Sunday, March 29, 2009

Town Tour (see the full blog series)

Here are four different shots of my hometown. The following blog entries will show you most the other buildings individually. Have fun on your virtual MacTown walkabout! I will add more as we get auroras in a few more weeks.

Here is the General Hospital where I have my clinic - there is a photo of the dental office and one of our trauma bays where I double as an EMT in emergencies.

Here is another Science biuilding - the Science Support Center - home of the outdoor Happy Camper leaders

Here are photos of all the classes our ewaste has to be sorted into and the Waste Barn - the only place in town you can see men in Carhartt bibs dumpster diving for pink tutus. Recently there was a large skua/usable castoffs sorting party. I happened to glace up just as our 6'4" electrical foreman in his bibs (and a pink tutu he had just rumaged from another bin) did a great "duck on a pond" impersonation, leaving just his legs dangling on the outside of the bin while he went nose first for some great piece of rummage.

Here is a shot inside the greenhouse wheer I spend my Tuesday late afternoons soaking in rays and balancing hydroponics tanks and nurturing my little herb plots

Here is our lovely firehouse

Here is JSOC - Joint Stations Operation Command

Here is our neighbor - Scott base

Here are the dorms and Ivan the Terrabus - I am in the dorm that is directly behind the one closest to the water.

Here is the Science Crary lab where most of the scientific research is done on station during the summer season.

Here is our Chapel in the Snows - our church where services are held each Sunday

These are two pics of the Chalet - the summer home of the National Science Foundation and Raytheon Management. In the winter, they move offices into FEMC to save fuel.

Here is central supply - this is a picture that was staged of what not to do - note thr trip hazzard!

Here is 175 - FEMC (Facilities & Equipment Maintenance and Control)

This is a view of building 155 - the weather balloon launching area and storage from the higher road

town tour

This is building 140 - central supply, post office and luggage depot

town tour - big gym

Here is our Big Gym - a converted quanset hut that functions as our basketball court, our volleyball court, our fitness group class studio, and our climbing gym

Photos of my Tuesday afternoons - here's the green house!

Scott Hut Pictures

get my best side, Mr. Demille

allright, here is a pic of me....just for those of you who are sure I was off on some fabulous tropical island retreat and not really here. Yes, I am on an island...with an active volcano...working...and no evacuation plan....great, I figure once Mount Erebus finally stops just off-gassing and eruupts I will finally be warm again. All kidding aside, this is how you dress for a 10 mile 4 hour hike in the foothills of the area. It was a great day hike, and if I had know Gordon (one of the fire crew I was hiking with) was going to snap this, all know I still wouldn't have a pic for you!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

shuffleboard, Scott Hut, Fauna Morgana, Singing Ice and the death of an Adelie

Stayed up last night until WAY past my bedtime (12:15am) to learn a new game: Shuffleboard. Good game and lots of fun with the people down here. It is like the shuffleboard you see on cruise ships that all the old folks play, but here it is a smaller version on a table top at hip height. I can't believe the combined word of "shuffleboard" and "fun" are coming out of my mouth.
Took a tour of Scott Hut today with 7 others. The hut was a testament to sheer determination to live as long as possible in the harsh Antarctic conditions. Scott and his men embarked on a journey to travel from the edge of Ross Island inland on the Terra Nova route to get to the pole. Alas their journey ended in privation and death when they were relegated to the edge of the ice and did not get rescued in time.
The hut, however was actually the least interesting to me. The day had started out gray and overcast with inversion clouds but had become a glorious basking in the sun and lack of wind. It was possible to hear the ice sing from the point above Scott Hut as the ice plates rubbed and pressed against one another, squeeking, groaning and whistling in a manner like whale song that ebbed and rose in musical cadence. A Weddell seal came out of the ice at the bottom of the drop off (about 25’feet away), and wandered about on the ice. The air was so still you could hear him breath and scrunch along the ice surface – like tissue paper crumpling. There was a fauna morgana (an ice mirage) – a hazy vision hovering just above the ice across the Ross Sea at the foot of Mt Discovery and Mt Morning – three pyramids and a sun, very clearly defined and having that same surreal quality as a heat mirage in the desert. At the end of this grand trip, I stopped to check on the little Adelie that is moulting by our water intake near the water treatment plant. I got within 6’ before the penguin even noted me, and it seems the wrong time of year for a moult as she/he is likely to get trapped by the ice. Penguins are also like most other social animals – when they are not well or nearing death, they will segment themselves away from others, and I think this is what is happening to our little water plant Adelie, which is sad to see, but also part of the bigger cycle of life.
All right,
I must have missed something.....I opened the March box, followed the instructions, and when the kiwi got up off the floor nursing a black eye, he wandered off, having exposed nothing more than a new bruise that bore the shape of some Mardi Gras beads. I am sure somewhere Lynnette is laughing. All I can assume is if the saying "The odds are good but the goods are odd" is true, then I either put a little too much oomph into my bead chucking, or I myself am the odd good. Maybe I can dig a pit directly along one of the game trails (I am thinking the path to the Frosty Boy machine - something that spits out ribbons of an ice cream substitute made from no milk product known to man) and cover it with leaves.....But where the hell am I going to get leaves down here? Curses! Foiled again! Would someone please make sure Lynnette has a clear airway, since I am sure she is choking on whatever she was eating or drinking. Thanks.

March Goodies

Box of Goodies opened up. Hedgie and I couldn't wait for later in the month and it was the two day weekend. The Pajama Possee strikes again. The lovely ladies from Fort Collins sent down a wonderful mix of goodies. Strawberry wafers (like there is not enough food down here with minimal redeeming value), Creamsicle lotion, Heavenly Silk Lotion, a glow in the dark puffer latex ball that when you shake it it flashes bright colors, chapstick, two Mardi Gras masks and some Mardi Gras beads (with the instructions that I should throw them at a kiwi and see if he exposes himself to me). Always great to be getting item s from the girls back home for what they mean to the heart (alright, and the tummy!)
I was going to get a full tour of McMurdo uploaded, but don't have the ability to compress pics on my laptop - I would have to go into work this weekend, again, and I am loathe to do so since I already gave up part of my Saturday for putting together powerpoint presentations I need for training next week already.
I have decided that I will open the boxes on the two day weekends we get once per month to make them even more special. I can't wait for April! Will it be an April fools? Will there be leftover 9News Health Fair items? Inquiring minds will have to tune in to find out.....