Thursday, December 30, 2004

Links to Pictures

I intend to put pictures of the various items I have discussed up but to make the page more viewable to the casual reader I will just put links to webpages with them. I'll update as I put them together. Here is the first page- my parents place for Christmas.

More to follow...

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Parties, the Race and Sculptures

The two day weekend has ended and it is back to the grind. Plenty of issues to resolve at work but I'll leave that for another post. Let's review the weekend:

Friday night, Annex Party - This was a good time, a nice mix of people lots of wine. Bill McAfee held down the bartending duties. It is a shame they are destroying the Annex, it would probably be the nicest place to live on station. A quick look as to the entrance to the Annex...

After the Annex was a live performance of Squeaky Meat. Dave Benson and the crew played late into the night. I curbed my desire to stay for the duration with the higher calling of the Race Around the World. I exited around midnight so I could prepare properly for the race. Here is a link to Squeaky Meat Poster.

Christmas day had several things going on. The Veterans on station raised the POW-MIA flag at 8a. They also signed it on Sunday. The Ice Sculpture contest was judged at 9a. There were some really good work out there. Who would have thought that 250 people could make so many good sculptures.

Then there was the Race Around the World. Three laps that equal almost two miles. I did not win. Philip the cook won with a stunning 13:08. The women's winner was also from the galley. I had a slip and fall and then an equipment problem. I ran about a minute slower than I had hoped for at 19:12. I had guessed a little over 16 minutes was going to win, I obviously guessed way wrong.

I'm out of satellite tine but I'll post some pictures in the next day or so.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve here at the Pole. Lots of activities tonight. After the work day the annual ANNEX party. The ANNEX is a berthing next to my office. It is the preferred housing for the people who have significant ice time. My co-worker Dave Benson has wroked on the ice for 7 years and lives there so it should be good. There is a gift exchange in the main galley but alas I have nothing to exchange. The band "Squeaky Meat" is playing tonight, which Mr. Benson is also a part of. Plus as every Friday night, the ARO building is host slushies (ARO is run by NOAA staff). Not to mention the everyday party in our local bar, 90 South.

I will check out the ANNEX and then probably hit the hay and rest up for the 2 mile, Race Around the World tomorrow at 10a. The winner gets a trip to McMurdo, which would be nice but probably out of reach seeing how I am just getting over my cold. I made 3/4 of the run last night and was exhausted.

Merry XMAS to all my faithful readers.

Where I Live

Everyone has heard me complain about walking to work, blah, blah, blah. Here is a picture that actually shows where I live in reference to where I eat, work and shower.

I live in J13 which I marked in black. I share the jamesway with eight other people, all of whom work swing shift or nights so there is noise at weird times. Just north of J13 is the weightroom (its orange and sit horizontal to J13). Directly to the east of that is the blue "Ice Palace" which is the bathrooms for all those jamesways. East of the is non-smoking lounge.

You see where "My Office" is in the dome, I have to walk through the long tubes that house the heavy equipment shop. To give a perspective you see a little blue building just north of the tubes (Cargo office) and a line of little squares of different colors. Those are snowmobiles that are used to get around on. Most of them are seven feet long.

I have to take the beer can (the shiney vertical tube attached to raised station) to the galley, store, laundry and post office. It is about six stories from the underground tunnel to the top. The geographic pole is just south of the raised station (you can see the shadow of the sign on the snow).

To the east is where the LC-130's land. To the southeast is where the telescopes (AST\RO) and further southeast is the new ICEcube project (a very large Muon and Neutrino detector).

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Half Way There + Summer Solstice

I have made it to the half way point of my contract. This is not official, but according to the local "Donut of Despair" I was at 50% done yesterday. Time to start thinking about shipping things home.

Summer Solstice is today, but since the sun has not set since I have been here this made not be important as it is in other latitudes. The sun will now start a slow downward spiral until it goes down in March for seven months. Hopefully I'll get to see a couple of short nights before I leave.

Saturday is the Race Around the World. I had been training for by running fast indoors on the treadmill and then running outside in the cold (with my boots on) for shorter distances. The winner gets a trip to McMurdo, which I would like. But being sick for the last four days has hampered me. The longest run I have had is 1.75 miles and this race is two. I guess I will run lightly for the next couple of days and try to save up for one big push.

The weather has been nice, -12C and yesterday it got up to -8C. I have been wearing too much clothing and need to start wearing jeans to work. It should be nice this weekend as well.

Here is a time waster that is a little more practical than Liquid Generation, make your name in Japanese. Here is mine -

Sunday, December 19, 2004

What Type of Rocker are You?

This was my results for those of you who took the "What Type of Rocker are You? Quiz"

Weekend Review

A quick review of this past weekend:

Saturday night was the annual Meteorology Wine and Cheese party. I attended and it was a good time. I am not a wine connoisseur (like I am with beer) but the chardonnay from the vineyard called Montana was surprisingly good. The party went until the wine ran out and migrated to 90 South. I begged out early and got some sleep.

Sundays I work at the store - "PoleMart". My account on the register is now fixed so I actually know how much to deposit at the end of the night. Rented Bad"der" Santa for the holiday, I was told it is pretty funny. I'll put a review up when I finish it.

