Archive for January, 2008

Doom, gloom, and FUN

January 19, 2008

Did you hear about the three holes in the ground?

Well, well, well. things have definitely settled down here, but that doesn’t mean that I’m happy with them. I’ve got my plans for revenge, but I don’t really want to put them in writing. It took me a long time to come up with the perfect plan that would hit the people that need to be hit and not those that do not deserve extra work (janitors, DAs, GAs, etc). It’s not going to happen right away, but when it does, I’ll be sure to keep you all posted.

Since being moved out of the power plant to do ‘important’ work, I have done next to nothing….partially due to my resolution to do as little as possible, but also because there ain’t shit for me to do. My basic day now consists of standing around and watching other people do things that I’m not qualified or trained to do. And since my redeployment date is Feb 8th, they figure it’s not really worth the time to train me….so I do a lot of watching and chatting it up with the plumbers, electricians, and sheet metal guys they stick me with. I did spend half a day re-caulking panels on top of the water plant with Rob the GA. Oh, and a few days a week they stuck me in the waste water plant to suck up shit with a dry-vac. As gross as the shit mine is, it was kind of welcoming to go back there and work with Bec and Simon. However, I hope I don’t get the black lung.

Two nights ago the DAs rented out Hut 10 for a little party. Before things got going, a group of us were sunbathing out on the back porch looking out over the path left by the Oden ice breaker. We could see little seals dotting the path. All of a sudden someone noticed a poof of water/air and a fin/tail! Orcas! It was amazing. for a long time the group of us would sit in silence just watching…then the orca would make its presence known and everyone would cheer and yell and point…then silence again while we waited it out. It was a great time. I tried to take some photos for y’all, but they just didn’t capture the amazingness of the whole experience.

On Saturday I got to go on a true boondoggle. I meet up with the other 7 people chosen for ‘hard work’ by our supervisors at the Science Support Center (SSC) for our briefing. We made our way down to where the snow mobiles were kept and got to take our pick. I, of course, picked the best one. After a very short introduction to the controls, we were off! And boy were we off. I got up to about 55 mph, which is REALLY fast on a snow mobile. The first stop was the Pegasus Airfield (named after the Pegasus plane that crashed there) which is about 14 miles out on the sea ice. We got to get out and explore the plane, climb on it, and even try to make snow angels. When people had had their fill we jumped back on the snow mobiles and went to Room With A View (RWAV). RWAV is a spot about 1500 feet up the side of Mt Erebus (14000 feet). The ride up there was amazing, because very soon we were WAY out of town and no signs of life of any kind (aside from the flags marking the safe route). 1500 feet up a 14000 foot volcano doesn’t seem like much of anything, but when looking back towards McMurdo, you realize how high up you actually are. We could see the backside of Castle Rock, open ocean out near Cape Evans, the Oden ice breaker making its rounds clearing out the path it had made weeks before, Scott Base, the Mt Erebus glacial tongue, and a fantastic view of Mt Ereubs itself. About five feet of snow had fallen up there since the last group took the trip (which is insane, since they went the day before!), so it was fun to sink into the deep snow. We had lunch, dug holes in the snow, played in the little yellow tent that was set up for emergencies, threw a frisbee around, and just generally hung out. then we made the trip back down the side of the mountain, which was amazing. The view was great, flying through the fresh snow, and racing each other back to the refueling spot really put a good ending to the trip.

My redeployment date is Feb 8th, and I’m really excited to get out of here and do a bit of traveling before I head back to the wonderful land of Portland, OR. I can’t wait. And for those of you who wanted a ‘facial hair update’. Here you go!

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They may have won the battle….

January 10, 2008

Well…here’s the short version.  
 
I’ve been doing the job of a power plant operator now since Dec 1.  I was supposed to be just an assistant, but due to shortages, I’ve been doing the job 100%….new schedule, new responsibilities, completely unsupervised, and I’ve even been training in the next generation of power plant operator (another GA).  Things were going pretty well. 

I had attempted to get the pay of a power plant operator, because I’m doing the work, but only getting payed a GA’s wage (half that of a power plant operator).  So, I tried my best and was basically shot down because I’m a GA and I apparently can do anything around here, but nothing at the same time.  It doesn’t make a lick of sense.  The next idea was to try and weasel my way into the title of power plant operator without the pay increase, then when they give me the title, BAM, pay increase. 

After trying to for weeks to get someone in HR to talk to me and give me a straight answer, I finally got a meeting with the head of FEMC (the department I’m working for).  Basically the guy wouldn’t listen to me….just kept repeating the same lines over and over. 

