Saturday, 18 February 2012

Week 24 - Goodbye Winter

A funny thing happened the other day.  I was going through my profile pictures on facebook and I found one that I had of an Environment Canada weather report.  This was in early December and I was showing that it was cold here, which I guess it was since the average temperature was -16C while everyone back home was getting temperatures of 5C.  It was just ironic seeing it since the first couple weeks of January had an average temperature of -28C and a windchill of -45C.  The truly funny part is actually the fact that right now it is only -12C outside and I'm sitting here thinking that Spring has arrived.  It's funny how your perceptions change.

This was an odd sort of week.  As it ended up, we had a 4 day weekend of a sort.  Friday was a PED day so we had no class, but still went to school to get stuff done.  Monday was a snowday, the first one of the year!  Sadly no one told me so I went to school anyway, which was fine since I was able to get some extra work done.  The snow and wind were pretty high, but fully equipped I had no trouble getting to school.  All I have to say is I'm very glad I have a balaclava and snowboard goggles!

It's actually kind of interesting the way the daylight has been changing.  It is getting lighter out for longer, but not in the way that I'm used to.  In December, during the solstice, it didn't get light out until about 8 or 8:30am and the sun would set around 2:30 or 3pm.  Now the sun rises around 6:40am and sets around 4:30.  I did a little calculation that showed me we gain 2min of daylight each day.  I guess one minute is in the morning and 1 minute is in the evening.  I've been told that once June gets here, it is light out until 11pm and it just gets dusky until the sun rises again around 5.

So this week we had glorious weather.  Friday was -10C and sunny.  It was a beautiful day and the kids were completely unfocused.  This was fine though since we had saved up a reward day and they wanted to go for a walk.  So we did go for a walk, up the side of the mountain..haha.  One of the great things about the geography of this area is that there are a lot of great places to go for a walk.  Mind you, I almost died as we were walking up the side, but I got to the top just a little bit after my students.  Nothing like a physical challenge to confirm that you are old.  We hung around at the top and took some pictures and collected some rocks for the tumbler.

As we made our way down the mountain the edge was very smooth, steep and snow covered.  As a result of all these facts we decided that the best course of action would be to slide down the side! lol.  That was a lot of fun, although I think I hit a rather thick section of powder and got completely covered with snow in the front.  All in all, Friday was a great day!

Last but not least, This week Ashley and I booked our trip over Spring Break.  We are going to be going to Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas from April 8-12.  The hotel was very cheap and we are both extremely excited to finally get away on our first real vacation! Only 7 more weeks to go!!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Week 23 - Me and my Kindle

So not much really happened this week.  Well...last week.  I picked up a pair of mitts for Elaine's husbands birthday.  He is apparently one of those gentlemen that are fairly difficult to shop for, but really enjoys home made crafts.  I am happy to help out a friend in need, and also the sales will help out the community.  I went to the municipal office to see what they had in stock and all I have to say is holy crap! Everyone was scrounging for mitts before Christmas and there was nothing! I go now and there's mitts coming out the butt.  There were some truly interesting ones as well.  Too bad they weren't there when I was shopping otherwise I would have gotten them instead.

These were the ones that she decided on.  Quite nice I must add.

For a good part of last week I was actually quite ill.  I'm uncertain exactly what it was, but I was sick from Tuesday to Thursday.  Of course I did try and brave out school on both Tuesday and Thursday.  Being sick put a bit of a damper on my attempts to mail these mitts to Elaine, but it did give me a chance to do some reading on my Kindle.  The thing I love about Kindles is the large amount of free books! I downloaded a bunch of them over Christmas and I'm just getting around to reading them all now.  So far I finished two books: The Wizard of Time by GL Breedon.  It was a fun little book.  Something I would put under teen fantasy.  Not literature by any means, but it was fairly entertaining.
The Wizard of Time

The second book I finished off was The Time Machine by H.G Wells.  This was an interesting sort of book with an introduction style that is unlike the authors that I have read so far.  He does a good job of describing his surrounding and the story is pretty good.

My problems with the book like in a couple of areas.  First is that the story itself is fairly boring for the first 40% of the book.  Not much really happens, other than the main character hanging out eating fruit.  I will admit though that the latter parts of the book do have some excitement, but nothing that compares to modern fantasy.  My second problem is his projections based on his understanding of Biology and Evolution.  The dichotomous evolution that occurs in this novel and the subsequent characteristics of the species don't correspond to evolutionarily stable strategies.  I guess it can be excused though since at his time evolution was still a very new concept.

I am now reading the Island of Dr.Moreau by H.G. Wells.  Now I'm starting to get a feeling for his style as he tends to begin his stories in a similar fashion.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Week 22 - Consolidation Time

Well, I missed a significant amount of time for blogging for two reasons.
1. It was so busy over Christmas that I hardly had a chance to sit still much less make a post
2. My computer died a week after I came back to George River so that made things a little difficult.

But now I have a new computer ( A Sony Vaio E-Series, 6 gigs of RAM and a 2.4GHZ dual core processor :D)

I was originally going to put of some posts of what I did over Christmas since I was pretty busy and all over the place, but seeing as how it is February 5, I'm just going to scrap that and move on!

So what have I been up to since I returned?
Not much, everyone got back into the same routine as before we all left.  There were a couple of brutally cold weeks where the average temperature was around -30C and the windchill was -40 to -45.  There was one awesome snowstorm one weekend where I could barely see across the road.  Here's a picture I took of a statue that we have by the entrance of the school after the storm.

This weekend was actually the most busy one so far.  Friday night we decided to have a belated Chinese New Year celebration dinner.  We had Ants Crawling up the Hill, Vegetarian Spring Rolls, Tofu and Vegetables wrapped in rice paper, BBQ Pork, Egg Foo Young, Fried Rice, Steamed Rice and Soup.  We also had some Aloe Vera Juice, Jasmine Tea and Tikuanyin.  All in all it was a good time.  Too bad I couldn't get my hands on a duck!

Saturday was also an interesting day.  I finally got to go dog sledding for the first time!  Mark, my principal, has a dog sled team and he was taking them out of a training run to their tent out in the woods.  It's about a 18-20Km run so I thought I would tag along.  It was a pretty nice day outside (Sunny and around -20) so I thought I would be good with my normal gear.  I was wrong about that one.  Snow boarding gloves do nothing for warmth out here and normal hiking boots suck too.  I went most of the way on a skidoo and by the end I could barely feel my toes or my fingers.
One of the cool things about being out here is that you actually hang out with your students.  On this ride, one of my students was driving the Skidoo.  Fortunately we didn't die or crash which is always a plus!

Now the sledding part was pretty interesting.  Mark let me go at it alone for a little bit since it was a straight path and it was very difficult for the dogs to get lost.  Before we go out they actually make trails in the snow with snowmobiles so that the dogs have something to follow, although sometimes they remember the trail from last year and follow that instead of the new one.  You have to fight with them sometimes to actually get them to listen, but for the most part they are pretty co-operative.  The hard part was also watching Mark go up a hill.  When that happens you actually have to get off of the sled and run with it so that its easier on the dogs.  Overall they don't run as fast as I had thought.  They definitely go faster than I could jog, but they only run around 10-12Km/h.  I can imagine that it would take people quite some time to get anywhere back in the day.  Here's the view I got from the front of the sled.

Next week promises to be a normal week, although the administration will be gone for meetings.  Too bad, it's never the same without them.  In 9 weeks Ashley and I are going to go on a vacation to Cuba! That will be fun, now we just have to keep an eye out for deals!