Saturday, July 7, 2007

Calgary and Back

July 2007


What a quick trip to Calgary, but it was packed with greatness and I loved every minute of it. I flew into Calgary at noon and Jessica’s wonderful roomie Niki picked me up at the airport, I immediately met Alison, and Coaches Mark and Dave for lunch to discuss the next day’s shoot. The three of them where great, we had a wonderful lunch; I drank a big local beer and got pumped for the next day. Alison and I recapped our experiences from a month ago and made an action plan for the go-forward on the Coaches documentary. At the end of lunch we all decided that I should join them to Long Beach California in October to film the International Coaches Federation yearly shindig…”alright….”


That night I met up with my love Dr. J and we had dinner then hooked up with Chris and Courtney to see Michael Frenti and Spearhead play at the University of Calgary...WHAT A SHOW!!! He truly is the Bob Marley of our times, such uplifting positive vibes flow through his music. We danced our asses off.


The next day I headed to the college where the “Coaching Out of the Box” session was being delivered by Mike and Dave (with Alison checking the scene out…after all this program is her baby…). The session was very cool, and even though I was filming and behind a camera I learned a tonne, especially with the right way to manage people and deal with people in your team effectively, this all falls in line with my 2007 business development goals. I filmed the whole day and was happy to get back to Jessica’s after with a case of cold beer and a BBQ awaiting my return! We BBQ’d chicken and at in the smoldering Calgary heat in the shade on Jessica’s backyard. Then we went for a post dinner Mohito at a local patio a few minutes walk down the street.


The next day Jess and I went on a date to the swank riverside café for lunch right along the Bow River. Truly a memorable culinary experience…with the hottest girl on earth. We finished our champagne and headed to the movie theater to see Michael Moore’s newest film “Sicko”…WHAT A FLICK!!! My favorite Moore documentary so far, really makes you appreciate public health care, I know our system is far from perfect and needs a whole new face lift, but damn, we have it good…go see the film, you won’t regret it.



Back Home, SABIAN

July 2007


The next day I flew back home and my wonderful parents picked me up and took me out to lunch at Saint John’s newest French restaurant; Chocolait and Nugatine. Saint John is definitely on the ups when it comes to quality restaurants and bars; I’m digging where this city is headed. I could go on and on about this subject, maybe that will be another journal entry some other time. In fact a couple days ago the Telegraph Journal interviewed me about the state of the Arts Scene in Saint John. When I get a chance I will scan the article and add it to this blog.


After lunch with the folks I headed to my house to find a bunch of late afternoon half dead and hung-over bodies scattered throughout my house and property! Ha ha, the backyard hammocks where also filled with suffering headaches. Yes, the boys had an Acamac hoedown without me! ƒ¼ That’s ok though, the night before there was a great dance party down at the Marina around the corner of my house, God Made Me Funky, Dr. Defunkt amongst others played live and apparently it was a ripper, and yes the whole party ended up at my house afterwards and apparently the last of them cleared out at 10:00 am that morning. Fortunately there was nothing wrecked, we always have good guests at our hoedowns.


The next day…I know I always start my paragraphs with “THE NEXT DAY” but truly, every day there’s something going on and every time I write in my blog I’m on a plane with a glass of wine and my ability to create an alternate way of starting a paragraph is hazed, so I will always resort to “THE NEXT DAY”…so the next day one of my new employee’s Andrew MacCormack and I hoped in the Subaru and picked up Semra in Fredericton then cruised up to Meductic to the Sabian Family picnic. We shot a lot of cool interviews, that company truly is as much of a family business as it comes…and you can feel it. We ate hamburgers, watched relay races, ate cake and filmed it all. We also got to see the local fire truck that actually has Sabian crash cymbals as hubcaps, only in New Brunswick.


