Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catching Up

So I’ve decided to stay up all night and update this dang blog. The “fast” internet is coming up at 3:10 am right now. It starts 4 minutes earlier every single day which sucks, so rather than annoy the heck out of my neighbors by having my alarm go off at 2:30 in the morning I figured I could just stay up all night and get a bunch of stuff done. Now staying up all night for me normally is not a problem, but I get sooo tired here. I don’t know if it’s the elevation or the fact that when I do sleep it is very uncomfortable nights of tossing and turning. I know I’m soo far behind on this blog thing, my bad. I’m going to try and keep this up to date from now on. I’ve decided to start just writing out the blog stuff after work and internet so that I can just copy and paste the stuff into the blog in the morning. Also I’ve completed transferring all my current photos over to my buddies server in Boulder. He will now soon be able to post them up on flickr; so everyone can see all the photos I’ve taken, not just the small crappy versions I’ve thrown on the blog today. I must warn you I go UBER tourist when I go anywhere and take way too many pictures :}

Since I’m so far behind I’ve decided to just start from the beginning in chunks dating the individual blogs with the date I’m referring to. Hopefully before too long I will be all caught up. So for now I’m not going to talk about the crazy thanksgiving night/party, this will come later ;}

October 31

Woke up 5ish in the morning, not so much fun since I started packing the night before around 10:30-11 and didn’t finish until around 1ish. Yes I started packing for a trip to the bottom of the earth, aka the south pole, 15 or so hours before I actually would be flying out. Ahh the life of a procrastinator :} This is a shot outside of my families house in Eaton around 5am before my mom and I drove off to Denver to my final orientation at RPSC headquarters in Centennial. The last time I would be seeing the place for quite a while.

The orientation was the typical lame corporate orientation, basically a waste of time but a paid waste of time. You don’t really learn anything until you get here, I don’t know if anyone remembers the stuff from the orientations, maybe who knows. This is a shot of folks waiting for the bus to take them to the airport.

I was waiting for my family to come ad pick me up. I asked them to be there at 11 and of course they were not, and were very late. Showed up 11:40ish I think it was. Thankfully my brother Justin was driving my other bro Jarod and my mom over. I say thankfully him because he drove like a maniac and got to the headquarters far sooner than if my mom had been driving. I made my brother get out so I could drive because I was in a MAJOR hurry to get some stuff done before the flight. I just happen to drive a bit crazier than my brother :} I needed to hit up REI to grab some shoes and socks and a couple of “water” bottles, my normal drinking nalgene and my 2L, not so much for drinking…

It was pretty smooth sailing from there on except for when I tried to sneak through a pay parking ticket thinger behind another car and almost had the thing slam on my mom’s car. Other than that I just ate with the fam one last time, went through security and waited with Pip at the terminal for my flight to Los Angeles.

As I was flying out over Colorado and Denver I was thinking to myself I can’t believe how crowded we are getting, how much of the land is becoming nothing but roads and housing: then I flew over LA…

November 1

I’ve never seen such human clutter: houses, roads, buildings as far as the eye can see with occasional trees. Disgusting imho.

Cool sign thinger inside LAX

I was pretty lost when I got to LAX, there were buses I could take apparently but I wasn’t sure if had to pay for them, if I needed a ticket for them or what so I walked my toosh off to the international terminal with my giant bag. This was not a short walk let me tell you. I did get a few pics of a cool construction project and the plane I flew in on that, had I taken a bus to the terminal, I would have missed.

Pip and the plane we flew in on.

Cool construction thinger

Then I had to wait quite a while in the international terminal for my flight to Auckland, New Zealand. Oddly enough I have no photos of that, weird. Anywho the plane finally showed up at around the time it was supposed to dunno what that was anymore. I completely forgot until I was sitting in the terminal that I asked to have an aisle seat in case I needed to go puke while on the flight. I get very very motion sick, and was worried with such a long flight I would spend most of the time in the bathroom. Thankfully the motion sickness pills worked. And I never got sick. I lucked out with my seating because I was in the first section of seats in the rear most seat of the section, meaning I had no one sitting behind me, it was a large open space. I also lucked out in that the middle seat did not get booked so the window seat guy and I stretched and took advantage of the opening there. They had these monitors in the seats ahead of me where I watched a couple of movies, Tropic Thunder and Wall-E.

