Thursday, December 25, 2008

South Pole is Just Awesome...

Need to get this dang thing caught up so i can talk about all the cool stuff I do here ;} And since I'm up again and staying up all night I can get mostly caught up. I was up all night Christmas eve getting decorations made and ready to decorate a Piston Bully for "The Race Around the World" I'll talk about it when i get the photos and such up, awesome time, man awesome time. So yes i was up all night last night and since my girl*** right haven't gotten to that part yet in the bloggin', a friend of mine had to work over night Christmas i decided to stay up with her.

Moving on from the previous post...

I was absolutely miserable for the first 12ish hours or so I was here. When we all arrived we had an informal little meeting thing, so i was feeling like crap sitting in a tiny room full of other folks that were also feeling like crap. Generally speaking your first day or two here is set aside for acclimation. Henry (my boss) told me to just go find my room and rest. So i did.

I found J12 right away as it is basically the first Jamesway you come across when walking towards "summer camp". Summer camp is just the name for the collection of jamesways that are only used in the summer, hence the name. They are quite clever up here aren't they ;}.

I'm not going to lie, though i was feeling terrible, getting to my jamesway made me feel a whole lot better. It was just so cool lookin'. Here I was sitting at the bottom of the world and I'm about to enter my "room" made of canvas and plywood...AWESOME!!

But wait, then i entered the jamesway and found it to be completely dark, suck. I couldn't find my way around there for the first five or so minutes, then a stroke of brilliance! I took off my sunglasses...don't want to hear it shush. It was still very dark, there was only one red light in the jamesway so it was still quite difficult finding my way around. This is a bit of an exaggeration as my room number 2 is actually right beside the door you come in at. I did however have MAJOR problems getting into my room. The rooms in the jamesway have either wooden doors or canvas "curtains" that slide over, or my door...All the other rooms were opened up, my room was dark and closed. I was beginning to think i was in the wrong jamesway, so i walked outside (with my sunglasses off) opened the first door to the outside closed it behind me then opened the other door and BAM nearly fell on my butt i lurched back so fast. Holy crap it is SOOO bright down here! i have never before felt such pain in my eyes from the bright lights as i did when i stepped out of the dark jamesway into the South Pole sun. I quickly fumbled for my sunglasses and regained my composure. Turns out i was in the right jamesway so hmmm. I go back in and see if i can hear anyone in the room, nope. So i find the endge of the room and try and peek in, i was able to move a bit of canvas enough to peek in. There was blankets and such on the bed like the other empty rooms but there was also a bunch of other things in there: personal items. I could see mardi gras beads, a christmas tree and what looked like a penguin; so i thought well damn someone's in my room! Or they just left all their stuff, i decided to just go in and check it out. Well this turned out to be quite difficult. I couldn't get in. It didn't just slide open like the other ones. So i tried pulling from the side i peaked in at, all that did was rip a portion of my canvas "door" off the wall... hmm i found no seams, what the heck. I eventually just picked the canvas up from the bottom and sorta crawled under and into my room. from inside it was clear how the "door" worked. It was just two pieces of canvas one small and one very large that spanned the distance of the room. you sorta just slip in between the two. (as it turns out this sucks quite a bit when trying to move things in and out of the room quietly, especially while wearing big red). Now that i knew how to get in and out of my room it was time to go find my luggage.

They stored it a litte shack thinger very close to my jamesway so that was a bonus. I lugged everything over to my room and found one bag missing. Nothing major just the bag that had all of my actual clothing... went back to the room and couldn't find it there, i met up with Genevieve in the room and she said i should call over to the station and ask Beth Watson ( she sorta runs stuff, not sure what her actual title is). I called her and she said well the bag could have been brought over to the station on accident and that I should walk over and take a look...friggin lame.

I did also bump into another girl with a bunch of very large luggage, all of which was about 3 times her size, so I offered to help her take the stuff to her jamesway. I lugged that stuff over for her, not too big of a deal they have "banana" sleds that i loaded up her stuff with and just drug it over. Then I was off to the station. It's a 1/4 mile walk back and forth from the station and my room. Here is what it looks like from the area i leave everyday to start my trek:

I was exhausted from the elevation and lack of sleep/food/water, from moving that girls stuff (who interestingly enough returns later in the my story at the pole...) and now i had to walk back to the station to grab the largest of my 3 bags and potentially have to lug it back to my room, suck, major suck. Guess what the bag was there, lame. I drug it back unpacked and passed out on top of my bedding. Here is what it looked like the first few weeks:

Pip had no problem making himself right at home. He has a wonderful view of the station and the dome.

The next few days I got to check out my workplace

Met my coworkers and met the winterovers we were replacing and ended up going on a tour of the science stations. Being IT we get to go to pretty much every place here at the pole, and as such we got to go on this little tour of places most people will never see because we needed to show the new networking guy where everything was. I had no reason to be there, non of us computer helpery folks did, but since we are also IT we got to go along, sweet!

