March at the South Pole

Monday, 1 March 2004
I woke up in plenty of time for lunch - Mediterranean Day. I made a Gyro, and had Fries and a Cucumber Salad on the side. It's nothing like the Corinthian House in New Corinth, but for this side of the equator, it was pretty good. I sat at the beaker table and confirmed that Allan was going to be out at MAPO this afternoon. On my way out there myself, I stopped off at the Electrical Shop for a length of pipe that Kevin had set aside for me (it's a lot easier to carry a length of pipe a kilometer than a hunk of plywood, that's for sure).

As I got to MAPO, Allan had just popped in "Rabbit-Proof Fence", a movie about a couple of girls who walked from a resettlement camp back to their home, following one of the rabbit-proof fences that spanned Australia. I watched the movie from the AMANDA side of the room, working as I watched. Once the movie was over, Allan made a bracket for my EarthDial out of a scrap hunk of aluminum. We fitted it to the plywood, and I took the whole rig outside to plant it in the snow.

Unfortunately, I counted wrong, and I had to go back outside and plant it in front of the correct window. Once it was in place and turned to indicate the correct local time, I went back upstairs, positioned the camera, and started up the capture script. I left just in time to walk back to the new station for dinner.

After dinner, while I was sitting around with Randi, Nick, Jules, Kris, and Angela, enjoying a slice of Boston Cream Pie, we toasted Jules' father, who would have been 96 today, and a friend of Jules, who recently died much younger than that. I was going to make a latte with Nick's machine, but after several cups in a row, it seemed to not want to heat the water. Some kind of thermal cut-out, no doubt. As people dispersed to get on with their evenings, I stopped off at the back of Science, then up to my room for a nap.

When I awoke, I worked on the EarthDial software from my room, and decided that I needed to make some on-site adjustments. I borrowed an Olympus USB cable from Met, then walked out to MAPO. It wasn't a cold walk - I was in jeans and sneakers, with just a parka and neck gaiter to keep out the wind. Unfortunately, when I got to MAPO and turned out my pockets, I couldn't find the USB cable. I spent a few minutes adjusting the camera, and a few minutes more trying to load some software on the dead server I've been working on, then walked back to the station before it got too late into the night.

Tuesday, 2 March 2004
I found the wayward cable at my desk in the back of Science, and wandered back out to MAPO around 03:00. I put on "Forrest Gump" and worked on the floppy drive power supply as I watched. About the time GOES-3 set, I ran back to the new station for some breakfast, but I missed it again. Fortunately, Richard hadn't put the food in the fridge yet; it was still on the counter in storage tubs. Since he was done cooking, Richard joined me for breakfast. Allan, Jason and Bride were there, too. They were getting ready to go out and pull the runway marker flags and store them for the winter. By 07:45, the galley was empty.

Down in the back of Science, I showed off my EarthDial to Sarah, then went over to Comms to tell Pete that I had some pictures of the last Twin Otters for him. Nick was there, too, just finishing his weekly conference call to the States. I showed them the EarthDial, too. I went back to my desk for a bit, but didn't last - I crashed around 10:00.

I woke up mid-afternoon, and checked on the detector from my room. I still had a few things to do to the EarthDial, so I put on my ECW and walked out to MAPO. It was still -45°F; (-42.8°C) out, with windchills around -90°F (-67.8°C). I stopped at the EarthDial to dust it off and rotate it to show GMT times before I went inside. With the Dial turned around, I had to edit the script to insert timestamps to match. Before leaving for dinner, I worked on the floppy drive power supply and looked around the detector to make sure that the blinky lights were blinking correctly (they were).

I tried to hurry on the walk back, but even so, I barely made it to dinner on time. The selection was pretty good - Ribs, Cheesy Potatoes, and Kumara and Cabbage. I ate slowly enough that I was the last one up from the table. After I ate, I went down to the back of Science to check on the EarthDial (still working great) and to grab my copy of "Logan's Run" and a ginger beer.

Up in the library, Dave was watching an episode of "MASH". I made an all call that the movie was starting in 10 minutes, and let Dave finish his show. The movie crowd started trickling in, Nick, Jules, Henry and Angela. Troy came by part-way through the movie. When it was over, folks scattered pretty quickly. I went down to my desk to check on the EarthDial. The camera was still working, but the view was boring - it was snowing and there wasn't any direct sunlight on the gnomon. With it cranking away just fine, I went up to my room and got on my laptop for a while, then took in a sauna before going to sleep.

Wednesday, 3 March 2004
I woke up just after lunch, and being hungry, went over to Comms to make myself a bowl of noodles in their microwave. While I waited, I threw a few rounds of darts, first my own darts, and then a couple of sets of the station's darts. Below the dartboard there was a small box packed full of shafts and flights, plenty to choose from.

Back over in the back of Science, Jules came by to work on one of AST/RO's servers. We would have gotten further, but we neither of us could find our RedHat install CDs. Eventually, we gave up and started house mouse early instead. I moved all the furniture out of the way so Jules could vaccum the back of Science and the computer lab. Nick and Glen showed up around 16:30; with Science done, we sent them off to Skylab to clean the lounge there. Jeff called in from the new station; we had him come down and clear out the recycle bins. When it was all finished, we went off to dinner.

The fresh Breadsticks were a nice accompaniment to the Lasagna. I sat with some of the usual folks, (Nick, Sarah, Dan, Justus), before moving over a window seat to sit with the "Wine Society". People brought several varieties of reds to try. I sampled a couple, then prepared to leave. On my way out, I saw Nick peering over his espresso machine - looks like the thermal fuse has blown. Fortunately, he has spares. I put on my ECW, and walked out to MAPO.

It was a warm enough day, -42.1°F (-41.2°C), but the winds fluctated from 17 to 21 knots. I stopped around back first to brush the snow off of the EarthDial, then I went inside to reset the camera (it has a habit of forgetting to be on full zoom). With the EarthDial back in order, I went to work on the floppy drive enclosure. When I got it fixed and put back together, I booted up an install floppy and started a fresh operating system install. I was going to come back later to swap CDs (the detector room was uncomfortably cold: +34°F (+1.1°C)), and even got dressed up to leave, but I needed to make a pit stop, and it's a long way back to the dome. The facilities in MAPO are crude (a U-barrel and a bucket with a padded seat), but close. With less urgency to walk back, I stayed around for a couple more hours, restarting the install, and watching the disk format. When things were clearly working well, I left out the back door, brushed the snow off the EarthDial and walked to the dome.

Thursday, 4 March 2004
The walk home was more windy than cold, -43°F (-41.7°C) into 21 knots of wind, making the windchill around -105°F (-76.1°C). I was well bundled up, but I could feel it on any part of my face that didn't have at least two layers on it. When I got back to the dome, I worked through the night, then went up to the galley for breakfast. Again, I barely made it before Richard started pulling food from the line. For a treat, I had some French Toast with real Maple Syrup. After I finished breakfast, I walked back to MAPO through the same weather I'd been in a few hours earlier.