THE NEXT DAY I had another Coaching session with Dave that my newest employee Steve Foster assisted with for the filming portion. Every time I meet with Coach Dave I truly get refocused, I love it. We realized that all my sacrifices of this year are prepping me for a blowout 2008!!! Good timing considering I have a full time woman in my life starting in 2008. I really can’t wait to get married to her, she is perfect!


THE NEXT DAY I headed back up to Meductic with Steve and Semra to film interviews with ever so inspiring Robert Zildjian, his wife Willy, daughter Sally, and son / President Andy. The only family member we didn’t get was Son Billy (Artist relations) he lives in Maine. The name for Sabain as we learned through Willy’s interview was born out of the first 2 letters of all the kids: Sally, Billy, and Andy. All of the interviews where truly inspiring. For being the most successful Cymbal makers on Earth, they lack one thing…Ego. What a treat to meet and work with such a top shelf, humble family. I as a drummer will never buy another cymbal other than Sabain, truly wonderful people. And Robert is in his 80’s you would never know it, they live such an active life, and he is still very present in the everyday workings of the company. He told us his whole history from childhood, to wartime, to the family and company split of Zildjian Cymbals, to the birth of the new Sabian Company in New Brunswick. Not only was this day inspirational, it really taught me a lot about patience, integrity, and perseverance.. We also filmed the whole process of cymbal making, from the alloy to the melting to the shaping to the hammering to the polishing to the packaging, very cool. Another incredible jazz drummer was in the vault testing some cymbals and he was hilarious, and what a drummer! We filmed him laying down sweet grooves for an hour. I love this job!


Today is Monday and I’m writing all of this on the Plane to Newfoundland. I just met Federica and our Italian camera man in the Halifax airport, we where fortunate that my flight was delayed for 3 hours so now we are on the same flight! So good to see her again! I spent the last few hours in the maple Leaf lounge working form my laptop, Google Talking to my Goddaughter Chloe (so cute) and enjoying the on-tap privileges of the Maple Leaf Lounge, no other way to travel! We are about to film the first episode of the Weather Bomb for RAI television in Italy. The first episode is called “Melting Lands” and is about the affects of Global Warming from the perspective of the Inuit. Tomorrow Newfoundland, the next day Gander / Grand Falls / Star Lake, next day Montreal, and the next day the Arctic Circle!!! More to come!!!




July, 2007


Federica, Genti and I had a fine flight to St. Johns, checked into the hotel, ate and crashed. Early the next morning we where blessed to be taken out into the St. John’s harbor and then into the ocean on this incredible whale research Zodiac, man did we see whales! We probably saw 10 to 12 Minke whales, so beautiful. Some where 20 meters off the side of the boat, others 5. It is hard to believe that people are still killing these magnificent creatures. We filmed into the coolest little harbor in all of Newfoundland; Quiddy Viddey, we filmed out at Cape Spear, the most Eastern Part of North America. Memories quickly came back to a few years ago when Tidby, Mackenzi, Miller and I shot 4 episodes for our TV series “Useless Fact Travel Show”. We spent a long time exploring all the cool and “useless” facts that exist in regions of Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland was my favorite, anyhow when we shot here for that show we got up very early in the morning and filmed a time-lapse of the sun rising in the Eastern-most part of the sky.


It is always nice to be able to be in such a wonderful natural environment and step back and realize that this is your job! I love those moments of clarity that remind me that I’m on the right path…or so I let myself believe!!! After we got back to shire we got back to the airport and flew to Gander where the nicest man on Earth picked us up. Nigel works for the hyrdo power plant that we filmed the next day and he was sent to take care of us, and that he did! We drove an hour to Grand Falls and the company put us all up in obscene luxury! We stayed in the Grand Falls House which is owned by the mill, and is reserved for RSVPs like royalty and CEOs etc, there pictures of many high profile people who have stayed there!. And what a liquor cabinet! Ha ha. Nigel and is lovely wife Susan and I enjoyed some Scotch and fine wine together and had a great time. Federica and Genti where very jet legged so they went to sleep early.




