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Push That Button

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That button

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Punch line

Liz Douglass

So here we are on day 17 of 38 at sea (not that anyone's counting), and with good weather and calm seas, things might just be starting to get a little bit monotonous.  For example, in my own 6-hour shifts, for the last four shifts (at least) I have come on watch while the CTD was in the water, helped monitor bottle-tripping on the way up (my job is usually resetting the winch monitor which tends to go blank for unknown reasons and can only be restored by flipping a circuit breaker on and off), recovered the CTD, sampled the water, transited, and then deployed the CTD.  Then my watch ends, and 6 hours later, I do it all over again.  As you might imagine, it becomes necessary to start to look for ways to make life a little more interesting.  Now there are certain events to look forward to (such as steak on Sundays, or the salsa party that is supposed to happen Friday -- check back for later reports) but sometimes just the little addition of something to make you smile can help.  Take, for example, the CFC group.  They have added interesting sound effects to their sample analysis, so that every 10 minutes or so, I hear from across the lab a woman's voice asking someone to "push that button" and then responding "ooh!  That feels good" after the button is pushed.  The button is appropriately labeled as "that button".  It's much more interesting than a boring computer prompt or beep as the analysis advances, and people have been known to seek out opportunities to be the one who gets to push "that button".

Another example is the word of the day -- instituted by the day shift (noon to midnight).  The first word of the day was AWESOME, which was employed to describe pretty much everything for that day: That cast was AWESOME!  Sampling was AWESOME!  Dinner was AWESOME!  This also involved a lot of high five-ing and the occasional team cheer.  We have progressed through various other words including sunny, wicked, gnar-core (which is a combination of gnarly and hard core), and today's word yeeeaaahh! (not just yeah.  Inflection is important).

Then we have Punchline Passageway, which is the current name of a hallway from the main lab to the galley traveled with some regularity by pretty much everyone on the ship.  This has also been an evolving phenomenon, having previously been named Compliment Corridor (compliment whoever you might pass in the hallway) and High-Five Hallway (self-explanatory).  Half the fun is never knowing what the night watch (midnight to noon) might come up with after I go to bed.

And then of course there are various other minor individual competitions dealing with who can "sight" the CTD as it ascends to the surface for retrieval, followed closely by who can "hook" the CTD the fastest -- all good for bragging rights, and not much more (for those keeping score, Andy and I hooked the CTD at exactly the same time on the last retrieval).  In the end, it's all in good fun -- just one more way to keep monotony at bay as we cruise the Pacific Ocean on our way to Chile.

Last updated: January 26, 2010

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