Monday, February 19, 2007

Tell me why you gotta be so cold


It's the final stretch! I'm out of here in under a week and it's a struggle to keep thinking straight amidst the plummeting temeratures and the increasingly darkening sky. So as I rush to knock out all the remaining things I wanted to do and pictures I wanted to take, I present to you another update to Flickr Macrocrania. I did a couple of fun things like pose with the new sign at Pegasus, do my last airfield observing shift, go to the greenhouse and hike the ob hill loop. There's pictures of it all on page 15, page 16,, and page 17.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Loster than you


With one week left to go in the 2006-2007 austral summer season I can really feel the toll Antractica has taken on me and my possessions. Half my clothes are destroyed, my headphones are smashed, my tripod is totaly trashed and I lost my camera yesterday. Plus judging from my last few blogs my brain is smashed, trashed, and lost too. I just need to hang in there for one more week! Can it be done? THINGS DON'T LOOK TOO GOOD FOR OUR HERO.

It's a pretty stupid story how I lost my camera yesterday but in the end I found the guy who discovered it on top of the gas pump, buried in an inch of snow. The guy wasn't on top of the gas pump buried in an inch of snow, my camera was. He just found it. So I just happen to run into him and he recognized me from the pictures on it, all 500 of which were me of course. Usually I think it's odd how I take so many pictures of myself doing the most mundane things like pumping gas, but in this instance it saved me. Yay for photo masturbation.

This got me thinking about how McMurdo is the only place I've ever lived where so much stuff gets lost so frequently. There are tons of flyers posted during the course of the season in every high traffic public area possible. People lose all sorts of things-iPods, cameras, jackets, backpacks, memory sticks, eyeglasses, etc. Lots of it is expensive stuff or it has tons of sentimental value. The latest and most heartbreaking story is the girl who stuck her palm sized 40 gig hard drive in someone else's jacket at the jacket hanging place thinking it was her own. What sucks about that is she had all of the pictures she took during this season on it! As someone who takes a lot of pictures and recently lost their own camera, I really sympathize with her. Plus to make it worse she was leaving the next day. I can't imagine the sense of loss and the thoughts in her head on the long plane rides back. Hopefully she knows how to draw really good so she can somewhat approximate her experiences in crayon for her grandkids in 20 years. Mostly her grandkids will think she's crazy.

I don't know how all the stories turn out. All I see are the flyers. iPods seem to be the thing most often lost down here. I know one girl who lost her iPod and got it back after a furious flyer campaign that ran across the doors of multiple buildings and outhouses. I also know people who never got their stuff back. What is it about Antarctica that makes it the Bermuda Triangle of iPods? I really feel bad for the people that lose all their music and whatever else they store on their iPods. Sometimes music and pictures are the most important things a person can have down here. Music helps the time go by and the pictures are the best way to share their experiences of this place. Unless of course you spend your time getting drunk all day and streaking around town like lots of people do here. Then I don't think photographic evidence is something you want. OR MAYBE IT IS.

I'll bet there have been people who never recovered their photos after losing their iPods or cameras and have only memories to help them relive their short time on the ice. It sucks because it's possible to do some crazy things down here like build igloos and hang out with penguins and stuff. I'll bet they're at the bar now telling thier drunk friends about how they hung out with penguins in Antarctica and nobody believes them without pictures. Then they have to tell the story of how they lost all their pictures when they left their camera in the igloo they built on the ice. Who's gonna believe that? Thier friends probably call them Antarctica Jack and they laugh but it kills Jack a little inside everytime they do that because he can't help but think there's a penguin somewhere taking some damn good pictures with his digital camera. Oh god I hope Jack's killed himself already.

Last season I left a CD with a complete archive of my webcomic on it in one of the computers at the public computer kiosk here. At first I was pissed because it was the only backup I brought with me but then I thought maybe whoever it was that found it might have been looking at my cartoons. Looking and liking. (Most likely they were looking and WTFing.) I think 'losing' items like that could be a sort of marketing campaign, but if they're dumb the people who found such CDs will probably tell their friends to check out E://index.html. It's the best website ever!

Don't lose your crap!


