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December 26th, 2012

Parsley praise

Thanks to everyone for your good advice. I used fresh parsley, chopped it at the last minute, and the sauce came out great.

I hope all your meals were as good as ours!

A Season in Antarctica

The ANSMET (Antarctic Search for Meteorites) team is on the ice and their adventures can be found here. My own adventures, now 16 years ago, were recounted at length in the last third of my book,  Brother Astronomer. (It's the best part of the book. Sometimes I think it's the only good part.)

But a recent tweet by John Scalzi (@scalzi) has reminded me of some of the unspoken joys of living for a season in Antarctica.

When the snow came and we were stuck in a tent for twelve straight days I was able to sleep, and read books, and eat food to my heart's content without a whit of guilt. (My fellow explorers were all antsy about not getting any work done. Foolish them! Laziness is its own reward.)

Thanks to the prodigious rate at which I burned calories keeping warm, I was able to eat two entire 5 oz Cadbury Chocolate bars a day and still lose weight.

I wound up getting to love certain pieces of music that I heard incessantly on my Walkman. (Traffic's Far from Home and Crowded House's "Bring the Weather With You" especially come to mind. They seemed appropriate.)

Nowadays, every time I am in hotel room with heat and light and a full functioning bathroom with a hot shower, I am reminded of how much I would have killed for any of those things when I was stuck in a tent for six weeks, and I decide all over again that civilization, for all its problems, is basically a Good Thing.

And whenever I am fooled momentarily into thinking that I am marginally competent in any aspect of life, I am reminded of how I was thoroughly humiliated by nature, on a daily basis, living on the ice. And that somehow I survived it all, and even remain friends (mostly) with my teammates to this day.

Plus, I have a really good blackmail story to use on Mary Roach (the science writer, who spent three days with us) if the need ever arises...

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