I'm Jase Grimm, 26 years old, and a line cook at the Amundsen Scott South Pole station for the next 4 months. Here's a pic I took of a post it note in the window of my berthing unit at the station that says Reddit and today's date. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasegrimm/15830715025/ And here is a pic of me at the geographic South Pole with my yo, I'm from Iowa T on. https://twitter.com/GrimmJase/status/533838364890234881 And here is my blog, just for fun. www.uncommonfruit.com

Comments: 141 • Responses: 65  • Date: 

PM_ME_YOUR_BAE11 karma

Did you watch The Thing yet?

uncommonfruit22 karma

OMG YES. I spent the winter here in 2012 (6 months of darkness, -100 degree temperatures and no flights in or out) and literally the first thing we do after the last plane leaves is watch all 3 The Things and then the Shining. I also started a wild sourdough culture and name him Kurt Russel

Katastic_Voyage10 karma

all 3 The Things

There are only 2...

Oh god. The third one is REAL. GET OUT. GET OUT NOW.

uncommonfruit3 karma

bwahahahahahah, but seriously there are three the things. 51, 82 and 2011

Jynx31 karma

How is Kurt?

uncommonfruit2 karma

Kurt is currently living in a retirement facility on top of someone's fridge in North East Iowa, but is successor Jack Nicholson is alive and well at the South Pole with me. http://uncommonfruit.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/sourdough-gone-wild/

SteveTheAmazing8 karma

Soooo, how's the weather? I hear it's right about summer in the southern hemisphere; time to light up the bbq!

uncommonfruit10 karma

about -40 F and C at the moment... cold enough to freeze your booger when you walk outside, but definitely sunny

Blitz12447 karma

How fast is the internet down there, and what do you in your free time?

uncommonfruit5 karma

like dial up slow, and we only get 8 or so hours a day. i work out a lot, read a ton of books and practice my ukulele. and update www.uncommonfruit.com

Magictonay2 karma

What's the gym equipment like?

uncommonfruit7 karma

http://uncommonfruit.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/a-pov-tour-of-south-pole-station/ there's a little pic of the workout equipment in this blog post. it's really basic, a few cardio machines, some free weights and one combi chest/shoulder press/fly/leg curl machine, but it get's the job done.

Magictonay3 karma

Awesome! Any babes on base?

uncommonfruit10 karma

there is not too much eye candy here at the South Pole, but after long enough you develop a syndrome called "Pole Eye" in which case "babes" as you put it who might be a 1 or a 2 back in the real world all of a sudden look like real life 10s... so ask me again in a few months

Andromeda3212 karma

Hah, met a guy who did a winter at the South Pole once. When I commented on how that must have been boring he said "not really, I met my wife there."

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

uncommonfruit6 karma

dun dun DUNNNNN! I have a significant other back home fortunately, so I'm basically married to my right hand down here ;)

Katastic_Voyage1 karma

like dial up slow, and we only get 8 or so hours a day. i work out a lot, read a ton of books and practice my ukulele. and update

So it's like going through a break up, but with worse internet?

uncommonfruit1 karma

exactly (5 hours later)

Rocatox6 karma

[deleted]

uncommonfruit9 karma

the only penguin I've seen this trip has been stuffed and was in the seat of a C-17 as pictured here http://uncommonfruit.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/how-to-get-to-the-south-pole-in-6ish-simple-steps/ But last time I was here I saw a penguin at mile 23 of the McMurdo Marathon and totally thought I was hallucinating. Feeding a penguin would be an infraction of the Antarctic Treaty http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Treaty_System

TurquoiseKnight6 karma

What books are you reading? Do you get any TV news? Do you care? Do you have a dropbox? I can drop you some books if you'd like. Do you have a tablet or just a lappy or anything at all? Have you read "At the Mountains of Madness" by HP Lovecraft?

uncommonfruit4 karma

I'm currently reading Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis and f-ing loving it. We get no TV news at all and frankly I like it that way, we get a little New York Times digest printed daily and put in the galley but it's just full of depressing news anyway. We don't really get to use file sharing/cloud websites because of bandwidth restrictions and we have a really huge library here but I really appreciate it! I have a chromebook that works pretty well for my needs considering we only have internet for 1/3 of the day.

