I had the previous night off work unexpectedly. It was a great treat and thats when I got to write most of my last blog. I took care of laundry, and some other personal things. So in the morning,. when I usually would be getting off work I went to a morning movie at the Coffee house. The Coffee house is my favorite hang out at McMurdo. It's actually just a quansit hut on the outside. But when you got inside you seem to be magically transported to a warm little retreat, maybe somewhere up in the mountains or something.
I guess it's all the log cabin wood work that gives it that feeling. Whatever the reason it's very homey! We can order coffee products or wine there. So it's seen as a wine bar as well.
The movie was an independant film that was about a friend of mine. He's a self proclaimed professional hitch-hiker, and it was all about him hitch hiking across the US, and the people he was meeting on the way. The connections he made, and the diversity of our nation. The Movie has been entered in many independant movie festivals. With no luck so far, but hopefully it will be accepted soon. I think it's worthy for distribution.
Directly after that I had my weekly radio show. Yes, you heard me. I have a radio show. It's a morning show, from 8-10 am on Thursdays. Thats after a full days work for me. It's on Ice Radio 104.5, here in Antarctica. Voice work is something I always wanted to do, whether it was radio or as avoice over. I've always been attracted to it, but never gave it a go. Well when I arrived here at McMurdo I found out that you can become a radio DJ for the station. It's heard over at Scott Base also. This is something that I can do as a volunteer for community. A way to participate and be involved, also something that helps morale here because it gets old listening to the old AFN feed that we get from the Armed Forces all the time. As a radio DJ we can add a little local flavor, and the people can call in and make request. My show is so much fun. I have received many complements on it from the people here that do listen. They say I have a good radio voice and that I seem like a natural. Although I make many mistakes. I've had a little bit of dead air a couple of times, and once in a while I press a wrong button after introducing a song, which then results the wrong song getting played of course and makes me look dumb.
I just brush it off, sometimes I stop and fix it, sometimes I just let it go. On this last Thursday I actually had my first phone in requests. It was great! I was so excited for the opportunity to make someones day. So I introduced the song and who the request was for, then I pressed CD1, Whoops, wait, wrong button. I stoped the song and turn on the mic, "Ok, sorry about that folks", I say, "I made a mistake. Here goes again, Yellow string band for Glen." CD3. SHIT, thats Love and Rockets. Stop quick. I go back on the mic. "OK, wrong song again", I chuckle. "I'm sure I got it this time." Which I knew I did, because there are only 3 CD players, and it obviously was the last one left. I love my show because I play anything. There is no set genre of music. From day one I was clear about that. I love all music and I'm not gonna limit myself. I play blues, funk classic rock, new wave from the 80's and I take all requests, whatever you want to hear. I may jump from hip hop to country. I've played Ray Charles right after the Violent Femmes. YES, they both rock. I Love it! I even have my friends come in with me and we have little conversations on air, about how cool it is to be on the radio, that it's like having the super power of being invisible. "You can hear us, but you can't see us!" We joke. "We could be naked and standing right behind you." Ha ha. I'm surprised I haven't been kicked off yet. So far so good though. I really enjoy it, and it's something new that I have learned about myself and a new skill too.
Later on that day I had to work again at 6 pm. The day started off typical enough, but by the time lunch rolled around at midnight we were running out of work. At lunch we ran into a couple of cargo folks that were off duty, and they told us that there were a whole bunch of penguins down by the water treatment plant. So, right when we got back to work JonO and I made sure we didn't have anything pressing to do and we took a walk with our cameras down to where they were last sighted. On the way we ran into another friend that told us they had moved on and were now at the Ice pier. Quickly we change directions and head down to the pier. Thats where they are, follow the crowd of people.
So when we arrived there were about 25-30 Adelies, I counted 28, but they were all running about so fast it was hard to count them. They were in full penguin mode, practicing all types of fun behaviors. A large part of the group was waddling up the hill right toward all the McMurdites who were standing around in a large group all with cameras clicking away. It was funny to see this as it seemed the penguin group was just as curious about the human group and you didn't quite know who was on parade here. But soon, the penguins became bored with the humans who were just standing there cooing and clicking and they decided to have some fun of their own. They all started to slide back down the hill on their bellies. First 1 or 2, then a couple more, until about 15 of them all weeeeeee, down the hill. At the bottom they got up and started chattering, as if laughing with each other. Two pairs were displaying this weird behavior of standing facing each other and wagging their heads back and forth, while making a ton of noise.
Then the lot climbed back up the hill again. They came up super close to me this time, marching right on by, some of them flopping on their stomachs and pushing themselves with their feet.
They were so CUTE! AWWwwwwwww, the crowd cooed collectively. Then right back on down the hill. In about an hour they did the whole climb and slide 3 times.
It made our night. I felt so lucky to get to see that. Nature having fun! Sledding penguins. Man, so lucky.
The rest of the night back at work was slow. We had to build one pallet in 5 hours. So we hung out in the bay, just talking at first. Playing the new CD my friend from home sent me. Holidaze. An ecclectic mix of sweet music. My friend Cara made it for me. She makes a new one each year and calls it her Holidaze CD. It was so cool that 3 or 4 people instantly wanted copies. We danced a bit in the bay. Making good use of our down time. Why not, huh. While we can, cause in a week or two when that ship comes in, we definitely won't be dancing. I also gave some of my colleagues lessons in fire spinning. We used broom sticks and empty cardboard tubes. Four of us just spinning, and dancing and listening to music.
After work, I felt great. I was high on life again. What a great night.
I took my usual hike on the Hut ridge loop. I heard more seals breathing.
I saw the creshe of penguins again, out on the sea ice, still milling around with urgency, some on their bellies, some marching, but all single file. And I saw the ice breaker, the Oden. Closer than ever she is. She'll be here tonight I'm sure. Hopefully soon I will see some whales when I come here for my hikes.
I think to myself after my moments of peace and solitude, Well, I better get hiking. Still got some Frosty boy on my waistline!
So for some reason I find it necessary to write about January 10th. It was a great day! Fresh snow was falling and it was beautiful.