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!

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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Hothouse

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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I’m Pretty Sure This Isn’t Good

May 19, 2010 at 9:58 pm (It Looks Like This)

Temp: -32 C / -26 F
WC: -45 C / -49 F
Winds: 10 kts
Pole: -58 C / -72 F

Nobody’s ever accused me of knowing a whole lot about…anything. But, this just doesn’t look…right.

Everybody, get back, before it explodes or tries to eat you. Especially you, Tiny Box Baby. Everyone knows you are feeble and pathetic.

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80,000 Pound Cat in a Crack

May 16, 2010 at 9:12 pm (It Looks Like This)

Temp: -32 C / -26 F
WC: -38 C / -36 F
Winds: 3 kts
Pole: -66 C / -87 F

Last week, we had a closer call to an emergency than anyone would have liked. An 80k pound dozer went through the ice, right at the transition (where the rock ends and ice shelf begins). Naturally, there are a lot of different stories about how this might have happened, but The People are mostly interested in keeping the evidence from leaking out. Which, of course, means that it will spread much more quickly. Tell a bunch of Ice People to stay away, and they’ll bring their cameras. I, being the good rule-follower that I am, manned the fort and stayed put. That way, I stayed warm and could use my “people skills” to see any evidence I wanted to. This first photo was circulating on blogs and the Facebook within a few minutes, and my friend Mark took the rest of these babies.

The Cat went through at about 9:30 am, and it took several attempts to extract the thing. By the time evening rolled around, it had been sinking lower and lower until there was a distinct possibility it would just live there forever. Or, at least until September when more equipment and manpower could help to dig it out. Finally, at about 7:30 pm, with the Firehouse and S&R teams looking on, the Fleet Ops boys got their new toy out of its unnatural 45-degree position and pulled it to safety. Not a thing on it was broken except a headlamp.

Most importantly, all involved are safe and we didn’t have to order up any emergency planes to come and evacuate anybody. In a not-completely-related incident, we did, however, get handed down from The People (all of whom are thousands of miles away and, more than likely, have never stepped foot on The Island) a new Plan of Action. There will be no backing up in any vehicle on station unless there is another worker bee to guide the driver. My former Shuttle Driver head throws itself back with riotous laughter. I can’t imagine going more than ten minutes in these giant machines without having to use that scary reverse gear. I also know that, within just the last few years, two different worker bee guides got run over. One accident ended with a broken pelvis, the other with a couple of broken legs. Both resulted in hasty medevacs and new rules put in place. None, however, was quite as ridiculous as this one, and the general belief is that this particular rule will go away due this upcoming conversation:

Dude #1: Where’s the truck?
Dude #2: It’s up at the top of the hill. I had to walk down.
Dude #1: WTF?
Dude #2: Well, it was just me. And, I couldn’t go forward or I’d drive off a cliff. And, I’m not allowed to use the “uh-oh” gear. So…

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This is Just Cool

May 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm (It Looks Like This)

Temps: -23 C / -9 F
WC: -29 C / -20 F
Winds: 12-20 kts / 14-23 mph
Pole: -50 C / -58 F

Sadly, I know very little about this video, other than that,
#1: it is awesome and #2: it was posted on the public drive. Therefore, I, the Robin Hood of the Antarctic, stole it to distribute to you, the Poor Peasant of the Real World.

I give you: Dance of the Sea Ice…You are welcome, Peasant.

Also, if you play a nice Enya or Avril Lavigne song while watching it, you’ll really lose your mind.

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Nice One, Celestial Beings

May 2, 2010 at 5:54 pm (It Looks Like This)

Temp: -24 C / -11 F
WC: same
Winds: calm
Pole: -42 C / -44 F

May Records:
Min Temp: -44 C / -48 F (1965)
Max Temp: -3 C / + 27 F (1971)
Snow: 16.8 inches in 24 hrs (1968)
Winds: 92 kts / 106 mph (1984)

It’s not dark yet…but it’s gettin’ there.

We’re still getting a nice, healthy glow in the sky for a few hours of the day, even though the sun isn’t actually rising above the horizon anymore. This will last for another two or three weeks, at shorter and shorter installments, until our only light will come from the moon, stars, and beautiful new LEDs along the pathways. Not to mention, of course, our sunny dispositions.

Here are a couple of shots I took during the last days of sun…

And these were from a few days after the sun left us, but continued to hover in the background, like that drunk guy at your office’s noncommittal-holiday party.

And this one was taken by my friend Mark Bucher, who obviously has a better camera than mine.

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A Piece of Antarctica, Just For You

April 27, 2010 at 4:34 pm (It Looks Like This)

Temp: -16 C / +3 F
WC: -24 C / -11 F
Winds: 8 kts / 9 mph
Pole: -63 C / -81 F

There are few things in the world that I loathe and despise more than shopping. When I win the lottery, first thing: I buy an alligator and a moat. Next: Personal Shopper. Someone to buy whatever will look good and fit me, take off the tags, and put them in my closet. I’ll pay them well and even remind them to watch out for the alligator in the moat. That’s how much I will appreciate them.

