Archive for January, 2008

New Users???

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

This is of course great so far, Tim is doing a stand-up Job. BUT… we are still looking for infrequent (but steady) news reports for the following areas:

  • between Penguin St & McDougal Road in Fort Smith
  • Hay Rivierra
  • Yellowknife, specifically in offices on Old Airport Road and from the residential area of Burwash Road.
  • Edmonton
  • Sherwood Park
  • Calgary, and the residential area of Airdrie
  • Kelowna
  • Naniamo & Lower Mainland area family news is covered (I think, unless I really upset her teasing about giving my Aunt & Uncle some grandkids already)
  • South Eastern portion of BC (M&M???)
  • Brisbane Australia
  • or any where else!

News Canadian Travellers Can Use!

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

All right, my globetrotting friends. It’s time for another update to keep you folks in the loop on what’s going on in local, national and world news. We’re going to start with the NWT and go outward from there, but first, a little note in regards to our last post.

Luke, Ian read your comment this morning and was very excited to hear from you. He wasn’t very clear on the whole blog concept when he wrote his post, but now he understands that you guys can “chat” as it were over the internet and write each other messages. He has said he would like to write more in the future. I will hold him to that.

Gracie was happy to hear from Luke, but a bit peeved that Alex didn’t write to her. I’m sure Alex will take of that little oversight soon…;-)

Anyway, great to hear from you, Luke. The kids will write again after we go through the India photos this weekend.

And now…the News!

Here in the NWT, the news is all about the cold. How cold is it? So cold, the planes aren’t flying. Not that Northwestern Air is having any issues. Those guys seem to fly no matter what is going on – extreme cold, earthquakes, alien attacks. But the wicked winter is not limited to the NWT by any means. It has hit the country from coast to coast in various forms: bitter cold, snowstorms, and so on. As we are all shivering in the painful cold, we hope you guys get a mild but uncomfortable case of prickly heat or something. We need to know there are downsides to being in warm climates.

In Fort Smith news, Frieda Martselos is back in as Salt River Chief, and the Band council is mighty peeved at the judge who put her back in. They are appealing the court decision, saying the judge had no right to overturn a band council resolution by using standards lower than those set by the First nation in question. Here is the SRJ story on it. You have to create an account to read the SRJ on line, but it is free and easy to do so.

Also, Alice Mawdsley is doing ever-so-slightly better. She is breathing on her own, and apparently responding to stimuli. It is hard to tell just how much is a desperate desire on the part of the family to see progress, but overall, the news seems to be on the postive side. Here is an SRJ story that includes some quotes from the Mawdsleys.

The Fort Smith Fury won the Chicks with Sticks Hockey Tournament in Fort Simpson Jan. 18-20. I’m sure Ann already gave you a rundown on this, Claudette, but here is an excerpt from the News/North story about the event:

The Fort Smith Fury have come a long way in four short years.

When the team first took to the ice, many of the players could not skate.

This year, the team dominated the Chicks with Sticks Tournament in Fort Simpson Jan. 18 to 20.

The team defeated the Hay River Hazard 3-2 on Jan. 20 in a final game that proved you are never too old to start playing the game. since their debut as a team in 2005, player Jessica Cox said the team improved a lot.

“We had a few core people who had played the game before,” she said. “Eighty per cent of our players had never played hockey before, and about 60 per cent couldn’t skate.”

Four seasons later, Cox can hardly believe how the team has changed.

“It’s been amazing how quickly their game has improved and developed,” she said. “How quickly everyone has picked it up is just phenomenal.”

The Fury had defeated the Fort Simpson Moosehide Mamas in the semifinals before facing Hay River.

“We went into it thinking it was going to be a tougher game than the day before,” she said.

Cox said the team was unsure going in to their final game against the Hazard, considering they had tied them twice the day before the final.

“I think the game against Simpson benefited us because it warmed us up a bit,” said Cox.

Cox said the final proved intense, especially in the thrid period when the Fury fought to keep their 3-2 lead.

“That last five minutes, the Hazard did everything they could to put the puck in our net,” said Cox. “In the end, our goaltender was outstanding and our defense played really strong and we held on for the win.”

Spinning outward from the NWT, let’s take a look at the national picture.

