All Work No Play?


You know that saying about how ‘all work and no play’ makes for a dull life? Well, I’ve been hard at work over the past week, but dull is not an adjective I would use to describe a satire on polar exploration from 1931. I am well aware that I may be in my own special category on this one (particularly as I am currently sitting in a  story building that is teeming with climate scientists and DATA), but at least I’m happy. Ten pages of notes and three different colours of highlighter and actual words on the page are like a compass to the right direction for me.

Anyway, coming back to the work/play thing – this lunchtime, IMAS just got a whole lot cooler, thanks to a lego party in the lunchroom. That’s right, you read that correctly. Indi’s icebreaker finally arrived in the post, so it was time to assemble the awesomeness of the ship, the dog sled team, the helicopter, the Arctic station, the polar bear, and the mass of satellite dishes and radio towers. This is an institute for Antarctic studies, but we don’t discriminate against the other pole. Plus, if you look closely at the illustrations on the ‘Arctic’ logo, it looks suspiciously like the Antarctic peninsula…

See that little sticky-outy bit? Antarctic peninsula, much?

See that little sticky-outy bit? Antarctic peninsula much?

This was actually my first time following instructions – when it comes to lego, anyway. Sure, we had the blocks as kids, but I was a free-range child, creating vet hospitals for the Sylvanian families or mixing it up with meccano cogs (which, you have to admit, are pretty neat). Today there was to be no mixing, and no wanton improvisation – this Arctic lego building was serious business. I do have to admit I was rather worried when, after carefully working through page by page, my helicopter still looked somehow wrong. It was quickly pointed out that there was actually one more page to go – the (moderately important) rotor blades were missing.

One thing that I found amusing was the number of potential weapons that come with the set. Apparently the axes, pick, and chainsaw are needed to cut the ice up, but when I saw a lego man on a skidoo with a blade in one hand and a camera in the other, I automatically thought of creating a lego remake of ‘The Thing‘, complete with tomato sauce blood and gore. I mean, what else would you possibly do with such a combination of props and a maniacal grin on your face? (No? Like I said, free-range imagination…)

Lego man? Or lego Monster?

Anyway, we got there in the end, with sticker masters expertly lining up the decals, advisory committees being formed to assemble the winches, and a handy gopro on hand to record the action for later use on social media (building science lego and posting it on the internet counts as outreach, right?) Sure, the packet said ‘6-12’, but we know it wasn’t referring to an age range. 6-12 participants is obviously the optimum number of people to invite to a lunchtime Arctic lego building session!

Thanks for inviting me, guys, and letting me play with your toys.

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