TurquoiseKnight2 karma

Nice. What do you cook? Anything special? I used to be a professional chef so I'm wondering if you cook any gourmet meals for the higher ups.

uncommonfruit3 karma

we actually do some really nice stuff for where we are and the quality of the ingredients that are available to us. it's a lot of meat and potato/comfort type foods cause some of our support crew have to consume upwards of 6000 calories just to stay warm in the cold. Here is a link to a menu from the midwinter dinner menu in 2011 http://antarcticsun.usap.gov/aroundTheContinent/images2/pole_midwinter_menu.jpg

TurquoiseKnight2 karma

Wow, glazed duck. I'm impressed! ;)

uncommonfruit5 karma

I got to grill a bison steak for the Prime Minister of Norway in 2011 too, which was pretty awesome

5dollarsushi5 karma

What do you regret not having brought along?

uncommonfruit3 karma

More things to decorate my room with, it's super gray and boring in here.

NellyFrattato5 karma

What happens if you must go outside. like you have to leave at some point don't you?

uncommonfruit12 karma

I actually go outside every day, we keep all of our frozen product on a deck behind the station so every time I need frozen berries or whatever I have to step into -40 degree temperatures. I actually ran an marathon here in 2011 and spent about 7 hours outside in -15 degrees. some folks work about 1 mile away from the station and have to walk to and from even in pitch black and -100 degrees but we all have extreme cold weather gear so it's really not so bad.

billsong5 karma

How did you get such a cool job?

dewsbury894 karma

Are you worried about getting bored? What do you have to entertain yourself with?

uncommonfruit9 karma

I am soooooooo easily entertained, so no. I work 10 hours a day, and sleep for 8, probably eat for 1.5, workout for 1, which only leaves 3.5 hours a day to kill which I spend on the interwebz like reddit or www.uncommonfruit.com and playing shitty top 40 covers on my ukulele. also i found a slide whistle yesterday that is endlessly entertaining...

Mish1069 karma

also i found a slide whistle yesterday

Like, just lying around in the south pole?

uncommonfruit9 karma

We have a system here called Skua, which is named after a native scavenger bird that lives near McMurdo. It is basically a "free store" where people place items they no longer want or need, like old clothes, toiletries and apparently slide whistles... but whoever thinks they don't need a slide whistle is F-ing crazy cause this thing is awesome.

Bouer4 karma

Is the weird day night cycle bothering you at all?

uncommonfruit8 karma

Right now it is 24 hours of sunlight, which means the sun just goes around in a big circle all day long which makes it kinda hard to sleep. but I have blackout curtains in my room, which helps. I also work the breakfast shift which is 3:30 am to 1:30 pm so at least it is light out when I go to work!

lovesamoan3 karma

Have any seals try to get, you know, a little frisky with you, or are they still focusing their efforts on penguins currently?

uncommonfruit5 karma

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/seals-caught-having-sex-penguins BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA, and no, so far my cornhole is seal free, but I'm about 900 miles inland from the nearest seal so that doesn't mean they won't try when I travel through McMurdo

TheComedyShow4 karma

I regret to inform you that an unsealed cornhole is not a great thing...

uncommonfruit3 karma

I see what you did there... clever girl

OtakuSRL1 karma

girl

or so you think ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

JFSOCC3 karma

Of anyone there, how many people are depressed due to the whiteness of it all?

uncommonfruit6 karma

I assume you're referring to the snow, not the demographics, cause I was gonna say we are a bit of a melting pot down here. The whiteness isn't too depressing cause there is sunlight 24/7 during the summer, and a lot of us think it is beautiful in a stark, flat, white sort of way. But I do miss topography, and trees.

superior141 karma

What about the winters?

uncommonfruit3 karma

sooooooooo dark, and mildly depressing and lonely. but I'm kind of a ridiculously positive guy so it didn't really get to me. I found out the hard way that 1 year in Manhattan is wayyyyy more depressing and lonely.

