Thursday, March 30, 2006


Spiegelman to Judge Anti-Semitic Cartoons
After drawing three illustrations for the New Yorker on the theme of the anti-Semitic cartoon contest an Iranian newspaper is sponsoring in retaliation for those Mohammed caricatures, Art Spiegelman has agreed to be a judge for an Israeli competition parodying the Iranian one. (mediabistro)

Art Spiegelman is a brooding, moody little genius. Happy to see him throw another can of gas on the Ridiculous Fire.

4:36 PM, Tuesday Afternoon


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Filthy Monkey Is A Clever Animal

Our Dark Lord Warren Ellis cracks me up...

Alan Moore is goooooood

Posted at a livejournal I read now and then...a line I had forgotten about from the V For Vendetta book:

I shall die here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one.

An inch. It's small and it's fragile and it's the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

I don't know who you are. Or whether you're a man or a woman. I may never see you or cry with you or get drunk with you. But I love you. I hope that you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better, and that one day people have roses again. I wish I could kiss you.


Sunday, March 26, 2006


After a major plot crisis two hours ago, I've finished chapter eight and feel like I'm back on track.

Time to put my guy on the lam.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sixty Days, Five Hours, Ninety Degrees North

Thu, 23 Mar 2006 // 16:28

After 60 days and 5 hours Mike and Borge have become the first men ever to walk to the North Pole completely unassisted in the Arctic winter.

On January 22nd, Mike Horn and Borge Ousland set off on the first ever attempt to walk to the North Pole in the sunless Arctic winter, unassisted by machines or dogs. Today at 1600hrs GMT Mike and Borge finally accomplished what they set out to achieve. They arrived at the North Pole very tired but elated.

Mike calls from the 90th latitude: 'It's great to finally be standing on the North Pole. This mystical place is all that it is made out to be. It's incredible out here!! Borge and I have walked far and the conditions have been extremely tough - but we've made it! I can't tell you how happy we are feeling! We are alone out here, standing on the very top of the world.'

It was an eventful trip. We had to walk days and days on end in complete darkness, had several encounters with polar bears, problems with equipment, and swam many times across open leads, all this in extremely cold temperatures getting as low as -50°C. We certainly have a lot to tell you about when we get back.

Borge and I worked well together, both of us with a lot of experience to offer. Not all moments were easy but we bought our knowledge and experience together and always managed to pull through in the end. It's quite a trip we have done together and I am thrilled to have be able to share it with him.'

For 61 days, Mike and Borge have been walking 10-12 hours a day pulling their 160kg sledges in the extreme Arctic temperatures and in 24 hours of complete darkness for the majority of the expedition, catching only a glimmer of sunlight on the horizon some days for a few hours. Mike and Borge's bodies are now feeling the strain. Having had only two days break until now they are in need of a good rest. They are suffering from minor frostbite, which needs to be attended to and they need to replenish their bodies of fluids and vitamins.

'We've decided to camp on the Pole for a few more days. We've worked hard to get here and now we can really sit back and enjoy our accomplishment.'

The Russians will come with helicopters in a few days time to pick up Borge and I, and take us back to the floating airstrip called the Barneo Base which is situated about 100kms away from the Pole. We will need to wait another week in the company of the Russians until the first commercial flight will be able to fly in. This flight will be filled with our family, friends, journalists and sponsors. We'll have a great celebration on the ice before heading back to Europe.

Our thanks go out to everybody that supported Borge and I throughout the expedition, to all the people that wrote mails, to our sponsors and of course, our families!'

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Abbi Tatton

I hereby declare my deep appreciation of CNN's Blog Reporter, Abbi Tatton.

She's smart, funny, gorgeous, well-spoken...and that English accent is hypnotic.

CNN may be insane, but they got it right the day they decided to take a producer and put her in front of the camera.

She's very engaging.

Crazy Arctic Guy, Day 60: Almost There

Wed, 22 Mar 2006 // 23:09

Quote of the Day:
'It's just great to know that I will now be able to appreciate my last day walking not worried with aches and pains, in the company of my dear friend Borge, and enjoy the very special moment once we arrive on the Pole...'

Latest position : N89°48'39' E87°25'34'
Distance to go: 21kms
Temperature: -22°C
Wind: Westerly 4-5m/s (9-11mph)
Ice drift: Southwards
Days of food left: 8

Mike phoned this evening with very good news: 'I'm feeling better,' he said, sounding very elated. 'I woke up this morning feeling completely lousy and gradually felt better and better throughout the day. All my aches and pains are finally going and I'm getting my appetite back. The antibiotics have finally kicked in. I was a little anxious for a while but now it seems that everything will be alright.'

'We're starting to get excited. It's finally sinking in that we are going to arrive tomorrow. It's been quite a trip! Borge's 42 years old and now looks 80 and I'm 39 and look like 90! (Mike laughs)

We arrived on the North Pole ice today, Borge's keen eye noticed it straight away. There is still some water about but luckily we didn't need to swim. I don't think I could have coped with that today!

