Ladies and Gentlemen…Roll Cage Mary

July 12, 2010 at 10:25 pm (In Our Down Time)

Temps: -20 C / -4 F
WC: -28 C / -18 F
Winds: 6 kts
Pole: -60 C / -76 F

Roll Cage Mary. My Antarctic Band. Definitely the coolest and most fun thing I’ve been a part of down here. Nathan named us after the statue of Our Lady of the Snows, called Roll Cage Mary by anyone who didn’t erect it (hey) for Richard T. Williams.

Williams was a construction driver whose bulldoser broke through the sea ice and sank on January 6th, 1956. His body was never recovered from under the ice. He was hauling materials meant to build an airstrip to support exploration and the construction of South Pole Station. The airstrip project was later moved to a different location, which became the currently operating Williams Air Operating Facility, or more fondly “Willie Field.” Besides a propeller memoriam plaque at the airfield, the other memorial to Williams is “Our Lady of the Snow,” a statue of Mary in a fashioned grotto which has been repaired by workers over the years, though now stands in more of a cage than a grotto, and is often called “Roll Cage Mary” in McMurdo landmark fashion.

From afar at sunset…

And close up…

Kevin Cole on lead guitar…

Justin Dolan on bass…

And the stellar and uber-patriotic Nathan Murphy on drums.

The gang, all of whom kindly stayed up way past their bedtime. We were supposed to start at 9:30, but the auction didn’t end until 10:45.

We packed it in just after midnight, just like real musicians.

Some video for you. Though the sound quality’s poor, you can see we had a real nice time.

Goodnight, Antarctica!


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Proud to be an Antarctican

July 5, 2010 at 12:20 am (In Our Down Time)

Temps: -22 C / -8 F
WC: -32 C / -26 F
Winds: 9 kts
Pole: -69 -92

July Records
High: -4 C / +25 F (1956)
Low: -51 C / -59 F (1960)
Snow: 6.2″ in 24 hours (1966)
Winds: 102 kts / 117 mph (1984)

God Bless the USA(P)!

Happy Birthday, America! We celebrate your Special Day with much debauchery and very little dignity, but down here, we worship a different flag:

That of the Unites States Antarctic Program.

Oh sure, we Don the Red, White and Blue…

(Brooks in Hoop.)

(Patriotic finger bling with Cedar and Hayden — The Foreigner.)

…Use Our Patriotism to Humiliate Everyone Else…

…Show Off Our Trashiness…

(And what’s trashier than Kornhole?)

(Hey Everybody, it’s Guess Who Sports That Tattoo? . . . I won with over 50% correct, but I did cheat a little.)

(A closer view. Trashy!)

…Gorge on Food and Drink (four kinds of ice cream — thank you, Scientists; funnel cakes — thank you, Josie; cotton candy — thank you, UTs; beer — thank you, VMF; and a chili cook-off — thank you, Bradley, for making yours so spicy it gave me hiccups).

…Do Things That in No Way Fall Under the Category of “Safe”…

(Ahhh, the ole Twirl-n-Hurl. A McMurdo County Classic.)

(Human Jenga. Because there aren’t enough ways to die on this island. And because we’ll do anything the BFC girls tell us to do…”Here. Put on this harness and then stack these 10 boxes and stand on ’em. Don’t worry, we’ll catch you. Promise!”)

…Light Fireworks Bright Green Laser Beams…

…and Drink Copious Amounts of Alcohol. All in the name of YOU, America USAP!

At 8:00pm sharp(ish), Moose and Louie began the McMurdo County Live Auction. At the MCLA, money is no object. Mostly, because we have nothing else to spend it on. Secondly, people will pay anything for the comforts of home, which someone else has been hoarding all season long. And finally, the station manager had no idea how much money was thrown around at this thing agreed to match us dollar-for-dollar and donate to the Red Cross. So, people were ready to spend.

How much will the Budweiser go for?

Box of Cap’n Crunch — $60
Gallon of Chocolate Ice Cream — $30
Sixer of Miller High Life — $85
Shaving Mark Scowden’s Head — $300

Four Signs the Linemen Stole From the Firehouse — nearly $1000*
*each sold separately

The most expensive toilet paper on the planet.

