Saturday, February 28, 2009

final flight out

2/22/09 Sun
Attended the first coffee before brunch – held in dorm 209 room 112 with some great people. Ken managed to catch some Adelie penguins (2 - a mother and chick) on the ice by the power plant and he got several great photos. He is posting them to his website so I need to go out there to the WWW and pull some down for Hedgie viewers. Great happenings today as well – it’s final flight day. We had champagne at the Chalet on the deck in -40 weather with a nice stiff headwind to watch the last flight taxi and take off, complete with a fly-over of the Chalet. Culminated the day in a great lazy nap-and-read – the kind when you lay down to cat nap for ½ hr, read for an hr and start the cycle all over again with the hope you wake up in time for dinner. Life doesn't get better than this!

Hedgie scores!

Gave myself a treat and opened the Feb Box from the Pajama Possee. Chock full of great gifts (a set of dominoes, a small box of sweetheart candy – the kind you had in grade school that predicts with each little sugar morsel that you or someone near you is HOT STUFF, a mini bonsai kit which should be a challenge since the sun is already setting slightly and we will hit full dark in the next month or so, some treats for Hedgie, and a Russian Mail Order bride for him as well). Hedgie and his little Babushka disappeared quickly into the empty room that shares my bathroom and I haven’t seen him since. Given the noises they are making in there, I am afraid to open the door for fear it will be a déjà vu of the “trouble with Tribbles” episode on Start Trek where a billion furry things fall out of the hatch and damn near bury William Shatner. It is sad when the Hedgie scores but the handler is left with dominoes and watching a tree grow

Friday, February 20, 2009

2/19/09 Thurs
Got an email that I have a box in the mailroom for pickup yesterday. Everyone gets that sense of Christmas when they get an email from the mailroom announcing boxes to be picked up. I went and snagged it, thinking it was the watch I asked Jack to get me in Cheech since mine is circling the drain. I was a tad surprised when the mailroom clerk handed me a 40 lb box the size of a microwave. Jack said he would be tucking in a "little something extra", but I didn't think it would be a moose! I snagged it an moved it out of the mailroom into the cubicles so maybe I could pick it up later and get it down to the dorms (no way I was carrying that the 3/4mi in 40 knot headwinds and -20degrees). In a bout of pure genius (quit laughing...every dog has his day), I thought I could bum a ride from Mike (one of the guys I came down with) back to the building and get it with a truck since I was going to help him move after hours today anyway. I have been feeling a bit blue, but the stressful day was well worth it when I realized the box return address said “Pajama Posse”. Tel, Oonah, Amanda, Lynnette, Dalia, Cindy, and Annie sent 1lb beef jerky, some awesome shampoo and conditioner, nail polish, Glenna McReynolds books (Tara Janzen Crazy series and her new Loose series), Cocoa roasted almonds, Eckhart Tolle books, 7 greeting cards and boxes marked for opening each month, and all the love you can pack into a cardboard box. I am blessed with great friends and am humbled by this gesture from the other side and hemisphere of the world.

Said good bye to Lori Haugen (rad tech) and Barbie Binnelli (PA) over tea and a bitch session in the galley, then went to bed. There are an amazing group of strong women down here who remarkably still struggle with the same issues plaguing women everywhere – am I good enough, does he love me enough, where will I be next year? These universal questions seem pervasive. Maybe part of me hoped they would be to give us immediate common ground, and part of me hoped they would not be so there would be clear tidy role models for living life well. Perhaps that is the challenge and the struggle – to live life well without a blueprint or a roadmap. Time will tell.

To the Pajama Possee:
YOU GUYS ROCK (and you are all my rocks of stability as well!)