The weather forecast was not at all as had been predicted. Today we had westerly winds of 4-5m/s (9-11mph) with a southwards drift and temperatures of -22°C. Tomorrow northeasterly winds of 8m/s (18mph) are predicted. We hope that this prediction will also be wrong.

We have reached N89°48'39' E87°25'34' and are extremely motivated for the final stretch. Tomorrow we'll get to the North Pole while enjoying the light of the midnight sun. There isn't much else to say. It's just great to know that I will now be able to appreciate my last day walking not worried with aches and pains. I will be able to appreciate the last walking day in the company of my dear friend Borge and enjoy the very special moment once we arrive on the Pole.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

You can't spell ASS without A.S.

Soriano Refuses to Take Left Field
Alfonso Soriano refused to play the outfield for the Nationals on Monday and Jim Bowden said Soriano will go on the disqualified list if he doesn't switch positions this week.
(By Barry Svrluga, The Washington Post)

Great. Just great. Nice. Once a Yankee, always a Yankee. Bring back Wilk. He wanted to play.

This happened Monday evening, and was dissected all day yesterday. It's still a hot topic today. And Bowden becomes the NL Laughing Stock of the week.

My bretheren (and sisteren) at Natfanatics are reporting that Soriano did indeed take the field for today's game. But let's face it: the damage is done.

We need an owner.


Crazy Arctic Guy ailing, closing in

Another busy week, so here's the last few days:

Sat, 18 Mar 2006 // 08:42

Latest position : N88°34'10' E83°41'32'
Distance to go: 160km
Temperature: -15°C
Days of food left: 13
Average daily distance required: 13km

Mike and Borge have spent the last 54 days walking in darkness, catching only a glimmer of sunlight on the horizon some days for a few hours. With the sun rising at the North Pole for the first time each year on the Spring Equinox, which is approximately March 21st (3 days time), the walking duo saw their first glimpse of the sun today - a welcome sight...

'We woke up in white-out conditions this morning and with very strong winds. It was a very difficult day. Bad terrain and poor visibility hindered our progress and we only advanced 15kms in 10 hrs. We could hardly see two metres in front of us. Ice conditions were bad, with some moving patches and leads appearing. Just when we thought that our swimming days were over we were forced to put on our swim suits and cross two leads. These must definitely be the last!!

The temperatures were cold when we woke up but they gradually warmed throughout the afternoon. You won't believe that we saw our first glimpse of the sun today. Ironically we looked at the temperature gauge at the same time, but saw that there was no change. It was still reading -38°C. It was an amazing sight to see the sun and it re-zapped us with instant energy and well-being.

Now, at our camp this evening it is dead calm, the winds have dropped and the temperature has climbed to -15°C. We hope that now the winds have calmed the southerly drift will also stop. We're fed up with drifting backwards! The winds appear to be turning to NW which might give us an easterly drift, or even better we might stop drifting altogether.Only 160km to go to the Pole and only one major concern at this moment. As we are speaking, Borge is sawing his skis in half. Unfortunately his last repair job did not hold out so he has no choice but to shorten the skis and move the bindings forward. This shouldn't hinder his progress too much we any rate, nothing is going to stop us from getting to the pole now!!!'

Sun, 19 Mar 2006 // 09:16

Latest position : N88°53'19' E80°14'47'
Distance to go: 124km Temperature: -28°C
Ice drift: Northeast
Days of food left: 12
Average daily distance required: 11km

It's unbelievable to think just a few days before reaching the pole we are finally getting a drift in the right direction! Wouldn't it be nice if it stays like this until the end?!?

Once again, Borge is repairing his skis this evening. He is sticking the cut off portion (that he took off last night) onto the underside of the ski. This means that now his skis are double thickness and will be more solid to withstand the rest of our journey. I hope for his sake this'll be the last time he'll need to repair his ski!

DAY 57: THE FINAL 100KM...
Mon, 20 Mar 2006 // 08:01

Latest position : N89°07'45' E78°
Distance to go: 97kms
Temperature: -28°C
Days of food left: 11
Average daily distance required: 9km

A monumental day it was today, because not only did we arrive at the 89th latitude, but we also have less than 100kms to go until we reach the Pole (97 to be exact). We think that in 4 days we'll make it, and if by some chance the drift is with us, we might even make it in 3 days.

Borge ski repairs seems to be finally lasting. We are hoping that now they will be fine until we get to the Pole. He must be very careful where he places his feet because I doubt that he'll be able to repair them again after this.

I have an upset stomach today and am feeling nauseous. Not at all sure why - perhaps it's the food, perhaps it's because of the vasodilator I am taking, perhaps just generalised fatigue. We've only had two days rest until now - the 15th day and the 29th day. Once we get to the Pole we'll be able to rest but for now we want to keep on going. I'm sure my stomach will come right after some food and a good sleep.

