Penguins, skua, seals, oh my!

by wonderfullyrich on January 16, 2006

I was cleaning out a storage space for Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) earlier today and it’s your average crawl space.  Dirty, dark, small, dusty, and full of boxes.  We were cleaning out stuff that’s been here for 5, 10, or perhaps more years.  It’s hard to say because this place is dry enough that most things can stay well preserved for ages.  We ran across working old zenith televisions, beta tape rewinders, replacement turntables, replacement cd players, beer  materials, the old helo helmets with air mask, old packaged noodles, spices, vinegar, etc, etc. 

One of the oddities about this place is that people who come here once, don’t generally just come once (although this year might make for a heavier toll then past years given horrid moral and idiotic polices that have been going on this year).  With that in mind people pack stuff away for the next season and I have to admit that it makes some sense given the ridiculous notion of continuously packing up and shipping stuff back and forth every 4 months, 8 months, or whatever number of weeks between visits people have.  (Beakers and full-timers can have short stints of 1-2 months or full seasons.)  So this storage space which is ostensibly for AFRTS materials turns into stuff for all of us who work here, hence the noodles and beer making stuff.

Perhaps the strangest part about this to me was that whilst I was cleaning stuff out of and being disgusted with the dust bunnies I felt this creepy sensation on my hand when I picked up a box.  Of course the normal reaction is yell YIPE and drop the box so you can find out if something deadly is crawling.  An instant after I did this though, I found myself totally cracking up.  There’s nothing here that has six legs, eight legs, or anything else beyond bacteria and the things we bring in.  I’ve heard of worms in the soup, and a spider and other bugs in the lettuce, but nothing of the creepy crawly arena seems to exist above water.

So the old "lions, tigers, and bears oh my!"  doesn’t seem to apply down here.  No polar bears, just penguins, skuas, and seals… 

Before I sign off I’d just like to relate a story I heard a story a while ago about the Air Force many years ago before the over-regulation began.  Someone caught several skua and took them to pole after marking them, then released them in order to find out if they would live and find McMurdo.  Of course several made it the 600 miles to pole, but knowing that the pole can reach -30 on an average day even during the summer, it did seem a cruel thing to do.  I will say that I don’t think a scientist did this, as they would probably have more sense then to do this on a hunch. 

These are the things that happen here at the crazy place called MacTown.


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