DCBizzle3 karma

Hi I'm from Northwest Territories, Canada. Just thought it'd be neat to say hi to someone practically on the polar opposite side of the world :) ?

uncommonfruit5 karma

nice use of the question mark! and HELLLLLLOOOOO!

adarktower3 karma

Did you have to undergo any training or orientation to work in that environment? How was the interview process?

uncommonfruit6 karma

my training consisted of an hour of videos in Christchurch before I got on a plane to the continent, and then a few safety lectures since then. the application/interview process is pretty extensive though, a pretty in depth background check (including every address/job for the past 10 years) the folks that spend the winter have to even pass a pyschological evaluation, and be (as they say) crazy enough to do it but sane enough to pull it off.

HurricaneDitka19853 karma

How many people are on base? I'd imagine it must be a fairly tight knit community?

uncommonfruit4 karma

150 during the summer and about 40 during the winter, which is down from 250 during my first season in 2011. It's pretty close and can even get sort of cliquey like the scientist (beakers) stick to themselves sometimes and the support crew (like myself) hang out with others in their departments. But we actually do a pretty good job mingling and everyone likes to volunteer and help each other out and when we have dance parties or open mic nights everyone gets involved.

TurquoiseKnight3 karma

Do you guys have any good board games to play? Im a board game geek so I'd be interesting if you or others played some hobby type board games.

uncommonfruit6 karma

we play a ton of cards, cribbage mostly. and a lot of scrabble, we'll have a tournament for both during the winter and #dorkalert we did a little bit of shadow realms my winter too

mattb103 karma

what do you think will happen if people start inhabiting Antarctica?

uncommonfruit4 karma

I think climate change would have to progress pretty significantly for that to happen, and there'd have to be some changes to the Antarctic Treaty, but if it was about 80 degrees warmer down here I'd be totally into it.

TheFunkwich3 karma

What is the power situation like? Do you have an allotted Usage or does it not matter?

Also, solar panels?

uncommonfruit3 karma

We burn over 1000 gallons of J8 fuel a day for electricity and warmth. Most of that is to run the science experiments we host, and the rest to run the galley/computer lab/lights in berthing etc... We all do our best to use as little as possible, with some exceptions for keeping in touch and entertainment, cause none of us would be worth much if we were super lonely and bored. No alternative energy sources at the pole at the moment because solar panels would only be effective 1/2 of the year and the wind situation isn't consistent enough for turbines.

cathedrameregulaemea6 karma

We burn over 1000 gallons of J8 fuel a day for electricity and warmth.

In the Antarctic to study climate change. Burns massive amounts of fuel a day.

No, I'm not advocating that we pack up and come back... but there's irony, you have to admit.

uncommonfruit3 karma

SOOOOO IRONIC. seriously, it's not lost on me

blowingloudallday3 karma

How much weed did you bring with you?

uncommonfruit4 karma

Ha, not enough. And by that I mean none because the NSF frowns upon drug use!

blowingloudallday8 karma

Sure, gotta keep that loud quiet. I get it.

uncommonfruit9 karma

word, but there is plenty of beer, wine and liquor. but honestly at 9,000 feet drinking is more trouble than it's worth.

SneakAttack222 karma

Can you elaborate on that?

uncommonfruit3 karma

something about being oxygen deprives and at a high physio altitude seems to make liquor hit you like a gold covered brick. and the hangovers are LEGENDARY! plus we're at like 2% humidity so you dehydrate like a fricking potato chip which = headaches like nobody's business

neon_overload1 karma

What about humidifiers? Can you humidify the air?

uncommonfruit1 karma

I have one in my room and it runs constantly (2 gallons a day) but all of the berthings are connected by a central air sort of system so it doesn't do too much, but it makes me feel like i'm doing better. I just drink obscene amounts of water and moisturized like a mofo

kogeliz3 karma

[deleted]

uncommonfruit9 karma

There is 1 doctor on station who can treat some minor injuries/illnesses but anything big and we have to be Med-Evac'ed to Christchurch which would most likely take the better part of a day. (Knocks on wood) We get mail every couple of weeks, as soon as there is enough of it to make the trip worthwhile and if there isn't any more pressing cargo to get here. Scientific equipment is #1 priority. If you wanna send me a letter or postcard I'll respond! It'll take around a month to get here. Jase Grimm, Contractor South Pole Station PSC 768 Box 400 APO AP 96598

Andromeda3212 karma

Dude, I'll seriously send you a postcard from Holland if you want one! Is that a USA address?

uncommonfruit2 karma

yessir!

uncommonfruit1 karma

and thanks!