How to build and staff a greenhouse on a budget

More radiology training – feel like I have a fairly good handle on this now thanks to all the hard work of the rad tech Lori Haugen who is here right now but is leaving end of this week. This is our passing of the torch week – all the old crew will be gone by next Mon.
Attended winter survival school this afternoon – the abc’s of how to light your hair on fire with a MSR whisper-light stove and run around like a madman with a rain fly from the tent as your Superman cape. All joking aside, they do a good job of training you in 3 classroom hours how to survive in minus 20 and below. There ia a more involved version that most the guys I came here with attended - Happy Camper. I may yet get to that next spring.
Also, I am officially the Basil queen of the green house now (unless I plant some rosemary as well. And Tuesday is my day to deal with all greenhouse systems as well as take care of my little corner of the Reynold’s wrap palace. The green house was started in 1979 by one of the construction guys who was allotted an overwhelming budget of $75 and license to beg/borrow/scrounge whatever he also needed. He got 2 wanagons (a cheap version of a milvan) from the navy and joined them one against the other. This is what forms our cucumber and lettuce rooms to this day. The herb room was originally a sunroom area that he scrounged the windows for when they were replacing dorm windows. He found out quickly however that the windows lost a tremendous amount of heat, boarded them over. This is the green house’s 20th anniversary. Not bad for a bungy cord, used PVC pipe, navy scrounged wanagon grow shed with no running water or drains in it. That’s right – why put a hydroponic green house somewhere near running water and a drain when the greenhouse volunteers and workers can lug the water up hill (did I forget to mention it is one of the highest buildings in town and is actually tucked behind the open storage area?) and then have to drain water into 55 gal drums that then need to be lugged down the hill. All that aside, it is one of the corner havens for all MacTowners and they string hammocks up between suspended lines of lettuce just to hang out somewhere green, cool, warm and with smells.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hi all,
Since someone asked for illumjination on how you could mispronounce FNG, I will shine my weak wattage bulb on this critical issue and spread a little light. Apparently, the first thing that must happen in order to mispronounce FNG, you must be jet lagged. The second crucial element is having a deer in the headlights look. Thirdly, you must overthink all issues. Count number four, you must be so short on sleep that you would even think to pronounce the letter G like gi (say it with me the outfit in karate you wear to perform kata, not like the pronounciation of G like the alphabet song). That's right, in correct native dialect it should be pronounced G as in "Gee, I'm the new guy here, nice to meet you". While the natives will make allowances for brain damage due to natural causes (jet lag, time zones, lack of sleep, too many chocolate cookies), they don't cut you much slack for just being STUPID. For those who need help pronouncing STUPID, simply whack yourself several times on the forehead with a brick. Seven or eight times should be good if you do this with some enthusiasm. Go ahead, feel free to put some oomph into it. Now open your mouth. Trust me...the first sounds that come out will classify you as stupid even if what comes out bears no resemblance to the Queen's english. Just your Language translation tip for the day.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

For all tose Hedgie-ites who are anxioussly awaiting a new episode, I apologize - the time for writing has been slim. Hedgie's little brain is taxed by good stuff - learning hydroponics to keep part of the herb section (basil and cilantro - eat your heart out Cindy and Scott) of the greenhouse going overwinter, practicing X ray techniques (we have shot our first three patients and done well on extremity and CXR series), and organizing the walking blood bank for Mass Casualty Incident. In all the spare time, we are also adding in diagnostic ultrasound training. Cool beans! Fill up the hard drive of your memory each day with new stuff, sleep on it, ruminate on it, hang it on the back of the door and rub against it like a bear until it seeps into your pores, digest it during your sleep and come back hungry for more the next day. The learning curve is challanging and steep, but there are a great group of preceptors that I want to learn as much as possible from before they all return top the real world. This weekend, time and brain cells allowing, I hope to take all of you on a little "walking tour of my hometown".
2/13/09 Fri
Today was our second snow storm. We are still in condition three (best weather condition rating), and you can barely see Observation hill from the windows in the clinic (about 400 yards). The wind is howling this morning, combing the driven snow on the ground like wind over the top of ripe wheat in a field, rhythmic and erratic. It is a brisk 20 below here with the wind chill. Watching the snow move on the ground is bewitching – you get the sense you are on the ocean without having left dry land. The volcanic soils add to the fun. It is hard to believe women in New York pay for Dermabrasion treatments, when a simple windstorm here will peel years off the top layers of exposed skin.
2/12/09 Thurs
Not the best start to the day. I introduced myself to some new people in the galley at breakfast as an FNG and further proved it to them (as if they had a doubt), by mispronouncing FNG. I must say humility goes well with a side of granola. Apparently it is a day for growth and opportunity everywhere. I learned a new game after dinner in the lounge: musical chairs. Not the old fashioned kind. Here are the rules:
1. Be in the packed lounge in the evening when there is someone slightly inebriated after work hours and join them for watching a movie
2. Wait for their fluid intake to get the better of them
3. When they answer the call of nature, no sooner has the lounge door closed behind them than someone whispers “Musical chairs,” and everyone grabs their drink/book/knitting/soduku/snack and shuffles their seating position.
4. When the slightly blurry eyes imbiber returns, act as if nothing happened and wait the three minutes (or more, depending on their blood alcohol levels) for them to realize they no longer have a seat.
5. If said returning person has little to no sense of humor, it is best to make sure one of the firefighters is involved in the game to help forestall another game from occurring – Lounge Wars where furniture becomes projectiles and pillows are irrepairably damaged.
Remember what your mother told you about it all being fun and games until someone loses an eye. And also remembering the old "no blood, no foul" rule helps as well.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This is a look but don't touch kind of thing. Snow mobiles are for duty use only here at MacTown. I am trying to figure out how to justify dragging a body on a sked behind me about town in the name of medical treatment. Any one got ideas?

