Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Nativity Scene

Starring Baby Burke Jesus. What an angelic face. I think Gustavo is the Virgin Mary. But they forgot a very important character, the donkey. Next year, someone's got to dust off the donkey costume and make an appearance. I'm volunteering to not be the back half.

Christmas Choir

The Christmas Choir performing at the VMF Christmas Party. They had an encore performance the next day right before the midnight mass.

Bacon Santa

Bacon Santa is an exhibit in the MAAG, the Christmas Artshow. I think Bacon Santa is a few years old. I'm suprised there is a Jesus Bacon Christ.

This is our Lady of the Snow

It was put up by the Navy Seebees as a memorial to all who have died in Antarctica. Its our there on Hut Point. Its in remarkably good shape considering it's exposed to the elements. I remember we had one similar in the grotto in our house in the Philippines.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Secret Santa

I got my Secret Santa Ildiko a pair of touchscreen gloves, hope she likes it. Ildiko got her daughter Fanny. It was also Fanny's birthday, so she got a camera case that Ildiko made and a scrapbook with pictures. Very sweet. Not gonna lie, I almost teared up. Ling was my Secret Santa, I got s pair of slipper, gloves a lot of candy and a Santa hat. Ling went all out, she left me a lot of hints during the week too. I knew it was her because 1. she knew where I lives, 2. I know she has a huge stash of candy, and 3. her last gift was wrapped in a foam net that I'm sure came from the chinese supermarket fruit section.

Midnight Mass

Midnight Mass in McMurdo. This is the first midnight mass I went to where there was not even a priest. the Monsignor got stuck in Christchurch s he emailed his homily to us. We should have setup skype so we can teleconference with him.

Ran the Obhill Uphill

Lot of fun, but so very tiring. We started off trotting nicely, then it went vertical and the last little bit was more like the Obhill crawl.

My bib for the Obhill Uphill

My first race in Antarctica!

LDB balloon launch, its a go!

Went skiing yesterday and saw the balloon launch. We had a pretty good view from the road.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On the first day of Hanukkah...

We decorated the dorm room. Haven't lit the candle yet. Fire and builing 155 don't mix.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gingerbread Hut

Gingerscott Hutt. The best part about this is theres a gingerdead seal in the corner of the hut too. Just like the real deal.

Gingerbread Delta

Today people signed up to make gingerbread houses in the Galley. This is a gingerbread delta that a couple of people from shuttles made. I like how Shuttle Bob is in the drivers seat.

Antarcticans, Dan

Man and machine. Dan is my roommate, he's a shuttle driver and he's posing here infront of the Delta. Before coming here Dan did wilderness guiding in Alaska. He comes from Seward, which has a pretty high representation down here. There's about two of us down here from Los Angeles, and about 10 people from Seward, a tiny little Alaskan town.

Antarcticans, Anthony

Anothony is a sysadmin like me. Its a good thing some ladies are teaching him how to crochet here in case this computer thing doesn't work out or we go back tot he stone age. Never hurts to cross train right? Before coming here, Anthony did contract work too in Qatar.

Antarcticans, Stan

I always tend to take pictures of things that aren't people, so I'm going to start posting profiles of people in the blog. This is Stan, Stan gets to be the first profile because he's the first person I met in the US Antarctic program this season. We landed in Denver at the same time and found out we were both waiting for the same shuttle to the Red Lion. Stan's a PC tech and is one of the nicest gentlemen around, he also everywhere on station because he volunteers for almost everything.

