayed a bit, so I ended up being right on time.

Slept on the flight to Yellowknife, that's about it.

I remember last time I went to Yellowknife, as the plane was landing, I looked down and saw zillions of lakes and trees.

This time it was all ice and snow.

Snowmobile tracks are everywhere, I can see how it might be fun now.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Flying to Calgary

I just missed the boarding call because I was "randomly" chosen for a secondary search... again...

Mom kept crying and making me cry, while dad was busy returning luggage carts for quarters. Ha. I guess he just couldn't resist.

I watched two movies, both about reporters, both very different. Capote and Morning Glory. I'd recommend them both, for sure.

Me vs. water sculpture

Me vs. water sculpture


Me, mom, dad at the airport

Me, mom, dad at the airport

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Kind of surprise party

We got up early in the morning, packed the last of the crap into the car and then drove all the way to Niagara.

We went the cottage country way through Bancroft and stopped in just in time to see their street hockey event and eat some pancakes/sausages at the seniors home.

Some old guy was trying to get us to go to the dog sled race, but obviously we didn't have time for that.

It was also SUPER cold and windy.

On the way to Niagara, I finally looked at the odometer on my car. I am 10,000 km over the limit for the next oil change.... OOPS... long story that.

Mom had already told me about my "surprise" party. She invited a bunch of friends that I knew from back in the day to come over, have roast beef and wine and baklava. It was nice and fun and best of all, it ended early.

I had to be up at 5 a.m. the next day to catch my flight.

After everyone left, I packed up my stuff into FIVE bags and boxes and then dad lugged them into the car.

While I was trying to fall asleep, I remembered a bunch of things I forgot... Like the posters behind my door in my old apartment. I will have to get Andrea to send them.

Party

Party


Party

Party


Party

Party


Table

Table


Party

Party


Party

Party


Party

Party


Party

Party


Party

Party


Party

Party


Party

Party


Party

Party


Party

Party


Mom's ice candle

Mom's ice candle


At the table

At the table

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Finally moving to Northwest Territories

So, a few years ago, it was my goal to visit every province and territory in Canada.

In 2009, I traveled to Iqaluit and completed my mission.

Out of all the places in Canada that I have been, I have always loved the Yukon the best.

In 1999 I went to a Girl Guide camp there. If anyone's ever been to the Yukon, everywhere you go, people constantly tell you that when you leave, for the rest of your life, you'll want to go back.

This was the case for me.

Since about 2005, I have been searching and searching for a job in my field up in the north.

Never did I get an interview, until a couple of weeks ago for the job of a reporter at the Inuvik Drum.

After a chat with Bruce Valpy, he invited me to come for a year to the tip of the Yukon, technically the Northwest Territories, but it's close enough for me.

It's a town of 3,400. They have a running club, curling rink, ginormous hockey rink, indoor pool/whirlpool/sauna/waterslide and eight couchsurfers for me to have adventures with.

So, I'm collecting all of my warmest clothes, stuffing it into three pieces of checked and approved luggage and as of Feb. 20 I am off!

I'll be spending a week or so in Yellowknife for training and then I will venture to the Great White North.

You can follow along on my blog, I'll try to send out updates every now and then.

Au revoir!

So my mom and dad drove up to Shawville and helped me pack all of my stuff into a big van and we drove it down to Niagara, where it will stay for a year. I had to throw out my mattresses and I left my bed frame, bedside table and couch in the apartment for Heather. She said I could.

We had a goodbye dinner with Scott, Ann, Andrea and Yen at Cafe 349 and then packed everything up.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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