Mon, 20 Mar 2006 // 23:34

Latest position : N89°21'26' E79°05'25'
Distance to go: 72kms
Temperature: -26°C
Days of food left: 10
Average daily distance required: 8km

Mike seems to be suffering from some form of intoxication, perhaps from a possible fuel leakage inside his sledge that may have contaminated some of his food. However, neither he nor Borge really know where it came from.

He is suffering from generalised weakness, body aches and nausea and has no desire to eat or drink. Always reluctant to take medication, Mike has finally succumbed this evening and has taken some antibiotics. We hope that the double dose he took will take effect immediately and that his condition will soon start to improve.

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 // 23:01

Latest position : N89°35'19' E79°37'43'
Distance to go: 45kms
Temperature: -28°C
Days of food left: 9
Average daily distance required: 5km

Today the winds calmed down completely and the temperatures were -28°C. The forecast predicts southerly winds tomorrow of 5m/s (11mph) which is very positive for us. The following day northeasterly winds are predicted. Our plan is to go as far as possible tomorrow and turn into the northeasterly winds on Thursday continuing straight to the Pole. Ideally it would be better to have a complete rest day to help my body get over whatever it has, but we want to continue because of the changing weather. It is better for us to continue now while the going is good.

The Spring Equinox has arrived and the sun is in the sky 24 hours a day now. We didn't realize that what we were seeing before was actually only the reflection of the sun. It wasn't the sun at all. Now, after 3 months we are looking at the real sun and it is something different altogether. For the first time yesterday we saw shadows. You think you feel heat in the sun's rays but in fact you don't. It really is the most amazing sight.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Damn. Pointcher died.

From my local NBC affiliate's email update today:

Tonight at 5:30pm

Remembering a television legend

He was a Michiana television legend. Today at 5:30 PM, we take a look back on the life and legacy of NewsCenter 16's own Dick Addis.

Ouch. I loved working with old "Pointcher" Dick Addis. Great guy, a lot of fun to be around. He was always complaining about something. Usually in a grumpy tone of voice peppered with the word "fuck" every other sentence. I used to love recording weathers from him, because I could start the tape early and get a great rant about:
  • The Government
  • The station management
  • My haircut
  • The weather itself
  • any of a dozen other hot topics

Dick was a funny guy, and I hate to see that he's signed off for the final time. That was some of the most fun I've had in broadcasting, those days at WNDU when Addis was working a Saturday Night.

What a blow to hear that he's gone. But then again...he was pretty frickin' old.

Friday, March 17, 2006

CNN Idiocy, Part 53

(during a story about a family FINALLY reunited with their youngest child, who was missing after Katrina ripped through New Orleans...they looked for her with the help of two departments that didn't manage to communicate very well with each other because they had the answers...)

Reporter: Was it painful?

Off goes the news. One strike and you're out. You stupid bastards.

Tippecanoe And Tentacles Too!

Bumper sticker spotted on my way in to work this morning:

"Chthulu For President 2004...Don't choose the lesser of evils!"

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ten minutes ago...

The US military says it has launched its largest air assault in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. More soon.

For more details:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I am totally immersed in the sticky bodily fluids of my writing project. This novel is in my head at least one moment out of every hour. It's there when I'm asleep, at work, driving...constantly.

Like the Adelies I poked a bit of fun at in chapter one...I'm spending all my time just diving in, swimming around in the story.

It's not easy to admit that you're obsessed with something. And it's a bizarre way to go through the day, taking a moment here and there to research something obscure about the Ross Ice Shelf or which direction the Southern Ocean Currents flow...

And the Adelies? I think I'm going to involve the evil little bastards, altered by years of direct radiation in the death of a major character. Muhahahaha...

Crazy Arctic Guy is bit nippy

Tue, 14 Mar 2006 // 08:53

Latest position : N88°00'23' E89°26'04'
Distance to go: 222km
Temperature: -37°C (without windchill)
Wind: Northerly
Days of food left: 18
Average daily distance required: 13km

'This has been one of the very toughest days of our expedition. The day started with temperatures of -34°C, and we had the wind against us all day. When we called it quits, the thermometer showed -37°C. We're taking such a beating from this wind that we simply can't continue in this tempo. The two of us are just getting more and more tired, more and more exhausted, as the chilling wind sucks away all our strength. We've been walking for 10 hours today.

We have promised to do our best - and that's what we're doing. However, that also means taking care of ourselves and minding our health."

The extreme cold is once again taking its toll on their bodies with Mike suffering new frostbite damage on his fingertips, which now have cracked open. Borge is having problems with keeping his feet warm, and has pains in his right heel, due to walking long distances and long hours with little rest.