Here is the cargo vessel shot from Scott Hut Ridge. The metal buildings you see in the distance behind the ship is MacTown - Welcome to my home!

Here is the American Tern, the cargo vessel in dock right now. There really is no dock, just the steep cut channel so the ship can tie right up three feet from shore. This makes it a whole lot safer for offload than if operators had to drive repetively over the ice carrying heavy ship loads.

Here is that same sked unloading the smaller Herc plane that came up from the pole.

We got a snow recently, and this is one of the tri-tracks used on the airfield when other vehicles slip a bit.

In the background, you can see Odge, the icebreaker vessel that makes its way in and out of our shipping channel during ship offload that happens once per year (they are just finishing up right now)

This is the wing of a Herc (smaller cargo plane) headed south to the pole

Photo day: I thought you all might like to see some of the vehicles that are about town and at Pegasus (our ice airfield)

These are transport vehicles on the airfield. The ones on the right are smaller crew carriers, and the one on the left is the pripmary crew transport, affectionately known as Ivan the Terrabus.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I have been busily learning the digital and chemical radiology processes for the over-winter crew, so have not had much chance to use the new fabulous flip video camera Tel and Jay gave me. Apparently, the whale was the least of my misses. It seems there was an INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT on base here just before I arrived. Jello wrestling. Yes, you heard (or rather read) that right - jello wrestling. It is not just for late night TV or Detroit anymore. Being the progressiove place we are, Mac Towners apparently had a jello werestling contest (no nudity, no alcohol), and invited the kiwis from the NZ base. Unfortunately, some higher up NSF and Raytheon people were in town, and they questioned the residue left in the building, which resulted in a fact finding mission and one dismissal. It hasd apparently hit the NZ press as well. I have got to get up to speed before I miss ALL the good stuff here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rugby Match photos - before the shoulder dislocations and blood was spilled....