The installation process was asking for the second CD. I changed it and went back to the other room which was warmer and more comfortable. Allan was there; we talked about heat in the building and what we could do with it. While I was there, we got another high voltage error on a single channel. After trying to reset it for 10 minutes without success, I called Darryn on the Iridium phone for some help debugging the problem. We decided to pull the plug on that OM and watch the channel when there was no load on it. Just as I was watching everything, I saw the lights flicker and watched one of the crates announce a low voltage condition and shut itself off. It looks like the new Liquid Nitrogen Plant is causing these voltage drops that we've been tracking. I tried to call an Electrician or a UT, but couldn't find anyone on the phone, so I walked back to the new station.

I thought Tom the Electrician might have been at the new Greenhouse. When he wasn't there, I got on the radio and called for him (we can't use radios in the Dark Sector, or else it wouldn't be very "dark"). He was in C-Note's office, on a conference call. I went up to the new computer lab and described the power situation to him, then went down the beercan to my desk. I was too tired to write up the problem in an e-mail, so I took a break in the hammock next door. I got up in time for lunch, and walked back upstairs for something to eat.

After a Sloppy Joe, I went down to my room to sleep. It was a good plan, but the fire alarm was an unpleasant interruption. There was no "disregard", but I figured out pretty quickly that it was the March Fire Drill, up in Skylab. The noise outside my door was enough to finally get me up for good.

I rushed through dinner, later, to get up to band practive. I went 20 minutes early and I still felt late. It's hard to get that bass up the stairs in its shipping crate. Early as I was, Richard was already there. He was playing this and that; I tried to jump in where I could. We made a pretty good attempt at "Lucille", among other songs. When the rest of the band got there, we went through our playlist, practicing until about 22:00. Some people left; Dana and I kept going. I tried to play along with him, backed up by a CD he'd brought of some songs he wanted to try, but I didn't recognize a lot of them. Finally, everyone else left the lounge. I played some piano, then packed up the bass and sent it down the cargo elevator.

When I went to the back of Science to drop off the bass, Nick was there, installing Linux on one of the AST/RO servers. While he swapped discs, I did the weekly AMANDA report, sent a message to the winter-over advisory board about the high voltage error, then went upstairs and called it a night.

Friday, 5 March 2004
I woke up out of a sound sleep after lunch, and checked the detector, etc., from my room. After a bit of e-mail, I got cleaned up and went to dinner, taking my ECW gear with me. After dinner, everyone at the table was heading down to the store. I went down with Nick and borrowed some money from him for some chips and a beverage or two.

After working for a little while down in the dome, Nick and I went over to the cargo party. There was a good crowd - Keros, Bride, Kathy, English Nick, Cargo Nick, Allan Rhys, Jake, Susie, and probably a few more. Things broke up by 22:30, when some of us went to the bar for Cinco de Montho. The bar was packed. Lots of folks dancing. Sean went home early, so I took over the music. As things started winding down, I switched over to water, and got into a long conversation with Henry and Eyvind (the last ones there) about random stuff. Eventually, we all went home; I got on IM for a little while, then crashed.

Saturday, 6 March 2004
I woke up in time for our weekly call to Madison, called Jeff and walked across the dome to Comms. We had to try a couple of numbers, but we finally got through. It was a short call, about high voltage, building power, etc. Afterwards, we went up to the weekly science meeting in the galley. We didn't go over anything critical - mostly just a review of the past week.

The meeting bled over into lunch; we got into line for our Burgers and Hot Dogs. I ate slowly enough that I was one of the last ones finished. I went down the beercan the dome and worked all afternoon on reports.

Saturday night is Pizza Night. I went up for a couple of slices and a fresh breadstick. I sat with Susie, Sean, Sarah, and a few others. Susie was apolgizing for how much feta was on the cheese-only pizza, but I thought it was great. At one point, we started talking about the movie "Office Space", which I have never seen. Jeff offered to run it tonight at 20:00. I finished my pizza, went down to the back of Science, swapped tapes, then went over to the dome library for the movie.

After the movie (which I have to admit reminded me too much of working in Cubeland), I went over to the bar. It was a quiet night there - as many people sitting in the corner playing cards as sitting up at the bar. I joined UT Nick, Byron and Sean at the bar. When the music ran down, those of us who were left moved over to the couches, and Sean popped in a beta tape of "Benny Hill". It was a compilation of numerous gags from several shows, about two hours worth. I lasted about half-way through it, then went home to crash.

Sunday, 7 March 2004
I woke around noon, and went to bar for "Guys' Day" - cigars, Irish Coffee and a Clint Eastwood film - today it was "The Outlaw Josie Wales". I made myself a sandwich and watched the end of the movie. Sean came back after the movie for the photo shoot, and I went to my room to get my own ECW gear. I glanced at the scroll in the bar which said it was -67.9°F (-55.5#176;C) with 6 knots of wind, but walking through the dome it didn't feel that cold... turns out that the scroll has been stuck for several hours - it's really -42°F (-41.1°C). I took both my digital and my film cameras out with me, and went to look for Byron.

I wandered around for at least 10 minutes without finding him. Turns out, he'd already come out, done his golf pose, and gone back inside before I had even left my room. I took a few pictures, then went back inside to warm up and rehydrate. When I had thawed out, I went back to my desk to get on LES-9, then went to dinner late.

Dinner was quite nice, Lamb Chops, Fish, Prime Rib, and Roasted Garlic. After we finished, a bunch of us sat around talking. I had no idea that Chad used to be in the SCA. From there, I threw on my ECW gear and walked out to the Dark Sector.

The walk was a bit cold, but not bad. I brushed the snow off of the EarthDial, and was surprised to find that I didn't have to reach up to clean it. I think the drift has grown two feet in just a few days. Inside, I checked on the detector (all is well), and re-zoomed the camera. With everything running smoothly, I added current temperatures (scraped from the local web page) to the script, swapped a couple of cables on the detector, and walked back to the dome.

I worked at my desk for a while, then got bored. I stopped by the bar, but it was pretty quiet. Mike had just put in "National Lampoon's Vacation". I stayed and watched it before going back to my desk. I tried to focus on work, but was too tired. I went up to my room and finished catching up on e-mail from there. It seems strange, but the usual volume just isn't getting through. I know e-mail is working, but for some reason, I'm not getting as many messages as I usually do.

Monday, 8 March 2004
I woke up after lunch and checked things from room before heading up to the Trauma Team meeting in new Medical. I was the first one there. I haven't really spent any time in Medical since they opened it. I did have a tour when they were still building it, but it's changed a lot since then. The windows by the patient beds have a great view of the Pole, and it looks like there's lots more room here than in old Bio-Med by the dome.

