Monthly Archives: October 2011

66 down, something like 800 to go!

As would-be readers of this blog may already know, my main job as a volunteer here at Them Days is to digitize all the old cassette tapes we keep in the archives so that they may be enjoyed by future generations. What I neglected to mention in previous posts is that the process of digitizing a single cassette tape very rarely takes less than half an hour, and frequently takes over an hour, as the process of recording the tapes onto the computer is as simple as plugging a cassette player into the microphone jack and playing the entire tape.

Therefore, I’m basically at the mercy of the tapes here, and the length of my tasks depends on factors beyond my control, which is slightly daunting. Nonetheless, I’m still enjoying myself, as I’m not expected to complete the entire digitizing task and considering the time it takes for an individual cassette to be copied over, you won’t catch me sneezing at a number like 66 in this context. Also, the novelty of operating a cassette player hasn’t worn off quite yet.

That’s pretty much all I have to say in regards to that subject, so I’m going to go ahead and sign off.

– Gerard


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Technology is Hard

When I started my volunteer placement at Them Days I was well aware of the fact that I was going to be learning a lot of new things as I carried out my daily responsibilities. I assumed that the majority of these new discoveries would deal with Labrador’s history, the magazine writing process, office work and other things that are obviously present on the surface of Them Days. While I have already learned a lot about all of the previously mentioned subjects, I have also gained an unexpected amount of insight into the technology that I have needed to use on a day-to-day basis.

For example, yesterday I managed to figure out how to make it so that I could digitize s tapes using the program “Audacity” without recording all of the computer g noise, removing my previous need to constantly mute and un-mute the computer whenever I turned a tape over. This is a welcome change, as on my first day of digitizing I accidentally added some less than historical music into the background of a few interviews, requiring me to redo them. The process of fixing my problem only required me to move a few cables around and flip a few virtual switches, but I’m still proud with myself for being able to figure it out without any online tutorials. Go me!

Another lesson in technology that I have learned while volunteering at Them Days is how to fix a cassette tape with a butter knife when it gets disemboweled by a disgruntled s player. I can thank Sarah Michaud, a child of the 80’s for this lesson, and I respect her strength in carrying out a process that no doubt brought back traumatic flashbacks to the horror that is cassette tapes. I’m the kind of person that appreciates the nostalgic value of things, but I still take pleasure in knowing that after I get the historical goodies from all these old tapes onto good, pure CDs, the tapes will slowly deteriorate and eventually be gone, sparing future generations from having to painstakingly pull all the tape back into a cassette whenever it decides to try to destroy its contents.

That’s all I have to say about that.

– Gerard

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Goose Bay Adventure

Another exciting update from Gerard!

Due to our usual place of work being occupied by some other official business practices, Sarah and I took on the job of going out this afternoon to pick up a few things for the office. Specifically, garbage bags and pencil sharpeners.We were able to find the garbage bags pretty easily at Northmart, but the seemingly simple task of acquiring a common product like a pack of pencil sharpeners is deceptively difficult in Goose Bay.

The first store we entered, falsely hoping to buy pencil sharpeners, was the dollar store in the H&R, as it has an entire aisle dedicated to school supplies as well as being slightly larger than the other dollar store in Goose Bay. Unfortunately for us, the H&R dollar store apparently doesn’t consider pencil sharpeners to be of the same tier as other school supplies, and therefore doesn’t sell them.

The next step of our quest to obtain pencil sharpeners took the two of us to the local Northmart. As I said earlier, this is where we got the garbage bags; and why wouldn’t we? After all, Northmart has incredible selection and is stocked with virtually every household product that a human being or even domesticated animal could ask for. Unless, of course, there are human beings or domesticated animals out there who might ask for pencil sharpeners. Just like the dollar store in the H&R, Northmart has a section dedicated entirely to school supplies, and just like the dollar store in the H&R, Northmart chooses not to include pencil sharpeners in this section, or anywhere else in the store.

Feeling disheartened, Sarah and I went to the other dollar store in Goose Bay, but our hopes weren’t incredibly high. After all, it only made sense for this dollar store to be as vacant of pencil sharpeners as the previous one, seeing as dollar stores tend to have pretty much the same stock no matter where you go. Why would this one be any different? I have no idea why, but it was. Sarah and I were able to finally track down the pencil sharpeners at what seemed to bean unlikely establishment.

It took most of the afternoon, but we finally got them, which is fantastic, because anyone who has ever tried to use one of the pencils at Them Days can back me up when I say that this facility was, up until now, in dire need of some pencil sharpeners.

Until next time,

– Gerard

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Job Description?

Hello again.

Now would probably be a good time for me to give some insight into what I actually do here. Yaaay!