Even in Antarctica, one can’t get away from having to go to the mall every once a once. But, without the bad lighting, concave mirrors, and dumb bitches harrassing you the moment you walk in, it’s actually quite the pleasurable experience to visit the MacTown Store. They have snacks, Skoal, movies, and lube. What more could a girl want? Awesome clothes, that’s what. And the beautiful Store ladies put together a Fashion Show to show us the faboosh items — hot off the vessel — that we just can’t live without.

Some of the celebutants that attended…

And the fashion, itself…

Like this one? Too bad…it sold out in 80 minutes. Everyone loves a soft-T Metallica-style shirt.

The underpants have been here for over a decade. I can’t imagine why.

And the designer himself, the mononomial McMurdo.

Do you need a hat? Sweater? Baby-T? Coffee mug or beer koozie? Let me know what you like, and I’ll grab it for you. You won’t get it until late August, at best, but won’t it be a nice surprise?

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On The Rock: The Movie

April 8, 2010 at 8:49 pm (It Looks Like This)

Temp: -14C / +7F
WC: -20C / -4F
Winds: 6 kts
Sunrise: 0913
Sunset: 1643
Pole: -64C / -83F

Some video footage of the Castle Rock trip. If you listen carefully, you can hear that I’m already struggling for the right words. That wasn’t supposed to start happening yet, but indeed it is. Two days ago, I had to ask, “What are these called again?” The answer: “Post-it Note.”

This does not bode well, friends.

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No Thanks, I’ll Just Call a Cab

April 6, 2010 at 11:44 pm (It Looks Like This)

Temp: -25C / -13F
WC: -41C / -42F
Winds: gusting to 32 kts
Sunrise: 0856
Sunset: 1900
Pole: -57C / -71F ***their last sunset was March 23; sunrise expected September 21

The Rec Department, (which consists of one person) has been working feverishly to ensure that no 2010 winterover will spend an evening on The Island without at least three things to do. This means that Boredom has yet to rear his ugly head — a good thing for me, in particular, as this usually leads straight to Lonely and Depressed. Instead, I simply run with Guilt and Stress because I have a hard time choosing what to do each night. I wanted desperately to attend American Sign Language and Spanish classes. But they conflict with Band Practice, Zumba, Project Runway night, and working at Gear Issue (where I hand out guitars, skis, wigs, and funny costumes to people in exchange for their monies). I’m told the groundbreakers that make up the World’s First Staring Club might be moving to a different night, so I’m hoping to put in an appearance there. Because I will like to break some ground.

One of the many things one can do here is take a hike, and there are several paths to choose from, at least in the summer. Winter means that — for the routes which remain open — you have to take a buddy and check in and out with the Firehouse, so they can guesstimate how long to wait before coming to scrape up your lifeless, frozen bodies, clinging to the side of Ob Hill.

I did all of the hikes, at least once, except for the overwhelming one that goes up to Castle Rock. That one is about six miles from MacTown to and from the Rock itself. Or nine miles to do the entire Loop, which pretty much takes all day. Sideways, OJ and I never seemed to have a day off together that didn’t end up being miserably cold and windy, so we never were able to make this trek. Frankly, now that I know there are other options, I don’t mind so much…

To enjoy one of the final sunsets of the season, Allison, our glorious Rec Princess, has been scheduling trips up to The Rock. You have to bring all your ECW gear, just in case, but, except for the last quarter mile or so, you don’t even have to walk! Eighteen of us, drivers included, took this Nodwell, almost to the top. The Nodwell, which Buck calls Notwell, is basically a real shitty Delta on tracks. Because of the steering differences, instead of bouncing up and down, you go from side to side.

The Rock itself, all 415 meters of it, which was formed when the volcanoes down here did whatever it is they do. There are climbing ropes attached, so you can get all the way to the top, but that will have to wait for another time. Here is what awaited us at the base of the rock, about a ten minute climb from our taxi…

No wind and almost completely clear skies made us all feel pretty lucky. It was kind of a rockstar group, too. That’s still some open water in the distance, and steam was billowing off of it.

Brooks got started doing sun salutations and yoga poses. This is my submission for the cover of Downward Dog Magazine.

And in Reverse Warrior…Fannie will be proud.

Although it was relatively warm, after about ten minutes, this started happening…
so we figured we’d better get back home for some Bailey’s-infused Hot Chocolates. Plus, Brooks can’t stay out past 8pm, or he turns into a vampire. Or a zombie, I can’t remember which. As we were leaving, the Moon came out to say hello. It was the first time I’d seen him since October, and seeing my old friend made me get more excited for total darkness.

Eighteen sunsets left, folks, and darkness descends.

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Dorm Roominations

March 21, 2010 at 7:52 pm (It Looks Like This)

Temps: -14 C / +7 F
WC: -25 C / -13 F
Winds: 17 kts
Sunrise: 0800
Sunset: 2005

Remember when my room was full of people? Well, now it’s full of booze, toys, food, games, and a massive 4-mattressed bed. Also, natural lighting and a dying plant illegal paraphernalia. Come visit me anytime. I will like to be your hostess and will probably have some fancy schmancy card game you’ve never gotten to play before. You probably will not win.

Most everything in here was either sent to me by all you fine, good people in the Real World, or stolen by myself, Sideways Meghan, and OJ. Which is why it’s such a delightful little place.

Heaps of thanks, my hearties.

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