Wednesday, November 22, 2006
jazz in antarctica? yep.
march is gone.
the last ship of the season has left, the next will not be here until
there will be eight months of isolation, cut off from the rest of the
world on the edge of the world's coldest, remotest continent:
the people who spend the winter at davis station in antarctica regard
the departure of the last ship not with fear but with something like a
feeling of relief.
gone are the busy days of summer, the helicopters, the crowd of people.
now life starts again.
there are more than 40 research projects being carried out in
antarctica but many of the scientists have left by the time winter
the station is home to physicists, biologists, weather observers,
mechanics, communications technicians, electricians, carpenters,
plumbers, a doctor and a chef.
there is also a station leader whose job is to keep everyone happy and
productive and to look after all the paperwork.
when most of the team arrive each year in december, the sun never sets.
by the beginning of the following june it will never rise, so people
have to get used to many dark days.
it doesn't matter what hours people choose to work so long as the work
gets done, so they can start and finish work at whatever times suit
the first real meal of the day, a hot breakfast, is served at 10am.
there is a hot lunch and a hot supper but putting on weight is a
potential problem for many people.
the doctor is there to advise on diet and exercise and gym is available
to help people keep fit.
inevitably, small social groups develop within this isolated community.
there is usually a group of smokers, a group of video watchers, a group
of people who sit and chat.
as people try to maintain contact with home so the cost of phone bills
increases, but in any case there is nothing else to spend money on.
it is quite common for the sea to freeze during april and instead of
waves lapping the beach, thick plates of ice lift and move with the
once the sea ice has been checked to see if it is strong enough to walk
on, one can ski over and fish through the holes.
eventually it becomes strong enough for vehicles to drive on it and the
researchers can open up a new road system to enable them to drive
around the coast in minutes, to huts which could only be reached after
hours of walking in summer.
trips to the huts are the only means of physically escaping from life
on the station.
some trips are for science, others for recreation and a way of having
some personal and private space.
some trips can be made on foot or skis, but in winter they are usually
there are no animals as they all leave for the winter, but in spring
seals and seabirds and penguins arrive.
only humans stay in antarctica for the full year, and although their
lives are comfortable they are still isolated and imprisoned.
they have good food, comfortable buildings, telephones, entertainment,
the internet, but for many months at a time no chance of leaving.
well, my long-time buddy, john 'snowrat' scherming (26-yrs-old), is
currently working as a communications technician just in antarctica
and is there since the month of december '05.
he comes from salt lake city and is a long-time fan of utah jazz.
here's the transcript of our (best basketball) e-mails, sent in last
~ [me, 'fics']
# [john, 'snowrat']
~ hi snowie, how are u? aren't you frozen?
# oh! you? writing me? i'm shocked. i thought you commited suicide in
may. thanks, i'm fine. the windows are covered with frost, but my
mind is covered with smile:)
~ c'mon. we are back this year. (as always.) but the smile will froze
on your lips sooner than later:)
# are ya SURE?
~ not so sure. even with sidelined tommy-gun they do well. however, do
you think they are for real?
# i'm tremendously surprised what da hell they do sans ak-47!! cannot
wait when he's back on the court. real or unreal, we'll see. but
seriously, as they stand now, this is MAD. nobody couldn't predict it.
10-1!! i do mean, i've got a broken net. is it REALLY 10-1? 10-1?
jerry sloan is doubled or what?
~ yeah, ten-one. the net work even in antarctica. maybe... boozer takes
# fuck you!
~ sorry, just joking. what do you say on deron williams?
# i know, i know. he's better than that kid from n.o.k. christian
paules or what's his name. deron is our future. the jazz should hire
stockton for 24/7 work with deron. mmm... very hard to coax john even
to sleep with him:)
~ i hope c-paul isn't reading this, 'cos he'll wanna destroy d-w. i'm
looking f'ward on their match-up. isn't that boozer thing just yer
disguised mailman? in this hi-tech world... i'm gonna call my mum
whether it's possible just with make-up. what's your take on rookies?
# millsap is a rebounder, dee brown is, so far, a bench-warmer, but i
love ronnie brewer. this is a true story: yesterday i was talking the
hoops with my friend here at davis station. i said 'brewer is the
future' and he nodded 'beer is beer. nothing's better'. you 'now, some
people aren't particularly hoop-maniacs:) but he does know who's ai2.
