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From South Pole:

Shower Instructions

Wednesday, Nov. 23 2011 UTC

Nov. 23, 2011 14:53 NZDT B2 Science, Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Forlorn Slippers

How to take a twenty second shower

First, work up a sweat in the gym or the sauna. Change out of all clothes except flip flops (you might want to go into the bathroom first). Turn water temperature to maximum heat without turning on water yet. Get towel, soap, washcloth and shampoo ready.

Apply water to washcloth for 1/2 second, then turn off shower immediately. Wet hair and dampen body. Apply shampoo to hair and lather. Rub end of soap on towel to get it soapy. Rub soapy towel across entire body and scrub with towel.

Step into shower and turn on water. The first five or six seconds of water will be COLD. Use this to rinse hair. As the water warms, rinse off the rest of your body. It only takes a few seconds to get the soap off (short hair is definitely an advantage here). If the water gets too hot either turn off the shower and get out or turn the heat down for the last five seconds.

Dry off and enjoy that clean feeling.

Busy last few days. My departure time has been moved forward by two days, so I’m pushing a little harder to get through all the training exercises I came up with for the WOs, as well as helping out with some software upgrades on our servers. My ragged sleep schedule is back, but I’m in pretty good spirits today. I’m also keeping busy in my free time, going to the gym, reading a novel (“Surface Detail”) left here by ex-WO Freija, listening to Neal Stephenson’s REAMDE, learning a new programming language (Clojure), and have started writing a book of my own….! (Don’t hold your collective breaths, it’s going to be awhile.)

Thanksgiving is on Saturday here. That’s Friday for most of you; I suppose the reason for the delay is to avoid having to give people an extra day off (as far as I can tell, non-scientists here get one weekend day off per week; scientists take off when they want, which is usually never). That may seem unreasonable but if people take time off there are no flights, no cargo, no meals, etc. — it costs a lot to keep people here so I guess it makes sense to use that time as productively as possible. Thanksgiving and Christmas are a big deal at the Pole (I’ve heard). There are three seatings, the second one of which I signed up for, as well as dish duty afterwards. I like washing dishes here — it’s an excuse to plunge your hands into warm water (compare with shower instructions, above) and move around after a day sitting at the computer.

Gary prepares to meet the plane

Off-roading it