Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Snow School

I'm definately glad to be done with that. The first day was fine, we were constantly in motion, so we were pretty warm. Even my fingers would warm up as long as we were working. We had to set up a few different types of tent, build snow walls and trenches, and a quinzee, which is pretty much an igloo. I got to sleep in the quinzee, mostly because I spent a few hours digging the tunnel to get in. The tunnel has to go down so that it isn't a source of cold air and such. Our tunnel went about four feet into the snow. The hut itself would probably have supported 4 people, but we didn't fill it. In the end it's pretty much a beaver lodge made out of snow. A whole mess of people wanted to try sleeping in snow trenches, which sounds like a god awful bad idea to me. The second day was cold. We weren't always moving, and my gloves (all three pairs. . .) were pretty moist. We had to do an emergency crash simulation, which was silly, because it's hard to pretend that it's a snowstorm. Still it was worth a bit of a warm up. And we had to fake snowblindness, which meant putting white buckets on our heads and walking around. Some of it was fun, though. The snow is denser there than anywhere else on the planet. You can cut and quarry it with a saw as if it were stone. Today is packing and getting food for the trip. I have a feeling I'll be doing a fair bit of the cooking, but I'm pretty used to that (nudge). Anyways, time to get some crates packed. I'm going to try to throw a few pics up on flickr, but it's having issues loading. . .

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Went through all of the field equipment today. There's quite a bit of it there. We've got to have pretty much a full workshop's repair tools in case something goes down in the field, and then there's the tents and sleeping bags and such. Otherwise I'm just trying to keep up. I've had to put a lot of time into my website to get it ready before we helo to the field (at which point we will actually be on the Southern Continent. Right now we're actually on Ross Island, just offshore), and we've had more classes. Today was radio and heavy equipment (ice drills, generators, ATV, etc). It's a good thing I've had some chainsaw experience, or I would be totally lost on two-stroke engine use. The ATV's are kinda scary, but I guess I'll figure it out. We can actually only use them on the lake ice. They rip up the ground too much to allow them onto any sand or soil. I'll try to throw up some pictures of the mountains tonight. Cheers.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


New pics up, mostly New Zealand. The good part of posting pictures online is that I can realize when I've not taken any good pictures of, say, anything where I am.

Like Humans Do

I know I shouldn't be surprised, and I suppose really I'm not. I mean, there are only so many of us. But it really is something to cross the world, flying to the middle (bottom?) of nowhere, and run into people you know. Hell, I knew they would be here. Still, it was nice to run into a good portion of the NIU diatom crew, and some old confernce friends. Good to chat and catch up. Nice to have friendly faces here in Oz. Things seem to be perking up. Time for homework :( and sleep :).

Friday, October 26, 2007


It's a little less stressful having gotten some sleep and gotten some things set up. The way it's looking, I'll be flying out to the valleys saturday, which will be friday for all y'all. I've got so many classes to take. Everyone has to do a driving class, radio class, environmental class, and lab class. Then there's Snow School, and overnight in snow tents, survival training, ect. Too bad after we deploy we'll be in the driest place on Earth. It's the thought that counts, I guess. Otherwise, it's equipment gathering for a few days, weighing crates and packing. Time to learn to drive. Cheers.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


We're here. The final flight was fairly uneventful, and very smooth. I've got more equipment than all get out, which I guess is good. It's very pretty here, and the weather is clear. I've taken lots of pictures, but it'll be a day or so before any more of them get online. Peter just told me he wants me to effectively redo the website I put together, and that he expects I'll have time to do it here, so... I'll be pretty busy. Anyways, I'm here alright, and it is in fact fairly cold. More tomorrow, I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The city's nice. It's a small place, but still with architecture and businesses like a city. The population is helpful, although most of them seem to be intimidated by my enormous Servo/Croatian counterpart. We're heading off to get equipment soon; tomorrow we'll be on ice. I'm 18 hours ahead of Chicago time, by the way. The flights were ok, if cramped. I didn't sleep much, because the turbulence woke me. And I got to watch Harry Potter. I wasn't a big fan. . . I'm going to try to get a couple of pictures up on the flickr, so there should be a few more things there. later.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Does anyone know the lyrics to "Rocket Man?"

Time to go. I'm heading out of my office and on to O'Hare in minutes. Hopefully I'll have an internet connection, at least breifly, in Christchurch. Thanks for all of the well-wishes and phone calls. In any case, I'm running a bit low on sleep, so I'm sort of at a loss. I don't think it's really hit me yet just what it is that I'm doing. I'll see you all soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday, 10/18/7: Explanation

Alright, here you go. I will go ahead and assume from the get-go that I won't be posting here on a daily basis. Regardless, this will serve as my main source of communication while I am away. If you'd like to see where I am, go download Google Earth. Search for McMurdo Station. This will show you where I am for the first few days. Next, search for Lake Fryxell. This will show you where I will be for the rest of the trip. Starting downvalley, and moving away from the water as time goes on, then, jumping to the beginning and starting again. If you just copy and paste this: you should end up in my flickr. Then you can just click on my name and it will bring you to my main page.