Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Our Gang

I am in NZ now but wanted to share one last photo from the Ice - this is my work crew, the Carp Shop Supply team. We laughed, we bickered, we got tons of work done. We had a lot of strong personalities in a tiny work space. We had customers from all over station & handled all special projects. It was a great group of people in cramped quarters in an intensely chaotic atmosphere. I already miss them.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Oh Yeah...this Rocks...

I am walking thru the halls of my dorm dropping heaps off stuff in skua, cleaning my room, bag dragging for my flight tomorrow. I was asked if I could move my redeployment date up 6 days with less than two days notice & I said yes...so much has happened the past week: Will left for a long winter at the South Pole Feb 5th, before I had time to blink I was in my loader doing 12 hours days for ship offload on the 7th, offload was finished on the 9th, which was also the day I was asked if I wanted to leave on the 11th. whew. Ship offload is always my favorite time of year...some people hate it, but some of us LIVE for it down here. This year I was assigned the job of IT28 Operator, which meant I would be moving materials for 12 hours in a loader from the cans (shipping containers) to staging areas around town for the different departments. I was very apprehensive about forking loads for this long and I knew if I dropped a load or punched holes in a crate that many people would see it - but to my absolute surprise & delight, I did a fantastic job. It's like I was born to be an equipment operator! I was used to picking up 5000 pound bunks of plywood & huge timbers in my daily job, so I guess I was better prepared than I'd thought. I have a friend here who is not afraid to describe the offload experience as "magical"...and I join him in that feeling. I am not sure why, but it must have something to do with this massive vessel arriving, the town going into a 24 hour operation, and just the pure intensity of seeing can after can arrive, be unpacked & taken back to the ship. Our warehouse routine is stopped, we mobilize in fish huts packed with coffee & snacks, and we start the vessel evolution ballet. It made me love McMurdo again. It is cold again now, right around one degree, so it was nice to be in my warm cab for the past few days. Oh, before I went into my misty eyed waxing about offload I was talking about walking the halls of my dorm this evening. I could hear that heinous "Top Gun" theme song wafting from everyone's room I passed. It is one of the two movies on TV tonight & obviously EVERYONE was watching it! I was giggling because I watched it for the first time last year. This is not the sort of movie I would ever choose to see but two summers ago Will & I were sitting in our palatial digs in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, watching a travel show on Bravo, when this English foodie referred to "Top Gun" as "the gayest movie ever made." I was LOL, and HAD to find out what he was talking about. Did he mean "homosexual", or was he being non-PC & using the word as analogous to "silly?" I wish I could remember why he was talking about "Top Gun" while traipsing through spice markets in India, but, equally compelling: why I was watching a travel show about ethnic food on cable TV while staying in a small mansion in a third world country while learning how to surf? Anyway, I saw the movie - and it was painful - but the steamy shower scenes with a bunch of clean cut guys flexing in their BVDs clarified the "gay" meaning. I guess the only thing worse than having to see the movie again would be having to listen to that soundtrack...and the dialogue between the two lovers was cringe-worthy! I think of the hip and brainy banter in films like ''Closer" and "You, Me and Everyone We Know," and I can't believe a film like "Top Gun" wasn't something made for a benumbed television audience who aren't interested in being "moved" by cinema. I'd be dazzled to believe we've become more sophisticated in our requirements from Hollywood culture over the last 20 years.
So once again I am leaving the Ice feeling like this has been an amazing season. I seem to remember a few weeks where I wanted to quit every day - my jaw tight with resentment & drudgery...but the sheer joy of offload and knowing that I worked so incredibly hard, outside, physically, every day, has made me feel very satisfied. I feel very taken care of in many ways down here. When I leave I'll have to forage every meal and pay for a bed to sleep in every night. I may need a break after 4 seasons in a row...so I'll have to see how things play out over the next few months. I have a few ideas of alternatives to Antarctica, but I can't imagine that too many other places could "take my breath awaaay ayayay ayayaya..."(think awful eighties fashion, bushy black eyebrows on linebacker shouldered chicks, extremely effeminate looking men) like being in Antarctica can. I know this has been a rambling nonsensical post. Above is a photo of me in Loralee, sister of the huskier Kathy, who I drove for offload - but they are the same beastie. Mine was just an older model. I am already sentimental for Mactown, but the quaintness of Christchurch will make me forget about her for a few days. Ok. The end. Next posting from New Zealand...