20 Years Ago…A Great Adventure Took Place 4…09/20/2014

United_States_Antarctic_Program_logoWhen we last left our hero…sorry, I couldn’t help myself. After flying home, I had to get ready. While they supply us with lots of Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear, I still went out and got some of my own gear. Otherwise, I had to complete forms, get a physical (which was the first time I found out I was borderline High Blood pressure), etc. I’m still a little hazy on the details of what I did between getting hired and deploying to “the ice”. However, it was a busy time.

Oh, I do remember one thing. They flew me back to Boulder for training with the radiotheodolite  system for the upper air balloons that we launch. This was for Kathie, myself and one of the summer mets. We spent two days, I think, working with the equipment and launched a balloon. I then went back with the electronics technician that would be wintering over with us, Chip Dunn. I then flew back to Fennville, to await deployment.

One thing that I realized, is that I can add some video, once I get to the point where I’m flying down to Antarctica, I dubbed my copy of the video that we made to remember our times, onto DVD. I can load that up. I need to get a slide scanner, or at least have my slides scanned. They are stored in a good place, but it would be great if I could share some of the slides through the year.

New Toys? or Tools?…09/05/2014

IMG_1047As the technology of various fields has improved, eventually, the tools come down in price and up in quality. This has especially been true of the video/film field. I’ve always wanted to film things. I loved having my various still cameras over the years. I’ve always wanted a good digital stills camera, that could take really good video. Well, the time has come. I’m still a little short for the time being of funds for what I want, but in the meantime, other things, less expensive options have appeared.

1. My Samsung Galaxy S4

2. My wife’s (well its become mine now) Canon Power Shot

Both shoot great 1080p video, although the audio suffers a bit. One thing I have found is an app that lets me shoot time lapse video. However, it is a pain to stand there with the phone in hand trying to hold still.So tool number 1. My adjustable Glif (pictured above left). It allows me to put the phone in to the little clamp on one end, so that I can put it on a tripod (which I have a couple) so that I don’t have to hold it anymore. The other end works as a nice stand so I can watch stuff on it.

IMG_1046Tool number 2 is my Zoom H1 Audio recorder (pictured to the right on top of the handle looking thing). In the future I would like to get the H5 with all of its options, but for me to get started and not learn anything I decided that this would fill the gap. Also the little lav mic that I picked up for my smartphone works with an adapter with this recorder. So my audio quality is now going up!

Tool number 3 is the handle looking thing. I needed a way to put this all on one rig so that I can record the audio and video at once. It reminds me of a similar handle rig that my dad used with his camera and flash unit when working as a freelance reporter, when I was a kid.

So between the Power Shot and the phone, can do some basic video and audio recording. The next investment is a better computer so that I can edit the video and audio clips together without so much jerky motion or freezing (That happened tonight.). So my wish list grows a bit more.

So what am I doing? Well, I have about 15 years left in the NWS, so I figured that I might as well take a hobby that I really like and see if I can eventually convert it into a second career. So I have been trying to learn all that I can on how to shoot, light, record, and edit properly so that can create artistic pieces of film. I’m liking some documentary for now. We’ll see what God has in store.

20 Years Ago…A Great Adventure Took Place 2…08/09/2014

United_States_Antarctic_Program_logoOkay, so I said that it would be about two weeks before my next post. However, as I thought about it, I think the response came a lot sooner (Also, for some reason I was telling the story in the third person, I’ll tell it from my perspective 20 years later).

I think it was about a week to 10 days later, that I got a call while I was at work. The person was Kathie Sharp, who was to be the Senior Meteorologist at the South Pole. Luckily, I got one hour breaks for lunch, because the interview was about 20 minutes. I got another call after work (the company, Antarctic Support Associates was based in Denver, CO). Thank goodness for that. The 2 hour time difference helped in the communications. The second call was John Gress, who was the science technical support manager and oversaw the Met dept, at the south pole, as well as other science support position at the South Pole, McMurdo, and Palmer stations. We talked about another 45 minutes. At the end of the conversation, he wanted me to fly out to Denver to interview for the position. It seems the other meteorologist that had been hired to winter over(i.e. spend the year) decided earlier in the week, to take another job, about the same time my resume reached the office.

It would be about a week before I could get there. However, in the week to come, I decided that a step of faith was needed. It takes 6 weeks for a passport, and I would need one en route to the South Pole, because we fly through New Zealand. So I did just that, cautiously optimistic that I would be hired for a met position at the South Pole. The only thing that I was apprehensive about was that it was for a meteorological technician, and I had no experience in the equipment end. However, since the senior met (Kathie) was, they told me that it wouldn’t be a problem.

In about a week, another post! The interview…

20 years ago…A Great Adventure Took Place…7/30/2014

aerialpoleWhat was this adventure that took place 20 years ago? I went to the South Pole and wintered-over. I will be chronicling this journey over the next year as things pop up, I have slides, and if I can get them digitized, I’ll add them to the blog. However, for the most part, I will be blogging about my experience looking back at where I was 20 years ago.

As every adventure starts, there was once a 27 year old out of work meteorologist. He had worked at a place that for some reason had sapped his soul. It may have even been in his field, but the stress, the hours, and the relationships had sapped some vital energy out of him. He went back home, and began a sabbatical as he meditated on what he would do for his future. About the end of July, or the beginning of August (the memories are a bit hazy now), of 1994, he noticed in a weather magazine (Weatherwise to be exact) an ad for a meteorological technician at the South Pole. He wasn’t sure if he qualified, but he had done enough in meteorology, during the 3 years at the place that would not be named, to get him familiar with the much of what he needed to do for the job. So he carefully updated his resume and cover letter, and sent them to: Antarctic Support Associates.

Stay tuned, I’ll update with the response when we get to that date, in about 2 weeks. See what happened…

My podcasts are like my audio blog

So I have been trying to work out doing podcasts. My biggest problem is my mouth. It tends to run on. So I decided to do the podcast like I did my Northern Michigan Recreation Weather Blog. I write it, then I read/improv off of it. It keeps me on subject. So that’s where I’m heading on the subjects. I’m still getting my tech stuff together. I’m hoping to have Audacity figured out more during the next month or so. I see some other opportunities on the horizon as well so know this all will help in the near future.

New toys for my upcoming project.


If anyone happened to catch my post on Facebook the other day, I'm starting an at-home recording project. Everything was drastically reduced in price from the summer, so for the amount I got my original mixer, I got a larger mixer with effects built in, a mic and xlr cable, and a good pair of headphones. Nice thing is it can all be used at church on Sunday. I need one more cable to plug my iPod into the mixer and I'll have what I need. Not to do some research on the reading materials for my project.

Mary vs. Jeff on Twitter

Getting started on the Polish Fest.

The polish fest will start on Thursday and last through Sunday. Here are the pieces going into place.

The Gaylord Drought Looks Like It Will Continue

Of course, with those words, that’s when the sky splits open and it pours. However, if you look at this picture:

Then you see that the main rain has again gone by to the north and the south. This is also the case of Boyne Falls, where I am typing this morning. I know many will say, “But Jeff, look at that mass of rain to the west of you. Surely that will bring some relief?” Well as I have been watching it on the radar the heavier rain has been heading south and the weaker area is beginning to open up.

To see how we got into our drought, watch this video below put together by Nick Schwartz (aka Shaggy), a meteorological intern at our office.

Big Ticket is a wrap!

An awesome weekend with new friends from Ionia! I’m already looking forward to next year!