The strange things done in the midnight sun…

Well, it’s time I shared the other big news of my life. After a year of hunting for a permanent, full-time position, I’ve been offered a position for a job I’m sure to love in Yellowknife.

For the geographically challenged folks out there, Yellowknife is the largest city (pop. 20K) in the North West Territories atop Canada –find Alberta on your map and let your eye drift northwards– and is rather close to the Arctic Circle. In fact, the picture at left was taken from my hotel room at about 1:00 or 1:30 am, and the midnight almost-sun shows the necessity of having thick curtains in the summertime. In the Winter months, there’s an equal amount of darkness. Summer temperatures range from 15-30C and the mercury in Winter can often drop to -30C. (People’s tires freeze to square shapes, I’m told.)

No doubt a few people are scratching their heads. Why, they ask, are you heading to a small, frigid place enshrouded by darkness half the year? Well, that’s a misperception, but I’ll deal with that in a minute.

The days of short-term contracts can be frustrating, especially when it comes to ensuring any sense of stability, and –with several mouths to feed– knowing where the next meal is coming from is always a worry. I used to love freelance work, but owing to a number of factors (mainly geography, overseas outsourcing, and those user-friendly technologies accessible to more amateurs), the contracts are becoming less frequent and less interesting. I want a job where I can grow, where I can learn, where I can exercise my media-related skills, and where I can become part of a team that really cares about what it’s doing. Jenny and I want a community that’s small enough to be close-knit, yet large enough to provide for our wants (including fresh produce like cilantro and mangos) — we want a place where we can feel comfortable settling down. And I’m a pretty rustic guy, so I like to commune frequently with the natural world, a faithful hound by my side.

I flew up to Yellowknife for a weekend (it took 23 hours to arrive from St. John’s, Newfoundland — a heck of a commute), and I got to know more about the organisation and the city. I can say that I was pleased at every turn. The company and its projects seem quite exciting, the opportunities for professional growth and learning are certainly there, and –hey– it’s mostly a Mac shop. Meanwhile, the people in the city (population about 20,000) are exceedingly friendly and culturally diverse, the shops seem to cater to every one of our necessities, and a wild and wonderful natural world of trees and lakes and animals is only minutes away. It’s also very warm, and the air is fresh and alive with all the greenery and flowers. Between the job and the location, it’s certainly the most exciting offer I’ve received, and there’s no hesitation in seizing it.

I’m in the throes of packing right now (Jenny just returned from hospital, so she won’t be in any condition to do much), and I’ll be heading north in the next few weeks to find a place and get things set up. Jenny, two-year-old Conor, and newborn Daniel will be joining me within a month or so. I must say, every indication points to a great future for the Johnston clan….

Introducing Daniel Karl Johnston

Introducing my new son Daniel Karl Johnston, born late last night at 9 lbs 3 oz. Here he is, some five minutes old, with his proud mama and papa.

Daniel in the delivery room

For those interested, I’ll post a photostream later with more pictures and details.

I also have some more big news to share, which I’ll post as soon as I get a breather. (I assure you, there are good reasons for my absences of late….)

the space above the couch

the space above the couch

My wife Jennifer Pohl, a well-known artist, has launched her own blog, entitled the space above the couch (very tongue in cheek, no doubt). She’ll be exploring artistic, creative and inspirational matters, and will be posting another of her paintings each week. An online gallery of her work is also on its way. There are many truly beautiful pieces in her body of work, and I hope that others might find them as inspiring as I do.

I love you, darling, and wish you the best of luck with it.