TurquoiseKnight2 karma

Last question(s) from me. Do you get any outside time? Is it something you would want to do? What's the temp in your bedroom? Do you have to dress warm for bed? How bad does it smell in your quarters? How often do you get to shower? Do you bunk with other people? Is it co-ed? How many females around?

uncommonfruit4 karma

I can go outside whenever I want basically, but really only get the chance on Sundays, my days off. I like to walk to the other buildings where they do crazy experiments and such. It's a cozy 65 in my bedroom, and if I cranked the heat i could get it up to 80. I get my own room and it smells like roses and sunshine thank you very much. And I get 2 2 minute showers a week. There are men and women here, and we get along swimmingly!

sexdrugsandwifi2 karma

Define extremencold weather gear. Hi tech? Light? How many layers?

uncommonfruit3 karma

ECW = Bunny boots, which are super goofy white air insulated rubber boots. Wind breaker overalls, which are generally way to big and patched and very worn in. Big red, which is a goose down insulated jacket (some of which are from the 80s still) with your name and a radar patch sewn on so they can identify you if you wander off into the snow. As well as a fleece hat, gator, 2 pairs of gloves, fleece underwear (tops and bottoms) and some thick ass gray socks. And some sort of sunglasses/goggles. You end up looking like the kid from a Christmas story when it's all on.

Tim-Sanchez2 karma

Proof?

PM_ME_A_HORSE1 karma

That looks an awful lot like two streets away from me. How about a pic of the S Pole itself?

uncommonfruit10 karma

you live two streets away from the Amundsen Scott South Pole station?

BabylonDestroyer2 karma

What are people trying to do/learn in the South Pole?

uncommonfruit3 karma

There are a ton of experiments going on down here, but to summarize the South Pole is one of the best places to observe the sky/universe because there is very little humidity/atmosphere in the way. Icecube is looking for neutrinos whizzing through space from incredibly energetic events like supernovas and such. SPT is looking at the cosmic microwave background and determining the exact age of the universe and how it came to be. SPICECORE is taking ice core samples to look at the temperature/atmospheric makeup of the earth thousands and millions of years ago. ARO monitors green house gases, CFCs and the hole in the ozone layer, to name a few.

kakihara05132 karma

Rapper, actor, and now an astrophysicist! Impressive guy!

uncommonfruit1 karma

i'm totally gonna rap that, thank you for the inspiration

BabylonDestroyer1 karma

Wow that's so so very cool! Thanks so much for your reply. Have fun out there

uncommonfruit1 karma

my pleasure

firefighter_692 karma

Do you prefer the real ice cream at the pole or frosty boy at McMurdo?

uncommonfruit2 karma

FROSTY BOY WAS DEAD when I came through MacTown! I was devastated, and since our blue bunny doesn't have a slogan as cool as "Often licked, never beaten" I'd have to go with Frosty Boy ;)

chickenthinkseggwas1 karma

How close are you to the magnetic pole? Do you feel it in any way, or imagine that you feel it?

uncommonfruit1 karma

it's somewhere under the ocean, not too close, but compasses still don't work for shit down here

DevonDoesTomahawk1 karma

Did you see any seal raping penguin?

uncommonfruit1 karma

that article is hilarious, but no, i have not been witness to anything like that

macfoshizzle1 karma

I was told by a UFO enthusiast that ET's have a big base there. Have you seen anything unusual?

I also read some articles that if you dig way down below the ice, million years of organics can be found when Antartica was somewhere else. Do you know anything about this?

Also, does time go by faster or slower for you guys?

