Thursday, July 15, 2010

Local News at 9

People have been telling me to post more about everyday life, and not to wait for big events.  Ok, but you asked for it so don't blame me...

Every Saturday night we have a South Pole Drive In Movie in the gym, with the movie projected onto the big screen (sheets sewn together).  Normally these movies are boy-movies - science fiction and action films.  To counter this the women on station have started an alternative movie night with, well, more sensitive films.  This week will be Jane Austin.  Normally none of the males on station would go to see this even if you paid them, but the talk is that they may crash it and sit in the back.  The catch is that every time "love" is mentioned in the movie every male in the room is going to down a shot of liquor.  Should make for an interesting screening of Jane Austin.  We'll see if it happens.

Cold temperatures are getting to be pretty everyday here but the last two weeks have been special.  We hit -103F last week and added several new members of the 300 Club.  The 300 Club you ask?  When temperatures are below -100F the sauna is heated to +200F.  People hang out in there for fifteen minutes or so and then run outside and around the South Pole marker.   Big deal, right?  Oh, did I forget to mention that this is done completely nude?

In more mundane matters, there is a competition on lighting at the station.  Some people here want to turn every light off that isn't absolutely necessary in order to save a few watts of electricity - and they do so at every opportunity.  Others are getting tired of wondering why they are eating lunch in the dark and want the lights turned back on.  Me?  I'm getting tired of sitting around in the dark wishing I had a candle to eat by.

Things not to do at the South Pole in July, four months before the next flight in?  Don't leave your ipod in your pants pocket and run it through the washing machine. Not good.

Today we reached our lowest atmospheric pressure since winter started.  It is now 649 mb of atmospheric pressure.  That translates into an effective altitude of 11,850 feet.  Whew.  If you don't think that is high, try coming down here and climbing a few stairs.  So, are you curious about the weather here right this minute?  Seventy-two below zero, winds of 30 mph, blowing snow and blizzard conditions, and 11,560 feet of altitude. Remind me again why I am here... please.

But don't think it is all fun and games.  We all have our work to do.  I am currently working on finding a way to erect some platforms over some fuel tanks to provide a safe working area next summer, and in getting some additional safety devices installed on a materials conveyor.  Since both of these areas are always between -70 and -90 degrees what would normally be a difficult job becomes even more so.


Rob Stowell said...

You're there because you wanted some time to finish "War & Peace"? I agree that you should do more postings... how did the crew like the World Cup? Keep up the good work Chuck!

J. Reaves said...

Hi Rob, good to hear from you. Have I somehow given the impression we are all sitting around in lawn chairs under sun lamps? Au contraire. In fact the station takes a lot of work to keep operational during the winter. Of course not by me. Being Safety I just stand around and watch, but others work quite hard. :)

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