Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hellstar

Well Hello!! I have had many many complaints about the lack of activity on
my site and no diary entries, many apologies but I am a bit Toast. I am
very merry, in wonderful spirits, but it is quite a surprise to discover
that no amount of good cheer has any affect on the loss of mental function
that seems to be inflicted upon Polies around now. So I apologise, and
hereby endeavour to make up for this, most especially to the lovely lasses
and lads at Frankie's workplace, North Eastern Community Hospital,
Adelaide, where I am told they are most disappointed with the lack of
effort by this slack tart. Hope this pleases you.

Well, the Hellstar is back! Sunrise was a bit of an anticlimax, and
somewhat theoretical: there was a bit of light around but no sun to be
seen as bad weather has plagued us for nearly two months now. Most of the
station had half a day off to celebrate this longed for event, and
everyone who had time off celebrated by going to bed early. Gives you an
idea of just how enthusiastic everyone was. It was not until a week later
that the wind turned around to an unusual direction and blew out all the
cloud and bam! Suddenly this horrifically bright orange ball could be
seen. I think this happened to about half the station so I won't be
embarrassed: it was so startling to see that I just stared, before
remembering that I learned as a child that this was a hazardous thing to
do, especially to eyes not at all used to bright light. I was seeing
dozens of little hellstars burned into my retina for several hours.
Nevertheless, mercurial spirits on station were buoyed by this returnee,
mainly as it heralded the idea that it was now not long until the inmates
are freed...In fact, it is only three and a half weeks till the planned date for
Opening: the date when the first plane full of 'tourists', as summer-only
crew are endearingly called by winterovers, arrive.

The Station is beginning both its readiness and 'evacuation' plans. Flags are being
pulled out of walkways, flags are being put back up on the long runway for
the planes, which is soon to be graded by the boys in the big tractors,
and summercamp is to be opened up next week. By evacuation, I mean that
the question on everyone's lips lately is 'So, when do you get to leave?'
Basically, no matter how much any winterover loves Pole, no one wants to
be around long once the hoards of FNGs (erm, the last two words are "New
Guy") arrive, and everyone is keen to get out to warmth, showers and fresh
food. Also, the longer you have to stay around, the more likely you are to
pick up a vast array of horrible flu and cold bugs that the nice new
people from the Northern Hemisphere bring with them and to which we now
have zero resistance. So we are all pretty keen to run away.

Sunrise was pretty cool, some lovely colours, a few days of bright
oranges, pinks and other colours which look hideous anywhere but in the
sky. I think I'll freak out in NZ just to see how fast the sun moves up
and around the sky after getting so used to seeing it inch up and down by
such a tiny fraction here. The telescope is still behaving very well, I've
been extremely lucky this year, and mainly deal with snow and cryogens day
in day out, and won't complain cause that means everything is working. All
I can say is that as long as my bosses are happy, so am I.

What else has been happening...hmm. Well, not terribly much, same old
stuff - the toastiness is pretty funny at this end of the season. Four
reasonably intelligent people sat around lunch yesterday trying to work
out the repercussions of NZ daylight savings time which kicks in this
weekend. A simple process turned rapidly into something with a complex
mathematical quantum physics level of difficulty and it was eventually
given up as a bad job.

It is also a startling little discovery when light returns to the world
that six months in total darkness completely ruins your long-distance
vision. It is already bad in the summer as you really don't have much on
the horizon to focus on anyway (to understand this, look up into a clear
blue sky and try and 'focus' your eyes - impossible), but after six months
of looking at nothing further away than a few metres, your eyes get out of
practice and anything a long way away is very blurry! Hoping this fixes
itself when I get back to NZ!

I was thrilled to see my Swannies get up in the AFL grandfinal last
weekend, though looking at the final score I was glad the satellite was
down and I was unable to follow it in real time as I think I might have
died from anxiety. Go Swannies.

We have another gig with the band on Friday, should be good, one of the
fellas here on station is a tailor and has made four of us amazing
catholic school uniforms (albeit that the girl's skirts are a damn sight
shorter than anything the nuns would have allowed us at school) and our
drummer Steffen has been made an incredible outfit that channels the
Flying Nun - and he is now called Sister Carmelita. Should be a hoot. Will
send photos.

Ok, that is about all my brain is capable of currently, so this will have
to do you. Hope all is well in the real world,

smiles
Jess

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