I've never seen so much fiber in one place...

wires, wires everywhere:

The winterover folks, Nate Bahls (Dr. Bahls as he was called) and Mike Rouss-otherletterstoo-o were awesome, they seemed like a fun bunch of people that i would have loved to work with. And the other two guys i would be working with everyday were pretty cool as well, Ben and Tripp. Tripp's his real name too, pretty cool. The whole time we were getting shown around the station we kept seeing signs with ping pong balls about no ball washing showing ping pong balls in the water fountains, and also ping pong balls themselves, little odd. We asked nate about it and he said they just ended up with a ton of ping pong balls and were getting bored and started putting them all over the station that and attacking each other with them. And as he was saying this a couple of balls came flying over our wall and hit him in the face.

The office we work in is just a sectioned off piece of the lab, we have walls and a door, but there is no ceiling it is all open, everything you say and do can be heard by everyone in the office, and as sch one of the other winterover dudes heard us talking about it and decided to show us what the balls were for :}. This started a mini war where Nate threw the ball back there more balls came over then Nate grabbed some a box of some sort and chucked it over the wall. All while we were laughing and then gasping at the large heavy box he just chucked...Man i thought to myself, wintering has to be AWESOME, I must winter here!

Aside from that there wasn't much excitement while we received our "turnover" and learned all the stuff we needed to know for the transition of folks. It was fun, Nate was awesome a really good guy. Then he left and it was now all up to us. I was pretty intimidated at first knowing that there really wasn't anywhere for folks to go if i/we couldn't fix it. You can't just send someone off to another IT group. You are responsible for everything. So far the job has not been demanding at all, it's ben fairly constant with the normal slow days, but it's been really fun up to this point. I'm learning a lot, doing things i never had a chance to do before with IT jobs in the past. Basically we are given the keys to the city and told here ya go, enjoy. I have full admin to most everything here it's awesome, AD work, exchange management, admin access to all the servers, it's just amazing the freedom i have here to work. I no longer have to call some retarded middle man and ask for permission to do something trivial, or worse setup a case to have someone else do something trivial...*cough* ITS *cough*

I am definitely glad i made the decision to come out here. Aside from work being awesome the "social life is great too. Us IT folks are quite spoiled. We have a comms shop as it is called where the comms tech works and where the NOC is. We have what is called the "comms theatre" setup in there. We have a HD projector, a PS3, a Wii, a computer with 4ish TB of movies and TV shows, and music, and INSANE sound system, with two giant subwoofers with independent 800w amplifiers that shake the room if put at half volume. It is amazing to play games and watch movies down there, oh yes we also have a couch and ottoman that slide under one of the work benches, i need to get a pic of the setup now that I'm thinking about it. There's a quiet reading room, a nice little library collection, a bunch of board games, The green house has a nice little seating area where you can "bask" in the light ( wonderful to have during winter i suppose)

Then there's a nice little weight room, hmm needs pics of this stuff too, and nice gym. I play volleyball every thursday, we play wiffleball on fridays? I think it is, and we also do dodgeball (i've since stopped playing dodgeball)Volleyball is awesome it is my favorite activity down here i look forward to it every week. It's also one of the worst things down here for me because i can't stay away from it.

Le Volleyball


I hurt my shoulder playing dodgeball one night, then two nights later i was playing volleyball and hurt my elbow while compensating for the hurt shoulder. Then 3 nights later i played volleyball again and was to the point that i could no longer rotate my arm, not a big deal right who needs to do that. So i stayed away for 5ish days when i could rotate my arm without pain. Played again and was doing fine until i started spiking the ball and serving hard again which caused the shoulder to freak out again. And i of course would not stop spiking the ball or serving it hard until i had to quit the game cause i couldn't rotate my arm again... Stupid i know, but for those of you who know me it's quite normal fo me to continually do stupid things that cause me pain. Such as my weird craving of incredibly hot food when my stomach is upset... So though my arms still hurts i continue playing, i do try and warm up a bit before i go crazy with the spikin' and such but i still leave with a numb throbbing shoulder every thursday. It's also played on sundays but i tend to sleep through it, or i've been hungover. But that shouldn't be a problem as i've vowed not to drink to that level anymore after the Big Lebowski night (more on that later ;} ) We've setup the gym as a movie theatre to play The Big Lebowski, we are going to set it up again this coming saturday to watch The Dark Knight and Wall-E both on Blue-Ray (very excited about that). We have pub trivia every wednesday, I cohosted last week. So ya, it's pretty much just awesome out here. I've also learned to drive the LMC's and the Piston Bullies for when i need to go out to the far away stations and do stuff such as our RF building. They are awesome.

Piston Bully, aint she purdy?

Tripp and I heading out to RF, I'm in the passengers seat:

Our RF building:

South Pole Death Star nearly complete...

It still amazes me that i am getting paid to be down here :}


Slartibartfast said...

Nice! Hope the incoherent email blast was of some use to you, even if only humor value. Keep the posts coming! -Ian-

Kristina said...

Sorry I'm only just now getting around to reading this, even though you gave me the link about 2 weeks ago. The computer lab had to endure many giggles as I was going through it.

Thanks again for helping me with my bags. :)