~ that's an encouragement. at least one human able to talk about
basketball out there. that's crazy. you see a seal (no singer:) and
say 'it's hot action tonite. jazz vs. lakers'.
# no question. i'm quite comfortable right now. everything is done.
food is prepared, beds are warm. all we need is... can't ya sent me
~ mission impossible IV:) what 'bout doing a streetball court in your
current land?? utopia? btw, no word on mr. stern. just a warning. he's
watching like big brother.
# okay. no word. i'll write '2084', where MR. stern will be the main
character. (to hell with him for that '0-tolerance'. BEEP.)
streetcourt would be exciting. snow on the concrete. dunking off ice.
funny. perhaps one day antarctica will beat usa. and my father will
~ did you notice andrew bynum?
# beautiful. this kid is unbelievable. the lakers gotta have a genius
in their personnel. looks like granddad shaq gonna be center no. 4
in the next season. oden. yao. bynum... okur:)
~ have ya anything else on mind yet?
# one issue for the end - with mr. stern policy, NBA IS GETTIN' SOFT!
bruce gets a call from the front office, 'we watch you', and then,
softie like adam morrison scores 27-or-so against him. this is
nightmare for me. where are the times of sound banging, shoving and
emotions? where are those golden times?
~ i agree. 2006-07 league is sometimes like a pink cake.
# one thing that proves me all: i watched one pistons game, refs tooted
devastatingly wrong call on rasheed and all he did was - nothing. he
just walked away. that's ridiculous. yikes. well, i gotta end.
~ thanks for yer time. see ya.
# if the jazz advance to west finals against the spurs, i'm back home:)
p.s.1: heck, the nets put up billboards in times square this fall -
that's like the soviets planting a communist flag at the white house.
p.s.2: i could see kg wearing a bulls uniform.
i could see iverson wearing a clippers uniform.
i could see stephen jackson wearing a prison uniform. (-bill simmons)
p.s.3: it's not a stretch to say that lebron has the best off-hand
(left) in the history of the game. (-charley rosen)
p.s.4: *when jose garbajosa went to the free-throw line [tor vs. sa],
i was trying to spell his name in my head without looking at the back
of his jersey,* said brent barry.
*i couldn't do it, but it was interesting.*
p.s.5: *after walking through faneuil hall earlier today and seeing the
statue of red [auerbach] sitting on the bench smoking a cigar, i
couldn't help but think to myself: who would lead the celtics to more
wins, doc rivers or a replica statue of red placed on the celtics'
bench?* (-nba fan danny from boston)
p.s.6: *break his (expletive) foot!* isiah thomas shouted to his
players, when he thought bruce bowen stepped under jamal crawford
while contesting a shot.
p.s.7: [phoenix suns] it's circus basketball.
and the ring-master is suns' coach mike d'antoni.
given their go-go style of play, there's only one current player who
could perfectly complement nash and make the suns a legitimate
someone who can create his own shot, score points by the dozen, run,
bury 3-balls, pass and even play defense.
it's joe johnson. (-charley rosen)
p.s.8: jarron collins played only eight minutes [vs. boston] with
on one first-quarter sequence, he drove to the hoop from the high-post
and scored an acrobatic left-handed layup in heavy traffic.
this constituted the best move of his entire career.
a few minutes later, however, the 6-11 collins had a turnaround jumper
swatted by 6-9 brian scalabrine, who's never been accused of playing
this last move was undoubtedly the worst of collins' career. (-charley
p.s.9: *adam morrison would have trouble guarding a poster of the guy
he's matched against,* said one league personnel scout.
p.s.10: matt bonner's new nickname is 'white grand prix'.
p.s.11: *the league is just trying to cover its ass,* said popovich.
*i told bruce, "you be bruce bowen. you're the best (expletive)
defender in this league. you will NOT change the way you play
stu jackson is not going to change my team just because he thinks he's
doing the right thing.*
p.s.12: the spurs signed slam dunk phenom JAMES WHITE!
Posted by Foreigner in CS - Nov 21 2006 8:00PM
Posted by Luke_Mellow at 5:00 AM