People started coming in on time. When we were all there, UT Nick gave a talk about how the elevator in the beercan works - it's like any cargo elevator - you have to manually shut the inner and outer doors before it will go anywhere. One unusual thing here - Nick warned us to park it at the top of the beercan where it's warmer, to protect the drive mechanism.

After the talk, we all walked out to the beercan, and Nick went over the controls. After he was finished, most people left, but a few of us stuck around to ride the elevator down to the fourth floor, just to try it out. By the time we were done, it was dinner time.

We had Prime Rib and Fish (second day in a row), with Asparagus and Cous-Cous. Near the end of the meal, Jeff sat down with us, and he and I caught up on the day's events. On my way down to the back of Science, I stopped off at the greenhouse for my weekly tasks. Looks like Jack and Tree have completely replanted the cucumbers - it'll probably be six weeks until we get a new harvest.

After working for a bit at my desk, I took a short break at the bar. A couple of the guys were playing "The Matrix" on the Playstation. I watched a round or two, then went back to work. Jules and Nick were there, in the AST/RO corner. I finished my monthly report about the time Angela came by and rousted us up to the galley for some self-serve midrats.

Tuesday, 9 March 2004
In the leftover-fridge, we found BBQ chicken, Cous-Cous and a few other things to nuke up. Kris, on night-shift in Met this month, joined us. After eating, I went back down to the back of Science; Nick and Jules called it a night and stayed in the new station. Eyvind came by my area between sat monitoring passes. GOES-3 didn't come up as planned, and Evyind has been checking every 15 min. I kept working until breakfast time, even though I wasn't able to look things up on the 'net.

I went to breakfast around 07:10. The galley was virtually empty. I think the FEMC crowd must have already eaten and gone to work. Eyvind was there, and Richard joined us when he was finished cooking. I ate, went back down to my desk for a bit, then finally went to bed.

I awoke mid-afternoon, got on LES-9 to check e-mail, etc., and went to dinner right before it ended - Cornish Game Hens, Wax Beans and Roasted Potatoes. After the people around me had finished and taken their dishes away, Jeff sat down and we caught up on a few things before heading down the beercan for the movie. It's getting a bit colder, -74.7°F (-59.3°C), with windchills around -102°F (-74.5°C). Makes the walk down to the dome a bit chilly in a fleece and jeans.

I went right to the Library, the second one there. Eyvind was already in a recliner, ensconsed with his laptop. I grabbed one of the two couches, and Jeff went next door to make popcorn. Right on time, Henry arrived with the movie, MST3K's rip on "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank". We had the usual crowd, Me, Jeff, Eyvind, Henry, Nick and Angela. There was a brief interruption for a fire alarm, but we heard the "disregard" before we could even get our shoes back on. Afterwards, people dispersed in a variety of directions. Since TDRSS wasn't up yet, I went next door to the bar, briefly.

There was a moderate crowd there. Anj, Adam and Jim were playing cards, Kevin was running the stereo, and most of the regulars were there. One of the more interesting selections that Kevin put on was Metallica's version of "Whiskey in the Jar". I sat and had my one beer and talked music with Kevin. Probably the most interesting thing of the night was when Sarah managed to separate Mike from his flashlight (by separating his lanyard!). Once TDRSS was up, though, I finished my beer and went back to my desk to catch up on e-mail and work through the night.

Wednesday, 10 March 2004
The night went on, TDRSS set, GOES-3 rose. After working for a few hours, I went up for breakfast. Another small morning crowd. I sat with Scott, the Doc, and Troy, the Physician's Assistant, and we talked about the 300 Club (running from a 200°F Sauna to the Pole when it hits -100°F outside). After breakfast, I went back down to my desk but was too tired to keep working. I crashed for a few hours, then got up mid-afternoon.

LES-9 was up by then; I checked the detector and e-mail, and went to dinner. I arrived as Richard was putting things away - Corned Beef and Cabbage, Baked Potatoes, and Peas and Carrots. Sitting with Lisae, Kurt, Jodi, Justus, Angela and Dehlia, one of the topics of conversation was how Justus was doing on converting the old store under the dome into a non-smoking lounge and wine bar. He's still working on the painting, but it should be nice when he's done. He wanted all of us to come by Saturday for the grand opening.

I finished dinner and went down to the back of Science to work. I got some things accomplished, but started to feel restless. I took a break over at the bar and walked into the middle of a poker game. I watched for a while, went out to the old upper galley to make some popcorn, then, when I came back inside, since Byron was stepping out of the game, I was invited in. I don't think I lasted 10 minutes. I resumed my perch as a spectator until the game was over. The festivities were breaking up anyway, so I went back to my office to get back to work.

Back over in Science, Jules was there, in the AST/RO corner, also working late. TDRSS rose; I checked things, local and remote, and worked right through the satellite pass

Thursday, 11 March 2004
TDRSS set, GOES-3 rose, then Erin tried to call me when she got home from class. Unfortunately, GOES-3 is not the best satellite to try a call over. I could hear her, but she couldn't hear me. Finally we gave up and I went to breakfast. The galley was more crowded than usual. I grabbed a plate of the usual stuff (Scrambled Eggs, Potatoes, Breakfast Meat, etc.) and sat with Scott and Troy and Pete. Richard joined us when he was done cooking, and Angela and Kris sat down with us as well.

After breakfast, I went back down to my desk and scoured our internal web server for old, large files and sent the summary off to Madison. I tried to keep at things, but I kept falling asleep. Finally I gave up and went to bed around 10:00.

LES-9 was up by the time I woke up. Unfortunately, they had to turn the transmission power down on it (its RTG is getting old and cooling off), and our data rate was throttled back from 38kbps to 32kbps. They must still be tweaking on it - I couldn't get an Instant Messenger connection to stay up, and my EarthDial script couldn't scp 10KB pictures back to the webserver in the States. Even e-mail was spotty. Eventually, I gave up and went to dinner.

Very nice seafood tonight - Jambalaya, Crayfish and a Seafood Gumbo (but I noticed a lot of people going for the Chicken Fried Steak). After dinner, I passed Lisae and Jodi in the power plant arch, all bunded up in their green and black parkas. Lisae asked me why I wasn't freezing (if it's not windy or I'm not going outside, I'm usually in jeans, my grey fleece and sneakers). It's too windy to be outside dressed like that, but it's fine in the tunnels.

Down in the dome, I stopped by my desk for a bit, then, feeling restless, I dropped by the library for Glen's "F-ed Up Movie Night". Tonight's selection: "Gummo", a strange and violent movie set in Xenia, OH, less than 2 hours from my house. It was pretty messed up. I left early to go to band practice.

I collected the bass from the back of Science, and went up to Skylab 15 minutes early to practice on my own. Good plan in theory, but Richard, Dana and Sarah were already up there. I pulled the bass out of the elevator, set everything up, and joined in as soon as I could. We went over several of our numbers multiple times. After about 90 minutes, I was really starting to get tired. I didn't last the full two hours. I dragged my gear back down three flights of stairs and down the tunnel, and tried to work at my desk, but I couldn't focus. I think I'm coming down with something. I gave up trying to get any work done and went to my room to sleep.

