Monthly Archives: January 2011

Did we have an earthquake or what?

This morning, upon coming to work, Hope and I noticed that there was a crack in the steps. It was obviously a new crack, since we each noticed it independently and the crack wasn’t just in the concrete, but through the snow on top of the steps.

Upon further inspection, the crack went all the way through our parking lot and into the street. And then THROUGH the street. I didn’t investigate as far as the Notre Dame parking lot, but the crack went right up to it on the other side of the road. I’m half surprised there isn’t a big split through our buildings!

I mean, I know it’s the cold that caused this, but considering the size of the crack and the different materials it went through…makes you wonder about seismic activity, doesn’t it?

The crack on the steps...right up to the building!

The arrow points out to the location of the crack on the steps. As you can see, it travels all the way across the parking lot to where I am positioned.

Same location as the above photo, except I turned around. The crack leaves our parking lot, goes through the road (can't really tell in this photo, but take my word for it) and to the Notre Dame parking lot.

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Inventory Time!

Our fiscal year here at Them Days is also the calendar year. So January doesn’t just mean a new year, it means a lot of work at Them Days! One of the things that needs to be done is the inventory count. We’ve got a room full of back issues of Them Days, and they need to be counted to make sure all the numbers match up. It also means a lot of number crunching and organizing for Hope, because she needs to make sure that everything is ready for financial review, which we get done by an accounting firm.

So this weekend, when we were *supposed* to be getting a big snow storm (thanks for getting us all excited for nothing, Environment Canada), volunteers (mostly Board members) and Hope and I came in do inventory count. The room was due for a reorganization too, since with a number of issues selling out over the past couple of years, there were empty spots on the shelves that needed to be filled and some boxes needed moving.

Whew! I think a number of people were probably sore after Saturday’s activity. A lot of boxes were moved, and at 11.2 kg each, that’s a lot of weight to move around.

There’s so much to do, it didn’t quite get done, but it will be finished sometime this week. And you can’t imagine how good it looks! I should have taken some before and after photos, but of course, that’s something I only think of after the fact!

Aimee

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The Headaches Are Worth It

Before I begin, I feel the need to make a public service announcement.

For all of those who must get up early in the morning, whether for work, school, practices, or events, and as a general note to self: remember to have an alarm in thy possession, set it so that thou art given enough leeway for a proper get-ready session in the morn, and don’t forget to have it set as loudly and annoyingly as possible so as to properly banish dreams and alert thee to the time.

That said, I am still mentally cursing the sealskin-draped, wall-scaling ninja, the nerd whose comic book I ruined with a paint roller, and Captain Hook for keeping me asleep this morning and having me almost miss my ride to Them Days HQ.

So, hello again, readers! I’m still not sure how many of you there are! (Is there some sort of tally thing on this site where I can find out?) Today has been a slow day, but no less important than usual. You see, today I have been giving the daunting but important task of transcribing an interview with Horace Goudie from back in November (and I get to hear what Caroline, the former Katimavictim, sounded like, which is a little weird).

Transcribing is the art of listening to an interview and writing down what you hear. Everything you hear. The stutters, the improper grammar, all that rot. It’s a long task, because, frankly, your fingers cannot work as fast as your brain can, so no matter how well you hear and how quick you think you can type — even with the audio slowed down to the point where everyone’s voice is so low they sound like they’ve inhaled xenon or something — you will have to stop the tape, rewind, and listen to it again. Let it play for five seconds, pause it, click to the Microsoft Word screen, and type. Go back to the Media Player, let it play, pause, blah blah blah, lather, rinse, repeat. An interview only a half an hour long can take three or more hours to transcribe, and that’s not accounting the added work to understand accents, speech impediments, slurring, mumbling, place names, and people talking over one another.

And then there’s the sitting in front of a computer all day. Having headphones squish your glasses against your ears (which = headaches). Being assulted by various levels of voices that can have you straining to hear one moment and then wincing and dashing for the volume control the next. There’s the reading everything over five times to make sure you didn’t add words or miss something.

But you know, it’s kind of neat. Although personally I would rather just listen to the story and not rewrite it word for word, having to meticulously go over everything helps me really remember it. And these are stories you want to remember. Mister Goudie, in the interview I’ve been working on since yesterday (this is an hour-and-a-quarter long interview, and I’m edging twelve+ hours of work on it, if you’re wondering), has been recounting his life trapping in the woods up by Lobstick Lake, the way the Innu of Sheshatshui used to live, his adventure in Ontario with Hockey Hall-of-Famer Darrell Sittler, and his few months being a supervisor for the Eaton’s Christmas Parade (Santa Claus Parade) in Toronto. These are incredible stories! It’s really a shame that only a tiny peice of one of them will probably ever end up in Them Days magazine.

