Thanksgiving and scary things

Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000

Well I'm over here because right now they're showing The Thing (John Carpenter version) over in the upper galley and I made it as far as the dog kennel scene before fleeing. Eugh! Guess my tolerance is shrinking. If anybody doesn't know, it's a science-fiction horror movie set in a small US base in Antarctica during the winter. More than that I can't tell you cause it gets pretty messy pretty fast. I'd much rather be hiding over here in Comms where things are friendly and happy.

Aside from that, we've had a lovely week. The people and the place itself both transform for Thanksgiving: we have real tablecloths, napkins, and candles in the galley, and we sit down together to eat instead of wandering in and out on individual schedules. Of course the base is so big now we have to have three consecutive seatings, but nevertheless looking up and down the long table at one third of my friends more or less dressed up (most folks at least try), drinking wine, and eating some of the best food on the continent made me feel close to civilized for an evening. The galley staff goes all out and since we do have some serious talent in there the spread is something else. Also they provided plenty of volunteer opportunities in the days before the holiday! I think I peeled enough potatoes to last me the whole year. We celebrated on Saturday instead of Thursday so we could have a two-day weekend (our first). I mostly celebrated by sleeping in. After dinner I visited friends and socialized in a few different areas of the base (an open house, um, room in Upper Berthing; a quiet conversation in the Meteorology office; a neverending pool game in the library). I was just thinking about winding down when spontaneous dancing broke out in the galley. Fortunately the CD player there starts skipping if it gets jostled too much, so there's a natural control on the party.

This date a year ago I was on my way from McMurdo to the Pole. How about that.

In other news, we're now way way way behind the flight schedule. There has been an unprecedented stretch of bad weather in McMurdo so planes haven't been flying here. We've had enough flights here and there so that we're not really worried about running out of fuel for the station, but they're starting to worry about getting in fuel, science cargo, and construction supplies for the winter. A whole group of scientists who are supposed to be here now is still stuck in Christchurch, after at least two boomerang flights. I'm glad I'm not in flight logistics.

I did learn how to drive snowmobiles and Sprytes this week, that was way fun. Sprytes are boxy little vehicles on tracks, a separate control for each track. They run slow but turn fast. My learning opportunity was a routine expedition to the end of the skiway to make sure the markers were all up, it was a beautiful day and it was nice to get a little ways away from the station. Sure is flat out there. Flat but bumpy, if you know what I mean.

I think I'm unwound enough to go back to my room and try to sleep now. No more scary movies.

Best to all,


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