"We simply have to let go of the idea of reaching the North Pole in a hurry, be sensible in this extreme weather, and make safe decisions. There is still a long way to go. Tomorrow we're falling back into a less strenuous routine, settling for 10 hours walking, and no longer stretching the day beyond 24 hours. We simply can't walk 12 hours and make do with 6 hours sleep when the weather is fighting us. We have to have the weather on our side if we're to push that hard - and the winds and weather are definitely not. It's against us, and according to the forecast we can expect northerly winds and chilly temperatures all week. So that's why we're calming down our pace.

N88° has been one of the hardest yet - and this day one of the toughest. We're exhausted, but are pleased that we only have two degrees of latitude left.

The most goal of this expedition is to reach the North Pole in a sensible way. The great difficulties and major challenges are behind us. Now we have to mind our well-being. If the weather suddenly improves, we can make an extra effort. Otherwise we're going to continue at a normal pace.

We're both exhausted and hope to soon be asleep.

Wed, 15 Mar 2006 // 08:09

Latest position : N88°06'47' E86°59'42'
Distance to go: 211km
Temperature: -38°C without windchill (approx -60°C with!)
Wind: Northerly 9 metres/second (20mph)
Ice drift: Southwards 700 metres/hour
Days of food left: 16
Average daily distance required: 14km

'Everything was against us today. We pushed all day against very strong head-on northerly winds of 9m/s and temperatures of -38°C without windchill. We also had a southerly drift of 0.7 km/hr so all our effort has very little reward at the end of the day. We battle on in these conditions trying to protect our fingers, noses and feet from freezing and rejoice when we can pitch the tent at the end of the day, sheltering ourselves from the cutting wind, and to make our first hot drink.

My fingers are cracked and sore. I am taking a daily vasodilator and aspirin to increase the blood circulation. This helps a lot. Borge's hands are fine, but has one foot that tends to go completely numb on occasions. His remedy is to keep on walking. We struggle on in these conditions because we prefer to move rather than to sit in the tent. In a few more days the temperatures are expected to rise again. We must just be very careful not to make any mistakes in the meantime.

We encountered a lot of rubble-like-ice today, which was very hard on our skis. This is ice that has previously been crunched up because of a pressure ridge and has snowdrift in-between. Unfortunately because the surface was not flat, it was very hard on Borges already delicate skis and we discovered that the metal edges were beginning to lift off one of his skis. We had to stop early this evening so Borge could fix it. He is actually tearing the metal completely off the ski and gluing it back on with Araldite glue. Of course the glue is well frozen, so we need to heat up the glue and the tent before he can even start to think about this repair job. We believe they should be fine again for tomorrow morning. Luckily for us, we have a very adequate repair kit on this trip!

We are happy to return back to our normal 24 hour day. We were pushing ourselves into the ground with our 26 hour days, which was not at all sensible. In a few days we'll get back into normal routine again, and walk our regular 10 hours a day. At this rate we should arrive on the Pole on the 23rd of March and we'll be very happy with this.

The camp is pitched at N88°06'47' E86°59'42' and we have 211kms to go until we reach the Pole. I don't know why, but on every expedition I have done, it always seems that the last days are always the hardest!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Crazy Arctic Guy approaching 88

I still don't know if he'll make it within his desired deadline...but I'm finally believing he's going to make it.

Sat, 11 Mar 2006 // 23:05

Latest position : N87°37'44' E90°37'09'
Distance to go: 265km
Temperature: -40°C (without windchill)
Wind: Northwesterly
Ice drift: Southwards
Days of food left: 20
Average daily distance required: 14km

I'm calling later than usual because our days are now 26 hours long. This means that you'll be getting the report 2 hours later everyday.

It's unbelievably cold! Today the temperatures were even lower than yesterday -40°C! The winds were still northwesterly in the morning but luckily for us they dropped throughout the day. The temperatures are expected to pick up again tomorrow (we are hoping so at least.). Normally at this time of year the temperatures are around -25° to -28°C so -40°C is extremely low. Obviously my nose is frozen but it will heal. My fingers are suffering as well but they'll be okay.

We walked our twelve hours today in and out of the pack ice and even with a southerly drift we managed to cover a distance of 25kms. Borge and I are beginning to feel like robots, one foot after the other, hour after hour after hour. One thing is for sure, we have great satisfaction to see the Pole getting closer and closer. Only 265 kms to go!

Mon, 13 Mar 2006 // 09:53

Latest position : N87°49'44' E89°46'07'
Distance to go: 243km
Temperature: -37°C (without windchill)
Wind: Northeasterly
Ice drift: Southwards
Days of food left: 19
Average daily distance required: 13km

'It's -37°C without windchill! It is VERY cold still and even though the forecast says it'll get warmer, it doesn't seem to be. The wind has turned slightly and is now coming from the NE but we are still drifting south and losing around 4km every day. Twelve hours of walking in these temperatures is tough but we are now getting used to the new routine. We advanced 23km today.

