Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The appellation “Angry August” is quite apt. By this point in the winter, people definitely seem to fall to the extremes of really liking each others’ company (or pretending to do so) versus quite the opposite. There really is not much remarkable about the situation. Just run the thought experiment considering how you would feel if all your co-workers/bosses/employees lived and ate and slept in the same building as you. Not being able to get away from the same social scene can really wear on folks.

But, the contrasting point to that is with the brightness continuing to grow on the horizon, one’s thoughts can more realistically begin to linger upon what will come upon departure. Some folks can afford to turn their gaze thusly more often, while others (like your humble servant) still have a whole lot of work to do before station opening, and even more work to do for turnover once replacements arrive. The disparity of work expectations for the different “professions” down here is just more evident given the close proximity in which the various societal castes must exist. For some folks they just stop working when their replacements arrive, but for others they have a whole lot of teaching to do before their labors are concluded. It’s not really different than anywhere else in the world.

We got word recently about the NSF’s decision for the 3 finalist companies/bids for the continued Antarctic operations contract. This whole decision has been pending for quite some time, and I am sure the full-time staff in Denver are very much ready for some sort of decisive, ultimate finalist to be chosen so they can move past limbo and get on with concrete decisions about whether or not to make the leap to the new contractor or seek elsewhere for employment. It seems like a very inefficient process, but is not the least bit different from what I experienced with contract turnover when working at NASA GSFC. Though much will stay the same, there will hopefully be some improvements in various aspects of the company and management of the three American stations on the Ice.

I continue to gradually make plans for my trip home, and have not decided whether I will telegraph my itinerary in this forum ahead of time or will just write from the road and let those of you who consistently read be (hopefully pleasantly) surprised as I go. Right now the plan is to leave Christchurch on 18 November and get back home probably in the middle of January 2011. The year 2010 will be the first time I have been out of the States for an entire calendar year (and then some). The contrast to the homogeny of the preceding year will undoubtedly and refreshingly be quite striking.
“Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content."
~Robert E. Howard (Queen of the Black Coast)


Craig said...

And there are those who quit working well before their replacements arrive...

Becky said...

So who are the finalists? Wherever you go, there you'll be. Should you end up in the area, you've got crash space in Chicago.

Becky said...

Just noticed your quote-"the hot embrace of white arms"!
Certainly says a lot about times in which the piece was written.

EthanG said...

True, Craig, oh-so true.

KBR, CH2MHill, & Lockheed

Yes, this is the time of year by which most pigmentation has fled my flesh. I'm not quite cave-creature translucent yet, but the winter is only so long.

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