Sunday, January 11, 2009

WAIS - Jan 11, 2009 - John

Name: John Fegyveresi

Date: Jan 11, 2009
Location: WAIS Divide
Latitude: 79° 28’ 1.2” S
Longitude: 112° 5’ 6.0” W
Elevation: 1,759 m

Hey everyone! It's Sunday here, which also means it's the first day off in 10 days......sort of. The past few days we've had some trouble with the ice core drill and it was actually down for maintenance for a day and a half. Because of this, the "day off" was actually spread out over two days. The 2nd and 3rd shifters actually got off Saturday, while the 1st shifters got off Sunday. Regardless, everyone still found time today to make it to the 1st Annual WAIS Divide Coffee House and Talent Show.

A few days ago, Bess got the idea of converting the Rec tent into a makeshift coffee house. Her idea was to decorate it, serve some coffee and cocoa, and have people from camp perform in sort of a "open-mic" format. It turned out to be an enormous success with almost everyone at camp attending and/or performing. Here's a quick recap of the performers:

The first act up for the talent show was Todd. Over the past few weeks Todd has been taking time-lapse digital photos of the ice-coring process and of some of the weather here. He compiled all of the footage and first played the weather videos to music. It was quite spectacular to see the clouds and sun moving over the WAIS camp at ultra high speeds. The highlight of Todd’s videos was of course the ice coring video. He managed to capture the entire 2-3 hour drilling and core handling process in time-lapse format and play it sped up in about 10 minutes. It was quite entertaining to watch people zip past the camera carrying trays and typing on computers. Bess and Gifford were working the core handling station during the filming and made sure to take full advantage of it. They choreographed several dances and even a few pranks in front of the camera. The next performer was Bess. She recited two excellent poems and did an amazing job. She was quite animated as she acted out several of the scenes to each of the poems. Following Bess, Jonathan (Weather Tech), sang and played a few songs on guitar including one song done entirely in French. Following Jonathan, Phil (Medic) read aloud from a book about Alexander the Great. It was a very heartfelt section about humility. When he was done, he told us a personal story about someone he worked with years ago as an EMT medic. After Phil, Renin (Cook) also told us a personal story about an experience she had while visiting family in Turkey...it was also a very poignant story. Next, Anais played us 2 songs on her bamboo flute and it was amazing. After that, Bruce told us all about an experience he had in Greenland where due to some very heroic and brave people, he survived a bad bout with altitude sickness. After Bruce, I went up and played/sang three songs on a guitar. I played two of my own songs and one from the "Into the Wild" Soundtrack. It went pretty well. While I was playing, Sylvain was busy creating some artwork. He used a soldering iron to burn an image of a penguin into a block of wood. It was very well done, and looked very professional. The caption her burned into it read: "In Antarctica, we are all Penguins". Next up was Susanne. For her act, she recited 4 verses from an Icelandic poem in the Icelandic language. After she read them, she translated them into English. Next was one of the funniest acts of the day. Marie and Spruce put on an act titled "Ballistic Batina, and Hubba Hubba Bubba do Bunny Boot Ballet on Bubble Wrap". Basically they dressed up as ballet dancers, put their big snow boots on, and danced around on bubble wrap. It was hilarious. After everyone stopped laughing, Ben (camp manager) taught us how to play a Chinese game similar to rock/paper/scissors...in Chinese. The last act was again Jonathon, but this time he was singing about how he's a lumberjack that likes to wear women's clothing. It was also pretty funny. Overall, the coffee house was a huge success. Everyone thanked Bess and we already decided to put another one on next Sunday.

When dinner rolled around, we were all greeted by another surprise. Dave (Driller) set up "Middle East Night". Normally, Sunday dinners are reheated leftovers. This gives John the cook a night off. In his place, some camp members usually whip something else up. Dave took it upon himself to create his own Middle East Night and prepared an entire 5-course meal consisting of all Middle Eastern Cuisine. We had stuffed grape leaves, green beans & lamb over rice, lentil soup, naan with za’atar, kibbe, and some other stuff I can’t remember the names of, but tasted wonderful. Everyone was extremely grateful to have such an amazing dinner on a Sunday night.

That pretty much sums up the day. Overall it was great for everyone here, even though a lot of people still had to work. I think everyone was glad to be able to make it to the coffee house. This coming week a lot of people are leaving camp, and it was nice to have one last gathering that we could all attend.

That's it for now I guess.... signing off,

-john

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