The ice was relatively flat today with occasional patches of broken ice and a lot of accumulated snow. There were also a lot of leads again but luckily they were all heading NS so we were able to walk along side until we found an appropriate place to cross.

The equipment is holding out. With every passing day, we eat about 1.1kg of food and burn another 300g of fuel, so our sledges are gradually getting lighter every day. We were probably pulling about 90kg now and when we started we had about 160kg.

The position of the campsite tonight is N87°49'44' E89°46'07'. We've already brushed the ice off our clothing, have eaten and now it's time to sleep! How I long for a warm bed! Sleep is virtually impossible in this temperature!

Mon, 13 Mar 2006 // 18:17

After what was possibly their coldest week so far in the expedition, Mike and Borge are now roughly 220km from reaching the North Pole and are making excellent progress, despite the dangers and uncomfortable walking conditions they are enduring, averaging 25km progress per day.

On Thursday, the duo decided to extend their walking hours from ten to twelve hours, in their final push towards the Pole. As a result, their days are now longer and harder especially whilst they battle against the current northerly winds and southerly drift, which are pushing them south, the opposite direction to their destination.

For the majority of this week, temperatures have not risen above -30°C dipping to -40°C on Saturday (normally at this time of year temperatures average between -25°C to -28°C), without taking in to account the wind chill factor. With the 9mph wind experienced that day, this lowers the overall temperature to -50°C - the limit of what is safe and manageable to walk in: 'We had to fully concentrate on surviving, each and every hour, keeping our bodies and limbs warm enough and avoiding frostbite.'

Although in the 87th degree of latitude (likely to be at N88° by the time they set up camp tonight), the ice conditions continue to present the duo with a difficult obstacle course as they push north, passing in and out of pack ice. On Tuesday they came across a compression zone (see Jargon Buster below), producing ice mountains as high as 8m, blocking their path completely: "We needed to back track a few times today and find alternative passages around these massive obtrusions. This held us up quite a bit."

With their high average distance covered each day, and 19 days of food left, Mike and Borge now need to average 13km per day to complete the expedition before running out of food: "Borge and I are beginning to feel like robots, one foot after the other, hour after hour after hour. One thing is for sure, we have great satisfaction to see the Pole getting closer and closer." Although finishing seems a very viable possibility right now, conditions can change very quickly. So far the equipment is holding out, and although their bodies are feeling the effects of the minus conditions, it is a manageable level of discomfort for them. One thing going in their favour, is that their sledges are gradually becoming lighter as they consume 1.1kg per day of fodd and burn 300g of fuel. When they started the expedition they were pulling around 160kg - 51 days on, they now only have 90kg to pull behind them for 12 hours a day. This is still the equivalent of pulling a 6ft, well-built man behind them all day!

With just over two degrees of latitude to go the North Pole (243km), the duo are feeling positive about competing their mission within the next 10 days: "We hope then we'll be able to camp some last few days on the Pole, taking the time to relax and to appreciate the mammoth task which we would have just accomplished."

Hopefully this time next week, we will be confirming their ETA at N90°! To achieve their goal of becoming first men to walk the 1000km to the North Pole during the Arctic winter, unassisted by machines or dogs.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Worthless Asshole Dies


And Hell finally gets a new Center Halfback for their soccer team.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Crazy Arctic Guy Updates

Mission: First ever attempt to walk the 1000km to the North Pole in the Arctic winter unassisted by machines or dogs.

Tue, 7 Mar 2006 // 21:21

Latest position : N86°43' E93°33'
Distance to go: 367km
Temperature: -28°C without windchill
Wind direction: Southerly
Ice drift: Northwards 0.3km/hour
Days of food left: 24
Average daily distance required: 16km (to complete expedition)

This is a zone where the ice is compressed and crushed. You literally hear it crushing and grinding under our feet. It's quite freaky to hear but we know that the ice is solid and we are in no danger. The ice slowly grinds away and pushes up mountains of ice, which can be 5-6 metres high and block our path completely.

We are well. The equipment is holding out still, but of course we are being extremely careful. We must!! No more bears - no animals at all. Just us in this barren environment. It's beautiful to see and I hope we can share a little of what we are experiencing with the photos we are sending back.

367 kms to go!! We'll be able to predict our arrival date on the Pole once we arrive at N88°. In the meantime we'll keep moving and save our rest days until the Pole. After all this effort we would like to stay there for a few days and take in the scenery.

Wed, 8 Mar 2006 // 21:09

Latest position : N87° E97°
Distance to go: approx 333km
Temperature: -15°C
Days of food left: 23
Average daily distance required: 15km (to complete expedition)

We have now about -15°C which seems a little odd to say the least. We think this might be the calm before the storm. Strong winds have been predicted along with a radical drop in temperature. My fingers will not be looking forward to that!!!

