Archive for October, 2007

Day 2 & 3

October 28, 2007

As it turns out, no one at RPSC told me what my job would be.  I knew I was a GA (General Assistant), but I didn’t know which department I would be working for.  Eventually I tracked down someone who told me I’d be working in the Power Plant/Waste Water Treatment Plant.  Sounds good to me.  However, I had not had my Hepatitus A & B shots.  I was told that I would not be able to do my job for at least 30 days after I got those shots.  So I went to Medical and got both shots (the first ones anyway, because they are both a series of shots).  Everyone in Medical knew my brother because he had gotten REALLY sick the week before (elisfanclub.com).  Then I went to my morning safety meeting.  Every morning there is a half hour safety meeting/stretching time.  It’s nice.  Then my boss sent me over to do two trainings (since I can’t do my job yet): a walking orientation of McMurdo Station and OSL (Outside Training Lecture).  Both were interesting and informative.  After lunch, I met up with Ken and he gave me something to do….there was a large room filled with buzzing equipment and a huge toolbox in the corner (6 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet).  I opened the drawer marked “Metric Socket” to find metric and standard sockets as well as wrenches, wires, and all other kinds of crap just piled into each drawer.  Can you guess what my job was?  It was actually kind of nice, because I could just listen to Harry Potter on my iPod and have total control of how I was going to organize it.  I like that kind of thing.  After doing that for a few hours, Ken took me aside and told me to take as many trainings as I can (light vehicle training, snow school, sea ice training, etc) so that he can send me off to do exciting things, since I can’t do ‘my job’ for a while.  Ken’s a great guy. 

 Saturday was also the night of the BIG halloween party here at McMurdo.  My good buddy Tia could not go to the party because she had to work the night shift over at MacOps, so I went over to visit her first.  She basically runs all of the radio communications between McMurdo and the South Pole/base camps.  It was quite impressive/interesting to get to watch her work.  Then I high tailed it over to the party.  It was absolutely insane.  There were hundreds of crazy people dressed up and dancing like there was no tomorrow.  It was like the Macalester QU except it was on Antarctica.  It was so hot and humid in there from all of the sweaty dancers that at times people would open the door to let a bit of cold air in and the room would fill up with steam due to the temperature change.  It was like someone had turned on a smoke machine. 

 Sunday is my day off.  I slept in and ate a huge brunch.  Later in the day my roommate, Karl, and I took a hike up Observation Hill to get a look around.  We had a great view of McMurdo Station and all of the crazy mountains as well as loads of sea ice.  However, it was -5 with a -30 windchill so my moustache kept freezing to my face mask.  I’m about to go to a science lecture about whether it would be more fuel efficient to take fuel to the south pole by ground rather than by air.  I can’t wait. 

Day 1

October 27, 2007

Well, well, well….I am in Antarctica!  How crazy is that?  After arriving in New Zealand we got fitted in our ECW gear (extreme cold weather) and had a few days of relaxing in Christchurch.  I attempted to meet up with Martin (a wwoofing host from the last time I was in New Zealand), but things didn’t quite work out.  Maybe when I return.  Friday morning we got up extra early and headed to the Antarctic Center.  We were rushed through security, put on our huge coats and what-not, and climbed into a HUGE DC-10 (I think).  It was so odd to be in a huge military cargo plane with no windows and huge pallets of cargo.  The flight was about 5 hours long.  The nice thing was that we were able to get up and walk around as much as we wanted, and even sleep on the floor.  There was one tiny window on the door that we could look out.  For most of the flight all you could see was ocean or clouds, but then, sure enough, we began to see huge ice bergs and eventually solid snow and ice.  I got to go up in the cockpit and see all of the craziness up there.  That was wild. 

