I picked a movie from Netflix pretty much randomly. It was called Encounters at the End of the World. It’s a loose documentary about the people and sights of the South Pole.  It was written and narrated by Werner Herzog.

I was actually drawn into the film. A lot of the scenes of McMurdo base reminded me so much of living in rural Alaska. The dirt and muck half way up the trucks. The brown dirt and white snow mixed together. How everything looked dingy and rugged.

Then there were the people. Everyone is an odd mix of smart and stupid. So smart they are almost stupid? That’s really not a good description, but it’s what they are. The genius you have to help cross the street so they don’t get hit by a car. The odd ducks that hold conversations with themselves, because everyone else is boring. Those people that just live on a different plane of intelligence.

I know some people like that. I really miss working in that kind of environment. One of my best jobs was working at the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center in Fairbanks Alaska. The cast of crazy characters was endless. Tom our network guru and his Mohawk, Kate and her knitting. Bill Brody a wacked out artist, Virginia Bedford who ran at her own clock cycle (over clocked). Kurt, a bloody English major who could code computers better than most anyone, the list goes on and on. All in Alaska cause they didn’t fit the norm in the lower 48.

Now I work with a bunch of mole hill climbing bureaucrats who can’t find their ass with both hands even though their heads are firmly embedded.

Hindsight. It’s 20/20 sometimes. It’s only now that I realize how much fun working at ARSC really was. At the time it was cold, dark, different, and hard. Now, it seemed like nirvana.

Funny how watching a random documentary can make you remember things. Give it a watch. You might like it so much you end up summering over in the south. Even I’m not stupid enough to want to winter over, but doing a summer, well, that might be pretty fun. (Hat Tip to banjo playing Seth Danielson who did summer over at McMurdo).

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