Borge and I decided today that we want to make a run for the Pole. We are averaging 1 degree every 3 days so believe that if we go for it we can do the last 3 degrees in 12 days, which will get us there on the 21st of March. We hope then we'll be able to camp some last few days on the Pole, taking the time to relax and to appreciate the mammoth task which we would have just accomplished.

It will certainly be a great moment arriving at the Pole!!! Ha, I'm speaking to soon. Anything can happen yet. We are still at the mercy of the nature and we mustn't forget that!!!

Thu, 9 Mar 2006 // 20:50

Latest position : N87°12'47' E91°51'37'
Distance to go: 311km
Temperature: -34°C (without windchill)
Days of food left: 22
Average daily distance required: 15km (to complete expedition)

Borge and I have decided to get to the North Pole as quickly as we possibly can. To do this we've decided to walk an extra two hours everyday, doing 12 hours rather than 10. These are long hard days for us.

The winds have finally calmed this evening and are coming from the west. We hope that the very cold temperatures will freeze all open water and the westerly winds will push the old ice over the young leads. This will give us an easier day tomorrow. Our camp coordinates tonight are N87°12'47' E91°51'37'.

311 km to go! Because we will now walk 12 hours everyday, we have also decided to sleep and extra 1.5 hours longer each night. This way a smaller portion of our time is taken up by all the other tasks that need doing. However, it also means that you will be getting our progress reports a bit later every day.

Fri, 10 Mar 2006 // 21:27

Latest position : N87°24'25' E90°35'39'
Distance to go: 290km
Temperature: -38°C (without windchill)
Wind: Northwesterly 4m/s (9mph)
Ice drift: Southwards 0.3km/hr
Days of food left: 21
Average daily distance required: 14km

'We were once again in very cold temperatures today. We walked 12 hours in -38° C (without windchill) and a northwesterly wind (about 4m/s) blowing right into our faces. My fingers can only take 8 hours in these conditions and after that they really start to suffer. They eventually came right once I got back into the tent and was able to warm them up around a hot cup of soup. We did well under these conditions as we managed to advance 23kms even with a southerly drift of 0.3 km/hr.

You would think that the sledges would slide well when it is cold like this, but in fact, they don't! The snow becomes dry and it feels like we are dragging the sledges over sandpaper. There was also a very big accumulation of snow that we had to work our way though. The only advantage in these cold temperatures is that all the open water is frozen and it is normally thick enough to walk over.

Hope tomorrow will be a warmer day!'

Friday, March 10, 2006

Happy Birthday, Chuck Norris

His 66th. To celebrate, Alex will be abudcted by Evil Mexican Drug Lords, until you kick their asses while every other law enforcement official stands around and watches, having a quick smoke, talking about who Houston might take with the top draft pick.

I'm embarassed that I've seen enough of Walker to know this pattern.

Norris vs. Bruce Lee. Best. Fight. Ever.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Idiocy, In All Her Splendor

I've been reading a website called FastCompany for a while now. It's given some interesting nuggets to ponder, especially media-related...but today's email carried a link to their Top Six Jobs That Won't Exist In 2016.

So...who's obsolete in ten years? Let's take a look-see:

TV schedulers, A&R guys, Wall Street researchers, cool hunters. As punishment, now it's our turn to ram stuff down your throats. Hope you like Bon Jovi!

I can dig this. The Reality-TV Backlash shall be great and terrible, the blood-letting expansive, etc. Next?

Pay someone to write snarky comments? Do you think we're getting paid for this?

Anyone who expects to paid for their opinion hasn't been around much. I'm amazed even I read my blog. Next?

Advertising creatives
Talented amateurs making ads for fun and posting them online seem to be better at your job than you are. Bonus: No more"whither the 30-second spot" whining.

Whoa whoa whoa. Back up the truck, scooter. This is 75% of what I do for a living. You mean to tell me I'll be out of work in ten years? My job will be done better by people who have no interest in putting a little real sweat into making commercials? This is like saying that blogs are a better source of news than the networks. While I grant you, the TV Networks need to be slapped because they've become an industry of whores and pitchmen...there is still a glint of professionalism here and there. There is still some tradition, and at least some devotion to being accurate. What's the proud blogging tradition? Two years? Do some homework. Advertising is finally getting smarter, and realizes the audience is, too. At least those of us who have a little job security see it. Now shut your piehole and go watch something deep and meaningful like American Idol. Just because most of the country doesn't appreciate quality, doesn't mean it's dead.

Anyway, next?

Auto mechanics
As cars run on software, the grease monkey will need a makeover.

??? How high were these guys when they wrote this? We won't have a use for Auto Mechanics? Next.

U.S. high-tech jobs
But software engineers can always get a job down at the garage.