The morning came far too early and what a great sleep I had, I felt like an 18th Century lord staying in this incredible mansion! We drove 2 and a half hours into the Newfoundland Interior; saw Moose, Caribou, and all sorts of other animals. We where so far into the middle of the island that there was absolutely no communication with the outside world. We arrived at the dam and filmed the turbines and interviews, and learned all about green power, and also about what the company has done to compensate for the damage they did to the forest buy flooding the head pond. They have a fish hatchery that introduces new fish into the head pond on a continual basis, that was a pretty cool thing to check out, they even had an underwater window under the salmon stream and we could see the Salmon climb the fish ladder, great place for filming.


They took us out in a boat to explore Star Lake (the head pond) and saw more caribou and got to breath in the great fresh air…another moment of clarity. Even though it was sad to see how flooding land destroys so many acres of wildlife habitat, it was nice to see and understand the environmental commitments of this project. The reality is we need energy, we can get it from fossil fuels, or from wind and solar, unfortunately wind and solar aren’t always consistent, or you can get it from Hydro. The initial footprint is large and destructive, but there are no CO2 emissions at all…not that I support this process, it was just cool to see how it all works, and to see the honesty in the people who work there.


We where supposed to get a Helicopter back but it cancelled on us so we drove the 2.5 hours through the woods and got back to the mansion. This is when Genti and Federica became Newfies! Yes, we got Screeched! I’ve been screeched many times before so Im pretty much a Newfie now, but they had no idea what was going on, it was hilarious! And they loved it. After taking back double of the darkest screech in the house I had to call it an early night. This morning we got some shots of grand falls, drove to the airport, got into St. Johns, and one of my favorite friends of the past Melissa Taffe picked us up and we went out to lunch. We paid a quick visit to the Batterie which is in my opinion the coolest little cliff side neighborhood in the world, the she dropped us off at the airport and I have a glass of Port that I need to finish before we hit our next leg…Montreal! See you then!



Montreal – Nunavik


Montreal last night was nice; the Quebec Tourism officer who has the Italy Portfolio took us out for a great French meal, then hooked us up for a night at the swank Fairmont Montreal. Quebec also hooked us up with some sweet discounts on the flights up North which is necessary, man tickets up to here are ridiculous! It’s cheaper to fly to Italy than it is from Montreal to the Quebec Arctic…same province!!!


Today has been incredible, we flew from Montreal to a town right on the tree line called Kujjiaq. Here a handful of people got off the plane and a few more got on to continue up North. The pilot came in and announced that the plane was full and asked for someone to come up front into the jump seat with them, I quickly volunteered and next thing I know I’m sitting up with the pilot and copilot drinking coffee and chatting about life in the North, I brought the video camera and got some AMAZING aerial shots, breath taking! The cliffs, the water, the ice burgs, the caribou, and to top it off the pilot flew only 300 feet the whole way for me so I could get great shots, I couldn’t believe it!


We landed in Kujjirshujuak and our guides picked us up and drove us to the school where we are making our new home for 5 days. We took a walk around and I must say strangely enough it was very similar to my memories of places like Jamaica and Belize, the homes are all up on jacks, some of them very shack like, barren dirt roads, just no palm trees or Red Stripe. Anyway it is a beautiful little settlement nestled at the bottom of a great fjord, huge vertical, and perfectly clear Arctic Ocean water. The sunset was unlike anything I have ever scene in my life, it is currently midnight and it is still light out. The sun took about 30 minutes to go from on the horizon to setting, I’ve never seen that happen before, down close to the equator the sun sets so quickly that if you blink you may miss it, up here you cant avoid it, and it was the most flaming red sunset I have ever seen, to top it off there was a massive rainbow arcing the whole community. The only other experience I have had of this caliber was sailing out of New York City once right after a crazy rain storm, the big black clouds where blood red and deep grey-blue as the setting sun beams filtered beautifully through the polluted Manhattan skyline, a rainbow arced the whole horizon in fore of the ship, and the sunset in the stern…then no kidding, at least 20 dolphins started playing and surfing in our wake…tonight’s sunset over the inlet and the mountains was just as astounding!