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wherein I rip off Hoop's gray hair post idea

I remember my first gray hair. I was looking into a mirror in the bathroom of a Ford dealership in Houston, Texas back in July of 1999. It was in my nose. I plucked it immediately with my own fingers and was introduced to the orgasmic joy that is (slightly painful) nosehair picking. Ever since then I play this game I call nosehair olympics when I'm bored where I will pick the longest nosehairs possible for 'points'. Double points if they're white since white hairs are rarer. I think my record so far was a 3/4 inch long monster. I thought it was a tapeworm. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

Unfortunately after picking the majority of my nosehairs from my forward inches of nostril real estate, I find I can no longer smell things as sharply as I used to before 1999. That's beside the point. What matters is that later on when my head hairs started going gray I adopted an attitude that at least they're staying with the team. I don't mind if they go gray as long as they're reenlisting. I guess I have a double standard when it comes to gray hairs depending on where they are in my body. I don't care how richly dark my nose hairs are. When they start looking like pubes it's time for nosehair olympics.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I need more Megatron Black eyeliner-part 1 of 37

faceWelcome Macrocranians, to a new series where we will be studying the societal implications of this solicitation for a hoodie of robots that you can buy at Hot Topic. You can't buy robots at Hot Topic, just the hoodie with the robots on them. This is what I will be writing about for 37 installments of this very special series.

Part 1 of 37: Hoodie not Goodie

When did we start using the word 'hoodie'? I must not have been jacked into the matrix properly when the online community at large decided that 'hoodie' was a word. Is this even a spoken thing that people say in real life? When was the last time you or anyone you know used this word to describe that specific article of clothing? Just last year I was calling those things 'sweaters with hoods' or just 'sweaters' or even 'jackets'. I suspect propogation of 'werds' like hoodie is the work of marketing executives looking to influence the Generation Y market demographic. I am so sick of these lame ad executives with their pseudo-cool kid speak, taking the gibberish slang that children come up with and distributing it through their advertisements, legitimizing it in the process. Is anyone with me on this or have I been staring at the sky in Antarctica too long?

Google also: Hoodiez.

End of Part 1

Next time: He has a lazy eyeball.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dude, what's mom for Soundwave?

If you were a kid in 1985 you understood that parents spoke a different language when it came to toys and they couldn't be trusted to buy the right ones if you simply asked for character names. So what kids would do is learn to translate robot names into words their parents could understand. Being able to translate from mom to robot was a necessary and valuable skill. I couldn't just say 'Soundwave' or 'Megatron' because that would be confusing to a mom level person. Thankfully in 1984 there were only like 28 Transformers and if I asked my mom for 'the gun' or 'the radio' there was a 100 percent probability that she would know which one that was.

Since there were no toy robot internet sites telling me what robots were being made in Japan that week I had no idea what to expect when we went to the store. I thought I was pretty on top of things in '85 when I scored the individually packaged Constructicons, but they didn't come with a catalog. They were the first new Transformers I'd found that weren't in the 1984 catalog, which was my only source of information. Until I got my first boxed 1985 TF I was living day to day in terms of toy robot knowledge and let me tell you, that was scary times. It was also full of potentially fantastic surprises because you'd go to school and a kid would bring Shockwave, explaining how all he asked for was 'the gun' and he got a kick ass robot laser pistol with lights and sounds when all he expected was Megatron. Spotting new stuff like that was exciting but also sort of unsettling because it meant your mom/robot vocabulary had to be updated and you didn't know if asking for the same old things applied anymore.

Back then shipping and distribution was pretty crappy so there was no guarentee you'd ever see all the toys from any line in your lifetime. Like when Star Wars would put those pictures of all the figures on the backs of the cards I would kind of laugh and say whatever. Like I'll ever see a 4-Lom or 2-1B. Because catalog reality was way way different from in the store reality. I don't care how cool IG-88 looked, as far as I was concerned the whole Empire Strikes Back line may as well have consisted of 200 ATAT Drivers judging by what I actually saw on the pegs when I was 8. And so it was with Transformers. It was scary and exciting not knowing what TFs were out or if the line even existed at all past whatever I already had. If Star Wars could die as a toyline then I had to accept that other equally horrible things could happen to the toy robots.

BlasterBut then the 1985 Transformers assortments happened and the many different new toy robots came out. While that was cool because it meant more robots, it also kind of complicated everything. If you didn't have Soundwave by 1985 your chances of mom getting it right when you asked for 'the radio' were halved because of the introduction of Blaster. Blaster was the 'other' Transfomer cassette deck. I guess Blaster was cool enough in his own right but his toy always lived in the shadow of the infinitely cooler Soundwave and his cartoon character played a sort of second fiddle to Jazz, the previous pop culture obsessed, super cool urban stylin' robot. Oh who am I kidding Blaster sucked. He was horribly out of scale with the other TFs, towering over the guys like Superion who were supposed to be giants. That alone was total imagination rape right there. It was hard to pretend Devastator was all tough shit when the Autobot's little red radio was bigger than him in robo mode. Plus his tape door got stuck all the time and that pissed me off.