 When we got close, we were told to strap in to our seats.  The next thing we know, we’re rumbling along the ‘ground’ and the doors open.  We were herded out of the aircraft onto the sea ice that we landed on and huge mountains surrounding us.  It was so overwhelming that I just was speachless.  I climbed up into “Ivan the Terra Bus” and was driven up to the Galley (the cafeteria) for our introduction meeting.  First off, I saw Eli and Meredith, which was great.  It’s nice to see someone you know.  Here’s where things got a little crazy.  I returned to where I had set my bag down only to find that someone had accidentally taken it.  Eli helped me make signs requesting my bag and as we were putting them up, we found my bag….I guess whoever took it returned it.  Then I went up to my room and unlocked the door.  It had four beds, no windows, and a huge crucifix on the wall and it was creeping me out.  I couldn’t live there.  I tracked down Karl (my fellow General Assistant) and found out that he didn’t have a roommate, so I went to housing and changed that.  Then I was supposed to meet up with my boos, but he never showed….so I had to track him down….His name is Ken and he’s extremely nice and laid back.  After all of that nuttiness, I went with Meredith to the craft room to make a halloween costume for the big party on saturday night.  I was exhausted, so I went to bed.  OH yeah, the sun never sets here, so we’ve got a huge black curtain to block out the sun.  It’s very weird to have the same amount of sunlight when you went to bed as when you wake up. 

Denver, CO….sort of.

October 21, 2007

So, day one is over.  I sat through many a boring presentation about what have you.  Parts were useful, but on the whole, the entire thing could have been taken care of in an hour or two….not all day.  Anyway, then I came back to the hotel.  Now, I know there are wonderful places in the Denver area, but our hotel is surely not there.  It’s just hotels, Bed Bath & Beyonds, and crumby franchise restaurants (like the western themed Claim Jumpers) as far as the eye can see.  I’ll be glad to hit the air tomorrow.  I did go out to a fancy schmancy sushi dinner with some of my travel funds though.  Man, I love miso soup.  Tomorrow we get up early, more training, and then head to the airport and off to New Zealand.  I am exhausted due to one week of preparation and running around like a chicken with my head cut off and trying to spend as much time with Ingrid as humany possible. 

Woah…I’m insane.

October 8, 2007

It is FINALLY official. I am going to Antarctica. I leave on the 19th of October (yeah, 10 days away…yikes), will arrive in Christchurch New Zealand for a few days before I head down “to the ice” on about the 26th. I will be down there working until around the middle of Feb. Then I will travel around a bit before I return to Portland sometime in April/May.

NWCGE2K7

October 1, 2007

I had a blast at the Northwest Classic Games Expo 2007. I even won a few things! I got the high score on Burgertime for NES (22,400) and won an Atari Chapionship shirt…pretty cool. I got the high score on Mario Clash for Virtual Boy (69,990) and won a plug in SSX Snowboarding game. I got SMOKED in Guitar Hero. It wasn’t even funny. But at least I got beat by the kid that got 2nd place. I entered the NES competition and it went down like this: I beat John Hancock (the guy I met yesterday) in Balloon Fight, but it was pretty close. Then I destroyed the next round of Dr. Mario (man, I love that game), and beat some poor kid that had never played that game before. The second to last round was Marble Madness, which I got the highest score on (41,200), and I’m usually not all that good at that game. The final round was on an actual Nintendo World Championship 1990 cart that some guy had. It was prety impressive. He payed 2 grand for it, which is a pretty good price on that cart. Anyway, I thought I had it in the bag, ’cause I’ve been playing that repro for a while now and I pretty consistantly get in the upper 700,000s, but I choked under the pressure and got third place…oh well. I did win a copy of Halo 3 for Xbox 360….I guess I’ll sell it on ebay…I mean, I’m not even reMOTELY interested in that game. All in all, I had one heck of a great time and I can’t wait to go next year, and maybe even go to PAX. That’d be fun.

Oh yeah, then I came home and played a kick ass game of Settlers of Catan with Ingrid, Matthew, and Katherine. Good times. Anyone else wanna play SofC?