my birthday video

A video of my awesome birthday party (link)



Links to Pics

Quick update of links to things:

Here's some knitting stuff.

And here is my cargo bicycle project in progress.

Link to mom's website which has a bunch of quilting projects and embarrassing pics.




But I did see this part of the mechanical tree that they are building at the crucible of Nantes which is just huge already but only a 1/5th of the future size. It is being tested for safety reasons.

I still am waiting for some photos from people, Like mom and the kids with their respective hats and get some zombie photos from War and throw them up on the web album so check back laters:


in case you are too lazy to scroll down.

Also my coworker Jeff posted some videos on youtube of our various adventures: http://www.youtube.com/user/lowestsodium

And finally...

Hanging out in McMurdo became overcast when I get my flight scheduled back to New Zealand due to the DC3 accident forcing the cancellation of the rest of our project. Luckily we actually left on the day and time on the schedule, it was a long enough wait as is, or was, out on the sea ice runway watching them unload pallets of beer. Soon after our arrival in NZ, I was overcome with the shock of smelling the plants, feeling the moisture on my skin, and finally seeing night. I quickly booked bus tickets to Warwick’s relatives' farm in the northern nook of the south island, Ngatamoti, where I spent Xmas three years ago. Warwick and parents arrived the next day and the filming of the next zombie flic began, wigs, blood and food based open wounds. Oh and sausages on the grill, lots of sausage. New years eve went well, with a fireworks show shortly after a long round of “fuzzy duck” (don’t ask) and no one had to drive home. My first and only resolution, buy tickets to France to spend some well deserved vacation with Virginie. Oh yeah, that’s crazy, I agree, who would buy last minute tickets 2/3rds around the world. Anybody who knows me, which would only be the people reading this, wouldn’t believe such spontaneity. But given the possibility of seeing my mom and spending quality time with Virginie, (plus a decent airfare) I hoped on the 35 hour opportunity. I saw Singapore, briefly and a few bad movies and threw some more yarn together, and poof: rainy Paris, smooch style. Then we skipped of to Brusselles for a few days to hang with mom and Chloe. Nothing new in the land of beer, beside a brief collapse of government and we were off again to Nantes to hang out with Sandra, and the kids for a week. We didn’t get to see much due to the intermittent rain. But we were mainly there to see the kids which we saw plenty of and hang out with their friends during (smoky) dinners. We tried to see this:

But it was on winter vacation, so bummer (more info http://www.lesmachines-nantes.fr/mentions.php)

At this point I have been living out of the same suitcase for 3 months and sleeping in different places every week, so I am getting a bit home sick. I finished up my fourth hat for my mom and gave two of my hats to Zelda and Achilles since they were mostly too small for regular peeps. But, then we went to Toulouse to see V’s parents and grand parents. To add to the irony, the day on the train was nice and sunny, meanwhile our stay in Nantes and Toulouse was rainy or overcast, what can you do. Finally we rail back to paris for two nights, hung out with Sofie of course, and finally home again! And isn't it nice, despite the rain here too (cause I knew it wouldn't last long). But just becasue I am back and have plently of time to goof off I still waited a month before trying to write about it. Happy now?


Why we went home early

Here are some good pics of the DC3 after oopsies.




Still in McMurtha

So that was a picture of the 10m telescope at South Pole, which is brand new and paid for by your tax dollars. Cheer up, it probably cost much less than a fighter jet.

Anyway, the DC3 or Basler, had an accident early on this week, and thankfully, nobody got hurt. Could have been us! We were meant to fly out right before then. So that's good, but now we are definitely not going to AGO5, so that's disappointing. But then again, now we can go home, or at least I hope to make it to Warwick's family new years getshintogetherdig on the south island. But first I gotta clean up some cargo and prepare it to return to the US, oh the hard work of antfartica.

After making fun of the Bob, I must say that he is quite the icebreaker. Last year I barely met anybody, let alone remember their names. But this year I wanted to broaden my picture of who comes down here, and Bob has a knack for starting random conversations with random people. So in short I tag along with a bunch peeps to go check out Scott Base, browse the gift shop and partake in their brews. Anyway, fun bunch and we met up again the next day to take a tour of the power plant, water desalination, and waste water plant. Power was not so interesting just a
bunch of loud generators. The water was a bit more interesting, it gets pumped right out sea, under the ice, and gets pumped through a reverse osmosis to pull the salt out. But the waste treatment plant took the cake, not only did the guy who worked there know his stuff, he was a
really good explainer. It smelled rather earthly, even though it was enclosed in a warehouse. Oh my god, Poop! Right there! When the bacteria are all done the water is cleaner than what most people drink but it still get dumped back in the ocean. People just can't get over the "yuck" factor of drinking poop water even though it would be more efficient than desalination.

From Antarctica 2,...

Oh did I mention that two of the guys are knitters? so we started to have swig and stitch nights, where we knit in front of the infinite loop of bad movies with some beers. Just finished my third hat and I am teaching, as i am learning, to double knit (that where you knit a double layer reversible two color thingy at the same time, confused, good because it's weird)

Whoa, I saw some big seals just outside the base on the sea ice, three of them were just loafing, but then a fourth surfaced out of the sea ice to catch it's breath for a few minutes and went back under. From about 100ft away you could still hear them breathe (and fart or was that just the ice cracking?). Now if I just taste a penguin, my experience would be complete.




