Gooood evening all. I have had another interesting week. Nothing so much to be glaring reminders that I am in Antarctica but I just like to say that phrase sometimes to remind myself. I was saying that last night as we hurried from Dodgeball to the bar with the wind howling. i was being teased for wearing windpants when I was FREEZING. “You’re in Antarctica, get over it!”
“I’m in Antarctica! What am I doing here?!” was my reply. Just now I had to run over to the TVs quick to see what the temperature has been. I
Dr. Gleen is playing patient, Sandy is overseeing.
I like the T-Shirt in the background that says it all.
It’s a McMurdo Station Fire Station Tee.
was right. 56 below windchills. That’s for yesterday and today. Really though, the weather has only been at around minus 3. Today’s winds were at 28 knots. It’s cold but I can tell that it could be colder. Cool drifts are forming. Trucks left unplugged aren’t starting.
Let me say a quick thing about the TVs here. There is only a few channels. I haven’t kept up on it enough to seperate them all. One plays movies throughout the day, one is mostly the weather report displayed and it rotates to the highs of yesterday, forecasts for tomorrow and the record temps. Somewhere there is also a channel that posts people’s photos to music or NPR or something. One of the Channels does constanty have NPR which I think is absolutely awesome. People down here know about Click and Clack and The Prairie Home Companion. Jana was playing George Brown in the dish room the other day. That is the right name, right Mom? I think he sounds a little (just a little) like Leo Katke. Then there is the “normal” channel which is military. It plays sports, news, and popular TV shows but all of it’s comercials are directed towards military. It’s one after the other about how joining and then there are ones about stopping smoking and prevent sexual harrassment. Actors are ALWAYS in uniform. It’s funny. I didn’t understand that this was a militarty TV station when I first arrived, it’s really sort of weird to be constantly told to be a soldier when you’re not sure who’s telling you. Peter, do you get this same station?
Troy and I got to have more adventures for our GA day. Sheesh. It was the counting supplies in unheated storage sheds again. How many Nalgene bottles does Raytheon have? This was at -3 degrees. We watched our own Nalgenes freeze solid. I found an amazing ice crystal. I couldn’t get my camera to focus on it properly but it looks like something you would see under a microscope, hexagons and what-not, it was amazing, and it was all in a jar. The one thing we learned was that the door had a way of locking itself from the outside. Fortunately Phil came by soon after we had realized we were trapped off in some storage area, besides, we had a radio with us. We told our story to Phil and at the end of the day we all 3 were in the same storage shed for one final check and the same thing happened except we didn’t have the radio. It was great. Can you imagine if we had needed to call for help on the radio? I laughed histerically and they rigged cardboard and use a leatherman and then just shook the door a lot. We finally outsmarted it but for about 2 minutes we were building up to a great story.
Last night was also more Yoga, the guys played Dodgeball. I took pictures. Jana played too. I just don’t want to be back in Middle School. They play with the mean balls. The guys are all hurting today. Stupid boys.
I think it was Wednesday that Sandy and Emily were helping in the waste barn for their GA day. I haven’t done that yet. All garbage in Antarctica must be shipped back to LA. To make it pay they have a very vigorous recycling program. We had our training on it last week. Can you imagine actually needing training on where to throw your garbage? Well, I learned some things, for instance, tin foil is a burnable. The main thing is that there are about 9 differant garbages and all this goes back to the waste barn where it is all hand sorted by people. Imagine that. There are advantages to this. Emily reported back how they used to have a corkboard where they would display love letters and other personal things that had been thrown away. They also get to see what people give away as well. Kelly has already gotten me 2 pairs of pants. One is Carharts in need of major repair and the other I haven’t even gotten yet.
This brings me to Skua. Have I told you about Skua yet? I think I told you about it being a gigantic dirty looking seagull but it is also the term they use for the free box, or hiker box. Whatever you don’t want but someone else might, goes in Skua. There’s a building just for skua items. Emily and Sandy were in charge of sorting through all the stuff. In the lounge or at the end of the hallway in every dorm is a can for each sort of garbage as well as a bin for skua. Everything gets taken to waste so if you want to be on top of things you can make the skua rounds to all the drop offs before it goes to skua center. I’ve already gotten a bath robe, misquito netting, and a McMurdo 3/4 sleeve shirt from the skua bin downstairs. There’s always towels, Nalgenes, soap and shampoos. I am hoping to never purchase anything from the store while I am here. When Emily and Sandy were sorting we took our lunch break to run over and collect free junk.