Cedar, Bethany and I bought a delicious meal prepared by the lovely BFC girls, along with entertainment provided by the enticing Nathan Murphy for the low, low price of $50 each. Worth every penny for Murphy alone.

Where does all this money go, you ask? Well, somebody, somewhere, decided that, by law, we are no longer allowed to donate money to charity. So, instead of helping to support Blind Kittens or The Arts, we will use the nearly $6000 for an End of Winter Party. Seriously. We’re going to try and fly in Beyonce and Jay-Z, special!

Save your fork, there’s pie!

…in the face!

(Corrine…meet the Wrath of Keri.) She will also insult you or your mom for tickets.

Mostly, however, we celebrate the fact that, although I have gained 20 pounds since getting here in October (70% lack of fresh food and metabolism, 30% cookies), my ass doesn’t look all that bad.

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More Alien Farts.

June 30, 2010 at 5:07 pm (It Looks Like This)

Temp: -26 C / -15 F
WC: same
Winds: calm
Pole: -70 C / -94 F

You just can’t escape them down here, and happily, the moon, electricity, winds, and temperatures are all working together so we can get as many green-fiery displays as possible. These photos are from the ole Public Files, and I’m not sure what that yellow-fiery-glowy thing in some of the photos are, but it’s a safe bet these were taken awhile ago, when that yellow-fiery-glowy thing still made short visits.

The long sunset.

alien farts.

Alien Farts!


This is what our friends at the International Space Station see.

This photo was taken by DJ just a few days ago, when the moon was full. Leaving work, there was just a light cloud cover, and it lit up the sky and Ob Hill nicely. It was so nice of the moon to bring us tiny glimpses of the Royal Society too. I’ve really missed seeing their shape and outlines since the sun went away. And yes, I did do some howling on this day. Not a euphemism.

Last, but not least, Albuquerque.

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She Speaks

June 25, 2010 at 9:50 pm (Stuff)

Temps: -12 C / +10 F (balmy!!)
WC: -21 C / -6 F
Winds: 14 kts
Pole: -59 C / -74 F

Scarlett, my little red-headed hussy, finally speaks.

Hasbro is putting up webisodes every month from the G.I. Joe work we did way back in September, just before I packed up my thermals and headed down south. The “true fans” seem to hate it, judging by their blogs and comments. I guess I’m not a true fan, ’cause I think it’s pretty cool. And now, you can finally hear me on them. Scarlett and Helix, bustin’ heads all over Operation HISS.

Enjoy. Click on the videos link, then Operation HISS, Episodes 4 and 5. Look for the girls with the large…personalities. Or, just watch me beat a bunch of ass on the one entitled “G.I. Joe Operation HISS – Scarlett.”

She’s a bad motha.

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It’s Coming Back, Right?…RIGHT?!?

June 22, 2010 at 2:22 am (What I Do)

Temps: -29 C / -20 F
WC: same
Winds: up to 6 kts
Pole: – 64 C / -83 F

Winter Solstice (for we, the Southern Hemisphere folk) has come and gone. The sun has gotten as far away from us as it’s going to get, and we’ve been marginally assured that it has started its lengthy journey back. It will officially reappear for real-real for about 2 minutes on July 29th, as a belated birthday present to me and Brooks one who shall remain nameless.

In keeping with Antarctic winter-over tradition, started by the likes of Shackleton, Scott and the dogs they consumed kept as pets, we had a feast fit for the Ice Princes and Doctor-Princesses that we are. Food and decoration planning has been going on since approximately 1989, and no tiny cherry tomato from the Greenhouse was spared…Because we ate the shit out of every last one of them.

Not to mention all that pate de fois gras.

Suck it, PETA. That shit was delicious.

Invitations were printed and sent out to the twenty-odd other stations, all over the continent. Click on it. You can see my little name! And all my wintertime friends’ names! See, mom, proof!

The Galley was decorated…

There were fancy dresses and ties. There were photos. It was basically Prom, but the wine came from actual bottles and the lodgings were rather more questionable. Photos courtesy of DJ and Karen, Keri Nelson, Cedar Reimer and, of course, the I:Drive.

