Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Frequent lights in the sky

 Aurora season is well underway, despite what seems to be a long-lingering gray twilight still on the horizon.  None of the aurora displays I have seen thus far have been spectacularly large, but they occur pretty much daily.  My cameras are capturing good images thus far, and the new one already revealed a pulsating aurora phenomenon the project had hoped to observe (i.e. it takes pictures with short time in between).

Last week I ended up being the person to plan and coordinate the monthly emergency response drill for the entire station.  It was a rather realistic scenario with a small simulated fire in one of the berthing wings of the elevated station.  I was very glad that discussion afterward centered on lessons learned from the exercise, as opposed to how unreasonable the scenario might have been or problems with execution of the drill.  I have definitely been a participant in drills in the past when those sorts of issues drowned out other practical topics.  Since this is my third full year of running the fire brigade, I have been getting some other folks trained on how to run the team if I were unavailable.  Redundancy is definitely a good thing.  But, I will step back into the role for next month’s multiple/mass casualty incident (MCI) drill, since those are usually a bit more challenging.

The contract turnover process is (still) ongoing, with quite a lot of correspondence about some of the final, pending issues to resolve.  With luck, those will be taken care of in the next week or so.  I guess it is a learning process for everybody, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be frustrating at times.  A good thing is that most people working for the subcontractors have all been squared away with minimal ongoing problems.

One major way I offload stress down here is by working out, and I really feel my routine is a good one this year.  With heavier weights 2 days, circuit workouts 2 days, and 2days of cardio work in a given week, it feels sustainable for the long haul through winter.  Regardless, the longer one stays here with low oxygen and humidity, the more the incremental lack of full muscle recovery there probably is.  I’m sure in 5 months I’ll be quite fatigued, but that will come as no surprise.

My movie night continues to be fun.  Last week’s feature was a personal favorite: “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.  Honestly, I think few films fulfill what they set out to accomplish better than this one.  I’ve always loved those movies, and spent plenty of time playing Indy as a kid.  “Temple of Doom” was singularly responsible for the phase I went through artistically, when I pretty much included spikes and lava in all my drawings.  Watching the movie also made me regret not bringing my fedora down again, though traveling with it was a bit of a challenge at times.  One of my aunts kindly sent me a basic archaeology book this summer, which I am definitely looking forward to reading soon.  Right now I’m still finishing up reading the last book in the Song of Ice and Fire series: “A Dance with Dragons” by George R.R. Martin.  There is nothing wrong with casting one’s mind elsewhere while down here, without a doubt. 
“Books in a colony play a different part in your existence from what they do in Europe; there is a whole side of your life which they alone take charge of; and on this account, according to their quality, you feel more grateful to them, or more indignant with them, than you will ever do in civilized countries.”
~Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), “Out of Africa”


Becky said...

Happy May Day!
So who is the new contractor? Do they seem to have sensible ideas about running things on the Ice?
Good to hear your projects are gathering usable data. Stay healthy and warm!

Teacher said...

Giant waterfall?
Sharp rocks at the bottom?
Bring it on.

EthanG said...

Lockheed plus an alphabet soup of subcontractors (the largest being PAE): they do seem to have some "out there" ideas for longer-term infrastructure and transportation developments, but the near-term prospect looks similar, but with reductions in staffing