chilling feet

chilling feet

Sunday, June 4, 2017

South Pole Happenings: Lebowski in Antarctica

(The only character I could even attempt dressing up as was
of course the Mysterious Stranger. Even with my mustache
and its fabulous growth, I still felt like a child when Sam
Eliot displayed his magnificent facial hair sculpture)
South Pole Update.

Sarah and I celebrated our tenth anniversary and it was a memorable way to do so down here at the Pole. Some amazing friends set up a scavenger hunt with hints and prizes, which was really fun and even included needing to use Voltron (our electric fork lift) to take a crate down from the high storage area. The galley crew made a super delicious chocolate cake, probably the best I've had since I've been here and I think that is without the bias of knowing it was made in honor of our anniversary. We went out to dinner, at the galley of course, and ate some scrumptious mahi and wonderful fresh kale salad (thank you hydroponic greenhouse). And of course after going out for dinner we followed it up by going to watch a movie. JP has been hosting new movie night and we watched the movie Sing. We laughed pretty hard and went to bed having enjoyed a wonderful anniversary.

(Eric dressed as the Dude. Not bad, not bad. He was
our best dressed costume by far in my opinion)

The South Pole is a place of continuous activity. One super fun way to spend your time is by hosting or going to parties or gatherings of different types. This blog has already described Yuri's night, St. Patrick's Day, and a few other such fun events. As most sane people love the movie The Big Lebowski, it was not a stretch to consider hosting an event surrounded by this movie - mostly watching it, but a movie like this demands further respect as well.

We rolled out the necessary ingredients for making white Russians - huge thanks to the galley for providing us with milk and cream as that made all the difference in the world - and everything else one might need for watching such a glorious movie. Popcorn was popped. Some bowling implements were brought out for use and for display, though the displays were used too. People did what they could to scrounge together outfits fashioned after various characters. We moved all the couches into the gym and we prepared everything to watch the movie in style.

But something was missing. Something of substantial import. The rug! Sarah came through on this one as it is one of the only things she knows for certain about The Big Lebowski. There is a rug and it really ties the room together. We have a tiny rug in our room and per her suggestion we took it down the gym. The enormity of the size of the room compared to the rug made it even better.

That rug really tied the whole room together, did it not? Rug pictured with the Mysterious Stranger and the Dude above.

So we successfully enjoyed a fun night at the South Pole and we watched a good film.

Work has been good. In the materials department we keep moving things around and doing more inventory. I really like our group as we often volunteer to help with random jobs around station, which is both fun and a big part of what I am used to doing in previous jobs. It is nice to continue is the same vein.

(Sarah went dressed as the female nihilist from the movie.
The highlight of her outfit was of course the missing toe!
No toes were harmed in the making of this costume but it
sure does look like it doesn't it?)
Just today we helped the galley staff take their trash out, which is not quite as easy as it is back home. Their trash needs to be lowered from the station by a crane down to the ice below, and this can only be done when it is warmer than negative seventy-five degrees F outside - otherwise bad news for the machinery. They lower it down and we help take it to the proper bins on a giant waste sled and then our wastie guy moves it all to a waste berm until summer when it is flown off the continent. This past Saturday we jumped in the kitchen for an hour or so to help Zak, our chef, make some pizzas for dinner. We have cooked pizzas for dinner a few times for the station as a department, a task we find to be really fun.

Food push. Two tasks we do every week is food pull and food push. The first is when we gather all of the foods the galley orders and the second is when we negotiate getting said food up to the station. I'll probably have an entire post about this at some point and add some fun pictures of the process. We were fortunate today as the temperature was just warm enough for us to use the freight elevator as opposed to having the entire station create a daisy chain to pass the food up one item at a time up ninety-two steps.

(Filling out our daily JSA - Job Safety
Assessment Form. A daily task for me I didn't
know Kim was taking a pic of it. Mustache
in deep thought) 
Sarah is still keeping people alive and healthy. One of her weekly tasks is leading training sessions for the ERT 3 team - the medical response team. Of all the teams it sounds like their training is the most fun. Catherine and Sarah come up with various skills that need to be either practiced or learned by their team should an emergency ever occur. This past week their "victim" was supposed to be spurting blood. Instead of agreeing to saying, "I'm spurting blood from my arm," they negotiated and ended up using syringes to shoot water out to represent the blood. A fun way to not only catch an unsuspecting ERT person off guard in an exercise, but just plain good ingenuity on taking a routine exercise and making it memorable. I bet most of them will remember what to do now should the real situation ever occur!

I wanted to mention a particular website in this post. It is put together by Bill Spindler, a man who has been to Antarctica a number of times. He describes the program in detail on his site and keeps immaculate records of winter-over details. The link I'm leaving here is a compilation of sites he has put together from people this year, and in the past, who blog about their experiences here. It is fun to read their posts and see their perspective on things. Take a gander and look through it. Make sure to wander through Bill's site as he has some really interesting information it. Click here!

That is all for now folks. I am sure we will have some posts in the next few weeks as there are some big events scheduled around Mid-Winter. Sarah and I have been here almost half of our time so far. Oh and I will need to talk about this further too, but one of our guys is showing new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I had never seen an episode before coming down and after two of them I am becoming quite taken by it as it is hilarious.

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