Friday, 12 March 2004
On my way to bed, I stopped by the sauna first, and spent a few minutes there trying to warm up. I went to bed, but I wasn't really sleepy. I tried watching some TV and listening to music, but I wasn't feeling well enough to fall asleep. Finally, I got dressed again and went to breakfast early. The galley was packed with all the construction types who start their day earlier than the other departments. I ate a small breakfast, then waited around for Medical to open. I tried to wait in the quiet reading room, but it was too cold to sit around there. I went back up to the galley and joined Troy and Scott who were still having their own breakfasts. Scott and I started talking about the old nuclear power plant in McMurdo. I grabbed the Time-Life book "The Poles" (1st ed.) and showed him pictures of it being offloaded and awaiting installation. Finally, he was done with breakfast, and I followed him next door to Medical.

Scott gave me a basic physical - a slight fever, but not much else. He gave me something for that, and I went home to bed. With my fever down, I could finally sleep. I slept for hours, except when Jeff kept calling me about problems with the detector. During my brief periods of wakefulness, I thought about getting up for dinner, but I ended up sleeping right through it. I didn't get up until about 22:00. I checked on things from my room, and responded to several e-mails before getting up, getting dressed, and going down to my desk. I took a break after midnight to go up to the galley for some self-serve midrats.

Saturday, 13 March 2004
When I got to the galley, Dennis and Justus were already up there, eating. Justus is just about done with the wine bar (just in time for the grand opening). Dennis and I talked about today's excitement out at MAPO with the Liquid Nitrogen compressor and power issues (Jeff was out there holding up our end of things while I was in bed, sick). After Kris joined us, Dennis and I went back to talking about general power issues out in the Dark Sector and what we might be able to do to improve things.

I was about to leave when Jules came in. I grabbed a cookie and sat and talked with her for a bit as she ate. Eventually, I went back down the beercan to my desk and worked on reports and the logbooks, skipping breakfast. I called Jeff at 09:30 to remind him of our weekly call to Madison. He came down and we went over to Comms to use the Iridium phone. We went over a few channel debugging issues, then Jeff went up to the galley for the weekly science meeting. I went up too, but I stopped off at Science for my parka, and my room for the rest of my ECW gear.

The big issue at the meeting had nothing to do with AMANDA, it was cryo - lots of the other experiments on station use Liquid Nitrogen and Liquid Helium, but not us. The concern is how much Liquid Helium there is, since we can make Liquid Nitrogen. The meeting dragged on until it overlapped lunch. By the time we were done, there was a long line for Burgers. While I was eating, Eyvind came over - we were going to go out to the LES-9 antenna for some pictures after lunch.

Turns out, I had the wrong idea about where the LES-9 antenna was - it's behind the dome, not even 5 minutes away (I thought it was out by the Marisat/GOES terminal, past the berms). I took a couple of pictures of the antenna, then went inside to dump the camera. The IT folks went by and invited me to their weekly safety meeting - we watched an old B&W video, and shared cookies and snacks. They went back to work; I went upstairs for some sleep.

I woke up late, around 21:30, got cleaned up, and went over to the new Wine Bar in the old store. Justus really did a job on the place. The back room has a new paint job, some couches, and low lights. The front room has counter space for a coffee machine, and a bin to chill drinks. I pulled out a small bottle of mead someone made two winters ago (it was recently rediscovered). The stuff wasn't bad at all. When the inaugural festivities died down, I left through the library, next door. Some of the Kiwis were watching "The Shawshank Redemption", and I got pulled in. My next stop, once the movie was over, was the bar.

Things at the bar had mostly wound down by that time. I finished the glass of wine I'd brought with me from earlier, and fell into music duty. I spun tunes for a while, until everyone went home. I popped in "Wings Greatest Hits" and tidied up the bottles and cans before going home. GOES-3 hadn't quite set yet, so I hopped on IM for a few minutes, then, once we were cut off, I went to sleep.

Sunday, 14 March 2004
A strange noise woke me up at 10:00 - my laptop beeping. It never beeps. I found a few error messages on my console, so I put on my ECW gear before heading up to the galley for brunch. Originally, I'd promised Peter and Andrea that I'd make Tom Yum Goong (Thai Chili/Shrimp Soup), but I couldn't find the Tom Yum paste. While I was getting something to add to my food, I found the jar of it. I started the soup going, about 30 cups of it. The only ingredient I really wish I had was bamboo shoots. For some reason, there either aren't any on station, or nobody knows where they are stored. Jeff came by as I was preparing the soup. He'd been out at MAPO and hadn't noticed the problems that had woken me up. He went to sleep, and I planned to go out MAPO myself, once I had the soup going.

Andrea made Chicken Satay, Peter made Pad Thai, and Dehlia made several dishes, Red Curry Beef, Garlic Tofu with Veggies, and Black Bean and Coconut Rice. Being the least busy of the group, I volunteered to go down the beercan to fetch the last of the ingredients the other cooks needed. I ran into Don in the tunnels, followed him to the freshie shack, then took the elevator back up with the goods.

Dehlia helped me find the shrimp and the mushrooms. I chopped another cup of onion slivers from Peter's scraps, put in the Tom Yum paste, and the soup was on its way. Henry came by to skewer satay with Andrea. By the time I was really done with the soup, it was almost time to eat. Lots of people tried the soup (it was ready right away), and everybody who liked spicy food, liked it. The Satay was really good, and so was the Red Curry Beef. I walked out to MAPO right after dinner.

I tried rebooting the unhappy machine, but its application still wouldn't restart. I worked on it for a while with no success. Finally, I collected my notes and walked back to the dome. I missed the Sunday Night movie in the library, but Justus was hanging out in the new Coffee House/Wine Bar. I stayed to chat for a while, then went back to my desk in the back of Science.

Monday, 15 March 2004
I worked through the night again, went to breakfast, had the usual breakfasty things, then went to bed. The phone woke me. Jeff and I had scheduled to meet to do some channel debugging of the detector. I grabbed my carhartts and FDX boots and went downstairs for my parka. Waiting for me on the hook was a "new" parka - the one I was issued at the beginning of the season developed a mysterious rip in it while it was hanging up. I think someone tripped and grabbed it as they fell. "New" is just that - my replacement is from 1991 (according to the inventory number written in the pocket). It seems less fluffy, especially in the arms and upper body. Still, it's better than a coat with a two-foot rip in it, so I took it for my walk out to MAPO.

It was a cold walk, but eventually, I got to MAPO. Jeff was already there. We worked together on debugging high voltage on some of the newer modules, then we turned our attention to the TWR. We checked the machines, the crates, the cards, and the fibers. As I was checking each individual LED (six crates of cards with eight to ten lights each), Jeff spotted one that should have been lit but was not. We replaced the card, but no change. Out of ideas for the moment, we walked back for dinner.