Last night was some bar hopping. There’s only the two places. Chad lost at darts and will be wearing a dress to Scott Base on Thursday. I guess we’ll be going to see that. There was a trip out to Castle Rock on Thursday which I had to work during. It was to see the full moon. The plan was for the DAs to hike up Ob Hill instead but the wind was crazy so we played Scattegories in the Lounge of 207, my home.
Today has already been fun. I was woken for lunch about 12:15 by Jason and then I did my mayo treatment for my hair, I got to call home and talk to my parents and be reminded about how poor I am. Then I had to hurry over to the medical center for my first Auxillary Medical meeting. We were learning to give IVs!!! How cool is that! Now THAT was a reminder about how differant this world is in Antarctica. That they would just take volanteers to learn how to start IVs because there might not be enough people in an emergency. We also got to have a MCI (Mass Casualty Incident) meeting about the DAs’ responsibilities. They have a plan for everything. One of the worst case scenarios is 155 burning down. That’s the kitchen, the galley, some dorms, some offices. Everything would have to be moved, everyone would have to be moved out. They have plans of using the survival gear from the BFC- I finally found out the real meaning of BFC, it’s not Building Full of Chicks, or Bird and Field Center but the Berg Field Center. It’s the survival support, where gear is fixed, stored and whatnot. They have loads of sleeping bags and tents for the scientists going out on expeditions and stuff.
If 155 burned down there are a bunch of small kitchens around base, like, normal kitchens. A cook would be assigned to each, DAs would be helping and they would be responsible for feeding 60 people per kitchen. The BFC has a kitchen, there’s the Burger Bar at Gallagher’s, one at the Science Building. . . I don’t know about the kitchen areas. Anyways, it’s highly exciting, no one has heard of there ever being an incident down here but there’s a drill every year. Anyways, we had a tiny doctor’s office packed with people getting stuck and volanteering to be practiced on. I got to do both. Our teacher was Sandy the first winter DA that arrived on the Ice. She is with her husband who is the one doctor here. It was cute to see her demonstrate on her husband. I bet that’s a unique couple experiance. It was great fun. Like a geek I have tons of pictures. I’m surprised that I’m the only one that brought a camera. What a photo opportunity! Simone missed my vein and I missed Nathan’s. For the most part I think everyone got it on their first try. It was funny because it took a coulple mishaps to realize the signifigance of tapping into someone’s vein, lot’s of little spills, I have a great picture of Wendy’s arm covered in blood. I’m glad I’m not as afraid of needles as I used to be. I will try to post some pictures on my blog. I’m finally figuring out a system. If I can only get my blog to work so that I can put the pictures where I want them.
I’ve got to get going. Tonight is the Post St. Patrick’s Day Celebration since most of the base has the day off tomorrow. The DAs are finally off work so we’ll be heading out soon. I can’t really think of anything else. I am having a really good time. It’s so fun to be able to sing my music at work and to be able to talk to everyone as I wash their dishes. Everyone is nice and appreciative, usually saying thankyou. It means a lot. I really like my coworkers as well. We really hang out and watch out for each other on our off hours. Troy was trying to take pictures of the moon one night and called me so I could see it. He didn’t actually get through but I was just glad that someone was thinking of me at 11:00 at night. It wasn’t until today that I found that I had hooked my computer to the phone line. Troy didn’t have too much luck with his photos. He mistook a street light for the moon and got a bunch of shots of that. Yeah, he had been celebrating a bit. Speaking of celebrating. I still haven’t made it to Bingo night. I was too tired after work on Wednesday but Troy won the $200 jackpot. Nice. That’s incentive to go. All right, all right. I will talk to you later. I am going to think about playing Dodgeball for this coming Friday. I just don’t know, it seems to be the sport that would emphasize how awful I am at any type of coordination, reflexes, and throwing. We’ll see.
Well, my hair is wet and tangled, I have a cotton ball taped in my elbow, and my shirt is stained. I think I’m ready to head out to the party. Talk to you soon. I’m hoping to start e-mailing more than once a week. Talk to you later.