Oh wait I forgot to talk about all the fun I am having.

OK, now that's out of the way.

Just kidding, I enjoy the constant invasion of privacy, cooking and working and sleep depravation in a 8x8x16 foot (3x3x6m) hut that sometimes smells like fuel. Knitting keeps me busy, sometimes we'll match a movie on the laptop, also if I am feeling inspired, I'll attempt some creative cooking. I guess all the cooking has to have a little imagination because it's all prepared frozen food with little to no taste. Which brings we to our next form of entertainment who doubles as a coworker: the Bob. Now for the record, Bob's great and fun and smart, but he comes from a small town on the Nerd river that borders OCDville where all traditional food is prepared with a microwave. So, cooking is always interesting and sometimes I don't even try to please the masses so I'll just grab something for myself. We did force him to eat a piece of broccoli at some point which proves that most of his particularities are for show (bad sitcom?).

There's alot to do at Spole also, but it all happens on the working schedule, like in the evenings, but if you are just loafing around, like us, there's almost too much time to kill. Internet is only accessible from 3am to 10am, or so, and then you try to stay out of everybody's way until lunch, walk around then nap until dinner. Everybody has sunday off, so we went outside to fly kites until your hands freeze.

Now I really hope we get to go to AGO5 tomorrow for a few days, not only to do my job right but also because I really don't want to be in McM for the xmas whoknowswhat. I got some truffles from my mom and saw some decorations hanging around which is more than enough xmas for me. I'd rather spend my dreamy white xmas with Bob! But seriously I would actually like to spend a bit more time out on the plateau, I am pretty sure this is my last time and it got pulled from underneath me. Just one more AGO, bartender, even though my shoulder already hurts, just one more.

Wish me luck.

(you don't get the answer until a week from now when I post more pics)



Schedule hiccups

So after we left McM a night in South Pole, we popped out to AGO2 for a week and then the schedule changed... we headed back to spole and took a day trip out to AGO3 (instead of a week) which was really hectic and cold (of course) but we got almost everything we wanted to do done. So we were a bit ahead of schedule, which is nice. After a long weekend at spole to recover and recreate (in the fun way), we were off to AGO1.

Not too much work to do at AGO1, but everything took twice as long because the winds stayed at about 30mph with drifting snow(not from above but snow from miles away blown in). But the hut was warm cause the wind turbine was cranking out the power. Eventually we ran out of things to do, for work, so I finished up my second hat, see pics on the web album (link below). We also had time to dig out the snow cave Jeff and I started last year, and Danny actually slept in it. Eventually we got a flight out on the DC3 which is always fun, cause it's big, heated, and plain cool. But little did I realize, we actually flew over AGO5 and couldn't land so they choose to boomerang us back to McM. A long, but picturesque, flight later we are back where we started, it's 40degF outside and as of right now I have no clue if we'll get out to AGO5 ... to be continued

This weeks quiz: what the hell is that a picture of?

First person to get that right gets to smell my pants



McMurdo - 4yr old boy heaven

Look over dere. A hewicopter!

Wow a buwdozer! oooooo, a green firetruck!

an airplane! and big red tracked truck! a crane! a snowmobiwe!

Anouther ambuwence picking up somebody who just poked out his eyes with dinner forks. Is he OK mommie?

And I am only here for a week, people! So people winter over here, and keep on coming back. There must be something in the water. I mean I am back again, but I haven't put my finger on it yet. I certainly didn't come for the money, I don't think that most people do, even though some of the contractors get nice bonuses that can support them when they are not down here. It's kind of like a club, but more supportive it seems, not exclusive by rule just geographically remote. We watched the movie that the crazy german guy made last year while I was down here, he says there are alot of travelers here, as if this was the last place to travel. He is not really crazy, if fact very funny, I don't think the movie is or will ever be out, but try searching for "Encounters at the end of the world" by Werner Herzog


Might be in the artsy or documentary section or running at your local filmfest. He also said alot of other things which made me pee myself, including psychotic, gay penguins. I have yet to see a penguin, so don't ask. The only animals I've seen are the seabirds called Skua, and whatever I pull out of my ears with a Qtip.



Not everybody has fun in Antfartica

And the tourists had to pay $8K for it! They probably got that money back.

But now that makes two reasons that I would rather fly down here: I don't throw up on the way down, I don't have to be evacuated to a dingy in freezing waters only to vomit in there also. I guess that's three reasons.




Antfartica 2 the Return

Here we go again down to NZ with the Warster in his glory. or what could pass for glory...


on the way down south again...

You didn't hear from me last year? didn't know I already went down? Got 20 mins to waste?

Read the silliness: http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/~plauale/Personal/Antarctica.htm



Fun @ Work

spider in the cleanroom

POV project

Check it bizaches




Mt. Wilson

Went to Mt. Wilson this week for work, check it:




Other Pics and Videos

Oh yeah, and in case anybody didn't see, the NZ pics are here:


and browse through the videos too:


Not a test

Ok check out the slut car party at War's:


and my macro light ring project:


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