The galley was mostly empty by 18:20. I grabbed a plate of Turkey Pot Pie, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans and Noodle Kugel, and took my time eating. There were only four of us left, Nick, Jules and Allan, by the time I was done. When I finished, I went down to the back of Science for a bit, then over to the Greenhouse for my weekly measurements. Things went quickly there, no surprises, but the cucumbers are getting tall.

Back down in Science, there was a note on my desk that Jules and Angela were over in Comms, practicing darts. I went over for a few rounds. Angela got tired and left. Jules and I stuck around and played "Around The World". I made it to 20 first, but Jules got the winning Bull. On my way out, I stopped off upstairs for a few minutes of Jeff's Anime Night in the Library, then went over to the bar to see what they were watching - "Dirty Harry". Neither option pulled me in, so I went back down to work for a while, and helped Jules with some Linux issues she was having.

Tuesday, 16 March 2004
I worked through the night, writing the weekly report and doing some basic system adminstration to all of our Linux boxes. Jules went to bed to get some sleep before her weekly Telecon; I walked up the beercan to breakfast, and made it just in time. Richard made some fresh pancakes for me. There weren't many people there when I arrived, but some of the science types trickled in as I ate, Nick, Jules, Kris, and Angela. We ate and talked for a while. The visibility outside is pretty bad, because it's still pretty windy. I went down to my desk for a bit, then off to bed around 10:00.

I woke up right before dinner was over. I ran up the beercan and got to to the galley just as Don was putting the food away. I grabbed some Meatballs (skipped the Pasta), some Fried Clams, and a slice of Veggie Lasanga. One of the tables was completely full - mostly construction workers. I sat with the beakers and the Met guys. I hung around a bit after eating, chatting with Nick, then went down to the back of Science to check on a few things before going over to the Library to set up the movie.

When I got there, Troy was watching the end of a Will Smith/Martin Lawrence movie, but he popped it out for our scheduled showing of "Tron". We had a bit of a crowd, Jeff, Keros, Henry, and Nick. Most of us hadn't seen it in quite a while. Henry made a comparison of Jeff Bridges' characters in "Tron" and "The Big Lebowski" (which I haven't seen). After the movie, I wandered over to the bar to see what was going on.

There were a couple of groups set up in the bar - the Tuesday Night Euchre crowd at the card table, and some of the other regulars in the TV room watching old episodes of "The Sopranos". Kevin came in with a new hairdo - blonde beard and eyebrows, and a freshly touched up mohawk died green. He joined us in the TV room. I watched to the end of the episode that was showing, and left before I got sucked into another one. Back over in Science, I continued to shore up our machines for the upcoming security test. One interesting distraction was getting a response from Kim Stanley Robinson (I wrote him when I got back to the Ice; we met when he came to McMurdo on an Artist and Writer's grant). After responding back, I skipped midrats and worked on security things through the night.

Wednesday, 17 March 2004
Breakfast time rolled around and I almost missed it. Rich was putting things away as I got to the galley. Rather than go with the usual Eggs, Potatoes and Meat, I had a fresh Cornmeal Biscuit with Honey, and a bowl of Cocoa Krispies. The visibility was starting to clear up. I went down to the back of Science, and Jules did me the favor of stopping out at MAPO to pull down the sun filter I'd put in front of my EarthDial camera. I checked the image from my laptop in my room - the filter was down, but she'd repositioned the camera in the process. I tried to change the crop parameters in the software, but I fell asleep before I could finish, and didn't wake up until after dinner.

I got dressed and went straight to the Wine Bar - Glen was breaking out the cans of Guiness he'd picked up on R&R in Mactown. It was a good crowd for the Wine Bar, at least 15 people. As things slowly wound down, about four of us kept things rolling over to the smoking bar. It was crowded. I danced a bit, then went back down to my desk. Jules was on the phone to home (Australia). When she was done, we both went up to the galley for some self-serve midrats. We passed OV, who was just leaving the bar. He took the outside route to the new station; Jules and I went up the beercan. It's a bit colder out than it's been, -76°F (-60°C), but less windy (only about 6 knots).

Thursday, 18 March 2004
When Jules and I got to the galley, we found Jeff was upstairs getting food, too. I found the Roasted Potatoes from the other night, and also the Jambalaya and a Cabbage Roll. Kris and Dennis, both working nights, joined us. There was sun streaming in the windows, shadows on the sastrugi, and sunlight glinting off of antennae and off of MAPO. With the sun sinking towards the horizon, it's a good time of year for interesting views outside. I stuck around a while, admiring the view, drinking a cup of tea. Those of us who were left talked about various things, from going to school in Iowa to life in Australia. Afterwards, most folks went off to bed. Jules and I went back down to Science.

Nick was there, installing Java on one of the AST/RO machines. After he and Jules were done for the night, the place was much quieter. I went back to work on securing out machines until it was time for breakfast. There wasn't much of a crowd by the time I got up there. Richard fixed me an omelette, which I devoured before getting back to work. The morning passed so quickly, it was noon before I noticed. Rather than go to sleep, I went to lunch.

Lunch was Beef with Noodles, Corn Dogs, and an over-spiced Beef and Cabbage Soup. I sat with Pete and Angie (to ask Pete a couple of questions), and took a few pictures out the window. The sun is low enough that the sky is starting to get pink and the snow is taking on a bluish tint. It's colder today, -80°F (-62.2°C), but almost no wind. After lunch, I went back down to Science to dump my camera.

The camera took longer than I expected to back up. It was slow enough that I took a nap in the hammock. When the camera was done, I went upstairs to get some real sleep in my real bed. The next thing I was aware of was an all call from Skylab - I was late for band practice. I stopped by my desk just long enough to grab the bass, then ran up the three flights of stairs to the band room. We played until almost 22:30, then I went back to my office to check e-mail and catch up on a few things. Nick was still working on that AST/RO machine, but he gave up around midnight. I stayed there, slogging on through the night.

Friday, 19 March 2004
I went up to midrats with Kris around 01:00. We went out the dome entrance, and I took a few pictures on the way. I reheated the Thai food from Sunday; Kris had some Curried Pork. After eating, I went back down to the back of Science, and my security work. I crashed out around 04:00, but got up for our weekly call back to Madison.

I was waiting for Jeff to show up when Darryn called me. He wanted me to check into a problem with our daily northbound data flow. I found a stuck process, cleared it, and got things rolling again. Jeff and I called Darryn back, and went over a few things, especially what we still needed to do for the upcoming security review. When the call was over, I went back to my desk for a while, then up to the galley for lunch.