Me and Brooks. It kind of looks like we’re excited about our impending doom bundle of joy.

That is because we are.

Prom King and Queen, Bethany and Carl. They’re even hotter in Real Life. And, if they weren’t so nice, we’d probably hate them, just like we hated the Real Prom King and Queen.

My date is about to leave me (and our unborn child) for another man. Also just like at Real Prom.

The Kool Cats. Keri, Brooks, Matt, Quinn, Jay, Nathan, DJ, Susan, Genevieve, Tad, Me, Karen, Megan, K-Dub, and Ulsh. Rrrrawr.

Cesar, Brooks, Me and Cedar…doin’ it up right.

Holy shit, they just opened up the buffet line…Beef Wellington, Oven Roasted Cornish Game Hen, and Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail…

Risotto Croquette, Parmesan Potato Bake, and Grilled Marinated Asparagus…

The dessert section of the galley. Who needs seven virgins? This is heaven.

Six kinds of truffles. I am not even kidding you.

Ice cream. Three flavors. Chocolate, butter pecan and a sorbet that would make your grandmama cry. Not kidding you here, either.

Too. Much. Truffle. Booze.

The next day, to sober up, we all did the Naked Antarctic Polar Plunge. Those stories and pictures to come.

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Shakira Probably Wants to Marry Me

June 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm (In the News)

Temp: -25 C / -13 F
WC: same
Winds: calm
Pole: -63 C / -81 F

June Records:
Max Temp: -4 C / +25 F
Min Temp: -42 C / -44 F
Snowfall: 11.5 inches in 24 hours
Winds: 104 kts / 120 mph

It’s been brought to my attention that I haven’t been posting much lately. Mostly, this attention has been brought by my dad and sister, via email and page, with the words, “Hey! Where the hell is your blog?” Point taken, with apologies and explanations to follow.

More importantly, however, is the fact that my One True Love (besides Stephen Hawking) is now aware of my existence. Not only is Shakira aware of me, she’s basically publicly pronouncing her love for me. Sigh. Oh, Shakira. Calm down. Let’s go on a date first, before we get all mushy and PDA-y.

So, Shakira, in her hip-shaking and world-loving glory, is raising funds to “benefit FIFA’s “20 Centers for 2010” initiative, which aims to achieve positive social change through football (that’s “soccer” to us Americans) by building 20 “Football for Hope” public health centers across Africa.” To do so, “she’s just posted a track called “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),” which will serve as the official theme for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, [which kicked] off June 11 in South Africa.” On her official website, folks from all over the world are submitting videos of them dancing the Waka Waka.

Everyone knows that participating in any event from Antarctica brings with it a certain je ne sais quoi. Let’s be honest. I’m at least twenty percent more awesome, now that I’m here. So, we Antarcticans figured we should dance, post a video, and get automatic love and affection from Shakira and The World. And that’s how Shakira came to know and love me.

The video, for your viewing pleasure. I’m the one in the green hat (which Brooks found and rescued for me!) on the your right, doing a celebratory can-can with Brooks, himself. Now, go out and buy the record so the childrens can play that game where they kick the ball into the thing and then run around with their shirts off and fists in the air. Because the more practice they get now, the hotter they are when they grow up. And that’s what it’s all about.

My nuptials with Shakira are to be announced in the coming weeks. I’m sure of it.

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June 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm (It Looks Like This)

Temp: -18 C / 0 F
WC: -27 C / -17 F
Winds: 8 kts
Pole: -58 C / -72 F

The other best place on campus is the Greenhouse.

To help The People conserve money energy, this bastion of good health and well-being was shut down over the summer. However, it re-opened for the winter, and the general public was recently granted access.

The front door…it doesn’t look like much, but the magic is on the inside. Now that I know its healing powers — and how to work a banana hammock (hey) — I will be heading there far more frequently.

Brooks and I took a trip Thursday evening. I’m pretty sure I left my hat — which Michael Christiansen calls “iconic” — there.

