Archive for the ‘Antarctica’ Category

Brief thoughts

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Writing is a funny thing.  The Muse has been absent of late… or perhaps the small voice of inspiration has been drowned out by the hubbub of the mundane.  I often feel required to write, but the necessary compulsion, or gumption, is absent.  Yet, without the creative drive it is worthless; I would simply turn out the dry and technical writing of the proposals, guidelines and reports that across my desk on a daily basis.  Oddly, the best of my writing is not a matter of keystrokes but rather scrawl on a page of real paper, as if the pen itself has some mythical power to induce prose that the sterile computer screen does not.

Time is a funny thing.  You would think that, isolated as we are, one long day stretches before the next, hours and minutes waiting in dusty rank to be filled…. but time is not linear; it is dynamic, logarithmic, compound, complex.  Moments, in love, lust and desperation can fill an eternity, and when distraction and thrill is rife an age can pass all too swiftly.  I admit to having great plans for my time here in Antarctica: studying, writing ‘the’ book, creating a course for wilderness medicine, turning out articles to turn journal’s heads.  When I compare that to what I have achieved I am ashamed, yet every moment has been filled.  Granted, spending time with the people here, having long and wonderful conversations over wine and dinner has taken more time than I believed I ever could, and little distractions â?? watching the odd movie and too many series â?? has stolen hours. Yet, I know that time has not been wasted, but lived, and life moves on.  We must value our small successes, hold true to goals, and not feel remiss for time well lived.

Photo-of-the-Day – 15 November 2008

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Yes, these are a little overdue.  Still worth it – beautiful sundogs and a 10-degree arc.  Enjoy!

Abort, Retry, Defenestrate?

Friday, November 21st, 2008

You may, Dear Reader, have noticed a paucity of posts over the last three weeks, and perhaps wondered if the good weather has kept the good doctor away from his keyboard.  Truth be told, we are certainly feeling the arrival of summer, and I have been out and about as much as possible, but the true reason for the lack of literature has been the untimely demise of my laptop.

Prior to the expedition I purchased a top-of-the-line HP laptop, with massive 19-inch wide screen, dual processors, acres of RAM and copious dual hard-drive space.  I was assured that HPs were very stable and I would have no hassles with this marvelous machine, and nothing could go wrong.  Well, a year later it’s being used as a coffee-table in my office and won’t even boot into rescue mode.  Goodbye motherboard, hello misery.

Fortunately, I’m an obsessive-compulsive backer-upper, and so not much actual data was lost when the bastard went belly-up in the first few days of this month.  What it did upset, however, was my keenly organised workflow, as I had to access all my documents off a portable hard-drive and had few of my customary programs installed on the desktops I had to use.  The situation was irritating and untenable, and so I succumbed to the long-extant desire to splurge on a subnotebook laptop (aka ‘netbook’) and ordered an Asus 904HD EEE PC to be delivered post haste.  (This new series has just been released in SA and waiting for the 1000 series would have resulted in no laptop until January).  The little beauty arrived today after taking an extended holiday via varioius airbases in Antarctica, and I’m properly stoked.

Small, sleek and black, she arrived with and runs Windows XP, but after Vista reduced my last laptop to a gibbering wreck I’m trying a new tack and delving into the shadowy world of Linux, specifically the resource-light Xubuntu version.  Something must be working, as I am writing this missive from the Xubuntu installation, but we shall see if this proves an effective tack.  I plan to try and do all my daily computing in Linux and open source software for a month (ok, perhaps until the end of the year) to be fair and give it a good go.  If it works, hooray for OS OS’s.  If not, I shall revert to XP and feel good about trying.  Here’s to my virtual expedition-within-an-expedition…