The proud American Team. Fine looking group of strapping lads.
Thanks to all who have replied - Hedgie finally got it figuired out. However, when he went to upload photos, his little furry head almost spun off. Apparently it is another "effing thing" the Amanda would say he and I need to fix. I will post photos when I get the "effing thing" fixed, OK Amanda?
Apparently, I have missed many events. There was a rugby throw down on the ice a week ago. I am not sure who challenged who to the duel – whether the kiwis struck preemptively or our boys bragged too much. All I know is now I am seeing patients from the fallout. This is apparently not as bad as the softball game where one guy was med-evaced and multiple bones were broken, but it appears our boys, though giving it their all for the States, did not emerge on the top of the scrum. Sports are not a national pastime down here, they are a come-uppance and a way of blowing off any aggression and steam on the opponent. Volleyball should be loads of fun on the open play Sunday.
All in all, I am settling in well. A tad tired today, but I think that is from smiling too much and just not having found a quiet corner for myself yet. I really just want to hide in a cave for a while. The people here are bright and sunny and supportive, but considering I have a roommate until the winter dorms open, I don’t have any time alone (food is in a cafeteria setting dining hall, I have patients from 7-5 6d/wk, and the library and coffee house are not open during ship offload due to fork lifts, loaders and pickers winging about like they are trying to break the sound barrier).
Speaking of missing things, I missed the Orca today in the ship dock area. One of the guys at the power plant who flew in with me told me about it at lunch. Seems all of a sudden the Weddell seals were scrambling out of the water for land. Normally, these cute little bundles are titled “slugs” as they are about that active. Upon investigation, he and some others noted a fin and got the chance to watch the killer whale surface and meander about in the faintly cleared ship channel for about an hour. The joys of an outside job here are those types of opportunities. The joys of an inside job are I don’t have to go home to the dorm and thaw for 2 hours before I can move. Life, even down here, is a trade off.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The weather is a balmy 34 degrees, and there is sure to be a heat wave party to celebrate. Most of the crew I flew out with have returned from Happy Camper – the outdoor survival school overnighter that happens around here. I did not get to go because Patty is turning over the reins and I am too crushed with patients and learning the ropes in the lab (I start X ray Tech training on Saturday) . It sucks having missed Happy Camper, because I couldn’t join the Ice Barcalounger Carving Competition. Apparently, the boys out on the trip made an ice table and were starting on the Ice carved microwave for the bachelor pad they had going, until one leg fell off their table. I suspect at this point they were having simply too much fun and may have been a little wind mad. Tonight (Thurs) is usually American Night at the Kiwi Base (Scott Base), but it has been cancelled due to ship offload. The ship docked on Mon this week and normally it is a 2-4 day offload. When I got up yesterday, it looked like they had not made much headway. It seems the report about town is they hit 40’ seas and a wicked storm that froze most items to the deck, making it very dangerous to hitch to cranes for lifting. This am, however, the deck seemed cleared on the American Tern and they are making headway into getting items out of the hold. MacTown has been trying to convert to some wind energy to offset the 6 million gallons of fuel per year required to run our generators, and three wind turbines were coming down on this vessel (which should reduce fuel consumption by 8-12%). One of the wind turbines’ blades were damaged in the transit due to the rough seas and despite the crew’s best efforts. Unfortunately, the ship only docks with supplies once per year. Translation: the next ship that can break ice in and replace the damaged parts will likely be next years’ ship offload at this same time. As they say in Wyoming, “Two wind turbines is better than none”.
By the by, for those of you who are astute enough back home, you'll note the date on this blog is 2/5, not 2/4. Remeber I am not only most of a world away, but a day ahead as well. Even though I am a day ahead, never fear - I am still likely a dollar short.
For those of you awaiting the next exciting adventures of Hedgie, let me say he is wrapped up in the camera wires right not and he can't figure out how to post photos (actually I think his issue is trying to download photos from his camera without the use of opposable thumbs). I am going to give him a few more days (101 ways to torture your hedgie), before I assist him (it's fun to see the steam roll out of his little ears!). Once he has this figured out, the pics will be coming for the posts.
2/2/09 otherwise known as the bag drag from hell day
Couldn’t sleep and awoke at 3:40am for a 4:45am shuttle to the CDC for donning of the Big Red and ship out to MacTown. Beautiful morning with crisp scents in the air and lots of grumpy half awake men (the coffee bar is not open yet). Took the shuttle (they had to bungey cord the trailer shut so this did not become a bag drag at highway speeds), and we were off. Clothes were changed, another briefing movie watched, and yet another flight - this time in a military cargo airplane with our palletized luggage in the rear of the plane and us up front. No windows, although there was a disturbing sign on the ceiling 20’ overhead that said EMERGENCY EXIT. When I got to glancing about there were several places on the walls marked “cut here for escape” and a small axe hanging next to it. Comforting thought. Hedgie stuck his head out of the bag fast enough for a quick photo, but then hid again when he saw these portents .
When we arrived on the Ice a shad over 5 hrs later, the first thing I was struck by was how beautiful it was – a desert of frozen slopes and angles. It was a brisk -1 degree (it should be 20-30 right now), and there was a light wind. Not many scents in the air. We all scrambled into Ivan the Terrabus – a city bus with a monster-truck-wanna-be attitude set on 4’ wheels. This delightful mode of transit ferried us to first the Scott base (the kiwi base), and then onto MacTown. The contrasts here are as sharp as the wit on most of the workers here. The land arises from the sea ice with only inches of transition, not meters of miles. The pressure ridges where the continental crust is constantly heaving up ice sheets flow along the shore area, dotted by Waddell seals basking in the final rays of summer. Scott base must have gotten a grand deal on sour-apple-green paint, as all the buildings were this bright shade. On the ride in I did a quick land orientation with Black Island, White Island, and Mt. Erebus. The land itself is sere and at first glance seems barren and alien. The sea ice shelf feels ancient and the entire thing leaves you with a feeling that this is not just a Big Dead Place, but rather it is moving at an ancient and much slower rhythm in a dance with a beat drawn out enough that we humans cannot quite feel it fully, moving at the frenetic pace we do.
Ivan transited us to MacTown, a mix of steel buildings, raw dirt and coal mining attitude. We sat through yet another briefing filled with phone numbers. I met the doc and current PT, who will be leaving by the end of the week. The doc is solid and so is the PT. It seems our PA will not be here until 2/21/09, and we have no lab tech or rad tech. I am going to be pinch hitting in these capacities over winter.
Patty, the PT, was kind enough to give Hedgie and I the nickel tour and orient us to the town. I left Hedgie in the room and went to pick up our baggage. By the time I had us unpacked, our roommate showed up (Bay – an HEO), and I really just wanted some sleep.

