Saturday, February 9, 2008

vertical relief...bizarre

Well, I just got done watching a couple snow sports flicks in the gym on the big screen with a passel of folks. Warren Miller's "Playground" and Teton Gravity Research's "Lost and Found" both provided a whirlwind of images of terrain that is not the least bit like Pole, except it was warmer and still covered in snow. They did visit Dubai in one flick, and showed a couple guys pulling off all these tricks in their indoor ski slope. I think my favorite part was a couple guys using small parafoils to just rocket down the Alps, leaping off into space when the slopes got vertical. It's starting to get to the point for me that seeing images of the rest of the world is getting to be discernibly strange. I can't wait to feel what another 9.5 months will do to exacerbate that sensation.

I got in a good 5 hours in the Communications center here again. It involves making announcements over our PA or "all call" (as it's referred to here), and every time I work in there the next few days I get all sorts of comments about how people liked my voice, how I'm the "voice of the South Pole", and how "gee, it's the first time I've actually been able to hear and understand you". It would be interesting to hear myself and hear if what I hear in my head when I talk is so much radically different from what people hear when I get amplified and broadcast all over the station. The flight following activities I'm feeling pretty good on. In a lot of ways it is like the time I spent working flight ops at SOHO, but sometimes there can be a whole lot more conversations simultaneously that you have to try and understand.

I've got my iPod now and have been practicing with it as accompaniment to my guitar playing. I had to start with a great inaugural song; every great journey began with a single step, so opted for "The Throne Room" from the original Star Wars. It's a splendid fanfare and only seemed appropriate.

Station population is down to 180-something, and will drop to about 150 on Monday. It's getting quieter around here, and the shadows are getting longer. This transition period seems like we're on the edge of a coin that is in the process of flipping from one situation to another vastly different one. It's definitely exciting to be staying this year, and I'm looking forward to my feelings when I see that last flight leave for oh-so-many months.

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