Friday, October 27, 2006

Since I'm still stranded, this is the outline of my vacation.

No flights yet. We are a week plus behind now. So my estimated departure is in jeopardy. So I can complain about things which are totally out of my control or I can tell you want I am looking forward to... my vacation! So here is a rough run down of my plans:

Arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand (MAP) sometime around November 4th. Staying at the YMCA across from the Botanical Gardens. Meet up with other Polies at the our unofficial hangout Dux de Lux right down the street. Rent a car, book some lodging and get some sun. Go with the flow until the 11th when this girl shows up:

Who will travel with me for three weeks or until we get sick of each other. Spend another night in Chch.
November 13th - travel to the French settled Akaroa. This place looks really cool but because of other agenda items I can only book a day there. Check out the topography on this map. Surrounded by hills I have heard nothing but good things about it.
November 14th - Travel to Queenstown or Te Anau. Won't do much here except to get ready for the
M.V. Friendship overnight cruise of Milford Sound. This was suggested to me by Tim Nicoll.
November 16th - Travel to Greymouth to ice climb Fox Glacier. My travel partner likes climbing so this stop is hers. Denis Barkats strongly suggested the ice climbing.
November 17th - Arrive in Nelson. Just like the rest of the South Island people seem to rave about this northern coastal city. We spend two days here as I hear the beaches are great. Once again my travel companion is pushing the adrenaline button by doing this over Abel Tasman National Park. This guy:

Should be off the ice by then and said he'd like to participate in tempting death. We spend two days in Nelson before heading north.
November 18th - Travel to Wellington via Picton Ferry which crosses the channel between the two islands. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and supposedly the most cultured city in the world (just beating out Sydney, Australia). We spend two days here.
November 20th - Head north again to Auckland. One in three Kiwi's live in Auckland. On the way we stop at the Glow Worm Caves in Waitomo for the tour.
November 21st - Lose the car and fly to Sydney, Australia. Have not planned this far ahead yet. Obviously take the Harbor Tour and visit the Opera House (maybe see a show). I'd like to go up the coast and see the Great Barrier Reef but time will be tight and who knows how worn out we'll be by then.
November 24th - Head for the good ol' USA. I might not head directly home but then again I have a mighty powerful desire to sleep in my own bed. Anybody want a ragged Polie to come and visit?

Sunday, October 22, 2006


As the first flight gets near (and delayed and delayed and delayed again). It is time to focus on something I have not done in a while - grooming. The two two-minute showers don't seem like much. But to take a two-minute shower there is a lot of planning and effort. Plus you never get warm enough and by the time you are done you are wet and cold instead of just cold. So surprisingly we do not take all the showers alotted to us. But with new people on the way, they are probably not used to my stink like everyone else here is. So here is a pre-shower look at the Blur:

This is me in my room before the shower and a trim job. Notice how straight my hair is. No humidity = no curl.

A shot afterward, the beard is under control although still protectively warm. The hair is curly when wet and about as long as it has ever been. I hope the new folks understand the efforts I am putting forth for them.

Friday, October 20, 2006

What does it take to feed the South Pole Station?

Here is a summary of what was consumed this winter (February 21st) so far and what we plan to until Oct 20th.

What we ate/drank:

5428 pounds of Beef
22720 Eggs
1527 pounds of Fries
3948 pounds of Pork
2811 pounds of Poultry
2457 pounds of Seafood
82 case of Cold Cereal
1590 pounds of Cheese
1170 pounds of Butter
2638 pounds of Canned and Frozen Fruit
24300 slices of Pre-Made Bread
418 lbs of Meatless Protein (Tofu, Tempeh, TVP…)
39 gallons of Ketchup
11520 blue cups worth of Orange Juice (blue cup is 16oz)
8450 blue cups worth of Milk (blue cup is 16oz)
432 gallons of Ice Cream (after air is added by the ice cream machine)

What is your share:
Assuming everybody ate the same amount, which I know is not true.

84.81 pounds of Beef
355 Eggs
23.86 pounds of Fries
61.69 pounds of Pork
43.92 pounds of Poultry
38.39 pounds of Seafood
1.28 cases of Cold Cereal, so about 18-20lbs
24.84 pounds of Cheese
18.28 pounds of Butter
41.22 pounds of Fruit (This doesn’t count Freshies from beginning of winter)
380 slices of Pre-Made Bread
6.53 pounds of Meatless-Protein (But of course this number is much higher for those that eat it, since most don’t)
.6 gallons of Ketchup
180 blue cups of OJ
132 blue cups of milk
6.75 gallons of Ice Cream

Compiled. by Dan Von Bank

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What They Don't put in the IT Recruiting Brochure.

This is me dragging a couple of printers to the FEMC Jamesway. As sexy as the job title "System Administrator" is this is what it means at the South Pole.

A reverse angle shot, that flat plain beyond me is the ice runway.
Thanks to Neal Scheibe for the help and pictures.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Very Busy

Sorry to be so brief lately. First flight to Pole is in three days leaving a lot of work to get ready. Basically hauling out equipment to the outer buildings hat are warming up. The Heavy Equipment Operator has probably the worst job, grading the ice runway for 12 hours a day. So I can't complain too much. I'll post something interesting when I get caught up.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Has Anyone Realized?

That I will be spending my third straight Halloween here at the South Pole. Is that sad or what?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

How to Panic a Research Station in One Email.

How would you panic a station full of harden Antarctic workers? Send out this email:

From: POL-Met
Sent: Thursday, October 12, 2006 5:49 PM
To: SPO-Winter06
Subject: Cold Etc...

Since the rumor is growing at the rate of a degree a minute...

Yes, it is true, the 'warming' process here at the South Pole seems to be lagging a bit. The reason for this can be attributed to two main factors: The slow warming of the upper levels and the lack of storms.

UPPER LEVELS: As you all know, when the wind blows, it warms up. The main reason for this is the cold dense air at the surface mixing with warmer air aloft. But how much warmer? Well, today's surface temperature of -80F sits underneath a layer of warmer air (200 meters above us) that is at -30F. This is why the temperature increases when a nice breeze blows.

But the 'problem' resides in the fact that the overall temperatures in our atmosphere remains much colder in the parcel of air above the 'warmth'. For example... At this time last year, our upper air flights at 10 millibars were reading temperatures of approximately +10F. This year? -70F. You don't need a weatherman to explain the obvious difference in these two readings.

STORMS: Where does most of our warm air come from? Well, since we sit on a bright white plateau, the sun doesn't do a great job at warming us up as much of the sun's energy is reflected. Therefore, we depend on warm air to come from other places i.e. spring storms.

Currently a ridge of high pressure sits off to our Grid North and this ridge is now diverting all the storms around us which means the warm air that comes in with these storms is also diverted around us.

Of course, none of this means that first flight won't make it in next week. After all, South Pole MET consists of two goofy weather observers, not forecasters!


Monday, October 09, 2006

Webcam is UP!

Thanks to Greg Watson, the South Pole Webcam is up and running.

Check it out here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Another time waster...

This was a pretty interesting site. Need to have Flash 8..

What do you think?