Ice to English Translations:
HEO: heavy Equipment Operator
Hedgie slept in (lazy little bugger) while his handler jaunted about town in the early morning to visit the art museum, the botanical gardens/historic museum, and grab breakfast a local eatery. By default, I am stuck typing this for him as he is still snoozing.
Breakfast (for those who are both morning people and not-so-morning people) was served up with incredible hospitality at Drexel’s. The wait staff is the most team oriented and organized ever seen and yet still engenders a warm family atmosphere. The food is also hard to beat and I cannot recommend this site highly enough. I had forgotten that in kiwi land, tipping is not a standard, but the hostess assured me that the entire wait staff got together once a month for fun outings, and the tip I was insistent on leaving would be used for go-carting or some other activity. Everywhere the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly as it was last time I came through.
In a short wander through the botanical gardens/historic museum and the art museum, I am reminded that cultural jaunts like these are supported by donation, for there is no admittance fee. Shame on all who do not take the time to look at Ellen Spencer’s painting of three women completed in 1929 but unable to be exhibited until the death of the model in 1979 because she feared the indiscretion caught on canvas. The historical museum reminded me that at one point, people were surviving (or not, depending on the crew) in Antarctic weather dressed in sail cloth shirts, hide boots with lamp wick laces, and canvas pants. The progression of hand wear through time and the countries represented was a laugh in comparison – the US, NZ and Japanese versions of modern day shown were thick, elbow length mittens of military in origin. The Russian concession to finger coverings was a bright neon blue pair of wool gloves not much thicker than US standard glove liners – I guess that shade of neon blue has particular heating properties I am not aware of.
At 12:30, Hedgie is due for the “fitting of the wool” at the CDC for ECW. However, he is having such sweet dreams and catching up on his shut eye, I left him at the hotel and went alone. Where would any of us be without those who have gone before? The returnees were a marvel at sharing info (white boots are great for waterproof abilities, but they suck if your feet sweat and more gems like this). All in all a successful fitting, but if I have to make the weight they have listed on my form, I need to amputate a limb (or two) to get to the mistyped 110.
Post fitting, I made a quick stop at the grocery for milk, Meanuka honey for wound care, and dinner fixins for the room as we are flying out at 5:30am for MacTown.