So, to discontinue my general state of feeling naked and cold-headed, I suppose I’ll trek over there again this evening to try and find it. I am particularly fond of this hat.

Whoa, Mama!

Remembering to stop and smell the roses. Or, whatever these pretty, petally things are called.

There are also funhouse mirrors inside. They make the veggies feel less oppressed. Oh, and my apologies for the frenetic nature of the video. Apparently, we were on sensory overload. This is the fastest I’ve moved in months. I wish I was kidding.

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In the Unassuming Little Shack

June 1, 2010 at 8:37 pm (In Our Down Time)

Temp: -25 C / -33 F
WC: -30 C / -22 F
Winds: 3 kts
Pole: -64 C / -83 F

Here at MacTown, during the summertime, if one knows exactly where to look and exactly what to look for, one might just stumble upon one Unassuming Little Shack. This Unassuming Little Shack has been sought out by The People for the past many years — during the summertime, of course, as The People can only really handle short visits during the warm season. Tourists, we like to call them. The People have threatened, cajoled, and used rabid dogs to sniff the Unassuming Little Shack out. Alas, they have been roundly unsuccessful, and their consternation and anger rises anew every winter, when the Unassuming Little Shack makes its annual appearance to make the Icies happy and slightly more well-balanced.

Now, there it sits, that happy Unassuming Little Shack. Just outside the Firehouse, where one can reserve some quality time in a nice warm tub. There are no bubbles, but it’s cleaned daily, and there is a working heater — both for the water and building itself — and it’s about the nicest place to go on a cold winter’s day.

*No peeing or glass bottles allowed.

Me and Brooks, chillaxin’ in the tub.

Justin, a true pleasure and delight, who is always good for a smile.

The inner sanctum. Oooh, Tropical Themed!

Brooks and Cedar.

That’s not wind. Our swimsuits just froze immediately upon exiting the building.

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Conrad and Margarita, Live and in the Flesh

May 26, 2010 at 4:53 pm (In Our Down Time)

Temps: -23 C / -9 F
WC: same
Pole: -56 C / -69 F

Believe it or not, there is even more to do on any given evening on The Island than at home. Each weeknight, we poor souls must choose between athletics, movies, music, games, and any number of ridiculous non-HR-approved manners of entertaining ourselves. One such event is our soon-to-be-monthly Open Mic night. Everyone knows how painful an Open Mic night can be. You’ve all had that tearful look in your eye, realizing you came to the right bar on the wrong night, and wondering how quickly you can bolt outta there without insulting Sparkly Tuba Lady Sings the Classics.

Open Mic Night, MacTown Style, however, is not to be missed. Some of the hightlights…

Russell…chef by day. Soul man, all of the time.

Nothing hotter than a lady drummer, and Wendy’s been coming here for 15+ years. Kevin, Zak, Justin and Jim backing her up.

Terrorist Fist bump for the Birthday Boy. That’s Moose and Will Coe, who has never heard the band Wilco.

Brad and Corrine explore where Inappropriate Line gets crossed.

Keri. Always beautiful and delightful, and this was her first guitar recital. She also rocks it with the all-girl Antarctic band, Sophia and the Bitch Pops.

Wally and Mike do Buffett…

…while Nathan makes us all sound good.

A little Mark Scowden, aka Poobacca, who runs the Waste Water Treatment Plant, aka Cleans Up Our Shit.

Margarita: Just a small town girl.

Conrad: Just a city boy.

And a sampling of Conrad and Margarita, Live at the Hotel Casanova. He loved her the first time he saw her at that strip club last Tuesday. She…is wasted.

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All the Other Continents Are Racist

May 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm (Stuff, Uncategorized)

Temps: -11 C / + 12 F **
WC: -20 C / – 4 F
Winds: 13 kts / 15 mph
Pole: -58 C / -72 F
**3 days ago, we were at -75 F wind chill w/ 40mph winds. We’re not sure what’s going on, but we all like it.

From my lovely friend, Nathan Murphy.

The other continents are obviously liars. Racist liars. And I, for one, do not appreciate it.

And, this one, from my friend Eric Anderson, in light of my prior confession:

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