Friday, December 16, 2011

How embarassing

The other day I was walking between 155 and the coffee house and someone passed going the other direction. We were wearing the exact same patagonia. It was like when two actresses showed up to the Academy Awards in the same designer dress.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Went Skate Skiing today

Fun stuff, got the hang of it after about 3 hours.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Byrd Hotties List

Byrd Camp

I'm at this camp called Byrd. My team and I are here to setup the
internet. On the map we are the left bottom star out of the four stars. We
are just about as far from McMurdo Station as the South Pole is. South
pole is about 4,000 feet higher in elevation though. The people here are
awesome, some of them have been here for up to three weeks with nothing
but iridium phones and a not quite setup HF radio. We came in to setup a
satellite data system for them and for moving travese, which is basically
a caravan on tractors heading to the three deep camps in the vicinity.
We're also setting up a proper HF setup, VHF and air to ground aerials.
This was a great job because at the end of the day everyone got their camp
email and instant message addresses and finally were able to contact
everyone they wanted. No more dropped iridium calls and waiting for the
handset to be passed around!

There are some sacrifices to camp life. We have no permanent building so
everything is in rac tents, which are actually pretty warm and cozy. Most
people live off to the side in tent city, which are rows of mountain
tents. Those tents are home to camp staff and grantees for up to two
months. No heating, so we got sub zero bags and mats. The food here is
pretty good, Rob and his two sous chefs, Betsy and Natalie are incredible
chefs. And nothing will work without Keith's hard work on the heavy
machines. Katja, the byrd in charge and Tony, keep everything in order. We
melt snow for water, but we have kuma stoves to keep the rac tents warm
and also some coleman heater/pumps for showers. You can take a pretty
satisfying shower with about 2.5 gallons. Everybody has to pitch in, when
we have downtime we help wash dishes and shovel a lot of snow. Yesterday I
probably moved about 20 gallons of water and 3 50 gallon trash cans of

The reason we're all here to is support or conduct science. The first
flight of grantees came in on our flight, they were Pole Net people who
have seismometers buried out in the snow. They came down here to check up
on their stations. In addition we also serve as a fuel stop for planes
going farther out. We also support a twin otter airplane that will be used
to do surveying out here.

LC-130 landing at Byrd Camp

It landed, booted us off, then pretty much took right off. Engines didn't
even turn off.

Tight Squeeze in the C-130

RE sitting between the propellers and a whole bunch of flammable tanks.

C-17 rolling back to Christchurch

The big guy is low, almost a belly scrapper.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

This thing looks like its about to be launched into orbit

I'm calling this the PIGLIT unit. PIG Latrine and Information Technology.
Going where few men have gone before. The riggers have achieved a
breakthrough in alternative energy here, exploring the beyond with the
power of JP-8, sunshine and farts.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

No Small feat

I sent an email from the blue box to the orange box. The message beamed up
to a satellite in orbit, back down to a couple of station in hawaii and
denver then back the same way. So after about 20,000 overland miles and a
couple hundred miles of elevation, the message bridge the 8 inch gap to
the orange box.

One of the Pig Traverse Sleds

The 4 tractors on the traverse are going to leave Byrd Camp, where we're
at now, and head to PIG camp. 4 tractors, 7 people, 7 days. It took 6 Herc
flights to get this stuff here but thats as far as the Hercs will go in
Western Antarctica, so the rest is going to reach the camp by glacial

The riggers setting up the HF antenna

Dan and Erin hard at work.

Our Washing Machine

Some agitation required

Here's where we shower at Byrd Camp

you have to shelp about 5 gallons of water before you can make yourself
smell nice again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Greeting From Byrd Camp

Setting up the antenna tower, so I can blog about it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Three Little Dots

The right most dot is a fishing hut. The two on its left are parasails.
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The Shuttle of Eden

Part of the decor for Freezing Man. Our down south version of Burning Man.
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Night Hike

On a night hike with the shuttles night crew. We're looking at the edge of the sea ice and blue water. First time I've seen open ocean since leaving Christchurch.
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Thanksgiving feast

Started eating before I remembered to take a picture. This is the first Thanksgiving where each member of my family spent it away from every other member. But as usual, no turkey.
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It's all about the free shirts

Shirt for participating in the Turkey Trot 5k. I took pictures this time. Guess I better run the 10K. Free shirt at stake.
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