I tried sleeping but was a bit cramped and anytime I had my arm on my right elbow rest the frigging stewardists would come by smash my elbow with their dang cart. And if it wasn’t my elbow it was my knee stuck out too far. The nice thing was that they really didn’t seem to care at all…the food was decent to good though many complained about it.

We finally landed in Auckland after a very very long flight which was not that bad at all, just long. 6,652 miles from LAX.

We crossed the International Date Line so my dates are probably not accurate after this. I’m just going off what my camera is showing as date taken.

November 2

Arriving into Auckland was crazy, I had no idea where I was supposed to go, I was freaking out about customs, I just knew they were going to grab my external harddrives and check their contents which would pretty much screw me major or cause me to lose them which would just tick me off. They didn’t and I made it through with no problems. It was a huge rush to get to the other flight from Auckland to Christchurch. I got lost had no idea where I was supposed to go, but luckily found someone I recognized and just followed them on a hurried trek across the airport to the domestic terminal.

Many of us were a bit worried while waiting to check into the next flight because it was taking FOREVER. They, for the longest time, only had one person doing check-ins with a line of 50 or so people with multiple bags all trying to get onto the flight that was boarding in 15 minutes. After the plane had been boarding for 10 or so minutes they finally brought someone else over to help get us trough the line. We all barely made it onto the flights, by a matter of minutes before they closed the doors. It was stressful to say the least, and incredibly annoying. Thankfully all of us who had that flight made it. The flight was beautiful.

When we made it into Christchurch we met up with the shuttle company and hitched a ride out to our hotel, Hotel SO. Most if not all of the folks going to the Pole were set up at Hotel So. It was a cool little hotel, very trendy. As many put it, the rooms looked like a rejected Ikia catalogue. I thought it was awesome.

It was a blessing to see computers with internet access again. Going from non stop access between work, home, and my blackberry to what seemed like a week without internet access was terrible.

The elevators in the place had these glass backs with odd shapes that lit up corresponding to the floor level. I think I was on square maybe?

Then I finally got to my room with a real bed, I was so happy.

The rooms have no windows, just a very large mirror, a huge tv and various little gadgets.

I kicked the tv multiple times when sleeping. The “bathroom” was a weird glassed in space station or something. And there was a mood lighting dial by the bed that changed lights in the “bathroom” I set it to love but no one ever showed…lame. I was just worried my “date” got sent to the wrong room. Thankfully there were no charges on my credit card, so I think maybe it was just busted.

There was also a blue light that you could turn on and off under the bed. I’m not exactly sure what the point of it was. Whatever the reasoning, it was awesome. Pip thoroughly enjoyed it, he said “it reminded him of home” whatever that means.

The other really cool feature of the room was the alarm clock. I know what you’re thinking how cool can an alarm clock possibly be? Well this one was awesome, what it did was simulate a sunrise in the room, there were special “sun” lights that slowly turned on 10ish minutes or so before the time you set the alarm for, until the “sun” is fully up and the tv turns on to a serene mountain scene with soft peaceful music. Shweet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friggin Lame

Soooo, the super B.A. plane that i was so excited to see yesterday did not come. And in fact may never come. It had to turn around and go back to McMurdo shortly into its flight to the Pole because the oil rings broke on all four engines...

Sooo, the plane may never get our here.

Friggin Lame

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Short quick post WITH A PHOTO!!

So i don't have much time this morning, suprise, suprise but I thought I would hustle my butt and throw this pic up on the site. It's a small pic so this should be realatively easy...

Anywho, this awesome little bugger will be flying in today to the pole for the first time ever. It's a trial run, where they are going to be doing and lot of touch and goes and various other awesome things. I will be taking a ton of photos, obviously no one will ever see them at the rate i've beeen going however. But fear not, I am working on a little system to get my photos up here.

anyway here she is, aint she purdy?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