It's cloudy today, but not as cold or windy as it's been recently, -63°F (-52.8°C) and 6 knots or less. The view out of the galley windows isn't great, but the horizon is at least distinct. I had a Tuna Sandwich, sitting at the back of the galley with Jake, Jason, and Sarah. My table cleared out, so I hopped to the beaker table for dessert. When most of the other beakers had left, Nick asked me a few questions about Java installs, Linux run-time libraries, etc. (due to a problem he was having on an AST/RO machine). After lunch, I went back to my desk in the back of Science, working on reports, updating the logbooks, and monitoring Polechomper. Jeff called me a couple of times with questions about channel debugging.

I was able to help Jeff over the phone, saving me a trip out to MAPO, allowing me to keep monitoring the progress of things. At the existing transfer rate, it was going to take many hours to fill our side of the store-and-forward system, let alone what it would take to drain it off back to the States. The numbers just didn't seem right for filling up a local server. I showed my numbers to Henry, and he took a look at the box. Turns out, probably during the move this summer, someone had turned on full debugging, logging every tiny little action it did. He turned down the logging to ordinary operational levels, and we went from six minutes per file to less than a tenth of a second. I then asked Henry to scan our network for anything interesting, and we went to dinner.

I had a couple of slices of London Broil and some Mashed Potatoes, hung out in the galley for a bit after dinner, then went down to my desk for my darts and something to drink. I went to Comms early to practice and wait for the crowd to show up. We had two teams from each location, Pole, McMurdo, and Scott Base (because there's no radio near a dart board at McMurdo, they drive over to play from the bar at Scott Base). Sarah ran the radio, and I started a spread sheet to tally the scores. There were so many people here who wanted to play, we added a third Pole team for our second game, but even so, no Pole team won any of the three games.

When we'd signed off, I went upstairs to the Coffee Bar, which was open, but deserted. Everyone was next door, watching episodes of "The Sopranos" in the Library. I stayed to watch the end of one, then went back down to my desk to work for a bit. I took a break over at the bar around midnight.

Saturday, 20 March 2004
There was a small crowd there. I sat and talked to folks for a bit, then Sean came in. We talked for quite a while, then I decided to try to get some more stuff done at my desk, but I was too tired to work effectively. I crashed out until lunch time. I ran up to the galley for Burger Day, By the time I got up there, the place was deserted. I sat with Nick and Eyvind, watching a cloudy and dismal day outside the window. They set cones out next to the ice cream machine, something they haven't done in a while. I indulged in a cone before going down to the dome to help Nick with some security checking of his machines.

While I was helping Nick, Henry dropped off a printed report of the scan he'd done for me yesterday. Nothing glaring, but there were a few minor things to tighten up, just to be safe. I turned off a few things that didn't need to be on, and did some general cleanup of the systems. When dinner-time rolled around, I walked up to the galley with Jules, who was down here this afternoon.

Another Saturday night, another Pizza Night. I picked a slice of Pesto-Feta thin crust, and a slice of a deep dish they called "The Montana" (I have no idea why). I was eating my pizza when Angie brought out the cake for Pete's birthday. We sang "Happy Birthday", then Pete cut the cake and opened his presents. The one that made the biggest hit was a couple of bottles of his favorite beer, Budweiser. He shared it with Dana and others of a like mind (I am not a fan of it, myself). I stopped off at the store on my way home, and couldn't belive that there was only one bottle of rum left on station. It's only March! I got back to my room, got cleaned up for Casino Night, and promptly fell asleep, missing all the evening's festivities.

Sunday, 21 March 2004
I tried dropping by the party at Bio-Med, but it wound down hours ago. Ditto for Casino Night. Troy, Tom and Larry were all still up in the galley, but the hordes had long since departed. There was touch of espresso left - I had a latte with the guys, then went back down to the dome to check out the scene at the bar. The dance floor was packed, and for the first time since summer, it was all women. Angela and Randi asked where I'd been. I had to tell them I was a slug and slept through most of the evening. We alternated between dancing and talking at the corner table. Finally, things were starting to wind down right about the time New Zealand Daylight time rolled back to New Zealand Standard Time. I went back to my desk to check on things (we keep GMT on our machines, so I didn't anticipate any problems, but I wanted to be sure), then went back to bed.

I woke up in time for Byron's Sunday movie presentation. He was serving Irish Coffee, and playing "Fistful of Dollars". I took a crack at the music PC while the movie ran - the IDE cable was loose on the CD-ROM drive. Reseating it fixed the problems we'd been having with it. When the movie ended, I went up to the galley, but I'd missed brunch by 10 minutes. I raided the left-over fridge. I found some Mashed Potatoes and Polish Sausage, and the Tom Yum Goong I'd made last week. As I ate, the sun tried to peek above the low clouds. It was a nice view; I wish I'd brought my camera with me.

I was just finishing up when Nick came in to give his Science Lecture on what to look at in the South Pole skies. He described the annual processsion of the Sun and the Moon, he mentioned the two comets we'd be likely to see this winter, the lunar eclipse, and, of course, some of the more interesting stars. Dinner started right after his lecture - Roast Beef, Halibut, and Potatoes. I ate and went back down to the bar for the second feature of the day, "The Unforgiven". I came in after it started, and stayed to the end. After the movie, I went over to the back of Science to attempt some work, but I got tired early and called it a night.

Monday, 22 March 2004
I woke up after breakfast, so the first thing I did when I got to my desk downstairs was to put the kettle on and make a noodle bowl. Our VoIP phone has been acting up; I gave it to Henry to look over. Probably just a Call Manager database thing. While I was in the NOC, we talked about various folks who we know in common from previous summers.

After an uneventful morning, I went up for lunch, had a Meatball Sub with Justus and Allan, then tried to go to the store. I had forgotten that the store is only open for 30 minutes on weekdays, from 12:00 to 12:30. I missed it by less than 10 minutes. From there, stuck my head around the corner to watch Dave and Peter assembling the shelves and supports for the new greenhouse (officially called the Growth Chamber). There were boxes and boxes of pre-fab metal bits to be bolted together in what had been up 'til now, a large empty room. At one point this summer, I remember being told that this was a pre-built greenhouse, ready to slide off the plane and slide into this space. I guess there's a bit more assembly required than that.

On my way back to work, I stopped off at the new garage to ask Byron and Richard for some hardware. They didn't have exactly what I needed, but what they did have might be close enough. Back in Science, I discussed our upcoming scheduled detector maintenance with Nick, something he cares about because it affects when we can scope out the power issues in MAPO, and fiddle with the new Liquid Nitrogen plant (AST/RO uses Liquid Nitrogen, thus his personal interest). When LES-9 rose, I tried to get on, but nothing was flowing. I finished off the afternoon by working on a script to reestablish a network path that's mysteriously vanishing intermittently.

