Oh No, I just said “Walkman”

There was one of those moments this week when I realised that I’m not down with the kids anymore, I picked up my iPod and refer to it as a ‘Walkman’ – It’s like the time for me when my Dad or Granddad would mention a ‘gramophone’ or a ‘wireless’ and I had to suppress the explosive teenage anger built up inside my then youthful body to not shout at them for not having any idea of what they’re talking about…In my case nobody screamed at me but there was some giggling – Time to curl up into a ball jump into the nearest passing coffin….

The reason this came about was probably down to finding some old newspaper pages in the green store last week, myself and Rob had the task of going through anything that lived in the ‘comms’ section within stores and deciding what should stay, what should be RTA’d (Returned to Australia) and what should just be binned as it was superseded many years ago. The whole exercise wasn’t too bad, a couple of days and we managed the majority of it, there were some interesting artifacts but by far the best was finding some ceramic HF antennae isolators that were wrapped in newspaper, old newspaper….The newspaper was from 1991…..Which, although sadly doesn’t actually seem that long ago to me there were however many indicators that it is from a bygone era that is now laughable. The movie at the local cinema in Sydney was ‘Ghost’ with the now deceased Patrick Swayze and the (OK, I’ll say it, still fairly hot) Demi Moore. There were adverts for the ‘Hot Specials’ in electronics for the day which included a telephone answering machine, some VHS tapes, a calculator (gosh!) and a ‘personal cassette player’ (because they couldn’t say Walkman because it was Sony’s catchphrase). The irony of this was that pretty much all of the gadgets on that page can now be found on a mobile phone with probably ten times the ability of it’s 1990 predecessors..

We’ve had a fair bit of snow on station the last few weeks, one particular day was around 5mm per hour of precipitation, that sounds quite average when you’re talking about rain but when that’s snow, which expands bigger than your average raindrop it actually causes a major headache the next day when you have to use a shovel to get out of the front door. The boys spent most of the week driving round in large machinery moving mountains of snow to locations where they aren’t quite so ‘in the way’ and allowing us all to get about station again. The biggest problem is ‘blizz tails’ which form in the lee of buildings, containers, vehicles or just about anything – The eddie created sucks the blizz round to stick to the back of the object and build huge mounds of powder. The majority of our winds are the katabatic winds that come from the Glaciers to our east so really we should know that you don’t stack a load of shipping containers in a line with all their doors facing West or you may never open them again (cough….:))

We caught sight of a few weak but enjoyable Auroras, for some of us it was our first time to see these, they weren’t anywhere as energetic as we can expect but none the less we all ran out with our cameras and started to get to grips with setting up the exposures needed to capture them. For those into photography I’m using a Nikon D7000 and am experimenting between a 35mm (f1.4) Prime and a 12-24mm (f4) Zoom, at the moment I’m trying to keep the exposure under 20 seconds so as not to see the star trails as the earth turns, I keep the ISO fairly high at between 1600 and 3200 but it will vary the more active they become – obviously a tripod and a remote trigger help too.

On the social calendar we’ve had a couple of ‘formal dinners’ and most recently we had a ‘Hippy Night’ which coincided nicely with Earth hour – Personally I don’t really consider an hour worthy of what this planet has to put up with so I’m glad to see we had no lights on and the candles out most of the night (and the fire alarm systems suppressed in the living quarters!) – Adam made an awesome VW Combi for the evening which took him most of the prior week to put together, we’re trying to find a spot on the wall to put it up now. There were weather balloons filled with LED lights and all sorts of random foods, a good night had by all.

Other than that, work is trucking along, a bit of comms work here and there, some IT work here and there, some ERT work and training here and there…There never seems to be one particular thing but we are always busy. Our main thing now is to wait for the ice to freeze thick enough that we can start using quads to drive out onto the frozen sea…Once we get this then we can get out and explore again!

Cheers for now

Stu

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