Most of you won’t ever have to transcribe anything, and unless you put in a specific request, you probably won’t hear a lot of the stories packed away in Them Days records. But you’ve got relatives, friends, co-workers, and aquaintences who all have stories. Go ask them! Stories are what we’re based on, after all. It’s what we’re made of! The people you could ask know just as many amazing things from “them days” as we’ll ever record (but don’t hesitate to send’m our way, eh?).

Plus you don’t have to write everything out again afterward.

Sweet deal.

– Leah

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You’re part of an exclusive club. (Maybe.)

It’s true. If you are a Them Days reader, you are part of a very exclusive club. And if you are a subscriber, well, you’re part of an even more exclusive club. You might not believe me, but you are.

I have had people tell me that my job is a very important one, that the work accomplished at Them Days is valuable to Labrador and to the rest of the province. I’m happy to hear it, because I do take my job very seriously, and I look upon Them Days with the utmost of respect. In fact, when I originally applied for this job, I very nearly didn’t do it, as I didn’t ever imagine that I could work for Them Days. As a Labradorian, I was always taught, nay, impressed upon with the idea that Them Days is a very important institution. The magazines were always around, and in my family’s house, they were in the Very Important Bookshelf with Very Important Books. As it turns out, I didn’t actually get the job then, but I was so surprised and flattered that I was even considered for an interview!

When I was travelling for the School Days at Them Days project, I got the impression from so many students that they felt the same way about Them Days, that they were taught to respect it and that it was much loved in their families, whether the magazines were kept at home, at the cabin, or in the washroom. (Yes, it’s true, Them Days makes great bathroom reading!)

But the truth of the matter is, if you are a Them Days subscriber, you are a very special person. There’s not a whole lot of you out there. I don’t want to give the impression that we are in some sort of trouble. We are not. But some days, like today, I look at our subscription numbers and it makes me sad. I hear from so many people that they think Them Days is important, but our circulation numbers…well, they just don’t reflect that.

We just made a little discovery in some old administrative files, that, at one time, we had many, MANY more public library subscriptions in this province. I wasn’t surprised, really. After all, Them Days is an important publication for the whole province. But it hurts to know that we are now in only a small fraction (one-fifth) of the public libraries across this province. In fact, we’re only in HALF of the public libraries in LABRADOR (three of six). And if you want to be even more shocked, only a SINGLE school in Labrador gets a subscription to Them Days, a publication used by the teachers and loved by the students in all the schools I went to across our great region. Think about that.

We’re going to be trying to get our subscription numbers up, but there’s a lot you can do to help as well. First of all, if you’re a subscriber, let me thank you. And if you are one of those precious people who not only subscribe to the magazine, but buy a gift subscription as well, let me thank you a second time.

If you want to support the magazine, by which you’re supporting everything we do, from gathering Labrador’s history to storing in the archive, to getting that information out in the world, you should buy a subscription, quite frankly. If you sometimes forget to buy it in the store, well, just think – you won’t forget to do that when it comes in your mailbox! And who doesn’t love mail? 🙂 But if you haven’t picked it up in awhile, buy a copy next time you’re out at the store and you see it there. Find out what we’re up to. And if you’re in a community where Them Days isn’t sold, ask your local retailers if they’ve ever considered selling it. (I’d just like to reiterate a fact I brought up a few weeks ago — we don’t have a retailer in Hopedale. Hopedale! Used to be one of our best-selling communities.)

Another thing you could do is buy a gift subscription for somebody else. Maybe you know somebody who just moved away from Labrador and you think they’d like to see something from home every few months. University students, oil patch workers, newly married couples moving away, seniors moving to a retirement home…everybody loves a gift of Them Days!

If you’d like to do that, but can’t afford to, that’s okay. We’ve all been there, and believe me, I was in that situation for longer than I care to remember. Where do you read your Them Days? Probably at the library, right? If your library doesn’t carry Them Days, encourage them to! In fact, Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries has a form right on their website where you can suggest a library purchase. If you read Them Days at your local library, let your librarian know that you appreciate it and you’re glad they carry it.