The people here are very timid and shy, they don’t make too much notice of us and are a bit too intimidated by us to say hello back to us, but at the same time they are very friendly and I don’t feel threatened, I only hope they wont feel threatened by our presence, especially with our cameras. One other thing I must add, it feels like the apocalypse here, or at least Mad Maxx…EVERYONE races there motocross bikes, or their quadrunner ATCs up and down and all around the dusty streets of this VERY small community of 540 people. It sounds like the buzz of a thousand bumble bees there is so much wheeler action kicking up dust in this arctic town…I LOVE IT!




Today was as an eventful day as I could have ever asked for in the arctic. We woke up early and Genti and I took a walk about the own getting some great shots of the towering mountains engulfed in fog. It was such a peaceful morning with not a sole awake. Around noon we met our helicopter pilot and started getting the aerial shots that we are in such need of, and man was that ever a view!!! We where specifically on the hunt for polar bears. We had a local hunter and 2 rifles on board the chopper jut in case. We got some great cliff and ocean aerials, circled a great big iceberg and then flew down to 40 feet on top of the freezing arctic water to get an incredible shot of a walrus and her baby pup. This site is even more of a rarity than seeing a Polar bear, we where so blessed, and the water was as smooth as glass.


We then flew inland over the tundra and flew over herds of hundreds of Caribou. What beautiful animals, the sight and sound of the chopper gave them a good fright but the shots of them running along the riversides and cliff tops where priceless. We ended up in a ravine with a rapid river racing down the middle. This valley of high and very narrow cliffs wound down the arctic tundra over waterfalls and past herds of Caribou for …at leas 20 minutes of flying, that’s quite a distance!!!


After 2.5 hours we flew back to the airport and Federica and I changed places, Genti stayed aboard. They flew up again to get some more incredible shots of a meteor site, a lake, now provincial park, that is a perfect circle 3.7 kms wide, it was formed by a meteor hitting Earth many years ago. The footage looks great! Meanwhile Mateo (researcher) and Julio (2nd unit DOP) and I met a dude named Louis form Montreal who works for the Northern school district. As it happened Louis owns Canada’s largest indoor skate park in Montreal. We talked about skateboarding, and how I used to own a skate shop, and how my dad used to own one as well, he offered us a ride through the tundra for more shots so we excepted. We got some great shots of arctic flowers, lakes, inukshuks, and landscapes.


When we finally got home 3 wonderful new Inuit friends showed up, Tacka, Laurie, Elyja, and 2 very neat girls from Gaspe and Montreal (one named Elody with the exact same humour, voice, and, and mannerisms as my friend Claudine), and the other Kate who had the same wonderful smile and loving energy as my friend Tracy, it all goes to show that wherever you are there is another you, and another equivalent of everyone you know. It is a comforting feeling when you are so far out of your comfort zone. Tacka brought a great amount of fantastic Caribou meet, Kate brought some fantastic Shiraz boxed wine (a delicacy around these parts) and Elody brought another delicacy for this region, apple, lentil and celery salad! What a treat! Truly an international meal was had, 5 native languages where represented at our humble table. We ended the night and it is now 1:15 a.m. and its still light out. Good night!




This is my 3rd night here, and already its getting darker! They told me today that each day they loose 6 minutes of daylight, 2 nights ago it was light all night, now there is an almost dark sky. Today was a very eventful day in many ways, one I had great experiences, two, I met some more wonderful people, and three, I found a real weakness in my directorial abilities.