So I lied

Maybe tomorrow I will have photos? Having the internet up at the times it is sort of suck because the majority of the time I am working and when I am here working I generally don't have time to fiddle with much outside of work. I'm assuming this will change slightly in a couple of weeks after everyone gets settled in. Right now we are at 248 poor souls. I think we are supposed to be getting only a few more people in here. Every time we have someone come in we have to make sure that their email accounts are transferred down from McMurdo or we have to create one in general. This generally works without any problems but occasionally we do lose the satellite right in the middle of a transfer meaning folks don't get their email. Thankfully everyone has been understanding of this. I suppose when you go to the South Pole you sort of have to expect delays in well everything, and you just stay ever grateful for things like 24/7 email access while here. So having to wait a day or two most people can stomach. The other thing we've been getting swarmed with is folks trying to get onto the wireless out in summer camp (the jamesways). Feels just like my time in the BugBuster's office during peak only this is far less stressful. Having the experience of thousands of angry little freshman whining they can't get on the wireless has made this portion of the job seem like a vacation. It's also nice being able to work on these windows boxes with your eyes closed since my coworkers aren't as experienced with windows boxes to handle grabbing a computer in swedish/finnish/german/etc and setting up a new wireless connection. :} This job is however in one aspect exponentially more stressful in that a lot of the stuff we need to do requires the internet, and when you lose any sort of useful internet access after 10am it makes the remaining 8 hours of the day sometimes quite difficult. Try going a day without using Google... It does however force you to become better at the job, you can't just rely on Google, you have to get creative and figure out your own solutions and approaches towards a solution.

I've really been wondering how I approach this whole blog thing since I am so far behind in posts and pic and such. Do I just make one huge long ol post going through everything with pics of my adventure up to this point? Or maybe I just start doing individual posts of each day leading up to this post? Or do I just redo the whole damn blog since I think there are 5 people reading this anyway ;}

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

Oh one last tidbit; couple of days ago it was really windy 18 knots (no clue what that actually means, I just know it was windy) the base temp was -48 degrees F, and the windchill was -79 degrees F. That my friends is freaking cold… The worst part of this is that without the wind -48 degrees F is not all that bad, so when you are walking with your back to the wind you don’t really notice it, then when you have to come back the trip seems to take 10 times longer. I had to take a workstation (computer/monitor/cables) out to the fuelies shack about a 5 minute or so walk. By the time I got in the shack all the cables were frozen solid, I had to sit the cables and equipment in front of an electric heater for a good 20 minutes before I could even move them without risk of snapping the outer shell.

I <3 Antarctica :}

Oh and I setup my gmail to forward to my usap account so I will be able to get mail and respond 24/7.

One last thing, so you were right Ian, so you were right... work, eat, workout, and sort of sleep. All my little projects thus far, not so much. :|

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ok so

Hopefully tomorrow!

The satellites allowing internet access are only around between 4AM and 2PM...I mean seriously! Sooo, i'm gonna try and get up uber early tomorrow an get stuff done on le internet. I may just stay up here in my office since I don't sleep much in the jamesway. I sleep for an hour, get woken up, try and get comfortable, not possible, use my nalgen (the 2L one), take a drink of water, 10 seconds later grab the ol 2L, try and get comfy...again not possible. Then finally get to sleep around 4 get up at 6:30 head into breakfast. Now for those of you who have known me a bit, you know that i am not the tidiest person on the earth, so i may not be able to get comfy because my room is a disaster, my bed is of course not made. I just grab whatever is laying on the bed closest to me and try and cover up, first night it was portion of my ginormous kevlar comforter, second night it was a sheet or a pillow cover not sure, last night was a portion of a fitted sheet and i think a towel. :}

I really need to find a girlfriend down here ;} I think I've made my own bed maybe a couple dozen times in my life, any other times it's been made has been from annoyed roommates (though why they were annoyed about my bed not being made is beyond me), girlfriends, or my mom.

Oh yah forgot to mention, my room generally wreaks of either diesel, or kerosene or somethin. I'm slowly geting used to that. And the other problem is that my room gets so freaking hot, and just gets warmer depending on the position of the sun, so as the "night" progresses I get these intense heat spikes. Weird huh.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Perty Boring Blog thus far, eh?

I sa'wear i will be updating this thing soon. You see there has been this slight little problem with my pictures. My stupid camera uses a proprietary usb cable...which I forgot. And the card reader that i bought in case of cable loss...I forgot. Soooo, yah soon folks soon!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Finally Made it!!!!!!!!

I finally made it to Antarctica!!!!!

More will be posted soon!