Tuesday, 23 March 2004
I worked through the night and went to breakfast late. There was still a sliver of sun visible if you looked out the right window (behind the station, not out the galley windows). Richard was already putting the food away, but I managed to snag some Sausage, some breakfasty Potatoes and a Bagel. This late, there was almost nobody in the galley. I ate, then went down to Science to wait for the conference call about the impending external network test. Unfortunately, the folks in Denver forgot that we went off Daylight Savings Time this past weekend, and they gave us the wrong time to call in. After trying in vain to connect to the conference number, I went back to my desk until lunchtime.

On my way up to lunch, I noticed there was still a sliver of sunlight visible above the Russian Plane. It won't be long before the sun is gone completely. After lunch, I stopped at the store on my way back down to work. I didn't last that long - I crashed a little while later, until well after dinner.

When I got up, I stopped by the bar for Cheri's birthday party. I had to duck out to start the Sci-Fi Movie ("Blade Runner"), but I came back to the birthday party when things in the Library were underway. I stayed and talked with Byron, Cherie, Sean, Michael and Jason for the rest of the evening. When the party was over, Sean and I were the last ones out. He headed for Comms, I went over to my desk in Science.

Wednesday, 24 March 2004
I worked for a few hours, until past the time that GOES-3 set. I finally wandered upstairs to sleep. I woke up in time for lunch, and went straight to the galley for Mexican Day. There were build-your-own Fajitas and pans of baked Burritos. I ate slowly, 'til there was just Nick, Jules, Allan and me. After lunch, I put on the ECW gear and walked out to MAPO. The walk was pretty cold, but I was at least wearing contacts so I didn't have to make my way peering through frosty glasses.

Allan and Justus beat me out there. UT Nick was also there, on his daily rounds. I took care of a few maintenance things, and spent a few minutes answering electronics questions for Justus. Around mid-afternoon, Allan got dressed up and headed back to the station for house mouse. Justus and I made the cold walk back together. I didn't stop at the Dome; I made straight for the new station. The place was a madhouse. Several groups all chasing after the same few brooms, mops and buckets. Our group was assigned the A2 Hallway and the Laundry. We knocked it out pretty quickly, then I hung around, waiting for dinner.

I ate, then got absorbed by a meeting of the Wine Society. I kept to half-glasses, then left the uenophiles to go down to the dome, and go to bed early.

Thursday, 25 March 2004
I was up somewhat early, around 06:30. I went up to breakfast and found the galley nearly empty. Richard had time to grill a Quesadilla for me. Kris came in as my breakfast was coming off the grill. Outside, it was dreary and white, no trace of the sun. Henry joined us. We talked about antarctic incidents - the climber who fell off Castle Rock in 1995 (two weeks after I got to the Ice), and Rodney Marks, the AST/RO beaker who died here in 2000.

After breakfast, down in Science, Henry and I went over the results of a port scan, and I made up a list of things to tighten up. I spent the rest of the morning working on reports, then went to lunch. I went back to Science after lunch, but didn't last until dinner. I slept right through it, and woke up barely in time for band practice in Skylab. The group was already going; I jumped right in and played along. Some of our numbers are really starting to come together. After practice, I stopped by the bar to see who was around. The bar crowd was watching DVDs of "The Sopranos". I watched an episode with them, then went across the dome to my desk in Science.

Friday, 26 March 2004
I worked in the back of Science for a while, then went to my room around 03:00. I wasn't quite tired enough to sleep, so I put on "Blade Runner" (since I missed it Tuesday). I fell asleep right after it was over, and woke up mid-morning.

Before leaving for lunch, I spent some time cleaning my room in preparation for the "Long Skinny Party" tomorrow night. Lunch was Open-faced Cheesesteak Sandwiches and Fries (I skipped the Chili). I sat down at the first table as you enter the galley, the one facing the windows that overlook the dome and ARO. I sat with the usual first-table crowd, Lisae, Kirk, Jodi, Justus, and a few others. This table fills early and empties early. I moved towards the middle of the galley for dessert, and sat with Randi, Angela, Tom and Jules. I'd brought up a bottle of Root Beer (a rare commodity on station) and made a Root Beer Float, but with the ice cream we have, it quickly turned into a Root Beer Milkshake. I tried to go down to the store afterwards, but I forgot that it's open evenings on Fridays, not at lunch, so I went back up to the galley to sit with the New York Times Crossword Puzzle group. I worked on it with Jason, Nick, Jules and Nicholas. When we were finished the puzzle, I went back down to the dome.

It's a grey, dreary day. I can't wait for some clear weather. Working at my desk under the dome, it's easy to forget what it's like outside. I finished a report, then it was time to go back up to the galley for dinner: Tuna Casserole, Roast Pork, and Stuffing. I stopped by the store after eating, and picked up "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" and some imbibables. Nick was there buying chocolate and a bottle to contribute to the cause tomorrow. I stopped off at my desk, dropped things off, then grabbed my darts and headed over to Comms.

Several folks were already there, practicing. At 19:30 on the dot, Henry got on the radio and raised Scott Base. We had three teams of three to two Scott Base teams to one Mactown team (they were having bad weather, keeping down the numbers they brought over to Scott Base). For the second week in a row, no Pole team won any of the games. I went up to the Wine Bar to see what was going on up there, but Justus was next door in the Library, watching "The Sopranos" with the regular Friday Night crowd there. I watched part of an episode, then went next door to the Pool Room, following the noise.

The Pool Room was packed with folks celebrating Jarrod buying a house in New Zealand. I stayed for a bit, then went over to the bar. Kevin was on the CD player when I arrived. We talked about R&R in McMurdo, and other sorts of common winter-over topics. When folks started trickling out, I took my leave and went back over to the back of Science to work for a bit. Jules was there, working in the AST/RO corner. After a while, I left here there, and went upstairs to sack out.

Saturday, 27 March 2004
I woke up before lunch, cleaned my room for a bit (for the party), started laundry, then went to lunch. I spent most of the afternoon at my desk in the back of Science, but went back up to the Galley for the all hands meeting. I was only three or four minutes late, but as I was climbing the beercan, I was passing people who were already on their way down - it was so short, I missed the whole thing. I gave up and went back down to the dome, and over to my room. I skipped dinner and took a nap before the party. Rhys and crew woke me up, hanging decorations right outside my room.

I went across the hall, took a shower and a sauna, then propped my door open and put a music CD on my DVD player for some ambiance. The party started off slow - just me and Sarah (who lives two doors down) in the entire hall. We made some drinks for the crowd and waited for them to show up.

There was a cheese/meat/cracker tray in the "Lounge", half-way down the hall (apparently, it used to be a berthing room until they decided to put an exit door at the back, tear down the doorway, and make it an official exit. As a result, our "Lounge" is about 6'x10', no larger than any room on the floor). By 22:30, things started picking up. It was never too crowded to move up and down the hall, but it was beginning to get lively. Sean R.'s peanut M&Ms were popular; the halvah I set out was far less so.