The morning started slow, it is Sunday morning and no one is on the streets, only a few children on bikes that we hung out with for half an hour. All the adults where either still sleeping at 10:00 am or where at the weekend fishing camps. Our good man and new friend Louis from yesterday saw us on the beach and drove down t say hi, we hopped into the back of his pickup truck and traveled half hour all the way to the other coast this time, all I can say is it was “F*#king Ansel” (ask me about that one some other time.) Such a beautiful land and sea scape with huge towering cliffs. Scattered around the huge arctic bay where little canvas round tents or small shacks where the Inuit in the community come to fish. We strolled over to one tent and the 4 ladies who lived there where very open to talking to us. One woman let us film her as she showed us how to cut open an Arctic Char, then prepare it for air dry. I hate to make this reference, but she was straight out of a National Geographic magazine, her beautiful soul truly shone through her weather beaten eyes. She looked to be in her 80s but we soon where told that it was her 61st birthday next week! The rugged climate and exposure to sun really ages people in these regions.


She also showed us the gutting of the seal that was just killed earlier in the day. She eats everything, not a piece goes to waste. I think when idiot celebrities like Pamela Anderson take up a fight against cruelty to seals in Canada’s North as a “cause” they only re-enforce the fact that they are ignorant morons. (no offense Pamela, I know your probably a nice person). Before the recent modernization of the Northern communities the only diet was fish, seal, caribou or polar bear. This is what they ate since the beginning of time, why expect them to stop living their traditional lifestyles now? Because it doesn’t conform with our comfortable little Southern values? Being here has really given me some interesting insight on the way people live up here.


After a great interview she invited us to come into the tent, it was so cozy in there with a big bed set up and a Coleman stove with fresh seal meat melting in a pot. After we said goodbye we saw a boat coming into the rugged coast, it turned out to be 2 geologists from Quebec City who where out on an archeologist expedition for the last 10 days in the wild, just them, sleeping bags, tent and guide / protector Johnny. They needed a ride back into town so we all jammed in the back of Louis’ truck and cruised back to civilization. As it turned out the hotel of 6 rooms (just a large trailer) was fully booked and they had no where to go so they ended up coming back to our pad and now they each have their own room and a shower for the first time in a long while. Two very nice women, in fact we interviewed them because their studies are specific to climate change through the ages with data collected from archeological sites. They had some great perspective on the topic.


After a lunch of Italian pasta (of course!) we headed back to the tundra to see if we could find some other fishers. We hiked a long way along the river bed finding many caribou antlers and bones. The rocks where huge in this area, lots of fun to jump over. We finally found a few people in their different tents, they are all so very friendly and peaceful people, and are very welcoming to talk to, but very shy. Because I have issues of media exploiting peoples like this I always need to make sure they are comfortable with have a camera on them, so I ask if we can roll camera and they always get nervous and ask not to be shot. It is frustrating, but I totally respect their decisions, its just making this documentary very hard to make, I guess I need more balls, but its just not who I am, I always struggle with this, especially when I was in the Caribbean, I don’t want to be the ignorant media person to being sensitive to the peoples I am interviewing…this has cost me many good opportunities, and I’m really struggling with this. I'll have to bring this one up to coach dave I think!


Anyhow we came back and I was down in the dumps because of my failure, but things got better when we got back and started to make Sushi with the Arctic Char that we got from the old lady. What a meal we made! Louis, the 2 geologists (Elsie and Nagette), and Elody joined us for the meal, the baked Arctic Char was incredible, we had the sushi, smoked muscles, and a potato / carrot mash…now I’m in bed. VERY TIRED! But I’m constantly reminded how great my life and job really is, I love meeting so many wonderful new people and traveling to so many magical lands. I’m listening to Phish’s “Chalk Dust Torture” tune, which incidentally was the first live Phish song I ever saw at Clifford Ball Vermont in 97. The lyrics keep repeating “Can I live while I’m young”…hell yeah!




Another quite incredible day in Nunavik. We started our day off with an elder of the community named Lukasi who showed us how o put out the fishing nets at low tide. He has seen many changes over the years in the climate and the culture. He, like many other elders are very concerned for the next generation, if the climate keeps warming, then the hunting will become far more difficult with less ice, and they will loose their food supply and be forced to fully adopt the ways of the South. It is very sad to see a way of life diminish before your eyes, especially when it is the carelessness of the industrialized world to blame for the most part.