The problem here is the number of people trying to get the same jobs...not that the jobs are becoming obsolete. Get a goddamn clue. Next?

Indian call-center operators
American customer service is rescued from oxymoron status as companies realize that being nice to the people with the money is the only way to win.

One can only hope.

I've calved off a big iceberg of my faith in these editors today. It's floating north.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Crazy Arctic Guy: Fun With Bears

Three Days of reports from Mike Horn...two including the word Bear. They are making decent progress and still might manage to pull this off yet...but the next couple of days are going to be tough ones:

Sat, 4 Mar 2006 // 19:35

Latest position : N86°00'42' E96°
Distance to go: 445km
Temperature: -32°C
Days of food left: 27

After another good day, Mike and Borge have now reached the 86th degree of latitude, advancing 23km in ten hours (2km thanks to the drift) with ski repairs holding well. Borge explains: 'It feels great! We had an astonishing start today. The two of us were ready to go outside when something tugged hard at the tent. Mike insisted that it wasn't him - so it had to be an unexpected visitor, and there are not so many possibilities.

A polar bear was standing right outside. It had torn apart the cover on Mike's sled. You see, we fastened the sleds to the tent to anchor it last night, as well as to warn us if a bear tried to steal our food. Well, our system obviously worked perfectly this morning.

The bear withdrew a little, but soon came back. Finally I had to shoot it right in the chest from 5 metres range, with my signal gun. Only then did it retreat. It must have been a shock to be hit with great force by a flaming projectile, but it's not harmful to the bear. Evidently it wasn't bothered that much, because it kept an eye on us from a few hundred metres away.

We broke camp, packed our sleds and continued our journey northwards. I suspect we got a visitor because we camped close to a lead. Polar bears apparently follow these leads of water when they hunt.

After only 15 minutes or so, the bear came back, heading straight toward us. This time Mike shot it with the signal gun, hitting it in the back from ten twelve metres. Once again it ran off.As if that wasn't enough, he returned to stalk us in the middle of the day, this time keeping a safer distance. He seemed more curious and playful than threatening, rolling around in the snow - but he kept following us. When he disappeared, it was evening, two hours before we called it a day. We haven't seen him after that and hope he doesn't return. Polar bears destroy equipment and they can be dangerous, too.

There are many small leads in this area. Clearly a lot of movement in the ice. We have seen seals come up to breathe in the open leads, which of course explains why the bears are here. Probably many of them. We saw the fresh tracks of a small bear and a female, as well as faeces. There are also lots of older tracks strongly indicating that we're right in the middle of one of their favoured territories.

Unfortunately we left the pepper spray behind after Mike gave us a dose in the tent a week ago. But we do have the signal gun, and a revolver as a last resort. We\'re hoping the polar bear that stalked us has had enough, that he's found food, and that he finds no reason to come looking for us again. Actually he didn't seem very aggressive. It was a young bear, perhaps three or four years old, with beautiful pale golden fur. Beautiful to look at - but even so I prefer to keep him at a distance. Hopefully he is more than happy to hunt seals at the edge of the ice floes. We feel safer now that we've moved away from the leads.

Sun, 5 Mar 2006 // 20:25

Latest position : N86°14' E95°09'
Distance to go: 420km
Temperature: Extremely cold, -35°C
Conditions: Very strong easterly winds
Days of food left: 26

Update from Mike: 'It was another exciting day for us and probably one of the most difficult yet! We advanced 25kms with very strong easterly winds. The temperature has once again dropped. It's very, very cold and we are taking precautions to protect or hands and feet. I am taking a vasodilators and aspirin for my aching fingers. My thumb is alright, or at least it is not getting any worst at this stage, but these temperatures certainly are not helping it to improve.

The bears were everywhere today. Our friend from yesterday came to greet us in the morning and once again ripped the cover of my sledge. At one stage he was only about 3 metres away. We fired a flare to tell him politely that he was just a little too close for our liking. This made him leave. Later on, a mother with her two cubs came to visit. The cubs, being curious, came very close while she stood by watching. No aggression has been shown yet and we don't think we will be harmed in any way. These bears are beautiful, healthy beasts and are obviously not hungry, just inquisitive which is perfectly normal.

We followed a lead for two and a half hours today. It was perfectly flat and the ice was solid enough to walk on. We came across open patches of water, which are where the bears are also heading to by the looks of the numerous tracks that we passed. It amazing to see that there are so many bears at this latitude. It is usual to see one or two but never in these quantities. It must be the global warming that is pushing the bears further north every year.

We hope that the temperatures will rise again. It is virtually impossible to do anything in this extreme cold and the presence of the polar bears is not helping us at all.

We are going well. The food rations should be enough to get us to the end of our trip. Our only big worry at this stage, are the skis. Lets hope they'll hold out!!

Bye for now!'