Our Satellite issue continue, although today has been without much of hitch. So if I am bit slow posting, I'm probably trying to find a satellite window.

A special cyber shoutout to:
Eric and Allison. Congrats, I hope everything went off without a hitch.

This week there is a lot of paperwork to do that I have put off too long. Some re-organization of our materials is in order and the local band "Squeaky Meat" plays on Friday. We have this Saturday off so a two day weekend- hurrah.

And finally my time waster of the day is:
It is a little guy-centric but I find it hilarious.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Feel the Pain

Well I have been sick for the last couple of days. I am drinking about 10 cups of tea a day trying to keep voice so I can talk to people and actually do my job. Getting about 11 hours of sleep and I still feel beat. Hopefully I am turning the corner.

Our satellite issues continue, we lost the GOES satellite today but it appears to have come back in the last few minutes. We use three satellites for communications here: MARISAT, TDRS and GOES. We lost the main power amp on the big dish (9 meter) which Road Dog has field repaired. We have a 3 meter dish back up but it drastically reduces our bandwidth.

We had major issues yesterday with a new switches in the elevated station. They renamed the subnet but did not update all the fixed equipment (printers, fixed devices and such) which caused them not to work. Not fun for a helpdesk guy.

There is a new press release from the NSF saying the B15a is not an issue. That is not what the scuttlebutt is here. I guess well see in the next two weeks. I have the press release but my I am having trouble linking to it. I'll update when I get it fixed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

B15a iceberg

Here is a link to a MSNBC story talking about the B15a iceberg. The US has sent an icebreaker along with a Russian icebreaker to get into McMurdo. The cargo ship they talk about is the main resupply ship for the next year. If it does not make it USAP will reduce the amount of staff at both South Pole and McMurdo for the winter. This could make life very spartan for my winter-over friends.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Anyone for movies?

There are two movies from the South Pole International Film Festival that I'd like to post but one is 350 MB and the other is 150 MB. If anyone would like to host these let me know.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Excitement at the Pole

Some interesting happenings at the Pole in the last few days. We had a mass casualty drill which was been in the works for sometime. The funny thing, they chose the remote RF building (satellite) to have it. Making Road Dog and David Bates important cogs. Looks like it went off as well as expected but basically cost the IT staff an entire afternoon.

We promptly lost the satellite the next day, the main amplifier blew. I, of course, had no idea until I was stopped by three different people in the coat room asking me when the satellite would be fixed. Dave Bates had spent the night at Happy Camper (Antarctic Camping Training - its cold out there)returned, sat in the sauna for an hour and prompt went back to the RF Building to help Road Dog track down the problem. The amp that blew had been rebuilt by the manufacturer for ~$13k and only been in operation for a month or so. It looks like Road Dog restored service around 3am today. This could affect communications for the rest of year, stay tuned for the dramatic outcome!

Sir Edmund Hillary visited McMurdo and called the South Pole last week. In case you are not aware of Sir Hillary's accomplishments here is a short blurb I found:
"Pictures of Sir Edmund Hillary in McMurdo’s Mac Ops speaking to South Pole Station on 11/29/04. Edmund Hillary was the first man to arrive overland at South Pole after Scott – and arrived in the first mechanized traverse.
Hillary is also the first man to summit Mt. Everest, with Tenzing Norgay."
If you goto to ROLEX.COM they talk about him a great deal as he tested the famous Explorer watch. Here is a picture:

Here is picture I found of the station on one of the few dusks that happen down here. I thought it was worth a look.

Back to work.

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Day After

Well I am struggling through today. My co-workers have been very supportive, although most of them are to blame for my condition today. Here is a picture of the ARO building that hosted last nights' festivities. I have very little energy left for the Disco Party tonight. But being a trooper I will make an appearance with my "Disco Sucks" shirt. Last night the beakers (scientists) brought liquid nitrogen to freeze all the liquor. A public service message: Do not eat freeze dried vodka. I'll post a picture of what was going on when they get to the common drive.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

South Pole Information Technology Pictures

Or SPIT for short. We had our pictures taken yesterday oustide of the dome where we work. It was only -15C outside, relatively balmy. So here are two of the better ones (IMHO):

Here are my associates from left to right in the first picture:
Bill "Road Dog" Thompson - Satelitte Tech
Nick Powell - Satelitte Specialist
David Benson - LAN/WAN & PC Tech
David Bates - Communications Tech
Bill McAfee - IT Manager
Brandon "Mr. Loehr" Grantham - Network Admin
And I bring up the end with my sexy Carharts.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Chilean Traverse Team is Leaving

I have had the pleasure to meet (and drink with) the Chilean Traverse team. About half military and half scientists, a good bunch of guys. I attended their arrival party at the South Pole which consisted of drinking too much Piscoe. They seem very happy here after a the long trek from Patriot Hills. They have been here for a week because of mechanical issues but it sounds like they are geared up and ready to go. Here is a picture of the Chileans arriving at the South Pole.

Good luck to my new Chilean friends on the second half of their journey.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Welcome to the end of the world

You have found my temporary home... both in the world and on the web. I will try to spell out some of my experiences at the South Pole for anyone who might be interested. Please bare with me while I set this site up.