Sunday, February 18, 2007

And the winter begins

The day has arrived…

Summer folks leaving on the last flight of the season. Note the wicked contrails due to the colder temps.

The last LC-130s came today and took away the remaining summer workers and scientists before the temps dropped lower than the -47C weather that we're now experiencing. The station seems quiet and relatively empty now, compared to the crazy bustle of just a week ago. I can walk down the main hall of the station, which is the length of a football field, and not see another person the entire way.

There are now 54 of us staying behind for the 8 month long winter. A dozen or so scientists will have a busy season of operating telescopes, collecting data, troubleshooting problems. The rest of us are keeping the station running, keeping the people well-fed, treating the sick, counting the inventory, making sure the generators keep running.

My jobs this winter besides being the PA will include running the store, managing the station finances, doing the flight comms and helping out with some recreation events. I like staying busy and love the variety of jobs that I have here. No where else would I have a work day consisting of treating patients, talking to a plane in the air, restocking beer on the store shelves, handing out wads of cash and planning an event for the evening.

Speaking of which, we’ve had a long standing tradition of watching the movie, “The Thing” on station closing day. The original campy 1950’s version features James Arness in a vegetable monster suit stumbling around terrorizing well-dressed, clean shaven crew members at a station in Alaska. The remake by John Carpenter is a gritty, teeth clenching horror movie taking place in Antarctica featuring hairy, dirty, bourbon swigging, ill-tempered bickering workers with guns and flame throwers. We're more like the latter bunch, minus the guns and flame throwers. The best line uttered by Kurt Russell when all hell starts to break loose is, “First goddamn week of winter!”

"The Thing" captivates about half of the crew in the galley.

So hopefully there are no aliens lurking among us now that the doors are figuratively closed, although we're already taking bets on who's going to be the first one to crack. No front runners this year and if I start wigging out, it should only make for a more entertaining blog.


At 4:15 AM, Anonymous WaterDon said...

Money idea. Bet against yourself, "wig out", and collect the winnings.
I should get a percentage for the idea.

At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Tara said...

What a freaky thought - you guys are now physically isolated from the rest of the planet! I guess it pays not to think about that too much, although most of you would be used to that by now.

BTW I thought it was traditional to show "The Shining" at the start of the winter season. Talking of "wigging out"!

Has anyone actually "wigged out" during winter and, if so, what do you do with them? Nine months of valium?

Have a great winter!

At 7:08 AM, Blogger Heidi said...

Great idea Waterdon. And they all think I'm so sweet and innocent.

Hi Tara! The Shining is the traditional somewhere-midway through winter movie where you're already trapped in an isolated place and the winter has eaten away at you long enough for you to have that nice little psychotic break. I saw a fire ax sitting in the hall recently - I should snag that before some other psycho does. We have had some people wig out to certain degrees and we do have a 1950's era straight jacket in our medical store room. It's a fairly small size though...lucky for me!

At 5:48 AM, Blogger Neal said...

It's been almost a whole week already.

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Heidi said...

Yeah, and now I think that Aurora tech who can't make up his mind about his hair and beard may be the first to freak out...


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