For the most part, I spend my days digitizing the dusty old cassette tapes that Them Days keeps in the back corner of the archives. The task itself is a little bit mindless, but I understand its importance, as I have unfortunately had to take note of a few of the older tapes which have already begun to deteriorate. The recordings on the tapes are to be moved onto “100 year discs,” which Sarah just told me have some sort of epic anti scratch coating on them. This means that when the enormous task of moving all of those old interviews, journal readings, musical recordings and other pieces of audio is complete, they will be usable by history enthusiasts such as myself that will be alive in the 22nd century. Not to mention the fact that many cassettes worth of sound can be stored on just one disc, greatly reducing the amount of space that all these recordings will take up; allowing for even more history to be stored in the archives. Yay for more history!

But, digitizing cassettes isn’t the only thing I’m good for around here. I’ve also been known to check over the new shipments of magazines and calendars for printing errors, type upย  new submissions for the next issue of Them Days, get the mail, sweep, clean up mysteriously large stains on the bathroom floor and do pretty much anything else that someone in the office needs help with.

That’s all for now, but you can expect more updates next week as I hack my way through the 824 tapes we have in the back.

– Gerard

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The pictures work again!

I’m sure you’ve all been wondering just WHERE all the lovely pictures I usually post have gone to. Well, I messed something up in Photoshop and couldn’t figure out how to get the settings back to normal. Today, I fixed it (with NO help from Aimee…for the first time…ever…I feel so proud ๐Ÿ™‚ )and I’ve got a back log of pictures to show off!

Justine looking through Issue 35.3! We miss you, Justine!

Bill Rompkey stopped in to get his new copy of Them Days! He was nice enough to pose for a photo ๐Ÿ™‚

On the 1st we held Culture Days at Them Days and it was such a hit! Even though the weather was NOT cooperative, we had a few dozen people stop in throughout the day. We were offering Them Days cover style photos for $10 a picture, and many groups took us up on our offer!


No event is complete without a Labrador tent!

Yummy treats! I ate mine with cheese whiz, and this gave away my "Not originally from Labrador" status, haha!

The lovely Melanie

Melanie's son, Brody, and myself. The boy was HYPER ๐Ÿ™‚

Mary Abbass serenading us with her lovely melodies

Getting into the swing of things

I had a great time. Thank you to everyone who stopped in and to everyone who helped out throughout the day!

Until next time, Happy Trails!


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Better late than never, I say!

After a few weeks of broken computers, hurricanes keeping needed parts away, and other such delays, Them Days Issue 35.3 is HERE! We’ve sent them out to our subscribers last week, and as of today they should be at most of our normal retailers.

We also have the brand-spankin-new 2012 Them Days calendar for sale! $10 gets you a full year of beautiful Labrador photos.

If you have a chance, you should come to the office and check out the Silent Auction that we have going on! Lovely pieces of art work from local Labradorian artists. The auction will be held here until Friday, with a final chance to bid at the Them Days Music Benefit. This is happening at 7pm this Saturday at the Lawerence O’Brien centre. Come one come all!

Click here to see the poster!


Later this week, I’m planning on writing up a post about the Culture Days event we had this past Saturday (which was marvelous, by the way), as well as some pictures from my trip to Peter’s Falls this past Sunday morning!
Happy Trails!



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The New Guy

Hello world!

My name is Gerard, my home is in Elora, Ontario, and I’m the newest Katimavik volunteer to be placed at “Them Days” in scenic Goose Bay, Labrador.

For the next 2 and a half (give or take) months I will be updating this blog with all sorts of fantastic information about the various exploits and adventures I expect to have while volunteering at Them Days and experiencing what the Goose Bay area and other parts of Labrador have to offer.

I’ve only been here for a few short days, so the extent of my very limited experience is thus; lots of big hills that verge on being mountains, lots of trees covering the big hills that verge on being mountains, and a lot of sand everywhere else. Not that I’m complaining though! I was born in Cape Town, South Africa before eventually moving to Canada at the age of eight, so the high elevation is a warm reminder of the mountain range that sourrounded me as I was growing up. In addition, the large amount of sand makes me feel one step closer to the beaches and oceans that are also a significant part of my childhood. Speaking of which, you can expect to see an entry about me being in Cartwright at some point, because I’m going to get to the ocean if it kills me ๐Ÿ˜‰

In terms of the rest of Labrador though (Goose Bay and Them Days included), I’m sure I’ll have far more interesting things to talk about than just mountainish hills, trees and sand by the time I get around to a second entry. But first I need to see and experience those things, which isn’t going to happen if I’m sitting in front of a computer screen.

Until next time!

– Gerard

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