If you are a student or a faculty member at a university or college and you think Them Days is a valuable resource, let your school library know! The libraries generally have a request form, and if you need Them Days for your work, let them know so they know to order it. When I attended the University of Toronto, I used Them Days as a source for my research papers. Unfortunately, U of T only has Them Days issues up to the mid-1990s, so if I wanted to use a more recent article, I had to find it elsewhere. If I had thought about it, I would have asked them to start resubscribing. It only takes a couple of minutes, and if your library does decide to subscribe, it would mean a lot to us. (No, really, you should see us when a new subscription comes in.)

If you’re a boss or somebody in charge of buying employee gifts, think of us. Them Days makes a great employee gift, at Christmas or at any time of the year. It also makes great reading for the break room.

So if you really love Them Days and what we do, consider joining our little exclusive club. Hopefully it won’t be so exclusive in the future, because I’m a firm believer that when it comes to Them Days subscribers, the more the merrier!

Aimee

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Leah’s Birthday

Our Katimavik volunteer, Leah, had a birthday last week, so we had a little surprise birthday party for her in the office. And by party, I mean Hope and I sang a line of “Happy Birthday” while presenting Leah with a cupcake with a candle, and we all burst into giggles by how bad it sounded. And then we ate a few cupcakes. Nice way to end a week!

Turns out Hope had a camera in her purse (having a brand-new granddaughter and all, she has it on her and ready) so she snapped a photo of Leah blowing out her candle.

Happy Birthday Leah!

In weather news, it’s down to some more typical January temperatures this weekend and should be this upcoming week too. -22 this morning! I just wish it would snow more so my little house would be insulated from the cold wind.

Have a happy Monday! 🙂

Aimee

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Welcome Hope!

This week, there’s been a new face in the office — we have a new administrator! I’m pleased to ‘introduce’ you to Hope Brown, though I keep forgetting to take a photo of her for the blog. (We are camera-less at the office right now as we search for a really good deal on a new digi-cam.)

Hope’s got experience working in the non-profit sector, and we’re all really pleased to have her and her expertise on board. She actually used to be a board member at one time, so she’s pretty familiar with everything that we do at Them Days, too.

So this week, she’s been getting oriented to the office and taking care of a backlog that built up over the past few administrator-less weeks. If you’ve called the office to do anything, you’ve probably talked to her and felt like you made a new friend, because that’s how everybody feels after a conversation with Hope. Leah and I have been working on the March issue, and as we do that, I keep marking things for the June issue too. (I know that seems like a long ways away in January, but not when you’re in publishing!)

It’s been snowing a bit here too, but it hasn’t been all that cold yet. It’s warm enough so that there’s a line of holes in the snow outside my house where the roof has been dripping when it’s been warm. I wish we were having a proper Labrador winter, with temperatures well below zero and plenty of snow!!!

Aimee

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Greetings From The New Kid!

Hello there, readers! I’m not sure how many of you there are, but regardless!

I’d like to introduce m’self, if I may. Originally, there was supposed to be a lovely girlie named Amanda coming to fill the Katimavik spot for Them Days magazine — but alas.  Due to some health issues, she had to head back home to British Colombia. The space she was meant to fill in this office lay barren, until… I, Bloggerface Extraordinaire, came to fill the spot! Well, sort of. I’m helping part-time.  But the point remains that I’m now here to bother you all!

 

Standing on top of one of the Birch Brook lookouts.

M’name’s Leah. I come from a tiny little place outside of the captial of Nova Scotia, Halifax, called Waverley. With an extra E. Please don’t forget it. Everyone does. It’s an old mining village, established in 1847, if I remember correctly. Though something tells me the sign at the cultural museum (housed in an old church/schoolhouse with really creepy mannequins) said otherwise. Anyway, it’s only got a population of about 1500 — probably less — and everything’s quite spaced out, full of trees, and surrounded by water. In that way, it kind of reminds me of Goose Bay.

I joined Katimavik four months ago (actually, I signed up in January of last year after hearing about it in school, but eh, technicalities), and spent a hard three months in Orillia, Ontario. Lots of problems there. Not pleasant. But upon arriving in Labrador, everything’s flipped for the better! The weather, time, personality, and culture of this place are all reminiscent of home. My group, now eight members, gets along well, and just recently we took a tour around North West River, Sheshatshui, and Happy Valley to better introduce ourselves to the area. Labrador’s been fantastic; the scenery is gorgeous, the people are kind, and the nation is proud — I only wish there were more snow.

I consider myself a bit of a history buff (at least when it comes to Atlantic Canada) and I’m excited to be working at Them Days — especially after eyeing the extensive library and archives… there’s so much to learn here! And, of course, I’ll be doing my best to help everyone out as best I can. Keep an eye out — there may be an article about the history of Katimavik in Labrador sometime in the near future!

Leah

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