Friday, May 29, 2009

Birthday Shenannigans

Temperature: -53.5C
Wind Chill: -71.5C
Wind Speed: 9.3 kts

Okay, I can't put this off anymore, the birthday was over a week ago! I'm still trying to hassle people for race pictures, so hang in there...

Last Friday, Francis, one of our chefs, made a very modest, quite small cake for my birthday, and was instrumental in providing the decoration above the frosting!

I thought the cake was awesome, but there was no way I was going to be able to have a single piece. I need to watch my figure after all!

I did, however, have a piece off the top, and got lucky with a chocolate piece. Fran had alternated layers with chocolate and vanilla, with chocolate pudding between layers...truly a delicious concoction!

That night, it was into one of the movie rooms for a couple movies that I will never say no to watching...Jaws and Finding Nemo! Poor Emily had never seen Jaws before, so we had to follow up with something a little more enjoyable for her! I must say, though, she took it well. I walked over to her to ask her a question right as Jaws started...and she screamed! That being the reaction I was going for, I returned to my seat to enjoy the rest of the movie.

The following morning, we had a balloon launch, and a couple extra people showed up just before the launch to send some birthday wishes up with the balloon. By the time folks were done signing the payload the balloon would be carrying (they even let me sign it), it was time to tape it closed and send it up.

We attached it to the bottom of the balloon,

and after I paused for a couple more shots...

we sent it on its way.

Later that day, I got to enjoy a batch of fudge that was also a part of the birthday(s). You might recall me saying earlier that I wasn't a big fan of fudge...this recipe has got me worried about my fighting weight! I got a good sized box full of bite-sized pieces...three layers deep! worry is that I am almost into the third layer already!

A couple weeks ago, it was a beautiful night, the sky was really clear and the wind was down a bit, so I climbed the tower, and before I decided to drop my camera off the tripod a few days later, took a panorama of the area from ARO over to MAPO and SPT. The moon is right above the station, The Dome, and the summer housing. I still have to play with settings a little, but with a little help from the Doc, it turned out okay...

Hope everyone back home is doing well!
Capt. Splash

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

Temperature: - 56.7C
Wind Chill : - 76.2C
Wind Speed: 10.1 kts

Yeah, I know, I'm a little past the 5th of May, but when I wanted to post this last week, I took the liberty of saving two pictures and deleting the text, so I'm playing a little catch up here.

Cinco de Mayo down here just proved to me that it doesn't matter where you are...if people want to celebrate something, they will find a way to do it! The galley was adorned with both good food and festive decorations! We were surrounded by tortillas,

big hats,

and cutouts of figures that looked frighteningly similar to David Hasselhoff!!

To finalize our tribute to the day, there was a jalapeno eating contest...

and there were two brave souls...Eric and Ross.

...Cully didn't enter the contest...he just really likes jalapenos!!

...and they were off! Ross put up a considerable effort during the contest, and it looked like he might have pulled it off,

but in the end, it was Erik that won the day, with the final numbers being Ross: 13 Erik: 20

Later on in the week, one of our temperature sensors on the tower decided to give us incorrect data, so Cully took it down one afternoon, and brought it inside to take a look at it. It turned out that the instrument was working just fine, but the fan inside the casing had stopped running. Cully switched out fans, and he and I wandered out to the tower to put the casing back over the instrument.

It wound up being a one-person job, but I tagged along anyway, so I could practice freezing fingers, and working on camera settings.

Within a couple minutes, Cully had the housing back on,

and we stumbled back inside to make a couple observations of the moon, and collect a couple air samples.

That took us to the weekend, and a 5K race through the inside of the station, but as I was "running" in the race, I don't have any pictures. As soon as some of them get shared, though, I will post them and tell you how the race went!

In the meantime, stay warm!

Capt. Splash