Another elder who is in his late 80’s allowed us to interview him in his house, so much experiences this man has gone through and I was honored that he would share some of them with us, all in his native tongue. His son Jaaka (Yak-a) translated for us. He was a true nomad living and moving all over the place in igloo and tents following the food. He also is very concerned and saddened about the affects of global warming.


Jaaka afterwards took us to the green mountain side and showed us where the perma-frost was melting, and how the mountain was literally cracking apart because of it. This was evidence before my very eyes that global warming is rapidly affecting the people and the arctic lands of the North quicker than anywhere else in the world.


The 2 French geologists Nagette and Elsa got us in touch with Johnny, their Inuk guide. He took Genti and Matteo out to get footage of his hunt for seal and fish. Meanwhile Federica, Julio and I where invited to the school for a gourmet meal prepared by 3 local women under the guidance of a very nice Quebecois chef who was teaching them a course all week. We had pasta with goose and caribou and more arctic char. After the meal I was so tired that I went to sleep good an early for a big day to come




We started the day splitting up, Genti and Matteo out with Johnny for another hunt, the rest of over to Jaaka’s waterfront home for coffee, what a view he has right on the bay! He told me horrible stories of the past about how the Canadian government decided that there where too many Huskies up North and they had to kill them all, including his little puppy. It didn’t make sense, but then when he mentioned his theories it started to make sense and it made me quite angry and compelled to possibly look into it further to make a documentary about it in the future.


Theory 1


Bombardier is the mega corporation responsible for many atrocities, and also for the snowmobile. When the snowmobile was invented the company was having a very hard time turning a profit in the south for this new vehicle. However they where an instant success overnight and made millions of dollars the months following by selling then to the now dog-team free peoples of the North. Without the dogs around as the main mode of transportation the Inuk where forced to take advantage of the speed and efficiencies of the snowmobile. Conspiracy is written all over this one.


Theory 2


The Hudson Bay Company certainly has their share of a culturally abusive history. Before the dog slaying of the 50’s the Inuk where far more spread out living as Nomads hunting for their food. Communities certainly existed, designed perfectly for the conveniences of the Whiteman, but there where still a large percentage of the peoples who lived out in the wild tundra or along the coast. Jaaka theorizes that maybe the Hudson Bay Company used their political pull to have the dogs destroyed to “urbanize” the Inuk, thus forcing dependency upon them, with great profits as an extra bonus.


2 very interesting theories, enough to make me interested that is for sure! Jaaka then took us out to find Polar Bear in his boat, he found one swimming 2 days earlier and got a great picture of it. Unfortunately the winds picked up when where out there and things got a bit sketchy so after some time we turned back.


Tonight before another breath taking sunset we met up with Lukasi again to see if he caught anything in his nets, which he did. We filmed him and his grandson take the fish from the net, gut them and clean them.




All I can say is I cant believe that I haven’t mentioned the mosquitoes yet, they are enormous and EVERYWHERE. It is very surprising to see them in such cold weather, but they are a constant here and it’s enough to drive someone mad!


We started the day again with Jaaka, I interviewed him again about the dog slaying, I’m stoked to pursue this story, it was so touching hearing him speak so emotionally about this horrible experience that he witnessed. We also rented an SUV from a nice girl named Sally, picked up Lukasi and his grandson and we headed across the tundra to the other bay where fishermen where landing in their canoes. He taught his grandson all about wild berries, plants, canvas tents and the old way. We filmed it all, it was quite beautiful actually seeing a grandfather pass down to his grandson all the needed knowledge to become a man, all in Inuk.