So I had Blaster which meant my mom couldn't find Soundwave but I survived. In the comics around issue 18 Bob Budiansky started developing Blaster into an interesting character so that helped. But man, there was a time when having a Blaster pegged you as a kid who didn't know he was supposed to ask for 'the BLUE radio'.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The last time, I was interesting


I feel like although I have a tripod now and I can frame pictures better, the Antarctica pictures I took last year without one had a lot more spirit and life in them. Last year I had to find creative spots to put the camera like on snow berms or on rocks so the perspectives are really odd and they've got a lot of personality. I'm really looking forward to getting home to South Dakota so I can get those Antarctic Summer '05-'06 pictures up on Flickr.

My weather observing shifts at Pegasus are done and it looks like I'm closing out the season at Williams Field. There's a lot more airplane action there and a lot crazier weather. It was fun being a Pegasus observer though and I will miss it. I liked the wildlife and seeing happy people go home. I was out at Williams Field a lot last summer so getting to observe there again is a homecoming of sorts. There will be a bit of Pegasus seperation anxiety though. I really liked it out there. Now that I'm at Williams Field expect lots of pictures of me and LC-130s over at the Antarctica Summer '06-'07 set. (By the way, there are new pictures on pages 13 and 14.)

The final issue of this season's Antarctic Sun (McMurdo's weekly newspaper) has a lot of good stuff in it. I especially liked the profile story where an old timey guy describes how life on the station used to be. Heck, I noticed big obvious changes from one year to the next. I can't imagine all he's seen over the course of 18 years.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Slide Snow


Well I put up the results of my first successful snowflake hunt in a new album over at Flickr Macrocrania called "Slide Snow". I'm a lot embarrased at how bad my flakes came out compared to the one pictured at the Popular Science webpage that got me started on all of this, but hey, it's a start. At least I'm confident that it can be done. I just need a lot more practice. Come on popular scientists, this crap ain't as easy as your difficulty meter says it is!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Breaking (up with) the Ice

You know how when you're going to break up with someone and you want to be civil about it and you just say, "Look, it's time for us to move on?" And she's all, "Is there anything I can do to change this? You like booty, don't you? You can have booty." Well that's where I am with Antarctica. I'm in my last few weeks down here and I've come to terms with the fact that this will be the final time I will be down to the ice. I've accepted that I will never be back and this is the last time I'll get to see this place. But Antarctica doesn't seem to want to let go of me and this last week she was trying real hard to make me happy with her snowflake booty.

Overall I was a bit dissapointed with the lack of weather I got compared to last season. I came down with dreams of capturing all sorts of snowflakes during the austral summer. But as it turned out this season was a lot more mild than summer '05-'06. I didn't capture anywhere near the amount of snowflakes I intended to. In fact my first few tries were total failures because I didn't have the technique down good but I was figuring I'd have a lot more opportunities to fine tune the process. Unfortunately it hasn't snowed nearly as often as it did last summer. So I'm all, "Well Antarctica if you aren't gonna put out then I don't really feel like I got what I wanted out of this relationship. So I'm out of here and I don't feel bad." Then as if to make up for the lack of weather action, this week was the Antractic equivalent of smoking crack with penguins. Sexy penguins.

I already wrote about what happened Sunday, then Wednesday I got a tour of both Discovery Hut and the Nathaniel B. Palmer Science Vessel plus icebreaker. Then Thursday when I was working at Pegasus it snowed and I got a lot of good snowflakes. Plus a C-130 landed there which is an extremely rare occurance. One of this week's C-17s arrived late so I got to see it come and go all during my Friday shift. Then the ice cleared out of the sound and people started seeing whales from Hut Point. So I have like five billion pictures from just this week and even if I upload only the ones where I like how my hair looks that's still like 20 zillion. We'll see what I put up at Flickr Macrocrania.

Did I mention I got some good flakes? My plan now is to take the slides to Crary Lab sometime this week and see if I can borrow one of their microscopes to take nice big closeup pictures of the snowflakes I got. It also looks like it may snow again tomorrow, which would be really cool. So I will be out at Williams Field on my day off, hoping I can score some more snowflake action. Next update to PSMR should have some pretty decent Antarctic snowflake pictures if my Crary Lab invasion proves successful. Hopefully all of you valued loyal citizens of Macrocrania will be rewarded with something worth reading for once!

Yeah, breaking up is tough to do especially since I've had some really good times down here. I will miss McMurdo Space Station and weather observering. I think the Antractic snowflakes will miss me too. But I've got a hot nasty slut in the South Dakota winter and she puts out flakes all the time. So from the perspective of a snowflake hunter I gotta go be hitting that South Dakota snowflake booty instead. It's just natural for Antarctica to be jealous. At this rate Antarctica will be doing all sorts of snowing for me and talking nasty and stuff. It'll be a lot of fun sharing my final few weeks of Antarctic breakup sex with all of you.

Pages 11 and 12 over at the Antarctic Summer '06-'07 album are new and they've got pics from the Discovery Hut and Nathaniel Palmer ship tour.

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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.