Wednesday, November 30, 2005
posted 11/30/2005 12:12:00 PM UTC+12, McMurdo Local Time

Cookie Day!

Sorry for the recent lull in interesting posts! We had an internet outage down here Sunday and Monday, so I wasn't able to play catchup with this thing, digital pictures, email, etc.

Thanksgiving was a blast, I ate an incredibly tasty meal at 7pm (we ate in shifts 3pm, 5pm, or 7pm depending on what you signed up for,) then was Molly's guest for the midrats Thanksgiving at midnight. Had the usual Thanksgiving standbys - turkey, cornbread, stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, salad, shrimp (yummy!,) and I'm sure plenty things that I've forgotten to mention. Lots of good conversation with fun people to go with the meal, which really made the evening. Was also able to get a phone line out and chat with family at home, which was nice! The time difference between here and the states means that for me to call people at a reasonable hour I have to get up extra early on workdays (yeah right,) or get lucky and grab a line out sometime between breakfast and lunch, which is usually when I'm busy at work - kind of a pain but it's a harsh continent as they say.

Work wise, we've been doing a fair amount of cleanup work and getting things prepped for moving our fueling stuff from the ice runway out to willy field in addition to the usual Fule Mule and Delta Scharen runs. Had an interesting experience while transferring a bunch of fuel down to the ice runway the other day. I was sitting on top of the runway tank we were filling to monitor the fuel levels and noticed that the level was rising consistently, then stopped. At about the same time on the radio, Patrick said that the line had gone flat where he was inspecting it. Soon after, Wendy said her section of line went flat as well. Fortunately, all that had happened was that our 2 million gallon bulk tank had hit 'invert' or the point that there isn't enough fuel left in the bottom to drain anymore out. We still had about a foot and a half of fuel in the bottom, and our documentation said that invert should have happened at more like a foot (a difference of tens of thousands of gallons.) The thing that made us get a little tense was that the symptoms at first looked like what you'd see if the line ruptured, but we quickly were able to establish that nothing was really wrong - we were just out of gas. Switched over to a nearly full bulk tank and were shortly back in business.

Also, yesterday I finally had a good opportunity to try out the bamboo flag puller on some frozen in flags in the area where we fill the fuel trucks up. The concept definitely works well - it easily pulled some flags that we couldn't budge by hand or with a hammer (one of the usual techniques is to whack the top of the flag with a hammer to break it loose, then pull it out by hand,) but the gripper mechanism slipped on the smooth bamboo with a couple that were stuck super hard. I'm going to try making some slight modifications to the gripper soon and see if we can't yank out the remaining flags with it then!

So, what's cookie day? It's pretty simple really - every Wednesday the galley staff cooks up a whole bunch of cookies and serves them up at lunch as a special treat. Usually there are 5 or so varieties and they're all really tasty. I like cookie day!

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