We had some really good interviews and I’m feeling more comfortable with my directing and the crew. It has been a challenge ( a positive on) working with 4 other crew who all speak Italian, filming a peoples who speak Inuktitut. We are all getting along great despite some of the style differences and pace differences, and I’m taking it all in as a positive learning experience. To be honest, even though we are getting some great stuff and this documentary is going to be wonderful, I’m not 100% satisfied with my directing on this, I think its because I didn’t do the research, Matteo was the researcher, If I wasn’t swamped with the Wrestling show I feel I could have come up here more confidently, however the footage looks amazing, Genti is a great cinematographer, he is always after the “money shot”. I also feel that my ability to lead when there are multiple cooks in the kitchen to be a challenge as I am far too diplomatic. Things to work on, over all, I’m very very happy!




Today I saw and ate a beluga Whale…whoa…never thought I would do either! It was a very busy day today as it is our last day in this incredible village. We interviewed Lukasi again, as well as his father who is very old and wise. They both told us of the old days, how the climate was different, how the culture was different. They also told us about the low tide under ice mussel picking, so interesting. Despite the claim that the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, as it turns out it is actually here on Wakum Bay. In the winter when the sea water freezes at minus 40 degrees, Lukasi drills a hole 10 feet through snow and ice, waits for low tide, lowers himself down and picks from a field of a million mussels. The temperature under the ice is a temperate plus 3 degrees. He says that it is his version of going south to Florida! He picks hundreds of mussels every low tide, but they must be very careful as the ice could collapse at anytime, and when the fast tides rush in through the darkness they rise very quickly and it is very easy to lose your way under the ice and get swept away as it happened to 2 women many years earlier. He has invited us back in March to experience this, I’m stoked.


We also met with a fellow named george who caught a seal and he let us film him cut the seal apart, take its skin off, and prepare it for the community freezer. We also interviewed an incredible man named Charlie who works to preserve the Inuit culture, he had a great perspective and gave me more information on the dog slayings, he was there as a child as well for the nightmare.


One of the coolest things I got to hear today was the throat singers. We got 3 girls together in their traditional dress and they performed five throat songs for us….what a trip! I am looking forward to using some of this as soundtrack for the film. I also want to take the samples and mix it with drum and bass. The children of this community are incredibly cute, they always cling on us and I have become quite taken by them. They follow us all over and are always wanting to help, even though they know no English or French. It is amazing how open youngsters are to everybody. When is it that we learn about racial differences and racism in the later years? I’m sure that many of these kids as they get older will be taught about the crimes the white people, and our governments and sadly for many of them their openness will begin to close. I am shamed when I hear the stories about how their culture was stripped away. I hope that the next generation can forgive the sins of our forefathers, I have a real desire to help bring healing to these people through my gifts of filmmaking, and maybe I will be able to offer that some time.


We met and interviewed the Mayor of the village and she invited us over to have dinner with her husband Lukasi (cousin of the first Lukasi), and our new friend Sally (we rented the SUV from her yesterday). It is here where I had the ultimate country food...Beluga whale. It was raw blubber. We dipped it into the melted whale fat (similar to melted butter) and took 'er down. It wasn’t my favorite meal, but I enjoyed the experience, I also had so dried whale meat, this was very similar to beef jerky, much more palatable. So for my country food so far I have tried Caribou, Arctic Char, Goose, Mussels and now Beluga. Maybe next time Polar Bear and seal…we shall see.


To top the night off there was an incredible late afternoon light with amazing clouds. Sally drove up and told us that there are many Belugas swimming close to the beach, we raced down and what a site! There where at least 30 Belugas, what beautiful creatures. And the water is so deep that they where literally 12 feet away from me, we got some amazing shots of them, I felt truly blessed. I am thankful that I was able to see them so close and understand that the meal I had earlier was provided for from these creatures. I let my previous attitudes of meat eating down and forced myself to truly experience the culture, and I did.


DAY 10


Sadly today we must leave Kangiqsujuak, this certainly is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I really look forward to coming back in the winter when it is a white wash of snow and ice. We flew a few hundred kilometers South to Kujjuak.


