The carnivore’s dilemma and other ruminations

Often, there are three delicious choices for meals revolving through fish, pork, lamb, chicken, and beef.  Two factors contribute to the problem that lies ahead, that being over-indulgence at meal times.

The first is the enthusiastic greeting from the servers (Benji for dinner, the 5-7pm meal, and Alberto for supper, the 11pm-1am meal) which is followed by vigorous scooping and serving of large quantities of the main course(s).  The second is my desire to try anything and everything, especially when it looks and smells delicious.  Too many times I wander away from the serving window with a plate heaping with food.  I try to offset the meat effect by visiting the salad bar first.  On the other hand, I’ve been able to avoid the soda fountain (except for a moment of weakness when a coke sounded like the perfect accompaniment to a heaping portion of french fries).  Daily exercise is a must.

As for the other daily activity that requires significant mental resources, the science, we continue to run core through tracks, split, prod, poke, scrape, impale, and finally describe the poor things.  The core lab usually buzzes with activity, with the exception of meal and snack times, which, at least for the day shifters like myself, are eagerly anticipated.  We’ve finished drilling the second site (Site U1332), and I think everyone is glad to turn our bow away from that cursed hole in the seafloor (actually three holes in the seafloor, one filled with concrete — I won’t spoil the surprise, wait for the Initial Reports folks).

We are currently underway toward our next station, which will be reached in the next few hours.  The trusty drill string will be reassembled and again lowered to the seafloor to receive more cores.  Our depth is growing somewhat shallower as we approach the equator on our oblique angle, but only by a few hundred meters.  So the frequency of core on deck announcements is still about an hour to an hour and a half apart.  This pace of work is pretty manageable.  We are constantly treated to new surprises in the sediment, which keeps the routine work exciting.

I’ve surprised myself by giving up coffee (though I’ve replaced it with copious amounts of tea).  My sleep is deep and dreamless (at least to my conscious memory), and I often relish every hit of the snooze button (not a luxury I am afforded at home).  My new activity is spending 30 mins on deck listening to a book.  I am willing to give up a bit of sleep for this.  A group of day shifters has taken to playing Uno in the basement, a few times a week, and we watch a few movies in the cinema.  What more could we ask for, except maybe a burrito from La Cabana or a heaping pile of dan dan noodles from Charlie Hong Kong.  Maybe I’ll dream tonight.


Photos:  Top — 2nd Cook Benjamin Laxamana, Jr., “vigorous scooping and serving of large quantities of the main course” to Gary Acton. Credit: Bill Crawford, IODP Imaging Specialist.

Bottom:  Howie Scher, “…we continue to run core through tracks, split, prod, poke, scrape, impale, and finally describe the poor things.”  Credit:  Bill Crawford, IODP Imaging Specialist.


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