Most people left their doors open, to make more space and to be sociable. I had a chance to see the different arrangements in each room. Some folks clustered in individual rooms, others hung out in the halls. To keep the peace with some of the residents, we ended the party just after midnight. The last of us were sitting in Angela's room, chatting quietly. When it was down to just a few of us, we headed over to the bar.

Sunday, 28 March 2004
When I got the bar, it was still busy. I hung out for a while in the DJ chair, spinning tunes, until the crowd was down to me, Anj, and Adam. I went home to crash and didn't wake up until the all call that there would be Mexican Dinner tonight (being Sunday, the cooks' day off, the volunteer cooks made an announcement that there would be something worth coming to the galley for). I checked the detector and e-mail from my room, then took a pack of noodles up to the galley for lunch.

The galley wasn't crowded. I made my noodles, and sat with Troy and Allan. Allan asked about fortune cookies (for the upcoming barbeque), so I went in the galley office to rifle through the cookbooks. Not a thing, despite several Asian and Dessert cookbooks. LES-9 was up; it was slow and painful, but I managed to locate couple of recipies. On my way back to my desk, it felt a bit cold in the tunnels; it's down to -86°F (-65.6°C) outside. Today would have been a good day to grab my parka.

I stopped off at Met to talk with Don for a bit. Sarah came in from her outing and joined us. She'd skiied to the Marisat Ground Terminal and back. We talked about a variety of things, Icestock, freshies, airdrop, phone systems, Brewster, WA (the head-end of the McMurdo phones), etc. After a while, I left to get a few things done before dinner, Sarah left to get out of her many layers from skiing. I printed out the flyer for Tuesday's Movie (an MST3k version of "Eaagh!") then went up to the galley.

Justus, Jodi, Kirk, and Dehlia treated the whole station to a Mexican Night, with a main dish of Beef, Chicken or Seitan Fajitas. I sat with Dehlia, Henry, Scott and Angela, ate, then went down to the band room. We went over most of our numbers, sounding much better than the last time we practiced. On my way out, I stopped by the CUSP Lab on the first floor to look over Dana's dead chart recorder, then went back to my desk. I was thinking of going out, but I puttered around so long that there was little point, so I went to bed.

Monday, 29 March 2004
I woke up around 04:30, noticed that GOES-3 hadn't set yet, and spent a few minutes on the 'net while it was still up. When it dropped, I went back to sleep until mid-morning. When I got up, I went over to Medical to see Troy about the blood draw for the T3 study, but he was either busy or not in. I waited around in the galley for Lunch, then sat with Sarah, Kevin and few of the other Upper Berthing denizens, talking about the Long Skinny Party. They all left, so I had a cookie and some tea at another table wth Henry, Dehlia, and Eyvind. On my way out, I stopped by Medical; Scott was there, but not Troy. I gave up and went down to Science.

Troy sent me an e-mail five minutes later that he was back from lunch. I replied that I'd come in tomorrow. I swapped tapes and did general things around Science until dinner. After eating, I wandered over to the cribbage table and played a four-way game, me and Tom against Angela and Jules. Tom and I won, but not by much. I didn't stay for a second game, but went down to the dome, did my greenhouse stint, then stopped by the bar to see what was up. Mike and Sean were watching "Omega Man"; I watched for a few minutes, then went back to my desk for a while before going to bed.

Tuesday, 30 March 2004
I'd been asleep for hours when Jeff called me from MAPO at 04:30 with some questions about the Supernova experiment. Since I was already awake, I tried to get on GOES-3, but it was in the process of setting, so I went back to sleep until just after breakfast. When I awoke, I went right downstairs to my desk in Science and spent the rest of the morning catching up on the project logbooks.

After a quick lunch, I stopped by Medical for my T3 Study reaction and memory tests and the blood draw. Like most of the other participants, it took Troy two sticks to get all the blood. He thinks it's because we have all adapted to the altitude and have a higher concentration of red blood cells, making our blood thicker than it was when we arrived. The only real hitch came when he went to measure my temperature through my ear. Even after several measurements in both ears, he was picking up my temp between 82.4-87.8°F (28-31°C). Since I was clearly not hypothermic, there had to be something wrong with the instrument.

After completing my T3 Study obligations, I worked at my desk all afternoon and came back up to the new station for dinner. They fixed a real treat for us tonight, Duck Breast, not something I usually have, even at home. I sat with Cargo Nick; we talked about science fiction greats, Phillip K. Dick, Jose Farmer, and Larry Niven. I finished eating and went back to Science via the outside route. The twilight is nice - there are a few low clouds, but half the horizon is lit up. It's -87°F (-66.1°C) out, with -137°F (-93.9°C) windchill. I made the walk in my usual around-the-station gear (grey fleece jacket, jeans, sneakers, polypro glove liners). It was a bit of a chilly walk, but the worst of it was my glasses frosting over before I could reach the dome entrance.

I only had an hour at my desk before the movie. Henry loaned me his DVD of Mystery Science Theatre's "Egah!", a truely wreched movie about a caveman living near Los Angeles. After the show, I stopped by the bar - it was packed. I hung out for a while, talking with Mike and Keros.

Wednesday, 31 March 2004
I woke up earlier than usual, and put on my Carhartts for my trip out to MAPO later. I went down to Science, swapped tapes, and, eventually, went to lunch late. By the time I left the galley, it was all beakers. I went straight there to MAPO. Not a bad walk, -82°F (-63.33°C), light winds, and still civil twilight.

Got out to MAPO and checked on the detector - all was well. I took some time to put an amber LED in an old lightbulb base for a replacement indicator light for our old high voltage crates, and as I was about to leave, I noticed that one of our other instrument crates was powered down. I restarted it, checked to make sure it was on a UPS (it was), then walked back to the station for dinner.

I went straight to the galley from outside and squeezed in at one of the round tables with Henry, Angela, Tom and Jules. We had Baked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Collard Greens and Fresh Cornbread. When we'd finished eating, Tom, Jules, and Angela played a 3-handed game of Cribbage while I watched. Angela won by pegging a pair off of the first card of the last hand. I moved over to sit with the "Wine Society" but passed on the wine. We exchanged jokes, some funny, some really bad. I left them to their wine and went down to get some stuff done before the Wednesday Night Movie.

As I worked at my desk, I saw Henry go by a couple of times with various acoutrements. On his last trip by, I grabbed a few things and followed him up to the library. He was making White Russians in honor of "The Dude"'s favorite drink in the movie, "The Big Lebowski". I think I was about the only person in the room who hadn't seen it. The Library was full and we all got a good laugh. The movie crowd didn't finish off the drinks, so we took things over to the bar where they were watching movies. I didn't catch what was on when we arrived, but Mike and Sean put on "Full Metal Jacket", and Henry, Nick, and I moved from the bar over to the TV area to watch. Henry lasted through the first part of the movie (Boot Camp on Paris Island); Nick and stayed to the end. I left when the show was over, and went home and to sleep.

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