In my last post I jokingly complained about the fact that I basically don't get to see any of the things that one typically associates with Antarctica. The universe was kind enough to listen to my rant, and I FINALLY GOT TO SEE PENGUINS! There they are. Being all penguiny. Yup. Can check that one off the list.
The last few weeks have been totally crazy, and I haven't found myself with any free time to post. I've been working on a few large art projects that have been taking up all of my seated hand eye coordination time, and I haven't really put my brush pens down long enough to type.
One of the many things that I dearly love about being down here is the opportunity to hear interesting presentations from members of the community. There are science lectures on Wednesday and Sunday nights, and there's an occasional speaker series called "Secret Lives" in which people talk about what they do when they're not on the ice. My favorite series happens every Monday night, when you get to go hear Travelogues.
As you might expect of the group of people who decide to come work in Antarctica, there are folks down here who have gone on some pretty incredible trips. And every Monday night, you get to hear someone talk about their travels. It's made me realize that there aren't really venues for people to talk about such things. Seattle friends, you had best start brushing off your old photos and journals, because you best believe that when I get back, I'm taking this Antarctic tradition with me, and I'm going to be pestering you about presenting.
Anyways! My point in talking about this is to tell you that one of the main reasons I haven't been blogging lately is because I am working on a travelogue about my bike trip. I decided to illustrate it and, not surprisingly, I have gone a little bit overboard in the scope of my ambitions... I am having WAY too much fun with this, and am realizing that perhaps the travelogue is only the beginning of this project. I have always wanted to write a graphic novel, and this past year has given me more fodder than I really even know what to do with....
In other art news, submissions have been pouring in for February's Under the Bed show, and I am extremely excited! I've been getting some incredible stuff, like this wonderful letter and its accompanying wonderful art:
Thus far I have received entries from New York, Maryland, Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, and Massachusetts. So a big thank you to everyone who helped spread the word, and I'll be posting more about the opening (tentatively slated for February 6th) in the coming weeks.
I've been getting emails lately from people asking what it is I actually DO all day, and what an Antarctic kitchen is like. Cooking in Antarctica is surprisingly like cooking anywhere else. Before coming down here, I expected that I'd be working with only canned and frozen materials, but we in fact get many thousands of pounds of produce shipped in from New Zealand every week. The flights are often delayed because of the weather, but for the most part, I am cooking with a lot more fresh vegetables than you might think. I even get papayas and mangoes down here. Crazy, right?! A friend of mine who is from North Dakota had his first mango here in Antarctica.
I'm going to do a more in depth post about this at some later date, but for now I thought I'd amuse you with some pictures of entirely superfluous things that I have made. The kitchen down here is pretty great in that, so long as you get your work done, you have total free rein to make fun things. I was raised by a father who always encouraged me to play with my food, and a mother who realized she probably couldn't stop me, so it's quite gratifying to now actually get paid to make unnecessarily complicated little food diorama. And apparently my bosses consider my food sculptures to be good for workplace morale, which is hilarious but I'll take it...
Salmon platter pond scene, although I did make these guys look more like catfish with their onion whiskers and all.
I made an alien landscape of pate beasts for our Christmas meal. The trees are deep fried parsnip curls and grape stems stuck into bricks of cheese.
And to continue with the food theme of this post, here are pictures of what everyone made for the gingerbread building contest. As you can see, Antarctic vehicles are a popular theme down here.