Ice to English translations:
CDC: Clothing Distribution Center – a warehouse of pre WW military cast offs and those ever attractive bunny boots
ECW: Extreme Cold Weather Gear – clothing designed to keep you from freezing vital anatomical parts off while vying for the “I look most like the colorblind Michelin Man” title.
Well, we have arrived in Christchurch after multiple bag drags and several plane changes. Seems the airline graciously consented to not lose my bags, but has lost others’ luggage. Checked into the room that is as retro 70’s shocking turquoise and cocoa brown as it is Japanese in dimension. The room is as wide as the double bed is long and as long as twice the bed width. Let me give the home Hedgie viewer a better visual – you can touch the toilet by stretching out your toes while sitting on the edge of the bed. Compact, efficient and trendy. Three guesses what Hedgie thinks of it?
With time on his little paws, Hedgie has made fast friends given his gregarious nature and startled deer-in-the-headlights look. Lee Parker, returning to the Pole in Power Plant, took pity on him and was gracious to escort the little rugger about town. He enjoyed punting on the Avon (small wooden skiffs push poled through the 16” deep Avon creek – er, I mean River – that trundles its way through the city from one end to the other, fed by an artesian spring), a trip through Christchurch cathedral (where he was grossly embarrassed by his handler’s inability to turn off the camera flash – something another tourist reported he and his wife had been ejected from a church for), wandering through Christchurch botanical gardens (an olfactory treat due to the wonderful weather), and dinner at a local family’s home. The Clare Clan (Sharon, Calvin, Uncle Don, Paul, Angel, Rafael, Gabe, and the newest addition baby Aurora) were warm and hospitable in true kiwi style. They opened their hearts and home to us and fed us well.
Tomorrow Hedgie is off to the CDC for fittings and is worried the socks may be too long. I assured him he could ride in the hat instead should his fuzz not be sufficient for the journey on the cargo airplane.
Hedgie Adventures 1/29/09
Well, here it is another beautifully planned day. Hedgie, being the neurotic worrier he is, broke down and called Raytheon 10 days ago to politely confirm his ship out on the 21st of Feb. Due to a slight error in communication, his ship out had been moved up to 1/28/09. After I revived him, we dealt with the flurry of emails re: housing, training and other incidental information sure to make Hedgie loose more hair out of stress.
I called a friend (Thank Liz, you are a lifesaver!) to check which dorms would be most Hedgie friendly. Turns out what I had marked on the forms were not what would best suit. There are 3 dorms (209, 208, and 155). Originally I had marked second and third floors on 155, then 208 and 209 in order of descending preference. After a chat with my MacTown guru, I amended it to reflect second and third floor 209 (bayside in order to see that gorgeous sunrise, since I am after all only staying till morning). This is not a likely happening (getting bayside rooms, not the staying till morning), so I then marked 208 second and third floor and lastly 155. It seems my guru in the know informed me that 155 is the party dorm and also houses the cafeteria – ideal for those who have no intent of getting outside. It also seems the first floors on dorms 208 and 209 were a tad chilly last year.
So, having secured a room for Hedgie, I got him to quit chewing his nails to the quick (it also helped when I pointed out he may want to keep those simply for traction in the snow on arrival in MacTown). Moving onto the next issues: training in Denver . Training at HQ was completed with the assistance of the techies (Thanks Darrell and Johnna!) and I was able to set Hegdie up with his direct deposit, health care, employee notifications and other electronic necessities set up. Training itself had great info sprinkled in along with the filler. Hedgie volunteered our bags for excess equipment that needed transport to the Ice because even after I packed Hedgie’s toys, we came up at a whopping 62lbs. Several electronics, slit lamps, and other paperwork was transferred, we finalized at 66lbs total. Not bad for a first run down given that 100lbs was the limit I was shooting for but the Raytheon printed limit was 140 lbs (to include 22lbs of cold weather gear to be issued in Cheech). We should be fine on the bag drag.
The airport express bus was an adventure (did I really think that statement so loud it fell onto the page??! – I apologize to Lynnette for the exuberant use of punctuation). I did not know you really could fit 483 circus clowns in a VW bug. Two minivans pulled up and loaded up 28 people and each one’s luggage (I know there were some who were over weight limit), springs sagging and the passenger rear tire going flat on one van. As one returning polie stated “This is where it gets a little dicey”. When I inquired if he meant the transport or the trip in general, he replied sagely “yes”. Thanks guys, Hedgie is now cowering the darkest corner of the carry on, awaiting the angel of death. Somehow (and I am still not sure how given the parts randomly dropping off the van in front of ours), we arrived at DIA and unloaded. I don’t think the van shocks and struts will even be the same and I was just glad I couldn’t see what fell off our van.
Hedgie is all in all traveling well for his first trip abroad. He was a little suspicious of the peanuts on the flight from Denver to LAX, but he settled right down for a long nap on the overnighter to Auckland, NZ. I was picked up the bags and ran them through Customs (making sure to have removed all contraband that Raytheon had informed us would be confiscated - like drugs, pornography, eyelash curlers. Apparently eyelash curlers are no more desirable in NZ than with our own domestic TSA employees - no one like a well groomed terrorist). Interestingly enough, Raytheon has had a recent problem with recreational equipment during customs checks of Ice employees. Recreational equipment being alternative evening appliances for when polies, MacTowners and Palmerites can’t get a good date, are lonely, and the penguins are nowhere to be found. You get the idea. Anyone having difficulties in the translation, please see Lynnette. Anyway, last year they received 5 international calls from NZ customs inquiring about the glow in the dark, battery operated “scientific equipment” . Ah, the joys of traveling abroad.
Oh, and for those of you without a handy Raytheon to English translation dictionary, here goes:
MacTown: McMurdo Station
HQ: Headquarters (Raytheon Polar Services Main Office in Centennial CO)
Cheech: Christchurch New Zealand (known as Cheech because the airport is designated CHC in three letter code)
Polie: South Pole Station resident
LAX: Hell on Earth – possibly the worst airport in the world, because where else would you even conceive of international baggage and flights to be deposited in two separate terminals with a half hour to gather said baggage and recheck it?
TSA: Terror Sans Airlines – the fun prior to your flight where you are required to drop all your worldly possessions into a plastic 9x14 bin and have them bombarded with enough Xrays in a three second span to fricassee a small water buffalo.
NZ: New Zealand