“Close the door!” He pauses. I can see the hamster wheel spinning. “ya know, we probably shouldn’t. If it malfunctions the default is to just clear the tube out into the sea. So probably shouldn’t.” “Don’tclosethefuckingdoor” I reply. I slither further down the tube. My thick coveralls slide easily against the polished metal flooring and … More Life in a wee tin can
At 2 o’clock in the morning, at this altitude, at this time of year, it should be below freezing. Well below freezing. It’s the whole reason we are up this early. The colder temperatures at night increase the safety margin. The cold is the glue that keeps loose rocks and chunks of ice frozen to … More Gettin’ high in the PNW
It’s 5:45 in the morning when we leave the casino and head into the streets. I’ve been here before, but certainly not like this. The people wandering the streets, still clearly in last night’s party clothes, all look surprisingly sober. Early morning in Las Vegas is a blend of people going to work and people … More Risk v Reward, it’s Las Vegas!!
I’m standing in the shower, soaking wet, in total darkness, hoping someone walks in. Someone does walk in, this time. Then the lights go on. At South Pole, two minute showers, twice per week are all that is allotted. An additional energy saving protocol has been enacted in the men’s restroom: the lights are all … More So fresh and clean, but….meh.
It was 67 degrees below zero when I left South Pole. Each night, most Polies slept with a humidifier blowing next to their bed. The South Pole is one of the coldest, driest places on Earth. I had to make up a new diagnosis, “adjusting to Polar environment,” for all the people who thought they … More The Great Thaw-out
Castle Rock, New Zealand. The bulk of my body weight rests on my left foot, which is wedged into a pocket in the rock up to the ball of the foot. Bent at the waist, my right hand presses against the rough rock providing enough friction to keep it in place. There is a slight … More This is my castle
In 2005, I was traveling by train from Moscow to Beijing. As Bert and I crossed over the imaginary line between Europe and Asia, I made the decision to drink a cold beer on all seven continents. I may have already had a few beers at that time, but the decision was made. It took … More That’s all she wrote
The sun here, in New Zealand, in the best of circumstances, is intense. After a year in Antarctica, it is damn near unbearable. Even Joe the Dego is sunburned. “Is this what it feels like to be Irish!?!?” Yes, yes it is. Perpetually sunburned. And he had a beer in his hand. It was like a … More I’m a tinker now
South Pole is closing. The season is ending. Temperatures are dropping. Rumor around the water cooler is that tomorrow may be the last nice day for a while. Word is -80s are coming. -80F is too cold for flights to land. I’m either out of here tomorrow or Thursday. I’ve handed over my keys to … More Pole closing update.
“I’m glad you didn’t die” Doctor Dave, my on-ice colleague, says to me with a smirk and a bit of snark, as I relay the results of my unplanned science experiment. He appears mostly entertained, but also slightly horrified. Earlier this week we discussed my plan to ski out the back of the station past … More My own Guinea Pig