Saturday, December 26, 2009

McMurdo Alternative Art Gallery ( MAAG) they love their acronyms here!!

Christmas Night here was the big MAAG show at the CARP Shop ( carpenter shop ), all kinds of assorted pieces that were worked on for months or for minutes in some cases. They apparenty do this every year and it's quite an event, made me miss going to galleries back in Detroit.
Many on the works are made from found and discarded objects since there are no art supply stores down here, people can be very creative in this environment, soem of my favorites pictured above are the Little Meat Cabin ( constructed if beef jerky and slim jims) , Bacon Santa ( the name says it all ), The Life Cycle of a Butterfly ( as represented in dried pasta ), Stll Life with Dead Birds ( probably the closest thing to an actual painting in the show ), and the Bowling ball Pendullum ( using the balls left from the two lane alley they demolished this year, I guess no one felt like resetting the pins by hand after each frame )
Of course there were also inter active displays such as the cardboard box theramin and a wooded playstation race car.. and a bar ( Thank You Jesus )

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Morning and assorted stuff

Christmas on this side of the world runs a day ahead of everyone in the States. I had to work this morning for a bit to get some of the desserts for dinner baked off ( lot's and lot's of pies ), only had to work a short day though and will be on my way to enjoy the early Christmas dinner for the Galley staff.
Went for a hike late last week and was able to snap a picture of Scott Base ( the New Zealand Antarctic Post ), it looks a lot cleaner than it's gritty American counterpart LOL. Hopefully things at work will die down and I'll be able to make it inside the base on one of these American nights.
The building is where my new dorm room is, much nicer than the transient housing I was in and only one roomie instead of four YAY!
Yes, that's an F-350.. the USAP EDITION.. you won't find that model at your local Ford dealer, it would turn heads crusing down the street on tank treads though.. or maybe because the top speed is like 10 MPH.
Took a small snack back to my room, fresh baked bread that I made myself.. some awesome new zealand Bleu Cheese with Brie and a nice coffe cup full O' pinot to wash it down.
The mountain view is across the frozen Ross Sea to the land on the other side, in a few weeks an icebreakeing ship called the Odin is going to tear through the ice to make a path for the incoming fuel and supply ships that are due in early january, ships only make it in once a year to restock all supplies ( except for fresh produce , mail and of course people which are all flown in ).
I'm off work tomorrow and plan on doing a bit more hiking.. I'll try a different direction to get some new pictures of different snowy mountian tops and frozen seas.
Hope everyone has a Great Christmas

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Skua - Skua - Doo

Skuas are like giant seagulls, but brown and have no qualms about soaring in and snatching food from your hand ( signs warn to not go outside with exposed food ). Because they are scavengers and will take anything they can get their talons on all the trash is covered at all times.
For the people that live here they have Skua piles ( for scavenging people LOL, it's like a free thrift store where all the leftovers that people don't want when they leave McMurdo ) also known as Skua Central.. you can pick up anything you may need there from clothes to shoes to books, videos, and toiletries ( since there is a weight limit on the airplane to leave here many people just discard anything they don't need and leave it for the next group coming in).
"Ivan the Terra-bus" the towns main transit for people coming in from the airfield, it is massive and can be a fairly bumpy ride as it was for us coming in on the sea ice.
The bathtub grotto is actually a memorial for a service man who's tractor fell through the sea ice while bringing supplies in during the stations initial construction, it is situated on a hill over looking the station.
No, those seals haven't been beaten into submission.. they are just lazy and spend their days napping on the ice, hopefully sometime soon I'll get the chance to go out to see the penguins.. I'm really looking forward to them.
Other than those bits of info, I'm doing well.. work is busy with the holidays coming up and all the different departments having thier Christmas parties. I just got keys to my new room and plan on moving my stuff over on my day off tomorrow. It's not huge but I will only have one roomy instead of four and the place has a window ( I have already laid claim to the bed next to it LOL ).. it's a short walk across the compound from the building where I lived and worked before but still close enough that I don't really need a coat to get to work in the morning.
I also plan on doing my Christmas shopping tomorrow so don't anyone be surprised by the Antarctica T-shirts when they arrive mid-January.. the mail tends to move slowly out of here.
Hope everyone is well and having a Holiday Season even though it is colder in Michigan than it is here. :-)
I plan on going to Scott Base tomorrow for American Night ( where the New Zealanders welcome people for McMurdo ) Maybe I'll get some great pictures to post, if so plan on em' being here soon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Monday Monday, la la - la da da da

Backtowork today after my day off yesterday, visited the seals again and did a bit more wandering. Checked out the library here ( it's surprisingly large) and picked up a book.. I need to read more.
Nothing to really report, had a staff meeting today warning us of the impending busy Christmas season.. many different holiday parties are going on in the next few weeks and there's gonna be a ton of food to make for them.
Our company holiday party is tonight at one of the bars on the station YAY! free food and booze LOL. I have some more pictures that I'll post tomorrow.. I forgot my photo card :-(
I'll be off work on Thursday and plan on going to Scott base ( The New Zealanders station) it'll be american night where we are allowed to visit and socialize, people tell me the landscape around there is really cool.
Off to dinner now and going to try to call home before it gets too late there.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ass end O' the world

Just kidding, I'm loving it here, I just stumbled came out of the bar at 12:30 AM and the sun is still up although it is a bit overcast. Being here is pretty surreal, I met a bunch of kiwi's (new zealanders)at the bar tonight and they were all hilarious.. an amazingly friendly bunch who certainly enjoy their drink LOL. ran across a both of my room mates and pretty much the entire kitchen staff at one of the bars here, until some girl passed out... nothing clears a bar like a drunk chick passing out in the middle of the place. The crowd here is pretty young or so it seems to me, (one of the 29 year old kiwis told me I was old..BASTARD! LOL)
Anywhoo, I am enjoying the continenet thus far.. several people have told me it is fairly easy to get a work visa for New Zealand and I may try to find a job there for a few months when I'm done down here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wandering McMurdo

