Howdy to everyone back in the states! Wow, I hadn’t realized just how long its been since I last sent out a dispatch. Since the last time I’ve written, we’ve had an amazing Halloween party, the station population has exploded to near full capacity, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I’ve been quoted in the Antarctic Sun newspaper twice.
So let me tell you about some of the events we’ve had down here. Myself, along with the IT/Comms department ended up sponsoring the station’s Halloween party. One of the differences between Spole, and the big stations like McMurdo is that we don’t have a dedicated recreational staff. Any big events that happen are due to people’s time that they volunteer after working their full normal day. I asked our assistant station manager about a week before Halloween if we were going to have a party. She responded, “That depends, when are you going to organize it?” Well, I’ve certainly never had a problem with throwing parties, so I got my entire department involved to help. I have to admit I really underestimated the spirit that is on this station! Once we posted a few flyers announcing the party, I was completely surprised by the offers to help that we received! In no time at all, we had four different live music acts booked, people volunteering to DJ, and all the beer we could possibly drink! The party was a HUGE success. The party was held out in Summer Camp’s non-smoking lounge, and I didn’t think it could look that good. Kat and I went up to the top of Biomed, where all the holiday decorations are stored, and found a bunch of cool decorations from previous years. We added a few touches of our own, and the place was transformed. All the music acts were amazing, but the highlight of the evening was a 4 piece band calling themselves Funkytown. These guys played some great cover tunes that just had me blown away. You’d never believe that they’d only been practicing for about two weeks. It was the first live music I’d heard since leaving Austin, so I was in heaven. The other impressive thing was the creativity of the costumes that people had. We had all kinds, including the first polar bear in Antarctica, a doctor drinking his own urine samples, superheroes, and even a dead Elvis was spotted. I can’t figure out what I actually was; I combined several things and just changed hats thru the evening as the mood struck me. I’d brought down a book on how to make balloon hats, so I made a few of those in advance and passed them out to people without costumes. The best costume award of the night went to Dean Klein who had just finished his winter over as a PC tech. He went as Ms. FEMC, in a scary red wig and the only pair of cutoff Carharts that should ever exist.
The month of November just shot by. We’re now at a station population of about 220, and we are getting about 3 to 4 flights a day in. Officially the station is still behind in flights, so personal packages are hard to come by. Letter mail is getting in fairly quickly, but all packages are just piling up in McMurdo. Sometime in the next few weeks they should do a Santa flight where they’ll fill a C130 up with nothing but packages for us, and get them all here in time for Christmas. I got a letter today that just cracks me up. Sometime last March when I made my road trip to California, I got caught in Nevada doing 110 in a 65 zone. I kind of ignored the ticket and last week the great state of Nevada sent an arrest warrant to my parent’s house. They forwarded it to me, and I got it today. I have no idea what Nevada expects me to do about this. They won’t accept credit cards, and will only take a cashier’s check or money order, both of which are pretty hard to come by down here! I think this is one of the funniest situations that I’ve seen. I really don’t think they’ll believe me if I call them, so I guess I’ll just wait for the statue of limitations to expire before I head back to Nevada.