Monthly Archives: June 2016

Quarter century – taking stock.

Posting episode 025 gave me reason to sit back and assess where I’m at with the series.  The conclusion I came to is, pretty damn pleased, that’s where.
Inconsistent output pace at the kick-off gave way to monthly, or if episodes are short, twice monthly releases.  I’ve tried a couple of paths to syndication and payment for effort but in each instance something got in the way of my enjoying the production process and the push for more listeners or money fell by the wayside.
My son recently asked “How many people listen to your podcast?”
“I think it’s about two hundred.”
“Wow, good job, Dad,” he said, coupling his response with a big hug.  Pow!  Right in the pride.
He’s too young to know that two hundred listeners isn’t much when compared to some of the series I listen to but he’s proud of me regardless of context, and so am I.  That anyone’s listening is something of a buzz, for me, so multiply that up two hundred fold and I get the smugs.
Where to from here?  Steady as she goes, helm.  Monthly output, some more contemporary interviews, a couple of episodes about technical stuff and political and historical contexts.  In short, you can expect the next twenty-five episodes to be much like the last twenty-five.  One thing that will change is that the level of detail available about a given expedition increases exponentially from this point, as more people published accounts of their experiences through the twentieth century than previously.  I may have to apply the narrator’s equivalent to MacReady’s flame thrower to future scripts to avoid filling the series with the minutiae available in the many journals, biographies and autobiographies available to me.

This project means a lot to me.  Thanks to anyone who’s given “Ice Coffee” space on their hard drive and time in their headphones.

In episode 025 I put it to listeners that I would like some competition.  I would like to be introduced to other perspectives and hear of others’ experiences regarding Antarctica.  With this in mind, I will finish this post with a sequence titled, “How to ice coffee,” and the easy to follow steps therein should help anyone get up to speed.

1) Read books.



2) Make notes about an expedition using the knowledge you stole from the books.  Fill both sides of an A3 sheet to ensure you have enough notes for a half hour episode.  Scribble on your notes so anyone looking over your shoulder will think you’re a tortured artist struggling to deal with an overwhelming torrent of creativity.  Arrows linking concepts help with this conceit, though if you forget you were using them for faux literary credibility you may spend half an hour wondering why you, you in the past, who was mostly a jerk, linked a reference to glaciers to another about denture fixative.  Perhaps use different colour pens for your spurious and genuine linking arrows.


3) Type up your notes into a coherent narrative script, or something.  Mark off the bits of your notes you’ve addressed to make it feel like you’re making progress.  Bright colours help stave off the existential dread likely to strike at this point in the process.



4) Print that sucker out.  Then scribble on it to fix any errors or omissions or, again, to give onlookers the impression of a tortured genius who’s muse can never be satisfied.




5) Head to the studio.  Find your centre.  Kill your centre off with caffeine.  Damn hippy shit.  Start recording your most recent magnum opus entirely free of new-age-dumb-ass centredness.



6) Edit that most recent magnum opus using something that looks like this.  After I tell you that the wiggliness of the lines corresponds to the noisiness of the noise you will know as much about audio processing as I do.
“Noise removal”, “Fade in” and “Fade out” are the main effects you will need.  Set the “Humour” toggle switches to “Dry” and “Obscure.”




7) Upload the export to your host service and watch the downloads pile up.  Make a coffee.  It’s warm-fuzzy time.




Less smutty than 024 but still featuring many smuts laid out on the snow to decrease the albedo.

Germans winter in pack ice made fast, make some geographic discoveries, fly, sledge, and science as much as they can but it’s the diving that sets the voyage of the Gauss apart, in my eyes.
Willy Heinrich – die Achtung!
Also, I make penguin noises as I try and fail to pronounce “Drygalski took up a professorship…”

die episoden

One of the first aerial photographs in Antarctica from the third balloon ascent in Antarctica shows the Gauss among the ice.  The sastrugi sculpting indicates the direction of the prevailing winds.  The balloon’s tether line, while above the ice rather than below it, resonates with me, but I’ll get into that later.

024_Borchgrevink – The Finbarr Saunders episode

Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink makes a return visit below the circle to advance his reputation as a git and to get on everyone’s nerves.  A team of ten erect their seminal, priapic huts and become the first to winter on the continent.  One stays behind in corpse form.

Have a link to Chart NZ 14906.

Mr C.E. Borchgrevink: it was considered mutiny to ridicule this wanker.

I mean, have you ever seen anyone emboss an image of themselves on the spine of the book on which their name already appears?  Frickin’ narcissist gets on my nerves eighty years after his death.  This is part of the Museum Victoria library, which Sue Halliwell has been scanning and photographing as part of a digital availability project.



I’ve never seen a chart oriented like that before.  Limited sledging is limited.


Well, I have seen a chart oriented like this, just uphill from here.  Still weird.
Thanks to Sue Halliwell for the images, taken from Borchgrevink’s “First on the Antarctic Continent.”




British pride is a’stirring and Germany hankers for some long, hard sciencing but it’s the Belgians out in front, showing everyone how it’s done if getting trapped in the pack and going mad is the goal.
Some notes about navigation notes presage some future episodes about spurious claims on fruitless firsts but the real appeal of episode 023 is the interview with Peter Cleary, who discusses leopard seals and dog teams.

The interview is another outing from the non-event that was Radio Tuna. Recorded in 2004, not 2005 as noted in the episode. I can tell, because it features Dr Paul Brewin in the Scott Base ambience.
Again the Minidisc recorder adds its clicks and whirs but je ne regrette rien, only with better French pronunciation than I can bring to the table.