I made my point logically and explained how I was unsupervised (he pretended this was the first he’d heard of it even though he’d gotten emails weeks in advance), how I was training other people to do the job I was doing, and how there were no other people on station to take this job.  I’d proven myself as being a competent operator by dealing with several emergencies (some all by myself) but he just wouldn’t listen.  And then he got angry with me for “going over his head” even though I’d been told by my supervisor to go to HR.  He ended the meeting by saying that it didn’t really matter anyway because I was being moved out of the power plant to do some sort of plumbing nonsense and the other GA was going to be taking my spot.  This does not solve the problem of a GA doing an operator’s work at all, but it gets me out of the way. 

So I’ve resigned to do as little to no work as possible until I get to leave this shithouse.  I’m so frustrated with the whole thing, and there’s no way in hell that I’m coming back next season.  

Fuck RPSC. 

On top of that, Christine, one of the absolute nicest, most caring DAs on station (she works with Eli and Mere) was fired for a slue of bullshit reasons in a witch hunt to try and get rid of her.  She is supposed to be flown off the ice tomorrow.  We’re trying to do all we can (get her another job, find ways for her to stall), but basically morale is WAY down, & it doesn’t look like we’ll succeed.  What I think she should do is just refuse to show up for her flight….I mean, what are they going to do….fire her?  Take away her bonus?  She’s got nothing to lose.  I’m really just fed up. 

I don’t know if all/any of this makes sense to those of you off the ice, but it doesn’t really matter…I’m furious at the whole debacle, and I’m ready to get the fuck out of Antarctica….but not until we show ’em they can’t screw with ‘the little guy’ without repercussions. 🙂

Year in Review

January 7, 2008

Eli recently did a year in review on his blog, and I thought that sounded like a great idea, so here it is!

* I finished up my 365 days project (click on any of the archived months from 2006 to read all about the awesome stuff I did that year).

* I took out my tongue ring after having it for nine years (I think).

* I started to really learn how to play the guitar by trying to learn a new song every other day. This was a tough project, but I kept at it for several months.

* I had to say goodbye to Nick and Gabe Boldon as I was going to Portland, OR. It was tough, because those guys have been a huge part of my life. I miss them and they miss me. Gabe and I are pen-pals, and Nick and I are email pals (except he never writes me back). One of our last hurrahs was dressing up like characters from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and then going to see a sold out showing of “Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation” which was amazing on just about every single level I can think of.

* (as I said before) I moved to Portland, OR. I love it there and I cannot wait to get back!

* I only need 25 more NES games and I will have a full U.S. collection. And of those twenty-five, I only need one to have a full licensed U.S. collection. That’s madness.  And if you’ve got any of those games, let me know! 

* I went on a pretty massive road trip. I flew out to Minneapolis to work with Nick and Gabe for a week and train in the new lead PCA as well as hang out with friends (Big E, Emily, Emily, Emily (yup, three of ’em), Franklin, etc). Then I drove to Chicago to do some more visiting (Sean, Matt, Teresa, 11, David, Mandy), which included my awesome Auntie Ellen (LN). After meeting up with Eli, we made our way to Pentwater for some relaxin next to Lake Michigan and living it up kids’ style at the cottage. Next Eli and I made our way to Noblesville for some quality time with the fam and the rest of the jokers who call Indiana home (Ian Weed, Andyman, and others that I am totally forgetting). then Eli and I packed up my car and drove out to Portland making our one scheduled stop at Car Henge. Amazing.

* My amazing grandmother died.

* I swept the NWCGE2K7.

* I finally got a job in Antarctica!

So that was 2007 in a few minutes. What a year. 2008 is going to kick its ass, though.

CrimethInc and more photos.

January 6, 2008

A while back I ordered the new CrimethInc book, which I’m really enjoying. The fine folks at CrimethInc were pretty excited to send some books down here to Antarctica, so I sent them some photos and they posted a nice little blog entry. Check it out.

Here’s a photo of me playing my homemade drumset in the abandoned nuclear power plant. Is this punk rock or hippie? I’m going with punk rock even though I’ve got that crazy ass beard.

Shortly thereafter I became Don Quixote (or Captain Morgen or Baron Munchausen, or whoever).   Feel free to check out my other new photos too! 

More 2008 photos

January 2, 2008

Eli posted some photos from our awesome new years party. There are some good ones of me being ‘disrespectful‘. Check ’em out!