What time zone do you go by?

uncommonfruit1 karma

Google Nibiru. Google Vostok. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it seems to go pretty fast but that's cause I work all the time. In New Zealand time.

stoicsmile1 karma

How easy is it to hook up at the South Pole? What is the gender ratio like? I would think having a snuggle-buddy would be essential in a situation like that.

uncommonfruit2 karma

We all get pretty lonely so there is a fair amount of copulation (and free condoms in every bathroom) the gender ratio is skewed pretty heavily to the male side though. I have a partner back home, but when I was single here over the winter I definitely had a cuddle buddy, aka Ice Wife

jskoker1 karma

Legit question, but I've always wanted to visit in terms of fly down there on the C-17 then fly back on the same plane. Any way you could hook me up?

uncommonfruit1 karma

no way I could hook you up without a job, but I hear for about $60K you can charter a plane!

Zian641 karma

Hey Jase. Whats your primary duties down there. Do you have any experience with the Australian stations?

I've been trying to get a comms position down there for the past 2 years. Any advice?

uncommonfruit2 karma

I'm a production line cook so right now I make breakfast for 150 folks 6 days a week, but at Christmas I'll switch to dinner and assist the dinner Sous Chef for the rest of the season. I don't know much about the Australian stations but I know that the hiring managers for Pole really want people who are excited to be there and aren't just applying for the money. People with good attitudes and excellent references get hired first at Pole

janitor4041 karma

Is there any kind of US govt. or NSA base there?

uncommonfruit1 karma

Well the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station is technically a Govt base because it is operated by the NSF, but there is definitely no NSA presence here.

professor_geebs1 karma

is 'seal-on-penguin' sex really that popular down there?

uncommonfruit1 karma

3rd time i've gotten that question... that article really made it's rounds didn't it?

DabuSurvivor1 karma

Have you joined the 300 Club?

uncommonfruit1 karma

officially no

kjmagnetics1 karma

What time is it? As in, what time zone do you use down there?

uncommonfruit1 karma

When you sent this message it was 7 am on Friday the 21st, so we're on NZT or New Zealand time, but that's just cause that is where we come to the ice from. Groups that come from South America are generally on a completely different time zone.

no_malis1 karma

I love how Google analytics must be hating you guys when you go online :

"- we can't represent their traffic on our cool map boss...

  • Why not?

-We forgot to add Antartica to it"

uncommonfruit2 karma

my browser totally thinks i'm in ohio right now... weak

Soy_de_verga1 karma

What are the demographics down there for the workers? Are they all white or is it mix? Any Hispanics? What are the requirements to be a heavy equipment operator?

uncommonfruit1 karma

I'd say mostly caucasian but a little bit of everything. It is an American station and only has 150 folks so it's not super diverse, and for any/all info on getting a job go to http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/antarctic-support-contract.html

Philosulfur1 karma

Is it cold?

uncommonfruit2 karma

-40 f -40 c

WindWalkerWhoosh2 karma

It's more fun to just answer that -40. Then if they ask you F or C you just say yes.

uncommonfruit1 karma

:D i like it

Dexadrine1 karma

I wonder if you've seen these sites?

http://bigdeadplace.org/

http://jeffreydonenfeld.com/blog/2013/03/living-and-working-at-the-amundsen-scott-south-pole-station-antarctica-summer-2012-2013/

Kind of some earlier generations, but it might give you some idea of how things have changed over recent years. ;)

uncommonfruit3 karma

i was actually here 3 years ago so i've seen a bit of the evolution, and funnily enough Jeffrey Donenfeld lives in infamy as being one of the worst line cooks ever to work here, so we don't really talk about him much. he was much more interested in being famous than working. But bigdeadplace is an excellent blog.

President_Kim1 karma

What do you do on your free time other than Reddit?

uncommonfruit2 karma

I only have about 3 hours of free time a day after work/sleep/eat which I fill with gym/books/ukulele. On my days off I like to go to the bouldering gym which is about a 1/4 mile away from the station, we play a lot of cards, watch B movies and have events like races, open mics and paper telephone.

[deleted]-4 karma

[deleted]

Eternally651 karma

Thanks! Hope the mods accept it.

Why are you at the south pole? Is it getting warmer now?

uncommonfruit4 karma

I'm a production line cook down here for the summer season, and yup it's warming up. it's about -40 f outside right now but might get about 0 by around Christmas