Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I self published a book!

But first, we have to talk about paratrooper surgeons. Naturally. During my winter-over at the south pole, one member of our crew became very ill. Now, we had all signed a legal document clearly agreeing to the statement that we understood that there was a real possibility of injury, illness, or death during the winter and that there was absolutely no possiblity of rescue. It's a creepy statement to sign, but the fact is it's just too cold (and dark!) to fly into the south pole between March and October. A couple of years before my winter, Jerri Nielsen was medevaced in early October, a few weeks before the scheduled station opening (most people mistakenly think she was evacuated in the heart of winter--it's as hard to dissuade people from that error as from the idea that penguins and polar bears are at the same pole).

During my winter, someone got sick in March, just a month after the station had closed for the winter. For several weeks, there was a massive information void while the people at Denver HQ tried to decide what to do about the situation, ranging from nothing at all to trying an actual wintertime evacuation. Now, the south pole is already a special place, where there is far too little to do and far too much idle time on everyone's hands, making for the ultimate rumor mill. One of my favorite "inventions" in that period of unknowing was that they were going to bring in some paratrooper surgeons who would parachute to station in the middle of winter, set up an operating theater, and operate on the crewmember in question. Yeah, paratroopers. In the Antarctic, where it's pitch dark and -90F. Ha ha. Needless to say, that solution did not come to pass. But I love the story of it all because it's such an awesome and larger-than-life example of the rumor mill, and thinking about it helps me keep some perspective on the smaller rumors that come up in everyday life.

Fast forward 7 years. I'm putting the final touches on my thesis, getting through the defense, and trying to figure out all the administrative hurdles I have to clear to graduate. Discussions of thesis printing are frequent. Rumors involving $2000 price tags are common. Really? $2k? For that price, I'll print/bind the damn thing in the US and just ship them back over!

I finally got my act together and went directly to the few printers in town who do this kind of thing. The best quote? $350. Sweet.

So, I've now paid to print and bind several copies of my thesis. It's kind of like self publishing a book at a vanity press!


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