In Canada, this news story is getting a lot of play. It seems an Air Canada co-pilot had a nervous breakdown on a trans-Atlantic flight, forcing the plane to divert from London to Ireland. At least it is not only Air Canada passengers being driven crazy anymore. Enjoy your next flight!

If you have any Canadian currency you want to exchange, especially for the greenback, I’d do it now. The loonie is trading over 1USD right now, but this rate cut from the U.S. federal reserve could send it down sharply.

And now, a look at some new from the wider world.

Being a techno-geek, Rick, you’ll enjoy this little item about consumers fighting back against Apple’s exclusive iPhone deal with AT&T. Seems customers are finding ways to unlock their phone and use any carrier they want. Apple is combatting it with various software fixes, but there are an awful lot of iPhone’s missing from AT&T’s accounts. Techno revolutionaries – to arms!

Be very, very glad you decided to forego Kenya as a travel destination. The place is spiraling downward very quickly. Any country that is engaging in “ethnic cleansing” is not a place to be a tourist.

And that’s it for now. Hope you guys are enjoying these little missives. Please feel free to let me know what specifically you would like to be kept updated on and I will do my best to find out some news in those areas. until next time, travel safe and have fun!

And now a word from Ian and Gracie…

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

With parental transcription, here comes a note directly from Gracie…

I miss you Alex. I remember when me and you watched popcorn pop out of the kernels.

I liked the baby elephant. I liked your hair when it was with the beads and braided.

I will be in the skating carnival. I am a piggy. I am in Mary Poppins.

I am in Beavers too. I got my uniform and a book about Beavers. I miss you.

Love Gracie

And now, From Ian:

Dear Luke – I miss you very much. We have been seeing pictures of you at the places you have been. I would like to ride an elephant.

I saw you on the beach too. That was the biggest sand castle I ever saw. The temples were really cool too. They look likes the ones from Indiana Jones.

I got my cub uniform. It looks really cool. You should join cubs when you come home.

It is very cold here. It is -40.

We got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas. I have a Star Wars game for it and Wii sports. Do you want to play it when you come back?

I just can’t wait until you come back.

From Ian

 And now, from us. We hope all is well with you guys. We finally plowed through most of your photos, but we haven’t seen the ones from India yet. Are they online?

It is painfully cold here, and will be for the next week or so. We are looking at -40 pretty steady for the next little while. I am sure you guys miss home a little less right now.

We howled at the Public Health poster from Laos. The kids got a big kick out of the little boy pooping, and Joanne took a printout of it to take to the Public Health Nurses at the Health Centre. I think we should have a local version of that made up.

We had a poker game the other night. We seem to have settled into a regular group with Dan Kearly, Stu MacMillan, Lou, Mikey, Blaine and me. With six semi-regulars, we still get to play if one of us bails out. We are trying to play every two weeks or so. Last time we played at Blaine’s, and I was up about 30 bucks. Mikey’s had quite a few winning nights lately. You need to come home and put him in his place. Of course, there will be a spot for you when you come home!

Not too much has changed since the last post. Joanne is off meeting with the director of Richard Van Camp’s movie. She is introducing her to some teenagers in care so she can get a feel for what troubled youth are like. Like there’s a shortage of them in town…

We just bought a new TV. I was planning a week-long campaign to convince Joanne that we need this very nice 42-inch Olevia LCD that was on sale at The Source for $1299. I mentioned it to her and the next thing I know we were at the store buuying it. I managed to get it down to $1199. I am thrilled with it, frankly. It high-def, and though we don’t have a high def satellite receiver, DVDs look fantastic on it! We donated our old TV to the Mary Kaeser Library, so the whole thing was a strange mix of ugly consumerism and charitable generosity.

 Anyway, I have to put the kids to bed, now. Love from us, and I will write again before the weekend with some more News Canadian Travellers Can Use! (TM)


A little less serious than the last post…

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

In reviewing my first, post, I see that most of the items I included for links are actually major downers, so I thought I would give you guys some more folksy good news items from home to let you know that, despite the best efforts of George Bush and Stephen Harper, the apocalypse is not yet upon us.