Kujjuak is a very interesting landscape because it is right on the tree line. The forest literally ends here, 15 K North and you will not see a tree again until you traverse past the North Pole and end up somewhere in the temperate regions of Russia! The landscape here is far less mountainous and less beautiful in my opinion. Climatologist Martin Tremblait picked us up at the airport. He reminded my very much of a combination of two of my friends from back home Adam and Nick, a French version of the both of them. After we settled in the Co-op hotel we met Martin and his girlfriend Anne-Marie for drinks at the other Hotel lounge. Kujjuak is the only town in Nunavik that is not dry, all the other towns have large restrictions on alcohol. Most likely for the best I’m sure.


The weird highlight of this night is when we where sipping on our Johnny Walker Black Labels who enters the lounge but Liam Neeson (Star Wars, Shindler’s List, etc)…what the hell is he doing in this small Northern Community! Ha-ha. My Italian crew where star struck and needed to get a picture with him. Even in the sub arctic a celebrity can’t be left alone! It must be an incredibly annoying life not being able to escape recognition! I thought about asking him what my friend Miller wanted to ask Tim Burton when he met him…” Excuse me Mr. Neeson, would you be kind enough to take a picture of me?”…but I didn’t! We ended our night at the night club where I bought a drink for $20.00 and called it a night! It’s cheaper to buy a drink in a luxurious Mediterranean resort!


DAY 11


Today was another typical day, we hooked up with Martin, he gave us a great interview about his studies of climate change and how he studies adaptation of the Inuit in respect to the rapid change of environmental conditions. Back at the Hotel is was cool to scroll through the TV satellite guide to see Planet Luxury screening, as well as my good friend Kent Sobey’s documentary called “Air Guitar in Oulu”, one of the funniest mocumentaries I have ever seen! Kent is also the co-producer of Rubarbicon, which is also on the Independent Film Channel.


DAY 12


As it turns out we have all the shots we need. We all agreed that spending a few more days in Kujjuak would be a waste, and fortunately we where able to change our tickets without a problem. Before we left however we got some great shots of the tree line which is so close to the outskirts of town, as well we paid a visit to Dr. Chubbah at the hospital to explore some of the health risks associated with climate and cultural change.


I was happy to say goodbye to the North and head south to a balmy 35 degrees in Montreal. Old cruise ship friend and longtime bro Fun Peter and his girlfriend Linzy picked Federica and I up, the others caught a cab to the bed and breakfast. We all met for dinner at a great little Irish pub on Crescent street. Pete set up his tent for me and I slept outside on his back deck beside the palm trees, such a difference for the previous week! ƒยบ


Day 13


Today is the last day of this section of my journal. I was able to get a flight changed back to Saint John today, I’m in the airport currently waiting for the plane to arrive. This morning Pete and Linzy made us a great breakfast that we ate out at my campsite under the palm and banana trees (so tropical). I had a conversation with my lawyer, there are some very big challenges awaiting me when I get home, both legally and financially in respects to the Wrestling show…what a nightmare. I am surprisingly chilled out about the situation though, getting over stressed will accomplish nothing, I need to move forward in faith and know that all things work out in the end, and if the concept of Karma exists, I feel that it will work out in my favor, all though it certainly doesn’t look that way currently. I know that I will have many stresses to deal with when I get back to reality, but I’m ready to plug through. In 5 weeks I get to see Jessica and we will be taking a couple weeks off to drive across Canada, this will be very good and needed for the both of us.


It has been a truly enriching experience being up North, the humility of the people is very inspiring, the landscapes where breathtaking, and one of my lifetime to do list items has been accomplished. I just cant wait to get back in the winter when I can experience the real North! Although I am far from rich monetarily, I feel like I am very rich and blessed with experience, if traveling and meeting wonderful new people, trying new foods and experiencing new cultures had a dollar value to it, I would be a billionaire.




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