Mon, 6 Mar 2006 // 17:32

Latest position : N86°28'59' E94°20'30'
Distance to go: 392km
Temperature: -30°C
Conditions: Southeast wind
Days of food left: 25
Average daily distance required: 16km (to complete expedition)

Mike and Borge have been surprised to see so many polar bears at this latitude (N86°): 'It is usual to see one or two but never in these quantities. It must be the global warming that is pushing the bears further north every year.'

Whilst the durability of their ski repairs remains their biggest concern, the extreme cold is an ever-present issue that can bring devastating results. With temperatures dropping to -35°C, without taking in to account the wind chill factor, the risk of frostbite is ever high on the list of dangers. The latest wind statistics shows they are experiencing easterly winds of around 5 metres per second, which is 11mph. With wind chill this equates to around -50°C posing a huge risk to Mike and Borge - any exposed skin can be frozen within 30 seconds. Even activities in the tent are often impossible due to the extreme cold: 'Simple tasks can be complicated by the extreme cold of metal surfaces; even talking on the satellite phone is difficult.'

Forecasts predict that the winds may come from the north for the next few days. This is not so good for us as it will mean that we'll once again have a southwards drift and winds in the face.

A new Gulf Killing Field

Iran warns US against attack: killing field ready

TEHRAN: Iran vowed on Monday to be a "killing field" for any attackers, responding to a US warning of "painful consequences" if it failed to curb its atomic plans. US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said on Sunday his country had been "beefing up defensive measures" to thwart Iran's nuclear programme, which the West suspects is a quest for atomic bombs, not just nuclear-generated electricity.

Gholamali Rashid, deputy head of the armed forces, said the US did not understand how to operate in the Gulf region. "Iran's armed forces, through their experience of war ...will turn this land into a killing field for any aggressor," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying. — Reuters

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Crazy Arctic Guy: While I Was Out Cold

Mike's been doing pretty well in the time since I've been buried in Bronchitis Meds. The highlights:

Wed, 1 Mar 2006 // 16:55

Latest position: N85°33'37' E97°40'33'
Distance to go: 495km
Ice drift: Northwards
Ice conditions: Heavy pack ice
Temperature: -31°C

'We've basically reached the halfway mark of the expedition in distance. Although we spent 40 days reaching 500km, we expect another 30 days to end the expedition. The days are becoming much lighter, the ice conditions have improved. Although we've been battling with a lot of pack ice today, we made reasonably good progress.

Thu, 2 Mar 2006 // 17:07

DATA LOG 1/3/06
Latest position : N85°33'37' E97°40'33'
Distance to go: approx 495km
(no position received today, may have changed slightly due to drift)

We're going to have to have a serious word with our ski producer when we get back. These skis are clearly not what they're made out to be and not what we ordered. It looks like they've just given us ordinary skis, and not the reinforced ones that we were promised.

Fri, 3 Mar 2006 // 16:38

Latest position : N85°47'34' E92°
Distance to go: 469km
Temperature: -35°C
Days of food left: 28
Average daily distance required: 17km (to complete expedition)

'Now we're on the move again! We've reached N85°47'34" E92°, after a day with good ice conditions. We walked 23 km. We encountered a couple of open leads today, but managed to cross them without having to swim. I'm thankful for that, because temperatures have dropped to -35°C. I can promise you that you really notice the difference between 30 and 35 below - not so much when we're out walking, but when we're trying to do things inside the tent. Simple tasks can be complicated by the extreme cold of metal surfaces; even talking on the satellite phone is difficult.

Keith Olbermann

I've always liked the guy, even when he screwed up and walked away from ESPN.

Now I'm a fan...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Bizarre coincidence

At the point I left off at last night, the main character in my novel is on his way to visit his sister in Cape Town, flying out of Sanae, Antarctica.

He's right about here right now:

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake IN SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE has occurred at:
55.71S 4.13W
Depth 10km
Fri Mar 3 23:36:27 2006 UTC Time:
Location with respect to nearby cities:
500 km (310 miles) WSW of Bouvet Island
2985 km (1850 miles) SSW of Cape Town, South Africa

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I do so love a challenge...

92% alcohol. 184 Proof. And it's whisky.

Heh. It's gotta be undrinkable. But I'd love to try, just once...

The Kid is back in '06

Chris Simms signed to wear the pewter & red again next year. From SI:

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Quarterback Chris Simms agreed to a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday.

The signing comes two days before Simms would have become a restricted free agent and allows the Bucs to keep the quarterback who started the last 10 games in the 2005 season after starter Brian Griese went down with a knee injury.

Terms of the contract were not released by the team.

Simms, drafted by the Bucs in 2003, won six of his 10 starts and led the team to an NFC South championship. He completed 191-of-313 passes for 2,035 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

In a playoff game against Washington, the 25-year-old Simms set new team postseason records by completing 25 passes on 38 attempts.