Comings and goings – I think you are probably already aware, but Coco and Bryan Steed are moving to Airdrie for Coco’s new job with Parks Canada in Calgary. Natalie Campbell is hosting a going away party for her tonight. If you want to drop her a message, her e-mail will remain the same no matter where she is:

Hollywood of the North – Richard Van Camp’s book The Lesser Blessed is being made into a movie, and the director is in Fort Smith this weekend to scout locations and interview locals. She is going to interview Joanne to get some perspective on the struggles Northern youth deal with and so on. Richard actually recommended Joanne as the person to be interviewed, so she was quite pleased by that. The movie is still in very early development, but one promising thing: the producers wanted to film in Yellowknife in order to take advantage of the amenities there, but Richard refused, saying the story has to be filmed in Fort Smith. Cool.

Figure Skating Carnival News – I miss you guys all the time, but I have to say I really miss my prop partner for the figure skating carnival, which is happening February 23 and 24. The show this year is Mary Poppins, and Gracie is one of the farm animals encountered during the animated sequence through the English countryside. I am in charge of the backdrop and the props, but Mike and Clyde are supposed to help – if they have the time. I could sure use your creative energy with this, Rick. I sometimes suspect you planned this whole around-the-world thing as part of a long-range plan to get out of doing the carnival. Clever. Very clever.

Scouting News – The Scout/Cub/Beaver Troop moves into its new home at the Armoury next week. Thanks heavens, because the museum was not big enough to house 17 energetic kids in the wintertime. At the Armoury, we have the big indoor space as well as the sliding hill and field right next to it. Our uniforms arrived this week as well, and our whole gang is quite excited about that. Now, we are finally going to look like cubs, scouts and beavers! Ian is keen to get Luke involved in the program when he comes home, so get ready to be drafted, Luke!

Anyway, that’s it for now. Hopefully, you will be able to access this post before you leave for your cheaper internet-free hotel. The kids will post this weekend, but I wanted to go through all the latest pics with them before they write to you.

All the best on the next leg of your journey, and stay in touch.

Hello James Family

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Hello James Family,

Glad to hear all of you are healthy and enjoying yourselves!!! Claudette, effective today Avis has joined the “40″ club. Take care and enjoy your travels.

Be Safe in ‘08.

Keeping up with the Jameses

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Rick quite rightly gave me a “write-or-the-blog-dies” ultimatum during a recent chat, so I thought I had best post some content on this darn thing before he recycles it into some new format.

The purpose of this blog is to let friends drop a line to the James Family and to provide our globetrotting friends with a one-stop place to drop by for news about friends and family or any other bits of information that folks might think Claudette and Rick and the kids would want to know. It is not surprising that it is hard to keep in touch with majro world events when you are travelling through third world countries.

For example, the Jameses contacted me on Skype yesterday and we had a great talk. They were taking advantage of the wireless internet connection they had at their hotel in Kovalam, India and I was home having a sick day, so we spent an hour talking about the latest events. Incredibly, they were unaware that the world economy is going in the tank and that we are headed inexorably towards a recession. But i really shouldn’t have been surprised that they didn’t know about it. Here in Canada, we are all blasted by the news media everyday, but when you are travelling, you have to work to stay informed. Think of how out-of-touch you feel when you’ve had a two-week vacation. Now multiply that by 10 and you have some indication of how isolated from the news the Jameses can get depending on which countries they are in.

So, this blog will not only serve as a place to write to Claudette and Rick and the kids, it is also a place to help them stay in touch with things their friends and family think are important or to post items that the Jameses might find of interest.

Having said that, I am going to provide them with a few links to bring them back to 21st century Canada.

Here’s some info on that bad economic news and the stock market meltdown.

For some scary economic news closer to home, here is a tidbit on the $135 million cutbacks coming from the NWT government.

Here is a great link to the Tanzania Tourist Board’s offical website. Lots of information and a very sophisticated site. (Side note: The Jameses had been planning to go to Kenya as a major part of their swing through Africa, but given the recent political unrest there, they have chosen to switch venues to Tanzania. Speaking on behalf of their concerned friends, we couldn’t be more relieved at their prudence!)

And now, for a bit of celebrity gossip news: actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment yesterday. Suicide? Accident? Who knows?

Those who wish to have access to this blog to write their own messages can contact me at to get an account set up. It is very easy to do, and very easy to use.