Thursday, December 08, 2005

Get Me Out Of Here!

So another week draws to a close and my escape approaches. The only thing that stands between my freedom and me is one more weekend. Well, assuming of course the work is finished, the weather is good, my advisor lets me leave early, and there is room on a plane. I’m officially scheduled to leave Thursday the 15th, but things are looking good on the telescope and I could be out of here on Monday the 12th when my advisor leaves too.

The scary thing is that there has not been a flight in or out since Tuesday. The weather here and at McMurdo has been pretty bad this week. This means there is a backlog of people and equipment that is supposed to move back and forth but isn’t. Normally it would be no big deal, but it turns out that the last flight out of pole until after the holidays is on the 15th! Oh man, there is no way I’m staying here after the 15th, I swear it even if I have to walk across this damn continent and swim home.

In other news, my glasses broke today! Yeah, this is a real bummer especially since I have no spare pairs and the approaching holidays means it’s going be hard to find the time to replace them. With no glasses I can manage to move around, read large signs and generally survive. Still, I can’t see very far and this would make my time in New Zealand a lot less exciting and visually stunning. I’m not sure what I am going to do to fix this problem. Right now I have the MAPO machine shop guy, Bob Spotz, working on it. I tried to glue it with epoxy last night, but that failed. So Bob’s gonna try a stronger glue (stycast). I think I might have to just head back to Chicago and replace them ASAP or maybe its just time to switch to contacts. Clem suggested I try to do this in NZ.

I thought I would take a few lines and answer some questions I recently saw in my blog comments …

1) “hey hey, where are the penguins?” and “Yeah! I want some penguins too.”

For the last time, there are no penguins on the South Pole. The South Pole is like 800 miles from the coast, its -80 in the winter, there is no food and there is no water. Unless penguins evolve opposable thumbs and learn to manipulate tools, I don’t foresee the presence of penguins at the South Pole, ever. Ok, well maybe if the ice cap melts.

At this point I have heard the same question so many times that even if I see a penguin, I will never show it to anyone! This is purely to spite you, my reader. Yes, I am fully aware that since my writing is for your attention, I in fact spite myself in doing this. Still, I spite you nonetheless, although I am not by nature a spiteful person. (Sorry, trying to do a little Dostoyevsky).

A telling aside; the other day we were at dinner (some beakers and some polies … guess what group I’m in …) and discussing how devoid of animal life this place is, not even a fly. It was decided that the station needed a pet! I of course voted for a big sloppy dog, some jerk suggested a stupid cat. Then I had a thought, why not melt out a little pond and fill it with penguins. That seemed to make some people interested. Then Clem chimed in,

“Dude, I’ve totally been thinking about this for a while now. What we really need here is a South Pole Station Polar Bear. That would add some excitement to your day huh? Think about it, every time someone has to walk outside, it’s a fight for their lives.”

This is my advisor.

2) “Did you eat penguin for Thanksgiving?”

No, we ate American food duh … turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, casserole, sled dog, and Antarctic seal.

3) “How have you not gone crazy yet?”

Um, I think I have actually. I’ve gone completely nuts down here. Every day I have this feeling like I’m trapped down here and I will never leave. When I’m awake I can’t sleep, when I sleep I can’t wake up. I think I’m about ready to kill my advisor. I’ve gained 500 pounds. I’m extremely home sick and lonely. I want the sun to die, fall into this land of ice and snow and turn black.

I think so far this experience has been a valuable lesson. It’s not really like its so bad and harsh here. I mean I’m usually warm, rested and well fed. What I’m starved of most here is a good conversation, a good laugh, something non-science related, nighttime, exposure to culture, clothes other than Carhart overalls and most of all a good hug. I guess I’ve learned that some people are good at being alone and some people aren’t. I’m not. That’s not necessarily a good thing; I need to work on it. Then again, I think it’s not a bad thing that I appreciate and need those things in my life, no?

Ok, well I leave you with some cool pictures I took today and yesterday. These are of a really cool snow dune that has formed behind the station. The blowing wind over the edge of the dune created an overhang that looks something like a breaking snow wave. Check it out.

Oh and one last thing … Congrats to all my UofC peeps on another quarter under your belt! Hope you have fun wherever you end up this winter break, I know I’m going to when I get back!


Anonymous Emily A. said...



10:43 PM CST  

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