Here's some more pics of my current home, They didn't load in the order I wanted but oh well. The sloppy dorm room picture is my current room, I'm in temporary housing until they can put me in a permanent room, don't think I've ever had four other room mates at the same time LOL.
I wandered down the road from the station after work and stopped at the Scott Hut, named after the famous south pole explorer, it's the actual hut that he and his team wintered in and it as actually still stocked with everything they left including canned the canned goods ( there is a big warning sign telling visitors not to touch anything inside the hut.. it's a mini museum.
Sawa seal today, that is the black blob on the ice.. he was just laying there sunning himself without a care in the world. I couldn't get any closer to get a better picture since they are really strict about it, it's considered harrasment and they will boot ya for it and may even send you to jail :-(
The other picture is of the Station from the Scott Hut, the sky is typically that awesome blue.. there were some light clouds today but it was sunny and gorgeous.. from what I hear much better than the weather back in Michigan.
Was another long baking day, made a ton of cupcakes ( cappuccino,rocky road, lemon and german chocolate ) and chocolate tirimisu and helped out with all the bread too. I hear it will get busier as we try to get ready for Christmas.. it's very big here even without Santa. It's great working with a team where everyone looks out for each other ( unlike my last job ) it will definitly be a great season

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christchurch Revisited

Here's a few pics I didn't get the chance to load up yet, They are all from NZ. Theres a risque sculpture from the botanical gardens, the Christchurch Cathedral, The Avon river that runs throgh the city and offers gondola rides ( they don't call they gondolas though and I can't remember what they refer to them as ), and the World Peace Temple Bell also from the botanical gardens.
Today was my first day of work, it was mostly safety training ( they have a lot of that here) and going over everything in the kitchen , breaks , schedules and fun stuff like that YAY :-P
Did actually get to make some stuff dinner rolls, cookies,cinnamon rolls. There are mandatory stretching breaks during the day ( yeah, really!) , the kitchen staff is really friendly and I'm sure I'll enjoy my time here. There are 5 people total in the bake shop cranking out tons of stuff to feed the masses here. They let me out of work a bit early today so as not to overwhelm me the first day, It looks to be 5 work days a week 12 hour shifts for me I think the streching will help me adjust LOL.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Finally Arrived

Caught the flight this morning to Anatarctica, took us about 5 hours to get here from Christchurch NZ and I'll have to say it was quite a different experience from the commercial airlines.

Here are a few pictures: the C17 we flew in on, The mountains from the air field when we landed and the mountians in the distance from McMurdo Station

The weather is actually really nice today, after piling on all the cold weather clothing they issued us and preparing for the worst went we all got off the plane and onto the ice , it didn't take long to peeel off some of those layers.. it was like walking around in a sweat lodge LOL. The sun is bright and the skies are blue.. very few clouds today and the light reflecting off the snow is pretty blinding.

Checked in and was assigned a temporary room until a permanent one becomes available, went through a welcome orientation and got a quick tour of the galley from one of the chefs.. have to be to work at 7:30 tomorrow morning, not as bad as I was anticipating ( thought I would have the 4:30 start time )

There's alot to do here in the off time.. hiking , biking, crafts even.. kinda like camp but they sell liqour at the canteen LOL

Off to roast marsh mallows and tell ghost stories now :-P

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Where the hell is Mordor?? WTF!!

Just got into Christchurch ,New Zealand and it is AWESOME here! Green and lush and mountianous unlike the tundra I'll be heading into soon LOL.

The flight here was great, Quantus is my new favorite airline ( comfy seats, pillows, blankets, eye masks for sleeping, tons of new movies, loads of food and drinks and even a toothbrush and toothpaste to refresh your dirty mouth in the morning.) That was L.A. to Auckland where I got on a smaller plane to fly to Christchurch, I'm gonna go wander around the city centre and see the Christmas parade they are having today.
The hotel they put me up in is very cool, Hotel So, it's a swanky little european style room ( but actually has the full bath in the room ) Quite clean and cozy, my sister Karen would dig it.

Tomorrow I get more time to wander around in the morning and then go to pick up my cold weather gear at the Clothing Distribution Center. Dunno what time I ship out on Tuesday, there are actually a bunch of other people here going to the ice for a variety of jobs so I won't be alone on the flight.
Gonna head out and see the town now while it's early.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Getting ready for the Ice.

I just checked the weather at McMurdo and it's a toasty 30 degrees. ( the pic is me at the Hoover Dam, I won't be wearing shorts out while on the ice. )

I just got my travel itinerary and will be flying from Detroit to Chicago to Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand to Christ Church, New Zealand. My plane will be getting into Christ Church early Sunday afternoon and they've put me up in a hotel until Tuesday when I catch the plane to McMurdo Station,I'm trying hard to carefully pack so that I'm not dragging an unnecessarily overfilled suitcase halfway around the world.

Mom bought me a new digital camera for Christmas, so I'll be able to take lots of pictures and hopefully be able to post them on here. Also have been stocking up on warm socks and thermal undies, they supply me with all my work clothes and the extreme cold weather gear.
I'm really looking forward to this adventure and honestly am nervous as well, I've never been out of the country for more than short vacations.
I will be back to Michigan around the end of February / early March and plan on returning to Las Vegas.
Dunno what else to put here for now.. never done one of these before, guess I'll just play it by ear.