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June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #999
i was recently interviewed for a nyt article about wintering-over in antarctica. this comes in the wake of the ʹʹmarch of the penguinsʹʹ movie, for a human (as opposed to penguin) perspective on wintering. of all the quotes i gave them, what they chose to print was… interesting. or bothersome, iʹm not sure which. anyway, wasnʹt it andy warhol who once said, ʹʹin the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutesʹʹ or something like thatʔ somehow i expected my 15 minutes would be more grand. maybe this was just a pre-cursor to the real thing.iʹm not sure if itʹs legal for me to reprint their entire article, but since they quoted me iʹll take a chance and quote them. btw, they mention iceboard in the article and even gave out the url. i suspect they originally misprinted the web address because we didnʹt get all that many hits afterwards, and i later saw a ʹʹcorrectionʹʹ published. also, they identify me as king penguin (i am). users who were present at the inception of iceboard already knew that, but for everyone else the proverbial cat is now out of the bag. my commentary below is in [brackets].
[joanne murphy of the nyt writes]ʹ wish you were here in julyʔ – new york timesʹcould be the heat thatʹs drawing moviegoers to the sleeper hit ʹʹthe march of the penguins.ʹʹ there is a vicarious chill to be had in sitting in an air-conditioned theater and watching the hardy birds tough out the antarctic winter. but not everyone is at the movies in july. a few hundred hardy humans in roughly three dozen antarctic bases are wintering ʹʹon the ice,ʹʹ and it can be as much a darwinian journey for them as it is for the birds. the experience certainly isnʹt for everyone, certainly no one from the cast of ʹʹsurvivor,ʹʹ said glenn grant, the science technician at palmer station, one of three american research posts on antarctica run by the national science foundation. ʹʹ what a bunch of whiners,ʹʹ mr. grant, 43, said in an e-mail interview. ʹʹyou want a real ʹsurvivorʹ showʔ oh, weʹll give you the real thing. but sometimes we do wish we could vote people off the island.ʹʹ[oh geeze. whyʹd she have to quote me on thatʔ i can hear the survivor stars now, forming a lynch squad. continuing onward…]ʹ they canʹt. there is no transportation in or out, or even between bases, so humans, unlike penguins, must devise amusements for stark and sunless polar days and nights. ʹʹcramped quarters, monotonous daily routines and no way out make for some intense relationships,ʹʹ said bill coughran, 44, station manager at mcmurdo, an american base and the largest on antarctica. ʹʹbecause of the adventurous draw of the place you get a pretty eclectic group, too: ph.d.ʹs working as janitors, teachers working as dining room attendants.ʹʹ he added on friday, when it was 5 degrees below and windy, ʹʹput them all in an isolated box and throw away the key for six months, and you get some pretty interesting interactions.ʹʹ isolation breeds, well, letʹs call it ingenuity, and ʹʹwinter-oversʹʹ have developed their own pagan rites and rhythms.[the article goes on to talk about concordia station for a bit…]ʹthe americans favor hops over grapes. mr. grant, who as ʹʹking penguinʹʹ moderates talk on iceboard.org, wrote: ʹʹhome brewing is not as popular as it was a few years ago, probably because theyʹre stocking some better beers now. but there are still brewers making their own suds. made some good stuff on the ice myself.ʹʹ ʹ[yada yada, concordia and french cooking…]ʹthe french have none of the coveted ʹʹfreshies,ʹʹ though. americans at mcmurdo have some, grown in a hydroponic hothouse. americans have their own brand of entertainment: croquet, but ʹʹnot the genteel version that most people think of,ʹʹ mr. grant said. ʹʹto move a croquet ball more than a few inches through the snow you have to hit it full on, with a reinforced industrial strength mallet. after a few of these strokes thereʹs pieces of ball and mallet flying.ʹʹ ʹ[they asked what kind of outdoor activities we did. that was just one i mentioned. i donʹt expect many oaes will have ever done it on the ice, theyʹll just have to try it. deal.]ʹthey also bundle up and head outdoors to watch movies – ʹʹusually a comedy or cheesy cult classicʹʹ – projected onto a fuel tank. mr. grant likened the huddle to the penguinsʹ ʹʹturtleʹʹ formation, which is the way the birds spend most of the winter. as for another time-honored way to keep warm, penguins and people differ. the birdsʹ sole goal is to mate, but female outnumbers male, and monogamy rules. an old joke tells the story for antarcticaʹs human population: ʹʹthereʹs a woman behind every tree.ʹʹ the ratio has improved, but there are still far more men than women. people can find love on the ice, though. ʹʹthe main problem with ice marriages,ʹʹ as such relationships are called, mr. grant said, ʹʹis that they often end in tarmac divorces.ʹʹ he added, ʹʹbut if you can find someone you love, spending a winter together in antarctica is magical.ʹʹ (he wonʹt comment on a web posting, not his, that shows a sign over the palmer hot tub: ʹʹno sex in tub.ʹʹ) only a few hatchings of human chicks on the ice. there are but three known antarcticans, born at argentine and chilean posts.europeans and americans both screen john carpenterʹs remake of ʹʹthe thing,ʹʹ in which an alien takes over the crew at an ice station. ʹʹwe donʹt have the cool flame-throwers that they do,ʹʹ mr. grant said. but ʹʹat the end of a long winter you may start to believe itʹs true: your co-workers are acting in bizarre ways.ʹʹ ʹʹthatʹs when you know itʹs time to find a warm beach somewhere up north in the real world,ʹʹ he said. ʹʹbut youʹll come back again, someday. once antarctica gets in your blood, itʹs there for life.ʹʹ mr. dargaud concurs. ʹʹafter you go to antarctica,ʹʹ he said, ʹʹyou canʹt function anywhere else.ʹʹin july, cold comfort indeed. ʹ
not bad really. i would have preferred that she didnʹt take quotes off my posts (the beer brewing thing) without asking, but it was relatively harmless.two days later i got an email from cbs news, wanting someone on the ice to do a home-video for a week to show what wintering is like. iʹm not sure how they expected to get the tape back for airing, seeing as how itʹs winter here, but either way i deflected that like it was a hissing scorpion. i think iʹve had enough media exposure for a while. <ǃ-- s:mrgreen: --><ǃ-- s:mrgreen: -->June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #8970
congrats on being quotedǃ iʹm still waiting for my 15 minutes. <ǃ-- s:lol: --><ǃ-- s:lol: --> <ǃ-- s:wink: --><ǃ-- s:wink: -->June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #8971
glad to see some exposure about wintering down yonder. as far as entertainment was concerned, i played golf one time out at willy field in 95, bill russell and i won the tournement, went sledding up at arrival heights using asbestos abatement bags… they go fastǃǃǃ held a cookout in -35 weather, wind was a bit of a pain, kept cooking the steaks too fast till we figured out to move them to one side of the grille. and other things that probably shouldnʹt be mentioned.June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #8972
the article floated around mcmurdo a week or so ago. we all thought you did a good job. about the movie, were you referring to the drive in movie theater we did a few years ago with the clark and mike adventuresʔ we redid the igloo this winter and had planned another movie, but it was just too cold and none of us had the ambition. you know how that goes. anyway, nice article. mike in mcmurdo
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